Bombers Away

The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review instructed the Air Force to have a new bomber on the ramp by 2018, but the aircraft ready to fly by then will in all likelihood still be “developmental,” says Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. However, the bomber program is not overly ambitious and will heavily leverage technology developed in classified programs, Schwartz said during a Dec. 22 interview (see above). When the program gets going, Schwartz said, it will hew closely to Pentagon acquisition chief John Young’s admonition that new-start programs be based on “mature technology.” The bomber will fit that category, Schwartz maintained. Earlier this year, Young said 2018 is a “nice planning date,” but “not a mandatory date,” for the bomber to be fielded. (For more on the new bomber, read Great Expectations.)