10-29-2010 – The aircraft that replaces today’s bombers will be less expensive, more versatile and rely on a network of support that the stand-alone B-2s, B-52s and B-1s can get along without, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for operations and requirements said.
Credit Photo: Air Force News, 10/11/10
Air Force officials are steering the decade-long debate over the next-generation bomber away from the idea of upgrading the B-2 Spirit and more toward a network of aircraft working together to provide bombing, reconnaissance and electronic warfare.
“The next-generation bomber is a term that is dead in the Department of Defense and dead in the Air Force,” Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove said at a June 24 briefing.
A long-range strike “family” would draw upon the stealthiness of the F-22 or the F-35 tactical fighters to help destroy a target. It also could use Air Force and Navy intercontinental ballistic missiles — such as the Minuteman and Trident — or equipped conventional warheads and long-range missiles launched from airplanes, Breedlove said.
The long-range strike aircraft must also be ready to fly conventional attack missions like those flown by the B-1B Lancer and B-52H Stratofortress over Iraq and Afghanistan.