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With China gunning for aircraft carriers, US Navy says it has to change how it fights

WASHINGTON ? Just because China might be able to hit US Navy aircraft carriers with long-range anti-ship missiles doesn’t mean carriers are worthless, the service’s top officer said December 5.

The chorus of doom and gloom over China’s anti-access weapons is too simplistic, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said, but that doesn’t mean the Navy should refrain from adjusting the way it fights.

“Let’s look at this like a physics problem,” Gilday proposed. “[People will say]: ‘Hypersonics go really fast and they travel at long ranges. Carriers can only travel [‘X’ distance], so carriers are going to have to go away.’ That’s a very simplistic way to look at the problem.

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Plans for Pentagon’s Future Flying Bomb Truck Begin to Take Shape

Defense Department officials may select a bomber already in the Air Force’s inventory to become its munitions-packed “arsenal plane,” Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said Tuesday.

Roper told reporters in Washington, D.C. that the service has a vision for its current bomber fleet, which constitutes turning the bomber force — the B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer or B-2 Spirit — into “something else” in the future. Hypothetically, a B-52 loaded with multiple hypersonic weapons can evolve from its standard function into a “missileer,” Roper said.

The acquisition chief said the service has been working with the Air Force Global Strike Command on hypersonic weapons tests on the B-52. The Air Force in June flew its first test flight of the AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon, a hypersonic weapon known as ARRW (pronounced “Arrow”).

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Air Force bomber plan: B-2, B-52 and B-1 to fly into 2040

The B-52 will be armed with long-range, nuclear cruise missiles? the B-2 will elude the most modern air defenses and the B-1B bomber will fire hypersonic weapons — if the Air Force?s plan for the next several decades comes to fruition.

Air Force weapons developers are immersed in an intricate plan to bring the service?s bomber fleet into future decades — by adding weapons, avionics and networking technologies to current aircraft and moving quickly to bring new B-21 bombers to the force.

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