Buying Back Time

The Air Force’s Fiscal 2016 budget proposal accelerates the Long Range Standoff missile program by two years, partially making up for past delays due to fiscal constraints. The future nuclear-capable cruise missile will replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile, which was first fielded in 1982 with a planned 10-year life cycle, according to Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Melissa Milner. The Air Force’s Fiscal 2013 budget originally delayed the start of the LRSO program to 2015. Service leaders last year announced a second delay, this time by three years, pushing the contract award to 2018. The proposed budget makes up some of that time, allowing for a Fiscal 2016 Milestone A decision and late FY16 technology maturation and risk reduction contract award. “The FY16 President’s Budget request restores LRSO funding for research, test, development, and evaluation activities that will allow LRSO to attain initial operational capability two years earlier than planned in the Fiscal 2015 President’s Budget,” said Milner. “This timeframe is consistent with US Strategic Command’s operational requirement and will realign LRSO integration with the Department of Energy’s effort to produce a life-extended LRSO warhead.” The budget proposal also funds another service life extension program for the remaining ALCM fleet, the fifth of its kind. In addition, the budget “replaces impact sensors and ordnance cables, which are required to maintain and assess ALCM reliability, safety, and effectiveness,” states the document.