Bomber

Bomber

Overview
A bomber is a military aircraft
Military aircraft
A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft that is operated by a legal or insurrectionary armed service of any type. Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat:...

 designed to attack ground and sea targets, by dropping bomb
Aerial bomb
An aerial bomb is a type of explosive weapon intended to travel through the air with predictable trajectories, usually designed to be dropped from an aircraft...

s on them, or – in recent years – by launching cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s at them.


Strategic bomber
Strategic bomber
A strategic bomber is a heavy bomber aircraft designed to drop large amounts of ordnance onto a distant target for the purposes of debilitating an enemy's capacity to wage war. Unlike tactical bombers, which are used in the battle zone to attack troops and military equipment, strategic bombers are...

s are primarily designed for long-range bombing missions against strategic targets such as supply bases, bridges, factories, shipyards, and cities themselves, in order to damage an enemy's war effort. Current examples include the nuclear-armed: B-2 Spirit
B-2 Spirit
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is an American heavy bomber with low observable stealth technology designed to penetrate dense anti-aircraft defenses and deploy both conventional and nuclear weapons. The bomber has a crew of two and can drop up to eighty -class JDAM GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen ...

, B-52 Stratofortress
B-52 Stratofortress
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber operated by the United States Air Force since the 1950s. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, who have continued to provide maintainence and upgrades to the aircraft in service...

, Tupolev Tu-95
Tupolev Tu-95
The Tupolev Tu-95 is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the former Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040...

 'Bear', Tupolev Tu-22M
Tupolev Tu-22M
The Tupolev Tu-22M is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Soviet Union. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air Force....

 'Backfire'; historically notable examples are the: Gotha G
Gotha G
|-See also:-References:* The Complete Encyclopedia of Flight 1848-1939 by John Batchelor and Malcolm V. Lowe-External links:*...

, Avro Lancaster
Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force . It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other...

, Heinkel He-111, Junkers Ju 88
Junkers Ju 88
The Junkers Ju 88 was a World War II German Luftwaffe twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Designed by Hugo Junkers' company through the services of two American aviation engineers in the mid-1930s, it suffered from a number of technical problems during the later stages of its development and early...

, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator
B-24 Liberator
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and a small number of early models were sold under the name LB-30, for Land Bomber...

, B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

, and Tupolev Tu-16
Tupolev Tu-16
The Tupolev Tu-16 was a twin-engine jet bomber used by the Soviet Union. It has flown for more than 50 years, and the Chinese license-built Xian H-6 remains in service with the Chinese air force.-Development:...

 'Badger'.

Tactical bombing
Tactical bombing
Tactical bombing is the aerial bombing aimed at targets of immediate military value, such as troops, military installations or equipment. This is in contrast to strategic bombing, attacking enemy's cities and factories to debilitate the enemy's capacity to wage war, the enemy's future military...

, aimed at enemy's military units and installations, is typically assigned to smaller aircraft operating at shorter ranges, typically along the troops on the ground or sea.
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Encyclopedia
A bomber is a military aircraft
Military aircraft
A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft that is operated by a legal or insurrectionary armed service of any type. Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat:...

 designed to attack ground and sea targets, by dropping bomb
Aerial bomb
An aerial bomb is a type of explosive weapon intended to travel through the air with predictable trajectories, usually designed to be dropped from an aircraft...

s on them, or – in recent years – by launching cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s at them.

Classifications of bombers



Strategic bomber
Strategic bomber
A strategic bomber is a heavy bomber aircraft designed to drop large amounts of ordnance onto a distant target for the purposes of debilitating an enemy's capacity to wage war. Unlike tactical bombers, which are used in the battle zone to attack troops and military equipment, strategic bombers are...

s are primarily designed for long-range bombing missions against strategic targets such as supply bases, bridges, factories, shipyards, and cities themselves, in order to damage an enemy's war effort. Current examples include the nuclear-armed: B-2 Spirit
B-2 Spirit
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is an American heavy bomber with low observable stealth technology designed to penetrate dense anti-aircraft defenses and deploy both conventional and nuclear weapons. The bomber has a crew of two and can drop up to eighty -class JDAM GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen ...

, B-52 Stratofortress
B-52 Stratofortress
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber operated by the United States Air Force since the 1950s. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, who have continued to provide maintainence and upgrades to the aircraft in service...

, Tupolev Tu-95
Tupolev Tu-95
The Tupolev Tu-95 is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the former Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040...

 'Bear', Tupolev Tu-22M
Tupolev Tu-22M
The Tupolev Tu-22M is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Soviet Union. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air Force....

 'Backfire'; historically notable examples are the: Gotha G
Gotha G
|-See also:-References:* The Complete Encyclopedia of Flight 1848-1939 by John Batchelor and Malcolm V. Lowe-External links:*...

, Avro Lancaster
Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force . It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other...

, Heinkel He-111, Junkers Ju 88
Junkers Ju 88
The Junkers Ju 88 was a World War II German Luftwaffe twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Designed by Hugo Junkers' company through the services of two American aviation engineers in the mid-1930s, it suffered from a number of technical problems during the later stages of its development and early...

, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator
B-24 Liberator
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and a small number of early models were sold under the name LB-30, for Land Bomber...

, B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

, and Tupolev Tu-16
Tupolev Tu-16
The Tupolev Tu-16 was a twin-engine jet bomber used by the Soviet Union. It has flown for more than 50 years, and the Chinese license-built Xian H-6 remains in service with the Chinese air force.-Development:...

 'Badger'.

Tactical bombing
Tactical bombing
Tactical bombing is the aerial bombing aimed at targets of immediate military value, such as troops, military installations or equipment. This is in contrast to strategic bombing, attacking enemy's cities and factories to debilitate the enemy's capacity to wage war, the enemy's future military...

, aimed at enemy's military units and installations, is typically assigned to smaller aircraft operating at shorter ranges, typically along the troops on the ground or sea. This role is filled by various aircraft classes, as different as light bomber
Light bomber
A light bomber is a relatively small and fast class of military bomber aircraft which were primarily employed before the 1950s. Such aircraft would typically not carry more than one ton of ordnance....

s, medium bomber
Medium bomber
A medium bomber is a bomber aircraft designed to operate with medium bombloads over medium distances; the name serves to distinguish them from the larger heavy bombers and smaller light bombers...

s, dive bomber
Dive bomber
A dive bomber is a bomber aircraft that dives directly at its targets in order to provide greater accuracy for the bomb it drops. Diving towards the target reduces the distance the bomb has to fall, which is the primary factor in determining the accuracy of the drop...

s, fighter-bomber
Fighter-bomber
A fighter-bomber is a fixed-wing aircraft with an intended primary role of light tactical bombing and also incorporating certain performance characteristics of a fighter aircraft. This term, although still used, has less significance since the introduction of rockets and guided missiles into aerial...

s, ground-attack aircraft, multirole combat aircraft
Multirole combat aircraft
A multirole combat aircraft is an aircraft designed to act in at least two different roles in combat. The primary role is usually a fighter—hence, it is as often called a multirole fighter—while the secondary role is usually air-to-surface attack. More roles are added, such as air reconnaissance,...

, among others. Current examples: F-15E Strike Eagle
F-15E Strike Eagle
The McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle is an all-weather multirole fighter, derived from the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. The F-15E was designed in the 1980s for long-range, high speed interdiction without relying on escort or electronic warfare aircraft. United States Air Force F-15E Strike...

, F/A-18 Hornet
F/A-18 Hornet
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to dogfight and attack ground targets . Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and...

, Sukhoi Su-34
Sukhoi Su-34
The Sukhoi Su-34 is a Russian twin-seat fighter-bomber. It is intended to replace the Sukhoi Su-24.- Beginnings and testing :The Su-34 had a somewhat muddied and protracted beginning...

 'Fullback', Chengdu J-10
Chengdu J-10
The Chengdu J-10 is a multirole fighter aircraft designed and produced by the People's Republic of China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation for the People's Liberation Army Air Force...

, Xian JH-7
Xian JH-7
The Xian JH-7 ; NATO reporting name Flounder), also known as the FBC-1 Flying Leopard, is a tandem two-seat, twin-engine fighter-bomber in service with the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force , and the People's Liberation Army Air Force...

, Dassault-Breguet Mirage 2000, and the Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado
The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and manufactured by the United Kingdom, West Germany and Italy...

; historical examples: Ilyushin Il-2
Ilyushin Il-2
The Ilyushin Il-2 was a ground-attack aircraft in the Second World War, produced by the Soviet Union in very large numbers...

 Shturmovik, Junkers Ju 87
Junkers Ju 87
The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka was a two-man German ground-attack aircraft...

 Stuka, P-47 Thunderbolt
P-47 Thunderbolt
Republic Aviation's P-47 Thunderbolt, also known as the "Jug", was the largest, heaviest, and most expensive fighter aircraft in history to be powered by a single reciprocating engine. It was heavily armed with eight .50-caliber machine guns, four per wing. When fully loaded, the P-47 weighed up to...

, Hawker Typhoon
Hawker Typhoon
The Hawker Typhoon was a British single-seat fighter-bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft. While the Typhoon was designed to be a medium-high altitude interceptor, and a direct replacement for the Hawker Hurricane, several design problems were encountered, and the Typhoon never completely satisfied...

, and F-4 Phantom II
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

.

History


1911–1939


The first use of an air-dropped bomb was carried out by the Italians, initially by Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti
Giulio Gavotti
Giulio Gavotti was an Italian Lieutenant and pilot, who fought in the Italo-Turkish War. He set two firsts in the history of aerial warfare of heavier-than-air flyers: he was the first man to make an aerial bombardment, as well the first to perform a night mission.-Aerial bombardment:On the 1...

, in their 1911 war for Libya
Italo-Turkish War
The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy from September 29, 1911 to October 18, 1912.As a result of this conflict, Italy was awarded the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan, and...

. In 1912 Bulgarian Air Force pilot Christo Toprakchiev suggested the use of airplanes to drop "bombs" (as grenades were called in the Bulgarian army at this time) on Turkish positions. Captain Simeon Petrov developed the idea and created several prototypes by adapting different types of grenades and increasing their payload. On October 16, 1912, observer Prodan Tarakchiev dropped two of those bombs on the Turkish railway station of Karaagac (near the besieged Edirne) from an Albatros F.II airplane piloted by Radul Milkov.

After a number of tests Petrov created the final design, with improved aerodynamics, an X-shaped tail and impact detonator. This version was widely used by the Bulgarian Air Force during the siege of Edirne. Later a copy of the plans was sold to Germany and the bomb, codenamed "Chathaldza" ("Чаталджа", after the strategic Turkish town of Çatalca
Çatalca
Çatalca is a city and a rural district in Istanbul, Turkey. It is in Thrace, on the ridge between the Marmara and the Black Sea. Most people living in Çatalca are either farmers or those visiting vacation homes. Many families from Istanbul come to Çatalca during weekends to hike in the forests or...

) remained in mass production until the end of World War I.

The weight of the bomb was 6 kilograms (13.2 lb); on impact it created a crater 4 – wide and about 1 metres (3.3 ft) deep.

E. Mark cites Caproni Ca 30 and Bristol TB.8
Bristol TB.8
-External links:...

, both of 1913, as one of the first of heavier-than-air aircraft purposely designed for bombing.

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Germans used Zeppelin
Zeppelin
A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. It was based on designs he had outlined in 1874 and detailed in 1893. His plans were reviewed by committee in 1894 and patented in the United States on 14 March 1899...

s as bombers since they had the range and capacity to carry a useful bomb load from Germany to England. With advances in aircraft design and equipment, they were joined by larger multi-engined biplane aircraft on both sides for long range strategic bombing especially by night. The majority of bombing was still done by one-engined biplanes with one or two crew-members flying short distances to attack the enemy lines and immediate hinterland.

The world's first four-engined bomber was the Russian Il'ya Muromets created in 1914 and successfully used in World War I.

World War II


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 bombers often looked dramatically different from other aircraft. Because of the lack of power in aircraft engines at the time, bombers needed to have multiple engines in order to carry a reasonable load, in turn leading to much larger aircraft.
With engine power as a major limitation, combined with the desire for accuracy and other operational factors, bomber designs tended to be tailored to one particular role. By the start of the war this included
  • dive bomber
    Dive bomber
    A dive bomber is a bomber aircraft that dives directly at its targets in order to provide greater accuracy for the bomb it drops. Diving towards the target reduces the distance the bomb has to fall, which is the primary factor in determining the accuracy of the drop...

  • light bomber
    Light bomber
    A light bomber is a relatively small and fast class of military bomber aircraft which were primarily employed before the 1950s. Such aircraft would typically not carry more than one ton of ordnance....

    , medium bomber
    Medium bomber
    A medium bomber is a bomber aircraft designed to operate with medium bombloads over medium distances; the name serves to distinguish them from the larger heavy bombers and smaller light bombers...

     and heavy bomber
    Heavy bomber
    A heavy bomber is a bomber aircraft of the largest size and load carrying capacity, and usually the longest range.In New START, the term "heavy bomber" is used for two types of bombers:*one with a range greater than 8,000 kilometers...

  • torpedo bomber
    Torpedo bomber
    A torpedo bomber is a bomber aircraft designed primarily to attack ships with aerial torpedoes which could also carry out conventional bombings. Torpedo bombers existed almost exclusively prior to and during World War II when they were an important element in many famous battles, notably the...

  • specialized ground attack designs


Bombers are not intended to actively engage in combat with other aircraft. The majority have been relatively large and unmaneuverable – although some smaller designs have been used as the basis for specialist fighters, such as night fighter
Night fighter
A night fighter is a fighter aircraft adapted for use at night or in other times of bad visibility...

s.

Cold War



At the start of the Cold War, bombers were the only means to take nuclear
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 weapons to enemy targets, and had the role of deterrence
Deterrence theory
Deterrence theory gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons, and features prominently in current United States foreign policy regarding the development of nuclear technology in North Korea and Iran. Deterrence theory however was...

. With the advent of guided air to air missiles, bombers needed to avoid interception. High speed and high altitude flying became a means of evading detection and attack. Designs such as the English Electric Canberra
English Electric Canberra
The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. The Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other bomber through the 1950s and set a world altitude record of 70,310 ft in 1957...

 could fly faster or higher than contemporary fighters. When surface to air missiles became capable of hitting high flying aircraft bombers, bombers used flight at low altitude to evade radar detection.

Once "stand off" nuclear weapon designs were developed, bombers did not need to pass over the target at high altitude to make an attack; they could fire and turn away to escape the blast. Nuclear strike aircraft were generally finished in bare metal or anti-flash white to avoid any flash damage.

The need to drop conventional bombs remained in conflicts with a non-nuclear powers, such as the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 or Malayan Emergency
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

.

The development of large strategic bombers stagnated in the later part of the Cold War because of spiraling costs and the development of the Intercontinental ballistic missile
Intercontinental ballistic missile
An intercontinental ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a long range typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery...

 (ICBM) – which was felt to have equal deterrent value while being much more difficult to intercept. Because of this, the United States Air Force XB-70 Valkyrie
XB-70 Valkyrie
The North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie was the prototype version of the proposed B-70 nuclear-armed deep-penetration strategic bomber for the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command...

 program was cancelled in the early 1960s; the later B-1B Lancer
B-1 Lancer
The Rockwell B-1 LancerThe name "Lancer" is only applied to the B-1B version, after the program was revived. is a four-engine variable-sweep wing strategic bomber used by the United States Air Force...

 and B-2 Spirit
B-2 Spirit
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is an American heavy bomber with low observable stealth technology designed to penetrate dense anti-aircraft defenses and deploy both conventional and nuclear weapons. The bomber has a crew of two and can drop up to eighty -class JDAM GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen ...

 aircraft entered service only after protracted political and development problems. Their high cost meant that few were built and the 1950s-designed B-52s continued in use into the 21st century. Similarly, the Soviet Union used the intermediate-range Tu-22M
Tupolev Tu-22M
The Tupolev Tu-22M is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Soviet Union. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air Force....

 'Backfire'in the 1970s, but their Mach 3
Mach number
Mach number is the speed of an object moving through air, or any other fluid substance, divided by the speed of sound as it is in that substance for its particular physical conditions, including those of temperature and pressure...

 bomber project came to naught. The Mach 2 Tu-160 'Blackjack' was built only in tiny numbers, leaving the 1950s Tupolev Tu-16 and Tu-95
Tupolev Tu-95
The Tupolev Tu-95 is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the former Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040...

 'Bear' heavy bombers to continue being used into the 21st century.


The British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 strategic bombing force largely came to an end when the V Bomber
V bomber
The term V bomber was used for the Royal Air Force aircraft during the 1950s and 1960s that comprised the United Kingdom's strategic nuclear strike force known officially as the V-force or Bomber Command Main Force...

 force was phased out; the last of which left service in 1983. The French Mirage IV bomber version was retired in 1996, although the Mirage 2000N and the Rafale have a taken on this role. The only other nation that fields strategic bombing forces is the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, which has a number of Xian H-6
Xian H-6
The Xian H-6 is a license-built version of the Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 twin-engine jet bomber, built for the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force....

s.

Modern era


In modern air forces, the distinction between bombers, fighter-bombers, and attack aircraft has become blurred. Many attack aircraft, even ones that look like fighters, are optimized to drop bombs, with very little ability to engage in aerial combat. Indeed, the design qualities that make an effective low-level attack aircraft make for a distinctly inferior air superiority fighter, and vice versa. Conversely, many fighter aircraft, such as the F-16, are often used as 'bomb trucks,' despite being designed for aerial combat. Perhaps the one meaningful distinction at present is the question of range: a bomber is generally a long-range aircraft capable of striking targets deep within enemy territory, whereas fighter bombers and attack aircraft are limited to 'theater' missions in and around the immediate area of battlefield combat. Even that distinction is muddied by the availability of aerial refueling, which greatly increases the potential radius of combat operations.

Plans in the U.S. and Russia for successors to the current strategic bomber force remain only paper projects, and political and funding pressures suggest that they are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. In the U.S., current plans call for the existing USAF bomber fleet to remain in service until the mid-to-late 2020s, with the first possible replacements
2018 Bomber
The Next-Generation Bomber program is a medium bomber under development by the United States Air Force. It was originally projected to enter service around 2018 as a super stealthy, subsonic, medium range, medium payload "B-3" type system to augment and possibly to a limited degree replace the U.S...

 becoming operational in 2018. After this bomber the U.S. is also thinking of another bomber in 2037
2037 Bomber
The 2037 Bomber is the unofficial name given to a heavy strategic bomber planned by the United States Air Force. It is projected to enter service in 2037 as a stealthy, supersonic, long-range, heavy-payload, possibly unmanned aircraft to potentially replace the B-52 Stratofortress, which entered...

. The 2018 bomber will be made in small quantities as it will be a transition aircraft for this 2037 bomber. The 2018 bomber was, however, required to provide an answer to the fifth generation defense systems (such as SA-21 Growlers, bistatic radar
Bistatic radar
Bistatic radar is the name given to a radar system which comprises a transmitter and receiver which are separated by a distance that is comparable to the expected target distance. Conversely, a radar in which the transmitter and receiver are collocated is called a monostatic radar...

 and Active Electronically Scanned Array
Active Electronically Scanned Array
An Active Electronically Scanned Array , also known as active phased array radar is a type of phased array radar whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules . AESAs aim their "beam" by broadcasting radio energy that interfere...

 radar). Also, it was chosen to be able to stand strong against rising superpowers (China, India) and other countries with semi-advanced military capability (Iran). Finally, a third reason was long-term air support for areas with a low threat level (Iraq, Afghanistan). The latter was referred to as close air support for the global war on terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

 (CAS for GWOT). The 2018 bomber would thus be able to stay for extended periods on a same location (called persistence). Also, the 2018 bomber and later bombers could be automated
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

.

See also


  • Carpet bombing
    Carpet bombing
    Carpet bombing is a large aerial bombing done in a progressive manner to inflict damage in every part of a selected area of land. The phrase invokes the image of explosions completely covering an area, in the same way that a carpet covers a floor. Carpet bombing is usually achieved by dropping many...

  • Aerial bombing of cities
    Aerial bombing of cities
    A species of strategic bombing, the aerial bombing of cities began in 1915 during World War I, grew to a vast scale in World War II, and continues to the present day. The development of aerial bombardment marked an increased capacity of armed forces to deliver explosive weapons in populated areas...

  • Aerial interdiction
  • Offensive counter air
    Offensive counter air
    Offensive Counter-Air is a military term for the suppression of an enemy's military air power by destroying or disabling the aircraft—preferably on the ground. This includes disablement achieved by damaging the infrastructure or logistics.Operations include attacks on air bases...

  • Fighter
    Fighter aircraft
    A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...