Bomber ‘catch’

About $23 billion has already been spent on the B-2 “Invisible” Stealth Bomber that is 18 months behind schedule. The reason for the excessive spending and delays is that the B-2 program has a catch. To fully understand CATCH B-2, the tragi-comedy, we must go to the headquarters of Air Force Intelligence where the bomber is kept:

Major Major wearing a false mustache and large sunglasses climbs through a window and greets the test pilot for the bomber. “Yossarian, any sign of the B-2?”

Yossarian salutes. “No sir, sir.”

Major Major returns his salute. “There’s a $23 billion, state-of-the-art warplane on this base and you’re telling me you can’t find it?”

“Yes sir,” Yossarian says reluctantly.

“Excellent!” Major Major replied, “you are dismissed.”

“Sir?” Yossarian questioned, “do you want to call off the search for the B-2 bomber?”

“Only if you can find it.”

“Sir, you mean there is a catch?”

Major explained, “If we locate the ‘invisible’ bomber, Congress won’t approve the $70 billion to build a fleet of radar evading B-2’s.”

“I think I’m starting to get it. We’re looking for the B-2 because it’s invisible.”

“Exactly,” Major Major interupted.

“But as soon as we find the bomber, it won ‘t be ‘invisible’ anymore and Congress will scrap or trim the program. But if we can’t locate it, the bomber will be a success. That’s some catch, that CATCH B-2.”

“But sir, ” Yossarian added, “won’t we have to find the B-2 for test flights?”

“Yossarian, that’s the beauty of the Stealth program. The bomber wasn’t meant to fly—it was only built to force the Soviets to spend more money. You see, the B-2 will render the Soviet interceptors, missiles and radars useless. And to counter our ‘invisible’ bomber, the Soviets will have to spend ten times as much as we will spend on the B-2 program.”

“But how do the Soviets know the B-2 bomber works?”

Major Major responded, “Because Soviet Intelligence can’t locate the bomber either.”

Patrick Garrey