Back in Black

Don’t look for any details about the Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber project anytime soon, said Secretary Michael Donley. LRS-B details won’t emerge for “I think, several years down the road” because “we think the capabilities it will have represent advantages not unlike those that we’ve enjoyed on the B-2,” Donley told reporters during a meeting in Washington, D.C., on April 23. The Air Force has never discussed the B-2’s capabilities “in great depth,” and the Pentagon did not reveal the stealth bomber to the public “until it rolled out of the hangar,” said Donley. “We’re years from that” on the new aircraft, he said. Donley said he was unsure of what acquisition strategy details the Air Force would reveal, except that the project’s annual budget would be an open number. “We will protect the classification” on the LRS-B, he said. He added that the need for the new bomber is well established. “It’s a high-profile part of our force structure; it’s an integral part of the strategic triad as well. I think there’s good reason to talk about the need and intent to pursue a long-range strike capability. There’s benefit in that,” he said. (For more from Donley’s media roundtable, see Crossing the Streams and The Air Force’s Share of the Pain.)