Air Force makes way for the B-21 Raider to replace B-1B, B-2 bombers

 

The U.S. Air Force has rolled out plans to phase out the B-1B and B-2 bomber fleets as it makes way for the new B-21 Raider, which is currently under development by Northrop Grumman.

Air Force officials on Monday made public their bomber fleet plans during a Pentagon press briefing for the service’s 2019 fiscal year budget request. Continue reading

China’s missile swarms vs. America’s lasers, drones and railguns: Who wins?

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Artist’s conception of a PLA anti-ship ballistic missile attack on three US Navy carriers

 

This much is true — no country can possibly hope to challenge the United States with military means on a global scale and win. But key to America’s global strength are huge air and naval bases which are vulnerable to being overwhelmed and destroyed by swarms of precision-guided weapons in a limited, regional war.

The Navy also cannot expect its ships to survive if they come under attack by sufficiently large numbers of cruise missiles and ballistic missiles of the kind now fielded by China. While better protected from missiles than bases, the current breadth of U.S. technology and doctrine cannot compensate for this weakness. Continue reading

Are Russian Bombers Flying Nuclear Drills Near Europe—Or Just Testing NATO’s Defenses?

The capability of the weapons systems plus the ability to get so close within range shows they could launch nuclear missiles and wipe out cities within only a few minutes.

 

Nuclear-capable Russian bombers are flying over the North Sea and the Atlantic. And U.S. Air Force officers are very concerned at what could be a rehearsal of a deadly mission.
Russian bombers may be flying nuclear strike drills over the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea, current and former U.S. Air Force officers believe. At the very least, these officers tell The Daily Beast, the Russian Air Force is aggressively probing what NATO calls European airspace in an effort to gauge the reaction times of the western alliance’s defenses.

Since Oct. 28, NATO air defenses have detected and monitored four groups of Russian combat aircraft over the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Black Sea. Norwegian F-16 fighters intercepted one particular group of Russian aircraft on Oct. 29 that included four, nuclear-capable Tupolev Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers and four Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refueling tankers. Once intercepted, six of the Russian aircraft headed for home while the two remaining Tu-95 bombers continued southwest, parallel to the Norwegian coast, before eventually turning back towards Russia.

The giant, propeller-driven Tu-95 is a launch platform for the 1,600 nautical mile range Raduga Kh-55 nuclear-tipped cruise missile. The weapon carries a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead; by comparison, the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki was a mere 21 kilotons. Some active-duty and retired U.S. Air Force officials told The Daily Beast that the Tu-95s might have been flying to certain predetermined launch points for their nuclear missiles. Continue reading

China’s Anti-Carrier Missile Now Opposite Taiwan, Flynn Says

The Chinese military has deployed its new anti-ship ballistic missile along its southern coast facing Taiwan, the Pentagon’s top military intelligence officer said today.

The missile, designated the DF-21D, is one of a “growing number of conventionally armed” new weapons China is deploying to the region, adding to more than 1,200 short-range missiles opposite the island democracy, U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the Defense Intelligence Agency director, said in a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Flynn’s reference to the DF-21D follows one made by U.S. Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, in congressional testimony on April 9. He highlighted the “initial deployment of a new anti-ship missile that we believe is designed to target U.S. aircraft carriers.”

Flynn’s brief reference to the DF-21D today is significant because it advances the DIA’s assessment last year, when U.S. Army Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, then the agency’s director, said China’s military is “probably preparing to deploy” the weapon. Continue reading