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Airborne's Annual April 1st Episode

Thu, Feb 04, 2010

Gates: No New Bomber This Decade

A New Air Force Bomber May Be Operational In The 2020's

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (below) says the earliest a new bomber may be operational is late in the 2020's ... more than a decade later than originally planned.

And when it is developed, it's still up in the air as to whether it will be a manned aircraft or a UAS.

Reuters reports that, in the meantime, Gates said the focus will be on refurbishing and upgrading its existing fleet of B-52's and B-2's. "We're talking about a bomber that would probably not appear into the force until the late '20s," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We're just trying to figure out, looking ahead a generation, what the right form -- what the right configuration for that would be."

The Pentagon's FY2011 budget calls for $200 million to be spent for initial work on the continued development of technologies that could be used in a new bomber. That number jumps to $1.7 billion in the out years.

Overall, Gates told the committee that he expects the Pentagon to spend "some $4 billion over the next 5 fiscal years" on long-range strike programs. That would include both the modernization of existing aircraft, as well as development of a new conventional bomber.

FMI: http://armed-services.senate.gov, www.dod.mil

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