AFA Urges Congress to Fund LRSO Missile

The Air Force Association on Dec. 14 sent a letter to senior leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees urging congress to “stay on track” and fund the nuclear-armed Long-Range Standoff missile, which will eventually replace the air-launched cruise missile. “The standoff capability of the air-launched cruise missile [ALCM] is essential to the continued nuclear deterrent role of the bomber leg of the nuclear triad,” wrote AFA President Larry Spencer and AFA Executive Vice President Mark Barrett in the letter. “Funding its replacement, LRSO, is particularly important given the advanced air defenses of our adversaries. Without a sustained bomber standoff capability enabled by a modern cruise missile, the bomber leg of the triad will be increasingly at risk.” The Air Force accelerated the LRSO program by two years in its Fiscal 2016 budget request in an effort to make up for previous delays due to fiscal constraints. However, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said earlier this year the Air Force had yet to decide when the LRSO will become operational, citing additional budgetary limitations. (See also LRS-B, LRSO Programs Vital to Power Projection.)