The B-2 should be the most effective means of maintaining the contributions of the United States bomber force for the long term.
B-2's Contribution To U.S. National Security: The B-2 is an intercontinental bomber that employs stealth technology. Its primary mission will be to deter a nuclear attack by providing the bomber leg of our strategic Triad with the capability to penetrate Soviet air defenses.
The Threat: Since 1965, the Soviets have invested over $400 billion to create a formidable integrated air defense system. By the mid-1990s, the Soviet homeland defense force will consist primarily of look-down shoot-down systems and new surface-to-air missile systems continue to replace older ones. This threat extends beyond the Soviet Union to other areas such as the Persian Gulf and the Pacific, where United States forces might be called upon to operate.
Stealth Technologies Reduce The B-2's Signature: "Stealth" is a popular name for a group of technologies more precisely termed "low observables". Stealth not only protects an aircraft (defense) , but greatly enhances the aircraft's likelihood of prosecuting a successful strike (offense).
Stealth Technology Is Proven In Southwest Asia: The success of the F-117A stealth fighter in the Persian Gulf war demonstrates the importance of continuing the B-2 stealth bomber program, a system almost canceled by Congress last year.
B-52 Nor B-1 Are Viable Long Term Alternatives: The B-52 is already so constrained by advances in air defense technology that it is losing its viability as a penetrating bomber. Also, the B-1 will be increasingly constrained by the evolving air defense threat environment.
Cost: Because the B-2 has drawn such critical attention and comment, cost has emerged as one of the most important issues in determining whether or not the B-2 Program goes forward.
Counting Rule In Strategic Arms Reduction Talks: In the ongoing Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START), the United States and the Soviet Union have agreed to count bombers as the equivalent of one nuclear warhead.
Conclusion: The most effective method of maintaining the viability of the bomber force is to procure the B-2.
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