Future Ballistic Missile Requirements: A First Look
SPACE COMMAND PETERSON AFB CO
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The Minuteman III, the mainstay of the United States intercontinental ballistic missile ICBM force, was built with 1960s technology. Programs now underway should extend the systems life past 2020. What happens after that The Defense Planning Guidance directs the Air Force to pursue Minuteman III replacement concepts, and recent studies agree a land-based nuclear deterrent will be needed indefinitely. The future system NOW KNOWN AS Minuteman IV MM IV could use a mix of existing and new hardware, andor some combination of military and commercial components. The front end may resemble todays reentry system or it could carry a maneuvering reentry vehicle. Alternatively, the force structure of the future may employ a mix of ballistic and maneuvering front ends. Which options are pursued depends on factors including the threat, arms control agreements, and the ultimate service life of Minuteman III. Air Force Space Commands Directorate of Requirements initiated the Ballistic Missile Requirements BMR study in 1998 to document requirements for the 2020-2040 time frame and provide options. The definition of requirements and options is key to focusing our research efforts and our dollars to field the most cost-effective deterrent ICBM force for the future.
- Surface-Launched Guided Missiles
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics