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    An artist rendering shows the first image of a new Northrop Grumman Corp long-range bomber B21 in this image released on February 26, 2016

    US Should Grow Air Force, Ensure B-21 Bomber Program - Acting Secretary

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    The US Air Force acting secretary underscored the need to revitalize the fleet as the average age of aircraft is currently 27 years.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States should grow the size of its Air Force and continue to modernize its aircraft, US Air Force Acting Secretary Lisa Disbrow said on Friday.

    "I can say with confidence, the Air Force must grow," Disbrow stated at the Air Warfare Symposium in Florida. "We also need more aircraft. The ones we have on the ramp are too old."

    She noted that the average age of aircraft is currently 27 years, and underscored the need to revitalize the fleet.

    Disbrow said the United States is some 1,500 pilots short, about 1,000 of whom are fighter pilots.

    The acting secretary also stressed that the United States must ensure the B-21 bomber program proceeds "intact and on schedule."

    At present, the US Air Force operates B-52 Stratofortress strategic nuclear bombers. In 2040, they are expected to be replaced by the B-21, a new $550 million stealth heavy bomber manufactured by Northrop Grumman.

    The Unites States needs to modernize the country’s policy for space, which should be treated as a 'warfighting' domain, Disbrow said.

    "USAF has been stewards of space since the ‘50s. We must update our space policy and treat it as a warfighting domain," Disbrow stated.

    She noted that the Air Force carries out multi-domain operations that are manpower extensive and complex. She also underscored the need to advance command and control infrastructures, which is critical to combat success.

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    B-21, US Air Force, Lisa Disbrow, United States
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