The United States is starting the production of new air-launched cruise missiles designed to be equipped with nuclear warheads, follows from the US Air Force’s $ 2 billion contract with Raytheon.
As part of the agreement, the company, in particular, must produce a cruise missile under the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) weapons system and carry out flight tests.
The LRSO air-launched cruise missile, designed to be equipped with a nuclear warhead, will have a range of about 2,500 km. It is planned that it will be adopted by the US Air Force until 2030 and will replace the previous system – ALCM. B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers, as well as B-21 Raider strategic bombers, will carry these missiles.
According to the Pentagon, the LRSO program is aimed at developing weapons that, while performing strategic tasks, will be able to guaranteed to break through the echeloned air defense system of a potential enemy.
The LRSO is the replacement for the aging AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile. The ALCM was fielded in the early 1980s with a 10-year design life. The Air Force plans to start fielding LRSO in the late 2020s.
The LRSO program office is part of Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center’s (AFNWC) Air Delivered Capabilities Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The center is responsible for synchronizing all aspects of nuclear material management on behalf of Air Force Materiel Command in direct support of Air Force Global Strike Command.