Prompt Global Strike Missile Could Replace Nukes in the Future
April 23, 2010
(ChattahBox)—It looks like a nuke, acts like a nuke, but it isn’t. The new advanced missile system, called Prompt Global Strike deploys a conventional warhead at speeds faster than several times the speed of sound. Having pin-point accuracy with the capability of reaching a target anywhere around the globe in less than an hour, the Prompt Global Strike missile would become an important part of President Obama’s plan, called “Global Zero,” to reduce our dependence on nuclear weapons. But there still are some kinks to iron out with the technology. An early test version of the missile would not be ready, until 2014 or 2015. And there is the very real danger that other countries may mistake the Prompt Global Strike missile for a nuclear warhead and respond accordingly.
Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev, is especially concerned that an attack by the Prompt Global Strike missile could trigger a nuclear counter-attack. In response to his concerns, President Obama agreed in the New Start treaty to remove a nuclear weapon from its arsenal for each future Prompt Global Strike missile produced by the United States.
According to the NY Times, the high-tech missile is so precise, it could be programmed to take out Osama bin Laden in a cave across the world:
“Called Prompt Global Strike, the new weapon is designed to carry out tasks like picking off Osama bin Laden in a cave, if the right one could be found; taking out a North Korean missile while it is being rolled to the launch pad; or destroying an Iranian nuclear site — all without crossing the nuclear threshold. In theory, the weapon will hurl a conventional warhead of enormous weight at high speed and with pinpoint accuracy, generating the localized destructive power of a nuclear warhead.”
Although the new missile was considered by the Bush administration, it abandoned its plans when Russia voiced concerns about mistaking it for a nuclear warhead.
But President Obama is determined to replace the bulk of our nukes with more precise and targeted conventional weapons. And he has embraced the new technology, which can be programmed to strike enemy targets without the damage caused by a nuclear bomb:
“But since the vehicle would remain within the atmosphere rather than going into space, it would be far more maneuverable than a ballistic missile, capable of avoiding the airspace of neutral countries, for example, or steering clear of hostile territory. Its designers note that it could fly straight up the middle of the Persian Gulf before making a sharp turn toward a target.”
Gen. Kevin P. Chilton of the Air Force is in charged of developing the Prompt Global Strike, to augment our national security with alternatives to nuclear weapons. And he points out that current conventional weapons take from several hours up to 96-hours to reach a target. If a national security threat requires a faster response, the only option at present is a nuclear warhead.
And with threats around the world happening in a flash, it’s that rapid-ready reponse that would be valuable to our national security. As noted by Popular Mechanics, breaking the speed barrier is the next frontier for defense, and not the devastation of a nuclear bomb.
“The military is convinced that in the coming years it will need to act with this kind of speed against threats — terrorist leaders, smuggled nuclear or chemical arms — that emerge and disappear in a flash. There may be only hours, or minutes, to respond. “We know how to strike precisely. We know how to strike at long distances,” says deputy commander Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler, whose office is in charge of the Defense Department’s Global Strike mission. “What’s different now is this sense of time.”‘
The Prompt Global Strike missile, once developed, could be the solution to a nuclear free planet.
Photo Credit: Popular Mechanics/Render Room