The U.S. Air Force has struggled for years to develop a new long-range bomber to complement its existing fleet of B-52, B-1 and B-2 bombers dating from the 1960s, ’80s and ’90s, respectively.
Archived posts with tag ‘bomber’
The U.S. Air Force is making progress on a new long-range bomber, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said at a trade conference in Florida last week. “There’s a competition,” Donley said, according to DoDBuzz.
The Air Force’s new stealth bomber might do more than just drop bombs, top generals said in recent days. The so-called “Long-Range Strike” plane — likely to be designated B-3 — could also carry bunker-busting, rocket-boosted munitions, high-powered lasers for self-defense and datalinks, and consoles for controlling radar-evading drones.
$3.7 billion. That’s how much the U.S. Air Force proposes to spend over the next five years developing a new, stealthy, long-range, manned bomber likely specifically intended to penetrate Chinese air defences. The plan, included in the Obama administration’s 2012 budget, could lead to the production of around 100 new bombers by the mid-2020s — and could significantly tip the Pacific balance of power.
Officially, the $3.7 billion is simply to draw up plans for a new, stealthy heavy bomber for the Air Force — a replacement for the Cold War era fleet of long range, strategic aircraft. “It is important that we begin this project now to ensure that a new bomber can be ready before the current aging fleet goes out of service,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said.
The U.S. Defense Department’s proposed 2012 budget represented a surprising bonanza for warplanes. Despite a flattening topline — $670 billion, compared to more than $700 billion for 2011 — design and production of military aircraft remains strong. In the coming year, the Pentagon wants to purchase, at a cost of $27 billion, around 530 manned and unmanned aircraft, while also accelerating design work on a new carrier-launched naval drone and a new manned stealth bomber for the Air Force.