As global tensions continue to rise against North Korea it’s important, now more than ever, that we be adamant and stay on top of our military power. After all, the Glorious Potatoe of North Korea is kinda crazy.
President Donald Trump publicly declared that the military is “locked and loaded” in response to recent develops made by the wayward country of North Korea but some reports have come in that may suggest we’re not quite as ready as we should be.
That’s right — out of 74 B-52 bombers, for example, only 33 are “locked and loaded” and ready to fly at any given moment. This is primarily due to budget cuts the Air Force has suffered over the last 8 years, you know… the End of an Error, which is raising questions as to if we’re really as prepared as we should be.
“On a nominal basis you don’t have more than single digits of B-2s available to do anything,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, currently the dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace. “If anything good comes out of the North Korea crisis,” it should be a wake-up call, he said.
“It’s not just the nation’s bomber force,” that is so stretched, Deptula said. “It’s the military writ large. The U.S. Air Force is the smallest and least ready it’s ever been in history – that should get people’s attention.”
Despite this “setback”, the bombers are indeed ready to meet the call if it’s made, stated Col. Robert Lepper, chief of the combat aircraft division at Air Force Global Strike Command.
“All three of our bomber fleets are capable of meeting their missions – they’ve always dealt with reduced bombers,” Lepper said. “Specifically with the B-2 fleet – we make decisions every day how to best utilize the aircraft … and meet the requirements that are there for us in that given day.”
The B-2’s primary job is that of a nuclear deterrent and earlier this year they made an unconventional run against ISIS forces in Libya, so at least they’re ready. They are typically not in the “conventional role”, being held back, if this were not the case there would not be enough aircraft to meet national security requirements.
Of the B1s, however, only 25 are ready to fly at a moments notice.
Despite the challenges facing all three airframes, Lepper was confident.