Hagel Reaffirms Need for New Bomber

The Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber is a critical element of the nation’s future strategic deterrent and the nation would fail future airmen “terribly” if it does not invest in the platform now, said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday. “I think the Long-Range Strike Bomber is absolutely essential to keep our deterrent edge as we go into the next 25 years,” he told assembled airmen during his visit to Whiteman AFB, Mo., home of the B-2A stealth bomber fleet. “You know, I was reminded here that the B-2 started flying 25 years ago, and the average [age of a B-2] is 20 years,” said Hagel. “We have a B-2 today, because we had the foresight, the commitment, and the investment,” he added. That same vision is necessary now with LRS-B, said Hagel. “We will have it in the budget. It’s something that I have particularly put a priority on in the budgets and things that I’ve talked about with the Congress. I have confidence that the Congress will support us on this,” he said. Hagel is on his last official domestic trip as Defense Secretary, thanking US military personnel for their service, before stepping down later this year. (Hagel transcript) (Hagel media availability)