Why the U.S. Wants a New Bomber ?

Discussion in 'Military Aviation' started by A chauhan, May 8, 2012.

  1. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2009
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    May 06, 2012
    By David Axe,

    The U.S. Air Force has struggled for years to develop a new long-range bomber to complement its existing fleet of B-52, B-1 and B-2 bombers dating from the 1960s, ’80s and ’90s, respectively.

    The rise of China as a regional power compelled the Air Force, in 2006, to begin design work on a radar-evading “stealth” bomber capable of striking heavily-defended targets within the Chinese heartland from secure American bases in the Pacific. But the basic design of the so-called “Next-Generation Bomber” grew increasingly complex and potentially expensive – reportedly billions of dollars per copy. In 2009, then-U.S. Secretary Robert Gates cancelled the Next-Generation Bomber.

    But the Air Force revived its bomber effort under new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The new “Long-Range Strike Bomber” would be slightly less sophisticated and therefore cheaper than the Next-Generation Bomber: just $550 million per copy for up to 100 copies, with production beginning in the early 2020s. The U.S. Congress approved the first $300 million in development funding late last year. The Pentagon has vowed to cancel the Long-Range Strike Bomber if the total projected program cost exceeds $55 billion. Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman will compete for the contract, details of which are a closely guarded secret.

    One man has played a central role in building the case for the new bomber. David Deptula retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant general in 2010. In 36 years of service, he flew F-15 fighters, helped plan the air war over Afghanistan in 2001 – including long-range strikes by B-2 bombers – and later oversaw Pacific bomber operations. In a landmark 2004 exercise organized in part by Deptula, B-52s flying from the U.S. struck and sank a decommissioned U.S. Navy ship using “smart” guided weapons. In retirement, Deptula has continued advocating for bombers.

    The Diplomat asked Deptula about the need for the bomber, the risks to the program and the technologies that could be included.

    Why now? Why, during a period of defense cutbacks, is the Pentagon so determined to build a new bomber? What changed to make the bomber such a high priority?

    Broadly speaking, nothing has changed; the need for a new bomber is not “new.” The 2001 [Quadrennial Defense Review] noted the challenges to American power projection that included: the potential for a surprise attack that would prevent U.S. forces from deploying to trouble spots in a timely manner; the dearth of viable U.S. bases within range of likely trouble spots in Asia; and the emergence of “anti-access” capabilities that could deny the U.S. access to overseas bases, airfields and ports.

    Furthermore, some potential opponents have great strategic depth within which to hide mobile anti-access systems. To counter this, the 2001 QDR said we should develop and acquire “robust capabilities to conduct persistent surveillance, precision strike and maneuver at varying depths within denied areas” – what is this but a new stealth bomber?

    The 2006 QDR restated these challenges to power projection and specifically called for the U.S. to “develop a new land-based, penetrating long-range strike capability to be fielded by 2018 while modernizing the current bomber force.” The 2010 QDR called for an expansion of the nation’s long-range strike capabilities, to include options for “fielding survivable, long-range surveillance and strike aircraft as part of a comprehensive, phased plan to modernize the bomber force.”

    The January 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance was consistent with [Department of Defense] logic going back 12 years, during which two presidents and three [secretaries of defense] have deemed a new bomber necessary. The guidance again noted the challenges that time, distance and anti-access threats represent to American power projection – certainly, the strategic environment has not become more benign since 2001. The guidance renewed the call for the development of a stealth bomber in order to overcome these challenges.

    What changed in the guidance relative to the past QDRs is the acknowledgement that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down. The realization that we actually achieved our national security objectives in Afghanistan by the end of 2001 is being realized. This creates a strategic opportunity to rebalance our military posture toward the Asia-Pacific region.

    The economic and political importance of the Asia-Pacific region continues to increase. Obviously, in Asia distances are vast, secure U.S. bases are few and potential opponents have highly capable anti-access systems. Therefore, in order to have an effective military posture in this region, we need to rebalance our military portfolio as the guidance directs, towards long-range, survivable, highly responsive systems such as stealth bombers.

    Arguably, the ongoing fiscal crisis and defense cutbacks make a new bomber more vital, not less so. The old ways of doing business – slowly building up overwhelming numbers of ground forces – wouldn’t work even in an unconstrained budget environment, as they can’t support the Pentagon’s new operational concepts like the Joint Operational Access Concept and AirSea Battle. If we simply reduce what we have while maintaining the relatively even balance between the [military] services, our ability to project power would be even less viable.

    We can’t afford to sustain our power-projection capability in Asia using the “old” methods, so we must do so using new methods, such as the new stealth bomber.
    Full article :- Why the U.S. Wants a New Bomber | The Diplomat
  3. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Sep 28, 2011
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    North Carolina, USA
    The writer is ignorant of history. That landmark was reached 90 years ago.

    Billy Mitchell
  4. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

    Feb 21, 2012
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    Inside a Cage
    If They want to fight with Russian ....They must build a new Bomber..

    If they want to attack other countries like Iran and China...The B2 Spirit and B1 Lancer is enough...
  5. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

    May 5, 2011
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    Or if they want their defense industries to survive... they must build a new bomber.. :thumb:
    pack leader and Razor like this.

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