Strategic Bombers

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Recommended Citation

"Strategic Bombers", Nuclear Strategy, December 31, 2001,

The United States operates two types of long-range strategic nuclear bombers: B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress. Both are capable of delivering nuclear bombs (B61 and B83) and the B-52 can also deploy air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM and ACM).

A third aircraft, the B-1, has been referred to by the US Air Force as a “conventional-only” bomber since 1994, when the Nuclear Posture Review decided to backfit the aircraft to deliver a wide range of conventional weapons. Since then the nuclear capability has been secretly maintained under a B-1 Nuclear Rerole Plan, but the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review finally decided to end bomber’s nuclear capability.

The items in the right-hand bar provide links to copies of FOIA documents relating to nuclear bomber operations and planning.

FOIA documents

>> The B-1B Nuclear Rerole Plan

>> Briefing, Air Combat Command, Directorate of Plans and Programs, “Bomber Capabilities: An Update to the Warfighter,” 1998. [1.3 MB]

>> Air Combat Command, “Bomber Modernization” (12 Jan 1998).

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