..retired Lt. Gen. Michael R. Moeller this week called for the service to buy between 150 and 200 aircraft as part of the Long Range Strike Bomber, or LRSB, program — up from the 80 to 100 aircraft the Air Force plans to purchase as part of the acquisition effort awarded last month to Northrop Grumman Corp.Here.
“In the long term, to maintain the bomber force’s viability, the Defense Department should consider funding additional advanced bombers beyond those 100 aircraft before the last B-1s and B-52s retire in 2045,” he concludes in a paper released on Wednesday and titled, “U.S. Bomber Force: Sized to Sustain an Asymmetric Advantage for America.”
Moeller wrote the paper as a non-resident fellow of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, which is affiliated with the Air Force Association, an advocacy group based in Arlington, Virginia.
Of course, doubling the fleet of long-range precision-strike bombers may also significantly increase the program’s estimated cost.
THIS IS TOO DELICIOUS! Now we have the bomber and fighter factions inside the USAF competing for those few precious dollars. Even better? Make no mistake about it....this is a shot across the bow of the F-35! Why do I say that? Easy. While the public is focused on ISIS, the services are trying to modernize for a probable war with China.
In my opinion you can take the talk about Russia being the number one threat and put it in your back pocket. Air-Sea Battle (or whatever they're calling it now....they really need to get over all the rebranding nonsense) is designed to fight one enemy...China.
And in the Pacific the USAF is hobbled by distance. Long range aircraft will be at a premium and provide the USAF the best chance of contributing to the air part of the battle plan.
Oh and a juicy side benefit of buying more LRSBs? You might be able to offset a SMALL portion of the cost by reducing the number of new tankers you have to buy (on this I could easily be wrong...I would imagine the same death spiral scenario that the F-35 is caught in would apply but I don't know enough about procurement and the Tanker contract to be sure).
Regardless. The budget war is here.