Monday, 17 September 2012

US set to modernise 5113 nukes

HE US government is planning to undertake the costliest modernisation ever of its nuclear arsenal, even though the military as a whole is facing stiff spending cuts.
There was no official price estimate for the effort to upgrade and maintain the 5113 warheads in the inventory, replace old delivery systems and renovate the nuclear facilities, the Washington Post reported yesterday.
A study during the northern summer by the Stimson Centre, a Washington think tank, estimated costs would be at least $US352 billion ($333bn) over the coming decade.
Others said the figure could be far higher, particularly if the work was delayed even longer.
Upgrading just one of the seven types of weapons in the stockpile, the B61 bomb, was likely to cost $US10bn over five years, the Post reported.
It would cost up to $US110bn to build 12 replacements for the ageing Ohio-class submarines, the paper said, citing estimates by the US Congressional Budget Office.

According to the report, the Minuteman III ballistic missiles are undergoing a $US7bn upgrade. At the same time, a nuclear-capable fleet of F-35 strike aircraft is being built to replace existing aircraft at a cost of $US162m a plane.
Modernising the buildings and laboratories where the refurbishments would take place was expected to cost at least $US88bn over 10 years, the paper said.

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