Why We Need Bombers

A RAND study last year determined that “it’s risky to go to an all-standoff” approach to long-range strike, according to RAND senior analyst Alan Vick. He told attendees of AFA’s Global Warfare Symposium last week in Los Angeles that RAND concluded the United States would “have to have a way to use cheaper munitions”—than missiles costing millions of dollars apiece—if a conflict lasted more than 30 days. An adversary also could learn how many missiles are on hand and plan around the exhaustion of that inventory, he said. Because forward airfields are increasingly vulnerable to tactical ballistic missile attack, aircraft capable of reaching enemy targets from outside TBM range are becoming increasingly essential to US strategy, said Vick in his Nov. 17 address.