Two Utah aerospace firms are waiting to find out whether President Bush will shift $350 million in federal funds from the MX missile into the Midgetman program.
Morton Thiokol Inc. and Hercules Aerospace have stakes in both missile programs. Morton Thiokol makes the first-stage motors for the MX, based at Warren Air Force Base, Cheyenne, Wyo., and is developing the first-stage motors for the single-warhead Midgetman.Hercules also produces the third-stage motors for both the Midgetman intercontinental ballistic missile now under development and the third-stage motors for the MX.
Bush has the option, given last year by Congress, of reallocating $350 from the MX budget to the Midgetman missile development.
"Either way, we're all right," Jack DeMann, Hercules spokesman, said on Monday. "We think frankly there's room for both missiles in the program."
Controversy has ensued over the choice between the two missiles and which system should go forward.
Critics of the 10-warhead MX missile, the newest in the U.S. arsenal and considered highly accurate, claim the missile cannot disperse quickly enough and is more of a target than the Midgetman that can roam the countryside in truck-type vehicles.
"It's really too soon to say until he (Bush) actually makes a decision" how Morton Thiokol would be affected, said spokesman Rocky Raab.
"We're in a good position in a business sense if he chooses either because we're intimately involved in both programs. But it's impossible to say what it would mean to us in detail until a decision is made."