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Air Force Global Strike Command chief Gen. Timothy Ray believes the arsenal plane concept likely means a new, “clean sheet” design rather than an existing bomber, he told reporters April 9. Ray also said the B-1 bomber is making huge strides in readiness recovery, discussed the preferred hypersonic missile for the bomber fleet, and suggested that AFGSC is getting out of the close air support business.
“The arsenal plane concept is probably better described as more of a clean-sheet approach to a platform that can affordably and rapidly fill the gap for long-range strike capabilities, and to go down more innovative paths,” Ray told participants in a Defense Writers Group telephone conference. Ray and Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Holmes have previously suggested the B-52 could fill the role of an arsenal plane loaded with standoff weapons to augment a stealthy conventional strike force.