By Sqn Ldr Vijainder K Thakur
27 Aug , 2015
No more are bombers used for strategic bombing aimed at crippling an adversary’s war fighting capability, as was the case in World War II. Now, they are used primarily for nuclear deterrence, force projection and attacking aircraft carriers with stand-off missiles. The IAF, the fourth largest air force in the world, currently has no bombers. The IAF’s principal adversary, the PLAAF, has invested heavily in bombers. It has a large fleet albeit of ageing aircraft which it assiduously nurtures and modernizes to steadily increase their lethality.
Since the end of World War II, apart from the use of the bomber aircraft having steadily declined worldwide, its role has changed. Advances in missile and radar technology have eroded the capability of bombers to penetrate contested airspace and consequently raised questions about their relevance in modern aerial warfare. Use of Low Observable (LO) shaping to thwart radar detection presents a solution albeit at a prohibitive cost. Currently, the United States is the only country which operates stealth bombers while Russia has started developing its own.
Role of Bombers in Contemporary Warfare