LRS-B Will Be More Than a Bomber

The Long-Range Strike Bomber will be vastly different than even the last B-2 produced in 1993, serving as a highly capable “long-range sensor shooter” aircraft in future combat operations, said retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies on Tuesday. Since 1993, some 15 “Moore’s Law” cycles have passed—?the concept that the computing power of microchips would double roughly over 18 months—enabling exponential increases in electronic processing power. “This is a different paradigm than the one we found in World War II,” Deptula said, where thousands of single-mission bombers were used to target one major objective. The ability to integrate future electronic systems and sensors onto the LRS-B will enable the bomber to act as a key node in high-end future combat operations to send and receive intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, battle management taskings, targeting information, and deploy large numbers of munitions at the same time. The concept of moving beyond “segregated mission” aircraft is already proving itself in F-22 operations in Syria, he noted. During the opening waves last September, Raptors performed strikes, collected ISR, relayed time-critical information to other aircraft, and used its powerful data links to retask for new targets. (See also With the Raptors Over Syria from the February 2015 issue of Air Force Magazine.)