Apr 23, 2016
USAF basing revised bomber count on 'minimum' of 100 B-21s
The major command’s chief Gen Robin Rand said at the Air Warfare Symposium in February that America’s needs somewhere between “175 and 200” combined strategic and conventional bombers.
The command counts 159 bombers in its inventory today including the B-1B, B-52H and B-2A.
“AFGSC continues to analyse the required future bomber force structure which includes successfully fielding a minimum of 100 B-21s,” an AFGSC spokeswoman says in an email. “AFGSC is very focused on ensuring we are ready with properly trained operators and maintainers for the B-21. The minimum of 100 B-21s that we intend to field will fly with a mix of legacy bombers and the total number of bombers required is still being evaluated.”
The air force has moved forward with its $80 billion bomber acquisition after teammates Boeing and Lockheed Martin unsuccessfully challenged the selection of Northrop.
The secretive B-21 aircraft, powered by an undisclosed Pratt & Whitney engine, will enter service sometime in the mid-2020s. It will replace the B-1 and B-52, and eventually the Northrop B-2.