"We believe strategic stability would be decreased if we did not have a LRSO [Long-Range Stand Off cruise missile] to replace the ALCM," Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities Robert Scher told the US House of Representatives Strategic Forces Subcommittee on Thursday.
US Strategic Command chief Adm. Cecil Haney stated during the hearing that improvements in air defense in other major nations around the world had made the current US ALCMs, all of which are subsonic, increasingly vulnerable.
"The improvements in the anti-access and aerial denial that the enemy now possesses make a long-range standoff capability [essential]… The current ALCM has aged out. It is increasingly difficult to keep it reliable… Darn near impossible to keep it survivable in the future," Naney noted.
The LRSO would replace the ALCM, which is slated to be phased out, beginning in 2030. US The Air Force plans to acquire 1,100 new LRSO missiles over the next few years.