Missiles

An Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine (SSBN).

FAIRFAX, VA: “No one should be sleeping comfortably at night,” Rear Adm. Dave Johnson warned Navy submariners and contractors today. For the fleet’s top priority program, the replacement for the aging Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine, fiscal 2015 “is a crucial year,” the Program Executive Officer for all submarine programs said this morning. “If we in this… Keep reading →

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[UPDATED with Congressional comment] Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reassured the Army today that its role is not “eroding” or “diminishing,” despite shrinking budgets, the rebalance to the watery Pacific theater, and the Obama administration’s commitment to “no boots on the ground” against self-proclaimed Islamic State. Instead, echoing comments by the Army’s own leaders, Hagel said… Keep reading →

An Air Force test of anti-small-boat weapon.

WASHINGTON: China has an arsenal of long-range ship-killing missiles, based on land but able to hit US warships hundreds of miles offshore. Now the chairman of the House seapower subcommittee suggests we give them a taste of their own “anti-access/area denial” medicine. Why shouldn’t the US Army develop its own land-based anti-ship missile force? Rep.… Keep reading →

Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM)

ARMY & NAVY CLUB: In the dog-eat-dog, admiral-eat-general world of budget warfare in the age of sequestration, it’s easy to pit programs against each other. The Navy’s new nuclear missile submarine and the Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber, for example, are both huge strategic-weapons programs with enormous bills coming due in the next decade and much debate… Keep reading →

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NATIONAL HARBOR: Talk about a radioactive issue. Top officials in Air Force, Navy, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense keep talking about how there is no higher priority than the nation’s nuclear deterrent. It’s so crucial, they all say, that someone else should pay for it. “No capability we maintain is more important.… Keep reading →

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 →

Russian "Beech" surface-to-air missile launcher.

[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 →

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