GAO: US Intercontinental missile at risk for year's delay
The Sentinel ICBM is an important component of the United States' effort to modernize its air, land, and sea "nuclear triad", but is running into possible delays.
According to the US Government Accountability Office, the Pentagon faces a year-long delay in deploying the new $96 billion intercontinental ballistic missile that is vital to modernizing the US nuclear arsenal, Bloomberg reported.
The Sentinel ICBM is an important component of the United States' effort to modernize its air, land, and sea "nuclear triad" in the face of China's fast-developing arsenal, Russia's withdrawal from the New Start nuclear accord, and North Korea's nuclear development.
The GOA detailed that the development phase has been extended to 118 months from 106. Reasons for the delay include "staffing shortfalls, delays with clearance processing, and classified information technology infrastructure challenges.”
The Bloomberg report also mentions supply-chain disruptions, adding that Northrop Grumman “is working on multiple supply chain mitigations to address the issue.”
In an earlier statement, the contractor stated that it had partnered with the Air Force to make sure the national security program met timelines and addressed the effects of supply chain disruption along with other macroeconomic factors.
In addition, the GOA found that the planes that will serve as Air Force One when the president is on board have developed a few "Stress-corrosion cracks.
“About half of the cracks have already been repaired as of December 2022, and the remaining cracks will be repaired by summer,” according to the GOA.
A study panel determined that the cracks do not constitute a safety risk if they are inspected during routine maintenance. Additionally, Boeing will not deliver the first of the new Air Force One planes until September 2027, a delay from September 2024 in the $5.1 billion replacement program.
Boeing also reportedly had delays in delivering the new F-15EX fighter due to "supplier quality problems" relating to a crucial component in the forward fuselage assembly that ensures flight safety. The $9.1 billion program's issue has been resolved.
More on the GAO's finding, the Navy now anticipates that each new Block V submarine will take "over two years longer than reported last year," as performance on Virginia-class submarine building "continues to degrade." General Dynamics Corp. and HII are in charge of the $37 billion procurement program. .“The delays are due to problems meeting original staffing and work efficiency estimates,” program officials said, adding that they "are developing a new, more realistic schedule."
The total cost of the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier program has increased from $45.7 billion to $49.2 billion.
The Navy is expecting three $9.6 billion DDG-1000 Zumwalt stealth destroyers, the first scheduled to be ready by April, three years after it was first delivered and more than six years later than intended. The remaining two ships "continue to face delivery delays."