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Leading up to the long-awaited Air Force decision on a new bomber, it is what we do not know about this project—which some say will cost more than $80 billion—that is more compelling than what we do know.

We do not know the desired range, payload or maximum speed of the so-called Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRSB). We do not know to what degree it will be networked with the rest of the force. We do not know how many engines it will require. And we do not know if it will be tasked with carrying the Pentagon’s 30,000-lb. Massive Ordnance Penetrator, which the B-2 currently handles. These are key factors that dictate its design. So we do not really know what the bomber will look like, except that it is expected to employ modern stealthy attributes, likely pointing to a B-2-like delta-wing shape or, perhaps, a cranked kite.

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