The 2005 QDR calls on the Air Force to increase its long-range strike capabilities “by 50 percent, and the penetrating component of long-range strike by a factor of five by 2025.” When asked to explain this figure—and whether it means a five-fold increase in the number of bombers—Ryan Henry said “We used that number five just to [convey that] … we think it’s important, at about that order of magnitude, to be able to develop a more robust capability. Specifically, how one’s going to do it, we don’t have the answers right now.” He did say that the figure shouldn’t be construed as meaning the Air Force and/or the other services will field more than a one-for-one replacement of the bombers now in the fleet. Yet another year-long analysis of alternatives will soon get underway to figure it all out.
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.