Pentagon Releases $1 Billion Thermonuclear Missile Plan

( — The Defense Department is seeking to purchase around 1,000 new long-range nuclear-capable air-launched missiles, the UK Daily Mail reported.

According to the Mail, the Pentagon is looking to replace the existing AGM-86B air-launched cruise missiles with the new AGM-181 Long Range Stand-Off nuclear-capable cruise missiles for use on B-52 bombers and the new B-21 Raider stealth bomber.

The US Air Force budget for FY2024 sets aside $978 million for the new missile program. The new missiles are expected to be operational within the decade at an estimated cost of $16.2 billion.

US Strategic Command Gen. Anthony Cotton recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he was pleased with the progress on the new AGM181s, which he described as “fundamental” to deterrence.

Cotton said the missiles would be the country’s “sole air-delivered standoff nuclear capability” that would provide “flexible and scalable options” capable of surviving and penetrating the most advanced air defenses.

Gen. Cotton told the senators that the expansion of China’s nuclear force reflects its “increasing assertiveness” and its ability to “employ nuclear coercion.”

Last week, Sun Xiaobo, the Director-General of Arms Control for China’s Foreign Ministry, met with Assistant Secretary of State Mallory Stewart in Washington to discuss arms control and nonproliferation as part of President Biden’s push to reestablish open communication between the US and China.

According to a State Department official, in the meeting, the US emphasized the need for stability between the two countries to “help avert an unconstrained arms race” and ensure that “competition” between the US and China “does not veer into conflict.”

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