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Why the New B-21 Stealth Bomber Might Also Be a Stealth Fighter

September 13, 2019 Topic: Security Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: B-2B-21Stealth BomberStealth FighterAir-to-AirU.S. Air Force

Why the New B-21 Stealth Bomber Might Also Be a Stealth Fighter

The more you know.

Key point: The B-21 stealth bomber may need air-to-air weapons to ensure it will reach its targets.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Air Force’s new B-21 Raider stealth bomber could fly as early as 2021, and at least one Air Force general says he believes the new bomber could gain air-to-air capabilities to fight its way to its target. The National Interest reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

13 Sept. 2019 -- There is some precedent for a bomber aircraft with a secondary air-to-air mission. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the U.S. Navy paid General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas billions of dollars to develop the A-12 Avenger II, a stealthy, carrier-launched medium bomber that was supposed to replace the Navy’s A-6 Intruders.

The A-12 was designed to carry two AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missiles in addition to air-to-ground weaponry. But the U.S. Defense Department canceled the A-12 in 1991.

What went wrong? For one, the world changed -- and the secrecy surrounding the A-12 didn’t help either, according to James Stevenson, former editor of the Navy Fighter Weapons School’s Topgun Journal.

This article by John Keller originally appeared on Military & Aerospace Electronics in 2019.

Image: Reuters.