Pentagon Wants 80 to 100 Long Range, Nuclear-Capable Bombers That Can Operate With or Without a Pilot in the Cockpit

May 24th, 2011

Via: Los Angeles Times:

Deep in the Mojave Desert, surrounded by tiers of barbed-wire fence, the nation’s largest defense contractors work in secrecy designing and building the latest military aircraft at Air Force Plant 42.

The military’s top weapons buyer quietly visited the Palmdale facility this month to talk with leading aerospace executives about plans to build a fleet of radar-evading bombers that the military hopes to have ready for action by the mid-2020s.

The plane would be the first long-range bomber built in the U.S. since the last of the 21 bat-winged B-2 stealth bombers by Northrop Grumman Corp. rolled off the assembly lines at Plant 42 more than a decade ago. The Air Force owns the 5,800-acre industrial park and leases space to aerospace contractors.

Now on the Pentagon wish list is a proposed fleet of 80 to 100 nuclear-capable bombers that could operate with or without a pilot in the cockpit.

Pentagon weapons acquisition chief Ashton Carter met separately with representatives of Northrop, Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said. These companies are expected to vie for the estimated $55-billion contract that is expected to provide jobs and decades of work for Southern California’s aerospace industry.

3 Responses to “Pentagon Wants 80 to 100 Long Range, Nuclear-Capable Bombers That Can Operate With or Without a Pilot in the Cockpit”

  1. anothernut Says:

    Just THINK how many insurgents we can take out with those!

  2. Noble Says:

    “Mr. McKittrick, after very careful consideration, sir, I’ve come to the conclusion that your new defense system sucks.”

    Robo-nukes. This story is just what I wanted to read right before I pick up Mark Russinovich’s new novel, Zero Day.

  3. JWSmythe Says:

    Why does this sound somewhat like a Stargate epsiode? Stargate SG1, Season 4, Episode 2, “The Other Side”.

    It’s so much easier to kill when we don’t have to face the killing. If there’s no pilot in the cockpit, there’s no one there to say “Maybe I shouldn’t do this.” or “Will I survive the bomb”, or even “Look at all the people down there. I can’t do it.” Nope, no second guessing. Fly over, drop the bomb. If the plane doesn’t make it home, that’s not a problem.

    I thought we learned something quite a while ago, and that’s why we agreed to the SALT I, SALT II, START, PTBT, NPT, and have signed the CTBT.

    Oh, those are in the past. No one cares any more. Lets build more nukes, and prepare to deploy them world wide. ICBMs and cruise missiles are too obvious, lets stick them on things that will just look like another airplane in the sky. {sigh}

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