Missiles

Test of a Navy Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The DC debate on the Navy’s new nuclear missile submarines has been about how we can possibly pay for them. In this op-ed, however, frequent Breaking Defense contributor Bob Butterworth takes a step back to look at a much bigger picture. The Navy’s recent admission that it can’t afford the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP) is… Keep reading →

Gen. William Shelton, commander of US Air Force Space Command.

WASHINGTON: Watch the skies. While they’re far from falling, the head of Air Force Space Command said today, the heavens aren’t the “peaceful sanctuary” they once were, either. Nothing short of a nuclear missile could pull the plug on a satellite constellation as robust as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Gen. William Shelton said, semi-reassuringly.… Keep reading →

1280px-9M317_surface-to-air_missile_of_Buk-M2E

[UPDATED 2:10 pm with comment from President Obama & Pentagon spokesman Kirby] Western media are hardly going easy on Russia. But in all the often-excellent coverage I’ve read so far of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 disaster – which claimed 295 lives – no one* is pointing out two basic facts that point towards Russia and… Keep reading →

JointStrikeMissile

FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW: It’s a remarkable story, really. A fairly tiny country, Norway, decides to place a $1.3 billion bet on developing one of the world’s most capable missiles to be fired from what will probably become the world’s most popular fighter, the F-35. The missile, known as the Joint Strike Missile, may become a… Keep reading →

Test of a Navy Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

CAPITOL HILL: “Failure to launch” isn’t a metaphorical concern when you work on nuclear weapons. That’s why the director of the Navy’s euphemistically named Strategic Systems Program (SSP) is a worried man. What has Vice Adm. Terry Benedict worried is something neither he, nor the Navy nor the entire Defense Department directly control. It’s the… Keep reading →

A B-52 prepares to launch the X-51 "hypersonic" test vehicle.

WASHINGTON: “I believe, today, we could build a Mach 5 cruise missile [with] off-the-shelf materials,” said Charles Brink of the Air Force Research Laboratory. “We could go 500 nautical miles in 10 minutes.” Brink should know: He ran AFRL’s record-breaking X-51 program. Now AFRL and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are co-funding a… Keep reading →

navy-experimental-laser

WASHINGTON: Ronald Reagan’s dream of lasers that can shoot down incoming missiles is about to become reality — to an extent. The Navy will deploy a low-power prototype to the Persian Gulf this summer and it sees real potential to zap drones, small boats, and anti-ship cruise missiles. But experts assembled at this week’s Atlantic… Keep reading →

The attack submarine North Dakota.

Problems with a new kind of missile launcher will delay the commissioning of the attack submarine North Dakota, the Navy announced this afternoon. That’s a significant stumble for the Virginia-class submarine program, whose steadily decreasing costs and construction time per boat have become a point of pride for the Navy and shipbuilder Electric Boat alike.… Keep reading →

US and Korean Marines staged traditional amphibious assaults like this in the Ssang Yong 2014 wargames -- but such massed attacks may be a thing of the past.

NATIONAL HARBOR: Cheap grey-market missiles and commercially available radar kits are forcing the Marines to reinvent amphibious warfare for the 21st century. The new Corps concept, Expeditionary Force 21, predicts long-range threats will force the fleet to stay at least 65 nautical miles offshore, a dozen times the distance that existing Marine amphibious vehicles are… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine (SSBN).

NATIONAL HARBOR: This is rocket science. As the US Navy tries to keep its crucial 1990-vintage Trident D5 nuclear-capable missile viable for decades to come, it’s working with everyone from the Royal Navy to the US Air Force to NASA to keep costs down and technology up to date. Meanwhile, the design team for the… Keep reading →

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