Air Force future

| December 12, 2022

With the unveiling of the B-21 Raider, the Air Force tells us the strategic bomber fleet will consist of the -21, its newest stealth bomber (it looks much like a sleeker B-2 batplane) and refurbished/upgraded B-52s.  B-1s and B-2s currently in inventory will be used in their current roles until replaced.

The B-1s and B-2s will continue to provide capacity until the Air Force fields the B-21 Raider, which will be the backbone of its future force and incrementally replace the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers currently in service.

The Air Force confirmed that the first modified B-52s are expected to enter testing by the end of 2028.

One hell of a plane- first B-52 flights were in April ’52, and t’auwld gurl is expected to stay flying into the ’30s and ’40s. You could make a hell of an Air Force from the planes that have debuted and passed into history during the time the BUFF has been operational… I suspect most Air Force members weren’t even BORN then.

Defense News noted that Congress could also restrict the Air Force’s ability to retire B-1 and B-2 bombers.

Fox News


Kind of like they have kept the Air Force from retiring F-22s and A-10s. Speaking of which, 21 A-10s will be retired next year. They will be replaced at their base by F-16s.

In future the Air Force still wants to rely on the F-35 for close air support. Given their ammo load and loiter time, you forward air guys better get it right the first time and hope the planes do, ‘cuz you’re likely to get one, count ’em ONE, shot at it. Yes, I’m a biased Thud fan. Any ground guy who doesn’t love something that kills enemy tanks like that is sick.

Category: Air Force, Big Pentagon

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USMC Steve

So how many are they going to build, like a dozen or so? They only built 20 B-2’s and if I recall correctly 18 are still in service. That ain’t much of an air force.


“That ain’t much of an air force. ” Word!

Do believe we lost more than that on each bombing run over the ETO during WWII. Now granted, the stealthy bombers have a much greater chance of surviving, but still. Lubs me a Buff, watched ’em scramble right over the roof as a lad when SAC was at Robins way back yonder.

Shorely lubs me a Wart Hog. Would be nice to have one loitering over Firebase Magnolia as overwatch. Would go a long way to shoring up that North Wall.

And there was no prettier Bomber ever built than The Bones.

Good thing we a got a lot of birds rat holed at the Bone Yard that can be put back into service. We may need them.


They only built the 20 due to the end of the Cold War and rising costs associated with the “bleeding edge” tech of stealth back then. The DoD budget cutter critters in Congress also had some unexpected allies in then USAF Chief Mike Ryan and CJCS Shalikashvili. Ryan apparently traded away the B-2 for avoiding deep cuts in other aircraft systems back then. The B-2 is a great platform (as is the B-1 “Bone”) but we’ve flown the wings (well airframes, engines, etc.) off them and learned a lot in the time since. Economies of scale (larger force to split the mission plus support costs, infrastructure, etc.) would have helped some. But the special challenges of her surface skin for keeping the “stealth” working remain a serious issue. I worked F-16 Vipers back in the late 80’s so never had the challenges associated with F-117 or the B-2 stealth skin stuff but heard lots of stories.


70 years later Shouldn’t be anyone serving in the Air Force that was alive when the B52 debuted. There may be a Doc or Catholic Priest Chaplin or some other rare bird but everyone has reached mandatory retirement age of 64.


There are newly winged lieutenants that are piloting the same airframe their grandfathers did.

Old tanker

The only way to really replace the A-10 is to build new ones fully upgraded from the start. The zoomies have to understand that air superiority and strategic bombing is not the only task. Ground support, EFFECTIVE ground support has to be in their wheelhouse as well.


This! Also bring back an OV-platform*, call it OV-## Lee:

In early 1968, while flying an OV-1 over South Vietnam, U.S. Army Captain Ken Lee shot down a MiG-17 “Fresco” fighter jet with his XM14 .50 in. (12.7 mm) caliber gun pods as well as two M159 unguided rocket pods, becoming the only Army Aviator to ever down a MiG. Due to the Key West Agreement, the Army tried to keep the shootdown a secret for fear that it would allow the USAF to transfer Mohawks to its inventory. Lee’s kill was finally formally recognized by the Army in 2007.

Politics ruining war, yet again.

*the USAF I guess is still looking for a Light Attack/Armed Recon and has been operating the OV-10 as of late.

Maybe some aspiring General will purchase one on the GSA credit card and chuck the middle digit to the rules?

USMC Steve

The Air force has never really done close air support well as a rule. The fighter mafia believe it is beneath them.


I think the Ukrainians just proved it isn’t needed with the right munitions and strategy. Had Russia been much more competent that would have established air supremacy early on and taken down the Uks from the air. They didn’t but at the same time the Ukraine had nothing for air assets left flying that could assault the Russian Army but took them down, mostly with with Ground Missile based assets.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot better to have it than not but the US Army also has a shitton of helicopters as well. Those with executed SEAD and counter air and the helicopters could make short work of most every land army out there.


I wanna hear the callsign.
Both “DEATH xx” and “DOOM xx” are already taken.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Maybe name after LA Raider football players?

Start with Alzado, Tatum, and Matuszak.


Really? You forgot about the most thuggish of the OAKLAND Raiders, Ben Davidson.


Point well taken!


F-35 ≠ A-10
F-16 ≠ A-10
A-10 = A-10

Not sure why congress has been refusing to allow the AF to not retire the A-10. Some may actually know the math above, but who knows. That math, however, is why they shouldn’t. I personally don’t think they should replace the A-10 until they have something that can do the same thing – but I’m just some crazy former ground-side Marine so what the hell do I know.

The B-21. . . looks frigging bad ass. Hopefully it performs as well.

[Attached picture: I’m guessing the F-35 wouldn’t be able to fly home after this damage]


A-10, or A 10?

I love getting into debates about the A-10’s utility in youtube comment threads. People hate the aircraft and repeat lies about it being ‘dangerous’ to we ground pounders.

CAS sometimes gets too close, but who is to say that ain’t the fault of the controller?

The ‘Hog isn’t replaceable.

yeah she is.jpeg

When conducting Close Air Support, “danger close” is called “danger close” for a reason.


Having more stealth bombers puts pressure on the other nuclear powers to build retaliatory weapons in hardened shelters.
I’m sure the nerds have done the math and came up with this being a good idea, a CW2: bigger, longer, uncut… but I can’t help but think that down the road there will be unintended consequences and a scared rat doth jump with fury.

Fast attacks with VLS and hypers would be a counter to our move. Our friends in the far east have stepped up their submerged quietness game…

‘May [we] live in interesting times’ and all that.


China plans on upping their missile count to 1500 (X5) by 2035. They are the only major power building more nukes.


Wait, have they done their transgender and pronoun training yet?!


Speaking of Future…

“Inside Google’s Quest to Digitize Troops’ Tissue Samples”


Drag Racing Maniac

“I suspect most Air Force members weren’t even BORN then.”

The oldest AF members would have to be 70 years old to be around as long as the B-52. ALL Air Force members weren’t born then.


My dad’s flight crew picked up the last one Boeing built. October 1962.

Skivvy Stacker

They’ve replaced the parts of every B52 so many times they’re not the original bombers anymore—-but they occupy the same space.