America's New Long Range Bomber to Replace the B-1 and B-2
Building new aircraft is an expensive proposition. No matter what the initial cost projections are, it will always be far more costly in the end, not to mention operational costs to keep them ready. Is it now necessary to build a newer, more modern, bomber?
Currently, the US has 44 combat ready B-52H, 36 B-1B, and 16 B-2. Actual aircraft inventory is higher, but these aircraft are so destructive even in groups of four, does it warrant spending over $550 million to create a newer, better, bomber? The B-52 last delivery was in 1962, and by far cheaper upgrades, the aircraft is slated to remain in service until 2040! Each one ended up costing $75 million, it carried 70,000 lbs. of bombs, flies at 650 mph and has a range of nearly 9000 miles. To fly this for one hour costs $70,000.
The B-1 is an 80's aircraft, production stopped in 1988. It will remain in service until 2040, also. Its range is 7500 miles, carries 75,000 lbs of bombs, each one costs $392 million. It speeds along at 900 mph and costs only $55,000 to fly it for one hour. Overall, it is not worth the extra money spent when compared to the B-52,
The B-2 is a nineties aircraft that stopped production in 1997. Each one costs $1.8 billion, costs $135,000 per hour to fly, flies at 630 mph, has a range of 6700 miles and has a payload of 40,000 lbs. It will be in service until 2060.
The B-2 seems like an aircraft of diminishing return for the money. It looks way cool and because of its radar evasion material, it is invisible to most tracking. So, is the extra cost worth this capability? It is ironic that the specs of the B-52 are mostly better than the others, no wonder the airforce wants to keep upgrading it and in use!
America's new long range bomber (LRS-B) looks like the B-2, but is nuclear powered and the quest to make a new bomber is being propelled by fears of China's huge military expenditures. Currently called the "Long Range Strike Bomber", the planning began in 2011. over $600 million has already been spent and another 8 billion is approved for the next five years. the new design will be a vastly improved B-2, so the Airforce states. The USAF wants at least 80 of them.The new design will also have similar stats as the B-2 in service, so................
Why not just upgrade the B-2, which would be far cheaper?
The money for even one aircraft could certainly be used in far more helpful ways than padding the pockets of Locheed Martin.