About That New Bomber

Look for major work to start on the new Long Range Strike platform in 2013, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Wednesday in an interview. However, he added: “That’s not a signed, sealed, and delivered arrangement.” He said the budget reflects a commitment by DOD to have an LRS penetrating platform as part of a family of systems, but the timing is not yet definitive. The initial or “A” version will not be a self-contained penetrator, but one that relies largely on offboard sensors. He expects it to “become more self-sufficient over time.” Would the A version survive the most lethal air defenses? Schwartz doesn’t think so, but for “something less than an extreme threat it will be very capable.” Schwartz said the program will be “precisely calibrated” to achieve a balance between cost and technology and to not “stretch ourselves … too much.”