US needs to create a new generation strategic bomber to increase the country's deterrence potential, The US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Today.
A Congressional Research Service report last July had hinted plans for the new bomber and had said, that the plane could eventually be “optionally manned” and could be flown as a pilotless aircraft for some missions.
Chuck Hagel is on his farewell tour of US bases flew to Whiteman Air Force Base where 20 B-2 bombers are deployed. The B-2 bomber is considered the only long-range nuclear-capable bomber using stealth technology.
The US Air Force long-range bomber fleet also includes B-52 and B-1 bombers. Pentagon officials want to start replacing the existing models with a new long-range stealth plane by the mid 2020's. The B-2 bomber will be deployed by the mid-2040's.
Companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are currently working to develop the new bomber.