One-Two Punch:

Boeing is coming to the conclusion that the next long-range strike system likely will be a highly stealthy, subsonic platform partnered with a high-speed missile, according to George Muellner, the company’s Advanced Systems president. Briefing reporters Thursday at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Muellner said it won’t be possible to make a survivable supersonic bomber in time to meet the Air Force’s 2018 deadline. “Going supersonic doesn’t buy you much survivability unless you’re going at Mach 3 or faster,” Muellner reported. The heat generated by a vehicle moving at triple-sonic speeds would make an easy target for “long wave and mid-wave” infrared detectors. While there’s lots of technology to defeat radar, the ability to make a hot object stealthy is still coming along, he noted. “We think high subsonic is the way to go,” he asserted. He also reported that Navy and Air Force operators, invited into some of Boeing’s vast and sophisticated simulation facilities to game out various approaches to long range strike, are coming to the same conclusion.