A job for SpaceX?
Maybe they can design the world's first reusable ICBM!
Northrop Grumman has won an eye-watering $13.3bn deal to update the US's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system. The effort will span 8.5 years and the US Air Force expects "initial operational capability" by 2029. The contract value only covers the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Ground …
Personally, I rather like the idea of nuclear missiles being entirely offline with guidence information being put on a storage medium that nobody can possibly tamper with. It's nice knowing that somebody couldn't feasibly be able to alter the guidence information with a laptop, and that firing the things requires two people with keys.
If there is one area where excessive paranioa should be encouraged then it's securing nuclear armed ICBM's.
‘...Boeing selected as the prime contractor back in 1958. Full operational capability of the Minuteman III was declared in 1975,’
17 years of development cheques from the Pentagon that probably had to be printed on extra-wide paper to hold all the zeroes. Surely not even the masters at BAE have been able to take so long in delivering something.
There will be many more tens of billions shovelled into the trough in which contractors' snouts will rummage.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
That could have quite an impact in reducing the US's impact on Climate Change but would not grease as many favoured palms.
Companies involved in military procurement have to ensure that the gravy train continues and the is totally reliant on big replacement cycles with tasty maintenance/upgrades built in. This is not just a US problem but worldwide, the difference is the US budgets tend to be more eye watering.
... and doesn't require any improvement.
I mean, really. They're solid-fueled, require little maintenance, and can hit within a hundred yards of their programmed target. The ones on submarines require more maintenance, but otherwise meet similar specifications.
They do what they're intended to do as well as it can be done. How, exactly, are we to "improve" upon these systems' ability to deliver nuclear warheads to a specific spot on the Earth?
> 'Our nation is facing a rapidly evolving threat environment...'. True. 'and protecting our citizens with a modern strategic deterrent capability has never been more critical'. False.
There is a greater threat from some terrorist/nerd/terrorist nerd making a bioweapon in his garage, and nuclear weapons are not a realistic way to counter that. Look at the damage covid's wrought, and it has a pretty low mortality rate.
Even the world's worst dictators are not truly 'mad', in the medical sense. They're corrupt, greedy megalomaniacs, yes, but nuclear war is not something that would benefit them.
The problem is how do you get rid of existing weapons? A country might say 'well if they've got them, we're having/keeping them'. It's the same with guns (worse actually, because state investment is needed for nuclear weapons but not for guns). They can't be uninvented. One can only hope that eventually enough people will see that a modern strategic deterrent capability is not worth the money (though this may take hundreds or perhaps thousands of years).
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