The US Air Force is promoting the B-2 bomber variant to focus on the new generation B-21 Raider to maintain its superiority.
The US Air Force had originally planned to decommission its B-1 Lancer strategic bombers and especially its B-2 Spirit bombers, marking a new era for the force.
However, the progress of decommissioning the aforementioned bombers will depend on one factor – how quickly the US Air Force can put its newest B-21 Raider stealth bomber into service.
The information was announced by the director of the US Air Force’s bomber program, William Rogers, in an interview with Air and Space Forces Magazine.
Currently, US authorities are mainly focused on maintaining combat readiness, survivability, and operational reliability of B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers.
Both strategic bombers are currently facing a shortage of spare parts and the US Air Force is working to find “creative methods to solve some pressing problems”.
Especially the creation of the so-called “dual digital” for the B-1 bomber, which will greatly help its maintenance in the future. However, according to Mr. Roger, both the B-1 and B-2 are currently “doing well with availability” of 42% and 55% respectively.
In addition, new weapons are currently being tested for both bombers. As for the B-2, this is the AGM-158B JASSM-ER “stealth” missile, which will destroy targets at a distance of up to 1,000 km, as well as the B61-12 nuclear bomb.
The B-1 bomber will also have a new weapon, but which one is still unknown? It should be noted, however, that this bomber, like the B-52, was also planned to be armed with hypersonic missiles.
Regarding the “retirement” of the B-1 and B-2 squadrons, this information was first known in 2018, the US Air Force planned to retire them between 2031 – 2032, but since Therefore, this plan is not been publicly updated.
In addition, the following information is also known: In the long term, the US Air Force plans to put at least 100 of the newest B-21s into service.
At the same time, it is difficult to say how quickly the US defense industry will get the B-21 strategic bomber onto the assembly line. Currently, the press knows that 6 aircraft of this type have been produced.
But taking into account the fact that the first flight of the B-21 was delayed at least twice, first from 2021 to 2022, and then to 2023, it can be assumed that the arrival of the B- 21 in the US Air Force in sufficient numbers can continue to be delayed.
But anyway, the US planning to eliminate B-1 and B-2 bombers, while Russia is having to upgrade its decades-old Tu-160 and Tu-95 fleet, as well as struggling to build creating a PAK DA with features only on par with Spirit, showing that the US is far ahead of the world.
The opponent of the US-made B-21 Raider in the future, which is considered by international military experts, will be the Chinese Xian H-20, not the Russian-made PAK DA.