Despite that, the missile strikes against minor targets demonstrate it is not one missile per target. In 2017, a small attack against a minor airfield
used 61 missiles (with 2 not reaching the target area). BDA doesn't show 59 hits, but does show multiple strikes against a hardened hangar that suggests any form of hardening beats a Tomahawk (interesting point about RAAF resilience). Really, that airfield was out of commission for barely hours. As another example, in 2018 the US, UK and France fired 105 cruise missiles
against 3 targets that were (at least) damaged. That's a mix of sea and air launched weapons
Sounds like and argument for hardening bases. You don't even need to put objects into them, simply by being hardened they become valuable targets and make the enemy commit significant forces to remove/mission kill them. Ukraine showed it is very hard to even destroy bridges.
Long range missiles IMO are very very useful. However, I think the idea that we will be able to sit back and bomb them into to submission with them its very optimistic. They would I think be useful at SEAD.. Soften it up.. Pepper them to reduce some of their awareness and capability, just a little..
I also feel like stealth bombers and gravity weapons aren't exactly the solution either. I feel like there is a middle ground we are missing here, looking at the development in Ukraine conflict, the longer drones seem interesting. Often described as loitering munitions or suicide drone, I think that is the wrong idea. Its not a loitering munition, circling and waiting to strike when a target is identified. You know what you want to hit, you just want to hit it very far away very cheaply and near continiously. This isn't against individual tanks or a car, its to take out fuel dumps, airfields, bridges.
More like Long range power guided munition. It needs to be simple. Straight forward. Easy to produce. Cheap. Packing a punch. I am cynical of weapons like SPear3 with 5-7kg of explosive taking out high value targets. It also isn't like an RC plane with some light weight explosive. Its like a 1000lb weapon with reach of 300-500km.
I don't think speed of the munition is critical. You could make it so it ditches or closes its wings and falls at sonic velocities to target. Sure they would be able to be intercepted in the air. But if you have ~500 long range munitions in the air, that is a lot of intercepts. Again, if you have SEAD, then this comes in after that. In bulk.
Also most munitions are designed to be carried on the outside of the aircraft. 4th gen was all about that. But now, and going forward, that isn't the case. In 5th and 6th gen designs, large internal bays are possible. The munition doesn't have to be designed to be at sub sonic or super sonic speeds on an external wing station on a fighter jet.
The internal weapons bay in the F-35 is a bit of weird shape. You could make two big 2500lb weapon that fits in there. But takes up almost all the volume of the bay and is designed for a mid sub sonic release. But again, I don't think fight jets are the ideal mass bombing platform.
The V1 bomb did a lot more damage and was built in significantly more numbers than the V2. Even though the V1 was fairly straight forward to intercept even with 1940's tech. V1 was 850Kg warhead, 2000kg 8x5m 600kmph. 250-300km range.
So yeh, I don't see why we can't build thousands of 1000kg bombs, with wings and engines, that can fly ~500 km and glide for the last 80km and drop at 900kmph almost vertically for the final seconds. Cost of ~$20,000.. They don't need much, inertial guidance, GPS, maybe a camera but smart enough to understand images, make em passive like NSM.
Hit the target with cruise missiles. SEAD. Some high value C&C, radar, SAMs, a fuel dump etc.
Have 3-4 C17 loaded with ~80 of these. Fire more cruise missiles that will arrive at the same time as these. So ~240t lands on site.
Have factories pumping these out at 1000 a day.