When setting requirements for a next-generation bomber, USAF should emphasize its conventional role, with the nuclear mission a distant second place. That’s the view of Barry Blechman, a member of DOD’s Defense Policy Board and president of DFI International. Blechman told the National Defense University Foundation on July 19 that strikes against terrorists and rogue states call for conventional capabilities, not nuclear ones. High costs of development and maintaining nuclear weapons are a drawback, he said. Blechman added that he does not consider it consider it risky to de-emphasize the nuclear role, because USAF seemingly finds its B-52s and a few nuclear-capable B-2 bombers sufficient for the task.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.