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BLUE Episode 23: The Bombers

BLUE Episode 23: The Bombers


[INTENSE MUSIC PLAYING] MALE SPEAKER: STRATEGIC
BOMBERS HAVE THE ABILITY TO CARRY ALMOST ANY WEAPON
THE AIR FORCE HAS TO OFFER. IN THE PAST, THEY’VE
BEEN USED TO ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATE TARGETS. THEY STILL HAVE THAT
ABILITY, BUT WITH THE WAY MODERN COMBAT HAS EVOLVED,
PRECISION IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. WITH THE DESTRUCTION THESE
AIRCRAFT CAN BRING TO BEAR, JUST THE MERE
PRESENCE OF THEM IS ENOUGH TO CHANGE THE
ENEMY’S MIND. MALE SPEAKER: BOMBERS
REPRESENT OUR ABILITY TO RAPIDLY PROJECT POWER FROM
CONES, FROM THE UNITED STATES. IT IS ONE OF MOST — OUR
MOST FLEXIBLE AND VISIBLE POWER PROJECTION TOOLS
THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS AT HIS FINGERTIPS, AND
IT GIVES HIM OPTIONS. BOMBERS REPRESENT OUR
ABILITY TO PROJECT POWER WHICH OTHER COUNTRIES ON
THE PLANET DON’T HAVE. MALE SPEAKER: OUR ENEMIES
KNOW THAT WE HAVE THAT CAPABILITY WITH A
LOW-OBSERVABLE BOMBER TO JUST SHOW UP AT ANY POINT
OVER THEIR AIRSPACE AND HOLD THEIR
TARGETS AT RISK. SO, TO ACTUALLY KNOW THAT
ONE SHOWED UP FOR WHATEVER THE CASE MAY BE REALLY
SENDS A MESSAGE FROM THE U.S., SAYING THAT WE’RE
NOT PLAYING AROUND. SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE,
OR, YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY, OR
WE’RE GOING TO SHOW UP WITH THIS ASSET, AND
YOU’RE NOT GOING TO KNOW WHEN, AND IT’S NOT
GOING TO BE GOOD. MALE SPEAKER: BOMBERS
HAVE MASSIVE PAYLOAD CARRIAGE CAPABILITY, AS
WELL AS A COMBAT RANGE THAT EXCEEDS ANY FIGHTER
OUT THERE, WHICH ALLOWS THEM TO BE THAT INTERCONTINENTAL
POWER PROJECTION TOOL. WHEN WE MOVE A FIGHTER
SQUADRON, IT’S A BIG DEAL, BUT IT’S A REGIONAL
KIND OF THREAT. WHEN A BOMBER MOVES,
THE ENEMY WATCHES. THE ENEMY KEEPS TRACK, AND
THE ADVERSARY KEEPS TRACK OF ALL OUR BOMBER
MOVEMENTS, SO IT IS A TOOL TO MESSAGE FOR BOTH THE
COMBATANT COMMANDERS AND THE PRESIDENT. MALE SPEAKER: THE U.S. HAS THREE STRATEGIC
BOMBERS: THE B-1, B-2, AND B-52. THEY ALL HAVE UNIQUE
CAPABILITIES THAT THEY BRING TO THE FIGHT, BUT
WHEN YOU NEED TO DELIVER ORDINANCE WITHOUT THE
ENEMY EVER KNOWING THAT YOU WERE THERE, THAT’S
WHERE THE B-2 SHINES. YOU WERE THERE, THAT’S
WHERE THE B-2 SHINES. MALE SPEAKER: WELL,
THE B-2 OFFERS US THAT FLEXIBLE OPTION IN A WORLD
WHERE OUR ENEMIES ARE CONTINUALLY DEVELOPING NEW
AND BETTER AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS. AND WITH THOSE SYSTEMS, IT
BASICALLY KEEPS OUR OLDER, YEAH, SYSTEMS AND MORE
LEGACY AIRCRAFT AT BAY. WE STILL NEED THAT ABILITY
TO FLY IN AND HOLD THEIR TARGETS OF VALUE AT RISK
IN A HIGHLY-DENIED AREA, AND THAT’S WHAT THE B-2 PROVIDES WITH ITS LOW OBSERVABILITY
CAPABILITIES. MALE SPEAKER: AS IF BEING
THE WORLD’S ONLY STEALTH BOMBER WASN’T UNIQUE ENOUGH,
FEWER THAN A THOUSAND AIRMAN HAVE EVER FLOWN IN ONE. MALE SPEAKER: EVERYBODY
THAT GETS TO FLY IN THE B-2 IS PROVIDED A SPIRIT
NUMBER VIA NORTHROP GRUMMAN. SO, FROM THE VERY FIRST
PILOT TO OUR LATE GUYS THAT CAME AFTER ME, YOU
HAVE A NUMBER SAYING, “HEY, IN MY CASE I WAS THE
SIX HUNDRED AND SECOND PERSON TO FLY IN THE B-2.” SO, IT JUST KIND OF PUTS
IN PERSPECTIVE HOW FEW PEOPLE TOTAL OVER THE
LIFESPAN OF THIS AIRCRAFT WHO HAVE ACTUALLY GOTTEN
TO FLY THE AIRCRAFT. MALE SPEAKER: WHILE MOST
OF OUR BOMBERS WERE DESIGNED MALE SPEAKER: WHILE MOST
OF OUR BOMBERS WERE DESIGNED WITH NUCLEAR
DETERRENCE IN MIND, AND THAT ROLE IS STILL VERY
PREVALENT, THEIR ABILITY TO CARRY MASSIVE PAYLOADS
AND DELIVER PRECISION STRIKE IS BEING USED
AROUND THE WORLD TO SUPPORT OUR COMBATANT
COMMANDERS AND OUR ALLIES WITH CLOSE AIR SUPPORT. MALE SPEAKER: IN THE
CURRENT CONFLICT, THE B-1 BRINGS A PHENOMENAL
CONVENTIONAL CAPABILITY. WE CAN EMPLOY GUIDED
WEAPONS OF VARIOUS TYPES. WE DO HAVE A LOT OF
EXPERIENCE INTEGRATING WITH OTHER PLATFORMS. FIGHTERS, ISR, ANY
OTHER TYPE OF PLATFORM, ESSENTIALLY, THAT ARE
VITAL TO THE STRATEGIC MESSAGING THAT OUR
COMBATANT COMMANDERS ARE TRYING TO ARTICULATE. MALE SPEAKER:
WELL, IT’S SCARY. THIS JET CAN GO
SUPERSONIC, WHICH MEANS IT CAN GET THERE IN A MATTER
OF AN HOUR OR TWO, AS OPPOSED TO A B-52, WHICH
— SOMETIMES IT COULD TAKE AS MUCH AS AN ENTIRE DAY
TO GET WHERE IT’S GOING. MALE SPEAKER: OF THE
THREE BOMBERS, THE B-52 IS THE OLDEST, BUT THERE’S A
REASON IT’S STILL AROUND. IT’S PROVEN TO BE ONE OF
THE MOST RELIABLE JETS IN THE U.S. INVENTORY. SO RELIABLE, IN FACT, THAT
SOME HAVE BEEN PULLED OUT OF THE BONEYARD TO BE
PUT BACK INTO SERVICE. MALE SPEAKER:
THAT’S PRETTY COOL. WHEN WE DO STUFF LIKE THAT,
WE HAVE TO PULL IT OUT WITH, LIKE, HERE, OR
HAVE TO TINKER — DO ALL THE UPGRADES AS — HAVE
BEEN DONE TO THE JET THAT HADN’T BEEN UPGRADED
ON THAT JET. MALE SPEAKER: THE REASON
THAT WE’VE PULLED AN ALMOST 70-YEAR-OLD BOMBER
OUT OF THE BONEYARD IS BECAUSE OF ITS ABILITY TO
CARRY A MASSIVE PAYLOAD OF 70,000 POUNDS. TO PUT THAT INTO
PERSPECTIVE, THE B-17S OF WORLD WAR II TYPICALLY
ONLY CARRIED 4,000 POUNDS. THE B-52 CAN CARRY AN
ARRAY OF MUNITIONS, INCLUDING NUCLEAR WEAPONS. MALE SPEAKER: 50 YEARS,
WE STILL HAVE A B-52 BECAUSE IT’S STILL A
VERY VIABLE PLATFORM. WITH THAT PAYLOAD
CARRIAGE, YOU KNOW, WE CAN LOAD ANYTHING ON A
B-52, PRETTY MUCH. IT — BUT IT CAN ALSO
DRIVE A LONG TIME BEFORE IT NEEDS ANOTHER
TANK OF GAS. SO IT CARRIES IT, IT DROPS
THE LOAD OFF, AND IT COMES BACK. MALE SPEAKER: BY THE
TIME ALL THREE BOMBING PLATFORMS ARE SLATED TO RETIRE,
THEY’LL BE OVER 50 YEARS OLD. TO KEEP THEM CAPABLE, MODERNIZATION BECOMES
A TOP PRIORITY. MALE SPEAKER: EVERY
PLATFORM BASICALLY HAS MODERNIZATION
GOING ON WITH IT. THE TIMELINE ESTABLISHED
WITH THOSE ARE EVEN — THEY’RE STARTING NOW
AND GO THROUGH 2030S. AND SOME ARE SHORTER, BUT
THEY ARE BASED ON WHAT THE ASSET THEY’RE REPLACING
NEEDS TO BE DONE. MALE SPEAKER: TO KEEP IT
LETHAL, YOU KNOW, THE BOMBER ITSELF IS THE
PLATFORM, BUT THE DEFENSIVE SYSTEMS, THE
OFFENSIVE SYSTEMS ARE, YOU KNOW — OUR BOMB COMPUTERS
ARE WEAPONS THEMSELVES. WE WANT TO KEEP IMPROVING
THAT CAPABILITY SO WE’RE MORE LETHAL AT ALL TIMES. AS LONG AS WE’RE A SUPERPOWER,
WE’RE GOING TO HAVE BOMBERS, BECAUSE IT’S
OUR ABILITY TO PROJECT POWER, PURE AND SIMPLE. [INTENSE MUSIC PLAYING] [AIRPLANE FLYING] [MAJESTIC MUSIC PLAYING]


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