USAF wants to fast track LRS-B

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maus92

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Unread post15 Feb 2012, 20:05

The USAF wants to fast track the Long Range Strike-Bomber, with the intention to get it operational by 2020 instead of the mid 2020's. F-35 does not have the legs for deep strike in the Asia Pacific region, so it's possible that LRS-B could compete with the F-35 for that particular mission (and others.) The question then becomes will the LRS-B adversely affect F-35 procurement, particularly since they both come online in roughly the same time frame.

http://defense.aol.com/2012/02/15/dod-f ... illion-pe/
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marksengineer

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Unread post15 Feb 2012, 22:16

IOC in 2020 would imply that the design has been selected and ready to enter production to meet that date.

For arguments sake:

2020 IOC 8 aircraft one Operational Bomb Squadron
2018 Begin deliveries to Operational Squadron
2017 Begin deliveries to Training unit (4 aircraft)
2016 Operational Test
2014 Deliver first aircraft for Developmental Testing
2012 Complete design and start assembly process.

The 300 million in funding this year's budget can't be enough to start production unless the balance is in the black budget. I don't see it happening by 2020.
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velocityvector

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Unread post15 Feb 2012, 22:24

Missileers that also can carry bombs in combination with other networked forward autonomous assets should win the day against any foe. The paradigm has changed, meat out of the bathtub-style. Adieu, meat, as well as your associated costs.
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HaveVoid

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Unread post15 Feb 2012, 23:41

So swift a timeline suggests one of several things. Perhaps the program has existed in the "Black" world for some time, which is always possible. Also possible is that it is intended to leverage heavily some of the technology that already exits in current programs (B-2, F-22, YF-23, F-117, Phantom Ray, RQ-170 etc.)

I am confused as to why the original post references the F-35 doing deep strike missions, as that is most assuredly not its role. As to whether this new bomber will compete with the F-35 for funding is yet to be seen, although I doubt either one will be had at the expense of the other. They identified F-35, KC-46, and the NGB as the top priorities going forward, Whether we see this new bomber utilize some of the advancements made on the F-35 will be interesting to see. I would think that some valuable systems developments from the JSF could be ported over to the LRS-B.


HV
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popcorn

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Unread post15 Feb 2012, 23:59

The Navy began designing the SuperHornet leveraging the existing Hornet design in 1988 and achieved IOC in 2000. LRS-B is going to be more technologically challenging so the time frame is too tight.

However some years back, it was revealed that Northrop-Grumman had received billions in funding for a black program, which some were speculating was related to the 2018 Bomber concept. If true, then perhaps significant work has already been done on a basic stealthy airframe in which case the 2020 date isn't so far-fetched.
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delvo

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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 00:03

marksengineer wrote:IOC in 2020 would imply that the design has been selected and ready to enter production to meet that date.
Ya, which means prototypes have already been built and had a flyoff, and some large amount of money we're not being told about has already been spent, unless there was no competition and the Air Force was satisfied with a paper proposal that hadn't even begun to be proven in flight yet. But then why is the article talking about setting aside money for "research", rather than to just start building?

These guys know what happens to high-tech warplane programs, and that it gets worse every time, so they know how unrealistic the timing they're talking about is, unless they've got some new way to prevent the usual from happening again this time.

marksengineer wrote:The 300 million in funding this year's budget can't be enough to start production unless the balance is in the black budget.
That extremely low amount for research, plus the article's half-billion per plane anticipated price, gives me an idea about how they must plan to do this. And it's something that I've said before was a good idea and probably the way things would turn out whether the Air Force planned on it or not, given how Congress would react to the unavoidable cost increases and delays in developing a new warplane.

They're not making a brand-new plane. They're making a new version of B-2.

The unit price given in the article for these new planes is about what the actual production costs of B-2 turned out to be when you isolate that from research & development costs. Modernizing it with the latest advanced technology might be expected to increase price above that of the originals, but the technology in the originals was new and advanced at the time too, and this time, they could save some money by scaling down the size as far as about 85% of the length, width, & height without causing themselves too much engineering trouble. (The payload requirement is slightly over half of B-2's payload anyway.)

In addition to the familiar production price, it also explains why the suggested research & testing costs for this new plane are so strangely low, because they already know from experience what to expect from the overall design, so all that needs to be researched is some modernizations. And those can be borrowed from other recent projects including drones and the stealth fighters.

Given how much the suggested NGB/LRSB designs resembled B-2 anyway, it was sort of inevitable.
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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 00:18

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... Bomber.xml

It's fun to speculate what NG used the money for.
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maus92

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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 00:25

HaveVoid wrote:So swift a timeline suggests one of several things. Perhaps the program has existed in the "Black" world for some time, which is always possible. Also possible is that it is intended to leverage heavily some of the technology that already exits in current programs (B-2, F-22, YF-23, F-117, Phantom Ray, RQ-170 etc.)

I am confused as to why the original post references the F-35 doing deep strike missions, as that is most assuredly not its role. As to whether this new bomber will compete with the F-35 for funding is yet to be seen, although I doubt either one will be had at the expense of the other. They identified F-35, KC-46, and the NGB as the top priorities going forward, Whether we see this new bomber utilize some of the advancements made on the F-35 will be interesting to see. I would think that some valuable systems developments from the JSF could be ported over to the LRS-B.


HV


There are sources around that mention or suggest a deep-strike role for F-35, although I don't see that role for it either. Two references:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... t/f-35.htm
http://www.raf.mod.uk/equipment/f35join ... ighter.cfm

But I can change it to strike if you like - the point is the long distances involved may require a larger aircraft to conduct at least some missions that F-35 was intended to perform. How the LRS-B is equipped is still a mystery, but I bet it will share sensor technology from the F-35.
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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 01:34

Here's what the CSBA came up with to illustrate the point of leveraging existing tech to fasttrack the development of a new bomber as one component to maintaining the US advantage in long-range strike.

Figure 11. Illustrative off-the-shelf Systems and Components for a new Bomer:
F-35 engines
F-35 mission computer
F-35 cockpit controls and displays
F-35 comm/nav systems
F-35 armament control system
F-35 environmental control system
B-2 AESA radar
B-2 landing gear and weapons bay doors
B-2 secondary power system
B-2 crew escape
F-15e electrical system
F-15e fuel system
F-15e fire suppression
F/A-18E/F hydraulics
B737 derivative landing gear
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tacf-x

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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 02:14

It is indeed correct that essentially all technology used in this new bomber will be well understood, proven, and off-the-shelf technologies so as to fasttrack development within a reasonable time scheme.
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archeman

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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 02:49

marksengineer wrote:IOC in 2020 would imply that the design has been selected and ready to enter production to meet that date.

For arguments sake:

2020 IOC 8 aircraft one Operational Bomb Squadron
2018 Begin deliveries to Operational Squadron
2017 Begin deliveries to Training unit (4 aircraft)
2016 Operational Test
2014 Deliver first aircraft for Developmental Testing
2012 Complete design and start assembly process.

The 300 million in funding this year's budget can't be enough to start production unless the balance is in the black budget. I don't see it happening by 2020.


We also have to add in 3-4 years for loosing contractors to both appeal the results to whoever will listen, and sue each other and the government.
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southernphantom

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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 02:49

tacf-x wrote:It is indeed correct that essentially all technology used in this new bomber will be well understood, proven, and off-the-shelf technologies so as to fasttrack development within a reasonable time scheme.


That's exactly what I want to hear. I want to see ~50-60 new airframes replacing B-2s and B-1s in 10-15 years. A new, real combat aircraft (not an FSM) with possibly half-decent philosophy and management sounds like a refreshing change to me :D 8)
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tacf-x

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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 03:17

Nope. USAF wants ~80-100 bombers.
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delvo

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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 03:19

Why is this in the F-35 forum instead of "Modern military aircraft"? We're going to need a "that new bomber" forum soon!
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marksengineer

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Unread post16 Feb 2012, 03:49

tacf-x wrote:It is indeed correct that essentially all technology used in this new bomber will be well understood, proven, and off-the-shelf technologies so as to fasttrack development within a reasonable time scheme.


Is eight years reasonable? Seems a bit short unless the tooling is already built.
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