WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. — In the topsy-turvy world of U.S. strategic bombers, older and uglier beats newer and snazzier.
As the Air Force charts the future of its bomber aircraft fleet, the youngest and priciest — the stealthy B-2 — is to be retired first.
The oldest and stodgiest — the Vietnam-era B-52, nicknamed the Big Ugly Fat Fellow — will go last.
It could still be flying at age 100.
A driving force behind these calculations is the enormous cost of fielding a next-generation bomber, the B-21 Raider, at the same time the Pentagon spends hundreds of billions to replace the entire nuclear arsenal.