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American ICBM Failure Just After Takeoff Highlights Broader Issues With Strategic Nuclear Capabilities

Abid123

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In the late hours of July 6 the LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program suffered a significant setback when its Mk 21A ICBM reentry vehicle being tested at Vandenberg Space Force base in California failed just seconds after launch. The LGM-35A program has faced widespread criticisms due to its cost, with proposals made to cancel it entirely and compensate with expansion of the intercontinental range bomber and ballistic missile submarine fleets. It is intended to replace the LGM-30 Minuteman III, which is the world’s oldest ICBM still in service and the only operational Western ground based ICBM. The program is expected to cost close to $270 billion, with such investments having been deferred for decades leading to the Minuteman’s life being extended for over half a century, although the missile’s age means that they will soon need to be retired either without replacement or with the LGM-35A seen through to completion. Where the Minuteman III entered service at a time when only the Soviet Union had an intercontinental range arsenal capable of striking major cities across the United States mainland, China and North Korea since gained such capabilities in the 1980s and 2010s respectively.

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Minuteman III ICBM


The LGM-35A is expected to be deployed from 2029, and has been underdevelopment jointly by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Centre and Lockheed Martin since 2019. Issues with the program and questions regarding its feasibility have come amid broader concerns with the capabilities of America’s strategic arsenal. While America’s B-2 bombers continue to suffer from low availability rates and are scheduled to be retired decades ahead of schedule, the B-21 intended to replace both them and the more troubled B-1Bs have seen their first flights repeatedly delayed, raising the possibility that the aircraft’s direct Chinese competitor the H-20 could fly before it. Strategic missile defences have also consistently suffered from underwhelming results in testing, while the new Next Generation Interceptor missile defence system is expected to replace the ageing Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) system by 2021 already showing signs of being unaffordable with a cost of $17.7 billion for just 31 surface to air missiles. This is thought to be insufficient to repel even a full sized North Korean strike let alone one by the Chinese ICBM arsenal. While the future of the LGM-35A, the B-21 and the Next Generation Interceptor all remain uncertain, issues with all three pertaining to cost, performance and schedule have left a considerable possibility that the United States could be left with an underwhelming strategic capability as those of its adversaries modernise quickly. The fact that China, Russia and North Korea have all fielded ballistic missiles with hypersonic glide vehicles, with Chinese strategic hypersonic weapons expected to give it a particularly distinct advantage while American tests continue to struggle, is a further indicator of trends in the field highly unfavourable to American power.

Source: https://militarywatchmagazine.com/article/american-icbm-strategic-capabilities-issues
 

BlessedKingOfLonging

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I'll give them the benefit of the doubt here - missile and SLV launches can indeed encounter unexpected failures if even an innocuous parameter has been miscalculated.

I'm quite happy it failed though and I hope all subsequent tests and launches turn out to be catastrophic failures as well, unlikely though it is.
 

Sam6536

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Um they'll get it right sooner or later
As an Indian I'm still not sure if I should be glad to see a more powerful and belligerent America or a powerful Russia
American war machine is deadly but Russia has a more closer relationship with us in relation to TOT, fewer post sale hassles and lower price.
the current status quo is the best case scenario for us but as it'll deteriotes/escalates so will the problems
 
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NotSure

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Just like most American weapons😁 Failure...
America's industrial capability has reached a new low.
The murican MIC is a huge corruption scheme. It's all about making money, that means suck out as much money from the tax payers as possible. This is one of the main reasons, why the murican def. budget is so big.

So regarding the weapon systems real worth, the budget is more around 1/3 or even 1/5. And you have the same problem in all other gov. fields in ALL western countries, with their huge, parasitic, bureaucratic apparatus.
 

PakFactor

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Let's not overreact failures do happen; however, the US comes back stronger learning from its mistakes some here are jumping fruitlessly just be worried if they have to test any weapon, you're not on the receiving end of it.
 

VCheng

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The american weapon project failed to control the ballooning development cost. Result haste testing and poor quality control.

Just like most American weapons😁 Failure...

America's industrial capability has reached a new low.

I'll give them the benefit of the doubt here - missile and SLV launches can indeed encounter unexpected failures if even an innocuous parameter has been miscalculated.

I'm quite happy it failed though and I hope all subsequent tests and launches turn out to be catastrophic failures as well, unlikely though it is.

Um they'll get it right sooner or later
As an Indian I'm still not sure if I should be glad to see a more powerful and belligerent America or a powerful Russia
American war machine is deadly but Russia has a more closer relationship with us in relation to TOT, fewer post sale hassles and lower price.
the current status quo is the best case scenario for us but as it'll deteriotes/escalates so will the problems

LOL. The system will be deployed in 2029, and there is lots of time to ensure it works properly by then. And it will. :D
 

MastanKhan

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Just like most American weapons😁 Failure...
Hi,

American weapons are the most reliable weapons in the world.

A failure is a step closer to success.

The murican MIC is a huge corruption scheme. It's all about making money, that means suck out as much money from the tax payers as possible. This is one of the main reasons, why the murican def. budget is so big.

So regarding the weapon systems real worth, the budget is more around 1/3 or even 1/5. And you have the same problem in all other gov. fields in ALL western countries, with their huge, parasitic, bureaucratic apparatus.

Hi,

Corruption is a given in defense industry.

In the US---it does not effect the scale of quality of the equipment in question.
 
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Abid123

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funny to see members from country known for producing third grade quality products of their own questioning american weapons quality...what an irony..
What are you trying to say? I have not seen any Indian members question the quality american weapons quality?😅 I know the Irony. A country producing junk like Arjunk and Samosa Tejas making fun of others.
 

Johny D

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What are you trying to say? I have not seen any Indian members question the quality american weapons quality?😅 I know the Irony. A country producing junk like Arjunk and Samosa Tejas making fun of others.
Samajne walo ko ishara kafi hota hai..😉
 

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