Sunday, March 18, 2012

Strategic Bomber Gets a Double Take

There's a nice article in the March 2012 issue of Aerospace America (sorry - only available online to AIAA members) about the need for a new U.S. strategic bomber ("Strategic bombers - relevant again" by Richard Aboulafia). B-1s are due to retire in 2030, B-52s in 2040 at age 80 (yes, an 80 year old aircraft), and B-2s in 2050. Now is the time to start designing and building a new bomber to enter service when its venerable older siblings start retiring.

But that's not why I'm writing this. On page 22 there's a photo montage captioned "The U.S. bomber fleet offers [emphasis mine] a wide mix of aircraft." Included in the photo with the previously mentioned aircraft are the FB-111 and B-58.

Whoa. That got a double take.

Scan of a photo from page 22 of the March 2012 issue of Aerospace America. Note the verb tense in the caption.
The F-111 Aardvarks retired in the late 1990s. I had the pleasure of seeing a couple on the factory floor at General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin Aeronautics) in Fort Worth. The B-58 Hustlers were retired in 1970 - 42 years ago. I saw one once in a museum.

I read that caption and immediately flipped back a page to see what exactly I had missed in the article. Are they bringing them out of retirement?

Alas, it appears to be just a proofreading oversight.

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