Rockwell B-1B Lancer 2018

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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sferrin

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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 13:03

"We're going to buy 10,000 JASSM/LRASM. . .and then retire the main carrier aircraft types." :doh:
"There I was. . ."
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mixelflick

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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 14:14

Someone at the Pentagon needs to stop this, "retire the B-1" nonsense. If not someone there, perhaps Congress can do something wise (for once)?

Also, I saw mention before of utilizing the B-1B's external weapons hardpoints. If memory serves, these are substantial and greatly adds to its "bomb/missile truck" capability. Question: Why hasn't it been better utilized up to this point?
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element1loop

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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 14:35

mixelflick wrote:Also, I saw mention before of utilizing the B-1B's external weapons hardpoints. If memory serves, these are substantial and greatly adds to its "bomb/missile truck" capability. Question: Why hasn't it been better utilized up to this point?


Yup, prior page.

“It increases the magazine capacity of the B-1B. Currently we can carry 24 weapons internally, now it can be increased to potentially 40 based on what type of pylon we would create,” viewtopic.php?p=426305#p426305


But that's bombs I suspect.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 09:14

Air Force Bomber Plan: B-2, B-52 & B-1 to Fly into 2040

Oct 6th, 2019

By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven

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... Air Force weapons developers are immersed in an intricate plan to bring the service’s bomber fleet into future decades -- by adding weapons, avionics and networking technologies to current aircraft and moving quickly to bring new B-21 bombers to the force. The current thinking is centered upon methods of compensating for what service leaders identify as a “bomber deficit,” and therefore finding ways to maximize the performance of the aircraft it has in the inventory. “There are only 156 allied bombers and they all belong to us. We are working on the growth of a requirement for long-range strike,” Gen. Timothy Ray, Commander of Global Strike Command, told reporters at the Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference.

The Air Force has 20 B-2 bombers and plans to add as many as 100 new B-21 Stealth bombers. “You are going to have to move to the B-21, the question is…. how you do it. What is that roadmap? What I am going to do is spend the next couple of months pounding the data to understand what the realm of the possible is. We understand that many of our aircraft will have sustainment challenges in the out years, so we really need to have a cost-benefit analysis conversation,” Ray said. While many details have yet to be determined, depending upon the pace of B-21 arrivals, there is a notional “structure” or plan to operate up to 75 B-52s up through the 2040s, sustain the B-1 for at least a decade or two and of course maintain a massively upgraded B-2.

“Right now the current game plan is a minimum of 100 B-21s and 75 b-52s. I spent a lot of time this past year making sure that plan is a viable one. We also have to have a viable B-1 to pickup the load so we don’t put too much on the B-52. The point to drive home is that we have to be smart about what we have and build a better road map until we get bigger,” Ray added.

The success of the plan naturally hinges almost entirely upon an ability to successfully modernize the current fleet, as Ray indicated, with sensors, avionics, weapons and communications technology designed to bring the decades old bombers into future decades. "I do believe there is a fleet that moves across a particular time period until the B-21 arrives in sufficient numbers. My preference would be that all of them have external hard points open for some carriage and an extended bomb bay,” Ray added.

There are many nuances to sustainment and modernization, including both regular inspections as well as efforts to integrate new innovations as they emerge. Tim Sakulich, Air Force Research Laboratory Executive Lead for Implementing the Air Force Science and Technology Strategy, told Warrior the Air Force S&T community is working to identify, fast-track and integrate promising new technologies on to current aircraft. Examples include lightweight composites, new weapons such as lasers and hypersonics and next-generation networking systems, among other things.

“We work on inspections to ensure performance properties are up to the requirements level. This is important because we are talking about some pretty exotic technologies that go into these platforms,” Sakulich told Warrior in an interview. The concept, as evidenced by B-2 and B-52 modernization, is to effectively turn older airframes into platforms which could be seen as entirely new aircraft. Autonomy and AI, for instance, are quickly being woven into existing weapons platforms in a way that completely changes functionality, improves survivability and multiplies attack options. “Networked weapons as well as systems for manned-unmanned teaming will rely upon AI. We are working to prove those out in application to assess the difference it makes in operational capability. This includes getting networked weapons out in the field and being able to get them to communicate and optimize against targets in real time in the battlespace,” Sakulich said.

B-1 Plan

The Air Force is mapping a two-fold future path for its B-1 bomber which includes plans to upgrade the bomber while simultaneously preparing the aircraft for eventual retirement as the B-21 arrives. These two trajectories, which appear as somewhat of a paradox or contradiction, are actually interwoven efforts designed to both maximize the bomber’s firepower while easing an eventual transition to the emerging B-21 bomber, Air Force officials told Warrior Maven. The B-21 is expected to emerge by the mid-2020s, so while the Air Force has not specified a timetable, the B-1 is not likely to be fully retired until the 2030s. Also, Ray talked about a recent demo wherein he saw the B1-B weapons bay configured to fire hypersonic weapons.

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Service officials say the current technical overhaul is the largest in the history of the B-1, giving the aircraft an expanded weapons ability along with new avionics, communications technology and engines. The engines are being refurbished to retain their original performance specs, and the B-1 is getting new targeting and intelligence systems, service officials told Warrior last year.

A new Integrated Battle Station includes new aircrew displays and communication links for in-flight data sharing. Another upgrade called The Fully Integrated Targeting Pod connects the targeting pod control and video feed into B-1 cockpit displays. The B-1 will also be able to increase its carriage capacity of 500-pound class weapons by 60-percent due to Bomb Rack Unit upgrades. ... It fires a wide-range of bombs, to include several JDAMS: GBU-31, GBU-38 and GBU-54. It also fires the small diameter bomb-GBU-39.

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B-52 Through 2040

Engineers are now equipping all of the Air Force B-52s with digital data-links, moving-map displays, next-generation avionics, new radios and an ability to both carry more weapons internally and integrate new, high-tech weapons as they emerge, service officials said. Also, Ray expressed confidence in the current effort to re-engine the B-52 with a more modern, efficient engine. The technical structure and durability of the B-52 airframes in the Air Force fleet are described as extremely robust and able to keep flying well into the 2040s and beyond – so the service is taking steps to ensure the platform stays viable by receiving the most current and effective avionics, weapons and technologies, Air Force weapons developers have told Warrior.

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The Air Force is also making progress with a technology-inspired effort to increase the weapons payload for the B-52 bomber. The 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade, or IWBU, will allow the B-52 to internally carry up to eight of the newest “J-Series” bombs in addition to carrying six on pylons under each wing. The IWBU uses a digital interface and a rotary launcher to increase the weapons payload.

The B-52 have previously been able to carry JDAM weapons externally, but with the IWBU the aircraft will be able to internally house some of the most cutting edge precision-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, among others Also having an increased internal weapons bay capability affords an opportunity to increase fuel-efficiency by removing bombs from beneath the wings and reducing drag.

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The first increment of IWBU integrates an internal weapons bay ability to fire a laser-guided JDAM. A second increment, to finish in coming years, will integrate more modern or cutting-edge weapons such as the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM, JASSM Extended Range (ER) and a technology called Miniature Air Launched Decoy, or MALD. A MALD-J “jammer” variant, which will also be integrated into the B-52, can be used to jam enemy radar technologies as well. ...

https://defensemaven.io/warriormaven/ai ... qDSeJw9Qg/
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 14:47

Well, that sounds a lot more reasonable. Thank God they'll be keeping the B-1 around and upgrading it.

Several times in that article though, it was mentioned USAF wanted to increase/max out the bomb load of each platform. Why? Are there targets they're looking at that require it? Or new information to say only X amount of bombs/JSOW's get through enemy defenses? Lots of possibilities I guess..

We have a golden chance here to make a giant leap in our bomber force, especially relative to what the Chinese/Russians are flying. The Chinese are working on a stealth bomber, but its unclear how many they'll be able to afford/how good it'll really be. Likewise with the Russians and their PAK-DA, although I thought I read due to budget cuts they'd instead invest in heavily upgraded TU-160's.

At some point, we may see all 4 bomber types flying alongside each other. At least until sufficient B-21's start filling out in squadron strength. Going to be an exciting time these next 5-10 years. Let's hope USAF gets all the B-21's it needs (and then some, I would argue).
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 16:35

mixelflick wrote:Well, that sounds a lot more reasonable. Thank God they'll be keeping the B-1 around and upgrading it.


The impression I get reading it is the B-1B will be around for about another 20 years and when it goes it'll be replaced with a better capability in bigger numbers. The recognition a bigger long-range bomber force changes the dynamics and options is in there too. Thank goodness for that.
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Unread post09 Oct 2019, 16:32

element1loop wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Well, that sounds a lot more reasonable. Thank God they'll be keeping the B-1 around and upgrading it.


The impression I get reading it is the B-1B will be around for about another 20 years and when it goes it'll be replaced with a better capability in bigger numbers. The recognition a bigger long-range bomber force changes the dynamics and options is in there too. Thank goodness for that.


Yeah, recognizing that the (real, practical) use of these airframes is conventional bombing/long range strike. If you're simply interested in a nuclear deterrent, a handful of platforms loaded out with long range, stealthy cruise missiles will suffice. Look at Russia's inventory. Small numbers of Backfire's and Blackjacks.

But when it comes to conventional strikes, it's a different ballgame. You need many more airframes, crews etc. to keep a sustained bombing campaign up. The B-21 will be able to do both, in addition I bet to ISR. And it's great to hear it'll be getting an air to air missile. Frankly, I can't believe it's taken this long.

Was watching an F-15 documentary last night concerning Serbia. Dozer was part of an 8 ship of F-15's tasked with protecting 2 B-2's and 2 F-117's headed toward their targets. Mig-29's get airborne and begin searching for the B-2's/F-117's. They never found them, but that was because Dozer downed both. Over Western China, it's doubtful even PCA will be there to help. Self defense therefore is a must, and it sounds like the B-21 will be getting it. Again, can't believe its taken this long. These aircraft are plenty big enough to carry the radar and weapons necessary (probably leftover AIM-120's at that point, lots of them).

If I'm part of that B-21 crew, I don't know I'd go anywhere without them!
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Unread post09 Oct 2019, 18:01

mixelflick wrote:Was watching an F-15 documentary last night concerning Serbia. Dozer was part of an 8 ship of F-15's tasked with protecting 2 B-2's and 2 F-117's headed toward their targets. Mig-29's get airborne and begin searching for the B-2's/F-117's. They never found them, but that was because Dozer downed both.


Did they said our MiG-29s were half working? One of them wasn't in working condition at all if you don't consider not having radar and RWR working condition.
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Unread post09 Oct 2019, 18:26

mixelflick wrote:We have a golden chance here to make a giant leap in our bomber force, especially relative to what the Chinese/Russians are flying. The Chinese are working on a stealth bomber, but its unclear how many they'll be able to afford/how good it'll really be. Likewise with the Russians and their PAK-DA, although I thought I read due to budget cuts they'd instead invest in heavily upgraded TU-160's.


Well Russians invest heavily in new gen of cruise missiles so they really don't need PAK-DA that much:
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20 ... -homeland/
https://www.maritime-executive.com/arti ... c-opens-up

I think much better option would be restart of Tu-22M3 production but based on M3M variant it have small RCS for its size plus it is fast enough to be ideal for hypersonics, with longer weapon bay for example to fit zircon internally.
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Unread post11 Oct 2019, 12:57

milosh wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Was watching an F-15 documentary last night concerning Serbia. Dozer was part of an 8 ship of F-15's tasked with protecting 2 B-2's and 2 F-117's headed toward their targets. Mig-29's get airborne and begin searching for the B-2's/F-117's. They never found them, but that was because Dozer downed both.


Did they said our MiG-29s were half working? One of them wasn't in working condition at all if you don't consider not having radar and RWR working condition.


I can't recall if they said half working, but I do recall them saying Serbia had an unusually low number of them available to fight. I've read accounts that speak to what you were up against, and I agree it took a lot of guts just to get airborne. If the shoe were on the other foot, I'd fight to defend my homeland too. I think in such instances, you have to take the hand you've been dealt, and take the approach that "if it's my time, it's my time - but I'm not going down without a fight".

So I understand things weren't exactly even here. They seldom are in warfare, from what I've gathered. But look at it from the US perspective. We've never fought an enemy on our own turf, we're always the visiting team. Iraq's pilots/aircraft weren't exactly slouches, they were battle hardened from the Iran Iraq war. They had no small number of fighters, both very capable Russian and French designs. They still got beat, and handily at that. The Israeli's experience has been the same. At what point does reality set in, and the air to air combat record of F-14's, 15's and 16's vs. any Mig you'd like to mention speaks for itself?

I commend you on fighting with what you had. Same for the Iraqi and Egyptian/Syrian pilots. But if you put those same pilots in F-15's, and put F-15 pilots in Migs, I'm not so sure the results would be any different.
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Unread post11 Oct 2019, 13:06

milosh wrote:
mixelflick wrote:We have a golden chance here to make a giant leap in our bomber force, especially relative to what the Chinese/Russians are flying. The Chinese are working on a stealth bomber, but its unclear how many they'll be able to afford/how good it'll really be. Likewise with the Russians and their PAK-DA, although I thought I read due to budget cuts they'd instead invest in heavily upgraded TU-160's.


Well Russians invest heavily in new gen of cruise missiles so they really don't need PAK-DA that much:
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20 ... -homeland/
https://www.maritime-executive.com/arti ... c-opens-up

I think much better option would be restart of Tu-22M3 production but based on M3M variant it have small RCS for its size plus it is fast enough to be ideal for hypersonics, with longer weapon bay for example to fit zircon internally.


That looks like a nice upgrade, but still far inferior to even the earliest Blackjacks. It's bigger, faster, can carry more farther and has more room for growth. They seem absolutely enamored with it, and why not? Appears to be very capable platform, just not built in the numbers needed IMO. They do what they can, and seem to be caught in the same spiral that we are - that kind of capability is pricey. Fewer and fewer then, can be built/afforded, which drives the per unit cost up.

Based on those cruise missile developments, I don't see PAK DA becoming a reality. They actually have a pretty good argument here IMO, as stealthy cruise missiles fired from non-stealthy platforms far enough away is a far cheaper, and likely effective strategy (provided those missiles are as accurate as claimed), vs. building new, stealthy airframes from scratch..
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