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US develops ‘one-hour’ missiles

While President Barack Obama speaks overseas of his vision of a world without nuclear weapons, his military commanders at home are accelerating a programme to develop a new class of conventional intercontinental ballistic missiles which have the capacity to strike targets anywhere in the world within an hour.

While the effort to develop the new missile capability, called Prompt Global Strike, began in the 1990s and continued through the Bush years, President Obama has expanded its budget with hopes it can be added to the US military's array of options by the middle of this decade. First prototype tests will be carried out by the Air Force next month.

American commanders envisage a missile that will travel at hypersonic speeds, in part outside of the Earth's atmosphere, with the ability to strike a target anywhere around the globe within one hour.

Even as Moscow agreed to the arms control treaty yesterday, it was becoming increasingly concerned in relation to the dangers of the new global missiles.

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