The Air Force is well into currently planned upgrades for its B-2 bomber fleet and has others in mind, according to Lt. Col. Brian Zembraski, staff director for the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo. He recounts addition of improved bomb racks—increasing the weapons load by 500 percent—and stealth coating upgrades that reduce maintenance time, as well as projected avionics advances. All of which should sit well with new House Armed Services Committee Chair Ike Skelton. The Missouri Democrat is on record as saying that the Air Force should continue to modernize the B-2, which he believes can “satisfy a large percentage” of future long-range strike requirements.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.