The end of U.S. Space Shuttle launches three years ago has boosted the cost of fuel for British nuclear missiles, the London Telegraph reports.
The price of the solid fuel used in Trident 2 D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles leaped by 80 percent in just one year, the newspaper said in a Tuesday report. The United Kingdom maintains 58 of the U.S.-supplied weapons under a 1982 bilateral defense pact.
Washington is now limiting its annual purchases of the weapons to the minimum necessary to keep the fuel market afloat, prompting concern among some officials, according to the Telegraph.
Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, director of the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, warned last month that the absence of fuel demand from the Space Shuttle program is posing problems for an “already-fragile industry.”
The United Kingdom, though, said such concerns had not altered missile cooperation with Washington, or a pending plan to revamp the British nuclear force.
“The U.S. has supplied the U.K. with solid fuel-powered missiles for over 40 years with an excellent safety and reliability record. The U.K. also has a sufficient pool of Trident missiles to meet our needs for decades to come,” a British defense ministry spokeswoman said.
One agency insider, though, said the United States has yet to determine how it will ensure continued supplies of missile fuel.
The U.S. Navy wants NASA to purchase solid-fuel boosters for a next-generation rocket system, potentially stabilizing the market, the Telegraph reported. The U.S. space agency is slated to start work on the planned Space Launch System in 2017.
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The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.
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