In a future combat zone dominated by advanced 3-D air search radars, directed-energy weapons, electromagnetic railguns, and hypersonic missiles, there is still room — indeed, a strong requirement — for the new B-21 heavy bomber. Analysis suggests that the United States needs a lot of them, far more than the 100 new bombers the Air Force currently desires.
To prosecute a major, sustained long-range strike campaign within an anti-access/area denial environment dominated by China’s HQ-9 or Russia’s S-400 missiles, the Air Force needs to add a minimum of 164 B-21 bombers to the nation’s older but nonetheless relevant B-52 Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit stealth bombers. This is because heavy bombers, whose form and function have been honed in hot and cold wars over a century, can perform missions and hit targets that no other platform can.
Read the full article in Defense One.