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Air Force says new bomber would be purchased in larger numbers than the B2
Shaft getting larger for the Army?

The U.S. armed forces get huge chunks of money each year from Washington to fund various of programs across multiple branches of the military. Some of the branches such as the U.S. Air Force seem to grab the lion's share of the new projects in the eyes of many Americans. At the same time, arguably the most exposed and at risk personnel in the U.S. armed forces, the grunts of the Army, go with the same equipment that has been used for years.

The U.S. Air Force has many of the highest profile projects in the military including the tanker debacle that has been ongoing for years (and a winner still hasn't been announced). The Air Force also has the high profile and high cost F-35 Lightning II program that is over budget. The Air Force has many major projects in progress and is looking to add another new project to that list with USAF Secretary Michael Donley making the case for a new long-range bomber.

According to Donley, the new bomber would be focused on conventional long-range strike missions and will rely on existing technology to keep costs down. The bomber would be a stealth aircraft and purchased in larger quantities than the B-2 and serve for more than 30-years. General Norton Schwartz said the service hopes to finalize what it wants in the new bomber in time for the 2012 budget submissions and that the aircraft will be “optionally manned”. Presumably optionally manned would mean the aircraft could operate as a UAV or a conventional piloted bomber.

Donley said, "We are confident that a modern long-range strike platform not only has been, but should remain, a critical tool in the nation’s arsenal. Their ability to range the planet with operational flexibility have proven their value time and again."

This isn’t the first time we have heard of the Air Force wanting a new bomber. In May of 2009, the U.S. Air Force started talking about a new long-range bomber and in December of 2009, the Air Force announced that it was "probably going to proceed with a long-range strike initiative."

While the Air Force seemingly gets all the love, the U.S. Army is fighting a battle to modernize its forces. Many of the new programs the Army had in development over the last several years were ultimately cancelled. Notable cancellations included the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter and replacements for some of the self-propelled Howitzer canons fielded by the Army.

Despite the cancellations, Lt. General Daniel Bolger has defended the modernization program and maintains that the most important part is the modernization of the network for the Army.





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