The United States is working on developing a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III and new Stealth bomber to replace the B-2.
1/15/21 – Air Force Magazine – Second B-21 Under Construction as Bomber Moves Toward First Flight – Northrop Grumman is building a second B-21 Raider bomber. The first is expected to roll off the production line early in 2020 and fly sometime the following summer. Goal is for the newest bar to operational in 2026 or maybe 2027.
Cost of the first 100 off the production line is expected to be around $80 billion adjusted to 2016 dollars. That is around $800 million a piece.
In a new piece of information for me, but which is probably old hat to everyone that knows anything about new aircraft development, the actual avionics equipment and software is loaded onto a commercial business class jet for test flights. Actual avionics are on an actual plane in actual flights. Engineers get to see how the real software works on a real plane. How cool.
12/7/20 – Defense One – Why We Need a New ICBM – Article makes an extended and persuasive argument why the United States needs to develop a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III.
I will mention just a few highlights. Please read the full article for proper level of detail.
First argument is developing a new ICBM, currently named as the Ground-based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), would be cheaper over the next several decades then continually upgrading the Minuteman III.
All three legs of the triad need to be kept in place. With Russia and China intent on challenging United States leadership around the world, a robust defense of capacity is critical not only to defend her interest but at a more basic level just to defend ourselves.
Article mentions that pressure is updating its triad and China is rapidly expanding their nuclear capacity, bringing online a new mobile ICBM, a new SLBM, and a stealth bomber. Indications are China wants a stronger nuclear force than the United States.
Interesting collateral effect of a weakened US deterrence would be our allies would have increased interest in developing their own deterrence. Imagine if South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey decided they could no longer rely on the United States nuclear umbrella to protect them. They could easily decide to develop their own nukes.
Rapidly advancing technology means submarines could be detectable at some point. Furthermore, article points out maintaining indications with submarines is difficult.