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.