16:45 GMT +315 December 2018
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    In this photo taken June 25, 2014, an inert Minuteman 3 missile is seen in a training launch tube at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

    US Minuteman Missile 'Obsolete,' Must Be Replaced by 2030 - Top Commander

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    The United States needs to fully fund the replacement of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), or risk losing its ground based deterrent capabilities, commander of the US Air Force Global Strike Command, General Robin Rand, said in a congressional testimony on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — "The Minuteman III with each year becomes more and more obsolete, and I am concerned that if we don’t replace it, the enemy gets a vote and we will not be able to provide the capabilities that are needed," Rand told the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

    Rand warned against expensive life-extension programs to prolong the Minuteman III’s service time, stating "we need to continue to fund for the GDSB [ground-based strategic deterrent] and have it meet a fully operational capability no later than 2030."

    The United States is on a path to modernize its ground, sea and air-based nuclear deterrent in the coming three decades, a venture estimated to cost $1 trillion. Some critics have promoted postponing and even phasing out the ICBM leg of the nuclear triad due to its high cost.

    The Minuteman III is currently the only ICBM in service in the United States, with approximately 450 missiles in silos across the country in the states of Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Wyoming.

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    Tags:
    missile, Minuteman III, House Armed Services Committee, US House of Representatives, Robin Rand, United States
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