Get Moving on Long-Range Strike

The United States is facing a “significant shortfall in penetrating strike,” and should therefore move forward without hesitation with plans to acquire a new, penetrating bomber platform that could be fielded in the mid 2020s, Mark Gunzinger, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said Tuesday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. “Our strategic advantage is about to go away,” he said. He advocated procuring up to 100 penetrating, optionally manned bombers with features including all-aspect low observability, a 20,000-pound payload, and an unrefueled range of 4,000-5,000 nautical miles. It should have attributes like nuclear hardening so that it could incorporate the nuclear mission at some later point, he noted. Gunzinger argued that the future security environment will become increasingly non-permissive in nature, yet the US, with only 20 B-2 stealth bombers, has “little capability” to attack moving targets in non-permissive environments and “limited capability” to hit fixed targets and hardened and deeply buried targets in NPEs. Gunzinger’s views were based on his newly authored CSBA study, Sustaining America’s Strategic Advantage in Long-Range Strike, released on Tuesday. (CSBA release)