The Air Force’s fleet of heavy bombers provides a unique capability to quickly visit tailored effects on distant targets that no other country can match. However, the nation hasn’t developed a new bomber since the 1980s, and the current fleet is beginning to exhibit fundamental deficiencies. First of all, there are only 160 heavy bombers in the fleet, and barely a hundred are available for combat on any given day. Second, the bombers are old, averaging 33 years of age, and increasingly obsolete. Third, they are vulnerable to interception by increasingly capable foreign air defenses. Fourth, the bases that they rely on at home and abroad are subject to preemption, meaning surprise attack. And finally, there is no new bomber waiting in the wings because development of long-range strike aircraft ceased after the Soviet Union collapsed — which is why the Air Force needs to move out expeditiously in funding its new Long Range Strike Bomber. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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