A semi-secret Pentagon plan to convert old war planes into “flying launchpads” or “arsenal planes” to aid stealthier, less weapons-capable planes was mentioned by Defense Secretary Ash Carter in a speech outlining a $583 billion military budget for 2017.
Though Carter avoids naming which aircraft would serve what role, an “arsenal plane” would certainly benefit F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters, which are limited to carrying bombs internally since external arms ruin their stealth capabilities.
The F-22 is capable of carrying just two air-to-air missiles and from two to eight bombs, depending on the type. The F-35, a notoriously over-budget and under-performing plane, can only handle two bombs and two air-to-air missiles due to its unfinished software system.
-More at RT