The prototype of the Air Force's multi-billion-dollar laser anti-missile system failed its first test completely. -- News item.
President Reagan today announced a new defense budget and arms package twice as large as those he proposed upon taking office last January.
Speaking at an impromptu news conference called here at Sinkhole Sands Proving Grounds following a test of the Air Force's new $1.2 billion Whiffenpoof Anti-Missile system (WAM), the president called for a defense budget of $400 billion this year and doubled his estimates for new arms procurement to $3 trillion over the decade.
"Well, I kinda guess we have no choice, after what's happened," chuckled the president in the underground bunker where he and his top defense officials had gathered to watch the Whiffenpoof test. "This sorta sends us back to the old drawing boards. But with good old American know-how and ingenuity, faith in God and several trillion dollars, I just know we can do it."
Called the most ingenious of the Pentagon's new weapons systems, the Whiffenpoof was a gigantic, life-size replica of New Haven, Conn., which was to be lifted into the stratosphere with rocket motors to lure Russian ICBMs away from their intended targets and then destroy them with nuclear bombs hidden beneath full-size replicas of the tables down at Mory's.
"A replica of the city containing Yale University would just have to be a top priority target for the Rooskies, seeing as how William F. Buckley went there," said Private Lefever "Buck" Bindlestiff, who until his demotion from general had been director of the Whiffenpoof Project. "Too bad the water from our life-size replica of the Quinnipiac River had to leak into the rocket motors."
Newsmen assigned to cover the testing of the Whiffenpoof were allowed no closer than Ruby's Feed Store and Motel in Brothel, Nev., 400 miles from the test site, and so failed to see the tragic accident. But an eyewitness, former deputy press secretary Karna Small, later told reporters: "The engines went "whiffen, whiffen, whiffen,' just like they were supposed to. But it never got off the ground. So when it went 'poof,' just like it was supposed to, it wiped out everything in sight."
Small said the explosion destroyed the Air Force's adjacent $2.1 billion "On, Wisconsin" project, a life-size rocket-powered replica of Madison, Wis., and the $6.4 billion "Gregorian Chant," a life-size replica of the South Side neighborhood containing the University of Chicago.
Contacted on a Panamanian rum tanker as he fled the country, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger confirmed reports that the Whiffenpoof had been the last weapons system left to the United States at the conclusion of what "was not a good week" for the American military.
On Monday, the United States' only operational model of the ground-hugging $200 million B1 bomber got caught in heavy traffic on the Santa Monica Freeway during a test flight and was broadsided by a Greyhound Bus. A day later, a test model of the $500 million Steath bomber was shot down by an Albanian musketeer who said he could hear the plane's engines and see its vapor trail.
All nine of the new $1.5 billion Trident submarines launched this week sank upon hitting the water and both of the recommissioned World War II battleships, refurbished at a cost of $500 million each, ran aground in mud flats just like the USS Missouri did in 1950.
Seventeen of the aging Titan missiles launched themselves from their silos in Kansas, flying wildly off course because of rusting guidance systems and destroying the new $40 billion MX missile emplacements in the six states carried by Jimmy Carter in 1980. Finally, a wayward Cessna 150 made a crash landing through the bridge windows of the new carrier Popeye, causing the $3 billion ship to collide with the fleet of leased Panamania rum tankers carrying the Rapid Deployment Force to the Persian Gulf.
"So we sorta have to start all over again," said Rep. Jack Kemp, new White House economic czar. "But $3 trillion shouldn't be that hard to raise. We'll just cut taxes this time by 50 percent."