Aviation Week looks at the wish list from the US Air Force in the new budget …
Of course Congress doesn’t always go along with whta the Air Force wants….
The U.S. Air Force plans to retire its fleet of Rockwell B-1B andB-2 stealth bombers in a “Bomber Vector” roadmap that will be laid out in the coming weeks.
As Northrop’s next-generation B-21 “Raider” comes online in the mid 2020s, the Air Force wants to phase out the nuclear-capable B-2 and conventional B-1, according to two sources with knowledge of the budget discussions.
In its budget blueprint for fiscal 2019, the Air Force also will invest heavily in multi-domain command and control, defense of space assets, and buy a number of OA-X light attack aircraft for low-end warfighting, the sources said. The President’s budget request for fiscal 2019 will be unveiled officially on Feb. 12.
In addition, the service will kill an effort to replace Northrop’s E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-Stars) surveillance and battle management fleet, and planned production rates of thewill remain steady.
All of these efforts are subject to approval by Congress, and lawmakers likely will fight hard to keep the J-Stars re-cap effort alive.
There is no immediate plan to retire the Vietnam-era B-52 Stratofortress, the backbone of the Air Force’s bomber fleet, the sources said. The Air Force has spent more than half a century installing various avionics and weapons systems upgrades on the B-52, which came online in 1960 and 1961, allowing the aircraft to remain a critical contributor to the modern battlefield.
Most recently, the B-52 squadron fighting Islamic State terrorists in the Middle East received a key upgrade of the aircraft’s internal weapons bay, adding a conventional rotary launcher (CRL) that allows the bomber to drop eight additional smart bombs. The Air Force already has put this capability to use in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon.
Lawmakers recently have moved to bolster support for re-engining the B-52,….
More on the B-21 Program….
image of the ole’ B-52…Boeing.Com