While the military has no plans to decommission the Stealth bomber or even the B-52 (already 59 years old), both of which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, it is planning the Stealth’s successor. At the Los Angeles Times, W.J. Hennigan reports.
The military’s top weapons buyer [Ashton Carter] quietly visited . . . leading aerospace executives about plans to build a fleet of radar-evading bombers that the military hopes to have ready for action by the mid-2020s. . . . Now on the Pentagon wish list is a proposed fleet of 80 to 100 nuclear-capable bombers that could operate with or without a pilot in the cockpit.
Although the article focused on the cost and possible use of the “black budget,” the hook for commentators was the pilotless angle. In other words, nuclear bombs could be delivered by drones. Hey, at least we don’t have to worry about any more flight crews with cases of post-traumatic stress disorder that can only be measured in megatons!