US PRESIDENT Bill Clinton has ordered "a fresh look" at the potential requirement for more than 20 Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bombers. He has ordered the National Security Council to examine options for providing the US Air Force with more B-2s.

The policy re-evaluation follows action by US lawmakers to include nearly $500 million in the 1996 defence budget for additional B-2s. In 1995, the US Congress lifted its cap on B-2 production, which had limited the USAF to 20 bombers already operational or on order.

The directive runs counter to arguments by Pentagon officials who believe that the USAF should improve bombers now in service and buy more "smart" munitions.

Source: Flight International