U.S. prepares plan to retire B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit strategic bombers
The United States has begun developing preliminary plans to decommission the Rockwell B-1 and Northrop Grumman B-2 sterile bombers.
Here's What We Know
William Rogers, executive director of the U.S. Air Force's bomber program, made the announcement. According to preliminary reports, the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit will remain in service for about 10 more years. At least in 2018, the service outlined a 2031-2032 retirement date for the planes.
In reality, the timeline could be pushed back. It depends on how quickly Northrop Grumman can meet the Air Force's need for next-generation B-21 Raider nuclear bombers. The aircraft will be shown in early December, but the first flight it will make only in 2023 after two postponements (from 2021 to 2022 and from 2022 to 2023).
The U.S. Air Force wants 100 B-21 Raider bombers. The service also plans to have a fleet of older B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers consisting of 75 aircraft in the long term.
Although the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit may be retired in 10 years, new weapons are being developed for them. The Lancer was designed as a nuclear bomber, but was modified at the end of the last century to use tactical weapons. It may soon get hypersonic missiles, but no details about it yet. But a nuclear bomb B61-12 is being developed for the Spirit. Also the plane will get a stealth missile AGM-158B JASSM-ER.
Source: Air Force Magazine