US To Spend $58 Billion On Bombers In Next 10 Years: GAO Report

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  • 09:51 AM, August 4, 2015
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US To Spend $58 Billion On Bombers In Next 10 Years: GAO Report
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (USAF photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Horstman)

The US government expenditure on strategic bombers is expected to reach $58 billion in the next ten years.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released at the end of July projects the entire spending between development and manufacture of USAF’s new strategic bomber, Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) at $33.1 billion and modernizing two in-service platforms- B2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress for $24.4 billion.

The report also forecast $1.3 billion spend on new tail-kits for the B61-12 nuclear bomb, which was successfully flight tested in mid-July.

“The Air Force plans to maintain its long-range attack capabilities through a combination of sustainment and modernization of its bombers. The Air Force plans to acquire a new bomber in the mid-2020s, which it expects to perform conventional missions and nuclear deterrence. At the same time, it plans to modernize the B-2 and B-52 bombers to enable them to retain long-range strike capabilities through the 2030s,” the report said.

According to the report, the B-52 aircraft has an expected service life through at least 2040. The USAF plans to improve and modernize its avionics, communications and weapons upgrade. The US needs to create a new generation strategic bomber to increase the country's deterrence potential, former US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during his farewell tour had said in January this year.

A GAO 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.

The USAF 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.

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