New U.S. Cruise Missile Risks Dangerous Arms Race
By Michael Peck
April 22, 2013
The Pentagon wants a cheap cruise missile that can strike anywhere in the world without risking American soldiers or aircraft.
It’s a great idea. As long as it doesn’t inadvertently start a destabilizing arms race.
The Pentagon’s proposal calls for a stand-off weapon that can launch from outside the range of enemy defenses.
It should be a “low-cost conventional weapon concept or concepts that costs less than $2 million per round, can support other reconnaissance and attack missions, and strike important weapons, sensors, facilities and infrastructure targets at ranges up to … 3,000 nautical miles.”
Note that use of the word “round,” as in bullet. These weapons are being conceived as a form of ammunition. While $2 million hardly seems “low-cost,” even an AMRAAM air-to-air missile costs more than a million dollars. Spending $2 million to blast a North Korean tunnel complex with a missile launched from, say, Guam is a bargain.
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