Jul 11, 2014
USAF May Have Already Developed Its New Long-Range Bomber
The CRS report, obtained and posted online by Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, said the projected Air Force budget for the Long Range Strike Bomber jumps more than tenfold, from $258.7 million in 2013 to $3.5 billion in 2019, indicating the program may already be headed for production.
The CRS report also indicated the new bomber may not even be a single aircraft, but is perhaps several aircraft working together.
The current U.S. bomber fleet consists of 76 B-52 aircraft with an average age of 50 years, 63 30-year old B-1 bombers and 20 25-year-old B-2s. The B-52s and B-1s are currently projected to remain in service through 2040, which would be consistent with a mid-2020s introduction of the first LRS-Bs.
The Air Force plans to buy between 80 and 100 new bombers at a projected cost of $550 million each, or just over one quarter of the cost of the B-2.