Warplanes: September 18, 2000

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: next conflict) or 30m if it is not.--Stephen V Cole

Germany has completed the center fuselage section of what will be the first production Eurofighter Typhoon. This large section has been sent to England for assembly and will eventually fly for the British Royal Air Force. The final assembly of the first production Typhoon for the Luftwaffe will begin in December, while the final assembly of the first production Typhoon for the Spanish Air Force will start in March of next year.--Stephen V Cole

September 13, 2000; THE NEXT BOMBER: The Clinton Administration issued its Bomber Road Map about a year ago, which called for keeping the current bombers in service until a new bomber entered service in 2037. Congress would have none of this, and ordered the Air Force to present plans to field a new bomber by 2015. The choices were a modified B-2 or an entirely new subsonic bomber. The Air Force wanted to add two other choices, one of them a commercial aircraft loaded with cruise missiles and the second a hypersonic bomber. The hypersonic bomber idea was quickly abandoned as it could not be ready by 2015 and was considered fairly useless for conventional bombing as it could not carry a significant bomb load. The most logical choice (and the one favored by Congress and the Air Force) is a modified version of the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber. Perhaps to be designated as the B-2B Shadow, Northrop Grumman says it can put this into production for $3 billion in development costs and a per-unit cost of $600 million. (The B-2A costs about $2 billion per copy.) Northrop Grumman says it can deliver 40 of the

 


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