I hate to say it, but you have a SERIOUSLY overblown sense of the US military. There is NO WAY that the US can take out the NKAF plus air defenses
with one carrier, in country forces and the ROKAF.
Carriers don't fight alone in a surrounded littoral basin. OTOH, the ROKAF OOB includes-
Either of the Phantoms can defeat the MiG-21MF/23ML on their own and come up roughly even on the MiG-21Bis/29A with advantaged GCI vectoring. The
Bomrae can defeat ANY of the principal enemy air threats.
The principal differences (aside from a 10:1 training hours regimen) being about 150nm more radius, ECM pods, AMRAAM, functional LDSD, fighter:fighter
LINK and of course sortie logistics. Plus American AWACS out of Japan.
Of the DPRKAF total, only the MiG-23L and MiG-29A can function even marginally effectively without GCI. And NONE can function over more than a 150nm
radii without crippling their missile loads with external fuel. It's commonly seen, the last time a KC-135 was intercepted in the Yellow Sea, it was
by Floggers (can't sweep) and Fulcrums (can't carry MRM) with wing tanks.
The latter is particularly important because this is the DPRKAF A2A OOB-
Between them, the ROKAF outnumbers the DPRKAF 355:272. If you remove the point defense assets this rises to 355:110 or a 3:1 advantage. This means
that the DPRKAF cannot generate enough 'instant on' sorties to overwhelm the ROKs air defenses and once the battle switches to OCA, they can
generate _so many_ 'over your airbase not mine' sorties as to guarantee hitting the Norks on the ground.
Whether this numeric + quality differential would be sustainable in the face of commando attacks and the DPRK's switch to a missile based offensive
force is uncertain. But if they cannot beat the ROKAF into the ground without going to nukes to compensate for targeting errors ad ERINT, they cannot
beat the ROKs _period_. Since the immediate response to DPRK attacks with any WMD will be to escalate in kind to protect OUR forces present on the
The USAF plan for a war in Korea was going to be to flood the country and region with as many tactical bombers and fighters as they could get there,
along with the heavy bombers in Guam and Okinawa. This was when the US military was capable of fighting two major wars and a regional conflict. They
have been slashed majorly since then, and there's no way they could do the same now.
Once you see the numbers of effective, projective, airpower start to dwindle towards 1-2 mission force, you realize that 'Air Dominance' basically
comes down to holding the door open while just a few raids go in with mass-kill weapons like Wicmid/SFW and GBU-39 (Misawa out of Japan if not Kunsan)
to end the fight on the ground. After which it doesn't matter how many threat jets are left because they won't have a functional ground forces
element to back up.
Of course this assumes that the Japanese will stand tall in the face of Tapaeo Dong and is why we are effectively abbrogating several BMD treaties by
making them and the Israelis our NMD testbed nations.
Maybe we DON'T need a bomber capable of hitting anywhere in the world in 2 hours right now, but we DO desperately need something to replace the B-52s
and even the B-1s that are in the inventory now.
Actually, I could go with such a capability for the reasons stated. Suppression of nuclear forces in-theater without broaching the glowie-in-darkie
floor ourselves as a function of _short stopping_ conflicts which we would otherwise have to play MacArthurian Johhny-Come-Lately games in.
The difference being that a true TAV would not need to come within more than about 1,000-1,500nm _at most_ to deliver inertial shells with much the
same behavior, on a much lower parabolic demi-arc, as MIRVs. i.e. VERY hard to intercept.
Which would you prefer? 50+ sorties by tactical bombers, with missiles, or 2 sorties by heavy bombers?
That will be decided by Targeting and Penetration values. If you can find the threats easily (remember, no GHawk, no Predator, no JSTARS, no E-10,
this is purely a 'flat footed' response curve designed to put /something/ out there, presumably after a Pearl Harbor scenario wipes out all regional
forces...) then it doesn't really matter WHO delivers the functional kill mechanism. OTOH, if the chary enemy, wise to the ways of airpower, DOES
NOT stay in contact along a 'frontal line' that a FAC can relate to. DOES NOT in fact obey linear warfare strategy with large numbered forces at
all (using mini kampfgruppe units to support special infantry infiltration tactics ala WWI). You may not be able to FIND enough threats to kill to be
worth the 3,300nm trip back to Alaska (where they are 'nominally' protected by THAAD as much as U.S. Sovereign territory...).
Comparitively, the 620nm back to Tokyo is just a hop skip and jump, even for tacair, IF you have the overwater safety net (tanking and CSAR or robotic
UCAVs) to support it. At which point, the ability to put 8 GBU-39 here for 4 hours, 4 WICMID over there for 2hrs, with a 20 airframe force constantly
rotating in and out may be better all round. NOT LEAST because, with all peninsular airpower lost and even with a system like naval ADSAM SM.6 (and
SM.3 LEAP) functioning as both a replacement OCA screen and a midcourse intercept ATBM shield to thin the herd on weapons headed across the Sea Of
Japan; you may STILL need the ability to fight and _run_.
Which no bomber can provide. And which no bomber /force/ composed of high value systems like a supercruise B-3 would be _allowed_ to do, on their own
without tacair support.
Personally I'd rather see 2 sorties go in, with the risk of 2 crew members in a B-2, 4 in a B-1, and 6 in a B-52 as opposed to 50 or more in the
Myself, depending on the force-on-force model used, I win a Korean peninsular war by generating a sacrificial kill zone probably 150km deep and then
maneuvering in depth behind it to kill them as they come. Knowing that the Norks can't win a sustained logistical battle and realizing that it is
long-past-dumb to _still_ have your capital within 25 miles of the DMZ and I _WILL NOT_ bleed for YOUR damn dirt! Even the bloody Germans were not
that stupid in 'relocating' Berlin to Bonn.
In this scenario, the best you can expect from a bomber response is a long range loft of JASSM-ER (500nm range) with the weapon itself performing
loitering target-assist if not called down immediately on targets like bridges, highway ramps and other _friendly_ (POL, comms, electrical, C2) assets
which could not be yielded to the enemy even as they were left behind. It's a helluva an expensive use of smart-cruise but that is where the line
falls for me on the use of 'bomber' platforms in an unsupported air supremacy scenario.
And the reason why is VLO technology, particularly that which is Gen-4/5 available by 2018 (combining optical and RF) is itself not worth losing to
some podunk threat with a dozen different nations maintaining TechINT 'bidding teams' in the nearest Hilton.
I give not a rat's ass about the crew on any single or dozen airframes because their loss of life is insignificant compared to the loss of technology
or even the loss (if we are so stupid as to stay in significant numbers) of U.S. forces stationed on a hotwar nuclear peninsula.
'Personally', given that ca. 2020 will be /at least/ five years into the 'next arms race' to deploy functional DEWS, including overhead killers
(principal means of targeting stratcom assets), I would prefer an unmanned weapons system that can fly 1,100nm, sit on station for 2hrs and come home.
In numbers sufficient to LOSE (gambit) in order to WIN.