The Arms Race Renewed

The B1 bomber was developed in the 1970's to replace the aging B-52 that had been developed in the post-World War II jet age. During the Carter years the program was halted, but Reagan restored funding for the B1 program. From 1985 to 1989, the B1 fleet grew to 94 bombers, each with the capablility of delivering nuclear warheads anywhere in Russia. The B2 bomber first flew in 1989 using radar-evading "stealth" technology and became operational in 1993 when the "Spirit of Missouri" was delivered to Whiteman AFB, home of the historic 509th Bomb Wing, Reagan would also restore funding for the Trident missile submarine, the MX "Peacekeeper"missile, and the Tomahawk cruise missile. His Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars" program, was announced in a speech March 23, 1983, and would escalate the arms race by funding a new generation of space-based weapons and anti-missile technologies.

The Pershing II intermediate-range missile, picture from Team Redstone, the U.S. Army missile Command

The Stinger shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile first deployed in the Grenada invasion Oct. 1983, picture from Team Redstone, the U.S. Army missile Command

The USS Ohio in 1981 was the first Trident I sub, picture from Bangor Trident I Submarine Base

The USS Tennessee in 1989 was the first Trident II sub, picture from King's Bay Trident II Submarine Base

The GLCM nuclear cruise missile was deployed in England in 1983 and was eliminated by the INF Treaty, picture of one of only 8 display missiles allowed by the Treaty from the USAF Museum

The picture at top is a B1b being refuled in midair in 1994, photo taken by Gabriel Robins.

revised 5/10/02 | Cold War policies