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NEWS RELEASE: USAF awards contracts for new nuclear missile to Lockheed, Raytheon

  • Published
  • By Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center Public Affairs
  • Public Affairs
The Air Force is on track to replace the aging AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise
Missile with modernized weapon capabilities designed for its nuclear bomber
fleet, to include the B-21.

Today, the Air Force awarded contracts to Lockheed Martin Corporation and
Raytheon Company to mature design concepts and prove developmental
technologies for the new Long Range Standoff weapon.

"This weapon will modernize the air-based leg of the nuclear triad," said
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. "Deterrence works if our
adversaries know that we can hold at risk things they value. This weapon
will enhance our ability to do so, and we must modernize it

Each company was awarded a contract of approximately $900 million, with an
approximate 54-month period of performance. Upon successful completion of
the contracts, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will choose a single
contractor for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development and Production
and Deployment phases of the program.

The current Air Launched Cruise Missile was first fielded in the early 1980s
with a 10-year design life, and Lockheed and Raytheon are charged with
developing the technologies and demonstrating reliability and
maintainability of a replacement weapon. The aging ALCM will continue to
face increasingly significant operational challenges against emerging
threats and reliability challenges until replaced. The Air Force plans to
start fielding LRSO in the late 2020s.

"Secretary Wilson and I are responsible for organizing, training, equipping,
and presenting ready nuclear forces to the Strategic Command commander,"
said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. "The Long Range
Standoff is a critical capability required to support Gen. John Hyten's war

"The LRSO will be a reliable, long-ranging and survivable weapon system and
an absolutely essential element of the nuclear triad," Gen. Robin Rand,
commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, told the House Armed Services
Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee in May. "The LRSO missile will
ensure the bomber force continues to hold high-value targets at risk in an
evolving threat environment, including targets deep within an area-denied

"These contract awards mark another important step in replacing our aging
Air Launched Cruise Missiles," said Maj. Gen. Scott Jansson, commander of
the AFNWC and Air Force program executive officer for strategic systems.
"Continued competition will help ensure the bomber leg of the nuclear triad
is cost-effectively modernized with a survivable, reliable, and credible
standoff capability."

The LRSO program office, located at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is part
of the AFNWC Air Delivered Capabilities directorate. Headquartered at
Kirtland AFB, AFNWC is responsible for synchronizing all aspects of nuclear
materiel management on behalf of Air Force Materiel Command, in direct
support of Air Force Global Strike Command. The center has more than 1,100
personnel assigned to 17 locations worldwide, including at Hanscom AFB,
Massachusetts; Hill AFB, Utah; Eglin AFB, Florida; Tinker AFB, Oklahoma; and
at Ramstein AB, Germany.