DECEMBER 9, 2022
USA News

U.S. Nuclear Missile Program Costs Skyrocket to $160 Billion

U.S. Nuclear Missile Program Costs Skyrocket to $160 Billion

The costs of the U.S. nuclear missile development program have soared beyond initial estimates, now reaching around $160 billion, according to a recent report.

Reuters, citing three sources familiar with the matter, revealed that the Air Force's program to replace America’s aging nuclear missiles has seen its price tag increase from $95.8 billion to approximately $160 billion. This new project, named the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program, is being designed and managed by Northrop Grumman Corp, a Virginia-based leading provider of manned air systems.

Both Northrop Grumman and the Pentagon declined to comment on the latest cost figure. However, the Pentagon mentioned that a new cost estimate for the project would be released around Tuesday.

The U.S. Air Force’s top brass assert that the project is crucial for maintaining the United States’ global military deterrent.

The increased costs are putting pressure on other Air Force priorities, such as the Next Generation Air Dominance fighter jet program. Hypersonic weapons development, various space initiatives including Star Wars, and the manufacture of the new B-21 Raider stealth bomber capable of carrying a nuclear payload could also be affected by the rising expenses, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Additionally, hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. military budget are allocated to sending weapons to Ukraine and Israel and pushing back against China’s plans in the Indo-Pacific region.

US arms manufacturers have been asked to advise the Pentagon on the costs of a service life extension program for the existing inventory of Minuteman III missiles, according to documents seen by Reuters. Two sources noted that these increasing costs are exerting significant pressure on other defense projects, potentially impacting the overall strategic capabilities of the U.S. military.

As the Sentinel ICBM program's costs rise, the debate over the true extent of American military supremacy intensifies, revealing potential weaknesses in the broader defense budget and strategic planning.

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