Launch the New Missile

A program to replace the Air Force’s Minuteman ICBMs should be underway by now, US Strategic Command chief Gen. Kevin Chilton said Monday. Addressing AFA’s Air & Space Conference, Chilton said the Congress has ordered the existing Minuteman fleet to be updated so it can last until 2030. But that means the first ones would start to retire in 2025, a mere 15 years hence, and a new missile would optimistically take at least 10 years to develop and field. Then there would have to be preliminaries, like an Analysis of Alternatives, which usually takes a few years. Bottom line: “It’s time to start thinking about it and putting some options on the table.”