Future Bomber Program Gets Funding Bump

The Air Force’s new bomber program got a hefty funding increase in Fiscal 2012 from congressional defense appropriators. They added $100 million to the service’s $197 million request, awarding a full $297 million for the bomber’s development this fiscal year, according to the final version of the Fiscal 2012 defense spending bill. President Obama signed this legislation into law on Dec. 23 as part of H.R. 2055, the 2012 omnibus appropriations package, that Congress sent him. The lawmakers included no language in the omnibus bill or accompanying conference report explaining why they added the funds. In contrast, congressional defense authorizers approved the Air Force’s $197 million request in the final version of their defense policy bill that went to the President earlier this month and still awaits his signature. The Air Force intends to field of force of between 80 and 100 new long-range bombers starting in the mid 2020s. Serve officials have not nailed down the specific requirements for the future platform yet. (See also Bomber not Derailed by Sentinel’s Loss.)