An operational requirements document spelling out the specific capabilities desired in the future long-range-strike bomber had not been nailed down by early December, according to Lt. Gen. Chris Miller, USAF’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs. “That’s still being worked,” said Miller, suggesting that more than a year after then Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave the program a go-ahead, the specific missions and technologies in the airplane remain in debate. However, that means there’s still time to adjust the level of technology needed in the LRS-B if the loss to Iran of a stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel drone actually compromised critical science. The Air Force said, however, it would not have to ratchet up the bomber’s stealth capabilities (see above). Other than to restate that the service still plans to “deliver initial capability in the mid 2020s” with the LRS-B, Maj. Chad Steffey, a USAF spokesman, declined to offer new information, saying details “are and will remain classified.” (See also Bomber Puzzle Pieces.)
Robins Air Force Base, Ga., has completed two environmental reviews, clearing the way for new construction to support the bases four new missions sets, which will replace the E-8 Joint STARS mission that has defined the base for decades.