Providing an Effective Bomber Force for the Future

by Glenn Buchan, David R. Frelinger

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 2.6 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the authors outline RAND's assessment of what is necessary to provide the United States with an effective bomber force for the future. They focus on the implications of recent Air Force decisions to reduce the size of the bomber force. Drawing on several years of RAND analysis on how to use bombers to their best advantage in the future world, they argue that the currently planned bomber force could be effective in supporting a single major regional conflict, but only if the bombers are equipped with more effective weapons, modified to be more flexible and effective in a variety of roles, and used in more innovative ways. Key weapons that are not in the current Air Force plan include more accurate versions of smaller bombs and large numbers of long-range cruise missiles. The bombers themselves need better avionics, improved bomb racks, and, in some cases, better sensors and communications equipment. New operational concepts need to be developed to allow different bombers to be used in tandem for mutual support in providing massive firepower most efficiently. Even then, a larger bomber force could be needed to cope with two demanding regional conflicts simultaneously.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation testimony series. RAND testimonies record testimony presented by RAND associates to federal, state, or local legislative committees; government-appointed commissions and panels; and private review and oversight bodies.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.