Development of the Air Force’s super-secret B-21 bomber appears to be making steady progress, which is a good thing because none of the bombers in the current fleet will be able to address all of the necessary targets in the future. We need the B-21 to assure that even the most distant, heavily defended and mobile targets can be destroyed if deterrence is to be maintained against near-peer adversaries. Assuming the development program stays on track, the greatest danger to B-21 (as known as Raider) is that a cut in defense spending might force it to compete against other priorities. For example, the Air Force might need to trade off new B-21s against reengining old B-52 bombers. In that scenario, B-21 should be the higher priority because B-21 can do everything a B-52 can, but B-52 can’t do many of the missions that B-21 will be assigned. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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