US Air Force’s New Stealth Bomber to Replace B-1Bs and B-2s

Di Vincenzo Santo*

(Da The Diplomat – 14 febbraio 2018)

Washington. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is preparing to retire its B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit fleets in order to free funds for the service’s new long-range stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, the service said in a February 12 statement. The USAF’s Fiscal Year 2019 President’s Budget Request details plans to modify and, once sufficient B-21 Raiders are operational, retire the service’s B-1Bs and B-2s as well as update its B-52 Stratofortress fleet. […] The USAF plans for an initial operating capability of the B-21 in 2025. The new aircraft, currently being developed by U.S. defense contractor Northrup Grumman, will purportedly feature stealth capability, carry both conventional and nuclear payloads, and be optionally manned.

The service is expected to procure 80-100 new bombers. […] “The decision to maintain the B-52 is based on numerous factors including maintenance and sustainment metrics, such as aircraft availability, mission capability, supply, maintenance hours per flying hour and total cost perspectives,” the statement reads. According to Robin Rand, the USAF’s Global Strike Command commander: “With an adequate sustainment and modernization focus, including new engines, the B-52 has a projected service life through 2050, remaining a key part of the bomber enterprise well into the future.” In January, the USAF has redeployed B-52s to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam in the Western Pacific in support of United States Pacific Command’s (USPACOM) continuous bomber presence mission in the Asia-Pacific region replacing B-1B Lancers. Overall, the USAF currently operates a fleet of 157 bombers, a 46 percent decrease from 1991 when the service had 290 bombers.

B-2 Spirit

Generale CA ris