krou (1027572) writes "Buried within the New Start treaty which saw the decommissioning of nuclear warheads was an interesting provision as a result of Russian demands: 'the United States' must 'decommission one nuclear missile for every one' of a new type of weapon called Prompt Global Strike 'fielded by the Pentagon'. The warhead, which is 'mounted on a long-range missile to start its journey', would be 'capable of reaching any corner of the earth from the United States in under an hour'. 'It would travel through the atmosphere at several times the speed of sound, generating so much heat that it would have to be shielded with special materials to avoid melting. ... But since the vehicle would remain within the atmosphere rather than going into space, it would be far more manoeuvrable than a ballistic missile, capable of avoiding the airspace of neutral countries, for example, or steering clear of hostile territory. Its designers note that it could fly straight up the middle of the Persian Gulf before making a sharp turn toward a target.' The new weapon is in line with Obama's plans 'to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons', and rather focus on conventional ones. The idea is not new, having been first floated under the Bush administration, but was abandoned, mainly because 'Russian leaders complained that the technology could increase the risk of a nuclear war, because Russia would not know if the missiles carried nuclear warheads or conventional ones'."
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