New nukes: US military grants ICBM contract worth $12bn to UK
The US Defense Department has awarded top British weapons maker BAE Systems a contract worth $12 billion “to support” nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile systems (ICBM).
The work related to the huge contract is expected to be completed by the end of 2040 and will mostly be carried out at the Hill Air Force Base in the western state of Utah, the Pentagon announced on Friday without elaborating.
According to Press TV quoting the report, BAE was one of five military contractors bidding for the long-range missile contract.
The report comes nearly three months after the Biden administration’s proposed budget for fiscal 2023 – released on March 28 – called for massive investments in nuclear weapons, including the so-called Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) — an intercontinental ballistic missile system.
Critics and anti-nuclear activists said at the time that President Joe Biden was using the Russian military operation in neighboring Ukraine to justify the heavy spending on nukes by claiming the need for deterrence.
The GBSD, the critics argued, was in motion well before Biden’s 2023 budget proposal, and well before Russia began its military operation in Ukraine, emphasizing that the conflict was being used to engineer justification for a policy that the American president would have already enacted.
According to a Pentagon’s summary of the budget proposal, it calls for $34.4 billion to “recapitalize all three legs of the nuclear triad” -- a reference to submarines, bombers and land-based intercontinental missiles, which comprise the US military’s nuclear weapons program.
The GBSD would ensure that these missiles remain deployed in American states for another 50 years, local press outlets reported.
The budget also calls for $3.6 billion for the GBSD which will replace the aging Minuteman III ICBMs that are located in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming. The budget would call for further investments in launch facilities and control centers, test-launch missiles and other infrastructure.
However, this is not the only nuclear spending proposed. The budget calls for an additional $16.5 billion for nuclear weapons under the Department of Energy, which brings the total proposed nuclear weapons spending to $50.9 billion.