Hoeven Meets with 5th Bomb Wing Commander, Outlines Efforts to Advance Modernization of Nuclear Forces

Senator Worked to Secure Upgrades for B-52 Engines, Missile Replacements in Fy2020 Funding Bill

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week met with Colonel Bradley Cochran, commander of the 5th Bomb Wing at the Minot Air Force Base. Hoeven and Cochran discussed ongoing efforts to upgrade the nation’s nuclear forces, ensuring the airmen in Minot and elsewhere can safely and successfully conduct their missions and providing a credible deterrent for years to come. To this end, Hoeven worked as a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee to secure the following priorities in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 funding legislation:

  • $330 million for upgrades to the B-52, including the development of new engines
  • $712.5 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52. 
  • $660 million for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the Minuteman III, which is $65 million above the administration’s request to ensure the effort stays ahead of schedule.
  • Nearly $171 million to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.

“Col. Cochran and the 5th Bomb Wing carry out operations that are essential to our national defense, helping to deter aggression from our adversaries and rogue regimes around the world,” said Hoeven. “This funding for B-52 upgrades and new engines will help keep it in service until 2050. That means three more decades of the aircraft safely carrying our airmen as they protect our nation.”

The legislation was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate.