(From the National Interest)
By Dave Majumdar
The House Armed Services Committee is directing the U.S. Air Force to examine the possibility of expanding the Northrop Grumman B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber program. While the Air Force wants to buy between 80 and 100 B-21 stealth bombers, others including former service intelligence chief Lt. Gen. David Deptula—dean of the Mitchell Institute—have called for as many as 175 aircraft to be built.
“The committee directs the Secretary of the Air Force to submit a report to the congressional defense committees by February 1, 2017, that estimates the number of B-21 bomber aircraft needed to meet the combatant commander requirements,” reads the bill text.
The report will include:
– A detailed explanation of the strategy and associated force sizing and shaping constructs, associated scenarios and assumptions used to conduct the analysis.
– A range of numbers to meet requirements for B-21 bombers given best case and worst case assumptions and the associated risk based on Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff risk management classifications
– A detailed transition plan that integrates the B-21 into the current bomber fleet through 2040. Read more