New American Heavy Bomber (1/29/04 entry)
Break out the champagne! The Strategy Page reports that the USAF is planning tests for the heavy bomber to replace the aging B-52, as well as the B-1.
Testing will begin in 2037.
(Maybe break out some ice along with the champagne.)
Our current fleet is aging faster than expected due to heavy use. Strategy Page mentions that some feel that UAVs or commercial aircraft could fill the gap. With the advent of the JDAM GPS-guided bomb, why not develop a relatively low-cost high-altitude JDAM carrier out of the 767 or a similar commercial plane? I mention the 767 because we’re already going to modify it for use as an overpriced tanker aircraft.
Get a jumbo jet loaded with fuel and an assortment of JDAMs on rotary launchers, circle eight miles above, and wait for someone to call in a mission. The weapons officer could put down his cup of coffee, punch in the coordinates, and press the button for the appropriate bomb. Orbiting so high would allow a large range of territory to be hit at a moment’s notice. Some call this idea the B-747. I think it’s worth a serious look.
At least we could scrape by until 2037.