The Three-Phase LRS Portfolio

The plan to reduce the B-52 fleet to just 56 bombers is part of the Air Force’s “three-phase” long-range strike portfolio, Gen. Michael Moseley told the Senate Armed Service Committee. The Chief of Staff was responding to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who like counterparts in the House, questioned the decision at a Capitol Hill hearing last week. Moseley explained that cutting the B-52s would free money to pursue phase 1—getting “as high of a mission capability rate as we can” for the remainder of the bomber force. To accomplish phase 1, the service needs about $3 billion. Phase 2 is the search for a new LRS platform. Phase 3 is pursuit of hypersonics.