Dyess AFB set to receive B-21 Raider; part of larger upgrades to - FOX34 Lubbock

Dyess AFB set to receive B-21 Raider; part of larger upgrades to nuclear arsenal

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

West Texas is one step closer to securing the screams of bombers for years to come. 

The Air Force plans to phase out its B-1 Lancers by the mid 2030s. To fill that void, it is considering basing its next generation nuclear capable bomber, the top secret Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider, at Dyess AFB in Abilene, Texas.

"Dyess was traditionally a B-52 base back in the old cold war days so they've got all the infrastructure they need to be able to store weapons to be able to put people on alert, to be able to do all those types of things," said Col/ Dave Lewis, Institute of Peace and Conflict, Texas Tech.

"I think Abilene, so far, has proven that they've done everything right," said Lubbock Rep. Jodey Arrington. "We're trying to support them from an appropriations of funds for infrastructure, on other components that will help them be in the front of the line to receive it if the Air Force chooses to base the B-21 at Dyess."

If chosen the base would play a larger role in President Trump's larger plan to upgrade the nations nuclear capabilities. 

"We're modernizing and creating, a brand new nuclear force and frankly we have to do it because there's others who are doing it," Pres. Trump said. "If they stop we'll stop but they're not stopping so if they're not going to stop we're going to be so far ahead of everybody else in nuclear, like you've never seen before."

The Pentagon's budget request would seek $24 billion for nuclear deterrence. $2.3 billion for the B-21, 3.7 billion for the future Columbia-Class submarine, $600 million for the future long range standoff cruise missile, and $300 million for the future ground based strategic deterrent ICBM.

"We want to make sure we have the capability to deter other countries that are nuclear equipped and number two, produce a credible response should we be attacked and I think that's one of the things that is designed to deter someone like Kim Jung-Un in North Korea," Col. Lewis said.

The 2019 budget request must be approved by Congress before any further action can be taken.

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