Two B-52H Stratofortress bombers fly in the Pacific Ocean during a routine training mission August. 2, 2018.
The U.S. strategic bomber program plays an important role in U.S. nuclear and conventional posture, providing both penetrating and standoff capabilities that enable the U.S. going to targets almost around the globe. But because Air Force expands from 312 to 386 operational squadrons, likely to increase the bomber squadron from nine to 14, how do the service keep costs within reason?
A answer to keeping down modernization costs will be the force’s capacity to field systems that could simply be updated as new technology develops, as outlined by Gen. Timothy Ray, commander of Global Strike Command.
“What I really desire to drive home is actually we have a force, regardless of the sized the force, it has to be affordable,” Ray said at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference on Sept. 18. Ray believes prices is going to be affordable according to the service’s “capability to field a relevant force within our integrated capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, with a rapid capacity to be updated and modified.”Communications systems, weapons, sensors and defensive capabilities are very understanding of technological change, which “is already occurring considerably faster than what we can field right now while using the old legacy processes,” Ray said. Ray pointed on the B-21 bomber as having “the right attributes that will set us up for achievement.”
Others suggest that looking on the unit price for bombers is deceptive and allow the Air Force to handle its critical modernization needs.
“It is extremely an easy task to take a look at individual unit cost per bomber, but that will not mean value,” Retired Lt. Gen David Deptula said. “People, particularly programmers, love to speak about cost, however they don’t speak about the effectiveness piece.”
This sentiment was echoed by retired Lt. Gen. Bob Elder Jr., who feels the general public and a few military members do not appreciate the active role bombers play in defending the U.S. As busy because these bombers are, Edler said, “it’s a bargain” depending on how much the Air Force will pay for them.
Deptula also believes if the Air Force is seriously interested in modernization, it can be overdue that requirements for meeting U.S. strategic goals determine force structure, rather than based on “arbitrary budget lines.”
“For much too long, our force structure may be solely driven with the budget rather than the war-fighting demands individuals nation’s security strategy,” he was quoted saying. “I dare say no you’ll argue using the preamble of the Constitution, which basically discusses how we form government to provide for the normal defense, then in promoting the overall welfare. It doesn’t repeat the other way around.”
“People will repeat the new enterprise is going to be too expensive, so don’t maintain it. I don’t agree,” Ray said, adding a more competitive approach will encourage the Air Force they are driving down procurement and modernization costs.
“I have got to know our competitive nature of our own approach will draw the talent from industry; or if I’m nearly certain having a technical capability or perhaps the capability can be so far advanced I can’t draw the talent from industry, now I find myself with the important issue,” Ray noted.
In regard to ensuring the service will get the funding to grow its squadrons, Ray added: “Where you drop cost down and have a rapid modification capability or even a relevant force on an extended time period, then you certainly set out to tell a more complete story,” that they explained should help dollars keep flowing into necessary programs.