Pentagon Eyes Developing Longer-Range Cruise Missile

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
April 25, 2014, 8:03 a.m.

The U.S. De­fense De­part­ment is weigh­ing de­vel­op­ment of a new, non-nuc­le­ar cruise mis­sile to hit “im­port­ant” tar­gets from long dis­tances, War is Bor­ing re­ports.

The Pentagon last week re­ques­ted in­form­a­tion on the po­ten­tial for a re­l­at­ively af­ford­able con­ven­tion­al cruise mis­sile with a price tag un­der $2 mil­lion and a max­im­um flight dis­tance great­er than 3,400 miles, the news pub­lic­a­tion said in a Wed­nes­day art­icle. The “stan­doff” weapon’s range would en­able it to be fired out­side the reach of arms held by pos­sible ant­ag­on­ists.

The pro­pos­al is the res­ult of a De­fense Sci­ence Board as­sess­ment of op­tions for the U.S. mil­it­ary to at­tain a tech­no­lo­gic­al edge over its ad­versar­ies around 2030. The Pentagon-con­vened pan­el of out­side ex­perts ad­vises De­fense lead­ers on tech­no­lo­gic­al is­sues.

“The sys­tem would be de­signed to com­ple­ment stra­tegic prompt glob­al strike cap­ab­il­ity,” the Oc­to­ber doc­u­ment says, re­fer­ring to a de­vel­op­ment­al U.S. ca­pa­city to con­duct a non-nuc­le­ar strike against any loc­a­tion in the world in one hour or less.

“Be­cause [a longer-range cruise mis­sile] could be pro­duced at far lower costs, this would al­low ad­equate num­bers of weapons to en­gage mul­tiple tar­gets sim­ul­tan­eously [and] sat­ur­ate en­emy coun­ter­meas­ures,” the re­port states. “It would not be as pre­cise as some more costly sys­tems, but in­stead trades a high­er prob­ab­il­ity of de­tec­tion and some­what lar­ger vul­ner­ab­il­ity for cost.”

The Pentagon ad­vis­ory pan­el warned about pos­sible in­ter­na­tion­al re­per­cus­sions, though, say­ing that “the policy im­plic­a­tions of de­ploy­ing an in­ter­con­tin­ent­al, pre­ci­sion cruise mis­sile with a ca­pa­city to carry re­l­at­ively heavy pay­loads are sig­ni­fic­ant.”

The po­ten­tial for cruise mis­siles to carry nuc­le­ar as well as con­ven­tion­al pay­loads may factor in­to glob­al re­sponses to the pro­posed longer-range weapon, War is Bor­ing said.

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