New bomber program might include escort UAVs

The Air Force’s next-generation, long-range bomber likely will be paired with unmanned reconnaissance support aircraft to help it successfully penetrate enemy airspace and make precision strikes, reports Aviation Week.

As part of the competition for fielding an optionally manned, low-observable long-range strike aircraft, teams led by Northrop Grumman and Boeing are expected to offer a low-observable, unmanned, subsonic reconnaissance support aircraft.

The large number of sophisticated capabilities for the mission are too much to try to load onto one platform; therefore, the project is expected to result in the development of a small number of long-range optionally manned bombers and a bigger fleet of unmanned adjunct aircraft to provide defensive support, targeting and specialized strike features, such as electronic or directed-energy attack, the publication stated.

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