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Air Force: Assessment of DOD's Report on Plan and Capabilities for
Evaluating Heavy Bombers (Letter Report, 01/10/94, GAO/NSIAD-94-99).

The Defense Department (DOD) is required to assess the effectiveness of
the B-52H and B-1B bombers in conventional missions and to report on its
ability to flight-test these bombers against a variety of current and
future threats.  GAO found that DOD's plan offers little insight into
how the key issues involving the B-1B will be addressed.  According to
the plan, the effectiveness of heavy bombers in conventional warfare
will depend on mission planning and the ability of the bombers to
deploy, perform long-duration sorties, penetrate air defenses, and
employ conventional weapons.  Pentagon officials made a conscious
decision to not include all the detail necessary to address the key
issues raised in the plan about the B-1B.  They view the plan as a
top-level guidance document in which more detail would have been
inappropriate.   GAO believes that of the key issues identified in the
plan, deployability is particularly critical.  Resolving this issue
would allow more-informed decisions on upgrading the B-1B bomber and
defining future conventional roles of the B-52 and the B-2 aircraft.
The plan concludes that although DOD can design realistic flight tests
to determine the survivability and the operational effectiveness of
proposed modifications to the B-1B and the B-52H aircraft, the design
will not duplicate all known threats. DOD attributes this limitation to
the lack of advanced threat air defense systems in the test resources
inventory and to the vast number of possible threat postures and

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Air Force: Assessment of DOD's Report on Plan and 
             Capabilities for Evaluating Heavy Bombers
      DATE:  01/10/94
   SUBJECT:  Operations analysis
             Defense operations
             Bomber aircraft
             Defense contingency planning
             Defense capabilities
             Air defense systems
             Tactical air forces
             Advanced weapons systems
IDENTIFIER:  B-52H Aircraft
             B-1B Aircraft
             B-52 Aircraft
             B-2 Aircraft
             Desert Storm

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