More Than 100 B-21s

Although Air Force requirements since 2010 have called for “80-100” B-21s, the actual number will most likely be more than that, Air Force Global Strike Command chief Gen. Robin Rand said at ASC16. During a panel discussion about the B-21—newly dubbed the “Raider”—Rand said there is “an Air Force analysis going on about what should be the number” of bombers in the 2030-2050 timeframe, which overlaps the first half of the B-21’s expected service. Though “we won’t set the official number” for some time to come, Rand said “I can’t imagine we would have one less bomber” in the mix during that period, because the existing fleet of about 160 B-52s, B-1s and B-2s is “fully gainfully employed” in the conventional as well as the nuclear mission, more missions are being added all the time and aircrews are “pedaling fast” to keep up. In a press conference later, Rand said GSC has developed its “bomber vector,” or roadmap and submitted it to Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein.