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.
More from CNAS
How Ukraine Can Help Itself
The challenge is not how to innovate but how to scale up production, given skilled labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, corruption, and Russian attacks....
By Franz-Stefan Gady
Evolution Not Revolution
This report concludes that drones have transformed the battlefield in the war in Ukraine, but in an evolutionary rather than revolutionary fashion. While tactical innovation a...
By Stacie Pettyjohn
Foreword By Richard Fontaine Rapid technological change touches virtually every aspect of life today. This includes defense and national security, and for good reason: To main...
By Douglas A. Beck
Is The U.S. Navy Ready For The Red Sea Threat?
In the Red Sea drone and missile attacks by the Houthi rebels are stemming the flow of commerce in a critical part of the world. The U.S. Navy has deployed numerous ships to h...
By Tom Shugart