Sydney Freedberg writes in the National Journal of the age-old fighter mafia vs. the bomber crowd debate, questioning whether the Air Force really wants to pursue a new bomber. He draws on a study defense analyst Rebecca Grant did for the Air Force Association earlier this year, titled “Return of the Bomber,” but he leans most heavily on defense analysts who question the “seriousness” of the Air Force’s commitment to a new bomber. Of course, admits Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group, funding for the bomber, which has a 2018 due date set by the Quadrennial Defense Review, is classified. He tells Freedberg, “Either it’s a totally black program, or it’s just talk.”
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.