Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

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popcorn

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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 01:18

Under the new plan the AF will be left with 75 B-52s and 100 B-21s. A lot depends on the Raider meeting it's cost and production targets to deliver the promised advanced capabilities in an airframe that's affordable to operate.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18 ... a-good-one

USAF's Controversial New Plan To Retire B-2 And B-1 Bombers Early Is A Good One

On February 11th, 2017 Aviation Week reported that the USAF has created an updated "bomber vector," basically its future roadmap for its bomber platforms, which includes divesting both the B-1B and B-2A fleets fully by the mid 2030s...

These decisions orbit around what I believe is the most important program in the USAF's portfolio at this time, the B-21 Raider. Although designated as a bomber, and certainly it will be able to perform those traditional missions, it really is a stealthy, high-flying, multi-mission and highly flexible platform that can reach out over long distances and touch the enemy without relying on nearby tanker support. It can also do so in some very dangerous neighborhoods and survive to do it again the next day. This aircraft will be absolutely critical to future combat operations in a wide variety of scenarios, but especially so for peer-state conflicts that the Pentagon and the Trump Administration have built their new defense strategy around.

The USAF says it needs at least a fleet of 100 B-21s, but many within the service and external to it are calling for a much larger fleet than that.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 01:21

popcorn wrote:Under the new plan the AF will be left with 75 B-52s and 100 B-21s. A lot depends on the Raider meeting it's cost and production targets to deliver the promised advanced capabilities in an airframe that's affordable to operate.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18 ... a-good-one

USAF's Controversial New Plan To Retire B-2 And B-1 Bombers Early Is A Good One

On February 11th, 2017 Aviation Week reported that the USAF has created an updated "bomber vector," basically its future roadmap for its bomber platforms, which includes divesting both the B-1B and B-2A fleets fully by the mid 2030s...

These decisions orbit around what I believe is the most important program in the USAF's portfolio at this time, the B-21 Raider. Although designated as a bomber, and certainly it will be able to perform those traditional missions, it really is a stealthy, high-flying, multi-mission and highly flexible platform that can reach out over long distances and touch the enemy without relying on nearby tanker support. It can also do so in some very dangerous neighborhoods and survive to do it again the next day. This aircraft will be absolutely critical to future combat operations in a wide variety of scenarios, but especially so for peer-state conflicts that the Pentagon and the Trump Administration have built their new defense strategy around.

The USAF says it needs at least a fleet of 100 B-21s, but many within the service and external to it are calling for a much larger fleet than that.



I'm going to be pessimistic on this one
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rheonomic

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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 02:06

*If* they meet cost and schedule targets, and *if* they buy in sufficient numbers, it probably make sense to replace the B-2s with B-2.1s. Hard to say for certain with only unclass data.
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 15:58

it really is a stealthy, high-flying, multi-mission and highly flexible platform that can reach out over long distances and touch the enemy without relying on nearby tanker support.

Since it's going to be smaller than the B-2 and presumably carry less fuel, how do you think it accomplishes this? Some breakthrough in engine tech that doesn't burn nearly as much fuel??
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 16:05

"USAF's Controversial New Plan To Retire B-2 And B-1 Bombers Early Is A Good One"

When it comes to military stuff if "The Drive" thinks it's a good idea it's almost certainly a terrible one- which it is. Yeah let's scrap our two best heavy bombers and trade them in for modern B-47s. What could possibly go wrong? :doh:
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 16:43

I just checked the B-21 budget.. Since it's a "Black" or should I say "Gray" program, no significant spending details are included other than MILCON spending starts in FY2021.
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durahawk

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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 17:49

sferrin wrote:"USAF's Controversial New Plan To Retire B-2 And B-1 Bombers Early Is A Good One"

When it comes to military stuff if "The Drive" thinks it's a good idea it's almost certainly a terrible one- which it is. Yeah let's scrap our two best heavy bombers and trade them in for modern B-47s. What could possibly go wrong? :doh:


The B-52 needs new engines, the B-1 and B-2 do not. I'm not sure what the justification is for keeping the Buff, at this point it doesn't seem to excel at anything except the ability to carry a crapton of ALCM's.
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 18:32

rheonomic wrote:*If* they meet cost and schedule targets, and *if* they buy in sufficient numbers, it probably make sense to replace the B-2s with B-2.1s. Hard to say for certain with only unclass data.



I don't think it's hard to say, and I'll go on record now with 3 predictions:

It will go over budget

It will encounter delays

They will not be able to purchase as many as they would like or even originally projected.


You will never guess what patterns I've seen repeatedly to suggest such predictions...

Bonus prediction, the aircraft they will "retire early" end up serving longer than anyone predicted and/or are not fully replaced ever
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 19:02

XanderCrews wrote:Bonus prediction, the aircraft they will "retire early" end up serving longer than anyone predicted and/or are not fully replaced ever

Since the B-52 has outlived the B-57, B-58, B-60, B-66, B-70, F-111, F-117, and B-1A I have no doubt it will outlive the B-1B and B-2.

I know not ALL of those were designed to replace the B-52, but they are all Air Force Bombers designed after the B-52.
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 20:16

I'm not sure what the justification is for keeping the Buff

Much lower CPFH than the B-2 and only a little higher than a B-1. New engines should make it much cheaper than the B-1.

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XanderCrews

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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 22:07

SpudmanWP wrote:
I'm not sure what the justification is for keeping the Buff

Much lower CPFH than the B-2 and only a little higher than a B-1. New engines should make it much cheaper than the B-1.

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They won't put new engines on it. Juice isn't worth squeeze
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 23:47

What "could have been"

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element1loop

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Unread post14 Feb 2018, 05:16

durahawk wrote: ... I'm not sure what the justification is for keeping the Buff, at this point it doesn't seem to excel at anything except the ability to carry a crapton of ALCM's.


That's 75 x (20 x JASSM-ER) = 1,500

Plus external MALD-J.

Which is a big hit for a maritime and coastal attack role, in 5th-gen controlled approaches. No reason why LRASM can't go on it as well.

Then 100 x B-21, closer in, and overland.

Keep in mind that China is also currently refitting its 1950s era bombers for the same ALCM/ASM deep standoff role even as it pursues LO air superiority to provide them cover.

The question is, can long-range non-LO deep standoff plaforms be defended by 5th-gens reliably enough, once OPFOR long-range sensors are degraded?

For the next couple of decades I'd say yes. MALD-J and F-35s should make it sufficiently onerous for even 250+ J-20s to do much about protected deep-standoff B-52s.

Wiki:
" ... Weapons upgrades include the 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade (IWBU), which gives a 66 percent increase in weapons payload using a digital interface and rotary launcher. IWBU is expected to cost roughly $313 million.[80] The 1760 IWBU will allow the B-52 to carry the AGM-158B JASSM-ER cruise missile and the ADM-160C MALD-J decoy missile. All 1760 IWBUs should be operational by October 2017. Two bombers will have the ability to carry 40 weapons in place of the 36 that three B-52s can carry.[81] The 1760 IWBU allows precision-guided missiles or bombs to be deployed from inside the weapons bay; previous aircraft carried these munitions externally on wing hardpoints. This increases the number of guided weapons a B-52 can carry and reduces the need for guided bombs to be carried on the wings. The first phase will allow a B-52 to carry twenty-four 500-pound guided JDAM bombs or twenty 2,000-pound JDAMs, with later phases accommodating the JASSM and MALD family of missiles.[82] In addition to carrying more smart bombs, moving them internally from the wings reduces drag and achieves a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption.[83]

Air Force scientists are working to arm the B-52 with defensive laser weapons able to incinerate attacking air-to-air or surface-to-air missiles. ... "


That's still a big stick and hard to get to, to kill.

A 5th-gen protected 'low'-tech meat-n-potates heavy bomber will be cheaper to operate over time, with a new engine.

Plan combo makes good sense.
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rheonomic

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Unread post14 Feb 2018, 05:22

mixelflick wrote:Since it's going to be smaller than the B-2 and presumably carry less fuel, how do you think it accomplishes this? Some breakthrough in engine tech that doesn't burn nearly as much fuel??


Could be more efficient engines, better aero, different mission profile, etc.

IIRC the B-2 performance was degraded when the AF added the requirement for low-level penetration.

XanderCrews wrote:I don't think it's hard to say, and I'll go on record now with 3 predictions:

It will go over budget

It will encounter delays

They will not be able to purchase as many as they would like or even originally projected.


The "hard to say" bit was in reference to how the performance / capabilities of the B-2.1 compare to the B-2 in terms of whether trying to replace the B-2s made sense.

These things always end up overbudget and delayed. If they're going to want to retire B-1s and B-2s they ought to damn sure wait until they have the equivalent number of B-2.1s in hand first.

element1loop wrote:That's still a big stick and hard to get to, to kill.

A 5th-gen protected 'low'-tech meat-n-potates heavy bomber will be cheaper to operate over time, with a new engine.

Plan combo makes good sense.


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Unread post14 Feb 2018, 05:56

And once B1and B2 are gone, and B-52 is deemed non viable anymore (~2040) you necessarily extend the B-21 production line and get a 100% B-21 B-fleet.

Nice.
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