The idea of having a stealth bomber launched from an aircraft carrier raised great hopes in the military.
The strategic possibilities for a carrier air wing are tempting to imagine, as it would bring a new dimension of air power capable of challenging adversaries in unexpected ways.
A-12 Avenger: unfortunately canceled project
In the past, there was the possibility of developing a carrier-launched stealth bomber, Leveraging the Air Force’s stealth technology in collaboration with the Navy’s weapon developers. This project was named A-12 Avenger and began in the early 1980s as part of the Advanced Tactical Aircraft (ATA) program.
The primary objective was to replace the Northrop Grumman A-6 Intruder, which was in service with the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The A-12 had the potential to offer heavy, stealthy, long-range firepower in the 21st century, a feature in high demand at the time.
Despite high expectations, the A-12 Avenger program was canceled in 1991 due to delays, cost overruns, and complications between industry and the Navy. This fact deprived the Navy of a unique and unprecedented asset in its combat arsenal.
Untapped strategic potential
The cancellation of the A-12 Avenger program was a shock to the military community., The tactical qualities of a carrier-launched stealth bomber were many and varied. One of the most prominent was its impressive attack range.
While the B-2 bomber is known for long-duration missions, a carrier-launched aircraft can hit risky targets at much closer range. This will not only reduce the mission time, but also bring the stealth bombers closer to critical target areas, thereby increasing their effectiveness.
While aircraft such as the F-35C and F-35B have brought stealth into the maritime strike range, a single stealth bomber would pose an unknown risk to adversaries. Stealth bomber technology seeks to design aircraft so stealthy that their presence is not detected by the enemy.,
The concept of broadband stealth, which allows an aircraft to avoid low-frequency radar and “compromise” radar, is central to this strategy. The ability to avoid detection and avoid attack is an important goal in the development of stealth fighters.