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US nuclear missile program will be years behind schedule and over budget, Pentagon says

A Pentagon program to replace some of its aging intercontinental ballistic missiles will be years behind schedule and cost 81 percent more than budgeted, the U.S. Army said Monday (8).

The project, now called the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile program, is conceived and managed by Northrop Grumman and seeks to replace aging Minuteman III missiles.

The program is expected to cost $140.9 billion, 81% more than the September 2020 estimate.

“We are fully aware of the costs, but we are also aware of the risks of not modernizing our nuclear forces and not addressing the very real threats that we face,” U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante told reporters. LaPlante assured that the program would continue despite the cost overrun.

“There are reasons for the increased costs, but there are no excuses. We are already working to address the causes and, most importantly, we believe we are on the right track to defend our country,” he added.

Most of the cost increase is related to launch facilities, launch centers and other processes to convert the Minuteman III into the Sentinel. Reuters has previously reported that the cost of the “unmodified program” could be as much as $160 billion.

The new Sentinel cost estimate dwarfs the increase to “at least” $131 billion that the Air Force released in January.

Source: CNN Brasil

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