Boost the US Bomber Force: Dollars vs. Operational Needs

The United States Air Force should consider shifting its balance of its strike forces from fighters to long-range bombers.

At the end of the Cold War, the Air Force’s combat aircraft inventory included 411 bombers. Today, it has a total of 158 B-1, B-52, and B-2 bombers, of which only 96 are designated as Primary Mission Aircraft Inventory assigned to operational squadrons to support wartime missions. Early termination of the B-2 program in the late 1990s marked the beginning of a multi-decade break in DoD’s procurement of long-range, penetrating bombers.