Offboard, not Overboard

The Air Force’s next bomber likely won’t have extensive intelligence-gathering or electronic-attack systems, and will rely on offboard capabilities for those aspects of its mission, said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz Thursday. Answering questions after a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Schwartz said the Air Force would make best efforts “not to overdesign the airplane.” He added, “We’re going to deliver . . . an airplane that provides the essential capabilities that we need, and improve it over time . . . but we are not intent on delivering an aircraft that is extravagant.” Taking this approach “will allow us to produce a penetrating platform that is sufficiently affordable that we can buy in numbers,” said Schwartz. “We are not going to do the B-2 again. That is not in the cards.” The Air Force aims to deliver the new platform, dubbed the Long Range Strike-Bomber, or LRS-B, in the mid 2020s, said Schwartz.