Submarines: May 11, 2000


Navy plans to convert the four Trident submarines it must discard under the START-II treaty to launch dozens of conventional cruise missiles may be doomed. The conversions had been highly popular because one of these submarines could take the place of six Los Angeles-class boats on the cruise missile bombardment mission. One problem is the cost of the conversions, which isn't in an increasingly tight budget. Another is that under the current START-II counting rules, the submarines would still count against the limit of 14 strategic missile submarines. Time to negotiate an exception for the submarines with the Russians is fast running out, and the Russians (enraged over the missile defense issue) are in no mood to be generous.--Stephen V Cole


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