Some policymakers are questioning the Air Force’s next-generation air-launched cruise missiles, called Long-Range Standoff weapons, which are crucial to sustaining the deterrent credibility of the manned bomber fleet. These missiles are hard to detect with radar because of their small size and low-altitude flight profile, and thus can penetrate heavily defended air space. Long-Range Standoff weapons reassure allies and provide a unique and flexible dimension of U.S. nuclear deterrence by allowing the ability to signal intent and control escalation when facing adversary air defenses. New air-launched cruise missiles will be equipped with modern technology and far more accurate than the ones we have today. The president will thus have more options in an extreme crisis if a limited nuclear war were to occur. I have written a commentary for The National Interest here.
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