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    US Air Force Seeks New ICBM Launch System for Airborne Command Center

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US Air Force has earmarked $81 million to design and prototype a system to launch intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles from an airborne command center that would presumably survive an enemy nuclear attack, the defense and aerospace contractor Lockheed Martin announced in a press release.

    "The US Air Force recently awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) an $81 million Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract to provide a design and functional prototype to replace the aging Airborne Launch Control System aboard the E-6B Mercury Airborne Command Post," the release said on Wednesday.

    The $81 million effort is a key part of US nuclear modernization efforts, and will link to a future Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent missile system, which is planned to begin replacing Minuteman III missiles in the late 2020s, the release said.

    "The Airborne Launch Control System-Replacement (ALCS-R) program will provide a survivable alternate launch capability for the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)," it said. "Slated for fielding by 2024, ALCS-R will continue the ALCS's 50 year legacy of providing assured nuclear deterrence."

    The ALCS plans include upgraded radios, launch control systems and secure cryptographic devices that can be upgraded through 2075, the release said.

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    Tags:
    upgrade, design, contract, equipment, ICBM, US Airborne Command Center, Airborne Launch Control System-Replacement (ALCS-R), Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR), US Air Force, United States
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