Four Are the Floor

The Air Force intends to retain its four operational squadrons of dual-role B-52H bombers under the new nuclear force posture announced in May by the Obama Administration, Maj. Gen. Donald Alston, point man for nuclear matters on the Air Staff, said Wednesday. “We see them as continuing to move [forward] with responsibilities for both a nuclear and conventional role,” he told reporters during a meeting in his Pentagon office. Under the new posture, the US intends to maintain up to 60 nuclear-capable bombers. While the B-2A force of 20 aircraft will not be altered from its current dual-role mission, a good portion of the Air Force’s 76 B-52s will be converted to a conventional-only role to meet that 60-aircraft cap, Alston confirmed. He said having fewer nuclear-capable B-52s is not regarded as a challenge for maintaining the current deployment tempo of the four B-52 squadrons in nuclear rotations