Backwards LRS

It wouldn’t make much sense to make the new long range strike aircraft a conventional platform first, then add the nuclear capabilities later, US Strategic Command chief Gen. Kevin Chilton told the Daily Report, Monday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in Washington, D.C. Downscoping the aircraft’s capability from all-up nuclear to conventional would be far cheaper than the other way around. Adding in the nuclear hardening “on the back end”—heavily affecting design and development and forcing major rework of the configuration—would be very expensive, Chilton said, “I would be opposed to that.” Far easier, he said, to design the aircraft as a nuclear platform first, then get busy testing conventional weapons fit while the B-2 and B-52 are still available to carry the nuclear weapons. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said earlier in the day that the LRS will focus on conventional missions first.