The Bomber Request

The $140 million request for a “classified” program in the Air Force’s Fiscal 2010 list of unfunded priorities would fund technology studies on a new bomber, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz confirmed June 11 during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He said the money would help the Air Force figure out all the attributes available for the next bomber, whenever it gets going again. Defense Secretary Robert Gates zeroed the next-generation bomber program for 2010, saying he wasn’t comfortable with the Air Force’s definition of the mission and capabilities. Schwartz said the studies eyed in the unfunded request would entail “a concept development activity” that would answer Gates’ questions about stealth, manning, and performance. Schwartz also said the service needs the concept development money to ensure no disruption to “technology threads,” such as work in antennas, radars, and low-probability-of-intercept datalinks, that are not platform-specific.