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US to Replace Strategic Bomber Fleet With New Long-Range Bombers

© AP Photo / ASSOCIATED PRESSProduction line for the B-2 bomber, which the Air Force is seeking to replace with the LRS-B.
Production line for the B-2 bomber, which the Air Force is seeking to replace with the LRS-B. - Sputnik International
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The United States is working to fully consolidate its existing strategic bomber fleet under the Long-Range Strategic Bomber (LRS-B) program, US Eighth Air Force Commander Major General Richard Clark said on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Clark made the comment in response to a question whether the existing US strategic bomber fleet would be fully replaced by the LRS-B in the future.

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“Eventually it will replace, it will be the long-range strike bomber for us at a point,” Clark said during a US House Armed Services hearing.

Until the new LRS-B comes online, the United States will have to continue modernizing the existing B-2 and B-52 bombers as well as associated weapons, Clark explained.

He noted the roadmap for modernization is “critical to preserving our dominance against next generation capabilities.”

Production line for the B-2 bomber, which the Air Force is seeking to replace with the LRS-B. - Sputnik International
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The B-52 bombers are more than 50 years old, and the B-2’s have been fielded for slightly over 25 years.

The US Air Force previously estimated a 2020 timetable for the fielding of the LRS-B. The United States is expected to purchase 80 to 100 of the next generation bombers at an estimated cost of $550 million each.

The US Air Force program to replace the older strategic bombers has faced multiple delays, and the LRS-B predecessor program was scrapped altogether in 2009.

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