Military Review

Will the US Air Force have 225 bombers?

40

In recent decades, against the background of a warming international situation, there has been a gradual reduction in the number of far aviation United States Air Force. At present, the strategic situation requires increasing quantitative and qualitative indicators. Plans have already been drawn up for the development of long-range aviation, but their implementation will be associated with a number of significant difficulties.


Historical minimum


By the time the Cold War ended, the US Air Force had a very large fleet long-range bombers. The Military Balance 1991 reported 277 combat aircraft. There were 4 air wings equipped with 96 B-1B bombers. Also, the duty was carried by 10 wings on the B-52G / H in the amount of approx. 190 units Later, despite the appearance of new B-2A, the total number of equipment gradually decreased - the change in the situation and the requirements for the Air Force affected.

The current The Military Balance indicates that the US Air Force Global Strikes Command now has only 2 squadrons on stealth B-2A (20 units), 4 squadrons on B-1B (61 units) and 5 squadrons on B-52H (58 units) Of the latter, only 46 are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Several dozen cars of all models are in reserve with the possibility of returning to service.

The World Air Force handbook from Flight Global gives slightly different numbers. According to him, the number of "active" B-52H reaches 74 units, B-1B serve in the amount of 59 units, and B-2A - 19 units.

Thus, according to various sources, the US strategic aviation has 139-152 bombers of three types in 11 squadrons. Until recently, this was considered sufficient for solving the tasks of strategic nuclear deterrence.

The need for growth


The issues of updating long-range aviation to better meet the requirements of the time have been discussed for several years. Current proposals in this regard provide for the creation of new technology for a qualitative upgrade while increasing the number of combat bombers. At the same time, the modernization of the Air Force can face difficulties.


In September last year at the Air Force Association conference, the head of the Global Strike Command, General Timothy Ray, spoke about the current needs of the troops. According to him, a new study was conducted to assess the challenges and opportunities in the context of the development of the Air Force. The need for such a study is directly linked to the growing military power of Russia and China, which requires response.

The optimal composition of long-range aviation for the period up to 2040 was estimated at 225 aircraft of all types. It is also necessary to increase the number of combat aviation units. It is necessary to form 5 new bomber squadrons. The total number of squadrons in the Air Force should grow from the current 312 to 386.

At the same time, General Ray noted that the real capabilities of the Air Force are much more modest, and current plans do not allow getting the desired 225 combat units. So, for the next decades, it is planned to build 100 promising B-21 bombers. It will also be possible to keep 75 old B-52Hs in service, but the outdated B-1B and B-2A will be written off in the medium term. Thus, it is not yet necessary to expect that in the distant future more than 170-175 aircraft will be in service.

For order and for cancellation


The Pentagon is currently making plans for the development of strategic aviation until the end of the thirties. Their main features are already known and allow us to imagine what the fleet of long-range bombers will look like by 2040. At the same time, some of the plans for the future have not yet been announced and, probably, have not yet been worked out.

Until the end of the period under review, it is planned to keep the old B-52H in service. These machines will undergo repairs and upgrades, which will keep them in service throughout the forties. In the near future, the long-awaited remotorization of equipment is planned, from which they expect an extension of the resource and an increase in flight performance. Thanks to all such measures, the B-52H will be able to continue service until 2050 or beyond.


The B-1B aircraft will be modernized in the coming years. They will receive new on-board equipment, and will also be able to carry a wider range of weapons. However, the state of this technique is poor, and they plan to abandon it. No later than 2030-35 the process of decommissioning the B-1B will begin, and by 2040 they will completely retire.

The newer, stealthy B-2A has a similar future. They are planned to be renovated and modernized to extend their service life, which will continue until the end of the thirties. By 2040, two dozen stealth bombers will be written off as resource depletes.

In the middle of this decade, it is planned to put into service the promising B-21 bomber, and by 2030 the first formations will reach their initial operational readiness. To cover the needs of the Air Force, it is required to build 100 such vehicles with delivery in 2025-40. The new B-21s are seen as a promising replacement for the outdated B-1B and B-2A. From a certain time, such aircraft will enter the troops simultaneously with the decommissioning of obsolete samples.

Dial 225


At present, according to various sources, the total number of bombers in 11 long-range aviation squadrons of the US Air Force is at the level of 140-150 units. The processes of repair, withdrawal to reserve and return to service do not significantly affect the overall performance; the number of subdivisions does not change.

If the recommendations of the last study are accepted, then in the next 15-20 years it will be necessary to create 5 squadrons with 70-80 new aircraft. However, the implementation of such plans, most likely, is impossible - or it will turn out to be excessively difficult and expensive.


As General T. Ray noted, by building new B-21s and upgrading the existing B-52Hs, a fleet of 175 long-range bombers could be created. The desired number of 225 units. in theory can be obtained by increasing purchases of new B-21s. Also, do not forget about the presence of approx. 80 B-1B and B-2A aircraft, some of which can be nominally kept in service after 2040.

However, both decisions are unlikely to suit the Pentagon and Congress. The purchase of an additional 50 B-21 aircraft will lead to excessive spending, and the preservation of outdated equipment will allow solving only quantitative problems, but not qualitative ones.

Modesty and economy


Despite all the advantages of the optimal size of the bomber fleet of 225 units, other estimates look much more realistic. Apparently, in 2040, the long-range aviation of the US Air Force will include no more than 175 aircraft - this will be a mixed fleet of the latest B-21s and once again modernized B-52Hs.

The lack of technology can be compensated for through the further development of aviation weapons, incl. strategic class. Now in the United States, new models of this kind are being developed, including hypersonic missiles. It can be assumed that in the distant future, American long-range aviation, equipped with only two aircraft with different characteristics and a number of modern ASPs, will represent a fairly serious force.

However, 2040 is still far enough away, and in the next two decades the Pentagon will have to solve a lot of issues. It is necessary to bring the latest B-21 bomber to production and keep its cost at an acceptable level. In parallel, it is necessary to modernize existing equipment and develop a promising weapon, also in compliance with deadlines and savings. The issues of the parallel use of bombers of different classes are acquiring great importance, and therefore it is necessary to develop new strategies.

Thus, the development of long-range aviation of the US Air Force will continue and will lead to one or another result. However, it seems that we will have to forget about the record quantitative and qualitative growth in order to focus on more important real tasks.
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U.S. Air Force
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  1. rocket757
    rocket757 22 September 2020 18: 11
    0
    An endless build-up of weapons, which does not give a real advantage over a strategic enemy ... although from the point of view of resource consumption, for us this is a real threat to undermine the economy!
    1. Mitroha
      Mitroha 22 September 2020 18: 14
      +4
      Quote: rocket757
      although from the point of view of resource consumption, for us this is a real threat to undermine the economy!

      If they increase, and we reasonably abstain, then no)
      We are strongly discouraged from playing in the arms race. Although, of course, this does not mean that new weapons do not need to be developed and produced in the troops
      1. Egoza
        Egoza 22 September 2020 18: 19
        +1
        Quote: Mitroha
        Although, of course, this does not mean that new weapons do not need to be developed

        You should always remember that it is not quantity that matters, but QUALITY !!!!
        1. AllBiBek
          AllBiBek 22 September 2020 19: 36
          0
          Cost and cost are still more important. Especially when it comes to weapons.

          But in general, I completely agree with the generals of the Pentagon, who are pushing the development and production of the arch-dear wunderwaffe; the more expensive it is, the better.
        2. Alex_You
          Alex_You 22 September 2020 21: 30
          +4
          Quote: Egoza
          Quote: Mitroha
          Although, of course, this does not mean that new weapons do not need to be developed

          You should always remember that it is not quantity that matters, but QUALITY !!!!

          It's funny to listen to such statements. No matter how high-quality tiger was, he did not surpass the massive thirty-four.
          1. Andrey VOV
            Andrey VOV 22 September 2020 21: 36
            -3
            Why compare the T-34 and the tiger, this is actually completely different
        3. rocket757
          rocket757 22 September 2020 22: 31
          0
          In different situations, different things become more important!
        4. strelokmira
          strelokmira 23 September 2020 01: 41
          -6
          You should always remember that it is not quantity that matters, but QUALITY !!!!

          Interestingly, the Patriots of the Second World War does not teach anything, there was one country that thought the same way, riveted high-quality tigers and panthers, the first to switch to a new high-quality jet aircraft ... While the rest took the number of tanks or strategic bombers
          But why do urashkas need this knowledge?
          If they increase, and we reasonably abstain, then no)

          Well, yes, you will build up the fleet of yachts and in case of anything, dump it on a potential enemy, since the 90s, well-thought-out tactics
        5. Maki Avellevich
          Maki Avellevich 23 September 2020 06: 15
          +1
          Quote: Egoza
          You should always remember that it is not quantity that matters, but QUALITY !!!!

          Read Friedrich Engels and Friedrich Hegel.
          synthesis of quantity and quality. both materially and socially.
        6. EvilLion
          EvilLion 23 September 2020 08: 46
          +2
          You should always remember that in war, as a rule, weapons are very easily destroyed and very often the ease of this destruction does not depend on quality at all.
      2. rocket757
        rocket757 22 September 2020 18: 21
        +1
        In the hill of TECHNOLOGIES, the development of new types of weapons, you still have to turn on !!! Not with the banana republic "competing".
        And this is not a small cost.
      3. Maki Avellevich
        Maki Avellevich 23 September 2020 06: 10
        0
        Quote: Mitroha
        If they increase, and we reasonably abstain, then no)

        if you abstain too well, you can provoke the opponent to adventure.
  2. Prisoner
    Prisoner 22 September 2020 18: 12
    -2
    The devices can be riveted. Most likely riveted. But with the manning of the crews, they will have to tinker a lot.
    1. rocket757
      rocket757 22 September 2020 18: 22
      +2
      They can rely on unmanned vehicles. They can!
      1. AllBiBek
        AllBiBek 22 September 2020 19: 42
        -3
        And where will they go?
        At this rate, in ten years, every bomber crew will have to be represented by blacks, minorities, body-positive feminists, and a bunch of other things.
        So without options, you have to install AI and make it unmanned.
        Hopefully, the AI ​​developers will have the same requirements and quotas in terms of race, body weight, and mental disabilities in terms of orientation.
  3. Avior
    Avior 22 September 2020 18: 20
    +3
    In a previous article on this topic, it was proposed that the Americans create a modern, but not expensive, new generation bomber for solving simple problems in addition to the new B-21.
  4. Grazdanin
    Grazdanin 22 September 2020 18: 21
    +3
    Another way is to create arsenal aircraft converted from civilian aircraft. Their range and carrying capacity are comparable to B52. They launched another research on this topic.
  5. Cowbra
    Cowbra 22 September 2020 18: 43
    +3
    As far as I know, the trick is that, firstly, there are no engines for the B-52, so with the modernization everything is dull, the B-1Bs were shattered in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they were chased into the tail and into the mane for carpet bombing, and Another joke is that only B-52s are capable of carrying missiles with nuclear weapons))) And bombs in the conditions of modern US air defense can be shoved into ... Lancer)))
    1. Grazdanin
      Grazdanin 22 September 2020 18: 53
      -5
      Quote: Cowbra
      B-52 trite no engines

      They will be upgraded. New, modern engines will be installed.
      Quote: Cowbra
      that only B-52s are capable of carrying missiles with nuclear weapons

      Aircraft of the following types will be equipped with a nuclear bomb: B-52, B-2A, B-21, F-15E, F-16C / D, F-16MLU, F-35.
      1. Cowbra
        Cowbra 22 September 2020 19: 25
        -1
        Quote: Grazdanin
        They will be upgraded. New, modern engines will be installed.

        The food is fresh, but it is hard to run. This song, it seems, has been drowsy since the mid-60s, it would be time to change the record, and as long as they cannibalize the written-off litaki and put it on the ones that have not yet fallen apart - dviglo from the landfill, wiping off the crow ... litter. As well as 10, and 20, and 30 years ago))) We tried to install from airliners - it did not grow together)))

        Quote: Grazdanin
        Nuclear bomb
        Why just a bomb? If you decide to go through antiques, then it is better to have arrows from the times of the First World War adopted. Nuclear weapons will not be used against the Taliban, and the Bonbu will definitely not throw off the multilayer air defense. They let them spin the Bonbu flat
        1. Alex_You
          Alex_You 22 September 2020 21: 35
          0
          And what kind of B-52? Eh, how the vibration went, the whole body in waves.
          1. Cowbra
            Cowbra 23 September 2020 04: 32
            +2
            The waves are just - garbage, a design feature, how to accelerate to cruising - the waves will disappear. There it was originally done / conceived / worked out - at a high altitude (for which it was calculated) and at the speed of "the old lady smoothes her wrinkles." But with dviguns they always have "oops, grandfather, oops." Last year I already flew to the Crimea alone ... I only lasted as far as Britain, over the ocean a pair of engines fell off) Go, freshly delivered, from the cemetery to Davis Monsen too.

            I'm not kidding - for the only bomber in the US. capable of carrying missiles with nuclear weapons, they simply do not produce engines for a long time - and therefore they put exhausted resources from the cemetery
            1. Alexey RA
              Alexey RA 23 September 2020 09: 28
              +2
              Quote: Cowbra
              I'm not kidding - for the only bomber in the US. capable of carrying missiles with nuclear weapons, they simply do not produce engines for a long time - and therefore they put exhausted resources from the cemetery

              EMNIP, one of the B-52 remotorization programs with the installation of civilian engines failed precisely because it turned out to be trite cheaper to take engines from storage to Davis Monten.
    2. Grits
      Grits 24 September 2020 04: 14
      -1
      Quote: Cowbra
      only B-52 can carry missiles with nuclear weapons)

      True, it will not be possible to dump them on all countries. Some states do not like when bombs are dropped on them and are very toothy.
      The Second World War showed that high-quality air defense is the key to success and a guarantee against bombing. We have been taught by bitter bloody experience, so now we must be reckoned with in terms of air defense.
      1. Alex_You
        Alex_You 25 September 2020 15: 17
        0
        The Second World War showed that high-quality air defense is the key to success and a guarantee against bombing.

        Germany had high-quality air defense, so they bombed Germany into ruins, and what remained was rolled out with tanks.
        1. Grits
          Grits 25 September 2020 17: 27
          -1
          Quote: Alex_You
          Germany had high-quality air defense, so they bombed Germany into ruins

          So, all the same, it was not of high quality.
  6. Imperial Technocrat
    Imperial Technocrat 22 September 2020 18: 58
    -8
    The United States will have 0 bombers. For in November in the USA civil war and disintegration
    1. Deniska999
      Deniska999 22 September 2020 19: 04
      +3
      And Russia from Lisbon to Vladivostok?
      1. AllBiBek
        AllBiBek 22 September 2020 19: 44
        +4
        From Warsaw to Alaska.
        We don’t need someone else’s.
    2. Grits
      Grits 24 September 2020 04: 18
      -1
      Quote: Imperial Technocrat
      The United States will have 0 bombers. For in November in the USA civil war and disintegration

      I am ready to enroll in the adherents of your sect and pray earnestly. So I want to believe it ...
  7. Undecim
    Undecim 22 September 2020 20: 15
    +8
    Thus, the development of long-range aviation of the US Air Force will continue and lead to certain results.
    A thought stunning in its depth and breadth! Just titanic !!!
  8. iouris
    iouris 22 September 2020 20: 26
    -2
    The Russian Federation does not have "strategic aviation," and the United States does not have "long-range aviation." It is impossible to explain, you just have to remember it.
  9. KOLORADO73
    KOLORADO73 22 September 2020 21: 36
    -2
    140 bombers? Not a lot, to contain Russia, China, Iran and the DPRK! The latter are actively building muscles!
    1. Maki Avellevich
      Maki Avellevich 23 September 2020 06: 20
      0
      Quote: KOLORADO73
      140 bombers? Not a lot, to contain Russia, China, Iran and the DPRK! The latter are actively building muscles!

      as a rule, one has to restrain the hegemon one by one, since no one has been able to organize a coalition yet.
  10. TermNachTer
    TermNachTer 22 September 2020 23: 28
    -1
    I cried, signor Pereira, I cried)))) 100 "B - 21" if they are a billion, even the mattress budget will not pull)))
  11. Alexey RA
    Alexey RA 23 September 2020 09: 33
    +3
    So, for the coming decades, it is planned to build 100 promising B-21 bombers. It will also be possible to keep 75 old B-52Hs in service, but the outdated B-1B and B-2A will be written off in the medium term.

    A funny situation: the aircraft, the construction of which was completed in 1963, are pulling with all their might to the future. Newer cars, built in the 80s and 90s, are written off as obsolete.
  12. Monar
    Monar 23 September 2020 13: 03
    -1
    That's interesting. Old people have been flying for over 50 years. Not one war. Plus another confrontation with the USSR. We tried everything on them. From conventional bombs to missile hypersound. Of course, there are enough problems with repairs ...
    Progress does not stand still. New technologies-materials. Theory-practice is not sickly walking forward. And bam ... The newer and more advanced B-1Bs were "shocked" in two short wars ...
    There is a feeling that in the future some. superbooper newest and expensive B-123 will generally be disposable.
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 23 September 2020 14: 10
      0
      Quote: Monar
      There is a feeling that in the future some. superbooper newest and expensive B-123 will generally be disposable.

      So the SAC already has disposable hypersonic aerospace strategic bombers - "Minuteman-3" is called. smile
      1. Monar
        Monar 23 September 2020 19: 48
        0
        So Khrushchev also wanted to switch to disposable everywhere. Did not work out. smile
  13. Old26
    Old26 23 September 2020 17: 42
    0
    Quote: Captive
    The devices can be riveted. Most likely riveted. But with the manning of the crews, they will have to tinker a lot.

    The crew problem is not just a US problem. Remember how Shoigu spoke about the shortage several years ago. But even simple "riveting" of the case is very unlikely. Machines are becoming more and more expensive and even with a machine it is impossible to turn it on all the time ...

    Quote: Avior
    In a previous article on this topic, it was proposed that the Americans create a modern, but not expensive, new generation bomber for solving simple problems in addition to the new B-21.

    So far, Sergei, this is just talk and even as far as I have heard, even the performance characteristics of such an "inexpensive" bomber have not been announced. Purely theoretically, of course, it can be assumed that the Americans can go along the path of creating carriers of KR (or aeroballistic) based on transport (passenger) aviation. But whether such an aircraft will be "cheap" in relation to the same B-21 is still unknown

    Quote: KOLORADO73
    140 bombers? Not a lot, to contain Russia, China, Iran and the DPRK! The latter are actively building muscles!

    For the present time it is quite enough. Do not forget that Iran, and even more so the DPRK, has no strategic aviation in the future. God forbid them to organize the release of something of their own, while it is desirable at least the 3rd generation. so there is no need to worry about Iran and the DPRK. If the PRC brings its promising bomber to the series, it will become in line with Russia and the United States. So far, China has nothing but "long-range"