On July 1 the Air Force awarded a contract to Raytheon Technologies for development of a new air-launched nuclear system called the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon. LRSO will replace the aged cruise missiles currently carried on U.S. bombers with a munition that is much more likely to penetrate future enemy defenses. It will also extend the range of bombers to reach multiple targets. Bombers can play a unique role in crises by signaling resolve without committing to attacks. That kind of signaling is not feasible with ballistic missiles. However, in order to be a credible threat, America’s bombers must have an assured ability to reach strategic targets. That means something more than gravity bombs or non-stealthy cruise missiles–it means LRSO. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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