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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Obama Wants to Stop Tomahawk Missiles in 2016. But the Navy Is Firing Them at ISIS.

Obama Wants to Stop Tomahawk Missiles in 2016. But the Navy Is Firing Them at ISIS.

By Melissa Quinnon Sat, 27 Sep 2014

President Obama ordered the launch of 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles last Monday night from the USS Philippine Sea and USS Arleigh Burke, all aimed at targets in Syria as part of what he calls a military campaign to “degrade and destroy” the terrorist group ISIS.

However, the future of the Tomahawk program is threatened because of Defense Department budget cuts. The cruise missiles may not be produced at all for the Navy by 2016 – when America still could be fighting ISIS, brutal jihadists also called the Islamic State or ISIL.

“As we saw in this week’s airstrikes against ISIL, Tomahawk missiles are among the most valuable and precise tools in our military arsenal,” House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon told The Daily Signal, adding:

They provide unmanned, all-weather, deep-strike attack capability against both fixed and mobile targets, which makes them particularly useful against terrorist groups … that transcend nations and borders.

At 20 feet long and 2,900 pounds, Tomahawk missiles can be launched from both surface ships and submarines,  the Navy says, and travel at 550 miles per hour. The weapon, which has wings that fold out, is powered by a jet engine.

Historically, the Pentagon has purchased roughly 200 Tomahawks a year from manufacturer Raytheon, at about $1.4 million per missile. But Obama slashed that number to 100 for all of 2015 – just double what the Navy fired into Syria in one day.

The Navy has 4,000 Tomahawks stockpiled. That supply would last roughly 80 days if 50 Tomahawk missiles were fired daily, as they were Monday. Pentagon officials have warned that waging war with ISIS could last years.

“This sure ups the cost of the action,” @SBucci says.

Steven Bucci, a former top Pentagon official who oversees defense and foreign policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal:

It is interesting that after making the decision to close down the Tomahawk production line as a part of cutting defense spending, the Obama administration relies on them to kick off their Syria strikes. This sure ups the cost of the action, as the missiles will really have no replacement.

As part of plans to pare Pentagon spending, Obama proposed $118 million in cuts to the Tomahawk program in 2015.  Procurement of the missiles is to be eliminated by the following year, budget documents from the Navy show — five years earlier than the president proposed in his 2014 budget.

>>> Raw Footage of First U.S. Strikes Against ISIS in Syria

“We had been sustaining a 200 Tomahawk-per-year rate,” Navy acquisition executive Sean Stackley told DoD Buzz in March. “In 2015, we’ll drop down to 100. In 2016, we will revisit the question of whether the time is right to stop production of Tomahawks.”

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