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US prepares most advanced conventional weapon: Report

The US is devising an advanced conventional weapon of new strength called 'Prompt Global Strike' which can reduce dependence on atomic weapons, as it aims to accomplish great tasks without crossing nuke threshold, a media report said.

world Updated: Apr 25, 2010 16:23 IST

The US is devising an advanced conventional weapon of new strength called 'Prompt Global Strike' which can reduce dependence on atomic weapons, as it aims to accomplish great tasks without crossing nuke threshold, a media report said.

President Barack Obama, in the coming years, will have to decide whether to deploy such weapons cutting the US reliance on nuclear weapons, the New York Times said in its report.

Concerns about the technology are so strong that the Obama administration has agreed to Russia's demand that the US decommission one nuclear missile for every one of these conventional weapons fielded by the Pentagon.

The Times describes that weapons as "designed to carry out tasks like picking off Osama bin Laden in a cave, if the right one could be found; taking out a North Korean missile while it is being rolled to the launch pad; or destroying an Iranian nuclear site — all without crossing the nuclear threshold."

"In theory, the weapon will hurl a conventional warhead of enormous weight at high speed and with pinpoint accuracy, generating the localised destructive power of a nuclear warhead," it wrote.

In a previous interview with the daily, Obama alluded to the concept, saying it was part of an effort "to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons" while insuring that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances.

The Obama national security team scrapped the idea of putting the new conventional weapon on submarines, the Times said.

"Instead, the White House has asked Congress for about USD 250 million next year to explore a new alternative, one that uses some of the most advanced technology in the military today as well as some not yet even invented."

Under the Obama plan, the Prompt Global Strike warhead would be mounted on a long-range missile to start its journey toward a target.

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, according to the report.