B-2 Spirit on Runway

Studies and Reports

CSBA Report

An Air Force for an Era of Great Power Competition

March 2019
Today, approximately 17 percent of the Air Force’s bomber and fighter inventory consists of stealth aircraft that are capable of maneuvering freely in contested areas created by modern surface-to-air and air-to-air threats. In the recommended future force, approximately 68 percent of the Air Force’s fighters and bombers would be stealth aircraft. The future force would also have a more balanced mix of short-range combat aircraft with small payloads and long-range penetrating bombers with large payloads.

Read more here »

mitchell Institute

Manned-Unmanned Aircraft Teaming: Taking Combat Airpower to the Next Level

July 2018
The Mitchell Institute’s July 2018 Policy Paper takes a look at how the future force structure can leverage unmanned capability in partnership with modern weapons platforms such as the B-21 Raider.

Read the Mitchell Institute study here »

mitchell Institute

Survivability in the Digital Age: The Imperative for Stealth

July 2017
Stealth, or aircraft signature reduction, is a potent and viable military capability in modern combat, and will remain so well into the future. It is not, however, an all or nothing capability, as some critiques have suggested. Investments in stealth technology significantly improve the ability of US aircraft to penetrate enemy air defenses and create significant costs for adversaries who attempt to defend against this technology.

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Deptula

Beyond the ‘Bomber’: The New Long-Range Sensor-Shooter Aircraft and United States National Security

2015
The new LRSS aircraft was determined to be a central element in the emerging combat cloud family of systems proposed by Pentagon planners. The critical attributes of the new long-range sensor-shooter are its combination of long-range, large payload, high survivability and versatility to adapt to new developments. These capabilities make the system uniquely suited to dealing with the challenges posed by the evolving security environment.

Read the Mitchell Institute study here »

Moeller

U.S. Bomber Force: Sized to Sustain an Asymmetric Advantage for America

November 2015
Study author Lt. Gen. Michael R. Moeller, U.S. Air Force (retired), examines the Long-Range Strike Bomber requirement by paring historic demand trends with numbers necessary to meet present and likely future contingencies.

Read the Mitchell Institute study here »

Congressional Research Service

U.S. Air Force Bomber Sustainment and Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

June 2014
Sustainment, modernization and size of the bomber force have been perennial legislative topics since the early 1990s. As the Air Force progresses through development and acquisition of the Long-Range Strike Bomber and begins the gradual phase-out of 50-year-old bombers, it is anticipated Congress will continue dealing with bomber sustainment and modernization legislation.

Read the Congressional Research Service report here »

Moeller

“Toward a Balanced Combat Air Force”

2014
This Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments report describes the type of combat aircraft the United States needs to counter the rising threat and challenges posed by anti-access and area-denial weapon systems.

Read the Mitchell Institute study here »

Congressional Research Service

“Crisis Stability and Long-Range Strike: A Comparative Analysis of Fighters, Bombers, and Missiles”

June 2014
This RAND report used an analytic framework to compare the effectiveness of using different strike systems (bombers, fighters, missiles) to manage or stabilize a crisis situation. The author, Forrest Morgan, found that long range bombers were the most effective weapon systems for managing a crisis and keeping the situation from escalating into a major conflict.

Read the Congressional Research Service report here »

Brent Scowcroft

Final Report of the Independent Bomber Force Review Commission

Long-range air power will be more important than ever in the decades ahead. Consequently, it is not believed that the planned force of B-2s will satisfy foreseeable U.S. military requirements.

Read the Federation report here »

Rand Corporation

Comparing the Cost of Penetrating Bombers to Expendable Missiles over 30 Years

August 2010
Comparisons between penetrating bombers and expendable missiles have long been an issue of debate. Within this debate, the question arises: Which approach is more affordable?

Read the Rand Corporation report here »

Rebecca Grant

Return of the Bomber: the Future of Long-Range Strike

February 2007
Access—the ability of U.S. military forces to reach fighting areas and conduct operations—has become one of the primary operational concerns in global contingency planning.

Read the Air Force Association special report here »

B-2 Banking Left

“The Radar Game: Understanding Stealth and Aircraft Survivability”

1998
This report explains how stealth aircraft use low observable technology to minimize the aircraft’s signature in radar, infrared, visual portions of the electromagnetic spectrum which makes it harder for air defenses to shoot them down.

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Roadmap

Future Bomber Force

1995
This report analyzes the value of long range, penetrating bombers and concludes that the B-2’s unique combination of stealth, precision weapons, and long-range “provide key capabilities not available from any other forces to meet critical future national security requirements.”

Read more here »

Air Force Reports

B-2 Pilots

U.S. Air Force Long-Range Strike Aircraft Whitepaper

November 2001
This whitepaper incorporates new defense planning and guidance in relation to employment of the Air Force’s long-range strike bombers.

Read the Air Force report here »

B-2 Banking Left

U.S. Air Force White Paper on Long-Range Bombers

March 1999
The document describes long-range bombers’ significance in protecting U.S. national security interests and articulates the Air Force vision of the long-range bomber in support of national security and military strategy.

Read the Air Force report here »

Roadmap

The Bomber Roadmap

June 1992
The roadmap lays out a careful, fiscally prudent plan to capitalize on the global reach inherent in the bomber force. It focuses on enhanced survivability, weapons carriage and flexibility to match the demands of decreased overseas presence, declining defense budgets and continuing American interests overseas.

Read the Air Force report here »

B-2 Refueling

The Case for the B-2: An Air Force Perspective

June 1990
The B-2 bomber is rooted in historical experience of long-range bomber development and operations, the bomber’s indispensable role in supporting nuclear deterrence and the unique flexibility that makes it a particularly effective weapon for conventional operations and the projection of U.S. power.

Read the Air Force report here »

B-2 Guarded

B-2 Survivability Against Air Defense Systems

March 1990
The paper analyzes the capabilities of conventional and unconventional air defense systems to defend against stealth systems and how the B-2 represents a dramatic lead in aircraft with stealth capabilities.

Read the Air Force report here »