With weapons to help fight its way to target, could B-21 stealth bomber also become a stealth fighter?

Sept. 13, 2019
At least one Air Force general says the new Northrop Grumman-made bomber could gain air-to-air capabilities to help fight its way to its target.

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.

Related: Air Force asks Boeing to integrate next-generation nuclear cruise missile on B-52 bomber in $250 million deal

Related: Northrop Grumman begins production of processing subsystems for USAF B-2 bomber

Related: U.S. B-52 bombers are getting an upgrade that will let them drop smart munitions like never before

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!