B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2015, 11:47
by popcorn
LRSB is a major priority program that merits it‘s own thread. Being a 'black' program only means that official information will be harder to come by so speculation will be the order of the day. The new bomber should foster an entire cottage industry of speculators keeping us entertained for the next decade.

Here!s Loren Thompson's take. Boeing execs probably feeling warm and fuzzy all over. First Bill Sweetman anoint them as winning the UCLASS competition now LT predicts them building LRSB. We'll see.




http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomps ... -it-seems/

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2015, 12:38
by mrigdon
Well, Boeing may have lost out on the JSF contract partly for lack of experience with stealth, so it seems like they've learned from that and partnered up with the company that beat them: Lockheed. Seeing as how Lockheed is the only company in the world with experience building low maintenance stealth coatings (a la F-35), it would appear this is a slam dunk for Boeing-Lockheed.

I guess the Air Force can't forbid companies from teaming up, but this hardly seems like a real competition. It only seems like Northrup Grumann is getting a shot because of the B-2, sort of a pity invite. N-G does have the B-2 under their belt, maybe they manage to win the contract, but there's a good chance that they have to team up with Boeing or Lockheed to execute the final project.

Hey, maybe that's what Lockheed is counting on. They join up with Boeing and if Boeing wins the contract, they're already in. If N-G is the winner, N-G will need a industrial partner. Hey, who has the most experience building stealth planes? More importantly, who has the most experience building low maintenance stealth coatings? Oh yeah, that would be Lockheed.

I guess what I'm saying is that no matter what happens with this competition, Lockheed wins. 8)

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2015, 13:44
by count_to_10
I think you are missing something here: Northrop Grumman is building a very large fraction of the F-35, including lots of outer skin and apparently most of its sensors, and doing the same for the F-18. So they have their fingers in pretty much everything.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2015, 13:58
by mrigdon
So what you're saying is that Lockheed has thrown Northrup Grumman a lot of work on the F-35. I'm sure they did that out of the sheer goodness of their heart. Not expecting any payback at all.

Either way this goes, the big winner would appear to be Lockheed. :wink:

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2015, 14:10
by count_to_10
mrigdon wrote:So what you're saying is that Lockheed has thrown Northrup Grumman a lot of work on the F-35. I'm sure they did that out of the sheer goodness of their heart. Not expecting any payback at all.

Either way this goes, the big winner would appear to be Lockheed. :wink:

Well, Lockheed is going to have its plate full with assembling the F-35, and Boeing has more business in the non-defense sector than either. One thing to look at would be the cost savings of using the same sensor systems on both the JSF and LRS-B, which NG has. If Boeing wins, they may be subcontracting to NG anyway.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2015, 15:23
by KamenRiderBlade
I'm betting that the Northrop Grumman will win this one.

The US Government has publicly stated that it wants to preserve the aviation industry's technical & knowledge base.

So the LRSB / T-X / 2030 bomber all have a very high chance of "Not LM" winning due to that motive.

Plus I'm sure Northrop Grumman ingenuity + Scale Composites as part of it's company + lessons learned + government motive will give them enough room to constantly adjust their design till it wins this time around.

It might not be fair, but the US government will due whatever it takes to get the results it wants.

And I really think preserving their industrial base and not letting military aviation become a 1 company race is paramount.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2015, 22:35
by count_to_10
The other thing not mentioned in the article is that the Air Force wants to get the basic airframe for $550M each, but is planning for upgrades beyond that as time goes on. So, the end result should be something much more capable than the initial price tag implies, and the initial airframe will be built with a lot of room for growth.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2015, 23:35
by sprstdlyscottsmn
a la Super Hornet. Take the X-47 shape and scale up 3 fold, use now/then OTS sensors and skin tech from the F-35, with room internally for growth. NG slam dunk.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2015, 00:03
by KamenRiderBlade
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:a la Super Hornet. Take the X-47 shape and scale up 3 fold, use now/then OTS sensors and skin tech from the F-35, with room internally for growth. NG slam dunk.


Why do you think the X-47B "Cranked Kite" design is preferred over the "Flying Wing"

I know that Northrop Grumman developed both designs, but from what I can tell, the "Flying Wing" is a superior planform in many ways.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2015, 00:34
by popcorn
The Cost+Fee arrangement possibly hints at the inclusion of some bleeding-edge tech and not just warmed-over 5Gen stuff.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2015, 01:47
by sprstdlyscottsmn
Cranked kite is easier from a stability and control standpoint, but flying wing is better from an RCS standpoint.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2015, 05:47
by smsgtmac
Oh dear, I wish I had the time the last two days to put up a small post that I wanted to at my place, but life gets in the way...Maybe tomorrow. I was sent a link to this article by an LM colleague and responded something to the effect of:
1. Thompson gets some things wrong... some things right.
2. His last point was pure public perception battlefield prep B.S.!
3. He may have revealed more about Boeing's technical approach than intended, under the belief (by Thompson or the Borg?) there could be no other solution other than what Boeing was dreaming up. I SURE do hope so for Northrop Grumman's sake.

To go further, Guess which F-35 partner provided LM A LOT of the key LO design features? As far as I know (and I know pretty far) Fiber-mat was LM's baby, everything else...not so much a solo act. Some features on the F-35 are even evolved from the B-2 LO Sustainability program. In any case, all established LO manufacturers and the USG participate in a joint working group to actually do what others only talk about: share lessons learned. I'm tempted to tell a joke here about a pre-source selection LO meeting on the F-35 and we were consulting for LM, but....

As to who 'should' win. The Borg don't need any favors -- they stole the KC-X program with political maneuvering and everyone (who's honest and paid attention) knows it. Boeing was a PITA to LM during the F-22 program: always late, always wanting more money to finish whatever they were dong and took credit for everything and ran away from blame. Boeing tried to steal the B-2 away from their teammate Northrop when the USG changed requirements about halfway through the initial B-2 design process to cause a redesign.Boeing hasn't built a bomber since the 1960s. They inherited the B-1B. Unless some really bright boy has come up with some really great and innovative, outside-the-box-thinking for Boeing this time (is that LMs role?) they will play the political game again as a priority over 'content' provided: their Marketeers are second to none. Thompson is but one card in their deck of jokers.
Northrop Grumman? I don't know. Seems they're rearranging chairs in their sectors and 'centers of excellence'/ We'll see.

Other topics:
1. Cranked kite planform for the X-47B came about because the USN changed their objective from a cruiser to a loiterer. Look at the basic X-47A to see the optimal planform for the cruiser. Stick some wings out of the sides and voila' : a loiterer. As a bonus, the voluminous body that remained was great for packing in all the goodies.
2. Boeing lost out on the F-35 before it ever got to the 'stealth' part. They lost it when they had to redesign away from a tailless delta with huge fuel capacity because it didn't have carrier approach control-ability. They lost it when they couldn't demonstrate the manufacturing ability needed for their one piece composite skin approach, and they lost it when they took the hot gas only no-growth-capability design route for STOVL vertical lift.
3. There is no 'U' in Northrop. Jack Northrop: Best engineer the Loughead's ever had.

My 2 cents

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2015, 05:58
by KamenRiderBlade
smsgtmac wrote:Oh dear, I wish I had the time the last two days to put up a small post that I wanted to at my place, but life gets in the way...Maybe tomorrow. I was sent a link to this article by an LM colleague and responded something to the effect of:
1. Thompson gets some things wrong... some things right.
2. His last point was pure public perception battlefield prep B.S.!
3. He may have revealed more about Boeing's technical approach than intended, under the belief (by Thompson or the Borg?) there could be no other solution other than what Boeing was dreaming up. I SURE do hope so for Northrop Grumman's sake.

To go further, Guess which F-35 partner provided LM A LOT of the key LO design features? As far as I know (and I know pretty far) Fiber-mat was LM's baby, everything else...not so much a solo act. Some features on the F-35 are even evolved from the B-2 LO Sustainability program. In any case, all established LO manufacturers and the USG participate in a joint working group to actually do what others only talk about: share lessons learned. I'm tempted to tell a joke here about a pre-source selection LO meeting on the F-35 and we were consulting for LM, but....

As to who 'should' win. The Borg don't need any favors -- they stole the KC-X program with political maneuvering and everyone (who's honest and paid attention) knows it. Boeing was a PITA to LM during the F-22 program: always late, always wanting more money to finish whatever they were dong and took credit for everything and ran away from blame. Boeing tried to steal the B-2 away from their teammate Northrop when the USG changed requirements about halfway through the initial B-2 design process to cause a redesign.Boeing hasn't built a bomber since the 1960s. They inherited the B-1B. Unless some really bright boy has come up with some really great and innovative, outside-the-box-thinking for Boeing this time (is that LMs role?) they will play the political game again as a priority over 'content' provided: their Marketeers are second to none. Thompson is but one card in their deck of jokers.
Northrop Grumman? I don't know. Seems they're rearranging chairs in their sectors and 'centers of excellence'/ We'll see.

Other topics:
1. Cranked kite planform for the X-47B came about because the USN changed their objective from a cruiser to a loiterer. Look at the basic X-47A to see the optimal planform for the cruiser. Stick some wings out of the sides and voila' : a loiterer. As a bonus, the voluminous body that remained was great for packing in all the goodies.
2. Boeing lost out on the F-35 before it ever got to the 'stealth' part. They lost it when they had to redesign away from a tailless delta with huge fuel capacity because it didn't have carrier approach control-ability. They lost it when they couldn't demonstrate the manufacturing ability needed for their one piece composite skin approach, and they lost it when they took the hot gas only no-growth-capability design route for STOVL vertical lift.
3. There is no 'U' in Northrop. Jack Northrop: Best engineer the Loughead's ever had.

My 2 cents


I'm a big fan of Jack Northrop's aviation history.

The flying wing is such a beautiful design choice, hopefully the B-3 / LRSB will be a Northrop Grumman design that is a shrunk down more efficient flying wing with all the modern trimmings.

Today I was chit chatting with somebody who is a Aerospace parts supplier, and boy did they have no good things to say about Boeing and their bureaucracy. The gull of them demanding a 15% discount off of their suppliers which would've caused them to lose money, and then act offended when they didn't get the discount is hilarious, yet sadly true.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2015, 07:14
by popcorn
smsgtmac wrote:They inherited the B-1B...

AFAIK Boeing's last fighter designed in-house. :D

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2015, 07:15
by mrigdon
My name gets misspelled quite a bit, I must be projecting :oops:

Interesting behind the scenes info. The article mentioned that Northop-Grumman was looking to get out of military jets, at least as a prime contractor. However, putting Boeing and Lockheed together (or allowing them to work together, however it shook out) seems to be a last ditch effort to keep Boeing in the manned military aircraft market. It seems probable that Lockheed will pick up some work from N-G if they win. I'm not sure Scaled Composites will be able to produce the quantities by themselves, but who knows? It's a ways off until the contract is awarded...

I have two concerns about the bidding, but the first may be invalid these days. The first is that with just two teams, you may not get a wide enough range of alternatives, that if Lockheed were to go it alone they might bring something to the table that Boeing wouldn't choose. There will be certain designs downselected by Boeing before the Air Force even gets a chance to see them. Obviously, we can't get back to the days where five or six different companies are bidding, but it seems that just two teams might close the Air Force off from some design opportunities that might be out of the ordinary. Then again, the costs of designing a modern plane are so massive that perhaps there's no way a maverick operation could come in and offer a real alternative.

My second concern is that having just two bidders, and with Lockheed and Boeing teamed up, it's going to be a repeat of all the attacks on the B-2, the F-22, and the F-35 about high costs and lobbyists and military-industrial blah, blah, blah. I know that having three or more bids won't stop any of those attacks, but it seems this is setting up a fight over the bomber before the two teams are even building a prototype. Procurement is much more political than it used to be. I'm not sure this is going to help smooth the process.

I do look forward to the "Why is the B-3 replacing the B-52?" thread in about ten years :(

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2015, 17:42
by sprstdlyscottsmn
mrigdon wrote:I do look forward to the "Why is the B-3 replacing the B-52?" thread in about ten years :(


Me too, since it outlasted most of it's replacements.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Mar 2015, 01:43
by count_to_10
smsgtmac wrote:Oh dear, I wish I had the time the last two days to put up a small post that I wanted to at my place, but life gets in the way...Maybe tomorrow. I was sent a link to this article by an LM colleague and responded something to the effect of:
1. Thompson gets some things wrong... some things right.
2. His last point was pure public perception battlefield prep B.S.!
3. He may have revealed more about Boeing's technical approach than intended, under the belief (by Thompson or the Borg?) there could be no other solution other than what Boeing was dreaming up. I SURE do hope so for Northrop Grumman's sake.

To go further, Guess which F-35 partner provided LM A LOT of the key LO design features? As far as I know (and I know pretty far) Fiber-mat was LM's baby, everything else...not so much a solo act. Some features on the F-35 are even evolved from the B-2 LO Sustainability program. In any case, all established LO manufacturers and the USG participate in a joint working group to actually do what others only talk about: share lessons learned. I'm tempted to tell a joke here about a pre-source selection LO meeting on the F-35 and we were consulting for LM, but....

As to who 'should' win. The Borg don't need any favors -- they stole the KC-X program with political maneuvering and everyone (who's honest and paid attention) knows it. Boeing was a PITA to LM during the F-22 program: always late, always wanting more money to finish whatever they were dong and took credit for everything and ran away from blame. Boeing tried to steal the B-2 away from their teammate Northrop when the USG changed requirements about halfway through the initial B-2 design process to cause a redesign.Boeing hasn't built a bomber since the 1960s. They inherited the B-1B. Unless some really bright boy has come up with some really great and innovative, outside-the-box-thinking for Boeing this time (is that LMs role?) they will play the political game again as a priority over 'content' provided: their Marketeers are second to none. Thompson is but one card in their deck of jokers.
Northrop Grumman? I don't know. Seems they're rearranging chairs in their sectors and 'centers of excellence'/ We'll see.

Other topics:
1. Cranked kite planform for the X-47B came about because the USN changed their objective from a cruiser to a loiterer. Look at the basic X-47A to see the optimal planform for the cruiser. Stick some wings out of the sides and voila' : a loiterer. As a bonus, the voluminous body that remained was great for packing in all the goodies.
2. Boeing lost out on the F-35 before it ever got to the 'stealth' part. They lost it when they had to redesign away from a tailless delta with huge fuel capacity because it didn't have carrier approach control-ability. They lost it when they couldn't demonstrate the manufacturing ability needed for their one piece composite skin approach, and they lost it when they took the hot gas only no-growth-capability design route for STOVL vertical lift.
3. There is no 'U' in Northrop. Jack Northrop: Best engineer the Loughead's ever had.

My 2 cents

I hadn't heard about Boeing trying to steal away the B-2. It's kind of interesting, because Boeing absorbed McDonald Douglas, which can be said to have stolen the F-18 away and have cost Northrop the ATF with their arrogance.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2015, 13:30
by popcorn
As it should be...
 
Daily Report
Bomber on the Merits Only
—JOHN A. TIRPAK3/16/2015
comment
The choice of who will build the Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber will be made based on the quality of the proposals, not any industrial base considerations, Pentagon acquisition, technology, and logistics chief Frank Kendall said March 12. Speaking with reporters after a Bloomberg defense symposium, Kendall said the LRS-B will be selected “on the merits [of the proposal]. By the rules of the source selection … set by the contracting officer.” Responding to recent speculative articles suggesting that either Boeing or Northrop Grumman might exit the combat aircraft business if either loses the LRS-B, Kendall said, “It’s sort of an industry decision” but “I don’t see a major impetus for that, coming out of source selection.” Kendall said ATL continues to use guidelines on industrial base considerations set by Defense Secretary Ash Carter “when he was in my job.” Namely, “we’re comfortable with where we are in the top tier, we want the marketplace to work below that … We’ll look at individual mergers on a case-by-case basis.” Kendall added, “We’d like to have more” prime contractors, but acknowledged, “We have to provide the business for them.”

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 21 Mar 2015, 14:33
by cantaz
It occurs to me that the talk about the B-3 being smaller than the B-2 would put it pretty close to Skunk Work's B-2 concept. Ben Rich claimed in his book that their design with vertical stabs had a lower RCS across all tested frequencies than Northrop's pure flying wing.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2015, 13:14
by popcorn
The AF has clarified LRSB acquisition...Cost-Plus for SDD and Fixed-Price for the production phase.

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pa ... Price.aspx

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2015, 14:58
by bring_it_on
With Boeing as the prime for their bid does anyone expect the LRS-B to be supersonic? Lockheed was bullish on a supersonic choice for the NGB years ago and one would have thought had that option been explored for the current aircraft they would have been the lead.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/259601929/sk ... gn-for-lrs

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Mar 2015, 02:05
by popcorn
bring_it_on wrote:With Boeing as the prime for their bid does anyone expect the LRS-B to be supersonic? Lockheed was bullish on a supersonic choice for the NGB years ago and one would have thought had that option been explored for the current aircraft they would have been the lead.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/259601929/sk ... gn-for-lrs

What we can be sure of is LRS-B will use AETD-derived engines which will potentially translate into larger pieces all around for the performance pie eg. Range, endurance, speed, etc. Personally, I'm hoping that NG and Boeing/LM decide to go very different routes to addressing the AF requirements and the eventual winner demonstrates a clear-cut superiority over the other.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 01 Apr 2015, 05:31
by popcorn
Richard Aboulafia weighs in on why he thinks it‘s too close to predict who will emerge the winner.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardabou ... ither-way/

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 02 May 2015, 02:51
by popcorn
Another pro-NG perspective.
I think NG's institutional knowledge and experience going back decades makes them very competitive.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/opinion ... -advantage

Opinion: Stealth And Integration Experience Point To Northrop Grumman LRS-B Advantage

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2015, 07:59
by AreaRule
KamenRiderBlade wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:a la Super Hornet. Take the X-47 shape and scale up 3 fold, use now/then OTS sensors and skin tech from the F-35, with room internally for growth. NG slam dunk.


Why do you think the X-47B "Cranked Kite" design is preferred over the "Flying Wing"

I know that Northrop Grumman developed both designs, but from what I can tell, the "Flying Wing" is a superior planform in many ways.


Honest question: Can either planform be stalled? And can either planform fly supersonic? I've often wondered. If the answer is no, can it be explained as to why? What are the phenomena and facts as to why not. And vice-versa. If SS is possible, details please.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2015, 13:59
by KamenRiderBlade
AreaRule wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:a la Super Hornet. Take the X-47 shape and scale up 3 fold, use now/then OTS sensors and skin tech from the F-35, with room internally for growth. NG slam dunk.


Why do you think the X-47B "Cranked Kite" design is preferred over the "Flying Wing"

I know that Northrop Grumman developed both designs, but from what I can tell, the "Flying Wing" is a superior planform in many ways.


Honest question: Can either planform be stalled? And can either planform fly supersonic? I've often wondered. If the answer is no, can it be explained as to why? What are the phenomena and facts as to why not. And vice-versa. If SS is possible, details please.


I'm not the right person to answer that question, I'll leave the answering of this question to somebody who has more experience / aerodynamicist training.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2015, 15:46
by count_to_10
KamenRiderBlade wrote:
AreaRule wrote:
Honest question: Can either planform be stalled? And can either planform fly supersonic? I've often wondered. If the answer is no, can it be explained as to why? What are the phenomena and facts as to why not. And vice-versa. If SS is possible, details please.


I'm not the right person to answer that question, I'll leave the answering of this question to somebody who has more experience / aerodynamicist training.

I know the first flying wing bomber (the B-49?) was nearly lost when the test pilot attempted to stall it. The way I read, without the tail, there was no real warning when it was about to stall (no shaking), and almost no way to control the aircraft when it did. The pilot lucked out in pulling just the right controls at just the right time to break it out of the uncontrolled state (a cartwheel?). Supersonic is just a matter of thrust vs. drag; just about any silhouette could be made to break the sound barrier if it has a big enough engine and a small enough profile, it's just a matter of whether that is the best way to do it.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2015, 18:06
by sprstdlyscottsmn
There's more to the super sonic than thrust. When the airflow goes supersonic the center of pressure moves aft increasing stability. You need enough pitch authority to keep the nose up and still have some turning available. This also increases trim drag. In my modeling experience the x-47b style gives more pitch authority than a simple diamond.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2015, 22:08
by KamenRiderBlade
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:There's more to the super sonic than thrust. When the airflow goes supersonic the center of pressure moves aft increasing stability. You need enough pitch authority to keep the nose up and still have some turning available. This also increases trim drag. In my modeling experience the x-47b style gives more pitch authority than a simple diamond.


What would you say is the advantages of the "Cranked Kite" vs "Flying Wing". Northrop has built both types of planform aircraft and made it work.

I'm sure each one should have advantages to RCS, flight characteristics, optimal flight regimes, etc.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 May 2015, 13:45
by rheonomic
As an example of supersonic flight increasing stability, consider the F-16. In subsonic flight, the aircraft is ~4% unstable longitudinally (that is, the aerodynamic center is 4% of the mean geometric chord (MGC) in front of the C.G. location), while in supersonic flight it becomes stable. (Longitudinal static stability is represented by the change in pitching moment due to a perturbation in angle of attack; the stable response is for a negative pitching moment due to a positive angle of attack perturbation, as this brings the nose down to its original position.)

Generally, for subsonic flow, the aircraft aerodynamic center (the location where d(C_m)/d(alpha), the change in pitching moment due to angle of attack, is zero) is approximately located at 1/4 of the MGC, whereas in supersonic flow this moves aft to about half of MGC.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 May 2015, 18:46
by sprstdlyscottsmn
KamenRiderBlade wrote:
What would you say is the advantages of the "Cranked Kite" vs "Flying Wing". Northrop has built both types of planform aircraft and made it work.

I'm sure each one should have advantages to RCS, flight characteristics, optimal flight regimes, etc.

Well, are you saying strict flying wing?
Each portion of either a cranked kite (X-47B) or saw tooth wing (B-2) allows or a bit of customization for controlability.
I feel that the X-47B design will give more control authority as the CP of the outboard sections cannot change my much while on the B-2 the outboard sections are still fairly forward overall. Pure flying wing (either X-47A or YB-49) does not offer the level of customization.

A sharp nose (X-47A and X-47B) allows to a tighter mach cone which is a function of airspeed and local object shape. The sharper the shock cone angle the less the freestream air is slowed down the less pressure change the less drag.

A solid leading edge is preferable for signature management (all of the above except X-47B).

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 May 2015, 22:23
by rheonomic
I think the biggest driver for the X-47B cranked wing was being able to fold up for carrier ops. (I don't fully recall the history of the UCAS-D program, but I think the configuration change from X-47A to X-47B was also driven by the Navy adding more weight towards ISR; I'm sure someone here can correct me if I am wrong.)

Now, I don't know much about RCS management besides the very basics, but from planform alignment alone I'd agree the cranked wing is worse, since there are two orientations that will reflect radar well as opposed to one.

Less sweep on the ailerons on X-47B should increase their effectiveness. Also, on the smaller outboard wing sections the aileron chord to wing chord ratio is larger, which also will increase effectiveness. (I'm not certain, but I think the X-47B has two ailerons, two elevons, and two pairs of spoilers/drag rudders...I believe the latter were invented by Jack Northrop himeself.)

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 05 May 2015, 02:14
by archeman
mrigdon wrote:
I do look forward to the "Why is the B-3 replacing the B-52?" thread in about ten years :(


The B-52H strategic role is as a standoff cruse missile platform, not a long range penetrator, and most certainly no longer the best choice for recon (except in stand-off electronic sense).
The B-2 is probably more likely to have very wide Mission Overlap with the new LRS-B.

Budget trimmers can certainly look wherever they wish to make cuts, but wherever there are two platforms that perform same/similar roles, the lesser craft of the two will usually get the snip -- unless a new role can be found for it in a hurry. That could be a tall order for such a boutique aircraft as the B-2 certainly is.

Until Russia has proven that they have an effective means to neutralize the Stand-Off Cruise Missile threat, the B-52H will continue to be effective in it's role and no other platform is currently in the works to displace it.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 05 May 2015, 03:28
by sferrin
archeman wrote:Budget trimmers can certainly look wherever they wish to make cuts, but wherever there are two platforms that perform same/similar roles, the lesser craft of the two will usually get the snip -- unless a new role can be found for it in a hurry. That could be a tall order for such a boutique aircraft as the B-2 certainly is.


The B-2 will almost certainly retain a larger bomb load than the new bomber, and is still the most survivable of the current fleet. Keeping it is a no-brainer.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 05 May 2015, 18:39
by archeman
sferrin wrote:
archeman wrote:Budget trimmers can certainly look wherever they wish to make cuts, but wherever there are two platforms that perform same/similar roles, the lesser craft of the two will usually get the snip -- unless a new role can be found for it in a hurry. That could be a tall order for such a boutique aircraft as the B-2 certainly is.


The B-2 will almost certainly retain a larger bomb load than the new bomber, and is still the most survivable of the current fleet. Keeping it is a no-brainer.


That sounds like the opening argument in the new thread " Why is the B-3 Replacing the B-2? "

Until we see exactly what the B-3 is capable of, no one can provide a good rejoinder however.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 05 May 2015, 18:51
by sferrin
archeman wrote:
sferrin wrote:
archeman wrote:Budget trimmers can certainly look wherever they wish to make cuts, but wherever there are two platforms that perform same/similar roles, the lesser craft of the two will usually get the snip -- unless a new role can be found for it in a hurry. That could be a tall order for such a boutique aircraft as the B-2 certainly is.


The B-2 will almost certainly retain a larger bomb load than the new bomber, and is still the most survivable of the current fleet. Keeping it is a no-brainer.


That sounds like the opening argument in the new thread " Why is the B-3 Replacing the B-2? "

Until we see exactly what the B-3 is capable of, no one can provide a good rejoinder however.


Has it been formally stated anywhere exactly WHAT it's replacing? :shrug: I get the impression they'll try to hang onto every bomber they can, even after this enters production, until they're attrited out.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2015, 00:27
by tacf-x
sferrin wrote:
Has it been formally stated anywhere exactly WHAT it's replacing? :shrug: I get the impression they'll try to hang onto every bomber they can, even after this enters production, until they're attrited out.


I'm under the impression that it's to compensate for the fact that we didn't build over 100 B-2s like we were supposed to.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2015, 01:03
by popcorn
I think the target acquisition cost of $500-550M a copy will dictate a smaller aircraft and consequently smaller payload. Likely featuring 2 X AETD-derived engines, more affordable, yet sufficient for a smaller aircraft while still providing needed performance and enhanced fuel efficiency needed for long-range missions. Will adhere to System of Systems architecture, relying on complementary platforms eg. IS, EW, etc. to carry out it‘s mission. Another indicator of a smaller more affordable aircraft.

I can't recall which SkunkWorks exec who mentioned that early black programs cost something like a third more due to all the secrecy. Ironically, LRSB being a black program will entail some extraneous costs.
My :2c:

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2015, 02:00
by popcorn
Going black may result in even wilder speculation than what we saw with JSF.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/ ... -believers




Almost Nobody Believes the U.S. Air Force Can Build an Affordable Bomber

“There’s already the usual suspects out there telling us that we don’t need this or it won’t work,” Major General Garrett Harencak, assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said at an Air Force Association breakfast in January. The new bomber “will be affordable and it’s desperately needed,” he said.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2015, 02:42
by johnwill
Regarding supersonic flight, Spurts' comment about center of pressure shifts affecting stability is of course correct. In addition, there is a less obvious effect of that same shift, loss of control effectiveness, or even worse, reversed control effectiveness. In aileron roll control for example, the aft CP shift induces more opposite twist in the wing box, which increases local AoA and lift and opposite roll moment from the aileron effect. Depending on wing torsion stiffness, the opposite twist may be enough not to just reduce the effectiveness, but to reverse it. In an airplane with a vertical tail/rudder, the same effect may be seen to reverse yaw commands.

Rheonomic's comment about less sweep resulting in more aileron effectiveness must also be subjected to the same structural flexibility considerations.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2015, 13:33
by jdrush
sensor fusion, not supposed to go over M1, replacing non LO vulnerable bombers. B-2 maintenance cost has gone down, less upgrades. Any ones guess for the winner IMO, Northrop is strong and experienced but Lockheed seems to always have a card up their sleeve.

We should start a betting pool

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2015, 14:26
by sferrin
jdrush wrote:sensor fusion, not supposed to go over M1, replacing non LO vulnerable bombers. B-2 maintenance cost has gone down, less upgrades. Any ones guess for the winner IMO, Northrop is strong and experienced but Lockheed seems to always have a card up their sleeve.

We should start a betting pool


If it were me, assuming the designs have equal merit, I'd go with NG hands down. LM is in the doghouse over the F-35 (justifiably or not, the Bill Sweetmans of the world use it as their whipping boy at every opportunity), LM has the F-35 and F-22, and we don't want to have one company having a monopoly on stealth. I'd also keep the program dark as a black hole until rollout if only to watch the Bill Sweetmans of the world whine and stomp their feet because they don't have a new subject for their hit pieces.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2015, 19:37
by rheonomic
johnwill wrote:Regarding supersonic flight, Spurts' comment about center of pressure shifts affecting stability is of course correct. In addition, there is a less obvious effect of that same shift, loss of control effectiveness, or even worse, reversed control effectiveness. In aileron roll control for example, the aft CP shift induces more opposite twist in the wing box, which increases local AoA and lift and opposite roll moment from the aileron effect. Depending on wing torsion stiffness, the opposite twist may be enough not to just reduce the effectiveness, but to reverse it. In an airplane with a vertical tail/rudder, the same effect may be seen to reverse yaw commands.

Rheonomic's comment about less sweep resulting in more aileron effectiveness must also be subjected to the same structural flexibility considerations.


Thanks for pointing out the aeroelastic effects; I have a bad habit of treating things as rigid bodies.

Along those lines it would be interesting to see results from the X-53 program applied to future LO/VLO designs, as would active flow control to eliminate moving control surfaces.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2015, 01:57
by smsgtmac
popcorn wrote: I can't recall which SkunkWorks exec who mentioned that early black programs cost something like a third more due to all the secrecy. Ironically, LRSB being a black program will entail some extraneous costs.
My :2c:

Yeah, the early programs had a lot of infrastructure that had to be put in first and those costs counted against the program books. On the other end of the spectrum was the B-2. In the 80s I had some AFFTC responsibilities that required me to take a series of "Security Systems Engineerin"g courses and workshops. One of the last courses was right after the B-2 came out from under the wraps but hadn't flown yet. At that course we had a guest lecture from the B-2's Security Manager. He told us that the 'usual suspects' in Congress including Les Aspin (spit) had decided to use the overhead cost of security for the B-2 program as a cause for slashing the black budget, but were woefully disappointed when the costs to-date at the time had been only 5% of the program budget (they still gnashed and wailed but most of their hearts weren't in it). Big cost savings with the B-2 was the powers-that-be decided to keep all details out of the public domain until just before it was to start test operations. It's very cheap to just have people keep their mouths shut and lock the doors up until you need to take the secret outside.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2015, 02:05
by KamenRiderBlade
smsgtmac wrote:
popcorn wrote: I can't recall which SkunkWorks exec who mentioned that early black programs cost something like a third more due to all the secrecy. Ironically, LRSB being a black program will entail some extraneous costs.
My :2c:

Yeah, the early programs had a lot of infrastructure that had to be put in first and those costs counted against the program books. On the other end of the spectrum was the B-2. In the 80s I had some AFFTC responsibilities that required me to take a series of "Security Systems Engineerin"g courses and workshops. One of the last courses was right after the B-2 came out from under the wraps but hadn't flown yet. At that course we had a guest lecture from the B-2's Security Manager. He told us that the 'usual suspects' in Congress including Les Aspin (spit) had decided to use the overhead cost of security for the B-2 program as a cause for slashing the black budget, but were woefully disappointed when the costs to-date at the time had been only 5% of the program budget (they still gnashed and wailed but most of their hearts weren't in it). Big cost savings with the B-2 was the powers-that-be decided to keep all details out of the public domain until just before it was to start test operations. It's very cheap to just have people keep their mouths shut and lock the doors up until you need to take the secret outside.


Why can't we just lock up certain undesirables and take them outside as needed?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2015, 02:26
by popcorn
Aside from drastically limiting public release of information in media and public hearings, what does being a Black program really entail in the case of LRSB? Everyone knows it's going to be built, unlike the U-2, SR-71, B-2. I'd think a lot of focus will be on cyber security and learning from the F-35 experience.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2015, 02:35
by smsgtmac
rheonomic wrote:I think the biggest driver for the X-47B cranked wing was being able to fold up for carrier ops. (I don't fully recall the history of the UCAS-D program, but I think the configuration change from X-47A to X-47B was also driven by the Navy adding more weight towards ISR; I'm sure someone here can correct me if I am wrong.)

Now, I don't know much about RCS management besides the very basics, but from planform alignment alone I'd agree the cranked wing is worse, since there are two orientations that will reflect radar well as opposed to one.

The X-47A was a self-funded effort to demonstrate Northrop was a viable contender for a DARPA project before UCAS-D. The diamond shape reflects a design optimization for cruise vs loiter. When the Navy requirements for UCAS evolved more towards a loiterer than a cruiser to meet the ISR priorities, the cranked kite planform evolved, The cranked kite is in essence wing extensions on a diamond body increased the aspect ratio for the X-47B. The really neat advantages of the cranked-kite planform is that it is easy to change scale/size and keep the basic layout early in the design process, and easier to tweak later to allow for any needed design changes discovered later. For equivalent volume, the cranked kite provides more flexibility for internal component/function layouts.
The RCS of a cranked kite could be no worse or better than a straight leading edge design (assuming both are still pure flying wings), but it might be harder to get the LO design aspects right simply because there is a more complex structure and surface to massage into a proper arrangement.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2015, 03:07
by smsgtmac
popcorn wrote:Aside from drastically limiting public release of information in media and public hearings, what does being a Black program really entail in the case of LRSB? Everyone knows it's going to be built, unlike the U-2, SR-71, B-2. I'd think a lot of focus will be on cyber security and learning from the F-35 experience.


Classified programs (unacknowledged' or acknowledged) have streamlined management and oversight.
The LRS-B is an "acknowledged" program, presumably Special Access Required. In the old days, we would call this simply SAR, or informally a "White-World" program in conversation. If it was important for us to NOT know the LRS-B existed, it would be an 'Unacknowledged' program which in the old days (again) would have been informally referred to as a 'Black Program' among cleared people in approved areas-- and of course we would not know anything about it.

The general rule as to whether or not a program becomes/stays 'unacknowledged' or 'acknowledged' is based upon whether or not the old sayng "knowing there is a secret is half the secret" applies.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2015, 03:31
by popcorn
Acknowledged/Unacknowledged, White-World... learn something new everyday..thanks.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 May 2015, 02:57
by popcorn
http://www.sldinfo.com/the-b-3-is-not-a ... t-affairs/

WHAT THE B-3 BOMBER SHOULD BE


The B-3, which will be built either by a Boeing-Lockheed team or Northrop Grumman, will enter a fleet in the midst of a revolution in air combat. Sea and air operations are now inextricably intertwined with air power, so much so that airpower is the ubiquitous enabler for 21st century combat operations. With the introduction of the F-35 global fleet, a re-norming of airpower is underway and an offensive-defensive enterprise is being created for the US and its allies to prevail against wide-ranging global threats.

Modern systems such as the F-35 create a grid so individual aircraft can operate in an area as a seamless whole, able to strike or defend simultaneously. This is enabled by what we’ve dubbed the evolution of C5ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance).

MORE

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 May 2015, 04:56
by madrat
With weapons going LOAL, could an AAM carrying capacity be realistic? I cannot imagine the foundation isn't already there to implement in the long term. Of course K-I-S-S for now until it's built.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 May 2015, 05:46
by popcorn
madrat wrote:With weapons going LOAL, could an AAM carrying capacity be realistic? I cannot imagine the foundation isn't already there to implement in the long term. Of course K-I-S-S for now until it's built.

I did speculate on,another thread on feasibility of repurposing RIM-116 to provide HVAs a counter to AAMs. HELLADS is another possibility later on.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2015, 03:39
by sferrin
popcorn wrote:
madrat wrote:With weapons going LOAL, could an AAM carrying capacity be realistic? I cannot imagine the foundation isn't already there to implement in the long term. Of course K-I-S-S for now until it's built.

I did speculate on,another thread on feasibility of repurposing RIM-116 to provide HVAs a counter to AAMs. HELLADS is another possibility later on.


There was actually a micro AAM discussed several months ago in AvWeek I believe. Don't recall the details. Reminded me of the defensive weapons on Clint Eastwood's Firefox. :crazypilot:

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2015, 04:29
by popcorn
Come to think of it, wouldn't an incoming AAM present a relatively easier target? It would be flying a relatively direct path to it‘s target, not employing any countermeasures. The key would be detecting it early enough so it could be engaged.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2015, 04:32
by sferrin
popcorn wrote:Come to think of it, wouldn't an incoming AAM present a relatively easier target? It would be flying a relatively direct path to it‘s target, not employing any countermeasures. The key would be detecting it early enough so it could be engaged.



Funny thing is it's not even a new concept. See Pye Wacket for the XB-70:

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusr ... acket.html

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2015, 04:54
by archeman
sferrin wrote:
popcorn wrote:Come to think of it, wouldn't an incoming AAM present a relatively easier target? It would be flying a relatively direct path to it‘s target, not employing any countermeasures. The key would be detecting it early enough so it could be engaged.



Funny thing is it's not even a new concept. See Pye Wacket for the XB-70:

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusr ... acket.html


That is weird that you bring that up.
Way way back in the day, the B-52 higher-ups where discussing improvements/changes to the defensive armament.
One of our SMSGs was sent to participate in the discussions.
He reported back to us little guys that there were lots of ideas that were being bandied about. Some were just improvements to the existing systems, some ideas were to remove the defensive armament altogether, but one odd one involved Disks. He didn't say anything more about that.

Guess which turned out to be cheapest?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2015, 13:42
by sferrin
archeman wrote:
sferrin wrote:
popcorn wrote:Come to think of it, wouldn't an incoming AAM present a relatively easier target? It would be flying a relatively direct path to it‘s target, not employing any countermeasures. The key would be detecting it early enough so it could be engaged.



Funny thing is it's not even a new concept. See Pye Wacket for the XB-70:

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusr ... acket.html


That is weird that you bring that up.
Way way back in the day, the B-52 higher-ups where discussing improvements/changes to the defensive armament.
One of our SMSGs was sent to participate in the discussions.
He reported back to us little guys that there were lots of ideas that were being bandied about. Some were just improvements to the existing systems, some ideas were to remove the defensive armament altogether, but one odd one involved Disks. He didn't say anything more about that.

Guess which turned out to be cheapest?


Removing ALL defensive armament? :doh: (With todays electronics, software, and sensors, the B-52 could have -effectively- a Phalanx in it's tail.)

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2015, 14:16
by madrat
I would think a pair of AAM wouldn't be too much to ask for. I wouldn't want to emit radar waves out the tail for interceptors to home in on. With LOAL technologies and telescopic cctv technology it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out. Heck, the old Rapier system in the 80's had an autonomous mode for self protection and eventually had cold launch canisters for the missiles to keep weather out of the limitations. Eventually there is going to be someone coming up with vertical launch boxes for aircraft, too, where offensive and defensive missiles are popped up and out before ignition to give maximum range.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2015, 01:44
by mrigdon
sferrin wrote:
archeman wrote:
Guess which turned out to be cheapest?


Removing ALL defensive armament? :doh: (With todays electronics, software, and sensors, the B-52 could have -effectively- a Phalanx in it's tail.)


How wide a cone could the tail gun swivel? A Phalanx is mounted on a articulating base which gives it quite a wide coverage area. You couldn't put that on a B-52. So you'd have an expensive radar system driving a gun with a very narrow cone of fire and only available in the rear. If you're designing a missile, you just change the software so that you approach the plane off center (just enough to avoid the rear gun). You're shooting at a B-52, so there won't be a great deal of speed or maneuvering being done by the target. You could sacrifice some fuel in order to avoid the rear of the plane on approach.

Plus, most the missiles a B-52 would encounter would be fired at the front of the plane, correct? If a B-52 has already dropped bombs and cruise missiles, there shouldn't be much left to shoot at the rear of the plane as it exits the area. So the expensive anti-missile system in the back would be placed in the least effective position.

In terms of the B-52 alone, it was the cheapest solution, but isn't the money saved in the defensive armament put to better use in deploying electronic countermeasures and dedicated airframes to accompany the B-52 than trying to come up with guns or missiles that target missiles? So far (until reliable and compact laser systems are available) you need pretty large and elaborate installations for shooting down a missile in flight. Even the Phalanx, which is pretty compact for what it does, weighs close to fourteen thousand pounds.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2015, 05:06
by sprstdlyscottsmn
mrigdon wrote: If a B-52 has already dropped bombs and cruise missiles, there shouldn't be much left to shoot at the rear of the plane as it exits the area.

Heh, EW on the way in, everything's dead on the way out.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2015, 16:33
by sferrin
madrat wrote:I would think a pair of AAM wouldn't be too much to ask for. I wouldn't want to emit radar waves out the tail for interceptors to home in on. With LOAL technologies and telescopic cctv technology it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out. Heck, the old Rapier system in the 80's had an autonomous mode for self protection and eventually had cold launch canisters for the missiles to keep weather out of the limitations. Eventually there is going to be someone coming up with vertical launch boxes for aircraft, too, where offensive and defensive missiles are popped up and out before ignition to give maximum range.


Quick Kill on a plane:



Obviously you'd tweak things so you're not detonating right next to your aircraft.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2015, 02:17
by KamenRiderBlade
sferrin wrote:
madrat wrote:I would think a pair of AAM wouldn't be too much to ask for. I wouldn't want to emit radar waves out the tail for interceptors to home in on. With LOAL technologies and telescopic cctv technology it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out. Heck, the old Rapier system in the 80's had an autonomous mode for self protection and eventually had cold launch canisters for the missiles to keep weather out of the limitations. Eventually there is going to be someone coming up with vertical launch boxes for aircraft, too, where offensive and defensive missiles are popped up and out before ignition to give maximum range.


Quick Kill on a plane:



Obviously you'd tweak things so you're not detonating right next to your aircraft.


This idea is the same idea that I have been mentioning in various posts when it comes to this subject.

QK for planes would be Game Changing

All of those Hypothetical Russian missile volleys could be neutralized in any situation (Dogfight, or at range), then it would force the enemy into a close range dog fight mentality if they are desperate while we can fight at any range we wish.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2015, 15:13
by eloise
IRIS-T can intercept AAM, SAM
http://www.diehl.com/en/diehl-defence/p ... ris-t.html
so it is basically a hard kill defensive system
.
As far as i know US also have MSDN in development with similar capability but very small size ( smaller than CUDA)

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2015, 02:46
by popcorn
eloise wrote:IRIS-T can intercept AAM, SAM
http://www.diehl.com/en/diehl-defence/p ... ris-t.html
so it is basically a hard kill defensive system
.
As far as i know US also have MSDN in development with similar capability but very small size ( smaller than CUDA)

One something like RIM-116 has going for it is a dual-sensor setup .ie it's sensor fusion makes for more accurate targeting by hominghoming in on active RF emissions and/or IR signature emanating from threat SAM/SAM.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Aug 2015, 02:12
by popcorn
Interesting last sentence to this article. Rumor mill likely but personally I'm pulling for NG. :D

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/08/tell ... caf-james/

...For those readers who may not know, rumors have been swirling for weeks that Northrop Grumman has won the LRSB contract — but no matter how many usually reliable sources we have heard this from, those reports remain rumors.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Aug 2015, 21:57
by sprstdlyscottsmn
Me too. I also pull for NG for U-CLAS(?).

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Aug 2015, 23:19
by popcorn
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:Me too. I also pull for NG for U-CLAS(?).

Sure, would only be fitting to have the "Iron Works" represented on carrer decks. :D

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Aug 2015, 23:55
by sprstdlyscottsmn
popcorn wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:Me too. I also pull for NG for U-CLAS(?).

Sure, would only be fitting to have the "Iron Works" represented on carrer decks. :D

Precisely. It isn't NavAv without Grumman on deck. These days they have what? the C/E-2?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2015, 06:11
by geforcerfx
Wouldn't energy weapons be a practical thing to consider on a larger aircraft for anti-missile defenses? It's one of the proposed ways having a future "fighter" be the size of the B-1 and still be a dominate platform, it would basically be impervious to BVR missile fire, while allowing it to lob missiles from very long ranges. Same logic applied to a bomb essentially, launch all the SAM's you want they have to make it through the lasers.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2015, 06:36
by geogen
geforcerfx wrote:Wouldn't energy weapons be a practical thing to consider on a larger aircraft for anti-missile defenses? It's one of the proposed ways having a future "fighter" be the size of the B-1 and still be a dominate platform, it would basically be impervious to BVR missile fire, while allowing it to lob missiles from very long ranges. Same logic applied to a bomb essentially, launch all the SAM's you want they have to make it through the lasers.


No doubt it would be a strategic life-saver for USAF and for greater national defense, if somehow the B-1B line was still preserved today. Think of how a modified, multi-roled platform could contribute to countering a broad range of current and future threats in a relatively cost-effective fashion.

With respect to integration of future offensive/defensive DEW systems however... contemplate a cued aperture ball in the rear of F-15E canopy, with corresponding electronics placed in the existing gun ammo space, if needed? Talk about an interim game-changer.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2015, 22:06
by bring_it_on
Opinion: Sizing Up The U.S. Air Force’s Next Bomber

A meeting in Washington a few weeks ago, organized by the Center for a New American Security, brought together think-tankers, analysts and journalists to talk about the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B), an $80-billion-plus project to be awarded soon to either a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team or Northrop Grumman.

The consensus was that there was no consensus, with a remarkable spread of opinions as to the most basic features of LRS-B—the requirements that will determine the project’s cost and schedule, largely irrespective of the targets set for public consumption.

But it’s possible to take an informed guess, starting with one fact: The LRS-B requirement emerged after its precursor, the Next Generation Bomber (NGB), had been canceled as too risky and expensive.

Bomber design starts with weapon load. It would be hard to justify a B-2-like 50,000-lb. payload today. Even in the 1980s, a mission that would involve 16 nuclear weapons was hard to imagine: the B-2’s weapon bays were designed around conventional missions. But at the time, guided bombs were expensive and required external designation; today, fire-and-forget guided weapons are commodities. There will be B-2s to deliver the 30,000-lb. Massive Ordnance Penetrator until nearly 2050, and work on lighter alternatives is already underway.

The B-2’s key range number is 10,000 nm with one outbound refueling—from Whiteman AFB, Missouri, to Soviet missile fields and back. The question is whether the LRS-B needs global range, or whether the goal will be to reach targets from a safely distant refueling orbit. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), in a report that appeared during the NGB-to-LRS-B transition, assessed that a 2,500-nm post-refueling combat radius was adequate.

But a bomber with a range under 8,000 km (4,319 nm) is not subject to limits under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, whether it is nuclear-capable or not. So a modest reduction from the CSBA range number would leave the U.S. free to build any number of LRS-Bs, and even to build heavy bombers within New Start limits to carry cruise missiles or future hypersonic weapons.

Such range and payload figures don’t add up to a large aircraft. LRS-B could truly be a medium bomber, a species extinct in the U.S. (but not Russia or China) since 1970.

Some bomber advocates have called for the LRS-B to have a supersonic dash capability. Many pre-NGB studies looked at supersonic dash or cruise—but it’s unlikely the LRS-B features either absent a huge classified technology demonstration effort that would have had to start in the mid-2000s.

Operating altitude is an open question. High altitude is one of the few ways to reduce the chance of visual detection—an observer in a fighter at 30,000-40,000 ft. is looking up against a dark sky, not outward against a backlit horizon. Even a usable 55,000-60,000-ft. cruise altitude (like the Royal Air Force’s Vulcan and Victor) could be an advantage.

Some sources suggest that the NGB was to have a lethal self-defense capability. That is likely gone from the initial LRS-B, but there will have been a good deal of pressure to provide space, weight and power for a future directed energy weapon.

One important difference between NGB and LRS-B is that the latter, from the outset, has been part of a family of systems that includes a cruise missile and penetrating platforms for reconnaissance (this could be a version of Northrop Grumman’s secret RQ-180) and electronic attack. Whether in conventional or nuclear missions, this family—a reconnaissance-strike complex by any other name—unburdens the LRS-B specification in important ways.

NGB was designed for long persistence in denied airspace; the LRS-B most likely is not, the reconnaissance vehicle taking on that role. With the electronic-attack platform carrying out close-in jamming, and cruise missiles helping to degrade the defenses, stealth requirements could be relaxed—although all-aspect, wideband stealth can be taken as a given.

Due to the short development schedule (at least by Pentagon standards), it is likely LRS-B will use existing hardware and technology, at least in its initial version, with multiple Block increments in the plan. It is the diametric opposite of the B-2 program, where almost everything had to be invented.

Several block improvements within an 80-100 aircraft arc may look like a complex program, but LRS-B supporters don’t need much encouragement to start talking about many more aircraft than that, for a variety of missions. But not in public, because there’s only one place in the Air Force budget to find that kind of money: fighter procurement. Nobody wants to go there—at least not yet.




Image

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2015, 22:58
by vilters
Would it not be smarter to FIRST make a list of possible targets????

And SECONDLY to think about capabilities on "how" yo get "what" to "where".

You do not need a bomber if you have no possible targets list.

And that 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty range limit?
Hey, stay serious will ya.

You build a bomber within the allowed range, and then simple add secret CFT's when required.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2015, 23:04
by SpudmanWP
Target lsit would likely be a classified spec

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Aug 2015, 10:57
by bring_it_on
I think Sweetman and the panel he attended went by possible mission scenarios and avoiding some of the complexity of design pitfalls of the past. If I were to guess I'd guess that the price will play a role in all this. You can't really build something as large or larger (in my opinion of course) than a B-2 for $550 Million unless you have done a ton of de-risking and have really tight margins, especially given the production rates of around 8-10 per year.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Aug 2015, 17:47
by geforcerfx
geogen wrote:
geforcerfx wrote:Wouldn't energy weapons be a practical thing to consider on a larger aircraft for anti-missile defenses? It's one of the proposed ways having a future "fighter" be the size of the B-1 and still be a dominate platform, it would basically be impervious to BVR missile fire, while allowing it to lob missiles from very long ranges. Same logic applied to a bomb essentially, launch all the SAM's you want they have to make it through the lasers.


No doubt it would be a strategic life-saver for USAF and for greater national defense, if somehow the B-1B line was still preserved today. Think of how a modified, multi-roled platform could contribute to countering a broad range of current and future threats in a relatively cost-effective fashion.

With respect to integration of future offensive/defensive DEW systems however... contemplate a cued aperture ball in the rear of F-15E canopy, with corresponding electronics placed in the existing gun ammo space, if needed? Talk about an interim game-changer.


Can you not comment on my posts from now on?

Reason: I ask questions here because this community has many users with actual military and aviation engineering experience and I wish to hear there thoughts and experienced opinions to learn form them. I am not interested in the thoughts and opinions of a 4th gen fanboy with a overactive imagination.

K, Thanks, G

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 02 Sep 2015, 17:58
by bring_it_on
Surprise Surprise ;)

LRS-B Details Emerge: Major Testing, Risk Reduction Complete

WASHINGTON — The two designs competing to be the US Air Force's next generation bomber have undergone extensive testing by the service and are far more mature than previously known, to a level nearly unheard of in the Pentagon before a contract award, Defense News has learned.

The designs also feature significantly improved stealth capabilities when compared to the B-2 and still feature plans for future certification of nuclear weaponry and the ability to be optionally manned.

Considered one of the US Air Force's three top acquisition priorities, the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program has been kept primarily in the dark as the service weighs two competing proposals, one from Northrop Grumman, and the other from a team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. A contract award is expected soon, with indications it could come before the end of September.

On Tuesday, the Air Force held a meeting with outside stakeholders laying out new details on the secretive bomber. According to two individuals with knowledge of the meeting, the service has conducted far greater testing of the bomber designs than is normal for a pre-award program.

One source said the Air Force officials who briefed made it clear that both designs are "very mature," having undergone wind tunnel testing and extensive survivability tests to evaluate the design from all angles. However, neither design has actually flown, both sources said.

Final requirements on the program were locked down in May 2013, the source said. Since then, the two design teams have been developing and testing their systems, while the service has been focused on doing extensive risk reduction.

A second source cited the Air Force briefers as saying that those designs are very different from each other, with widely different teams on subsystems such as the engines, electronic warfare suites and comms systems. Most of those subcontractors will not be announced when the winner is picked, the second source understands.

"[There is] much greater fidelity than we've ever seen before for a pre-EMD program," the first source said. "It's really different. They've spent a couple years doing these tests."

The source quoted an official as saying risk reduction has been done "down to the access panels."

"The risk reduction is done. The designs are technically mature. And we're ready to move," that same official reportedly said, adding that the bomber program has the "highest level of maturity I've seen in an aircraft build."

The testing, unusual this early in the acquisition process, is in part because the bomber program is being handled by the Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), a small group inside Air Force acquisitions which handles secretive programs such as the service's X-37B space plane.

As its name implies, the RCO follows a different acquisition path than the rest of the service, with more freedom in how it procures technologies. The decision to let them take lead on the program was made back in 2011 under then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, following a review of what went wrong with a previously aborted bomber program.

The RCO's involvement also adds an interesting twist to the long-standing Air Force claim that the bomber will draw from existing technologies. Some observers believed the Air Force might use off-the-shelf commercial tech to help keep the price down, but the RCO has access to existing technologies that most people may never have heard of.

"We're about three years more downstream from where EMD contracts normally are," the first source said. "They've decided to award at a much higher level of maturity and design where they've done a lot of thinking about how to transition to EMD ... and that might be a legacy of the RCO approach."

The briefers avoided giving details about when or how they might select the winning company, but did offer some general insights into the future of the program:

When the contract is awarded, it will come in two parts — an EMD contract that is cost-plus incentive free, and an agreement on the first five low-rate initial production lots that is fixed-price incentive free. Those first five lots will cover the production of 21 bombers.
Shortly after the contract is awarded, the service will share details on the development costs for the program. Operations and sustainment cost estimates, however, won't come until Milestone C, down the road.
The bomber design will have a robust electronic attack element on board
Although the bomber will not be nuclear-certified from the get-go, it will have nuclear-strike software and hardware produced on the very first aircraft. The certification process requires having five identical production models with the same configuration and software, so do not expect nuclear certification to come until the service has enough models produced so it can do the nuclear certification without halting other test requirements.
The plan is still for the bomber to be optionally manned. However, first flights will be manned, and it is unclear if the ability to do unmanned operations will be built into the early production models or added later. The first source indicated that capability is not a "short term priority."
The service remains focused on using an open-architecture approach which will allow future additions to be made with less costs.
Both sources said the Air Force officials are claiming a significant improvement in low observability from the B-2, with multiple references made to improved materials that were not available when the Spirit fleet was designed.

As to size, the briefers were apparently cagey. However, they did apparently indicate that a UCLASS-size design was too small and the B-2 design was too large.

"The words and body language were that it's not as big as the B-2," the first source said. "But so much is driven by engine technology."

The second source agreed but said that a smaller plane doesn't necessitate a smaller range if the service is willing to trade payload for range. Notably, the service briefers apparently downplayed payload gross weight and instead emphasized the ability to carry multiple types of munitions — selectability between large and small weapons.

A third source, who was not in the meeting but has knowledge of program discussion, believes a design could feature "about 20 percent less payload and 20 percent less range" than the B-2. That source also believes that whichever team wins will produce a flying-wing design, perhaps similar to the UCLASS designs put forth from Boeing and Northrop.

Overall, the sources agreed, the meeting gave attendees a sense that the US Air Force has a much better handle on the bomber program than had been expected. This is important given that members of Congress are already lining up to demand greater oversight on the program.

"They were determined to show competence, and they succeeded, in my mind," the second source said. "This is a well-run program. They were very mindful of the cost issues and were determined to get in front of that."





Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 02 Sep 2015, 23:17
by popcorn
Very encouraging news.I like how the teams have taken different approaches to address the requirememts. LRSB looks to contain more advanced kit than simply being a collection of recycled tech. More mature so less concurrency issues. It's a black program so this may be the minimal level of detail to expect in future media reports.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 02:09
by bigjku
popcorn wrote:Very encouraging news.I like how the teams have taken different approaches to address the requirememts. LRSB looks to contain more advanced kit than simply being a collection of recycled tech. More mature so less concurrency issues. It's a black program so this may be the minimal level of detail to expect in future media reports.


Interesting that the RCO seems to handle things better. There are good reasons for many of the traditional procurement rules but to an extent it seems to have evolved into the self licking lollipop. With fewer programs out there every oversight office in the Pentagon seems determined to prove its utility. It seems like some reform that streamlines some things would make sense. I want to make sure there isn't corruption and that things broadly do what they are supposed to but we have gone way too far.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 02:32
by popcorn
Gen. Welsh has gone on record that nothing gets added to the LRSB spec sheet without his personal OK. He obviously wants to avoid mission creep as much as possible. He should have an easier time monitoring the small and focused RCO than a traditional approach with too many cooks eager to add their particular secret sauce to the recipe.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 02:42
by popcorn
I wonder if they intend to squeeze a MOP into the weapons bay?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 03:03
by Scorpion1alpha
I found this quote interesting:

One source said the Air Force officials who briefed made it clear that both designs are "very mature," having undergone wind tunnel testing and extensive survivability tests to evaluate the design from all angles. However, neither design has actually flown, both sources said.


Then, what are these:

Image

*NOTE*: I have no idea what these are, but I just find it interesting.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 03:07
by bigjku
Scorpion1alpha wrote:I found this quote interesting:

One source said the Air Force officials who briefed made it clear that both designs are "very mature," having undergone wind tunnel testing and extensive survivability tests to evaluate the design from all angles. However, neither design has actually flown, both sources said.


Then, what are these:

Image

*NOTE*: I have no idea what these are, but I just find it interesting.


Some light reflected off of Venus and a weather balloon...

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 04:01
by geforcerfx
bigjku wrote:
Scorpion1alpha wrote:I found this quote interesting:

One source said the Air Force officials who briefed made it clear that both designs are "very mature," having undergone wind tunnel testing and extensive survivability tests to evaluate the design from all angles. However, neither design has actually flown, both sources said.


Then, what are these:

Image

*NOTE*: I have no idea what these are, but I just find it interesting.


Some light reflected off of Venus and a weather balloon...


RQ-180 maybe? Or some decent photoshopping :D

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 05:12
by popcorn
Aurora? :D

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 11:13
by KamenRiderBlade
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell ... Avenger_II

A-12 prototype updated with newer tech as a test rig?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 11:18
by spazsinbad
B-3: The Inside Story of America's Next Bomber
02 Sep 2015 Loren Thompson

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomps ... xt-bomber/

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2015, 19:36
by gtg947h
Scorpion1alpha wrote:I found this quote interesting:

One source said the Air Force officials who briefed made it clear that both designs are "very mature," having undergone wind tunnel testing and extensive survivability tests to evaluate the design from all angles. However, neither design has actually flown, both sources said.


Then, what are these:

http://theaviationist.com/wp-content/up ... planes.jpg

*NOTE*: I have no idea what these are, but I just find it interesting.


Subscale demonstrators?

Other unrelated aircraft?

Good Photoshops?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Sep 2015, 00:23
by popcorn
Show me the money... for 3 overlapping bomber programs. :shock:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... rs-416593/

Experts: USAF needs more than 80 to 100 new bombers

A former commander of the USAF’s bomber force says 80 to 100 new Long-Range Strike Bombers are not enough to meet American national security objectives, and the service should consider buying more to rejuvenate its “withering” combat fleet of Boeing B-1s and B-52s.

In his testimony to Congress 9 September, Lt Gen Robert Elder, who directed the 8th Air Force before his retirement, said the production target released by the air force is too few, even though the new aircraft will be more capable...

“I will support this, as long as we keep the price down and it accomplishes the mission,” says Knight, who also questioned whether it would be wiser to pursue three overlapping bomber procurement programmes than just one example designed with a 50-year operating life. He says "flying the wings off" a single type makes the US force less flexible to emerging threats.
More...

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Sep 2015, 12:45
by popcorn
Making the case for more LRS-Bs.


https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ri-416654/

Deptula: USAF needs 174 new bombers to replace ‘geriatric’ force
11 SEPTEMBER, 2015 BY: JAMES DREW WASHINGTON DC
The US Air Force needs at least 120 combat-coded next-generation bombers and another 54 for test, training and attrition reserve, which is far more than the 80 to 100 the service intends to buy, according to retired Lt Gen David Deptula, dean of the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute
During the release of his “Beyond the Bomber” report 10 September, Deptula said based on the current national security strategy, the air force requires at least 12 “long-range sensor-shooters” per aerospace expeditionary force, of which there are 10 today. The service then needs approximately 24 more aircraft for test and training activates at home and about another 30 aircraft are required as back-up inventory to replace combat losses, justifying a 174-bomber production run.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Oct 2015, 21:02
by oldiaf

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Oct 2015, 21:13
by lamoey
oldiaf wrote:http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/strike/2015/10/06/usaf-final-closing-phase-bomber-contract/73450104/


The Air Force already has two robust prototypes in hand
wow!

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Oct 2015, 23:22
by oldiaf

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2015, 03:57
by popcorn
LRSB update.. it's coming very soon.. we've been spoiled with the flood of F-35 coverage over the years, LRSB will be lean times by comparison.

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/10/lrsb ... -laplante/

LaPlante officially confirmed for the first time that:

the Air Force plans to buy 100 planes, not 80 to 100 as briefing slides have said for years.
the first buy will be 21 planes spread over five options
the price of development will be made public, in addition to the well-known APUC cost of $550 million per plane in fiscal 2010 dollars
four or five of the first planes will fly as test aircraft, as has happened with the KC-46 tanker
Some of the subsystems and technologies intended for LRSB are already being used, LaPlante said. It’s likely these were developed by the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), which oversees LRSB. How good is RCO? “It’s the best, ” LaPlante said. It “has an incredible track record of delivering eye-watering capabilities.”

He also answered one of the criticisms that LRSB has attracted, namely that building an advanced long-range stealth bomber that relies on existing technologies was something of a contradiction. “Just because it’s existing technology doesn’t mean it’s not incredible,” he said, noting that the only program publicly acknowledged as an RCO effort is the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Oct 2015, 23:32
by oldiaf
Experts divided about who would win the LRSB/B-3 contract - Northrop or Boeing/LM :
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... in-418212/

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Oct 2015, 00:09
by count_to_10
One line of thought is that the contract is piped to Northrop, with the LM/Boeing team just there to keep Northrop honest, based on the idea that Northrop won't survive a loss. That seems odd to me, given that Northrop actually makes most of both the F-35 and the F-18, and makes UAVs.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Oct 2015, 01:42
by sferrin
count_to_10 wrote:One line of thought is that the contract is piped to Northrop, with the LM/Boeing team just there to keep Northrop honest,


Do you have any links to support that notion?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Oct 2015, 02:11
by tritonprime
"Ahead of Long Range Strike-Bomber Announcement, Aerospace Industry Looks for Clues"
By Lara Seligman 7:59 p.m. EDT October 26, 2015

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /74649650/

WASHINGTON — The day before the Pentagon is expected to announce who will build the US Air Force’s next-generation bomber, the aerospace industry is desperately reading the tea leaves for clues about who the winner may be.

Pentagon leaders are widely expected to announce the winner of the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) contract, one of the most tightly held secrets in the building right now, after markets close Tuesday evening. The contract, which is expected to top $55 billion over the life of the program, pits three giants in the aerospace world against each other, with Northrop Grumman, builder of the B-2 stealth bomber, competing against a joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin team.

The final hurdle was reportedly cleared Friday, when Pentagon weapons buyer Frank Kendall briefed senior leaders on the decision, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The Pentagon is keeping a tight lid on the development program, and both industry teams have been silent ahead of the contract award. But whatever the outcome, the Pentagon’s LRS-B decision will shape the aerospace industry for decades to come.

Experts, looking for any indication that one side has the edge, are split over which team the Pentagon will choose. Analysts contacted by Defense News spoke on background to talk openly about the contract award. Some experts predict a clear win for Boeing-Lockheed Martin, which many say had the advantage from the start in terms of financing and expertise.

As proof that the world's two largest defense firms have the deal locked up, one analyst pointed to a recent reshuffling of Northrop's senior management, as Gloria Flach, corporate vice president and president of its electronic systems sector, was named the new COO — passing over Northrop aerospace head Tom Vice. That could be a sign Vice failed to land the bomber contract, the analyst argued.

However, a major realignment at Northrop has been in the works for some time, including the consolidation of four business segments down to three.

Other experts, meanwhile, believe the Pentagon would be crazy to put all of its eggs in the Boeing-Lockheed basket. A Boeing-Lockheed win would mean Lockheed essentially controls all Air Force combat aviation production, including the controversial and costly F-35. Boeing, meanwhile, produces the KC-46 tanker.

A Northrop win would spread the Air Force’s top three acquisition priorities — F-35, Boeing’s KC-46 tanker and the new bomber — evenly among the three contractors.

However, it not clear how much the industrial base concern factors into the final decision.

“I think that considering the health of the defense industrial base writ large is an important factor,” Mark Gunzinger, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Defense News last month. “That said, I don’t think they are going to make a decision on this capability based on the industrial base.”

All the experts contacted by Defense News agree that the losing side will assuredly launch a contract protest in hopes of stealing away the win.

The Air Force plans to buy 80 to 100 Long Range Strike-Bombers to replace its aging B-52s and B-1s, which the service plans to retire in the mid-2040s. The new aircraft will be significantly stealthier than the B-2, capable of carrying conventional and nuclear weapons. Optionally manned versions are eventually expected. Initial operating capability is slated for the mid-2020s, with nuclear certification planned two years after that. The Air Force has not disclosed concrete plans for the aircraft’s range, payload, speed or size.

The target price is $550 million per plane in 2010 dollars. That unit cost is a key performance parameter for the program, meaning that a company can be disqualified if its price fails to reach that goal. To help achieve that price point, the Air Force is looking to draw on available mature technologies rather than launching new developments. At the same time, the Air Force will use an open-architecture approach to design a plane that can be easily upgraded with new technologies over its lifetime.

When the contract is awarded, it will come in two parts — a development contract that is cost-plus incentive fee, and an agreement on the first five low-rate initial production lots that is fixed-price incentive fee. Those first five lots will cover the production of 21 bombers.

LRS-B is unusually mature for a program at this stage of development, said Lt. Gen. Arnie Bunch, the Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for acquisition. The program has completed preliminary design review and manufacturing readiness review, and the platform designs are “at the subsystem level,” he said Oct. 21 at a Pentagon briefing.

“We have established a high level of tech maturity, higher I would say than any other developmental program that we’ve tried to initiate at this stage for a new aircraft,” Bunch said, emphasizing that one key aspect of the program is that the requirements have remained stable since 2011. “These stable requirements and a mature platform design make us very confident in the cost and the execution of the program as we get ready to initiate.”

Part of the reason the LRS-B program is so advanced at this stage is due to being handled by the Rapid Capabilities Office, a small group inside Air Force acquisitions that handles secretive programs such as the X-37B space plane. Right now, there is no plan to change the LRS-B program management, Bunch said, but the Pentagon may re-evaluate as the program moves forward.

The teams have already built component prototypes and scale models for testing, officials have previously said. Air Force acquisition chief William LaPlante indicated during the briefing that the plane could begin flying relatively soon after selection.

“People say, when will we actually start flying something?” LaPlante said. “If you count the first test article, it’s not necessarily that long from now — but I’m not going to say anything more about that now.”

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Oct 2015, 03:15
by cosmicdwarf
Northrops been talking about the B-2 a lot lately. Maybe a hint?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Oct 2015, 22:28
by oldiaf
cosmicdwarf wrote:Northrops been talking about the B-2 a lot lately. Maybe a hint?

Northrop win :
http://sputniknews.com/us/20151028/1029 ... tract.html

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2015, 00:28
by count_to_10
sferrin wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:One line of thought is that the contract is piped to Northrop, with the LM/Boeing team just there to keep Northrop honest,


Do you have any links to support that notion?

It's an idea, not something so concrete as a notion. :P

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2015, 00:31
by count_to_10
By the way, what happened to the "LRSB announcement soon" thread that was up just a minute ago?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Oct 2015, 21:10
by tritonprime
Excerpts from an article published in Boeingland from the Seattle Times.

"Boeing faces high hurdle if it protests loss of bomber contract"
Originally published October 28, 2015 at 4:17 pm Updated October 29, 2015 at 9:18 am
by Dominic Gates
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Source:
http://www.seattletimes.com/business/bo ... -contract/

Boeing faces long odds if it decides to protest the Pentagon’s award of the Long Range Strike Bomber contract to Northrop Grumman.

Clearly eager to avoid repeating the debacle of the decadelong Air Force tanker-procurement process — when a Boeing protest eventually reversed the original award to Airbus — the Pentagon insists it built independent oversight into the bomber- selection task.

Boeing said Tuesday it wants to learn from a Pentagon debriefing Friday “how the competition was scored in terms of price and risk,” which could lay the groundwork for a protest.


Unlike the tanker, when the criteria used to select the winner were known to and endlessly debated by members of Congress alleging elements of bias, all details of the bomber program — including the selection criteria — are classified.

Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute who has consulted both for Boeing and its partner in the bomber competition, Lockheed Martin, believes that creates a high hurdle.

“You launch a protest when you think you have a reasonable chance of success,” said Thompson. “It’s very hard to do that when a program is secret.”

Independent judgment

The Pentagon’s advance efforts to try to ensure a bulletproof outcome and shut out any possible protest by the loser focused on lining up independent approval of its selection process.

In September, the Inspector General’s office of the Department of Defense (DOD) — whose investigators and auditors provide oversight of the department — performed an audit specifically on the acquisition process for the bomber.

The audit report, completed seven weeks before the award was announced, is classified, according to a notice on the DOD website.

The Pentagon went ahead with its announcement Tuesday, so presumably the audit found the process clean.

Briefing reporters last week ahead of the announcement, William LaPlante, assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, said he personally appointed an independent person, referred to as the Source Selection Authority, to run the acquisition process.

He said that person’s identity is known only to those involved in the process and is kept secret to preserve independence.

Air Force spokesman Maj. Robert Leese subsequently said this is someone from “outside the bomber program,” though he declined to elaborate.

LaPlante said this person’s role was to ensure the ultimate decision rested exclusively upon the criteria finalized for the two contending teams last July.

He added that federal acquisition regulations require that though this person may use analyses and reports prepared by others, the final decision “shall represent the Source Selection Authority’s best independent judgment.”

LaPlante spent a good portion of the advance briefing outlining this position and insisting upon the integrity of the process.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Oct 2015, 22:25
by tritonprime
"How The Long-Range Strike Bomber Requirement Evolved"
Oct 29, 2015 Bill Sweetman | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/how-lon ... nt-evolved

The Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program and the Oct. 27 source selection cannot be understood without looking at LRS-B’s roots.

The program started after then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled a much more ambitious bomber project, the Next-Generation Bomber (NGB), in April 2009. The major differences between the two concern cost and risk, driven by the Pentagon’s desire to break the pattern of massive overruns and delays in major acquisition programs.

The NGB started after the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review (released in early 2006) canceled the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program. J-UCAS had been designated as the next U.S. Air Force strike program, and there was no money for both J-UCAS and a bomber. But as J-UCAS had progressed, there had been tension between the Navy version, which had to fit on an aircraft carrier, and the Air Force’s desire for a “global strike enabler” with greater range and payload. By late 2005, Northrop Grumman was briefing a so-called X-47C for the Air Force that would have had a 172-ft. wingspan and a 10,000-lb. bomb load.

The demise of J-UCAS was the start of three programs: the Navy’s X-47B UCAS-D, intended to prove carrier compatibility; an unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, largely sponsored by the CIA (the competition was won by the Northrop Grumman RQ-180); and the Next-Generation Long-Range Strike (NGLRS) analysis of alternatives, which in the course of 2006 generated the NGB requirement.


By 2008, industry executives were expecting an NGB request for proposals (RFP) in late 2009 and a program start in fiscal 2010, with initial operational capability (IOC) in 2018. That did not happen.

There were several reasons for Robert Gates’s decision to cancel the NGB, including the 2008 economic crisis, but the most important was concern over the NGB’s cost and risk. The NGB was a very ambitious concept, as Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne had indicated in an October 2006 speech: “To reduce support packages, it will contain robust electronic attack and suppression of enemy air-defense systems. With fused sensor suites . . . the Next-Generation Bomber will provide global situational awareness on targets, threats and blue forces for positive identification and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.”

In short, the NGB would be a fully autonomous system capable of detecting, locating and striking moving targets with no outside support, while carrying both offensive and defensive weapons. It was expected to have the stealth and aerodynamic performance needed for long loiter times over hostile territory.

Gates’s decision was not the end of the road; the Air Force was left free to make a case for a less risky alternative while considering other approaches to long-range strike. Writing this year in Aviation Week & Space Technology, Wynne’s successor, Michael Donley, underscored the changes in thinking: “In 2010, the Air Force and DoD reviewed over 28 studies conducted since 1995,” Donley wrote. “We focused on setting affordable, realistic and achievable requirements up front.”

Most importantly, “we took a ‘family of systems’ approach, recognizing that the bomber did not have to do everything itself and would be part of a larger joint portfolio of ISR, communications, electronic warfare and weapon programs and capabilities essential to long-range strike,” he wrote. The LRS-B would be a penetrating, not highly persistent bomber, used in conjunction with the Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) nuclear and conventional strategic cruise missile, an RQ-180-type ISR asset and new electronic attack means.

The use of new technology was rigorously restricted in the LRS-B. “We looked at mature technologies from a variety of current programs and made informed trade-offs up front to control costs and technical risk,” Donley said. As Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Jr., military deputy for Air Force acquisition, said last week: “If you’re simultaneously designing a new sensor or a new weapon, it’s complicated. You end up with nested ACAT 1 [Acquisition Category 1] programs or one Acquisition Category 1 program [the largest in the Pentagon] within another.” One lesson in this respect has been the Joint Strike Fighter’s much-delayed Autonomous Logistics Information System, which program director Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan has compared to an ACAT 1 program.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Oct 2015, 22:26
by count_to_10
I'm sure the Air Force learned a lot from the tanker selection debacle. Sounds like they made sure there was a paper trail supporting the process.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 04:28
by popcorn
If Boeing wants it bad enough, just gobble up NG.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 05:21
by sferrin
popcorn wrote:If Boeing wants it bad enough, just gobble up NG.


Uncle Sam would tell Boeing to GTFO.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 05:51
by popcorn
IIRC both Bill Swèetman and Loren Thompson were predicting a Boeing win months back. So much for supposed experts and their crystal balls.LOL.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 06:20
by tritonprime
popcorn wrote:If Boeing wants it bad enough, just gobble up NG.


The United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division might sue to block the merger of Boeing and Northrop Grumman on antitrust grounds. In 1998, Lockheed Martin abandoned its planned $8.3 billion acquisition of Northrop Grumman to avoid a court fight over the transaction.

The Government feared that a union of the two would create an unacceptable level of ''vertical integration,'' or control over the entire process of making military equipment.

For instance, Lockheed might favor Northrop's electronics products in Lockheed planes, missiles and other military equipment in ways that would block out competitive bidding from other electronics makers. That could drive up prices and make the Pentagon a captive customer to one supplier.


Source:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/07/17/busin ... stand.html

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 07:07
by popcorn
Well, Boeing could give it a shot. It could argue that if projected US defense spending in the coming decades is only enough to support 2 primes, the acquiring NG is the way to go. Otherwise you risk losing phantom works and Boeing's extensive expertise and resources. LM is assured of viability due to the F-35. So is NG with LRSB. Boeing could argue it needs to buy NG to remain a prime. So it's either LM and NG or LM and Boeing as the last 2 primes standing.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 12:03
by KamenRiderBlade
I wonder what kind of incentive it would take for Norththrop Grumman & Lockheed Martin to enter the civilian aviation front and compete with Boeing / Airbus or some of the smaller size companies like Bombardier & ATR

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 13:33
by sferrin
KamenRiderBlade wrote:I wonder what kind of incentive it would take for Norththrop Grumman & Lockheed Martin to enter the civilian aviation front and compete with Boeing / Airbus or some of the smaller size companies like Bombardier & ATR


Last time Lockheed tried was with their L-1011. Didn't work out so well. Either of those guys trying to compete in the commercial market is like Boeing trying to compete in the military aviation market only worse. At least Boeing has the remains of McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell to reach to. LM or NG really doesn't have much experience commercially, even historically.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 14:17
by sprstdlyscottsmn
popcorn wrote:Well, Boeing could give it a shot. It could argue that if projected US defense spending in the coming decades is only enough to support 2 primes, the acquiring NG is the way to go. Otherwise you risk losing phantom works and Boeing's extensive expertise and resources. LM is assured of viability due to the F-35. So is NG with LRSB. Boeing could argue it needs to buy NG to remain a prime. So it's either LM and NG or LM and Boeing as the last 2 primes standing.

I have a question for you then. BEFORE Boeing bought McDD as a direct result of the JSF prototype contract award when was the last Boeing Military Aircraft? B-52? Everything after that was a bastardized commercial plane (707s, 737s, 767s). They are a commercial company.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 22:06
by tritonprime
Department of Defense isn't too keen on prime mergers.

"Kendall Seeks Congressional Action Against Prime Mergers"
By Aaron Mehta and Andrew Clevenger 5:10 p.m. EDT September 30, 2015

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaki ... /73102994/

WASHINGTON — In what appears to be the first shot in a potentially groundbreaking change to defense mergers and acquisitions, Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, said the Department of Defense plans to ask Congress to create rules that could hinder mergers between prime contractors.

The drive behind the move, Kendall told reporters, is concern that such mergers limit the number of defense firms and give too much power to individual companies — power that will end up hurting both the department and the American taxpayer.

“If the trend to smaller and smaller numbers of weapon system prime contractors continues, one can foresee a future in which the department has at most two or three very large suppliers for all the major weapon systems that we acquire,” Kendall said. “The department would not consider this to be a positive development and the American public should not either.”

“With size comes power, and the department's experience with large defense contractors is that they are not hesitant to use this power for corporate advantage.”

Kendall’s announcement comes against the backdrop of the Department of Justice clearing the purchase by Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense company, of Sikorsky, the largest producer of military helicopters in the US. That deal was obviously very much on his mind, as it was held up as an example of how the number of major defense firms are shrinking.

“Mergers such as this, combined with significant financial resources of the largest defense companies, strategically position the acquiring companies to dominate large parts of the defense industry,” Kendall said of the Lockheed-Sikorsky deal.

In order to address the situation, Kendall said, the department plans to work with Congress to “explore additional legal tools and policy to preserve the diversity and spirit of innovation that have been central to the health and strength of our unique, strategic defense industrial base, particularly at the prime contractor level.”

Asked specifically what those options are, Kendall said the Pentagon hasn’t had much chance to talk with Congress yet and expects to do that over “the next few months.”

“One obvious [option] would be a provision that took national security considerations into account, but it's very early,” he said. “We need to explore the possibilities with the Congress.”

Asked about Kendall's plan shortly after the conference call ended, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said this was his "first opportunity" to hear about Kendall's recommendation. However, he indicated a willingness to listen to Kendall's concerns.

"I have known the secretary for many, many, many years, and I have great respect for his abilities, so anything he would suggest, I would take very seriously," Reed said. "But I would have to look carefully and I have not had the change to look at it in detail."

"Again, having known Secretary Kendall, respecting his opinion, if he is suggesting there is a problem, it has to be taken seriously," Reed added.

The statement is an unusually strong one from the Pentagon, an indicator of how seriously Kendall’s office is taking the question of mergers at the highest level of the defense industry.

However, Kendall was quick to say this message was not aimed at any specific pending merger.

“It’s not pointed at any specific expectation of any other deals. It’s more about the general situation,” he said. “I think we have to look at each case on its merits, but in general I think the trend toward smaller numbers of larger defense primes is not a positive one.”

Earlier this month, Lockheed indicated in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it received approval from US regulators for its $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. Without a second request for information from US regulators, the deal appears to be on track to close in the fourth quarter of 2015 or the first quarter of 2016, as Lockheed had hoped when the defense giant announced the deal July 20.

“While the Lockheed Sikorsky transaction does not trigger anti-trust concerns of having a negative impact on competition and we understand and agree with the basis upon which the Department of Justice (DOJ) decided not to issue a request for additional information about the transaction, we believe that these types of acquisitions still give rise to significant policy concerns,” Kendall said in his statement.

The deal does not violate the Pentagon’s ban on mergers between prime contractors, but it does make Lockheed, the world’s biggest defense contract, even bigger.

“The trend toward fewer and larger prime contractors has the potential to affect innovation, limit the supply base, pose entry barriers to small, medium and large businesses, and ultimately reduce competition — resulting in higher prices to be paid by the American taxpayer in order to support our war fighters,” Kendall said in the statement.

Although Kendall’s tone on the conference call indicated a certain level of frustration that the Lockheed-Sikorsky deal was not given another round of review by the Department of Justice, Kendall also made it clear that he was not seeking to block the agreement.

“The Lockheed-Sikorsky deal was not taken into another round of inquiry by DoJ,” he said. “So as far as the Department of Justice is concerned, there is nothing further to investigate. I’m really looking forward. I’m not looking backward to Lockheed-Sikorsky.”

Speaking before Kendall’s remarks, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter declined to comment on the Sikorsky-Lockheed deal, but acknowledged a past statement he had made about the dangers of too much consolidation.

“What I said then, and still believe, is that it was important to avoid excessive consolidation in the defense industry,” Carter said, “to the point where we did not have multiple vendors which could compete with one another on many programs, and to the point where we had so-called vertical integration in companies to the extent that made competition among subcontractors for work on prime less competitive.”

“I think that now and at the time I indicated that I, in that time, but I feel the same way now, didn’t welcome further consolidation among the very large prime contractors,” he said. “I didn’t think it was good for our defense marketplace and therefore for the taxpayer and our warfighter in the long run.”

Jeff Bialos, a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan who specializes in aerospace and defense M&A and previously served as the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial policy, said Kendall is concerned that the current law doesn’t give the Pentagon ample discretion to address certain implications of mergers for competition in defense markets

Size alone is not anti-competitive under anti-trust laws, Bialos said. But it’s not hard to envision a scenario in which a company becomes so big, and involved in so many sectors of the defense business, that smaller firms are afraid to team with one of the large firm’s rivals for fear of angering the giant and being frozen out of future business.

“That’s the issue that I think that one might argue that current law doesn’t sufficiently address,” he said.

Current anti-trust law is not a hugely detailed statute, but largely governed by common law, said Bialos.

“There have been periods when the laws were interpreted differently than they are now,” he said, “and perhaps the Pentagon could work with the Justice Department to address these concerns under current law. Or Congress could give the DoD legal standing to weigh in on M&A in the defense sector.”

“If there was a law that gave them a national security direct seat at the table, it would be an easier discussion,” he said.

However, he said, it is hard to anticipate how Congress will respond to the issues raised by Kendall, given the general anti-regulation environment on Capitol Hill right now.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 23:15
by popcorn
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
popcorn wrote:Well, Boeing could give it a shot. It could argue that if projected US defense spending in the coming decades is only enough to support 2 primes, the acquiring NG is the way to go. Otherwise you risk losing phantom works and Boeing's extensive expertise and resources. LM is assured of viability due to the F-35. So is NG with LRSB. Boeing could argue it needs to buy NG to remain a prime. So it's either LM and NG or LM and Boeing as the last 2 primes standing.

I have a question for you then. BEFORE Boeing bought McDD as a direct result of the JSF prototype contract award when was the last Boeing Military Aircraft? B-52? Everything after that was a bastardized commercial plane (707s, 737s, 767s). They are a commercial company.

Indeed, and their last inhouse fighter was the Peashooter IIRC. And their business is still largely commercial so their's no danger of going under. Just saying that buying NG would allow them to argue they could achieve industrial synergy by adding NG expertise and assets their own. Future defense spending projections will influence bjsiness strategy.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2015, 23:24
by tritonprime
popcorn wrote:Indeed, and their last inhouse fighter was tbe Peashooter IIRC. And their business is still largely commercial so their's no danger of goinb under. Just saying that buying NG would allow them to argue they could achieve industrial synergy by adding NG expertise and assets their own.


Building three prototypes of the XF8B-1 (Model 400) "five-in-one fighter" circa 1944 doesn't count?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_XF8B

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2015, 23:38
by popcorn
Dual-Use jjst makes sense. Propping up the Nuclear Triad is a strategic imperative but this asset is equally valuable as a versatile cog in the sensor-shooter-sharer in a conventional conflict. Even the Navy is reportedly thinking the unthinkable ie. equipping it's new boomers with cruise missile tipped with conventional warheads.


http://breakingdefense.com/2015/10/the- ... -dual-use/

The Nuclear Option: Long Range Strike & The Case For Dual-Use

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2015, 02:02
by count_to_10
popcorn wrote:Dual-Use jjst makes sense. Propping up the Nuclear Triad is a strategic imperative but this asset is equally valuable as a versatile cog in the sensor-shooter-sharer in a conventional conflict. Even the Navy is reportedly thinking the unthinkable ie. equipping it's new boomers with cruise missile tipped with conventional warheads.


http://breakingdefense.com/2015/10/the- ... -dual-use/

The Nuclear Option: Long Range Strike & The Case For Dual-Use

There is a case to be made for the LRSB just on the basis of conventional strike. Adding nuclear capability is almost piggybacking on that.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2015, 02:50
by tritonprime
"Northrop Launches LRS-B Website Hours After Bomber Contract Award"
by Aaron Mehta 7:51 p.m. EDT October 27, 2015

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /74710378/

WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman is wasting no time in moving to protect its Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) contract win.

Less than two hours after the Air Force announced Northrop was its choice to build 80 to 100 future bombers for the service, the company launched AmericasNewBomber.com, in what appears to be a move to protect both the contract win and the LRS-B program as a whole.

The website features a breadth of information largely focused on making the case for why America should spend billions in the coming decades to fund a new bomber.

Splashed over a picture of a bomber pilot reads the warning: "Our potential adversaries are extending their reach, and stealth bombers are America's most strategic asset to deter future threats and keep our nation safe. Today we only have 20 of them."

The site then directs readers to send emails to a series of top US figures, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, supporting the bomber.

"I am writing to express my support for the United States Air Force's Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program," the pre-written letter reads. "Our national security depends on the ability to deter adversaries and defend American interests at a moment's notice in any corner of the world. I urge you to support the LRS-B program to preserve our military's advantages in a challenging and dynamic global environment."

The LRS-B program is expected to find itself in an eventual funding fight with the Navy's Ohio Class nuclear submarine program. Air Force officials and experts alike have expressed concerns to Defense News over the last several months that the service is not doing enough to pave the way for the program on the Hill. The website appears to be a way to address that deficiency.

Of course, the website can also be a tool for Northrop if the Boeing-Lockheed Martin team it defeated decides to protest the Air Force's decision, as is widely expected. While the protest is handled by the independent GAO, big programs are often also fought in Congress.

Boeing and Lockheed will likely wage intense lobbying campaigns to rally support for a protest. Boeing is expected to tap the Missouri delegation, including influential Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, while Lockheed will look to the Texas delegation, particularly Fort Worth's Republican Rep. Kay Granger and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. William "Mac" Thornberry, also a Republican.

One expert predicted the Missouri and Texas delegations will come out swinging for the Boeing-Lockheed team.

"McCaskill will go to war for this and Texas will back it," one defense analyst told Defense News.

Throughout the LRS-B contract campaign, Northrop was not shy about advertising. It launched a major ad campaign that covered the streets around Capitol Hill with posters advertising the company's technology, while also launching a pair of flashy TV ads — including one that ran locally during the Super Bowl.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 05 Nov 2015, 20:58
by tritonprime
"Opinion: Did Unique Requirements Swing Pentagon’s Bomber Decision?"
New bomber, new fixes, old problems
Nov 5, 2015 Bill Sweetman | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/opinion ... b2c0920300

The losing players in the $80 billion Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program bid are spinning a narrative of “bet the company” low-ball costs.

It might be argued that the major contractor on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter along with the KC-46 prime are qualified to recognize an unrealistic bid when they see one, but it will be hard to prove underbidding in the face of two independent reviews, one by the Air Force and the other by the Pentagon’s Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation (CAPE) directorate. Particularly so for Lockheed Martin, whose bosses were complaining not long ago that CAPE’s estimates of F-35 costs were ludicrously high.

The counterargument may be that the LRS-B is different from earlier Pentagon programs, and this difference gave Northrop Grumman the chance to pull the odd rabbit out of its hat.

The Pentagon not only set a goal for average procurement unit cost (APUC)—none of this “unit recurring flyaway” stuff, which leaves out spares, support equipment and other things essential to putting rubber on the ramp—but it has been made a key performance parameter. It has teeth: The development contract includes fixed-price incentive options for the first 21 production bombers in five low-rate initial-production batches.

Cost goals are often illusory; by the time they are found to be unrealistic, it’s economically prohibitive for the customer to change course. But the APUC goal for LRS-B (originally $550 million in 2010 dollars, based on a 100-aircraft run) has a few things going for it.

The LRS-B specification resulted from a vigorous scrubbing of requirements. The bomber went from the “Battlestar Galactica” Next-Generation Bomber to part of a family of systems.

Rather than conducting a competitive demonstration program—an approach that hasn’t always done well at anticipating and fixing snags—the Pentagon funded both teams through preliminary design review. The F-35 PDR, which started the process of unearthing the weight explosion that led to a redesign, took place about 16 months into the program.

Air Force procurement chief William LaPlante compares the project to the Lockheed F-117. The F-117 also emerged as an alternative to a bigger, more sophisticated but unaffordable aircraft and was run by small industry and government teams.

The F-117 and LRS-B used mature technology where possible while focusing on what was new, risky and essential. The F-117’s signatures—aerodynamics and propulsion integration—were revolutionary, but its engines, sensors, cockpit displays, navigation system and landing gear were off-the-shelf.

Winning LRS-B likely meant concentrating on two areas. One would have been the combination of low-maintenance stealth with aerodynamic and propulsion efficiency. The other would have been open architecture, to ensure that the slow-paced platform program can keep up with the state of the art in other technologies, from gallium nitride radio-frequency electronics to laser weapons.

Open architecture is essential to LRS-B strategy; it is the bridge between what the customer wants and what he’s willing to accept at initial operational capability to keep APUC down. LaPlante has clarified that he does not expect open architecture to lead to competition between primes for successive block upgrades; instead, he envisions direct competition among subsystem suppliers, underpinned by the knowledge that a new widget—designed to an open, government-owned standard—will play well with others.

The team with the better open-architecture plan will have had a big advantage in LRS-B. But what about production experience? Critics of the decision note that Boeing and Lockheed have built thousands more aircraft recently than has Northrop.

That they have, but building hundreds of aircraft per year was of little value in the LRS-B bidder’s resume, if—as LaPlante has suggested—the production rate is seven or eight per year. The goal is stability rather than volume: A high rate would strain the budget for its active years but would be hard to sustain beyond the first batch.

At such low rates, keeping overheads low and managing a lean supply chain will be as important as worker hours-per-pound of airframe. Making it easy for skilled, adaptable humans to do the job could work better than investing billions into tons of heavy tools and automated assembly systems. That sounds very unlike the Boeing 787 or Lockheed F-35—and more like Northrop Grumman’s Scaled Composites subsidiary, which may have been one of its secret weapons.

Making this work will be a challenge. Spiral development has all too often become death-spiral development, as cost overruns eat the funding that was intended for system improvements. But even at this point, and through a fog of secrecy, LRS-B looks like a different kind of program—and nobody can say that the old ways have been working well.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 05 Nov 2015, 21:24
by tritonprime
"How's USAF Going To Manage That Bomber Deal, Anyway? We Still Don't Know"
Nov 5, 2015 by Amy Hillis in Ares

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/blog/hows-usaf- ... -dont-know

In case you have been living under a rock, the Air Force announced its long-awaited winner for the next-generation bomber contest Oct. 27. I was not living under a rock, but having been on leave as a journalist during such a major decision could feel like about the same thing.

But, my absence for the big show afforded me a luxury I’ve not had as I have covered other major downselect decisions. I got to watch the story play out from afar. And, in doing so, I have drawn some conclusions and still – characteristically – have lots of questions.

Many are couching Northrop Grumman’s win of the U.S. Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber competition as an upset. I’m not so sure it was. I’m also not so sure it wasn’t. But, I question the value of putting this win in this context. This line of thought overlooks key questions that still remain about this massive, $80 billion program to field 100 new bombers. In fact, how can we know who should have been favored since we don’t actually know the requirements and how they were weighed in selecting a winner?

The conventional thinking leading into the competition was that Northrop, the smaller company, and Boeing/Lockheed Martin, were locked in David and Goliath duel. Some couched Boeing and Lockheed Martin as a dream team.

I’m not saying that is wrong to assume. But, I think the situation warrants further thought and is more nuanced than that.

Perhaps our best chance of getting a peek behind the procurement is if Boeing and Lockheed Martin opt to protest their loss, triggering some public disclosure once the auditors rule on the protest’s merits. Having been briefed on it last Friday, the team technically has until Nov. 6 to file an objection with the Government Accountability Office. Murmurs around the aerospace community are that the team was duped on cost, that Northrop Grumman bet the company and bought into the project. But there are no official sources to back that. This could be a whisper campaign to save face for the losers. Or, of course, it could be true.

But, back to this idea that a Northrop win was an upset …

Boeing and Lockheed Martin never publicly disclosed the true nature of their relationship. Some suggested that Lockheed Martin would lead on the design and Boeing would lead on production, but this was never officially validated. Workshare and cost share were not … shared.

The pairing was received as odd at the outset – an arranged marriage between Phantom Works and Skunk Works rivals -- and I’m not sure it ever got less odd, at least from an outsider’s view.

Many analysts assumed the two combined – the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer and the world’s largest defense contractor -- would be unstoppable. Why would they team if together they hadn’t had the recipe for the secret sauce? But, dare I suggest: Does size really matter here? The Air Force was looking for a low-cost, low-risk, stealthy bomber. The capacity to build hundreds of aircraft is not necessarily relevant. And, it is reasonable to question how two large on one contract could lower cost – as both likely demand a serious piece of the profits.
Perhaps our best chance of getting a peek behind the procurement is if Boeing and Lockheed Martin opt to protest their loss, triggering some public disclosure once the auditors rule on the protest’s merits. Having been briefed on it last Friday, the team technically has until Nov. 6 to file an objection with the Government Accountability Office. Murmurs around the aerospace community are that the team was duped on cost, that Northrop Grumman bet the company and bought into the project. But there are no official sources to back that. This could be a whisper campaign to save face for the losers. Or, of course, it could be true.

But, back to this idea that a Northrop win was an upset …

Boeing and Lockheed Martin never publicly disclosed the true nature of their relationship. Some suggested that Lockheed Martin would lead on the design and Boeing would lead on production, but this was never officially validated. Workshare and cost share were not … shared.

The pairing was received as odd at the outset – an arranged marriage between Phantom Works and Skunk Works rivals -- and I’m not sure it ever got less odd, at least from an outsider’s view.

Many analysts assumed the two combined – the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer and the world’s largest defense contractor -- would be unstoppable. Why would they team if together they hadn’t had the recipe for the secret sauce? But, dare I suggest: Does size really matter here? The Air Force was looking for a low-cost, low-risk, stealthy bomber. The capacity to build hundreds of aircraft is not necessarily relevant. And, it is reasonable to question how two large on one contract could lower cost – as both likely demand a serious piece of the profits.

The dream team theory has never been validated by fact – or actual information coming from the Boeing/Lockheed Martin team. Perhaps this was a marriage of convenience. Perhaps they teamed because alone they figured they could not win, so a joint bid was a less risky approach. Boeing has never won or built a large order of stealthy aircraft. Lockheed has, but perhaps they teamed because the likelihood Lockheed Martin could win alone was slim, given it is largely focused on transitioning the F-35 from development into production – not to mention giving two such major programs to a single contractor could be a challenge for the Pentagon, which is always watchful of its industrial base balance.

Meanwhile, among Northrop Grumman’s key focus areas since the development of the B-2 have been to develop and hone all-aspect stealth capabilities. The company also is a key player in the electronic systems for stealthy aircraft for such programs as the F-35; developing stealthy electronics, sensors and communications are as critical in cloaking an aircraft as its shape and coatings. With its 2007 purchase of Scaled Composites, founded by Burt Rutan and known for its rapid prototyping prowess and radical design concepts, the company was able to tap into a outside-the-box thinking cadre of engineer in terms of design and, potentially, maintainability.

Northrop Grumman also kept its stealth skills sharp with the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator, a stealthy, carrier-based pair of test aircraft funded by the Navy and the RQ-180, the Air Force’s secret, stealthy penetrating intelligence collection aircraft. Sources suggest Boeing and Lockheed had losing designs for that program, though the Air Force has not disclosed the bidders for the RQ-180.

This is not to say Northrop had a leg up. I raise this to note that perhaps it was unfair for analysts to suggest the company was an underdog up against a sure thing from the big boys at Boeing and Lockheed. Again, without knowing the requirements, how can we gauge who had an advantage?

Back to cost. That is one thing the Air Force has disclosed -- some. One key performance parameter – Pentagon speak for requirement – was the per-unit flyaway cost of each bomber would have to be less than $606 million in fiscal year 2016 dollars ($550 million in fiscal year 2010 money, a goal set by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates). The Pentagon’s independent cost estimate includes a target of $564 million apiece in ’16 dollars. To get there – and to meet the fixed price requirements for the first five production lots – development would have to be managed tightly. Either team “buying in” would be risky, as a flawed development program leads to high cost in early production models.

Production for this bomber cannot get a solid fiscal footing if development is fraught with delays, technical problems and cost overruns. The development contract is cost reimbursable, meaning the government will pay for allowable overages as spelled out in the contract. But, we don’t even yet know the price of the contract. All that the Air Force has released is the Pentagon’s independent cost estimate for the development program of $23.543 billion, but this includes government costs such as running the program office.

The Air Force also has not disclosed what costs could be allowable for reimbursement or what incentive milestones are written into the deal to ensure the contractor stays focused on the right things as development progresses. But, this contract was written in the shadow of more than a decade of multi-billion overruns for cost reimbursable contracts, such as the F-35 and Space-Based Infrared System.

Under this contract type, the government bears the burden or overages, providing some relief to Northrop if problems are encountered in development. But, it is not a blank check and relief would be temporary, as errors in development will haunt the company once it begins delivering fixed-price production aircraft.

We are simply left to hope that lessons from the past decade or so of poorly written cost reimbursable contracts are reflected in the bomber deal.

Both teams were focusing on reducing lifecycle costs and production costs across the program portfolios. Boeing’s edge would be to draw on lessons from its lucrative commercial line of business and its MRO work. But, both teams have baggage in this area. Northrop’s included the high operating cost of the Global Hawk, while Lockheed continues to struggle with the cost of operating the F-22 and is trying to lower the high operating price of the F-35, which raises eyebrows among its partner nations.

We can’t yet say why Northrop won. We can speculate. Performance requirements for the program – range, speed and payload among them, have been kept secret, and Air Force officials have not said how they weighed factors that we do know about, such as cost. So, I think wrapping this up as an upset detracts from the fact that the real issue is the Air Force still has a lot of explaining to do to back its claims that this program will be run smarter, better and cleaner than its past efforts.

I think the focus should be on continuing to peel back the layers of this program, not to reveal classified capabilities, but to hold the service accountable for managing this crucial project despite a tattered past.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 05 Nov 2015, 23:31
by popcorn
DoD beancounters have had lots of practice coming up with "should cost" modeling when negotiating with LM for F-35 batch production. The NG price not only undercut the competition's apparently but must have tracked more closely to Pentagon projections.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2015, 09:35
by kukemaim
How long do you guys think It will take until we will hear first details about the plane? Or see a picture? :drool:

Assuming that legal issues wont delay things much. Isn't it the last day for LM to file a protest?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2015, 11:32
by popcorn
kukemaim wrote:How long do you guys think It will take until we will hear first details about the plane? Or see a picture? :drool:

Assuming that legal issues wont delay things much. Isn't it the last day for LM to file a protest?

It's a black program so legit information will likely be scarce. We've been spoiled all these years with F-35 revelations from the AF, LM, Congressional hearings, etc.

Add edit - more accurately a Classified Acknowledged program wih Special Access Required ref Smsgtmac viewtopic.php?f=36&t=27066&p=290591&hilit=Acknowledged+black+program…#p290591

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2015, 13:08
by kukemaim
This goes for a picture as well? I know it took quite some time for F-117 and B-2 but even the existence of those was a secret.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2015, 15:32
by cosmicdwarf
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /75225206/

Boeing Protests Northrop's Long Range Strike Bomber Contract
Boeing, which along with partner Lockheed Martin submitted the losing bid in the competition to build the US Air Force's new Long Range Strike Bomber, filed a protest Friday with the Government Accountability Office over the DoD awarding the contract to Northrop Grumman on Oct. 27.

The GAO now has 100 days to review the protest and issue a ruling.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin concluded the selection process for the Long Range Strike Bomber was fundamentally flawed, the companies said in a joint statement. Specifically, they take issue with the cost evaluation performed by the government for not properly rewarding the team's proposals to break the upward-spiraling historical cost curves of defense acquisitions, and for not properly evaluating the relative or comparative risk of Northrop Grumman's ability to perform, as required by the solicitation.

...

But Boeing faces long odds of a successful protest. As a recent annual report on the defense acquisition system noted, only around 2 percent of defense protests were actually upheld in 2013, the last year data was available. This rate is lower than the overall federal rate for that year, which was just under 4 percent.

Additionally, the Air Force, clearly eager to avoid a repeat of the decade-long tanker saga when a Boeing protest eventually reversed the original award to Airbus, has taken great pains to insulate the LRS-B award.

...

But Boeing faces long odds of a successful protest. As a recent annual report on the defense acquisition system noted, only around 2 percent of defense protests were actually upheld in 2013, the last year data was available. This rate is lower than the overall federal rate for that year, which was just under 4 percent.

Additionally, the Air Force, clearly eager to avoid a repeat of the decade-long tanker saga when a Boeing protest eventually reversed the original award to Airbus, has taken great pains to insulate the LRS-B award.


There's more there at the source.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2015, 15:49
by popcorn
Boeing and LM buying time for their Congressional buddies to try and work their backroom magic.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2015, 19:21
by tritonprime
Nov 6, 2015 @ 08:30 AM
"Boeing Protests Bomber Award To Northrop Grumman, Claims Selection Process 'Fundamentally Flawed'"
by Loren Thompson

Source:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomps ... ly-flawed/

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2015, 00:37
by count_to_10
tritonprime wrote:Nov 6, 2015 @ 08:30 AM
"Boeing Protests Bomber Award To Northrop Grumman, Claims Selection Process 'Fundamentally Flawed'"
by Loren Thompson

Source:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomps ... ly-flawed/

I wonder if it means something that it is just Boeing, and not LM, doing the protesting.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2015, 00:49
by popcorn
Boeing's difficulties with the KC-46A, a significantly less technically challenging program, does not inspire confidence.


http://breakingdefense.com/2015/11/tank ... -lrsb-win/
“Boeing’s bottom line here is, there’s no way Northrop Grumman can possibly execute this program to the cost and schedule it’s signed up for,” said Loren Thompson, a member of the Breaking Defense board of contributors. But Boeing can? Given Boeing’s experience in mass production and investments in advanced manufacturing, Thompson said, “they’re more likely to.”

However, we all know just how well Boeing has done so far on the tanker contract, which only involves a rebuilt civilian aircraft, not an advanced stealthy aircraft with what Air Force acquisition chief Bill LaPlante described as “eye-watering” advanced technologies.

An op-ed we ran last week by Robert Haffa — a consultant who used to work for Northrop and retains close business ties to the company — offers what may be a preview of Northrop’s defense. Haffa notes that Northrop Grumman “has advanced the state of the art in all- aspect stealth aircraft from modernizing the B-2, developing the stealthy X-47B unmanned aircraft (a candidate to help solve the U.S. Navy’s long-range strike dilemma),and working other programs.”

UPDATE: Richard Aboulafia, a respected aerospace analyst at the Teal Group, was less optimistic than Thompson about the chances of the Boeing-Lockheed leviathan team. “The protesters face an uphill battle. The Air Force went out of its way to protest proof this contract and used multiple layers of oversight,” he says in an email. “On the other hand, the very fact that the companies are protesting despite the cost indicates that they feel they’ve got some kind of chance here. It’s unlikely that they’ll have found something as significant as a tanker protest, but it is conceivable.”

Northrop Grumman Long Range Strike Bomber concept (LRSB)
Northrop Grumman Long Range Strike Bomber concept
Several hours after word of the protest broke, Northrop’s Communications VP Randy Belote issued a statement:

“Northrop Grumman Corporation is disappointed that its former LRS-B competitors have decided to disrupt a program that is so vital to national security.

“The U.S. Air Force conducted an exceptionally thorough and disciplined process with multiple layers of review. Their process took into full account the parties’ respective offerings and their relative capabilities to execute their offerings on schedule and on budget.

“Northrop Grumman offered an approach that is inherently more affordable and based on demonstrated performance and capabilities. Our record stands in contrast to that of other manufacturers’ large aircraft programs of the last decade.” UPDATE ENDS

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2015, 01:12
by tritonprime
count_to_10 wrote:I wonder if it means something that it is just Boeing, and not LM, doing the protesting.


I don't believe so. Boeing has been issuing the joint press releases for the Boeing-Lockheed Martin LRS-B team.

Source:
http://boeing.mediaroom.com/news-releases-statements

Boeing, Lockheed Martin Protest Air Force Bomber Contract Award

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 6, 2015 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] filed a formal protest today asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the decision to award the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) contract to Northrop Grumman.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin concluded the selection process for the Long Range Strike Bomber was fundamentally flawed. The cost evaluation performed by the government did not properly reward the contractors’ proposals to break the upward-spiraling historical cost curves of defense acquisitions, or properly evaluate the relative or comparative risk of the competitors’ ability to perform, as required by the solicitation. That flawed evaluation led to the selection of Northrop Grumman over the industry-leading team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, whose proposal offers the government and the warfighter the best possible LRS-B at a cost that uniquely defies the prohibitively expensive trends of the nation’s past defense acquisitions.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Defense, Space & Security is a $31 billion business with 53,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

# # #

Contact:

Todd Blecher
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
Office: +1 703-414-6033
Mobile: +1 312-543-4311
todd.h.blecher@boeing.com

Dan Nelson
Lockheed Martin
Office: +1 301-897-6357
Mobile: +1 301-219-9075
dan.nelson@lmco.com
email

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2015, 01:58
by tritonprime
popcorn wrote:Boeing's difficulties with the KC-46A, a significantly less technically challenging program, does not inspire confidence.


Where does the United States Air Force say that the joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin team lost the LRS-B competition because of Boeing's performance on the KC-X program? Interesting that Northrop Grumman only goes back a decade. Shhh.... don't remind the United States Air Force of the B-2 cost overruns and delays. :roll:

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2015, 02:17
by popcorn
tritonprime wrote:
popcorn wrote:Boeing's difficulties with the KC-46A, a significantly less technically challenging program, does not inspire confidence.


Where does the United States Air Force say that the joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin team lost the LRS-B competition because of Boeing's performance on the KC-X program? Interesting that Northrop Grumman only goes back a decade. Shhh.... don't remind the United States Air Force of the B-2 cost overruns and delays. :roll:

I don't claim it's a USAF statement.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2015, 04:28
by sferrin
tritonprime wrote:
popcorn wrote:Boeing's difficulties with the KC-46A, a significantly less technically challenging program, does not inspire confidence.


Where does the United States Air Force say that the joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin team lost the LRS-B competition because of Boeing's performance on the KC-X program? Interesting that Northrop Grumman only goes back a decade. Shhh.... don't remind the United States Air Force of the B-2 cost overruns and delays. :roll:


On the other hand NG did deliver the bombers (they can't be blamed for cost when the USAF slashed orders). When's the last time LM delivered a bomber? Or Boeing? Yeah.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2015, 04:50
by popcorn
Yeah, after Bush Sr. capped the buy at 20, NG reportedly made a last ditch offer to deliver 20 addiional jets at $566M apiece. Too bad their offer wasn't accepted.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2015, 01:46
by tritonprime
"LRSB: (Yet Another) Tale of Two Protests"
Nov 6, 2015 by Amy Hillis in Ares

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/blog/lrsb-yet-a ... o-protests

Not surprisingly, the Long-Range Strike Bomber protest is on. Boeing and Lockheed Martin claim the Air Force’s selection of Northrop Grumman for the development and early production work – worth $23.5 billion – was bungled. The service failed to conduct a proper assessment of the risk for both teams to execute the work and neglected to account for modern advances in manufacturing and life-cycle maintenance, all of which would reduce the cost of such a program, according to Loren Thompson, a Washington DC-based analyst. Thompson’s think-tank receives funding from both Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and the latter employs him as a consultant; he publicly endorsed the Boeing/Lockheed Martin bid despite the requirements and source-selection criteria being classified. Thompson receives no funding from Northrop Grumman.

The losers filed their protest with the Government Accountability Office Nov. 6 after receiving their debrief Oct. 30 from the Air Force.

And, not surprisingly, the other protest is on. You see, in Washington, there’s the protest – filed with GAO and subject to a 100-day audit – and there’s the Protest – the political campaign to disparage the agency that made the alleged flawed choice and its entire strategy. The latter is designed as an end run to whatever the GAO may rule. By undercutting the agency and its strategy at the knees in Congress, pressure can force an agency into submission regardless of a GAO ruling.

These are two parallel but separate avenues in any defense contractor’s red book for major programs; all the contractors keep war plans for protests alongside the process of bidding for programs these days. I’ll outline the two strategies below.

But, before I get into that, it is worth noting the ink on the protest isn’t even dry and we are already learning more about this secretive program, likely to the chagrin of an Air Force claiming details equate security violations and jeopardize the capabilities of the bomber before it even gets built. It is worth noting one PA officer told me when I asked what the actual contract value was (only the independent cost estimate of $23.5 billion has been released, not the actual money to be paid to Northrop), that sharing the actual value could allow adversaries to forensically decipher what the bomber looks like. I found that to be a bit of an overstatement, at the least.

One new data point: The estimated price of the bids! Ta-da! Thompson said in his Nov. 6 Forbes piece that the Air Force unfairly doubled the estimate at completion for the work of both contractors. He later told me that each bidder was in the $10-$11 billion range, far below that $23.5 billion independent cost estimate, with Northrop coming in at a lower cost. He did not, however, have the cost of the actual contract.

If this is true, and the Air Force padded both contractors’ bids by 100%, this would certainly be unusual and worth a second look.

This leads to another new data point: Boeing objected to this because these price adjustments relied upon historical data from legacy programs – such as the botched B-2 development – for ground truth, not proposals from both teams on how to incorporate modern manufacturing and maintenance techniques. If Boeing’s claims are right, then the Air Force wasn’t sure enough of its own “bending the cost curve” initiative and ability to rely on innovations to reduce cost to put its money where its mouth is.

You see, the service has to budget – or earmark money -- to the official independent cost estimate – in this case that $23.5 billion figure. If it budgeted to the far less $10-$11 billion range cited by Thompson as realistic, there’d be a whole lot less wiggle room for overruns and margin. And, it would be a whole lot more painful to address overruns because the service would have to go to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Congress, which, at best, is not pleasant. At worst, it tanks programs.

It seemed evident from the outset of the source selection announcement Oct. 27 that the cost estimates would raise eyebrows. The Air Force’s own fact sheet notes that a program requirement since fiscal year 2010 was to produce the units for under $550 million apiece in those dollars (that’s $606 million in today’s money). But, its independent cost estimate cites a target of $564 million in today’s dollars. That is a huge difference of $42 million, roughly the cost of some Pentagon helicopters. Those numbers prompted me to wonder just why the independent cost estimate was so “low” in comparison. But, what Thompson is saying is that the bidders’ proposals were even lower.

This begs the question: Is the Air Force’s high cost estimate a brilliant sleight of hand that could keep detractors off its back by providing an overrun shelter (this is a cost reimbursable contract) and, possibly, set the stage for a “low(er than estimated)-cost bomber” story at the end of the day? Or, could this be a colossal political misstep that will actually draw fire by giving the losing bidder grounds to raise the question early in the program’s progress, when it is most vulnerable to a kill?

Which brings me back to the two protest campaigns. On the latter point above, Boeing and Lockheed are already on the advance by way of Thompson. He unabashedly acknowledges this is the way things are done in DC. His piece not only outlines the basic protest claims of the losing team. He seeks to elevate the discussion beyond the strict avenue outlined for a GAO protest review. He is questioning he entire procurement system and if it was used to get a truly good deal for the taxpayer. In doing so, he also casts doubt on whether the Air Force is capable of making good on its bending the cost curve initiatives, as LRS-B has been cited as a poster child program for it.

This is a noble, valid and reasonable question to ask. And, it picks at an Achilles heel for the Pentagon. Its procurement system is known as inefficient and slow. And, recent missteps for the Air Force – including the repeated problems leading to a KC-46 source selection and similar problems attempting to buy an HH-60G replacement – have already eroded its credibility in Congress. It’s not hard to capitalize on mistrust for the system in Congress; it’s almost like fishing from a barrel! Keep in mind Boeing successfully overturned its last major protest against Northrop. When the latter won the first KC-135 replacement competition, protests eventually led to a full recompete. Despite years of delay, Boeing eventually won the program. Granted, the GAO upheld the protest, but the company also pilloried the Air Force’s process publicly, sparking congressional ire and reviews.

So, Thompson and Boeing are working off of that sentiment to attempt to turn the entire procurement on its head. But, this is not a surefire way to turn the selection decision around.

A negative GAO ruling would, however, do just that. The auditors have 100 days to review the very specific claims that the Air Force unfairly scored risk in the source selection. GAO’s remit is to rule on whether an agency clearly and fairly articulated its source selection rules and whether that agency followed its own rules. It cannot touch on the savvy of an agency in pursuing a buy. While narrow in its focus, its impact can be vast. An adverse GAO ruling could send the Air Force back to the drawing board for a competition, costing years of delay toward the bomber’s entry into service.

On this point, Boeing and Lockheed Martin could have an uphill battle. Aside from the obvious avenue ahead for the GAO review, questions I have are:

*Did the Air Force articulate that it would use these legacy program models to assess risk?

*If so, did Boeing and Lockheed Martin raise objections about those models throughout the procurement?

*If so, did the Air Force try to address them?

Bottom line, If Boeing and Lockheed Martin failed early in the program to understand how the use of legacy program models could impact their bid, it could very well be a chink in the team’s protest.

So, happy holidays, folks. We are in for another protest season.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2015, 04:18
by popcorn
Boeing touting it's secretive Black Diamond secret sauce but apparently the DoD/AF evaluators were not sufficiently swayed. Besides, it arrogantly presumes NG doesn't have it's own recipe. If the rules were applied equally to both bidders, then the awadd should stand IMO.

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/bo ... -contract/

People familiar with Boeing’s case said it rests on a manufacturing project, code-named Black Diamond, that the company believes can make the design and building of an aircraft — even an intricately shaped, military stealth airplane like the proposed bomber — faster, more precise, more efficient and much less costly.

“This really is secret sauce, high-level, game-changing stuff,” said a person at Boeing with knowledge of Black Diamond, who asked for anonymity because the project is closely held even within the company to avoid disclosure to either Airbus or defense-side competitors.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2015, 21:12
by tritonprime
What is Aviation Week going to print next? Opinions from the Union of Concerned Scientists?

"Opinion: A New Bomber For $550 Million? Not Likely"
Nov 13, 2015 Tom Z. Collina and Will Saetren | Aviation Week & Space Technology

The Pentagon has chosen Northrop Grumman to build the U.S. Air Force’s next strategic bomber, and Boeing, which led the competition, has filed a protest. But regardless of how that turns out, the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) is part of an unrealistic, $1 trillion plan to rebuild the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Like much of the nuclear strategy, the proposed bomber is out of sync with military needs and budget reality. Instead of rushing headlong into disaster, as the Air Force did with the previous bomber, the B-2, the Obama administration needs to cool its jets.

The first problem is cost. The Air Force plans to build 100 new LRS-B aircraft, unofficially known as the B-3, for $550 million each plus $21 billion for development, for a total production cost of about $100 billion with inflation. Right off the bat, the bomber program will actually cost at least twice the advertised sticker price. This will not inspire public confidence.

We have seen this movie before. Back in the 1980s, the B-2, also built by Northrop, was sold to Congress and taxpayers for about $550 million each, or $860 million in today’s dollars. But the bombers ended up costing what would be $3.4 billion per copy today—a fourfold increase. Initial plans called for 132 aircraft, and then the price rose and the Berlin Wall fell. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush cut production to 21.

The B-2, sold to Congress as costing $836 million per bomber, ended up at $3.4 billion a copy. Credit: U.S. Air Force

Other Air Force programs, including the F-35 and F-22, have also experienced massive cost overruns in recent years. If you believe each B-3 will really cost $550 million, or that Congress will actually buy 100 of them, you are ignoring history.

“How many times are we going to go down this overpriced bomber road?” asks Gordon Adams, who oversaw defense budgeting under President Bill Clinton. “It’s like Lucy with the football. We never get to kick an affordable aircraft through the goalpost.”

And what about the “need” for 100 of the new bombers? Has anyone missed those 111 B-2s the Air Force never built? Yes, we had older aircraft to cover the gap, but this just shows how little we need a high-tech bomber.

The second problem is timing. The B-52H, in service since the 1960s, is expected to keep flying until the 2040s, as is the newer B-1, and the B-2 will fly until 2060, if not longer. So why start the new bomber now?

The B-3 can safely be delayed by 10 years without compromising the integrity of the bomber fleet. Current plans call for the new aircraft to enter service by 2025. By pushing it back, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Air Force could save up to $34 billion over the next decade, just as other parts of the nuclear arsenal—submarines and land-based missiles—will be in development as well. We can’t afford, and don’t need, to do it all at the same time.

The third problem is mission. The new bomber will be designed to evade air defenses so it can enter enemy airspace to deliver precision gravity bombs, such as the B61 nuclear bomb. But current plans also call for the bomber to carry a new $25 billion nuclear-tipped Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) to evade air defenses.

Do we need a penetrating cruise missile on a penetrating bomber? No. It’s like bringing a long bow into a boxing ring.

Former Defense Secretary William J. Perry, who oversaw development of the current ALCM 35 years ago, recently wrote a Washington Post op-ed with his colleague, former Assistant Defense Secretary Andy Weber, calling on President Barack Obama to cancel plans for a new nuclear cruise missile. Good idea.

As the Air Force rushes into the B-3 and the new cruise missile, it is the next president who will have to deal with the inevitable cost increases and budget crises. Rather than locking his successor into an unsustainable program, President Obama can do the next commander-in-chief a favor by delaying the bomber and canning the cruise missile. For once, Charlie Brown should just say “no” to Lucy and her football.

Tom Z. Collina is the policy director at Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, where Will Saetren is the Roger L. Hale Fellow.

Source: http://aviationweek.com/defense/opinion ... not-likely

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2015, 21:16
by tritonprime
"Bomber advocates target USAF’s ‘squishy’ LRS-B requirement"
13 November, 2015 BY: James Drew Washington DC

Long-Range Strike Bomber advocates are calling on the US air force to drop its “squishy” requirement for 80 to 100 next-generation heavy combat aircraft to replace the B-1B and B-52 and instead focus on the "bare minimum" number of 100.

The call comes amid concern that statements by senior air force leaders about the need for “80 to 100” production bombers makes the requirement seem weak and unanalysed, which could put the programme at risk when US lawmakers decide levels of funding for the programme.

“Eighty to 100 just makes you look squishy; like your analysis wasn’t rock-solid,” defence analyst Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute explained at an LRS-B forum in Washington this week. “Congress is always going to take the low end of your bet.

“The air force came in with a weak opening hand, and they should just forever put a stake in the heart of 80 in the requirement and just talk about the bare minimum of 100.”


David Deptula, dean of the Air Force Association’s (AFA) Mitchell Institute, argues for at least 174 new bombers, comprised of 12 ready squadrons of 10 combat-coded aircraft plus another 54 for training and attrition reserve.

The debate over force structure numbers will likely feature in a looming “budget war” between competing air force priorities from now into the mid-2020s as the LRS-B programme accelerates.

When it comes to annual appropriations, Teal Group vice-president Richard Aboulafia says the $80 billion programme, recently award to Northrop Grumman, will face internal and external competition from the Lockheed Martin F-35 and Boeing KC-46, but also smaller but important demands like the T-X next-generation training jet and “JSTARS” recapitalisation.

Aboulafia contends that keeping the LRS-B subcontractor base secret also puts the programme at a disadvantage against F-35 and KC-46 because the industrial implications of those programmes and their impact on local economies are well documented and noted by lawmakers. While some defence hawks in Congress are pushing the bomber as a national security priority, “about 95%” are concerned about jobs in their districts, he says.

“More dissemination about where it’s built and the economic footprint per area will get people onboard,” Aboulafia said at the 10 November forum, hosted by AFA. “KC-46 and the massive subcomponent family of F-35, they’ll have strong political advantage in the budgetary wars.”

According to Eaglen, Pentagon officials are concerned about a general deterioration of America's technological military edge, but mostly within the air force.

Those officials are also pushing for more spending on space-based capabilities, she says, and an expensive recapitalisation of the nuclear triad, to include the new bombers as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. However, the biggest budgetary competition is between LRS-B and the funding demands for F-35 production, she says.

“The air force budget is not equipped to fully support this programme already,” she says. “The bomber will compete forever with the F-35, and let’s hope we don’t have sore losers.”

LRS-B is expected to cost $23.5 billion to develop and a further $564 million per aircraft. The award to Northrop last month is currently subject to a bid protest by the losing team, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ui-419079/

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Nov 2015, 22:44
by tritonprime
"Commentary: LRS-B Is Future Backbone of US Bomber Force"
By retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, a research professor at George Mason University and former commander of USSTRATCOM's global strike component. He has been an adviser to defense contractors, including Boeing and Northrop Grumman. 4:18 p.m. EST November 13, 2015

Congratulations to the US Air Force and Department of Defense for their successful award of the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) contract. This is great news for the country: At an average per-unit cost well below the $550 million in fiscal 2010 dollars on which the program was based, the LRS-B will be a great bargain for the taxpayer.

Except for a handful of B-2s, no other capability in the US inventory has the range, payload and survivability to perform a multitude of missions across the spectrum of military operations from peace to conflict. What’s more, previous investments in long-range bombers have proved viable for more than half a century due to the inherent adaptability and flexibility of the bomber.

It would require many other platforms combined to service the same national security missions that the LRS-B will be capable of performing for years to come. While critics of long-range air power will want to challenge the need for the LRS-B, its value speaks for itself.

The new bomber will not only become a key element of the nation’s nuclear deterrence force but also enhance strategic stability by providing the president a range of nuclear and non-nuclear options to manage crises and control escalation during a conflict.

Its credibility as an attack platform will limit the value of competitors developing a revolutionary counter to US ballistic missiles and serve as a hedge against a catastrophic loss of capability in the other triad legs. Additionally, the LRS-B will provide a valuable hedge against a possible nuclear arms treaty weapon breakout by a US competitor.

LRS-B will possess the global force projection capabilities to conduct a show of force anywhere in the world, demonstrate national commitment to our allies even when based in the continental US, and provide lethal effects against dynamic targets.

Long-range strike bombers provide a unique contribution to the success of US military operations abroad. Bombers facilitate use of diplomatic, economic and other non-military instruments of power to achieve national objectives, similar to their use in the Kosovo operations. Long-range strike bombers are unique in their ability to reach targets across the globe without the need for costly and time-consuming expeditionary deployment.

This provides the nation a rapid response capability at the outset of a crisis that can be transformed later into one providing persistence strike capabilities for extended operations. Its ability to trade range for persistence means that the LRS-B will also provide ground forces direct support to include surveillance, air attack, interdiction and theater strike.

The LRS-B will also contribute to regional stability by providing combatant commanders a range of conventional and nuclear options while operating from regional bases. When integrated with other US and partner joint capabilities, the LRS-B can then be used to influence the decision calculus of regional actors.

Unfortunately, the nation does not have enough bombers to meet today’s combatant commander needs. For this reason, initial LRS-B deliveries should be used to fill bomber shortfalls in the 10 air expeditionary forces before the new bombers begin to replace elements of the legacy bomber fleet. One hundred LRS-Bs should be considered the minimum initial procurement.

LRS-B will underpin a variety of alternative approaches to military operations. Working with other US and partner asymmetric capabilities, bombers can be used to empower indigenous forces to defeat otherwise more powerful adversaries. Recent examples include NATO operations in Bosnia, the Taliban takedown in Afghanistan, protection of Kurdish forces in northern Iraq at the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and more recently, the operations over Libya.

Furthermore, LRS-B can be expected to leverage its range and sensors to support Navy maritime surveillance and interdiction operations.

The LRS-B is not just a modern version of the B-2. Due to its open mission systems architecture, the LRS-B’s ability to integrate external information will give it an advantage over legacy long-range platforms. The LRS-B will serve as a key element in the future networked force, incorporating existing stealth communication technologies equal to, or better than, those on today’s most advanced platforms.

Unlike legacy bombers, these networking capabilities will be fully integrated into the operation of the LRS-B weapon system, rather than implemented as “strapped on” modifications. Through the use of open mission systems, the LRS-B will be able to easily incorporate new networks, links and other sources of data as they become available, and fully integrate new external sensors and other sources of information to remain highly effective throughout its service life.

A long-range strike force primarily centered on a new stealth bomber is the most affordable and effective means to deter adversaries and assure our allies so that even in a stagnant budget environment, the safety and security of US citizens and our allies will never be in doubt.

The LRS-B contract award should be widely celebrated: It demonstrates DoD’s continued commitment to long-range bombers, substantially increases the joint force’s ability to project force in contested environments, and will be acquired at a much lower unit cost than originally projected. The LRS-B will provide US national security decision-makers and combatant commanders expanded options to underpin global security, regional stability and the full range of military operations for years to come.

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /75595490/

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Nov 2015, 23:32
by tritonprime
"New Details Emerge On LRS-B Subcontractors"
by Lara Seligman 4:37 p.m. EST November 16, 2015

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /75882906/

As the aerospace world anxiously awaits the Government Accountability Office’s verdict on whether to allow Northrop Grumman to begin construction on the Pentagon’s Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B), new details help paint a clearer picture of who will build crucial parts and systems.

The GAO’s decision on whether to uphold losing team Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s protest of the Oct. 27 contract award will determine which subcontractors develop the building blocks of the next-generation bomber — contracts worth millions of dollars and years of stable work.

The US Air Force has refused to disclose the names of the second and third-tier LRS-B suppliers for security reasons. But emerging details may help observers piece together the subcontractors involved.

If Northrop builds LRS-B, GE Aviation will manufacture the primary and secondary power distribution systems, not the plane's engine, according to a source with knowledge of the program. GE was partnered with the Boeing-Lockheed Martin team on the power plant, the source said.This reflects a departure from history, as GE builds the F118 engine that powers Northrop's B-2 stealth bomber.

The news that GE is not the winning engine maker fuels speculation that Northrop's bomber will be powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. Although nothing is certain, some have hypothesized that LRS-B will use Pratt's F135 engines, according to a recent analysis by Jim McAleese.

Pratt spokesman Matthew Bates declined to comment.

Just minutes after the award was announced, Pratt sent out a statement congratulating Northrop on the win.

“Pratt & Whitney congratulates Northrop Grumman for their selection on this very important program,” according to the Oct. 27 statement. “P&W declines to comment on any other questions regarding the Long Range Strike-Bomber program.”

Even if GAO rejects Boeing’s protest, the opportunities for GE on LRS-B could be very lucrative. Northrop’s win means GE “gained a valuable foothold in everything else aside from the fuselage,” the source said.

GE already supplies critical components for the F-35 joint strike fighter that could have applications for LRS-B, the source said.

GE builds the weapons control, data management, electrical power management and standby flight display systems for the F-35, which uses Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine. GE also builds the integrated canopy assembly, along with smaller interfaces like the engine rings and remote input/output units, for JSF.

Many of these components are built out of Cheltenham and Southampton, both in the UK, as part of GE’s 2007 purchase of UK-based supplier Smiths Aerospace.

As for LRS-B’s radar and electronic warfare suites, McAleese suggests the new plane will use Northrop’s systems, because Raytheon is presumed to be on the rival Boeing-Lockheed Martin team.

“Northrop is believed to be heavily vertically-integrated from subsystems perspective (e.g., radar, EW, etc.),” McAleese writes.

Raytheon spokesman B.J. Boling declined to comment due to the classified nature of the program.

In an interview last week at the Dubai Airshow, Textron CEO Ellen Lord told Defense News that the company is not involved in LRS-B.

Aaron Mehta contributed reporting.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Nov 2015, 23:37
by geforcerfx
Hmm if the Northrop aircraft used the f135 and also similar/same ESM systems as the F-35, that could have been a huge factor in the contract award.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 17 Nov 2015, 01:43
by popcorn
Isn't the AETD initiative intended to lead to an engine that the USAF will select to power nextgen platforms eg. NGAD, LRSB? If so, the USAF will decide (ala F119 in lieu of the F120 as in the F-22 program). AFAIK it's still a toss-up between P&W and GE as both are still developing their respective offerings in the hope of being anointed the Chosen One.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 17 Nov 2015, 02:12
by count_to_10
Like I've said: the most efficient way to build the LRSB is to basically build a new frame around all of the sub-systems from two F-35s. You can probably pull the augmenters of the F135, but you save a whole lot of money if you can put both the fighter and the bomber on the same upgrade path.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2015, 17:35
by durahawk
count_to_10 wrote:Like I've said: the most efficient way to build the LRSB is to basically build a new frame around all of the sub-systems from two F-35s. You can probably pull the augmenters of the F135, but you save a whole lot of money if you can put both the fighter and the bomber on the same upgrade path.


Agreed, I think using an F-135 derivative engine on the LRS-B makes a lot of sense. The engine is already designed from the ground up with LO in mind and Northrop could tap into the F-35 economies of scale.

Also, who is making the many of the important subsystems for the F-35? Hint: It isn't Lockheed...
http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/F35Lightning/Pages/default.aspx

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2015, 00:07
by tritonprime
"Advocates Call For 200 Next-Generation Bombers"
by Lara Seligman 5:52 p.m. EST November 18, 2015

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /76016714/

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and analysts renewed calls Wednesday for the Pentagon to build significantly more next-generation bombers than currently planned, arguing that the Air Force needs a fleet of 200 advanced bombers to project power in a more dangerous world.

In study released today by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller made the case for the Pentagon to procure a modernized bomber force of 200 aircraft by 2045.

“America desperately needs to rebuild its bomber force, starting with the [Long Range Strike Bomber] and then moving forward,” Moeller said. “100 new bombers, the analysis finds, is not enough.”

The Air Force plans to buy 80-100 LRS-Bs to replace the service’s aging B-1 and B-52 bombers, a number many advocates have decried as insufficient. The 100 LRS-Bs, plus the 20 existing stealth B-2 bombers, will not be enough to meet future threats, Moeller argued.

“Limiting production of the new bomber, LRS-B, to 100 airframes would severely decrease the options available to national decision-makers during times of crisis or periods of instability,” Moeller wrote in the study. “A modernized bomber force of 200 aircraft will sustain America’s asymmetric advantage in long-range precision strike for decades to come.”

Moeller left open the question of exactly what aircraft would make up the 200-bomber force. The future fleet could be entirely made up of LRS-Bs, or could include some combination of LRS-Bs, upgraded B-2s, and whatever comes after LRS-B, he said.

Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, former deputy chief of staff for ISR, has said the Air Force needs to build 174 LRS-Bs: Airmen need 12 combat-coded aircraft for each of 10 squadrons, plus another 30 dedicated to training and testing; on top of that, the service needs another 24 aircraft for backup and attrition reserve.

Sens Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., as well as Reps. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam, also spoke at the event.

Rounds expressed concern that the Pentagon is shortchanging its future bomber force because of budgetary challenges.

“Analysis has consistently shown the Air Force needs 150 to 200 combat ready bombers, a figure far beyond the less than 100 bombers currently available for operational missions, and far beyond the 80-100 bombers envisioned by the Defense Department for the future force,” Rounds said. “Is their calculus national security or is it budget driven? I personally am convinced that it is budget driven.”

Forbes stressed the need to build a new fleet of long-range, large-payload bombers in the face of increasingly hardened and mobile targets in the Pacific, as well as Russian aggression.

“In the Pacific, range is going to be a key attribute that we're going to have to look at, but also payload is going to be important because we're going to have a huge amount of aim points that we would need to hit,” Forbes said. “So the question that we are all going to be asking is, how many copies of the bomber do we need? … This report makes a compelling argument that more are needed.”

During a Defense Writers Group breakfast earlier on Wednesday, Gen. Lori Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander, said the LRS-B is crucial to the Air Force’s ability to project power in the Asia-Pacific.

“The theater is very big, 52 percent of the globe, and so our ability to power project through the theater would be one of the capabilities that we would want it to have,” Robinson said.

She added that flying LRS-Bs in the PACOM will show the US’ commitment to the theater in future decades, just as the Air Force’s “continuous bomber presence” in the region does now.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2015, 00:22
by popcorn
They can design the LRSB around the F135 to accelerate development and testing. The winning AETD design was mandated to have the same footprint as the F135 so they can simply swap out the latter and enjoy the benefits a 6Gen engine offers.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2015, 00:23
by tritonprime
Executive Summary

Since World War II, joint operational commanders have relied on Air Force bombers as a critical component
in any combat operation involving American airpower. The nation has called on these aircraft—with their
long-range, heavy payloads, and ability to penetrate enemy defenses—to deter adversaries or fly sorties
during the Cold War, the Vietnam conflict, Operations Desert Storm, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom,
and Iraqi Freedom, over the skies of Libya and Syria, and in numerous other operational contingencies.
As it has in the past, America’s bomber force provides far more than just long-range precision strike.
Currently, geographic combatant commanders’ operational plans rely heavily on the bombers to perform a
wide variety of missions in both permissive and heavily defended environments. The aircraft must be capable
of providing precision attack, interdiction, close air support, armed overwatch, defense suppression, shows
of force, anti-ship operations and minelaying, maritime surveillance, and, as always, nuclear deterrence, to
name just some of their mission sets.

Despite this importance, the number of bombers in the Air Force’s inventory has dwindled over time from
thousands in the 1950s and 1960s to less than 100 combat-coded (i.e., available for operational missions)
B-1B, B-2A, and B-52H aircraft in the current force. This decrease is due to a number of factors including
changes in the strategic environment, shifts in operational approach, and resource constraints. Yet, analysis
since the end of the Cold War has been remarkably consistent in establishing or validating the requirement
for the Air Force to maintain 150 to 200 combat-ready bombers.

Today, the demand for bombers from the geographic combatant commanders already exceeds the number
of aircraft in the force. This shortfall will increase the risk to military success, as the world becomes more
dangerous and the threats grow more capable, diverse, and unpredictable. To meet these challenges, the
nation will continue to depend on America’s bomber force to rapidly overcome the tyranny of distance and
fly from the continental United States to any location on the planet and penetrate into enemy airspace—
including areas with the most advanced, integrated, and capable air defenses—to find, fix, and destroy the
assigned targets.

However, it will become more challenging for the current bomber force to accomplish its missions as the
number of potential adversaries grows that possess the capabilities to degrade the United States’ ability to
operate against them and have freedom of action in their airspace. The Defense Department recognizes this
challenge and plans to recapitalize the Air Force’s aging bomber force by investing in 80 to 100 new long-
range strike aircraft. This plan is an important first step, but questions remain about the program. Why is
there a variance of 20 percent in the Air Force’s current Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) force objective?

Is this an available budget-driven number or one based on national security strategy requirements? Are 80
to 100 new bombers enough? Can the nation make do with a smaller number of new bombers, or do we
need to buy more than 80 to 100 aircraft to meet the nuclear and conventional requirements of today and
the future?

This paper asserts that a modernized and capable Air Force bomber force of 150 to 200 aircraft is required
to maintain America’s asymmetric advantage in long-range precision strike over any potential future
adversary. The aging-out of the B-1 and B-52 fleets, combined with the increasingly sophisticated threat
environment, drives the nation to make an immediate investment to procure a minimum of 100 new long-
range strike bombers. In the long-term, to maintain the bomber force’s viability, the Defense Department
should consider funding additional advanced bombers beyond those 100 aircraft before the last B-1s and
B-52s retire by 2045.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2015, 02:07
by count_to_10
So, one nice thing about producing them at a rate of ten or so each year is that, once production starts, you have a decade to figure out if you want to keep producing them. Not only that, but you can make more or less continuous upgrades to the design as you go along.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2015, 02:57
by popcorn
If they can deliver on the projected unit costs then extended production becomes easier to justify. Learning the lessons fro the F-22 and adopting an open systems architecture will allow the tech refreshes to keep LRSB relevant in the coming decades.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2015, 04:22
by KamenRiderBlade
I'm honestly hoping for ~250 B-3's

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Nov 2015, 23:15
by tritonprime
"Opinion: LRS-B Protest Rhetoric Masks Fragile Case"
What do we want? Procurement chaos!
Nov 20, 2015 Bill Sweetman | Aviation Week & Space Technology

When Lockheed Martin and Boeing telegraph their decision to protest the award of the Long-Range Strike Bomber via an op-ed written by consultant Loren Thompson, calling the decision “fundamentally flawed,” it suggests that the Pentagon bid-protest process is becoming toxic. What started as a way to fix government errors is turning into a lever to overturn outcomes that powerful contractors dislike.

Thompson’s comments are important because his position is unique: Neither a lobbyist nor an employee, he is regarded as a de facto spokesman for his clients. Thompson portrayed the Air Force’s evaluation process as amateurish, saying that it would make the bomber more expensive to develop and build. The Air Force, he wrote, “never got to the point where it rigorously analyzed the cost for most of the production program or subsequent life-cycle support.”

Rather than assess engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) costs in detail, Thompson suggested, Pentagon reviewers—Air Force money people and the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office—inflated both competitors’ bids by around 100%, based on historic trends alone. This “greatly inflated the price the government will pay to develop the bomber and execute initial production lots,” he wrote.

But much of the EMD argument misses the point. Regardless of the published estimate for EMD costs, the incentives, fees and margins in the contract—including fixed prices for the first 21 airplanes—will be based on Northrop Grumman’s bid. If the company incurs overruns, it will still get paid but not at margins that its shareholders will like. The same would have applied if the other team had won.

Thompson implies that a fixed-price EMD contract would have been a better idea, without adding that his clients most certainly would not have signed one.

Credit: IAI

Did CAPE and Air Force estimators double the bids? “I think Thompson may be exaggerating a bit,” says one budget expert, but it serves the protesters’ public case by making the independent cost estimates sound crude and ill thought through.

But the EMD bids may not be the substantive issue at all. One government defense analyst believes that the protest case revolves around the Boeing manufacturing-technology project known as Black Diamond. Thompson says that the Air Force never evaluated this properly. When Aviation Week asked Boeing about Black Diamond this summer, the company said that it was highly sensitive because it might have a bearing on LRS-B protests.

The claimed breakthrough in Black Diamond appears to involve the precise fabrication of parts and subassemblies, allowing automated assembly. It could be important for a stealth aircraft: Early this month, I toured Israel Aerospace Industries’ F-35 wing assembly line outside Tel Aviv and saw how the composite wing skins were placed in an outer mold line tool and held in place by suction pads (see photo). The spars and ribs were placed against the skin, and mechanics with feeler gauges measured gaps and defined shims that would ensure the outside shape stays within millimeter-tight tolerances.

But a protest based mainly on Black Diamond is problematic. Final assembly represents only a fraction of an airplane’s cost, even for a stealth design. The very low production rates predicted for LRS-B do not resemble Boeing’s experience, but Black Diamond is supposed to be applicable to its commercial business.

Neither do we (nor Boeing and Lockheed Martin) know what Northrop Grumman’s approach has been. Talking about Northrop’s struggles with high-precision assembly on the B-2, Alan Brown, Lockheed’s F-117 chief engineer, commented that his company’s approach was different: Lockheed “couldn’t afford to build anything that required the skills of Swiss watchmakers,” he said.

It is quite conceivable that the RQ-180 stealth unmanned air vehicle embodies a design and fabrication approach, suited to low-rate production, that can be scaled up to the bomber’s size—analogous to the way Northrop’s single-engine, all-metal Alpha mail plane paved the way for the Douglas DC-2 and DC-3 in the 1930s.

If the grounds for a protest are weaker than the rhetoric implies, that suggests the formal protest is just the start of a post-award campaign in Congress and both professional and social media. But making the customer look inept and raising the specter of out-of-control overruns can cause collateral damage that extends beyond any one company’s balance sheet.

As one defense commentator wrote a few years ago, “Leaking exaggerated cost estimates . . . seems calculated to sow doubt and confusion about one of the nation’s most important next-generation weapons programs.” If you guessed that the writer was Loren Thompson, you may take a cookie from my desk.

Source: http://aviationweek.com/defense/opinion ... agile-case

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2015, 01:59
by count_to_10
So, while I have to admit I'm somewhat biased in favor of Northrop, I have to wonder if Sweetman's attitude here isn't colored by his grudge against Lockheed.
At any rate, Northrop makes some fairly substantial portions of the frame of the F-35, so, whatever tolerances that is requiring, they are able to meet them.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2015, 02:50
by popcorn
Oh, the irony! Boeing questioning NG's ability to build a stealth bomber. :D

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2015, 00:23
by tritonprime
"Calls for Pentagon to raise combat-coded bomber count to 160"
20 November, 2015 BY: James Drew Washington DC

Air power advocates in Washington have called for the Pentagon to consider building to a force of 150 to 160 mission-ready heavy bombers before the Boeing B-1 and B-52 retire in 2045.

According to estimates presented in a new report by the Mitchell Institute, America would need to muster 258 heavy bombers to succeed in a large-scale conflict with Russia if 50% of the targets in 180 days of campaigning were assigned to long-range bombers.

Using the same calculations, 103 bombers would be needed to strike 40% of an estimated 81,925 potential targets in Iran over 60 days. Sixty bombers could be needed to win against North Korea, the report states.

The analysis by former USAF strategic plans and programs chief Michael Moeller comes as the US air force embarks on a major recapitalisation of its outdated bomber inventory through the $80 billion Long-Range Strike Bomber programme – awarded to Northrop Grumman in October.

Moeller, who details his analysis in his report published this week, contends that the quantities of bombers procured should be strategy-driven and not solely influenced by tight budgets.

He believes the service needs to buy “a minimum of 100” LRB-B weapon systems, but the total bomber force should be nearer to 200 to sustain 150 to 160 combat-coded aircraft.

Seven DOD bomber force structure examinations since the Air Force White Paper in 1992 established various optimal inventory numbers, but since 2001 the requirement has been for 157 bombers, sustaining a combat-ready force of 96. A large percentage must always be set aside for depot maintenance, training and testing, Moeller says.

Today, the air force maintains 97 mission-ready B-1s, B-2s and B-52s out of a total inventory of 159. Of those aircraft, by the 2018 there will be 42 nuclear-armed B-52s and 18 B-2A bombers dedicated to the nuclear deterrence mission.

Moeller says based large-scale mission planning from operations like Desert Storm and Allied Force in the 1990s, the DOD must consider acquiring 200 advanced bombers to achieve current US national security strategy objectives.

“The analysis affirms the necessity of maintaining a force of 200 advanced bombers, providing an operational force of 150 to 160 aircraft to give national leaders the nuclear and conventional air-breathing power projection option to deter or defeat any foe,” he writes. “A modernised bomber force of 200 aircraft will sustain America’s asymmetric advantage in long-range precision strike for decades to come.”

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... un-419354/

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2015, 07:19
by popcorn
Gen. Deptula describes the Combat Cloud concept that the LRSB will integrate into. Aircraft are being bought in smaller numbers so they have to become more productive individually and as part of the larger system-of-systems ecosystem. We hear many similar comments emanating from leaders of allied air arms who are restructuring their own houses around the new 5Gen tech.

http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/deptu ... ge-strike/

Deptula: ‘Combat cloud’ is ‘new face of long-range strike’
...
Information-centric, interdependent, and functionally integrated operations are the keys to future military success...We’re moving into an era that’s much different than the one we just left. Moving from the 20th to the 21st century wasn’t just a convenient break point. It marks a shift from the industrial age of conducting warfare to an information age, and that trend is only going to accelerate.
We can move further into the information age, or we can apply old concepts of operation to new equipment. Such a failure to adapt will prevent us from exploiting the potential of the acceleration of technology, and a multi-domain, multi-dimensional architecture that capitalizes on information exchange. To paint the picture I’m trying to describe, let me characterize it as a combat cloud—or an ISR/Strike/Maneuver/Sustainment complex with the potential to usher in an entirely different architecture for the conduct of war.

The next generation long-range ISR/strike aircraft will be key to this concept. We have the opportunity to create a paradigm shift in air operations that’s facilitated by technology, but that can only be realized by a shift in concepts of operation. We need to have imagination driving technology instead of just taking technologies that are handed to us and applying them in old ways...

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Dec 2015, 04:39
by popcorn
Gen. Welsh seems concerned that circus is coming to town earlier than expected. :D

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pa ... Leaks.aspx

LRS-B Leaks
—JOHN A. TIRPAK12/3/2015
comment
​The Air Force is unhappy about information published about the Long-Range Strike Bomber program when Boeing protested the contract award to Northrop Grumman last month. “We did have a concern about end data that should not have been released,” Welsh said at an Atlantic Council event in Washington, D.C., Dec. 1. “It was made known to the press in some way, shape or form and I think it’s our duty to try and keep the process as pure as we can. And so that’s why the Air Force highlighted that as an issue.” Welsh was referring to a Forbes magazine article claiming that both LRS-B competitors bid about half of what USAF thought the LRS-B would actually cost. William LaPlante, former USAF acquisition chief, labored to tell the press in recent weeks that USAF was required by law to factor-in historical bomber costs when making LRS-B estimates. Welsh emphasized that he had no part in the bomber source selection and is unaware of a formal investigation into the issue of the leaks, but said he’s “intentionally staying as far away … as I can” from the source selection and protest “until it’s done.” An Air Force spokesman could not immediately say if a formal investigation is underway or who might be conducting it, but pointed out that Welsh did not say that classified information had been revealed.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Dec 2015, 05:31
by popcorn
Loren Thompson should give it a rest. NG can point to an actual track record, Boeing some mystical Black Diamond. Sec. James summed it up quite well.

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/12/boei ... ly-flawed/

In such competitions, the Air Force must rely on demonstrated competencies and past performance, not on unproven theories. As Secretary James noted, the independent cost estimators evaluating the LRS-B bids “do have this pesky thing called data and facts on their side more often than not.”

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Jan 2016, 03:22
by popcorn
Bottomline, LRSB is projected to significantly improve on the B-2's survivability at a cost closer to that of the Bone.
Pratt & Whitney congratulated NG on it's selection and one may infer that it was the engine of choice for the new bomber. The winner of the AETD competition should ultimately determine which engine powers LRSB.


http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArch ... omber.aspx

Launching the New Bomber
To put the price of the LRS-B in perspective, the Air Force released information comparing the development and production costs of the B-1A/B and the B-2 with the LRS-B.

In inflation-adjusted Fiscal 2016 dollars, the B-1A/B programs required $19.3 billion in development money, producing 100 aircraft at a flyaway unit cost of $410 million each.

The B-2 program—for which a production capability of 132 aircraft was built but only 21 were bought—cost $37.2 billion in development, with a $1.5 billion unit cost.

Also expressed in Fiscal 2016 dollars, LRS-B development will cost $23.5 billion, and the program will produce 100 airplanes at a unit price of $564 million, versus the required $606 million.

All comparisons include the cost of engines, provided as government-furnished equipment on the B-1 and B-2 programs, but contracted for by Northrop Grumman under the LRS-B program, a USAF spokeswoman said. Military construction costs were not included in the cost comparisons.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Jan 2016, 16:02
by durahawk
popcorn wrote:Bottomline, LRSB is projected to significantly improve on the B-2's survivability at a cost closer to that of the Bone. Pratt & Whitney congratulated NG on it's selection and one may infer that it was the engine of choice for the new bomber. The winner of the AETD competition should ultimately determine which engine powers LRSB.

If Northrop builds LRS-B, GE Aviation will manufacture the primary and secondary power distribution systems, not the plane's engine, according to a source with knowledge of the program. GE was partnered with the Boeing-Lockheed Martin team on the power plant, the source said.This reflects a departure from history, as GE builds the F118 engine that powers Northrop's B-2 stealth bomber.

The news that GE is not the winning engine maker fuels speculation that Northrop's bomber will be powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. Although nothing is certain, some have hypothesized that LRS-B will use Pratt's F135 engines, according to a recent analysis by Jim McAleese.

Pratt spokesman Matthew Bates declined to comment.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/strike/2015/11/16/new-details-emerge-lrs-b-subcontractors/75882906/

Since the current indications are that GE will not be building the engine, I'm not sure what that means for AETD utilization on the initial batch of LRSB's since GE is still very much in the running for that competition. Of course, since AETD will fit the F135 footprint, it may take advantage of the technology as an upgrade at a later date. Given the time frames and cost reduction measures for this program, I suspect the prototypes at least will be powered by F135 derivatives (if they aren't flying already...?)

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Jan 2016, 00:14
by popcorn
durahawk wrote:
popcorn wrote:Bottomline, LRSB is projected to significantly improve on the B-2's survivability at a cost closer to that of the Bone. Pratt & Whitney congratulated NG on it's selection and one may infer that it was the engine of choice for the new bomber. The winner of the AETD competition should ultimately determine which engine powers LRSB.

If Northrop builds LRS-B, GE Aviation will manufacture the primary and secondary power distribution systems, not the plane's engine, according to a source with knowledge of the program. GE was partnered with the Boeing-Lockheed Martin team on the power plant, the source said.This reflects a departure from history, as GE builds the F118 engine that powers Northrop's B-2 stealth bomber.

The news that GE is not the winning engine maker fuels speculation that Northrop's bomber will be powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. Although nothing is certain, some have hypothesized that LRS-B will use Pratt's F135 engines, according to a recent analysis by Jim McAleese.

Pratt spokesman Matthew Bates declined to comment.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/strike/2015/11/16/new-details-emerge-lrs-b-subcontractors/75882906/

Since the current indications are that GE will not be building the engine, I'm not sure what that means for AETD utilization on the initial batch of LRSB's since GE is still very much in the running for that competition. Of course, since AETD will fit the F135 footprint, it may take advantage of the technology as an upgrade at a later date. Given the time frames and cost reduction measures for this program, I suspect the prototypes at least will be powered by F135 derivatives (if they aren't flying already...?)

I think that's a reasonable assumption. Develop LRSB using proven tech and plug in the winning AETD design down the road. The requirement for the competing AETD engines to match the F135 footprint was well thought out.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Jan 2016, 00:47
by sprstdlyscottsmn
And then design LSRB to allow for for improved airflow compared to F135.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Jan 2016, 01:46
by popcorn
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:And then design LSRB to allow for for improved airflow compared to F135.

Can you elaborate Spurts?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Jan 2016, 02:06
by count_to_10
popcorn wrote:I think that's a reasonable assumption. Develop LRSB using proven tech and plug in the winning AETD design down the road. The requirement for the competing AETD engines to match the F135 footprint was well thought out.

I've said this before: the trick is to get the LRSB and the F-35 on the same upgrade path. Once you've got that locked in, upgrades become much easier to justify. Heck, it makes new build aircraft easier to justify.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Jan 2016, 04:20
by sprstdlyscottsmn
popcorn wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:And then design LSRB to allow for for improved airflow compared to F135.

Can you elaborate Spurts?

Sure. One of the quote floating around for the ADVENT and F135 upgrades of

"Block two would therefore take elements of the advanced engine—in particular a new compressor and turbine— and feed it into the F135 for as much as a 15% thrust increase and a 20% reduction in fuel burn. “The compressor has more stages. It fits and is compatible with the current engine,” says Croswell, who adds the upgrade could be available in the 2022 timeframe if development of this, and the associated block one improvement, is approved soon. Although there is “still flow capacity in the inlet that we are not using,” Croswell acknowledges that the tightly packed F-35 fuselage does not allow for much leeway when it comes to providing space for a third stream. "

The "Third Stream" is what really makes the ADVENT more efficient in cruise.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Jan 2016, 06:28
by popcorn
Thanks Spurts. What wih AETD and the block upgrades envisioned fo the F135 the LRSB will benefit from the latest in military engine tech.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2016, 11:27
by popcorn
A former USN sub captain believes the AF made the right choice awarding the LRSB contract to NG.He apparently has more confidence in the future of stealth aircraft than ex-CNO Greenert.

http://news.usni.org/2016/02/15/opinion-stealth-matters

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2016, 13:32
by hornetfinn
popcorn wrote:A former USN sub captain believes the AF made the right choice awarding the LRSB contract to NG.He apparently has more confidence in the future of stealth aircraft than ex-CNO Greenert.

http://news.usni.org/2016/02/15/opinion-stealth-matters


That was a good article about value of stealth. I find it very peculiar that many people seem to think that stealth somehow is not very valuable in aerial combat while experience has shown that it's of utmost importance in naval and ground warfare. You don't see any soldier running around in red jacket anymore or submarines not being made for least amount of noise. Even aerial warfare has shown the value of stealth. F-117 and B-2 are fine examples of that. Given that F-117 is slow and clumsy and has very little avionics and no EW systems and no stand-off weapons, loss of only one of them is very good result.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2016, 19:15
by durahawk
DENIED- GAO Denies Boeing's LRS-B Protest:
"GAO reviewed the challenges to the selection decision raised by Boeing and has found no basis to sustain or uphold the protest," GAO wrote in the Feb. 16 decision. "In denying Boeing’s protest, GAO concluded that the technical evaluation, and the evaluation of costs, was reasonable, consistent with the terms of the solicitation, and in accordance with procurement laws and regulations."
http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaki ... /80433300/


Let the lobbying games begin...

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2016, 21:47
by popcorn
Excellent! The AF due dilligence in making the evaluation protest-proof really paid off.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2016, 16:34
by cosmicdwarf
http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaki ... /80921324/

McCain Threatens To Block New Air Force Bomber

:bang:

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2016, 18:22
by durahawk
cosmicdwarf wrote:http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2016/02/25/mccain-lrsb-air-force-bomber-block-northrop-boeing-lockheed/80921324/

McCain Threatens To Block New Air Force Bomber

:bang:

If McCain has a problem with cost-plus contracting, then he should try to pass a bill to outlaw it for DoD. Until then, delaying a critical capability further in order to renegotiate the contract as a firm fixed price is irresponsible political showboating.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2016, 21:23
by sferrin
cosmicdwarf wrote:http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2016/02/25/mccain-lrsb-air-force-bomber-block-northrop-boeing-lockheed/80921324/

McCain Threatens To Block New Air Force Bomber

:bang:


He can never pass up an opportunity to grandstand.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2016, 21:33
by madrat
And his old acquaintances that called him the Manchurian Candidate are fueled up all over again

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 03:26
by count_to_10
sferrin wrote:
cosmicdwarf wrote:http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2016/02/25/mccain-lrsb-air-force-bomber-block-northrop-boeing-lockheed/80921324/

McCain Threatens To Block New Air Force Bomber

:bang:


He can never pass up an opportunity to grandstand.

McCain's superficial show of fighting corruption is getting tiresome, particularly in light of the obvious corruption behind his opposition to retiring the A-10.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 13:32
by popcorn
DoD just wants to incentivize the EMD phase, and production aircraft will be on a fixed-cost basis. Has there ever been a major hi-tech weapons program that had a fixed-cost EMD phase? McCain isn't being reasonable.

http://breakingdefense.com/2016/02/mcca ... e-retired/

“The Air Force is aware of the concerns that Senator McCain has with regards to the contract type for the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B). In developing the acquisition strategy and contract type for the LRS-B program, the program built upon lessons learned from previous acquisition programs. The contract has been set up to be cost-plus with incentives for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase. The second part of the contract is for the initial production of the first 5 lots, which are usually the most expensive aircraft, and will be firm fixed price,” Air Force spokesman Ann Stefanek said in a statement...

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 15:02
by bigjku
popcorn wrote:DoD just wants to incentivize the EMD phase, and production aircraft will be on a fixed-cost basis. Has there ever been a major hi-tech weapons program that had a fixed-cost EMD phase? McCain isn't being reasonable.

http://breakingdefense.com/2016/02/mcca ... e-retired/

“The Air Force is aware of the concerns that Senator McCain has with regards to the contract type for the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B). In developing the acquisition strategy and contract type for the LRS-B program, the program built upon lessons learned from previous acquisition programs. The contract has been set up to be cost-plus with incentives for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase. The second part of the contract is for the initial production of the first 5 lots, which are usually the most expensive aircraft, and will be firm fixed price,” Air Force spokesman Ann Stefanek said in a statement...


Can you imagine the bitch fest if they set requirements, set a fixed cost and the company got it done for 40% of the fixed cost? They would all have a meltdown.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 15:12
by cosmicdwarf
B-21 (AKA LRS-B) rendering.

Image

Looks very much like the B-2. Also apparently looking for name suggestions.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 15:18
by sferrin
cosmicdwarf wrote:B-21 (AKA LRS-B) rendering.

Image

Looks very much like the B-2. Also apparently looking for name suggestions.


Is that even real? (Obviously the name isn't.)

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 17:44
by durahawk
sferrin wrote:
cosmicdwarf wrote:B-21 (AKA LRS-B) rendering.

Image

Looks very much like the B-2. Also apparently looking for name suggestions.


Is that even real? (Obviously the name isn't.)


Yep.

http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/673784/air-force-reveals-b-21-long-range-strike-bomber.aspx

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 18:26
by count_to_10
sferrin wrote:
cosmicdwarf wrote:B-21 (AKA LRS-B) rendering.

Image

Looks very much like the B-2. Also apparently looking for name suggestions.


Is that even real? (Obviously the name isn't.)

Looks all kinds of wrong, like they just pulled a sketch of the original B-2 design. Aside from the oddness of the engin outlets apparently going under the wing, it doesn't look anything like the images NG has been showing.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 18:32
by str
I doubt exhaust is on the underside. It's more likely they simply omitted them from the rendering model. They did the same thing with early B-2 depictions. Why would they do that now, after the world has seen dozens of LO exhausts? No idea...okay I have ideas, but no proof of any of them.

Also, B-21? If you're not going to follow your system, just drop it and go with something like the Brits do.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 18:48
by KamenRiderBlade
My vision for the LRS-B looked pretty much like the renderings, but with a more shallow "W" on the rear.

I'm envisioning two F135 engines without Afterburners mounted in the engine bays.

My only issue is the Military Number designation

It should be called the "B-3 Ghost" IMO.

B-21 would skip the numbering scheme by way to far.

And we don't need another numbering fiasco like when the F-35 should've been the F-24

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 18:50
by count_to_10
str wrote:I doubt exhaust is on the underside. It's more likely they simply omitted them from the rendering model. They did the same thing with early B-2 depictions. Why would they do that now, after the world has seen dozens of LO exhausts? No idea...okay I have ideas, but no proof of any of them.

Also, B-21? If you're not going to follow your system, just drop it and go with something like the Brits do.

Maybe, but they clearly went into detail on the inlet, which is arguably more important to obfuscate.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 23:57
by playloud
cosmicdwarf wrote:B-21 (AKA LRS-B) rendering.

Looks very much like the B-2. Also apparently looking for name suggestions.

Given the appearance... I would call it the Super Spirit.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 00:22
by strykerxo
I recall prior to the official unveiling of the B-2 the AF released a rendering not showing much detail.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... dlt=strict

also the B-21 looks like an early variation of the B-2

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... dlt=strict

I am still hoping for something like this

http://breakingdefense.sites.breakingme ... rthrop.jpg

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 00:28
by cosmicdwarf
The fact that it looks like a B-2 isn't really surprising. The basic shape is good for stealth and since it doesn't need to be supersonic the flying wing will work fine (if I understand correctly).

Plus flying wings seem to be Northrop's thing. Even their 6th gen concept seen in their commercial looks like an extended flying wing.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 00:28
by popcorn
It's a Black program so best treat any images and info released as if you are watching an illusionist at work. Just enjoy the show but realize there's a lot more going on that you'll never catch try as you might.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 00:38
by count_to_10
cosmicdwarf wrote:The fact that it looks like a B-2 isn't really surprising. The basic shape is good for stealth and since it doesn't need to be supersonic the flying wing will work fine (if I understand correctly).

Plus flying wings seem to be Northrop's thing. Even their 6th gen concept seen in their commercial looks like an extended flying wing.

But all the visuals Northrop has put out hinting at the LRSB have been the cranked-kite wing form of the X-47b. I just find it odd to suddenly be looking at a mini-B-2 instead.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 09:34
by sersi
I have to agree the design is a bit boring, in the sense that we all so used to the B-2's design now. So, simple a smaller B-2. I was expecting a cranked-kite design as well. I'm not surprised though that the USAF would go with a that their more familiar with operating. Probably, less of a risk given the cost and political scrutiny of the program. Ah, well so long as it can do the job that's all that matters. B-21? I really hope they drop that.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 13:41
by botsing
Maybe the B-21 is a wink to B-2.1?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 14:23
by popcorn
It's just an artist's concept released for PR value. Something for the public to relate to considering the billions it's going to cost.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 15:05
by count_to_10
sersi wrote:I have to agree the design is a bit boring, in the sense that we all so used to the B-2's design now. So, simple a smaller B-2. I was expecting a cranked-kite design as well. I'm not surprised though that the USAF would go with a that their more familiar with operating. Probably, less of a risk given the cost and political scrutiny of the program. Ah, well so long as it can do the job that's all that matters. B-21? I really hope they drop that.

Oh, I don't have an opinion on the design choice one way or the other, I just find it odd that this one picture contradicts all the other indications.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 15:26
by playloud
Stolen from the Best Fighter for Canada Facebook page...

I can just picture things at the Northrop-Grumman boardroom.

-"The USAF wants a new bomber. What do we do?"

-"It's Friday! Can't we just take the plans for the B-2 and gussy it up a bit?"

-"Good idea, Johnson!"

(The night before the deadline)

-"JOHNSON! This is clearly a photocopy of the original B-2 blueprints!"

*Johnson takes out his Sharpie and adds a "1"*

-"No sir! It's the all new Bee... Twenty-one! We got 'er done on time and only $2 million over budget."

-"Great work Johnson!"

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 15:53
by count_to_10
playloud wrote:Stolen from the Best Fighter for Canada Facebook page...

I can just picture things at the Northrop-Grumman boardroom.

-"The USAF wants a new bomber. What do we do?"

-"It's Friday! Can't we just take the plans for the B-2 and gussy it up a bit?"

-"Good idea, Johnson!"

(The night before the deadline)

-"JOHNSON! This is clearly a photocopy of the original B-2 blueprints!"

*Johnson takes out his Sharpie and adds a "1"*

-"No sir! It's the all new Bee... Twenty-one! We got 'er done on time and only $2 million over budget."

-"Great work Johnson!"

Well, except that it looks like it's more appropriate for the office of Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, which came up with this image.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 16:53
by charlielima223
Even though what was recently released to the public was an artists rendition and they said they have not built any prototypes as of yet... I still do wonder about those 2014 sightings of triangular "UFO" that were spotted. If the LRS-B is supposed to super sonic wouldn't that mean its sweep/leading edges (what ever it is called) mean it would have a steeper angle than what the B-2 has or what was is on that artists rendition?

I don't know I am just thinking out loud and I haven't had my nicotine fix yet...

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 17:33
by rheonomic
charlielima223 wrote:Even though what was recently released to the public was an artists rendition and they said they have not built any prototypes as of yet... I still do wonder about those 2014 sightings of triangular "UFO" that were spotted. If the LRS-B is supposed to super sonic wouldn't that mean its sweep/leading edges (what ever it is called) mean it would have a steeper angle than what the B-2 has or what was is on that artists rendition?

I don't know I am just thinking out loud and I haven't had my nicotine fix yet...


As far as I remember they removed the supersonic requirement.

The leading edge sweep (and the general shape) from those pictures remind me generally of the A-12 design. (Incidentally, if you look at what NG proposed for that program it's also very heavily B2-inspired.)

As an airplane guy, assuming that the renders are accurate, it's a bit disappointing. However, from a cost perspective I could see the appeal of an updated/scaled B-2 configuration with updated avionics and systems using an open systems architecture to allow greater flexibility.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 19:45
by smsgtmac
rheonomic wrote:As an airplane guy, assuming that the renders are accurate, it's a bit disappointing. However, from a cost perspective I could see the appeal of an updated/scaled B-2 configuration with updated avionics and systems using an open systems architecture to allow greater flexibility.


You've got to understand what you are looking at and what to look for. Anything other than a high subsonic high-altitude penetrator would have been disappointing in range, payload, or both and not nearly as stealthy. I note at my place that this is 'Deja Vu all over again' (as Yogi Berra would have said). :D

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 21:44
by KamenRiderBlade
As far as the bomb bay is concerned, I'm betting that it'll be two bomb bays stacked one behind another.

The bay will be modular and allow racks or rotary launchers to be inserted as an entire module

The 2x F135 engines or ADVENT updated variants, both without afterburners, will be surrounding the bomb bays.

I'm also predicting that it'll use the same Radar and DAS/EODAS system as the F-35.

I'm calling that design point right now.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 01:55
by count_to_10
KamenRiderBlade wrote:As far as the bomb bay is concerned, I'm betting that it'll be two bomb bays stacked one behind another.

The bay will be modular and allow racks or rotary launchers to be inserted as an entire module

The 2x F135 engines or ADVENT updated variants, both without afterburners, will be surrounding the bomb bays.

I'm also predicting that it'll use the same Radar and DAS/EODAS system as the F-35.

I'm calling that design point right now.

I think the weapon bay was supposed to be a single bay, about equivalent to one of the B-2's two bays.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 01:57
by count_to_10
smsgtmac wrote:
rheonomic wrote:As an airplane guy, assuming that the renders are accurate, it's a bit disappointing. However, from a cost perspective I could see the appeal of an updated/scaled B-2 configuration with updated avionics and systems using an open systems architecture to allow greater flexibility.


You've got to understand what you are looking at and what to look for. Anything other than a high subsonic high-altitude penetrator would have been disappointing in range, payload, or both and not nearly as stealthy. I note at my place that this is 'Deja Vu all over again' (as Yogi Berra would have said). :D

1. So much for all that cranked-kite speculation eh?

Speculation? It was right there in all of the images NG published.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 02:21
by popcorn
There was a report that te AF doesn't have the money to support 4 bomber fleets so as LRSB comes online either the B-52 or B-1 will be retired. Perhaps instead of gojng to the Boneyard it could be repurposd in the Arsenal Plane role.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 02:30
by rheonomic
smsgtmac wrote:You've got to understand what you are looking at and what to look for. Anything other than a high subsonic high-altitude penetrator would have been disappointing in range, payload, or both and not nearly as stealthy. I note at my place that this is 'Deja Vu all over again' (as Yogi Berra would have said). :D


Oh, I agree; given the likely requirements for the program the chosen configuration isn't a surprise (assuming, of course, that the render is generally accurate and not just an artist's concept). I'll admit that I was expecting a cranked-kite design given NG's recent work with X-47B, although upon further thought I'd say that configuration choice was largely driven by the need to fold wings for CV operations.(I haven't looked too much into the relative merits of a 'traditional' flying wing vs cranked-kite; if you have anything there I'd be interested to hear.)

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 02:51
by element1loop
KamenRiderBlade wrote:I'm also predicting that it'll use the same Radar and DAS/EODAS system as the F-35.


And MADL.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 02:59
by KamenRiderBlade
element1loop wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:I'm also predicting that it'll use the same Radar and DAS/EODAS system as the F-35.


And MADL.

I knew I forgot something, just couldn't pinpoint it.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 09:43
by mmm
What do you guys think of a maritime role for the LRS-B? Its definitely relevant in the asia pacific where its combination of range, stealth and payload is valued. If we're to believe that LRS-B will carry a mission system more or less comparable to the F-35 it will certainly have a role more than a mere ASCM carrier.

So how do you think the LRS-B will be employed?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 11:17
by popcorn
The BUFF and Bone already do so LRSB won't be any different. Especially suited as a sensor-shooter node in the Combat Cloud. As long as they build eniugh of them.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 16:05
by cantaz
KamenRiderBlade wrote:
element1loop wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:I'm also predicting that it'll use the same Radar and DAS/EODAS system as the F-35.


And MADL.

I knew I forgot something, just couldn't pinpoint it.


And the entire CNI and ESM/RWR suite.

Be interesting to see just how much F135 commonality is achieved between the JSF and LRSB fleets.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 16:34
by element1loop
cantaz wrote:And the entire CNI and ESM/RWR suite.

Be interesting to see just how much F135 commonality is achieved between the JSF and LRSB fleets.


You got me wondering now if they won't just re-use the entire fusion engine. After all, they're both sensor-shooter strike/attack aircraft, so why duplicate the programming investments if its modular and can be ported like an operating system to LRS-B, and developed as needed from there from the initial Block-4 version?

That would give it a real running start and speed its network integration considerably.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2016, 19:16
by rheonomic
I would expect as much code reuse as possible between F-35 and LRS-B to reduce costs. Obviously a/c specific things like the vehicle management system and flight control laws will differ, but there's a lot of stuff they can more-or-less directly port over. This is especially so given DoD DASD(SE)'s push for modular open systems architecture design.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Feb 2016, 03:39
by smsgtmac
rheonomic wrote:
Oh, I agree; given the likely requirements for the program the chosen configuration isn't a surprise (assuming, of course, that the render is generally accurate and not just an artist's concept). I'll admit that I was expecting a cranked-kite design given NG's recent work with X-47B, although upon further thought I'd say that configuration choice was largely driven by the need to fold wings for CV operations.(I haven't looked too much into the relative merits of a 'traditional' flying wing vs cranked-kite; if you have anything there I'd be interested to hear.)


I seriously doubt NG's X-47B would have even been a 'cranked kite' if the Navy hadn't changed their requirements between the time the X-47A was developed and when they issued the RFP that bought the X-47B. Early on, the USN req'ts focused on getting an efficient cruiser (absolute distance/time as the range basis) but they then shifted reqt's to emphasize the ability to loiter (flight time duration). The X-47A 'kite' planform has been said to have good (better than a wing-body-tail) 'scalability' and the X-47B is evidence in favor of that idea. The X-47B is essentially (almost typed 'simply') a scaled up 'kite' layout with wing extensions to increase wing aspect ratio and foster increased flight endurance. The junction of the X-47B extensions and the 'Kite' fuselage were structurally convenient folding points. The X-47A had some unique proprietary/patented control surfaces and flight control systems. Some of it we see made it into the X-47B, but I note the conceptual fighters in NG's Superbowl 50 commercial appear to have taken those ideas into the highly-swept leading edge/supersonic regime. ;-)

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Feb 2016, 05:30
by rheonomic
smsgtmac wrote:I seriously doubt NG's X-47B would have even been a 'cranked kite' if the Navy hadn't changed their requirements between the time the X-47A was developed and when they issued the RFP that bought the X-47B. Early on, the USN req'ts focused on getting an efficient cruiser (absolute distance/time as the range basis) but they then shifted reqt's to emphasize the ability to loiter (flight time duration). The X-47A 'kite' planform has been said to have good (better than a wing-body-tail) 'scalability' and the X-47B is evidence in favor of that idea. The X-47B is essentially (almost typed 'simply') a scaled up 'kite' layout with wing extensions to increase wing aspect ratio and foster increased flight endurance. The junction of the X-47B extensions and the 'Kite' fuselage were structurally convenient folding points. The X-47A had some unique proprietary/patented control surfaces and flight control systems. Some of it we see made it into the X-47B, but I note the conceptual fighters in NG's Superbowl 50 commercial appear to have taken those ideas into the highly-swept leading edge/supersonic regime. ;-)

Great point, I didn't even think about X-47A. :doh:

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2016, 17:09
by hephaestusaetnaean
cosmicdwarf wrote:B-21 (AKA LRS-B) rendering.

[...]

Also apparently looking for name suggestions.


B-3.


charlielima223 wrote:[...] If the LRS-B is supposed to super sonic wouldn't that mean its sweep/leading edges (what ever it is called) mean it would have a steeper angle than what the B-2 has or what was is on that artists rendition?

I don't know I am just thinking out loud and I haven't had my nicotine fix yet...


When the NGB effort ended, the "next-generation" bit was dropped to focus on long-range strike. "Next generation" development was pushed back to what they're now calling the 2037 Bomber.


popcorn wrote:There was a report that te AF doesn't have the money to support 4 bomber fleets so as LRSB comes online either the B-52 or B-1 will be retired. Perhaps instead of gojng to the Boneyard it could be repurposd in the Arsenal Plane role.


The AF has said a few times they're retiring the B-52. And maybe some B-1s as well.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2016, 17:53
by count_to_10
B-21 will be it's designation, not its name. They are looking for something like "ghost" or "phantasm".
Personally, I'd go for a name like "Harbinger" or "Juggernaut".

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2016, 19:03
by KamenRiderBlade
count_to_10 wrote:B-21 will be it's designation, not its name. They are looking for something like "ghost" or "phantasm".
Personally, I'd go for a name like "Harbinger" or "Juggernaut".

It needs to be B-3, not B-21.

What's up with not following the 1962 US Tri-Service Aircraft designation System

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2016, 20:52
by sprstdlyscottsmn
After they skipped the F-24 they just threw it in the trash I guess

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2016, 21:35
by madrat
It's a Chevron shape, should just call it that. Ground crews can nickname it Chevy

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 05 Mar 2016, 06:14
by hephaestusaetnaean
count_to_10 wrote:B-21 will be it's designation, not its name.


It was a joke :P A bad one apparently.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 01:41
by geforcerfx
U.S. Air Force Identifies Pratt & Whitney, Other Suppliers of B-21
Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney will supply the powerplant of the new Northrop Grumman B-21 bomber, the U.S. Air Force revealed on March 7. The service also named several other suppliers participating in the closely guarded bomber program.

Speaking at a “State of the Air Force” briefing at the Pentagon, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James named East Hartford, Conn.-based Pratt & Whitney; BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H.; GKN Aerospace in St. Louis; Orbital ATK in Clearfield, Utah, and Dayton, Ohio; Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, KS; and Janicki Industries in Sedro-Woolley, Wash., as major suppliers on the B-21. Janicki is a parts and tooling manufacturer that specializes in advance composite materials and exotic metals.

The disclosure was the latest bit of information the Air Force has released on the secretive program, which was originally called the Long Range Strike-Bomber. On February 26, James for the first time revealed an artist’s rendering of the bomber at a conference in Orlando and announced that its designation will be B-21. The Air Force has asked service members to suggest a name. The bomber was shown as a tailless flying wing that resembles the current B-2 Spirit bomber built by Northrop Grumman, although its size could not be discerned. The B-2 is powered by four General Electric F118-GE-100 engines.

Pratt & Whitney now builds the F135 engine of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter. Among other military aircraft engines it has supplied the F119-PW-100 turbofan of the twin-engine F-22 Raptor; the F100 series of the F-15 and F-16; the F117 of the C-17 Globemaster III; and the TF33 turbofan of the Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS, E-8C Joint Stars and B-52 Stratofortress. The manufacturer did not immediately respond when asked to comment on the B-21 announcement.

Asked if the service was concered about the choice of Pratt & Whitney as the sole engine supplier for both the F-35 fighter and the B-21 over GE, James said: “We’re comfortable with the choices and the strategy that we selected.”

The service secretary said the companies participating in the B-21 program are required to have “protection plans” in place to prevent against information leaks. Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Air Force military deputy for acquisition, declined to say where the bomber will be built. During a recent press trip, Northrop Grumman executives suggested the B-21 could be built at the same facility in Palmdale, Calif., where the B-2 was assembled.

Asked if “strategic ambiguity” is important to protecting information about the program, James replied: “Strategic ambiguity is important. I don’t perceive that you’re going to know for years very much more about the technology. This is a balancing act, a desire to share information with the public but also to protect that information and not to put out so much information that a possible adversary can connect dots in ways that we don’t wish those dots to be connected.”




http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/ ... liers-b-21

Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 03:51
by tincansailor
Now that the F-35 development is moving along more smoothly the chronic know it all's, and professional critic's need a new target. Back in my navy days there always seemed one guy who was called "The S##T Screen". Anytime something went wrong, or someone just wanted to pick on someone they craped on him. It was usually a new guy who was a little bit awkward, who couldn't defend himself well. Sometimes it got pretty vicious. Human beings aren't always a credit to the species. Well suddenly a new target would come along and the old target would sometimes join in on the attack on the new guy. Like I said people aren't always a credit to the species.

Well now the F-35 can defend it's self a lot better because it's preforming in the air. The B-21 on the other hand is still a paper airplane, and paper we can't even read yet. The chronically negative among aviation reporters, and congressmen can say anything they want about an ethereal target. The professional critic gains power and esteem from claiming they know more then the people actually doing the work. They also claim to be guardians of the public trust by warning us that the tax payers being ripped off by evil greedy contractors.

What frame of reference are they coming from? It seems McCain, Sprey, and the light weight fighter Mafia are time warped in the 1970s. I could only imagine what kind of fighters and bombers they would design? Upgraded F-16s and B-1Bs? They don't trust stealth so what's the alternative? Until the B-21 design becomes clearer who knows what they'll say about it. Will they complain if it doesn't look like the B-17? We know that was a successful design. If it costs twice what a 747-800 costs are we being cheated?

I think we're about to be subjected to the most hysterical wild accusations we've ever heard regarding a new aircraft. The B-21 will beat the F-35 as a figure of hate among the professional critics. Having been proven so wrong about the F-35 they have to move on before it becomes obvious they don't know what their talking about. Unfortunately critics aren't held to account for being wrong. A baseball player has a batting average what does a defense critic have?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 04:24
by cosmicdwarf
So either it will use the same engines as the F-35, or a modified version of the engines.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 05:34
by sprstdlyscottsmn
cosmicdwarf wrote:So either it will use the same engines as the F-35, or a modified version of the engines.


That was always the plan. Be able to use the F135 and have the growth room for ADVENT.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 15:37
by KamenRiderBlade
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
cosmicdwarf wrote:So either it will use the same engines as the F-35, or a modified version of the engines.


That was always the plan. Be able to use the F135 and have the growth room for ADVENT.


So remove the LOAN exhaust and put in whatever fixed exhaust they plan on having?

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 16:34
by old_rn
If McCain and Spey want new B1Bs why don't they suggest Tu160M2s are bought by the US when new build ones come available in about 2022? :devil:

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 17:02
by SpudmanWP
KamenRiderBlade wrote:So remove the LOAN exhaust and put in whatever fixed exhaust they plan on having?

Everything after the burner section would need to be changed (a relatively easy task) to fit the profile of the B-21. Maybe even flat nozzles ala F-117?

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 18:39
by XanderCrews
B-21 is still in its honeymoon phase. It will run into delays, it will run into overages, but it has been started with the idea that those will be minimized and to take advantage of existing tech. I have no doubt when the F-35 isn't generating the headlines it usually does, the B-21 will make a fine new victim.

Having said that though, people still complain about the V-22, so I'm sure there are going to be some lingering gripes

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 18:47
by sferrin
old_rn wrote:If McCain and Spey want new B1Bs why don't they suggest Tu160M2s are bought by the US when new build ones come available in about 2022? :devil:


Why would we want that heap?

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 18:49
by sferrin
XanderCrews wrote:B-21 is still in its honeymoon phase. It will run into delays, it will run into overages, but it has been started with the idea that those will be minimized and to take advantage of existing tech. I have no doubt when the F-35 isn't generating the headlines it usually does, the B-21 will make a fine new victim.

Having said that though, people still complain about the V-22, so I'm sure there are going to be some lingering gripes


I think it absolutely hilarious that just as it's barely becoming public Bill gets muzzled. :lmao:

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 18:52
by XanderCrews
sferrin wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:B-21 is still in its honeymoon phase. It will run into delays, it will run into overages, but it has been started with the idea that those will be minimized and to take advantage of existing tech. I have no doubt when the F-35 isn't generating the headlines it usually does, the B-21 will make a fine new victim.

Having said that though, people still complain about the V-22, so I'm sure there are going to be some lingering gripes


I think it absolutely hilarious that just as it's barely becoming public Bill gets muzzled. :lmao:


What do you mean? he is the new strategic direction guy or something

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 23:11
by castlebravo
XanderCrews wrote:Having said that though, people still complain about the V-22, so I'm sure there are going to be some lingering gripes


People still complaining about the V-22? Hell, Sprey is still complaining about all the "useless junk" (aka FCR) on the F-15!

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 23:46
by XanderCrews
castlebravo wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:Having said that though, people still complain about the V-22, so I'm sure there are going to be some lingering gripes


People still complaining about the V-22? Hell, Sprey is still complaining about all the "useless junk" (aka FCR) on the F-15!



Good point! :D

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 00:38
by archeman
XanderCrews wrote:B-21 is still in its honeymoon phase. It will run into delays, it will run into overages, but it has been started with the idea that those will be minimized and to take advantage of existing tech. I have no doubt when the F-35 isn't generating the headlines it usually does, the B-21 will make a fine new victim.

Having said that though, people still complain about the V-22, so I'm sure there are going to be some lingering gripes


We THINK that they are going to take advantage of existing tech, but I suspect that is a smoke screen for the real plan.

What do we know so far?
It seems that the USAF wants new build B-2s with the latest stealth tech and probably some B-2 flaws designed out.

It would appear that we have enough B-2s to still cover the Strategic penetration mission (unless we don't think that it still can), so (guessing here) this aircraft probably has a wider mission profile? Otherwise why break ground on this expensive project when you already have B-2s.

If anybody else knows anything they aren't talking?????

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 00:42
by spazsinbad
:mrgreen: 'archeman' said "...If anybody else knows anything they aren't talking?????" Wait for the good gossip about B-21s from 'BS from NGdom'... :devil:

Re: Dumping on the B-21

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 01:01
by delvo
Some artist's rendition of the wrong design shows up on the internet with a caption saying "B-21" because the artist thought that would sound all futurey because it's the 21st century... and suddenly we're calling B-3 "B-21"?! STOP THE MADNESS!

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 01:08
by count_to_10
SpudmanWP wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:So remove the LOAN exhaust and put in whatever fixed exhaust they plan on having?

Everything after the burner section would need to be changed (a relatively easy task) to fit the profile of the B-21. Maybe even flat nozzles ala F-117?

If you look at the ADVENT engines, the nozzle they gave has a "flat" profile. It looks like it was always intended for a in-wing engine on a bomber.
Image

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 16:37
by sferrin
That looks like HEETE rather than ADVENT. (HEETE was a transport/subsonic engine whereas ADVENT had always been meant as a fighter engine. They eventually rolled HEETE into ADVENT as I recall.)

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 23:43
by count_to_10
sferrin wrote:That looks like HEETE rather than ADVENT. (HEETE was a transport/subsonic engine whereas ADVENT had always been meant as a fighter engine. They eventually rolled HEETE into ADVENT as I recall.)

Well, it says "ADVENT" on the image.
At any rate, every image or movie I have seen connected with ADVENT has the same flattened nozzle.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 23:46
by count_to_10
And more McCain behaving badly.
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /81501682/
Breaking the contract would cost the Air Force over $300 million in penalties, Bunch told the subcommittee March 8. The Air Force would then have to re-compete the contract, which would take an additional 24 to 30 months and lead to a commensurate delay in fielding the aircraft, he added.

So, are people going to jump out of the woodwork to say McCain is in the pocket of Boeing and Lockheed?

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 23:51
by cosmicdwarf
count_to_10 wrote:And more McCain behaving badly.
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /81501682/
Breaking the contract would cost the Air Force over $300 million in penalties, Bunch told the subcommittee March 8. The Air Force would then have to re-compete the contract, which would take an additional 24 to 30 months and lead to a commensurate delay in fielding the aircraft, he added.

So, are people going to jump out of the woodwork to say McCain is in the pocket of Boeing and Lockheed?

Probably not.

Re: LRSB/B-3 Thread

Unread postPosted: 10 Mar 2016, 07:12
by str
count_to_10 wrote:And more McCain behaving badly.
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /81501682/
Breaking the contract would cost the Air Force over $300 million in penalties, Bunch told the subcommittee March 8. The Air Force would then have to re-compete the contract, which would take an additional 24 to 30 months and lead to a commensurate delay in fielding the aircraft, he added.

So, are people going to jump out of the woodwork to say McCain is in the pocket of Boeing and Lockheed?


No, he doesn't need anyone's pocket money. He married very, very well, at least the second time. John Kerry tops him in gold digging success, thoigh. Mr. Secretary got that billionaire ketchup money.

No, McCain is what he's been for a while: a cantankerous old crank.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2016, 03:28
by popcorn
The AF lifts the blackout curtain a tad and reveals the NG-led team that will build the new bomber.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... rs-422840/
The US Air Force has named the seven top-tier suppliers for the Northrop Grumman B-21 bomber, including propulsion system provider Pratt & Whitney...
P&W might have offered a derivative of the 43,000lb-thrust F135, perhaps a high-thrust version of its PW9000 military engine series that was revealed in 2010.

Spirit AeroSystems, which builds fuselages for the Boeing 737 line and last year delivered the Bell Helicopter V-280 Valor airframe, will likely produce large composite structures for the bomber.

Orbital ATK also has a thriving aerostructures business, delivering sections of the Airbus A350XWB, F-35 and Delta II and IV rockets.

USA-registered BAE Systems Inc. is a leading provider of electronic warfare capabilities, having recently won over Northrop to capture the Boeing F-15 Eagle passive active warning survivability system (EPAWSS) programme.

Rockwell Collins is probably the B-21 avionics providers, while GKN Aerospace supplies “complex, high-performance, high-value components” to the military and commercial aerospace sectors. Janicki Industries is heavily involved in advanced materials development and aerospace prototyping.
Asked if the disclosure would put these suppliers at risk of espionage from potential adversaries like Russia and China, James says information protection programmes have been put in place.

“What allows us to tell you this today is that those protection plans are in place,” she says. “Of course, this is why these things remain in the classified world until we’re able to reveal them, to make sure that those protection plans have been developed.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2016, 04:48
by durahawk
popcorn wrote:The AF lifts the blackout curtain a tad and reveals the NG-led team that will build the new bomber.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... rs-422840/
The US Air Force has named the seven top-tier suppliers for the Northrop Grumman B-21 bomber, including propulsion system provider Pratt & Whitney...
P&W might have offered a derivative of the 43,000lb-thrust F135, perhaps a high-thrust version of its PW9000 military engine series that was revealed in 2010.


Hmmm the information available on the Internet is a bit mum on PW9000 engine... apparently some sort of mashup between the F135 LPC and the PW1000G series geared turbo fan. The PW1000 series has a 81" fan that would seem much too big for a VLO aircraft, but the smaller 56" fan might fit the bill and offer greater fuel efficiency over a straight non-afterburning F135 with a low bypass fan. Obviously, this would not be as technologically mature as the straight F135, and would probably necessitate an entirely new manufacturing line. I thought General Bogdan's comment about expecting the Bomber to decrease the F135 cost was an indication of some commonality, but it sounds like the 9000 could actually be quite different from a technical and logistical standpoint despite some common parts...?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2016, 05:57
by KamenRiderBlade
durahawk wrote:
popcorn wrote:The AF lifts the blackout curtain a tad and reveals the NG-led team that will build the new bomber.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... rs-422840/
The US Air Force has named the seven top-tier suppliers for the Northrop Grumman B-21 bomber, including propulsion system provider Pratt & Whitney...
P&W might have offered a derivative of the 43,000lb-thrust F135, perhaps a high-thrust version of its PW9000 military engine series that was revealed in 2010.


Hmmm the information available on the Internet is a bit mum on PW9000 engine... apparently some sort of mashup between the F135 LPC and the PW1000G series geared turbo fan. The PW1000 series has a 81" fan that would seem much too big for a VLO aircraft, but the smaller 56" fan might fit the bill and offer greater fuel efficiency over a straight non-afterburning F135 with a low bypass fan. Obviously, this would not be as technologically mature as the straight F135, and would probably necessitate an entirely new manufacturing line. I thought General Bogdan's comment about expecting the Bomber to decrease the F135 cost was an indication of some commonality, but it sounds like the 9000 could actually be quite different from a technical and logistical standpoint despite some common parts...?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_PW1000G
From what I can tell they have various models between the 56" - 81" diameter range.

If you were to apply the F135 design to the 56" model, scale it up, don't add Afterburners. I'm sure you could get significantly more Dry thrust

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2016, 09:53
by popcorn
IMO going with the F135 makes sense logistically. Also for future upgrades to AETD tech since this is being designed to fit the F135 footprint.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Mar 2016, 02:02
by count_to_10
KamenRiderBlade wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_PW1000G
From what I can tell they have various models between the 56" - 81" diameter range.

If you were to apply the F135 design to the 56" model, scale it up, don't add Afterburners. I'm sure you could get significantly more Dry thrust

So, as far as I can tell, the B-2 has 69,000 lbs thrust. Two F135 would be 56,000 lbs dry thrust. If the B-21 is supposed to be substantially smaller than the B-2, it seems like that should be sufficient.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Mar 2016, 15:02
by durahawk
popcorn wrote:IMO going with the F135 makes sense logistically. Also for future upgrades to AETD tech since this is being designed to fit the F135 footprint.

I would be inclined to agree. The 56 inch geared turbofan of the PW1215G boasts a fuel conservation of 12%, which I would consider to be around the upper limit of what the PW9000 would benefit over over the F135. Now, If the fan diameter is reduced to 43 inches to match the footprint of the F135, I suspect that the advantage would be reduced even further. Such a reduction is nothing to sneeze at, but I'm not sure it would be enough for the Air Force to bite given the drawbacks of going with a new engine.

It's not like you can just slap a fan from a PW1215G onto the LPC and core of the F135 and call it good. Turbine engines are designed to operate off of a set range of flow angles, velocities, rotation, De Haller numbers, etc and are very sensitive to even minor deviations. A new fan entirely I think would require substantial tweaking to the compressor section and possibly the turbine section as well to operate properly. In this way, I would envision the PW9000 having a common "core" to the F135 like the F135 has a common "core" to the F119, i.e. not a whole lot of commonality as far as actual hardware is concerned and for all intensive purposes a distinct engine.

As it stands, I believe by choosing the PW9000 over a non-afterburing F135 you would lose economy of scale, technological maturity, and potentially the AETD upgrade path as well.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Mar 2016, 18:56
by sferrin
count_to_10 wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_PW1000G
From what I can tell they have various models between the 56" - 81" diameter range.

If you were to apply the F135 design to the 56" model, scale it up, don't add Afterburners. I'm sure you could get significantly more Dry thrust

So, as far as I can tell, the B-2 has 69,000 lbs thrust. Two F135 would be 56,000 lbs dry thrust. If the B-21 is supposed to be substantially smaller than the B-2, it seems like that should be sufficient.


The variant in the X-32 produced 34,000lbs thrust dry so a pair of modified F135s shouldn't have any problem hitting 69,000lbs (though I thought the B-2s was closer to 76,000lbs.)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 00:48
by count_to_10
sferrin wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_PW1000G
From what I can tell they have various models between the 56" - 81" diameter range.

If you were to apply the F135 design to the 56" model, scale it up, don't add Afterburners. I'm sure you could get significantly more Dry thrust

So, as far as I can tell, the B-2 has 69,000 lbs thrust. Two F135 would be 56,000 lbs dry thrust. If the B-21 is supposed to be substantially smaller than the B-2, it seems like that should be sufficient.


The variant in the X-32 produced 34,000lbs thrust dry so a pair of modified F135s shouldn't have any problem hitting 69,000lbs (though I thought the B-2s was closer to 76,000lbs.)

Well, I was going by Wikipedia and mental math, and either could be wrong.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 02:23
by JetTest
....for all intents and purposes......intents and purposes.....

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 14:14
by sferrin
JetTest wrote:....for all intents and purposes......intents and purposes.....


Care to elaborate? :?:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 19:35
by JetTest
Just me feeling the need to be a critic for a moment, unneeded and unprovoked really....see the end of the second paragraph of Durahawk's last post above, should be obvious, and apologies to him, as I said, unprovoked. That improper term just always seems to bother me.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 19:36
by durahawk
sferrin wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_PW1000G
From what I can tell they have various models between the 56" - 81" diameter range.

If you were to apply the F135 design to the 56" model, scale it up, don't add Afterburners. I'm sure you could get significantly more Dry thrust

So, as far as I can tell, the B-2 has 69,000 lbs thrust. Two F135 would be 56,000 lbs dry thrust. If the B-21 is supposed to be substantially smaller than the B-2, it seems like that should be sufficient.


The variant in the X-32 produced 34,000lbs thrust dry so a pair of modified F135s shouldn't have any problem hitting 69,000lbs (though I thought the B-2s was closer to 76,000lbs.)


According to the GE aviation data sheet, the F118-100 that the B-2 uses is 19,000lb thrust class while the -101 used by the Dragon Lady is 17,000lb thrust class.
http://www.geaviation.com/engines/docs/military/datasheet-F118.pdf

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 19:37
by JetTest
...unless there was an intensive purpose that I missed...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 19:44
by durahawk
JetTest wrote:...unless there was an intensive purpose that I missed...


Nope. I appreciate the impartation of knowledge on idiomatic idiosyncrasies. :wink:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 11:08
by rotosequence
sferrin wrote:
JetTest wrote:....for all intents and purposes......intents and purposes.....


Care to elaborate? :?:


The idiom you meant to express was "for all intents and purposes."

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 17 Mar 2016, 23:24
by count_to_10
Is McCain facing some real competition in his primary this year?
He's really going off the deep end.
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /81858726/

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Mar 2016, 00:21
by southernphantom
count_to_10 wrote:Is McCain facing some real competition in his primary this year?
He's really going off the deep end.
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /81858726/


We can only hope. I respect his service , but wish he would retire from politics. I don't think that it would be too difficult for AZ to find a solid Republican to fill his seat.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Mar 2016, 22:32
by count_to_10
southernphantom wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:Is McCain facing some real competition in his primary this year?
He's really going off the deep end.
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /81858726/


We can only hope. I respect his service , but wish he would retire from politics. I don't think that it would be too difficult for AZ to find a solid Republican to fill his seat.

So, he is apparently in a tie with Ann Kirkpatrick for the nomination. I'm not sure where she stands on the military, but she has been apparently running on surrendering the Supreme Court to the Democrats, so I'm not particularly encouraged.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 23 Jul 2016, 12:27
by popcorn
Looks like concurrency won't be an issue wih the LRSB.




https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... 1s-427700/

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 23 Jul 2016, 15:09
by count_to_10
popcorn wrote:Looks like concurrency won't be an issue wih the LRSB.




https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... 1s-427700/

The entire fleet of B-21s will be both conventional and nuclear-capable, and the Air Force has built a timeline for when the aircraft will be nuclear-certificated, Weinstein said.

Um, isn't there a treaty limit on the number of bomber that can be nuclear certified?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 23 Jul 2016, 23:47
by XanderCrews
count_to_10 wrote:
popcorn wrote:Looks like concurrency won't be an issue wih the LRSB.




https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... 1s-427700/

The entire fleet of B-21s will be both conventional and nuclear-capable, and the Air Force has built a timeline for when the aircraft will be nuclear-certificated, Weinstein said.

Um, isn't there a treaty limit on the number of bomber that can be nuclear certified?


Possibly. Don't know how many are still valid

I don't think there is any worry about hitting that nuclear limit number anyway.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2016, 00:22
by bring_it_on
The first 21 B-21's are under Fixed Price contract (Price included in the contract they signed) with a $300 million penalty if NG or the uSG breaks contract. If they are able to meet the cost-targets and if Open Mission Systems concepts proves its promise then I'm sure we are looking at a fleet of at least 150 aircraft.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2016, 02:36
by southernphantom
bring_it_on wrote:The first 21 B-21's are under Fixed Price contract (Price included in the contract they signed) with a $300 million penalty if NG or the uSG breaks contract. If they are able to meet the cost-targets and if Open Mission Systems concepts proves its promise then I'm sure we are looking at a fleet of at least 150 aircraft.


The more the better. I don't think I'm alone in looking at the B-21 as filling the role of a lot of assets besides just bombers. 200 would be my target number.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2016, 03:29
by popcorn
Could perform the Strike Eagle role in addition to it's other missions.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2016, 03:45
by rotosequence
popcorn wrote:Could perform the Strike Eagle role in addition to it's other missions.


If I recall correctly, the B-52 and B-1 are both popular air support platforms in permissive environments because they're relatively cheap to operate per flight hour and can drop a lot of ordnance in a single flight... I wonder how cheap the B-21 needs to be to be cheaper to field in air support missions than an F-15E.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2016, 03:54
by popcorn
rotosequence wrote:
popcorn wrote:Could perform the Strike Eagle role in addition to it's other missions.


If I recall correctly, the B-52 and B-1 are both popular air support platforms in permissive environments because they're relatively cheap to operate per flight hour and can drop a lot of ordnance in a single flight... I wonder how cheap the B-21 needs to be to be cheaper to field in air support missions than an F-15E.

It's all the added capabilities it brings that the SE can't match... not just cost but cost-effectuveness that make it attractive. Perhaps the money for the eventual SE replacement may go towards buying more LRSBs.? Don't know how this would impact 6Gen Fighter initiative though.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2016, 06:26
by geforcerfx
rotosequence wrote:
popcorn wrote:Could perform the Strike Eagle role in addition to it's other missions.


If I recall correctly, the B-52 and B-1 are both popular air support platforms in permissive environments because they're relatively cheap to operate per flight hour and can drop a lot of ordnance in a single flight... I wonder how cheap the B-21 needs to be to be cheaper to field in air support missions than an F-15E.


Well the numbers I have seen have the B-1 at around $60,000 per flight hour, with a 8 hour loiter possible, loaded with up to 16 1,000 and 2,000lb bomb mix. The F-15E sits at around $40,000 pfh, the B-21 will only have 2 engines, that will prob share a lot with the F135 so there maintenance should be cost reduce, I would expect it to have a CPFH in between the two, with the effective payload of two F-15E's in CAS and longer time on station.

A role I would love to see it fill is a long range a2a platform, I am not completely convinced in the large platforms loaded to the gills with missiles becoming the sole a2a platforms in the future, but team it with F-35's and F-22's and we have a efficient platform for launching 20+ amraams out in pacific to deal with the large amount of 4th gen aircraft in that region for the next 30 years.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2016, 06:43
by popcorn
Dave Deptula characterizes it as a "long-range sensor-shooter" able fo perform battle management in hostile airspace. Not just a bomber.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2016, 13:33
by count_to_10
geforcerfx wrote:
Well the numbers I have seen have the B-1 at around $60,000 per flight hour, with a 8 hour loiter possible, loaded with up to 16 1,000 and 2,000lb bomb mix. The F-15E sits at around $40,000 pfh, the B-21 will only have 2 engines, that will prob share a lot with the F135 so there maintenance should be cost reduce, I would expect it to have a CPFH in between the two, with the effective payload of two F-15E's in CAS and longer time on station.

A role I would love to see it fill is a long range a2a platform, I am not completely convinced in the large platforms loaded to the gills with missiles becoming the sole a2a platforms in the future, but team it with F-35's and F-22's and we have a efficient platform for launching 20+ amraams out in pacific to deal with the large amount of 4th gen aircraft in that region for the next 30 years.

I wonder if I'm getting the right numbers, here. I'm seeing claims that the F-15E can carry over 20,000 lbs of bombs, while the B-2 carries 40,000 lbs. Wasn't the B-21 supposed to have half the payload of the B-2?
On the other hand, maybe the number for the F-15E is a "well technically, but nobody ever does that" number.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2016, 22:37
by geforcerfx
count_to_10 wrote:I wonder if I'm getting the right numbers, here. I'm seeing claims that the F-15E can carry over 20,000 lbs of bombs, while the B-2 carries 40,000 lbs. Wasn't the B-21 supposed to have half the payload of the B-2?
On the other hand, maybe the number for the F-15E is a "well technically, but nobody ever does that" number.


Nope they seem right, the difference is range. On the internal 18,000-20,000lbs of fuel with 20,000lbs of weapons and sensor equipment strapped on I don't see the mudhen making it to far. Most loudouts I see have the 3 x 600 gallon tanks on, that's 12,500lbs of the 23,000lbs right there. Take another 2000lbs for a2a defense, 1,000lbs for pods and you have the rest for weapons and there equipment. Where as the b-2 is gonna cover twice the distance with twice the bombload on internal fuel alone, granted it's a crap ton of gas.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Jul 2016, 06:01
by smsgtmac
Aggghhh! The board ate my post. Reader's digest version follows

Good discussion. Keep in mind going forward a couple of things:
First, CPFH is fungible and it isn't how much it costs to actually fly the airplane. You can actually spend less ops money flying by flying fewer hours which RAISES your CPFH. It also varies wildly between commonly equipped units, and by unit year to year, depending on what the units did that year.
SCARE-FARE.jpg

Second, nobody knows how many engines the B-21 will have for 'sure' yet. I believe two is likely and will do, but depending upon a lot of things more than two smaller engines could be in the works. I hope the range is longer than the LRS-B's was said to be, but there are conditions that such range would be acceptable.
Third, simple tonnage is no longer a valid metric on its own. The B-2 can carry over 60K (2 Big BLUs), but the carriage methods for most weapons are space limited rather than weight. Nobody likes the added costs of developing new racks, so with the exception of the 500lb-class weapons, the B-2 relies on the rotary launchers. It can carry over a hundred SDBs without any problem and if the AF wanted to make the 'bomber' in 'fighter-bomber' almost extinct it could carry more than double that if the AF so chooses. Most aimpoints do not need a 2Klb-plus weapon, and while the number of hard targets increases as we go forward, as a percentage of the aimpoints needed to be serviced they are of a shrinking percentage.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 25 Jul 2016, 11:32
by popcorn
I expect it will be able to accommodate this monster.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2016, 00:58
by count_to_10
smsgtmac wrote:Third, simple tonnage is no longer a valid metric on its own. The B-2 can carry over 60K (2 Big BLUs), but the carriage methods for most weapons are space limited rather than weight.

popcorn wrote:I expect it will be able to accommodate this monster.

See, I did have the wrong number. It's 60,000 lbs for the B-2, not 40,000 lbs. The B-21 should basically sport one of the B-2's two bays, and hold exactly half of what the B-2 holds (including one of those "mosters") at 30,000 lbs.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2016, 05:07
by smsgtmac
I seriously doubt the B-21 will carry the MOP. For one thing, there aren't that many aimpoints that would demand it (which is why they have bought very few). Second, I'd almost bet the payload for the B-21 is in the 20-25K lb region, with hopefully a longer range than the LRS-B was supposed to have, perhaps even while hauling a reduced weapons load. The unrefueled range will probably be significantly less than the B-2's and probably less than I would advocate (ain't sayin' #s). If the range is closer to the B-2's, it would mean the AF has gone with a much lower structural weight fraction and has succumbed to the aeroelasticity cult and built a 'flexi-flyer' (hope not--there is a diminishing return on survivability not too much below the current conceptual design conventions with today's materials). If the range is as I think it is, we can expect to see B-2 modernization as we go into the future for the really deep targets, LO tankers (manned or unmanned), some other ISR multi-role or system of systems solution --or any combination thereof to hit what little the B-21 can't reach unassisted. I can't see a separate weapon being developed for just taking care of that last 10-15% of the world's dirt. The numbers the AF seeks tells me the B-21 is a high-medium range (for a bomber) asset that the AF wants to use as a workhorse able to attack many geographically separated aimpoints in a highly concurrent manner. If you want to use direct attack over a large battlespace, you need numbers to spread around. That is the single advantage of a medium range weapon system over the long range counterpart that makes a medium range asset worthwhile IMHO. :)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2016, 05:26
by popcorn
Reasonable points SmsgtMac. I brought up MOP afer reading some articles citing it as an option for LRSB but those were early speculations. There are thousands of hardened targets that need attention but not meriting MOP-levels of destruction. The work going on in various secret labs should result in weapons with a bigger bang in a smaller footprint compared to current bunker busters.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/05/bunker ... h.html?m=1

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2016, 22:43
by geforcerfx
With how precise the sdbII is couldn't you chain drop them into the same target point to bust through a hardened target? I would bet the b-21 will be able to carry a impressive number of SDBs.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2016, 23:51
by count_to_10
geforcerfx wrote:With how precise the sdbII is couldn't you chain drop them into the same target point to bust through a hardened target? I would bet the b-21 will be able to carry a impressive number of SDBs.

I think you mean the SDB I. The SDB II is an anti-tank weapon with a shaped charge warhead that crumples if it actually impact anything, rather than penetrate. The SDB I has a penetrating warhead, so it could potentially be used in that manner, though I'm not sure that would work better than a similar load of 2000 lbs bombs.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2016, 23:55
by sprstdlyscottsmn
count_to_10 wrote:I think you mean the SDB I. The SDB II is an anti-tank weapon with a shaped charge warhead that crumples if it actually impact anything, rather than penetrate. The SDB I has a penetrating warhead, so it could potentially be used in that manner, though I'm not sure that would work better than a similar load of 2000 lbs bombs.

I suppose it all depends on the collateral that is acceptable. Eight SDBs may not dig as deep as two GBU-31s but the warhead of the one-ton class weapons makes an awfully big crater.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2016, 01:32
by count_to_10
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:I think you mean the SDB I. The SDB II is an anti-tank weapon with a shaped charge warhead that crumples if it actually impact anything, rather than penetrate. The SDB I has a penetrating warhead, so it could potentially be used in that manner, though I'm not sure that would work better than a similar load of 2000 lbs bombs.

I suppose it all depends on the collateral that is acceptable. Eight SDBs may not dig as deep as two GBU-31s but the warhead of the one-ton class weapons makes an awfully big crater.

Granted. On the other hand, how much collateral is typically allowed to be sitting above any of these highly sensitive deeply burred targets?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2016, 15:21
by KamenRiderBlade
Isn't the MOP usually dropped out of the back of a C-130 due to it's sheer weight?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2016, 17:32
by sprstdlyscottsmn
count_to_10 wrote:Granted. On the other hand, how much collateral is typically allowed to be sitting above any of these highly sensitive deeply burred targets?

Like putting AAA/SAMs on top of Hospitals? Using civilian collateral to protect sensitive military targets is not uncommon.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2016, 18:48
by sferrin
KamenRiderBlade wrote:Isn't the MOP usually dropped out of the back of a C-130 due to it's sheer weight?


No. You're thinking of MOAB, which is around 20,000lbs. And it's not relegated to the C-130 due to weight but deployment method. There have been several VERY heavy bombs in the past that bombers carried. Both the nuclear Mk17/24 and the conventional T-12 bombs were over 40,000lbs.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2016, 22:30
by count_to_10
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:Granted. On the other hand, how much collateral is typically allowed to be sitting above any of these highly sensitive deeply burred targets?

Like putting AAA/SAMs on top of Hospitals? Using civilian collateral to protect sensitive military targets is not uncommon.

You are thinking of the wrong targets. If the host country put a bunch of civilian buildings above a deeply buried target, it would make it easier to infiltrate and sabotage with human assets. We are talking targets that governments don't want any of their own population anywhere near for fear that they will compromise it.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2016, 22:49
by sprstdlyscottsmn
count_to_10 wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:Granted. On the other hand, how much collateral is typically allowed to be sitting above any of these highly sensitive deeply burred targets?

Like putting AAA/SAMs on top of Hospitals? Using civilian collateral to protect sensitive military targets is not uncommon.

You are thinking of the wrong targets. If the host country put a bunch of civilian buildings above a deeply buried target, it would make it easier to infiltrate and sabotage with human assets. We are talking targets that governments don't want any of their own population anywhere near for fear that they will compromise it.

Okay I see what you are saying.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2016, 00:31
by popcorn
Any time now. Marauder? Mitchell? Dominator?

http://www.investors.com/news/new-b-21- ... back-name/


Northrop's B-21 Bomber May Get World War II-Inspired Name

rthrop Grumman's (NOC) new stealth bomber may get a moniker inspired by a World War II-era plane, a defense source told IBD Friday.

Names for popular bombers during WWII include Boeing's (BA) B-17 Flying Fortress and B-29 Superfortress as well as Consolidated Vultee's B-24 Liberator.

For now, the long-range strike bomber is known as the B-21. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James will officially reveal its name at her State of the Force address on Monday at 10:30 a.m. ET at the Air Force Association's Annual Air, Space and Cyber conference.

The Air For

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2016, 06:49
by rheonomic
I hope they change the stupid B-21 name and go back in series, although with both F-35 and B-21 it clearly shows that no one actually cares about such things these days.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2016, 07:19
by madrat
At least get to single digit in the moniker

B-3, B-4, B-5, etc...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2016, 17:40
by rheonomic

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2016, 19:12
by durahawk
A nice homage to some brave folks :salute:

A wee bit of a name gank from Sikorsky and the S-97 though. Maybe the Army will rename it after a Native American tribe in keeping with tradition (if it's ever acquired.)

I still like my "Wraith"

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2016, 19:47
by rheonomic
durahawk wrote:A nice homage to some brave folks :salute:


Indeed. If they follow the B-2 tradition of naming the individual aircraft, I think the first few aircraft should be named after those who made the ultimate sacrifice on the raid.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2016, 23:12
by popcorn
I like it. I was worried they might choose some wimpy name like 'Peacekeeper'...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2016, 01:42
by madrat
Perhaps a new lineage should have been chosen, like "Valor".

Each one would have honored a notable American war hero, like "Valor of Stonewall Jackson", "Valor of Henry Johnson", "Valor of Frank Luke", etc

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2016, 01:54
by popcorn
madrat wrote:Perhaps a new lineage should have been chosen, like "Valor".

Each one would have honored a notable American war hero, like "Valor of Stonewall Jackson", "Valor of Henry Johnson", "Valor of Frank Luke", etc

Worked for the B-2 because of the limited numbers but could become unwieldy if they build LRSB in quantity.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2016, 01:58
by XanderCrews
durahawk wrote:A wee bit of a name gank from Sikorsky and the S-97 though.


Meh.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2016, 02:19
by count_to_10
XanderCrews wrote:
durahawk wrote:A wee bit of a name gank from Sikorsky and the S-97 though.


Meh.

They had it coming. :devil:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2016, 02:24
by smsgtmac
A wee bit of a name gank from Sikorsky and the S-97 though.


Actually, the AF had a Northrop STOL transport called the 'Raider' (C-125) that predates the other aircraft by quite a bit. Glad they tied it specifically to the Doolittle Raiders vs. 'Raiders' in general. That ought to slow up the sarcastic 'raider on the taxpayers wallet' headlines from the mouth-breathers a good 2-3 days. :wink:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2016, 09:02
by vanshilar
I'm gonna wait for them to form a squadron with the name of "Lost Ark".

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2016, 13:30
by zero-one
vanshilar wrote:I'm gonna wait for them to form a squadron with the name of "Lost Ark".


Right after they finish fielding their sister squadron named "Tomb"

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2016, 15:45
by sprstdlyscottsmn
zero-one wrote:
vanshilar wrote:I'm gonna wait for them to form a squadron with the name of "Lost Ark".


Right after they finish fielding their sister squadron named "Tomb"

hahaha, love it

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 21 Sep 2016, 13:27
by gtg947h
rheonomic wrote:I hope they change the stupid B-21 name and go back in series, although with both F-35 and B-21 it clearly shows that no one actually cares about such things these days.

They just forgot the decimal point... it's the B-2.1

:mrgreen:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 22 Sep 2016, 00:06
by KamenRiderBlade
http://gizmodo.com/heres-the-list-of-4- ... 1786912523

My idea for using "Ghost" as the name was a top contender.

I could've been a Contenda!!

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 22 Sep 2016, 01:52
by madrat
Some of the better ones IMHO:

Angry Bird
Arrowhead
Boomerang
Chevron
Dorito
Longsword
Morning Star
Rapier
Scimitar
Silent Warrior
Trinity
Vanguard
Vulcan
Zenith
Zephyr

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 23 Sep 2016, 05:55
by KamenRiderBlade
Angry Bird
Dorito

That's a better one?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2016, 01:54
by castlebravo
B-21 Raider eh? I guess its alright. I would have gone with Shadow Fortress though.

zero-one wrote:
vanshilar wrote:I'm gonna wait for them to form a squadron with the name of "Lost Ark".


Right after they finish fielding their sister squadron named "Tomb"


No one will give a crap about either of them though; all the cool guys will want to join the Panty Raiders.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Sep 2016, 20:43
by rheonomic
KamenRiderBlade wrote:Dorito


Dorito should really be reserved for the A-12...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 01 Oct 2016, 01:59
by madrat
KamenRiderBlade wrote:Angry Bird
Dorito

That's a better one?


Out of 2000, yes they were among the better choices

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 02:22
by zerion
Long article best read at source

Game Over: GAO Protest Reveals Cost Was Deciding Factor in B-21 Contest

WASHINGTON — Eight months ago, the Government Accountability Office shot down Boeing’s protest of the government’s decision to award the B-21 bomber contract to competitor Northrop Grumman. With the Tuesday release of its 52-page decision, the public now can read why.

The gist of GAO’s argument, which redacts all pricing and technical information, was that Northrop’s offering met the technical specifications at a price much lower than Boeing’s proposal.

“Significant structural advantages in Northrop’s proposal — specifically, its labor rate advantage and decision to absorb significant company investment — also strongly impacted the outcome of this essentially low-price, technically acceptable procurement,” the office said in its conclusion. “Northrop’s significantly lower proposed process for the LRIP phase created a near-insurmountable obstacle to Boeing’s proposal achieving best value or to Boeing’s protest demonstrating prejudice in the cost realism evaluation.”

The Air Force in October 2015 awarded Northrop the contract to develop and produce its newest bomber, now designated the B-21 Raider. Northrop beat out a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team for the two-pronged contract that covers the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the program as well as the first five low-rate initial production lots...

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/gam ... 21-contest

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 02:33
by popcorn
LOL, it wasn't even close.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 03:39
by sprstdlyscottsmn
Because of the two who has more experience building VLO bombers? I'm glad this went to Northrop.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 05:17
by johnwill
rheonomic wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:Dorito


Dorito should really be reserved for the A-12...


it was called exactly that internally. Couldn't call it that outside because of classified shape.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Dec 2016, 23:18
by durahawk
Looks like Boeing's favorite attack dog is at it again attacking Northrop Grumman's B-21 proposal...
http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomps ... d81a685455

Funny how he leaves out Boeing's performance on the KC-46. Predicting the B-21 will go over budget and behind schedule does not make him sage.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Dec 2016, 00:12
by popcorn
Trump favors vendors who bid low. LT should know better.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 01:15
by popcorn
http://www.dodbuzz.com/2016/10/18/b-21- ... ke-bomber/

Former B-2 Pilot to Air Force: Forget Drone Bombers

A professor and retired B-2 Spirit pilot is calling on the Air Force to design the B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber solely as a manned aircraft.

“You want somebody up there in that cockpit,” retired Col. Melvin Deaile said. “You want Capt. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger if something happens up there, if something goes wrong — you’re going to want somebody up there who’s going to save that aircraft,” he added, referring to the iconic US Airways pilot who made a water landing on the Hudson River in 2009.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 02 Feb 2017, 04:34
by PhillyGuy
A couple of unknowns still bother me about the potential final design.

Speed and Payload

Lacking specific details we can only make general assumptions at this point. All based on indirect observations and whatever open material there has been published by either Northrop or the US Government.

One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that the B-21 will be physically smaller than the B-2. If so, it stands to reason that it will have less room for payload and therefore not carry as much weaponry/munitions.

We know to a good degree how much the B-2 can carry, ~50K, so a figure in the mid to high 30s for the B-21 seems fair.
But I can't get over how low this amount seems for a strategic bomber. I presume it will be designed to carry at least one MOP, and of course since this is going to be the main bomber for decades to come, it has to carry a sizable amount of heavy JDAMs, the B61 Mod 12 and the new Air Launch Cruise Missile, which will likely itself be in the 3500 LB range. So to carry 8-12 of those the B-21 needs a payload capacity of 38-42 thousands pounds.

Granted munitions are getting more compact every generation, but when it comes to conventional bombs the size/weight of the warhead is what it is, and if you want a long range munition, it will need to be big and heavy to carry the necessary components and propellant. So these things can only miniaturize so much.

The only positive I see is that if we by the grace of God produce this aircraft on time and under budget and can get 100+ air frames then the smaller payload capacity can be offset by having more aircraft available. Yet I still cannot shake the feeling that against a large and well resources adversary, ie. China and Russia, and humor me in keeping the potential conflict conventional, we will need a greater ability to drop tonnage downrange to take out the thousands and thousands of possible target sets. The Gulf War is really the golden standard when it comes to sortie rates and amount of munitions dropped on a nightly basis.

And I know the B-21 is supposedly being designed to carry all sorts of munitions and systems, a la the universal plug and play missile truck concept. Which is a great idea, but its primary function and design will be and needs to be based on the mission of conventional or nuclear strategic bombing.

So this brings me to speed. Absent forward basing, it is very impractical to have the bulk of your bomber force be subsonic and launched for 40+ hour missions from the US mainland. It does not afford the necessary response time or flexibility for all possible scenarios and contingencies. Not to mention the toll on the operators and turn around time to re arm and refuel etc... I know subsonic is more simple, cheaper and stealthier and can be offset by forward deployment and or via the use of stand off/long range munitions which do not require being right over the target area, but there is an advantage with speed too, especially in vast theaters like the Pacific or for time critical situations with little prior warning where only a stealthy bomber dropping stealthy munitions will do, or a bomber period given its payload capacity.

These are my only two concerns, and it's all speculation for now. But geography and the number of enemy targets will not change or get any less so hopefully the B-21 has the right balance of both speed and payload. I am confident it will be low observable and networked and advanced enough in every other regard, so these are the two unknowns I am most looking forward to seeing clarified in the coming years.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2017, 20:18
by durahawk
Probably one of the most laughable articles I've seen on Avweek in awhile:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/preside ... -force-one

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2017, 23:14
by popcorn
durahawk wrote:Probably one of the most laughable articles I've seen on Avweek in awhile:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/preside ... -force-one


I dunno, I'm intrigued at the spectacle of POTUS and his entourage climbing up and down a ladder. :mrgreen:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2017, 23:18
by southernphantom
durahawk wrote:Probably one of the most laughable articles I've seen on Avweek in awhile:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/preside ... -force-one


What on earth...
TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) strikes again!!

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2017, 02:08
by count_to_10
southernphantom wrote:
durahawk wrote:Probably one of the most laughable articles I've seen on Avweek in awhile:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/preside ... -force-one


What on earth...
TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) strikes again!!

Well, the B-21 would already have the most expensive items built in, so an AFO version would only need to be remodeled for accommodations, which probably wouldn't add that much to the price. You very well might be able to get two for under $1B. That said, even assuming that you are using the space allotted to the bomb bay, I don't see how you squeeze in anything like the accommodations that any AFO should have.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2017, 04:01
by madrat
BWB or bust...

Image

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2017, 07:03
by popcorn
Bust.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2017, 23:19
by ftworthjohn
southernphantom wrote:
durahawk wrote:Probably one of the most laughable articles I've seen on Avweek in awhile:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/preside ... -force-one


What on earth...
TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) strikes again!!


"A panel of aerospace and defense analysts" said this, not Trump !!!! Get your facts straight dude

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2017, 18:19
by durahawk
count_to_10 wrote:Well, the B-21 would already have the most expensive items built in, so an AFO version would only need to be remodeled for accommodations, which probably wouldn't add that much to the price. You very well might be able to get two for under $1B. That said, even assuming that you are using the space allotted to the bomb bay, I don't see how you squeeze in anything like the accommodations that any AFO should have.


Most indications are that the B-21 will be smaller than the B-2 so cramming the POTUS in there with support staff is ludicrous. The engines would also be much lower bypass ratio to accommodate the flying wing profile so you would likely be burning a lot more fuel and having to refuel much more frequently. Not to mention the optics of having your president arrive in a tealth bomber on diplomatic visits...

If you really want to save money, I would think if anything a modified KC-46 would fit the bill where the avionics would already be up to military specification (eventually) along with the capability to in-flight refuel. It would also greatly simplify logistics for the Air Force sharing parts and maintenance commonality with the bulk of the tanker fleet.

You would have to live with the reduced redundancy of two engines instead of four, and less range, but it would probably be a bit cheaper in the long run.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 03:28
by southernphantom
ftworthjohn wrote:
southernphantom wrote:
durahawk wrote:Probably one of the most laughable articles I've seen on Avweek in awhile:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/preside ... -force-one


What on earth...
TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) strikes again!!


"A panel of aerospace and defense analysts" said this, not Trump !!!! Get your facts straight dude


It was a play off the old Bush Derangement Syndrome, basically the complete failure of logic that occurred on the left when referring to Bush 43. They're doing the same thing with Trump. Just look at the FoxtrotAlpha loons- that entire site turned into a giant Trump-bashing overnight for no apparent reason.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 20:22
by arian
southernphantom wrote:...for no apparent reason.


No apparent reason, other than them always being loons.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 20:32
by mixelflick
I dunno, the B-21 doesn't inspire for me.

Most assign a subsonic flying wing design to it. Been there, done that. Other than more range/better stealth that's a yawner to me. You can talk about new weapons, but as a platform it isn't shaping up to be anything revolutionary. I would have thought a very high speed vehicle would Trump the flying wing (pun intended). Perhaps I'm mistaken, but most artist renditions I've seen resemble a smaller B-2.

I get it needs to be affordable and the Air Force is sick of 20 year development programs, but maybe the technology isn't there yet for hypersonic deep penetration aircraft with weapons capable of piercing deep, reinforced targets somewhere in North Korea, LOL

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 21:12
by KamenRiderBlade
My main issue with the B-21 is that it breaks the numbering scheme that the military set out all those years ago.

It should've been the B-3.

That's really my only issue.

And it should've been called the "Ghost" instead of "Raider"

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 21:25
by botsing
KamenRiderBlade wrote:My main issue with the B-21 is that it breaks the numbering scheme that the military set out all those years ago.

It should've been the B-3.

That's really my only issue.

And it should've been called the "Ghost" instead of "Raider"

2 + 1 = 3

So that is the ghost in the shell. ;)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 00:34
by count_to_10
mixelflick wrote:I dunno, the B-21 doesn't inspire for me.

It is supposed to be boring. The whole point is "more of what we already have, but cheaper".

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 00:20
by sferrin
KamenRiderBlade wrote:My main issue with the B-21 is that it breaks the numbering scheme that the military set out all those years ago.

It should've been the B-3.

That's really my only issue.

And it should've been called the "Ghost" instead of "Raider"


And the F-35 should have been the F-25. (The Super Hornet should have been the F/A-24.)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 09:38
by twistedneck
count_to_10 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:I dunno, the B-21 doesn't inspire for me.

It is supposed to be boring. The whole point is "more of what we already have, but cheaper".


Looking forward to the first prototypes flying I have a feeling it will be a leap in stealth shaping.. all that deep learning exo scale supercomputer work will make this one freaky.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 16:08
by XanderCrews
KamenRiderBlade wrote:My main issue with the B-21 is that it breaks the numbering scheme that the military set out all those years ago.

It should've been the B-3.

That's really my only issue.

And it should've been called the "Ghost" instead of "Raider"



The names have always been arbitrary. What are the 107 aircraft between the F-4 and F-111 again?

People get so hung up on this stuff lol

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 16:14
by XanderCrews
mixelflick wrote:I dunno, the B-21 doesn't inspire for me.

Most assign a subsonic flying wing design to it. Been there, done that. Other than more range/better stealth that's a yawner to me. You can talk about new weapons, but as a platform it isn't shaping up to be anything revolutionary. I would have thought a very high speed vehicle would Trump the flying wing (pun intended). Perhaps I'm mistaken, but most artist renditions I've seen resemble a smaller B-2.

I get it needs to be affordable and the Air Force is sick of 20 year development programs, but maybe the technology isn't there yet for hypersonic deep penetration aircraft with weapons capable of piercing deep, reinforced targets somewhere in North Korea, LOL



The B-2 was very ahead of its time. Hypersonic is grossly expensive, and B-2s can already Pierce deep into heavily defended targets-- that's what they were built for. We saw how costly and how much development it took to develop a mach 2ish bomber in the B-1. Weapons employment gets very tricky at high speed as well.

No go. The goal is to get in, loiter, occupy and dominate airspace. Hypersonics don't do that. I think you've seen the end of "high speed bombers" in fact

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 16:20
by sprstdlyscottsmn
XanderCrews wrote:The names have always been arbitrary. What are the 107 aircraft between the F-4 and F-111 again?

People get so hung up on this stuff lol

Actually Crews, when the Navy F4H Phantom II, which was also to be the Air Force F-110 Spectre, was designated the F-4 it ended both the Naval trend of using manufacturer for designation and the Air Force Century Series and began the Tri-Service Designation. The use of the TSD ended once the JSF was designated F-35 as Lock-Mart was calling it the F-24 in house prior to the announcement.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 18:28
by sferrin
XanderCrews wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:My main issue with the B-21 is that it breaks the numbering scheme that the military set out all those years ago.

It should've been the B-3.

That's really my only issue.

And it should've been called the "Ghost" instead of "Raider"



The names have always been arbitrary. What are the 107 aircraft between the F-4 and F-111 again?

People get so hung up on this stuff lol


Actually, for the most part, they've been very regular. (The F-4 and F-111 came from numbering schemes from two different services.)

http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/index.html

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 18:31
by sferrin
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:The names have always been arbitrary. What are the 107 aircraft between the F-4 and F-111 again?

People get so hung up on this stuff lol

Actually Crews, when the Navy F4H Phantom II, which was also to be the Air Force F-110 Spectre, was designated the F-4 it ended both the Naval trend of using manufacturer for designation and the Air Force Century Series and began the Tri-Service Designation. The use of the TSD ended once the JSF was designated F-35 as Lock-Mart was calling it the F-24 in house prior to the announcement.


There are a few weird ones that, for political purposes, had non-standard numbers. The XF8U-3 should have been the F9. The F/A-18E/F should have been the F/A-24A/B. The F-20 should have been the F-19, etc.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 23:30
by arian
You make a "hypersonic" weapon, not a bomber. Such weapons themselves are extremely limited in usefulness. For 99.9% of other things, a subsonic very stealthy craft is better, and cheaper, which means you can also build a lot more of them and actually use them for many more missions.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2017, 02:26
by popcorn
In the meantime the DoD should pursue the new ALCM/LRSO capable of both nuke and conventional payloads.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2017, 16:26
by mixelflick
XanderCrews wrote:
mixelflick wrote:I dunno, the B-21 doesn't inspire for me.

Most assign a subsonic flying wing design to it. Been there, done that. Other than more range/better stealth that's a yawner to me. You can talk about new weapons, but as a platform it isn't shaping up to be anything revolutionary. I would have thought a very high speed vehicle would Trump the flying wing (pun intended). Perhaps I'm mistaken, but most artist renditions I've seen resemble a smaller B-2.

I get it needs to be affordable and the Air Force is sick of 20 year development programs, but maybe the technology isn't there yet for hypersonic deep penetration aircraft with weapons capable of piercing deep, reinforced targets somewhere in North Korea, LOL



The B-2 was very ahead of its time. Hypersonic is grossly expensive, and B-2s can already Pierce deep into heavily defended targets-- that's what they were built for. We saw how costly and how much development it took to develop a mach 2ish bomber in the B-1. Weapons employment gets very tricky at high speed as well.

No go. The goal is to get in, loiter, occupy and dominate airspace. Hypersonics don't do that. I think you've seen the end of "high speed bombers" in fact


Is it not inefficient, dangerous and expensive though to design/build/operate a B-2 when stealth cruise missile's etc can fly the last 500-1000 miles of the mission to the target? The Russians apparently have come to that conclusion, building non stealthy TU-160's (or planning to) while focusing on the weapons.

Granted, they may be doing so by default (not having the stealth expertise). But I have to believe 16 stealthy cruise missiles stand a hell of a lot better chance reaching/destroying the target, vs. a single B-2 with a B-61. Or am I missing something? I get the conventional bomber mission, but nuclear strike?

It seems infinitely cheaper/safer to focus on stealthy weapons vs. manned platforms..

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2017, 17:26
by count_to_10
mixelflick wrote:
Is it not inefficient, dangerous and expensive though to design/build/operate a B-2 when stealth cruise missile's etc can fly the last 500-1000 miles of the mission to the target? The Russians apparently have come to that conclusion, building non stealthy TU-160's (or planning to) while focusing on the weapons.

Granted, they may be doing so by default (not having the stealth expertise). But I have to believe 16 stealthy cruise missiles stand a hell of a lot better chance reaching/destroying the target, vs. a single B-2 with a B-61. Or am I missing something? I get the conventional bomber mission, but nuclear strike?

It seems infinitely cheaper/safer to focus on stealthy weapons vs. manned platforms..

Not when you consider that you have another important target set of "deeply buried" bunkers that you need a heavy penetrating munition to dig down to (not compatible with a cruise missile), or that your target might have 1000+ miles of air defenses protecting it.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Feb 2017, 02:07
by arian
mixelflick wrote:I get the conventional bomber mission, but nuclear strike?


Why would you design an aircraft only for the nuclear strike mission? Given that aircraft are the least likley weapons to be used for such a mission, when you have ICBMs and SLBMs, then you want to design an aircraft which will do both, and realistically will only ever do one (conventional strike).

And if it has to launch stealthy cruise missiles, it can do that too without sacrificing usefulness in what it will always be doing.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Feb 2017, 14:52
by mixelflick
I see. Fair points, all of them.

Thank you..

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Feb 2017, 19:18
by jetblast16
arian wrote:
mixelflick wrote:I get the conventional bomber mission, but nuclear strike?


Why would you design an aircraft only for the nuclear strike mission?


The new aircraft was intended primarily for supersonic, low altitude penetration to deliver a single, internally carried nuclear bomb.


Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_ ... underchief

You can pretty much lump the Convair B-58 in there as well.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Feb 2017, 19:21
by jetblast16
An interesting point regarding HSWs:

However, such a launch could be misinterpreted as a nuclear-armed ICBM launch and thus could have substantial escalation risks.

Source: http://www.rand.org/blog/2016/10/the-fu ... apons.html

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 21 Feb 2017, 01:39
by arian
jetblast16 wrote:
arian wrote:
mixelflick wrote:I get the conventional bomber mission, but nuclear strike?


Why would you design an aircraft only for the nuclear strike mission?


The new aircraft was intended primarily for supersonic, low altitude penetration to deliver a single, internally carried nuclear bomb.


Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_ ... underchief

You can pretty much lump the Convair B-58 in there as well.


I was talking about today, obviously, not the 1950s. Back then they thought every war would be a nuclear war.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2017, 01:30
by count_to_10
http://www.defensenews.com/articles/b-2 ... ign-review
WASHINGTON — The US Air Force’s new B-21 bomber stealthily hit a milestone recently, wrapping up its preliminary design review.

During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on nuclear deterrence, Gen. Stephen Wilson, the Air Force’s vice chief of staff, told lawmakers that he receives regular updates on the uber-classified program and is happy with its progression.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2017, 01:40
by popcorn
...The service has not disclosed the total value of the contract awarded to Northrop, but it estimates the aircraft will cost about $550 million per copy. Last year, Randall Walden, who heads the office charged with acquiring the Raider, said the company is on track to beat that number.

This is encouraging. If they prove they can build this thing affordably then it will be easier to justify additional units later. I see the B-21 as a versatile platform that will redefine what a "bomber" is in the same vein as the F-35 redefines what a "fighter" is. It will enable innovative CONOPS in the future that may not be apparent today although serving as Air Force One is not among them. :D

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2017, 02:20
by neptune
popcorn wrote:........ will cost about $550 million per copy. ...... in the future that may not be apparent today although serving as Air Force One is ....among them. :D


...but, but, but it only cost $550mil ea. ...might be a good cost alternative.... :wink:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2017, 04:20
by neptune
http://www.defensenews.com

B-21 Raider covertly completes preliminary design review

By: Valerie Insinna,
March 8, 2017

WASHINGTON — The US Air Force’s new B-21 bomber stealthily hit a milestone recently, wrapping up its preliminary design review. During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on nuclear deterrence, Gen. Stephen Wilson, the Air Force’s vice chief of staff, told lawmakers that he receives regular updates on the uber-classified program and is happy with its progression. “They just finished a preliminary design review recently,” he said. “It's making great progress, and we’re pleased with the way it’s headed."

The Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to develop and produce the B-21 Raider in October 2015. The company beat out a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team, a decision that was sustained even after the losing competitors filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office. Since then, however, news about the B-21 has been thin on the ground as the Air Force tries to protect any information about the bomber’s design and development from leaking out into the press — or to potential adversaries’ hands.    

The service has not disclosed the total value of the contract awarded to Northrop, but it estimates the aircraft will cost about $550 million per copy. Last year, Randall Walden, who heads the office charged with acquiring the Raider, said the company is on track to beat that number. The first aircraft are projected to go into service in the mid 2020s.

In February, Defense News reported that the Raider will likely receive its stealth coating at the same “Air Force Plant 42” facility in Palmdale, California, that is used for the B-2’s final checkout and stealth coating repairs. Northrop received a $35.8 million contract modification in January for construction of a new 45,900 square foot coatings facility at that location. Walden in June also mentioned that Northrop was hiring personnel at its Melbourne, Florida, location to work on the bomber.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Mar 2017, 08:31
by popcorn
More B-21 tidbits. If they deliver on cost target its a pretty good bet they won't [add edit - stop at]100 units. The platform has so much potential.



https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/ai ... equirement

Air Force to potentially grow B-21 program, sets 100 bomber 'minimum' requirement

March 09, 2017 | Jason Sherman Bookmark and Share
The Air Force, which once argued a need for a maximum of 100 new bombers, has formally inverted its B-21 requirement, adopting 100 aircraft as the “minimum” number of state-of-the-art, long-range strike bombers the service now needs -- a move that could set the stage to grow the $80 billion, Northrop Grumman-led project. The Air Force which once argued a need for a maximum of 100 new bombers has formally inverted its B-21 requirement, adopting 100 aircraft as the "minimum"...


https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/b- ... ond-review

B-21 Raider design subjected to additional scrutiny, USAF conducted second review

March 14, 2017 | Jason Sherman Bookmark and Share
The Air Force has conducted not one, but two, preliminary design reviews of its planned new bomber, the B-21 Raider, an unorthodox level of scrutiny for a new major weapon system that included one assessment during the technology development phase that concluded in 2015 and one recently as part of the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the new program. A spokesman for the Air Force Rapid Capability Office overseeing development of the largely classified new bomber program said the...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Mar 2017, 15:21
by mixelflick
So we have what here, another subsonic flying wing? I understand it's classified, but at that target price - it's not going to be some breakthrough propulsion or aerodynamic properties. Not saying it needs that either..

This thing has South China Sea written all over it IMO. The quantity, size, other requirements etc all point toward a long range, highly survivable, optionally manned system able to strike anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. Sounds like the real breakthough will be in sensors/targeting and perhaps new weapons for the bird. I do agree carrying a healthy # of air to air missiles would be a good idea. I'm sure the boys flying it would love a self defense capability brought back!

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Mar 2017, 15:40
by durahawk
mixelflick wrote:So we have what here, another subsonic flying wing? I understand it's classified, but at that target price - it's not going to be some breakthrough propulsion or aerodynamic properties. Not saying it needs that either..

This thing has South China Sea written all over it IMO. The quantity, size, other requirements etc all point toward a long range, highly survivable, optionally manned system able to strike anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. Sounds like the real breakthough will be in sensors/targeting and perhaps new weapons for the bird. I do agree carrying a healthy # of air to air missiles would be a good idea. I'm sure the boys flying it would love a self defense capability brought back!


Have you actually seen the requirements? I thought they were still classified so it's pretty much speculation on the part of the media at this point.

I think the biggest focus on the B-21 should be on being able to actually forward deploy the thing. The B-2's being essentially shackled to their specialized air-conditioned hangars at Whiteman, (or to a lesser extent Guam) severely limits their operational utility and necessitates a lot of planning and coordination to actually employ them to global hotspots. (reference the latest operation against ISIS which required 15 tankers to support a strike package of two B-2's). If this means that the B-21 has a smaller payload (which by some indications it is) and a little less range than the B-2, I'd say so be it. The system should be more maintainable and be more adaptable to a wider variety of ground support infrastructure and equipment, but that's my perspective.

As far as meeting the cost target is concerned, I hope for the best... but won't hold my breath.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Mar 2017, 20:55
by neptune
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ws-435262/

Bomber passes two preliminary design reviews

16 March, 2017
BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

The US Air Force’s B-21 bomber passed an additional preliminary design review, service’s military deputy for the assistant secretary of the air force for acquisition says this week. The air force conducted a PDR during the program’s technology maturation and risk reduction phase before the service chose between Northrop Grumman and the Boeing/Lockheed team. A protest followed the contract award to Northrop in 2016 and the USAF conducted another three-day PDR, which just wrapped a few weeks ago, Lt Gen Arnold Bunch said 16 March. “The tech maturation risk reduction phase was very valuable and we’re moving forward with detailed design at this point,” Bunch says. “We did one [PDR] before but then we had to make sure we came back after the downtime to clean up anything.” Normally, one PDR is conducted is conducted during the technology maturation and risk reduction phase. The PDR assures hardware and software on the platform is operational. The program then moves into the engineering, manufacturing and development phase, where a critical design review is conducted.

The USAF has been nearly mum on most aspects of the bomber contract. The service has even shrouded the price of the aircraft, arguing adversaries could gain information on the aircraft’s capabilities by working back the cost of the bomber. When asked about the program’s timeline, Bunch told reporters he did not have the schedule off the top of his head but the program is progressing toward detailed design and CDR. The USAF applying lessons learned from its B-2 bomber program to the B-21, including the way the service releases information. The air force has completely changed the way it structures the new bomber program, with a focus on transparency and oversight from Congress, he says. “We weren’t as transparent as we needed to be,” Bunch says of the B-2 program. “We didn’t release information at the right times.” But that philosophy appears to be at odds with other USAF leadership. During a recent Congressional hearing on nuclear deterrence, US Strategic Command head USAF Gen John Hyten complained that the press releases too much information on the price of strategic programs. “I hate the stuff that shows up in the press,” he told lawmakers. “I think we should reassess that. I hate the fact that costs us so much to open the press as well. Because if you put a cost estimate out in the press, it's not only our adversaries that are looking at it, but the people that are gonna build the system are looking at that.” Bunch told reporters the USAF is trying to strike a balance when it comes to transparency and preventing adversaries from taking advantage of information. The service is working with the intelligence community, industry and office of the defense secretary to determine what information can be released, he adds. “Take my willingness to be open with where we’re at today,” he says. “I don’t see releasing any more details for a period of time. We’ve been very open so far...I don’t know that I have to release anything else right now and we need to watch how we’re communicating so I’m telling you we started this with a balance.”
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 May 2017, 20:43
by neptune
http://breakingdefense.com/2017/05/b-21 ... i=52426010

By: Colin Clark
May 25, 2017

WASHINGTON: How many B-21 bombers will the US need? 80? 100? 165?

Bound by the president’s budget on one side and congressional appropriations on the other, the head of Air Force acquisition was very careful in answering that question today, but one of his colleagues gave some fascinating hints. The military head of Air Force acquisition, bound by the twin bonds of budgets and Congressional appropriations, was very careful in answering that question today. The number is “at least 100,” based on careful analysis of highly classified war plans, training needs and the likely pace of depot repairs, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch told the House Armed Services sea power and force projection subcommittee at an early morning hearing. That figure of 100 has been holy writ for the Air Force for some time. Originally, the public was told the U.S. needed 80 to 100 B-21 Raiders. Then we were told the number was at least 100. Today, Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans, programs and requirements, told Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher that 165 “is probably what need to have,” based on the full spectrum of war plans. Gallagher carefully led the three-general panel, asking them about a Mitchell Institute study, “US Bomber Force: Sized to Sustain an Asymmetric Advantage for America.” The study estimates that war with Russia would require 258 bombers, Iran would need 103, and North Korea 60. That’s based on the number of targets and bombs needed, the sortie rates the bomber force could sustain and the number of days the campaign would last. Harris told Gallagher the estimates in the Mitchell study “aren’t incorrect,” adding that “165 (bombers) is probably what we need to have,” he said, adding that he and the Air Force didn’t want “to get ahead” of the Trump administration’s new National Military Strategy. (Remember that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joe Dunford said under Obama that the next strategy would be classified. Given this administration it’s unlikely they would reverse this.) So my guess would be that we will see a higher bomber requirement soon, though that won’t translate into additional money for some time. The 2018 budget proposal includes $2 billion for the B-21.

Meanwhile, the “low-risk” tanker solution known as the KC-46 keeps encountering unexpected risks. Once again, the Air Force tells us that Boeing’s tanker is late. Bunch, responding to questions by Rep. John Garamendi, said the Air Force and Boeing are doing a risk assessment next week. Apparently, they are not plowing their test points as quickly as expected and Bunch said that, while Boeing believes they will hit the testing goals, “our assessment shows we are behind that date.” The problem this time may lie with the Federal Aviation Administration, the people who have spent more than a decade trying to bring us a Next Generation Air Transportation System, if the faces of Bunch’s colleagues were any clue. Why do I say that? Garamendi asked Bunch if the FAA was the problem and got this wonder of an answer: “I am not in the position to say the FAA is a problem.” Garamendi noted the looks on “the faces of your colleagues,” as an indicator that the FAA was the problem.

Finally, Bunch confirmed what my colleague Marcus Weisgerber reported last night, that Boeing had filed a protest against the Air Force award of the EC-130H Compass Call contract to L3, the longtime integrator of the high-demand, low-density asset. L3 does the lion’s share of the work on the highly classified electronic warfare aircraft and the Air Force decided that sticking with them to upgrade the plane was the fastest, cheapest and smartest approach. Last year, of course, the Air Force tried to retire the Compass Call fleet and suggested using a new aircraft, a Gulfstream G550 business jet, to carry the EW gear made by BAE Systems. Congress did not like that idea. So the Air Force pivoted and picked L3 as the system integrator. “L3 has played that role as the systems integrator as we have modernized these aircraft for the last 15 years. They are the ones that are very familiar with the mission equipment that is on there,” Bunch told the subcommittee. “That mission equipment is highly classified to be able to execute the electronic warfare mission that we ask that platform to do. They have all the tooling, they have all the existing knowledge, and they have the modeling and all the information to do that work.” For those who love diving in the weeds, there was a five minute exchange about whether L3 was the lead system integrator or just the system integrator. Bunch said he had earlier misspoken when he called L3 the lead integrator. For those with long memories, the Future Combat System and the Coast Guard’s Deepwater were both built using LSIs, where the government delegated all sorts of decisions to a contractor that historically had been made by federal officials. Both programs came in for blistering criticism, FCS was canceled, and the Deepwater program was substantially restructured. That’s among the reasons Bunch didn’t want to call L3 an LSI.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 May 2017, 20:55
by arian
Mitchell Institute study, “US Bomber Force: Sized to Sustain an Asymmetric Advantage for America.” The study estimates that war with Russia would require 258 bombers, Iran would need 103, and North Korea 60. That’s based on the number of targets and bombs needed, the sortie rates the bomber force could sustain and the number of days the campaign would last. Harris told Gallagher the estimates in the Mitchell study “aren’t incorrect,”


It doesn't make a lot of sense to use number of targets, number of bombs and number of sorties to try and figure out the number of stealthy bombers needed. Stealthy bombers are for penetrating air defenses, as part of an overall system of other assets. Why would Iran, which has a virtually non-existent air-defense, require 103 stealth bombers?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 May 2017, 22:22
by sprstdlyscottsmn
It says bombers, not stealth bomber.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 May 2017, 22:25
by arian
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:It says bombers, not stealth bomber.


I know, but the article frames it as an issue for B-21. And in any case, that still isn't the metric for determining the number of bombers.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 May 2017, 23:17
by neptune
arian wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:It says bombers, not stealth bomber.


I know, but the article frames it as an issue for B-21. And in any case, that still isn't the metric for determining the number of bombers.



http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... fleet.html

....According to a study released yesterday by the Mitchell Institute— a comprehensive analysis reveals that 100 Long Range Strike Bombers (LRS-B) is a minimal starting point to meet future national security requirements.

The Mitchell Institute’s goals are:
1) educating the public about the advantages of aerospace power in achieving America’s global interests;
2) informing key decision-makers about the policy options created by exploiting the domains of air, space, and cyberspace, and the importance of necessary investment to keep America as the world’s premier aerospace nation;
3) cultivating policy leaders to understand the advantages of operating in air, space, and cyberspace.

...read the report "Grasshopper"
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 May 2017, 12:45
by PhillyGuy
arian wrote:
Mitchell Institute study, “US Bomber Force: Sized to Sustain an Asymmetric Advantage for America.” The study estimates that war with Russia would require 258 bombers, Iran would need 103, and North Korea 60. That’s based on the number of targets and bombs needed, the sortie rates the bomber force could sustain and the number of days the campaign would last. Harris told Gallagher the estimates in the Mitchell study “aren’t incorrect,”


It doesn't make a lot of sense to use number of targets, number of bombs and number of sorties to try and figure out the number of stealthy bombers needed. Stealthy bombers are for penetrating air defenses, as part of an overall system of other assets. Why would Iran, which has a virtually non-existent air-defense, require 103 stealth bombers?


Timelines are important. By the time 100+ B21s are produced, fielded and operational, 15+ years may have passed. At which point we are in the 2035-40 range of world development. How viable are the B1s and B52s going to be then? Both in terms of airframe and ability to overcome the threats and prosecute the target sets of that time?

It's not a stretch to imagine countries like Iran and North Korea with more advanced air defense and anti access systems, let alone adversaries like Russia or China. Unless there is another concurrent bomber program in the near term (highly doubtful), the B21 will represent essentially the entirety of the future bomber force, save what remains of the B2s.

When you consider that, plus normal attrition and depot, as well as training requirements, 100 B21 bombers is a very slim force to simultaneously hold all areas of the world at risk in a comprehensive and in-depth manner. 200+ is realistic, as only strategic bombers can deliver enough tonnage and sortie rates to conduct massive and effective air strikes on a country, or region wide theater of operations.

And let's not forget the B21 white world specifications as we know them now. 40-50K worth of payload, max, which is substantially less than both the BUFF and B1. So unless weapons get even smaller and lighter while becoming more destructive, you must replace the current bomber fleet at more than a 1 to 1 ratio to make up for the reduction in payload of the B21.

So yes, it does make sense to consider number of bombs, targets and sorties to figure out airframe count. The number of potential hostile countries and possible conflicts will likely only increase. Of course another alternative is ship launched cruise missiles, but they are not really an alternative, only a complementary asset for deep strike.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 May 2017, 19:29
by KamenRiderBlade
At least 255 units are needed IMO.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 May 2017, 21:08
by arian
I'm not arguing about how many B-21s or bombers in general we need. So you don't need to argue with me on how many. I'm just saying: in relation to the B-21, this isn't the primary determining factor, anymore than the number of bomber sorties is the determining factor in how many B-2s we need.

As far as the methodology used in that "study", it doesn't seem convincing anyway. Looking at the 6 past conflicts they look at, over the span of nearly 70 years, is going to skew things since each conflict is too idiosyncratic to draw conclusions from decades later. In Korea and Vietnam bombers mainly carried out carpet bombing. So of course the % of ordinance delivered would be high. Same with Desert Storm and even Allied Force, where the numbers become more skewed due to the lower number of munitions dropped by other planes as smart bombs become more prevalent. Afghanistan of course was mainly driven by the distances involved from the nearest base. Today we're in a different situation where 90+% of munitions are guided, including those of bombers, so % of ordinance dropped would be considerably different from any of these prior conflicts.

The utilization of bombers on the metrics they measure is more dependent on what the rest of your force looks like.

There's a blanket assumption made there about the "number of aimpoints" (which includes what? all targets struck in Desert Storm?) and the linear relation to that and "number of targets bombed by bombers" and % of munitions delivered. I'm sure bombers didn't attack 13,000 targets in Desert Storm. 70% of Desert Storm B-52 sorties, for example, were against troop concentrations. That's a pretty idiosyncratic condition of that conflict.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 May 2017, 02:22
by wrightwing
I don't see the current bomber force retiring any time soon. The USAF is planning on keeping B-52s till at least 2050. I don't see B-2s retiring before then, either. If anything, we might see B-1Bs slowly retiring, but even that's decades away.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 May 2017, 07:01
by PhillyGuy
@arian

I get that, and I'm not really going back to Desert Storm or Vietnam as examples of what to base future needs on. Each sittuation is unique to itself.

Of course no one can be entirely sure of what the future battlefield will entail decades in advance. But a few things can be deduced from the current trends.

I'm leaving out countries like Iran and NK because they are not really the ultimate concern as far as what the maximum capability needed is and why.

Both in the Pacific and in Europe, with China and Russia, respectively, range is a big concern. Both these adversaries possess enough long range strike capability to endanger peripheral bases and staging areas which effectively limit if not rule out tactical strike platforms.

They also both possess extremely long range and numerous air defense systems as well as airpower, which requires non linear routes and workarounds to evade initially.

They are both massive in geographical size and massive in the number of forces and potential targets, requiring lots of munitions and most of these having to be long range munitions, ie. air launched cruise missiles or extended range weapons. A good deal of targets will require high yield (see heavy) bombs.

So by necessity these features and capabilities of our two biggest potential adversaries suggest that the only viable platform which can still threaten them in depth and with volume, at least initially, is a very long range, stealthy, high payload strategic bomber.

Now how many are needed depends on what you're trying to accomplish and what level of risk you are willing to live with. IE. being able to acheive total victory, or localized victory, or just disruption etc... And that's more a policy question than one of tactical analysis.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Jul 2017, 16:02
by count_to_10
So, whenever I see the idea of a stealthy tanker, I always think "why not save money by building it off an existing (or soon to exist) stealthy airframe?"
http://www.airforce-technology.com/feat ... s-5852434/
A stealth solution for the US Air Force's biggest birds

Pentagon chiefs are looking to Silicon Valley to present ideas for a ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ cloaking technology for the largest aircraft in the fleet – aerial refuelling tankers. According to top officials from the Air Mobility Command, there is no point cloaking fighter jets while all the enemy has to do is look for the refueller. So what options are out there? Claire Apthorp finds out.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Jul 2017, 00:13
by KamenRiderBlade
Maybe the USAF should join with the USN to buy Stingray Drones that can carry a high fuel factor and also act as a Sensor / Network node.

Is 80,000 lb of fuel for transfer a significant amount?

Or do they want to scale the bird up to B-2 size and carry a larger payload?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Jul 2017, 03:23
by neptune
KamenRiderBlade wrote:Maybe the USAF should join with the USN to buy Stingray Drones that can carry a high fuel factor and also act as a Sensor / Network node.

Is 80,000 lb of fuel for transfer a significant amount?

Or do they want to scale the bird up to B-2 size and carry a larger payload?


KC-10 365,000 lbs. or 54,477 gals. JP-8; empty weight 241-027 lbs.
KC-135 200,000 lbs. or 29,850 gals. JP-8; empty weight 98,466 lbs.
KC-130J 57,000 lbs. or 8,507 gals. JP-8; empty weight 75,562 lbs.
MV-22B 12,000 lbs. or 1,791 gals. JP-8; empty weight 33,140 lbs.

I have proposed a 100,000 lbs. (40,000 lbs. fuel or 5,970 gals. JP-8 and 60,000 lbs. a/c (E-2D)) for a MQ-25 with an 80- 90ft. wingspan.

:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Jul 2017, 07:46
by KamenRiderBlade
neptune wrote:
KamenRiderBlade wrote:Maybe the USAF should join with the USN to buy Stingray Drones that can carry a high fuel factor and also act as a Sensor / Network node.

Is 80,000 lb of fuel for transfer a significant amount?

Or do they want to scale the bird up to B-2 size and carry a larger payload?


KC-10 365,000 lbs. or 54,477 gals. JP-8; empty weight 241-027 lbs.
KC-135 200,000 lbs. or 29,850 gals. JP-8; empty weight 98,466 lbs.
KC-130J 57,000 lbs. or 8,507 gals. JP-8; empty weight 75,562 lbs.
MV-22B 12,000 lbs. or 1,791 gals. JP-8; empty weight 33,140 lbs.

I have proposed a 100,000 lbs. (40,000 lbs. fuel or 5,970 gals. JP-8 and 60,000 lbs. a/c (E-2D)) for a MQ-25 with an 80- 90ft. wingspan.

:)
My proposal for the same MQ-25 came out with a Max Weight of 100,000 lbs.

20,000 lbs alotted for the Air Frame, 80,000 lbs for fuel.
Obviously some of the fuel will be for the UAS itself, but a significant portion should be reserved for giving away to the other aircraft.

The Air Frame would be incredibly SIMPLE and FOCUSED.

It's a Flying Gas Truck + Sensor Node
No Weapons, just Flares / Chaff
UAS / Tanker AIO

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Jul 2017, 09:52
by linkomart
KamenRiderBlade wrote:
My proposal for the same MQ-25 came out with a Max Weight of 100,000 lbs.

20,000 lbs alotted for the Air Frame, 80,000 lbs for fuel.
Obviously some of the fuel will be for the UAS itself, but a significant portion should be reserved for giving away to the other aircraft.

The Air Frame would be incredibly SIMPLE and FOCUSED.

It's a Flying Gas Truck + Sensor Node
No Weapons, just Flares / Chaff
UAS / Tanker AIO


Hooa, wait a minute.... that is a fuel fraction of 80%.... That is more that the Rutan Voyager that flew around the World without refueling, and that thing needed 4000m runway and would break up instantly if catapulted from a carrier....
And if it is a sensor node you need a lot of (Heavy) sensors and power and cooling and....
The use case might be a good Idea, the navy will decide, but I think you are overly optimistic about what can be achieved and at what weights... but that's maybe just me.

Without any proper analysis, just using a paper napkin I would guess you can make a functional carrier aircraft with fuel fraction of 0.5 (conservative) to 0.65 (optimistic)

johnwill might be able to give you better numbers, he is bettter suited than me to tell.

my 5 cent.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Jul 2017, 09:56
by linkomart
Should clarify, I realise the B-21 is not to be catapulted, but the talk is about joining B-21 with stingray (as I read it, migh missunderstand) In that case you need to catapult it off a carrier.

regards

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 06 Jul 2017, 14:38
by mixelflick
"A stealth solution for the US Air Force's biggest birds

Pentagon chiefs are looking to Silicon Valley to present ideas for a ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ cloaking technology for the largest aircraft in the fleet – aerial refuelling tankers. According to top officials from the Air Mobility Command, there is no point cloaking fighter jets while all the enemy has to do is look for the refueller. So what options are out there? Claire Apthorp finds out..."

The Russians are WAY ahead of us in this area. They've had "plasma stealth" for years... :)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Jul 2017, 03:20
by Dragon029
Consider this just a rumour for now but I just heard from an anonymous & 2nd hand source (but which seemed reasonably legit) that the B-21 will feature a largely composite structural design; ie using composite (rather than aluminium) spars, stringers, etc akin to the Dreamliner (or using monocoque structures). According to this source, Lockheed / Boeing (ironically enough) were looking to build it more conventionally and supposedly Northrop's composite design was cheaper and lighter, giving them the win.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Jul 2017, 17:09
by madrat
It sounds absurd to put a fortune into an airframe that is essentially meant for mule workloads. Keep it simple and affordable. Logistics is where a vast chunk of change has been spent amortized over long periods of time. However, it spends much more time in operations compared to some gee whiz stealth fighter. You cannot afford exotic solutions in any role save for small niches. And even at that, it better be irreplaceable in that niche role. If budget wasn't a concern we'd have been converting C-5A's into KC-5's to speed up retirement of KC-10. Or we would have gone for a 747-based tanker for those oversea ferry flights rather than have ever chosen KC-10 to begin with. At the time the affordability and simplicity of KC-10 trumped anything bigger.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Jul 2017, 21:08
by arian
madrat wrote:It sounds absurd to put a fortune into an airframe that is essentially meant for mule workloads. Keep it simple and affordable.


Composite structure is affordable and lasts longer, reducing maintenance costs. In 2017 it's not an unproven technology. If Boeing is putting it in civilian airliners, it's probably a well proven technology.

Upfront investment in machinery may be higher, but Northrop may already have done that for other smaller projects, or probably will outsource at least some of the work to Boeing.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Jul 2017, 01:51
by popcorn
Fingers crossed they go with CNRP.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Jul 2017, 02:41
by XanderCrews
arian wrote:
madrat wrote:It sounds absurd to put a fortune into an airframe that is essentially meant for mule workloads. Keep it simple and affordable.


Composite structure is affordable and lasts longer, reducing maintenance costs. In 2017 it's not an unproven technology. If Boeing is putting it in civilian airliners, it's probably a well proven technology.

Upfront investment in machinery may be higher, but Northrop may already have done that for other smaller projects, or probably will outsource at least some of the work to Boeing.



They've been having problems with the 787 composites since they were introduced, before that they were having problems with composites on other aircraft.


I'm sure this will be the program where they get it right with composites

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Jul 2017, 03:13
by arian
XanderCrews wrote:They've been having problems with the 787 composites since they were introduced, before that they were having problems with composites on other aircraft.


That was a long time ago, however. The bugs have been worked out for years. They've delivered over 570 787s by now. The early ones didn't have composite structure inside (ie the stringers and the...whatever you call the round things holding the stringers), but by now they are being made with composite structures too. That was probably more of a issue with finessing the manufacturing process rather than a materials issue. The materials issues have been worked out even longer than that.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Jul 2017, 04:19
by durahawk
arian wrote:
madrat wrote:It sounds absurd to put a fortune into an airframe that is essentially meant for mule workloads. Keep it simple and affordable.


Composite structure is affordable and lasts longer, reducing maintenance costs. In 2017 it's not an unproven technology. If Boeing is putting it in civilian airliners, it's probably a well proven technology.

Upfront investment in machinery may be higher, but Northrop may already have done that for other smaller projects, or probably will outsource at least some of the work to Boeing.


I am sure improvements have been made in automation, but the majority of the 787 structures I saw being built in Asia were hand lay-ups. I can't imagine all that manual labor being particularly "affordable" when compared to conventional aluminum alloys.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Jul 2017, 04:51
by arian
durahawk wrote:I am sure improvements have been made in automation, but the majority of the 787 structures I saw being built in Asia were hand lay-ups. I can't imagine all that manual labor being particularly "affordable" when compared to conventional aluminum alloys.


What you saw may have been prototype stage. They are building ~12 a month now, and you can't build that many unless you're doing it in conventional and efficient "lines". That's more than the 777 line is producing. Boeing's never build any civilian airliner at that high level (other than 737 of course, but that's a smaller plane).

What do you mean by "hand lay-ups" BTW? Mostly everything is build "by hand", in the sense that it is assembled by hand even in conventional aluminum planes. Or are you talking about the composite material construction?

Then again, maybe what you saw was certain structures that were too complex to be layered automatically. But almost certainly it isn't the stringers and spars and external skin etc that's build that way.

This is one of Spirit's jigs for the front 787 fuselage. I think the spars are baked in integral to the skin (maybe?). The weight savings are really high, which is what you'd want for a bomber: strong, light structure to carry lots of weight and fuel for long distances.
Image

Image

So yeah, probably not Being. Spirit would probably produce much of the structure for Northrop, if that's the way they go. They've got this down by now quite well, mass producing composite structures for both Boeing and Airbus.

A350 composite skin panel construction by Spirit
Image

Spirit's already made the big fixed investments in manufacturing large volumes of composite structures. Sounds like a great idea to me.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Jul 2017, 20:54
by sferrin
durahawk wrote:
arian wrote:
madrat wrote:It sounds absurd to put a fortune into an airframe that is essentially meant for mule workloads. Keep it simple and affordable.


Composite structure is affordable and lasts longer, reducing maintenance costs. In 2017 it's not an unproven technology. If Boeing is putting it in civilian airliners, it's probably a well proven technology.

Upfront investment in machinery may be higher, but Northrop may already have done that for other smaller projects, or probably will outsource at least some of the work to Boeing.


I am sure improvements have been made in automation, but the majority of the 787 structures I saw being built in Asia were hand lay-ups. I can't imagine all that manual labor being particularly "affordable" when compared to conventional aluminum alloys.



These days it's a combination of fiber placement and hand layup, depending on the complexity of the part.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Jul 2017, 22:18
by count_to_10

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 31 Jul 2017, 04:00
by XanderCrews
arian wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:They've been having problems with the 787 composites since they were introduced, before that they were having problems with composites on other aircraft.


That was a long time ago, however. The bugs have been worked out for years. They've delivered over 570 787s by now. The early ones didn't have composite structure inside (ie the stringers and the...whatever you call the round things holding the stringers), but by now they are being made with composite structures too. That was probably more of a issue with finessing the manufacturing process rather than a materials issue. The materials issues have been worked out even longer than that.



My concern is we won't be getting 570 to perfect the techniques. It seems like every composite aircraft throws a new curve. They will get it to work. But it's going to take longer now, and probably cost more,

the first dozen might be life limited or hanger queens. But that's true with all aircraft. The procurement of strategic bombers the last 50 years is not good

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 31 Jul 2017, 04:19
by neptune
arian wrote:
durahawk wrote:I am sure improvements have been made in automation, but......Spirit's already made the big fixed investments in manufacturing large volumes of composite structures. Sounds like a great idea to me.


......nice photos, any of the wings/ jigs??

.....anticipating NG will build on the B-2 experience and the advances in CNRP materials and manufacturing for commercial and military applications, the B-21 should be a "souped-up" little brother.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 31 Jul 2017, 05:05
by arian
XanderCrews wrote:My concern is we won't be getting 570 to perfect the techniques. It seems like every composite aircraft throws a new curve. They will get it to work. But it's going to take longer now, and probably cost more,


That depends on what the design entails. No way of knowing. But composite structures are now cheap and efficient to manufacture in large quantities. So many manufacturers out there. I would think it would be a mistake not to go with this for a plane that will likely serve for another 100 years.

Not only 2 major airliners already in mass production, but even older designs being converted to composite construction (737,777, 747).

I mean, I get what you're saying. But I think we've moved past those initial problems now.

neptune wrote:......nice photos, any of the wings/ jigs??


A350 wings
Image

787 wings
Image

Image

composite spars for A350
Image

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 31 Jul 2017, 06:51
by linkomart
Dragon029 wrote:Consider this just a rumour for now but I just heard from an anonymous & 2nd hand source (but which seemed reasonably legit) that the B-21 will feature a largely composite structural design; ie using composite (rather than aluminium) spars, stringers, etc akin to the Dreamliner (or using monocoque structures). According to this source, Lockheed / Boeing (ironically enough) were looking to build it more conventionally and supposedly Northrop's composite design was cheaper and lighter, giving them the win.


I can see why you (Boeing) choose a metal structure over a composite (when I say composite a really mean CFRP) in a military aircraft. There are good reasons to do so, even though composite design and manufacturing technologies have matured over the last decade. (but so has metal structure design also)

In my book (these are rules of thumb, not rules of nature) composite design are better when there are:
a) high fatiuge on medium loaded structure
b) long slender wings
c) no point loads
d) relaxed requirements for non destructive testing (quality controll)
e) simple geometry and good load introduction
f) single load direction

Anyway, IF NG won because they made the plane lighter and cheaper it can be because of composite design, but there are a lot of other factors that might be relevant...

my 5 cent

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 31 Jul 2017, 06:56
by linkomart
XanderCrews wrote:

They've been having problems with the 787 composites since they were introduced, before that they were having problems with composites on other aircraft.


I'm sure this will be the program where they get it right with composites


I worked on the 787 (first it was 7E7) back in 2004-2005, and sure there were trouble and problems, but the problems were suprisingly few from the composite design, the management problems on the other hand....
At least from what I could see.
What problems about the composite on 787 are you thinking about?

regards

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2017, 01:44
by neptune
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ps-441247/

USAF keeps B-21 costs in check as development ramps up

18 September, 2017
BY: Stephen Trimble

A secretive new stealth bomber in development by Northrop Grumman could fall in price if long-term trends hold, says the head of the US Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) on 18 September. The USAF still refuses to reveal the value of the contract awarded to Northrop in February 2016 to develop the B-21 Raider, but committed to produce at least 100 bombers for $550 million each at 2010 currency values. “I think we can achieve less than that based on what we’re executing today,” says Randall Walden, director and program executive for the RCO, a small acquisition cell charged with managing the B-21 development program.

Then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates controversially removed the B-21 program from the normal air force acquisition pipeline and put it in the hands of Walden’s organization, which traditionally managed much smaller efforts, such as the development and fielding of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 stealth reconnaissance mode. So far, the move to bypass the normal acquisition system appears to be paying off. In an appearance on an “affordability” panel at the Air Force Association’s annual convention, Walden explained several reasons why he thinks the B-21 has avoided the cycle of cost increases and production cutbacks that devastated previous programs, such as the Northrop B-2 and Lockheed F-22. “The magic is the culture. It’s all about the mindset. Not only in the program office but at the senior leadership level,” Walden says.

The RCO resides outside the USAF’s normal acquisition organization, but still complies with the same “5000-series” regulations that other programs follow, Walden says. The difference is a cultural mindset that incentivizes quick decision-making and discourages cumbersome bureaucratic processes. For models, the RCO used the 14 Rules developed by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, who founded the Lockheed Skunk Works in 1943, which created a cell of engineers and machinists that worked closely together usually in secret to develop advanced new technologies, including the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes. The small group of USAF officers that founded the National Reconnaissance Office to develop a series of successful spy satellites also served as a model, Walden says.

The B-21 still has a long development process ahead. The program recently completed a preliminary design review, and now the emphasis is on completing engineering drawings and building the first parts, Walden says. Between now and a scheduled entry into service in the mid-2020s, the B-21 faces several development challenges, Walden says. “Like anything, integration of mature technologies on a stealth platform could have some risk. And that’s where I think we’re going to see most of the risk associated with that program. So we’re watching that closely,” Walden says.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2017, 03:06
by popcorn
This from the Spaz thread on Engines of Innovation. Pratt & Whitney will provide the engine for the Raider and AETP targets production of 6Gen engines being produced by the early 2020s. This would fit quite nicely with the B-21 timeline. Jus speculating but possibly P&W proposed a known product (eg. F135) for the new bomber's SDD and early production blocks with the intent of swapping in the new engine once it is deemed feasible. Congress had mandated for AETD that the new engine share the F135 footprint for future use in the F-35.


http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArch ... ation.aspx

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2017, 03:11
by citanon
Engineering drawings now but service entry in mid 2020s? That means the technology demonstrator already flew, and those drawings are for straight up low rate production prototypes. :o

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2017, 15:59
by southernphantom
citanon wrote:Engineering drawings now but service entry in mid 2020s? That means the technology demonstrator already flew, and those drawings are for straight up low rate production prototypes. :o


I've been speculating that the crash in Nevada had something to do with the LRS-B program.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2017, 00:04
by count_to_10
So, something in he JSTARS thread caught my eye
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=53313
There is talk of putting off the JSTARS replacement in order to use a more survivable platform. Possible B-21 variant?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2017, 03:51
by popcorn
citanon wrote:Engineering drawings now but service entry in mid 2020s? That means the technology demonstrator already flew, and those drawings are for straight up low rate production prototypes. :o

Seems to be the case. I think a lot of risk will be mitigated by avoiding the bleeding edge. NG, BAE and Rockwell Collins have proven systems that can be updated where feasible but they may not have to break new ground. GKN Aerospace, Janicki Industries, Orbital ATK and Spirit Systems can similarly leverage their work in composites, aerostructures, etc. along with P&W 5gen engine tech gives the AF the confidence in an aggressive delivery date. A key step early on was in avoiding mission creep. The former CSAF mandated he personally sign off on any change to the bomber specs.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2017, 05:24
by neptune
count_to_10 wrote:So, something in he JSTARS thread caught my eye
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=53313
There is talk of putting off the JSTARS replacement in order to use a more survivable platform. Possible B-21 variant?


B-21 or a P-8A with wing stations and weapons bay? Littorals surveillance radar, operator stations, extended loiter time, a-a refueling, etc.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2017, 23:03
by count_to_10
neptune wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:So, something in he JSTARS thread caught my eye
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=53313
There is talk of putting off the JSTARS replacement in order to use a more survivable platform. Possible B-21 variant?


B-21 or a P-8A with wing stations and weapons bay? Littorals surveillance radar, operator stations, extended loiter time, a-a refueling, etc.
:)

Wing stations? We are talking a survivable radar surveillance aircraft, not a combatant. Think large AESA panels embedded in the leading edge of the wing-body.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 23 Sep 2017, 23:27
by white_lightning35
https://www.geekwire.com/2017/northrop- ... olidation/

I apologize in advance if this is an improper addition to this thread. I have read previous posts here in these comments talking about supplier consolidation and was wondering what other members thought of this development. I put it here because both companies are heavily involved in the making of the b-21.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 23 Sep 2017, 23:57
by neptune
count_to_10 wrote:
neptune wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:So, something in he JSTARS thread caught my eye
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=53313
There is talk of putting off the JSTARS replacement in order to use a more survivable platform. Possible B-21 variant?


B-21 or a P-8A with wing stations and weapons bay? Littorals surveillance radar, operator stations, extended loiter time, a-a refueling, etc.
:)

Wing stations? We are talking a survivable radar surveillance aircraft, not a combatant. Think large AESA panels embedded in the leading edge of the wing-body.


...the P-8A will be adding the AESA radar canoe under the forward fuselage (rather large) with the analysis stations on-board. A souped-up JSTARS!
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 16:12
by neptune
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2017/10 ... eadership/

B-21 cost info to stay secret despite new Air Force leadership

By: Valerie Insinna  

WASHINGTON —

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the contract value of the B-21 Raider to be revealed. While the U.S. Air Force’s top general reviews the bomber program every few months to see whether new details can be released, it will be “some time” before the service divulges more cost information, the Air Force undersecretary said Oct. 12. Out of the Air Force’s top three acquisition priorities, the B-21 Raider is its most secretive, with only a few details disclosed to the public, such as the estimated price per aircraft and a list of the major contractors. The service has taken a hard line against releasing the value of the development contract awarded to Northrop Grumman in 2015, with officials saying that doing so would give adversaries information that would allow them to extrapolate on the bomber’s design. But as the service’s No. 2 civilian, Air Force Under Secretary Matt Donovan finds himself in an interesting predicament. Just months ago, as the majority policy director for the Senate Armed Services Committee, he helped helm committee Chairman John McCain’s arguments in favor of releasing more information on the B-21 Raider, including the contract value. Now that Donovan is working for the Air Force, part of his job is to support and implement the decisions of Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Secretary Heather Wilson. The irony isn’t lost on Donovan. “It’s funny because they knew I was the guy that was always pushing on that from the Senate side [to release the B-21 contract information],” he told Defense News in his first-ever interview. “One of the things that I’ve been able to do is come over here and say: ‘We need to release things as sure as we know that we can.’ And I know that Gen. Goldfein still does a review every couple of months, and the B-21 folks come talk to him and give him an update because he is very responsive to Sen. McCain’s desires to make sure the American people know.” Even so, Donovan added that ”it will be some time” before Goldfein and Wilson feel comfortable disclosing the contract value, but “if conditions change as we get farther along in the program, I think the chief and the secretary will certainly consider that and release as much as they can.”

Air Force leaders claim that the B-21 program is going swimmingly and has remained on budget and on schedule. Earlier this year, Gen. Stephen Wilson, the Air Force’s vice chief of staff, told lawmakers it had recently completed its preliminary design review. The service plans to buy at least 100 Raiders — although that number could change as a result of the Trump administration’s defense strategy review and the Air Force’s bomber road map — at a price of about $550 million (in 2010 dollars) per copy. The engineering and manufacturing development phase is being carried out under a separate, cost-plus contract that is estimated to amount to about $21.4 billion. “The program is on track,” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the service’s top uniformed acquisition official, said Tuesday. “What I will say is that we are marching to the acquisition program baseline timelines that we’ve established, and we don’t have anything … that has risen to a red flag.” Even though it will be up to Goldfein and Wilson to make the final call on what B-21 information to release and when, Donovan said he will continue to turn a critical eye on the program. In the past two months since he was sworn in as undersecretary, he visited Northrop Grumman facilities to get an update on the Raider’s progress. And although his main priority is to support Wilson and Goldfein during the budget development process, Donovan also wants to help broker a better relationship between the Air Force and Congress. The service and McCain, R-Ariz., have had a famously contentious relationship over a number of programs such as the B-21 and F-35 — an assessment Donovan said he couldn’t dispute. But it has improved since Goldfein took the chief of staff position. “The Air Force used to submit their budget and then go tell the Congress what they were going to do. In other words, a fait accompli,” though Goldfein would talk to Senate Armed Services Committee staffers like Donovan about emerging changes to force structure and weapons programs, he said. “Then I would bring him in to see Sen. McCain, and he would have a good discussion with Sen. McCain and get his advice.” That process is how the Air Force and the committee eventually worked through disagreements about the A-10 Warthog, he said.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 16:48
by mixelflick
OK so we're looking at...

A smaller (than the B-2), subsonic ISR/strike platform. Got it. Dumb question though...

Wouldn't it be less expensive to design a LO (vs VLO) aircraft equipped with stealthy, long range cruise missiles? This seems to be the approach Russia is taking with their new build TU-160's. Personally, I think it makes a lot of sense. It could also be that the Russians lack the ability to mass produce a VLO airframe?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 17:27
by sprstdlyscottsmn
mixelflick wrote:OK so we're looking at...

A smaller (than the B-2), subsonic ISR/strike platform. Got it. Dumb question though...

Wouldn't it be less expensive to design a LO (vs VLO) aircraft equipped with stealthy, long range cruise missiles? This seems to be the approach Russia is taking with their new build TU-160's. Personally, I think it makes a lot of sense. It could also be that the Russians lack the ability to mass produce a VLO airframe?

There was a study done on the cost of standoff munitions vs direct attack munitions. To destroy a target direct attack costs roughly an order of magnitude less. When a conflict requires hundreds of such strikes it adds up. The same argument for precision weapons. A JDAM costs tens of thousands more than the Mk it was based on but you only need one to do the job of 6 before due to placement. I think in the long run VLO aircraft dropping precision direct attack munitions may be the least expensive option. I could be wrong, but right now that's what I think.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 18:20
by geforcerfx
A big benefit to VLO is it can still use standoff munitions or direct attack munitions in a highly contest environment. Non VLO is restricted to standoff until a lot of stuff is taken out.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 19:05
by neptune
mixelflick wrote:OK so we're looking at...

A smaller (than the B-2), subsonic ISR/strike platform. Got it. Dumb question though...

Wouldn't it be less expensive to design a LO (vs VLO) aircraft equipped with stealthy, long range cruise missiles? This seems to be the approach Russia is taking with their new build TU-160's. Personally, I think it makes a lot of sense. It could also be that the Russians lack the ability to mass produce a VLO airframe?


....two or three advanced F-135 and F-35+ avionics with the weapons bay of the B-1, would that address the stealth missile capacity?
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 23:40
by citanon
The key is that the AF wants real time ISR tightly coupled with an extremely short kill chain.

Thus, the goal of the B21 isn't simply to hold high valued fixed targets at risk, it's to hold high valued mobile targets at risk as well....On a massive scale.

You cannot do that with non hypersonic standoff weapons of any type. You need a persistent, penetrating, loitering platform (or a system of such platforms) to gather and distribute the Intel, then immediately process the kill chain in situ.

The ultimate goal of the B21 is not just to degrade and defeat A2AD adversaries, but to collapse them.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 23:57
by count_to_10
neptune wrote:
mixelflick wrote:OK so we're looking at...

A smaller (than the B-2), subsonic ISR/strike platform. Got it. Dumb question though...

Wouldn't it be less expensive to design a LO (vs VLO) aircraft equipped with stealthy, long range cruise missiles? This seems to be the approach Russia is taking with their new build TU-160's. Personally, I think it makes a lot of sense. It could also be that the Russians lack the ability to mass produce a VLO airframe?


....two or three advanced F-135 and F-35+ avionics with the weapons bay of the B-1, would that address the stealth missile capacity?
:)

Three engines would not play nice with one central bomb bay. But, yes, get the air frame down solid, fill it with as much OTS stuff as you can manage, and save anything more advanced for later upgrades when you have enough of them.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 04:36
by SpudmanWP
OTS as in
    CNI from F-35
    Engines from F-35
    Avionics from F-35
    Sensors from F-35
    ESM from F-35
    Ejector seat from F-35.. ok, that might be optional ;)

I'm sensing a pattern :roll:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 06:06
by tincansailor
It seems clear, at least to me. that the USAF sees heavy bombers falling into two categories. Standoff, and penetrators. Clearly the B-21 is the latter. At one point B-52s were trained to penetrate the Soviet Union at treetop level. They had short range tactical nuclear missiles to take out IADS, to clear a path to their targets, and ECM systems to jam like an SOB. Today I don't think anyone wants to use B-52s like Major Khan did in 'Doctor Strangelove. In 10 years we'll want to fly B-21s like Major Khan did in "Doctor Strangelove.

It's a hell of a lot cheaper, and safer to build big cruise missile carriers, then to build a manned penetrator. If you want to build a penetrator to hit the toughest targets they might have to go in hard, and get out hard. The B-21 should reintroduce defensive weapons into the mix. It should be equipped with HARMs, and AMRAAMs, along with MALD, and MALD-J, so if detected it can defend it's self, and punch a hole in the IADS. The risk of relying completely on stealth against the toughest defenses is too high.

The advantage of a heavy bomber is it's large enough to carry the support services that fighters usually provide. If because of range you can't have fighter escorts, the bombers will have to make up the deficit themselves. If you want bombers to do this kind of intense mission, without the tactical aid of SEAD missions, and EW aircraft they have to do it all themselves.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 10:41
by popcorn
SpudmanWP wrote:OTS as in
    CNI from F-35
    Engines from F-35
    Avionics from F-35
    Sensors from F-35
    ESM from F-35
    Ejector seat from F-35.. ok, that might be optional ;)

I'm sensing a pattern :roll:


F-35 detractors will have a new punching bag... :roll:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 11:02
by mixelflick
tincansailor wrote:It seems clear, at least to me. that the USAF sees heavy bombers falling into two categories. Standoff, and penetrators. Clearly the B-21 is the latter. At one point B-52s were trained to penetrate the Soviet Union at treetop level. They had short range tactical nuclear missiles to take out IADS, to clear a path to their targets, and ECM systems to jam like an SOB. Today I don't think anyone wants to use B-52s like Major Khan did in 'Doctor Strangelove. In 10 years we'll want to fly B-21s like Major Khan did in "Doctor Strangelove.

It's a hell of a lot cheaper, and safer to build big cruise missile carriers, then to build a manned penetrator. If you want to build a penetrator to hit the toughest targets they might have to go in hard, and get out hard. The B-21 should reintroduce defensive weapons into the mix. It should be equipped with HARMs, and AMRAAMs, along with MALD, and MALD-J, so if detected it can defend it's self, and punch a hole in the IADS. The risk of relying completely on stealth against the toughest defenses is too high.

The advantage of a heavy bomber is it's large enough to carry the support services that fighters usually provide. If because of range you can't have fighter escorts, the bombers will have to make up the deficit themselves. If you want bombers to do this kind of intense mission, without the tactical aid of SEAD missions, and EW aircraft they have to do it all themselves.


I agree 100% with this: Defensive weapons a la AMRAAM's need to be carried. Our longest range fighter for a long time is going to be the F-35 (think it has longer legs than the F-22?), but the B-21 will no doubt have much greater range. Only when PCA comes on line do I forsee a viable fighter escort.

And even then, their numbers will likely be sparse (PCA). They should all be used to establish air dominance/superiority, not B-21 escort. Especially if it doesn't matter where the AMRAAM's come from...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 17:29
by durahawk
SpudmanWP wrote:OTS as in
    CNI from F-35
    Engines from F-35
    Avionics from F-35
    Sensors from F-35
    ESM from F-35
    Ejector seat from F-35.. ok, that might be optional ;)

I'm sensing a pattern :roll:


I am all for leveraging the F-35 COTS products as much as possible to save money and align upgrade paths, with a few exceptions. The first would be radar. One would presume that the B-21 could house a larger and more powerful radar than the AN/APG-81. The limiting factor on this, of course, would be the restrictions of the flying wing airframe on aperture size and shape. Basing the new aperture on the AN/APG-81 (which Northrop Grumman makes), though, is logical and I think likely to be the case.

Next would be software. Obviously, flight controls will look radically different than the F-35, but recent lessons (see OA-X thread) have shown great utility in separating the flight control systems and mission systems into separate OFP builds to avoid time consuming airworthiness recertification's and to push updates to the warfighter much faster. I hope the Air Force integrates these lessons into B-21.

I agree AMRAAM capability on the B-21 would be outstanding, as they would be able to more or less escort themselves deep into enemy territory, where the 5th Gens don't have the gas to go. It would also help bridge a real capability gap until PCA comes online.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 17:41
by sprstdlyscottsmn
It's like a trend back to what the B-17 was supposed to be. Long range self escort. Granted having some AMRAAMs is a tad different than 11-13 M2s sticking out.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 18:44
by viper12
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:It's like a trend back to what the B-17 was supposed to be. Long range self escort. Granted having some AMRAAMs is a tad different than 11-13 M2s sticking out.


But I want Mel Blanc to produce training videos ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqoUdd9Ge4E

One thing I wonder is whether the B-21 is meant to penetrate alone deep inside the enemy territory, or if it would fly in say pairs and share data between each aircraft to have a better situational awareness.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 19:04
by rheonomic
durahawk wrote:Obviously, flight controls will look radically different than the F-35


Not necessarily. Sure, the effector suite will be different, but the actual control laws (modulo things like different flying qualities for fighter vs bomber) could be quite similar.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 22:35
by count_to_10
durahawk wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:OTS as in
    CNI from F-35
    Engines from F-35
    Avionics from F-35
    Sensors from F-35
    ESM from F-35
    Ejector seat from F-35.. ok, that might be optional ;)

I'm sensing a pattern :roll:


I am all for leveraging the F-35 COTS products as much as possible to save money and align upgrade paths, with a few exceptions. The first would be radar. One would presume that the B-21 could house a larger and more powerful radar than the AN/APG-81. The limiting factor on this, of course, would be the restrictions of the flying wing airframe on aperture size and shape. Basing the new aperture on the AN/APG-81 (which Northrop Grumman makes), though, is logical and I think likely to be the case.

Next would be software. Obviously, flight controls will look radically different than the F-35, but recent lessons (see OA-X thread) have shown great utility in separating the flight control systems and mission systems into separate OFP builds to avoid time consuming airworthiness recertification's and to push updates to the warfighter much faster. I hope the Air Force integrates these lessons into B-21.

I agree AMRAAM capability on the B-21 would be outstanding, as they would be able to more or less escort themselves deep into enemy territory, where the 5th Gens don't have the gas to go. It would also help bridge a real capability gap until PCA comes online.

As far as the radar goes, I think the B-2 has two, on angled in to the left and one to the right.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 23:21
by neptune
count_to_10 wrote:....Next would be software. Obviously, flight controls will look radically different than the F-35, ...As far as the radar goes, I think the B-2 has two, on angled in to the left and one to the right.


....the electro-hydraulic actuators (that I am familar with for many years) seem to have proven out on the F-35 and would think they would be the same improvement over the traditional central hydraulic systems from WW-II.
...The new NG radars should be a rather interesting system with the passive processing capabilities as to how many locations on the a/c the radar is focused; front, rear, sides, top, bottom????
...With the newer electrical power capabilities, we may even see the rudimentary lasers that all have dreamed of (ray-guns!!).

....some are speculating that both the B-1 and B-2 would be retired with the arrival of adequate B-21s too replace them in their special capacities.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 07:42
by popcorn
Northrop Grumman Has Patented A Kinetic Missile Defense System For Stealth Aircraft

Verrry interrrresting.... NG may have something up it's sleeve for the Raider.


http://amp.timeinc.net/thedrive/the-war ... source=dam

...Think of it as something akin to an airborne Trophy active defense system used on armored vehicles, and a SeaRAM close-in weapon system (CIWS) battery used on naval vessels. The patent (#9,671,200) for the concept, which we first learned of from our friend and Americas bureau chief of Flightglobal.com, Stephen Trimble, during a long back and forth about peculiar aircraft models photographed on a Northrop Grumman executive's desk, was granted in June of 2017. The patent generally describes the "mini missile defense system" as such:

"A missile defense system on an aircraft for destroying threats to the aircraft. The defense system includes at least on miniature guided missile mounted in a launch tube on the aircraft, where the guided missile includes a target acquisition and seeker system. The system also includes at least one sensor on the aircraft for acquiring a target threat, and a controller on the aircraft receiving signals from the at least one sensor. The controller generates a fire control solution that is provided to the at least one guided missile that directs the guide missile once if is fired from the launch tube towards the target threat, and the seeker system on the guided missile acquires the target once it is launched from the aircraft so as to destroy the target."

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 08:46
by neptune
popcorn wrote:Northrop Grumman Has Patented A Kinetic Missile Defense System For Stealth Aircraft

Verrry interrrresting.... NG may have something up it's sleeve for the Raider.


http://amp.timeinc.net/thedrive/the-war ... source=dam

...Think of it as something akin to an airborne Trophy active defense system used on armored vehicles, and a SeaRAM close-in weapon system (CIWS) battery used on naval vessels. The patent (#9,671,200) for the concept, which we first learned of from our friend and Americas bureau chief of Flightglobal.com, Stephen Trimble, during a long back and forth about peculiar aircraft models photographed on a Northrop Grumman executive's desk, was granted in June of 2017. The patent generally describes the "mini missile defense system" as such:

"A missile defense system on an aircraft for destroying threats to the aircraft. The defense system includes at least on miniature guided missile mounted in a launch tube on the aircraft, where the guided missile includes a target acquisition and seeker system. The system also includes at least one sensor on the aircraft for acquiring a target threat, and a controller on the aircraft receiving signals from the at least one sensor. The controller generates a fire control solution that is provided to the at least one guided missile that directs the guide missile once if is fired from the launch tube towards the target threat, and the seeker system on the guided missile acquires the target once it is launched from the aircraft so as to destroy the target."


....at least one sensor ala DAS and one missile or "air mines"???
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 09:24
by popcorn
I'd expect B-21 to have a sensor suite at least equal to the F-35's, likely better.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 11:29
by gtg947h
popcorn wrote:Northrop Grumman Has Patented A Kinetic Missile Defense System For Stealth Aircraft

Verrry interrrresting.... NG may have something up it's sleeve for the Raider.


Hmm... the return of Pye Wacket...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 12:36
by tincansailor
So we're back to the days of bombers with defensive gun turrets. In this case micro missile launchers. everything old is new again. It only makes sense, if you can defend a tank that way, you could protect an aircraft. The navy is working on mini anti-torpedo torpedoes. We all know about anti-missile missiles. What other old idea will be new again?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 12:54
by popcorn
It may take out an incoming AAM but that still leaves the matter of the enemy fighter that launched it closing in for a guns kill. Some AMRAAMs or Sidewinders would do nicely.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 18:12
by neptune
popcorn wrote:It may take out an incoming AAM but that still leaves the matter of the enemy fighter that launched it closing in for a guns kill. Some AMRAAMs or Sidewinders would do nicely.


"Some AMRAAMs or Sidewinders would do nicely"; really a must of offensive and defensive missiles (LR and SR, layered) along with the inevitable ray-gun (laser)
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 18:37
by Dragon029
I think if you have HTK interceptors with enough range to take out incoming missiles at safe distances, you already have a Sidewinder equivalent. It might not have a warhead or the same range, but I don't think that matters if it can intercept their SRAAMs and also slam into an opponent's cockpit before they get within guns range. Throw in SACM and you're pretty much covered for an ELO bomber.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 21:25
by count_to_10
This is starting to sound like a “sky cruiser” (barrowing the WWII “Land cruiser” naming). Or, maybe “air frigate”?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Oct 2017, 23:32
by neptune
count_to_10 wrote:This is starting to sound like a “sky cruiser” (barrowing the WWII “Land cruiser” naming). Or, maybe “air frigate”?


....not exactly a 21st century B-17 but an attack (Strike) a/c; for air-ground with missiles and bombs, for a-a with missiles; and yet enough defensive weapons to survive the attack and RTB for "Hot" load and re-attack.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 01:58
by sferrin
Well, with modern electronics the B-52 could have had a Phalanx on it's tail:

75105 B-52H 61-0036 left rear M61 Vulcan gatling gun l.jpg

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 19:05
by southernphantom
count_to_10 wrote:This is starting to sound like a “sky cruiser” (barrowing the WWII “Land cruiser” naming). Or, maybe “air frigate”?


Let's be honest with ourselves. It's a VLO Megafortress.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 20:49
by count_to_10
southernphantom wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:This is starting to sound like a “sky cruiser” (barrowing the WWII “Land cruiser” naming). Or, maybe “air frigate”?


Let's be honest with ourselves. It's a VLO Megafortress.

Dale Brown...you know, as a teen, I found his books entertaining, but now I find them kind of ridiculously unbelievable. If I remember correctly, there was one about a Russian supersonic heavy stealth bomber with anti-fighter weaponry.
Oh, here it is:
https://www.amazon.com/Night-Hawk-Dale- ... 0425136612

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 14:35
by neptune
https://breakingdefense.com/2017/10/boo ... nal-needs/

Boost The US Bomber Force: Dollars vs. Operational Needs

By Mark Gunzinger
on October 03, 2017

The United States Air Force should consider shifting its balance of its strike forces from fighters to long-range bombers.
At the end of the Cold War, the Air Force’s combat aircraft inventory included 411 bombers. Today, it has a total of 158 B-1, B-52, and B-2 bombers, of which only 96 are designated as Primary Mission Aircraft Inventory assigned to operational squadrons to support wartime missions. ...Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff David Goldfein warned last month that: “the Air Force as currently constituted is too small to do what the nation expects of it.” .. The Air Force’s “combat air force,” as it is called, now primarily consists of short-range aircraft and has a limited capability to penetrate advanced enemy defenses... Continuing to rely almost exclusively on fighters operating from airbases that can now be attacked by large salvos of missiles launched by China, Russia, Iran, and others could greatly reduce the capacity and tempo — and effectiveness — of future U.S. air campaigns. Although shifting to airbases located out of the range of most of an enemy’s missiles could lessen that threat, operating from more distant bases also would decrease the number of sorties that deployed air forces could launch per day. This suggests it would make sense to rely more on using bombers for the bulk of airstrikes in the future, rather than fighter aircraft that have about one-fifth the unrefueled range and one-tenth the payload of a typical bomber. Staging U.S. airstrikes from more distant areas could also decrease the density and increase the cost of an enemy’s airbase attacks, since it would force him to resort to using larger and more expensive long-range weapons to reach U.S. forces. Changing how U.S. air forces operate to offset enemy salvos and other A2/AD threats would also result in changes to the number and mix of combat aircraft needed for strike operations.

This might be one reason why the Air Force believes that its current bomber force is now “insufficient to meet [DoD’s] Defense Planning Guidance and nuclear guidance while sustaining current operational demand.” Procuring at least 100 new B-21 stealth bombers as currently planned will increase DoD’s capacity for long-range strikes into contested areas... Furthermore, it is likely the requirement for B-21 bombers may be much higher than 100 aircraft. This is worth further study, considering that the analyses that led to this acquisition objective would have occurred six or seven years ago and may have been based on conflict scenarios that did not consider a resurging Russia, maturing A2/AD threats, and the proliferation of guided weapons that threaten U.S. airbases.

In summary, it is highly likely that a decision to retire B-1s and B-2s — if it comes to pass — would occur simply because the Air Force doesn’t have enough money to meet its modernization needs. That would be further evidence that dollars, not the National Defense Strategy and capabilities needed to operate in the more dangerous environs of the 21st century, continue to drive the Pentagon’s investment decisions. It should be the other way around.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2017, 04:20
by neptune
....with the recent announcements of the proposed advances in LREW???, the addition of this system to the B-21 would seem intuitive.

....at what range in 100's of miles do you reduce your dependence on B-21 stealth and begin to consider some alternative defenses that have IR? trails??

....at what range would a LREW from a B-21 become IR trackable?

:shock:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2017, 05:15
by popcorn
Another role for the Raider --- a LO BACN platform.


http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/15 ... ar-capable

"It also means the B-21 will be able to loiter above the tactical aircraft air combat environment below. As such it could act as a communications and data link connectivity node, sucking up information from the F-35's, F-22's, and one unmanned combat air vehicle's proprietary and stealthy data links. It can then connect these aircraft below by rebroadcasting updates of a "fused" common battlefield picture on each of their individual waveforms.

They could also convey the battlefield information from stealthy assets below up to satellites above where it can be pushed around the theater and beyond for real time exploitation. In essence, this will allow the B-21 to act in a similar role as a Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) for stealthy assets whose sensor information will be among the most critical as these assets will be deployed the farthest forward over the battlefield.

This concept, which has been cryptically touted in multiple organizational concept charts in recent years, solves a number of problems and fits in with two high priority USAF initiatives. Those include focusing on networks and information sharing, as well as morphing from a platform-centric fires and intelligence gathering strategy to a "distributed" one."

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2017, 16:03
by mixelflick
It is looking more and more like the "arsenal" plane we've all come to know and discuss.

Long range strike with secondary air to air capability. By the time all's said and done, I wouldn't be surprised if the Air Force specifies it be 50/50...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2017, 17:58
by neptune
"Arsenal plane" and "extended presence" (orbiting?) are common attributes "we" keep attaching to the B-21. If that is the case, and it is flying with a 4-flight of F-35s then what is imagined as the AO for this arrangement, several hundred air miles? The F-22/35 have limited magazines of 4-6 -120 missiles each plus the a/c provides a "push" of Mach 1+? to launch the AIM-s. If the B-21 is to augment these associates and is a couple of hundred miles distant, might one consider adding a "little helper" as a disposable flying magazine of 4-10 of -120 missiles arriving in the required area at Mach 2.0? That "arsenal plane" moniker keeps pushing up an opportunity to add something new to the fight, like the "magazine, Mach 2.0". Given that the missiles are linked bi-directional and the magazine would be under flight control from the F-22/35 these "slave wingmen" could add an additional punch from the limited fighter capacities. Aside from the Aim-120, those flying magazines could carry/ launch HARMs, Standoffs, SDBs, etc.; thus mitigating the external loading of the stealth a/c. The autonomous magazine could delay after launch from weapons bay, the engine ignition and allow the B-21 to move away from the IR signature of the magazine that may not need the stealthiness of the bomber; thereby mitigating IR detection.
...just a thought.
:wink:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2017, 18:02
by neptune
neptune wrote:....with the recent announcements of the proposed advances in LREW???, the addition of this system to the B-21 would seem intuitive.

....at what range in 100's of miles do you reduce your dependence on B-21 stealth and begin to consider some alternative defenses that have IR? trails??

....at what range would a LREW from a B-21 become IR trackable?

:shock:


....sorry!, I forgot to add the applicable link, as follows;
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/15 ... ir-missile
:oops:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Nov 2017, 02:37
by madrat
Sounds like you re-iterated the mule concept. A stealthy aerial tanker could escort in a package of unmanned strikers, and with some creativity you could include a disposable mule to tank the last leg. Maybe that same tanker make multiple rendezvous points with multiple packages striking completely dispersed targets for maximum effect. Maybe you even have redundant tanking where the packages egress at multiple opportunity points, with an option to evade interception by tanking at alternatives away from enemy responding units. Stealth allows you to operate in tight to the enemy yet avoid interception.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 16 Nov 2017, 03:11
by popcorn

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2017, 17:16
by neptune
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... rd%20Brief


Pentagon’s Inspector General Praises Secret $97 Billion Bomber

By Anthony Capaccio
‎November‎ ‎20‎, ‎2017‎ ‎3‎:‎57‎ ‎PM‎ ‎CST

The Air Force’s classified next-generation bomber program began with a solid plan for meeting cost goals and warfighting requirements, which include an option to fly unmanned missions, according to a newly declassified audit from the Pentagon’s inspector general. The challenge will be sticking to that plan. The early praise for what the Congressional Budget Office in a new estimate says is a $97 billion B-21 program came about a month before the Air Force selected Northrop Grumman Corp. over a rival team consisting of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. for the bomber contract in late 2015. While big-ticket weapons systems like the B-21 frequently end up with significant cost increases and production delays, in the initial stages the Air Force was cited for its “comprehensive acquisition strategy and risk-management process to support a cost-effective program,” according to the audit. The program had “clearly defined requirements to ensure” warfighter “needs are being met,” it added. That initial assessment is no guarantee the B-21 won’t encounter serious cost, schedule and performance problems as system development continues, with the service seeking to declare an initial operating capability by the “mid to late 2020s,” Global Strike Command spokesman Joe Thomas said in an email. The aircraft’s first flight “along with specific details of the technical capability of this platform, is protected by enhanced security measures,” he added. The CBO’s $97 billion estimate includes $69 billion in production costs, though the office says the program’s secrecy made it difficult “to generate an independent estimate of its costs.” The previously classified audit by the inspector general was released this month under a Freedom of Information Act request after the service made major redactions, adding additional secrecy to a program critics such as Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, have complained was already excessively classified.

The inspector general’s report also disclosed details about the B-21’s expected capabilities.

- In addition to being able to carry and deliver a modified B-61 nuclear bomb two years after reaching its initial operating capability stage,
- the bomber will also be capable of unmanned operations.

Because the audit is redacted, it could not be determined whether the service allowed only favorable conclusions to be released while keeping any criticism cloaked in secrecy. The Air Force, for example, released the conclusion that the service had a detailed contracting strategy but blacked out a paragraph that preceded the sentence “under this approach the Federal Government assumes some of the research and development risk.” The praise also means the inspector general’s assessment will come under scrutiny if the program veers off track, in costs or performance, as it proceeds. Still, the conclusions released mark the second time an outside group has praised the service’s acquisition approach. The U.S. Government Accountability Office, in a February 2016 decision that rejected a protest filed by Boeing-Lockheed Martin against the Northrop award, praised the selection process. Northrop Grumman’s “significantly lower proposed prices” for initial production “created a near-insurmountable obstacle” to Boeing “achieving best-value” or to “demonstrating prejudice” in the Air Force’s calculation of realistic costs, the GAO said. The Pentagon’s inspector general also said the program office “incorporated adequate processes to develop accurate cost positions and funding requirements" and the review system set up with Pentagon cost analysts “ensures appropriate oversight, accurate development and effective approach for funds management,” said the audit. The service also developed a “detailed contracting strategy” and “adequately developed and incorporated a process to develop an accurate cost position and program schedule,” said the audit. Despite McCain’s criticism of excessive secrecy, Congress has supported the program, approving $2 billion in the fiscal 2018 policy bill the Air Force requested toward added staffing for Northrop Grumman, software development and producing detailed engineering drawings.
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2017, 17:37
by neptune
http://aviationweek.com/defense/b-21-ra ... w-rco-Home > Defense > B-21 Raider Headed Toward Critical Design Review, RCO Says

B-21 Raider Headed Toward Critical Design Review, RCO Says

Nov 28, 2017
James Drew

Since being stood up in April 2003, the U.S. Air Force’s shadowy Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) has expanded significantly, now overseeing 30 weapons programs valued at more than $30 billion over the next five years. The jewel in the organization’s crown, however, is the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider, which now accounts for “about half” of the RCO’s total workload. One of the Air Force’s top three acquisition programs, work on the nuclear-capable, optionally-piloted stealth bomber began in February 2016, and the program is now marching toward a critical design review within the next year or so. Speaking at an Association of Old Crows conference in Washington on Nov. 28, RCO Director Randall Walden says his organization’s aim is to deliver the heavy bomber on cost, which requires minimizing schedule delays. The RCO is uniquely suited to this task, he says, because of its direct access to decision makers. The organization’s board of directors includes the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, Ellen Lord, as well as Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. “It’s not easy to go and build a next-generation stealth bomber, but all of the indicators suggest we’re successfully executing the program,” Walden says. “We’re focused on getting to the critical design review, and getting those drawings in place and starting to build this bomber.” Of the RCO’s 220 personnel—a mix of military, civilian and contractor positions—half are focused on the bomber. Senior program officials are headquartered at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, close to the Pentagon, White House and Capitol Hill. About 80% of the other staff are at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, home of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Another contingent is at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, according to Walden’s slide presentation. The B-21 team successfully completed an integrated baseline review of the flying-wing bomber in November 2016 and passed through the preliminary design review stage earlier this year. The requirements and basic design of the aircraft should now be firm. Walden confirms that the production target remains 100 bombers, and the first operational unit should be ready for service by the mid-2020s.

The B-21 is the Air Force’s largest development program, requiring $13.5 billion in funding through fiscal 2022, according to the service’s budget request. It is the RCO’s greatest undertaking in its 14-year history, which includes the development of the Boeing X-47B Orbital Test Vehicle and establishment of an integrated air defense system around Washington. Most of the organization’s programs are veiled in secrecy, and the B-21 is no exception. The service has released scarcely any details, except top-line budget numbers, an artist’s rendering and a list of key suppliers. Not only does the B-21 program employ roughly half of the RCO’s staff, it’s the largest single slice of the group’s $30 billion program portfolio. The remaining 29 programs, most of which are hidden from public view, must be collectively worth about $16.5 billion across the Air Force’s budget plan, spanning fiscal 2018-22. Walden says the RCO doesn’t seek further expansion, contending that it is busy enough already. The board of directors ultimately decides which projects RCO takes on. “[But] I don’t want to do everything,” he says. Walden says “rapid” acquisition is best achieved by compressing the front-end work of defining the requirements; picking a winning industry team; and getting them on contract. The RCO’s B-21 program couldn’t avoid a bid protest by the loser, Boeing, but the Government Accountability Office ultimately ruled in its favor and Boeing’s leadership stepped back from a potential legal challenge. Even though it strives to go fast, the RCO must still abide by laws of “acquisition physics.” “Building a new weapon system takes X-amount of years [no matter what],” Walden explains. “It takes about three to five years to build an airplane—to do it right. The prototype takes maybe a couple of years.” The Raider is being designed by Northrop engineers in Melbourne, Florida, and will likely be assembled in Palmdale, California, with parts shipped in from across the U.S. The aircraft will initially augment, and then replace, Air Force Global Strike Command’s legacy Boeing B-1, B-52 and Northrop B-2 fleets, depending on the final quantity. Global Strike hopes to eventually expand its bomber fleet to about 175 or more aircraft.
:)

....66/ B-1B, 20/ B-2, 76/ B-52 for 162 total operational

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2017, 18:11
by mixelflick
I'm excited for the B-21, but the # built concerns me. If we're asking for 100, we'll be lucky to get 50. You know how it goes... The requirement is based on projected threats and some yahoo in congress is going to cite the fact Russia isn't going to be fielding the PAK DA anytime soon so.... we don't need as many.

Sure, you can re-frame the threat as China. But that may be a tough sell to Congress, given the lack of Chinese aggressive behavior. All I'm saying is that some pinko commie congressman/woman always seems to throw cold water on these things, and a 20 TRILLION deficit isn't going to help matters.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2017, 20:05
by sferrin
mixelflick wrote:But that may be a tough sell to Congress, given the lack of Chinese aggressive behavior.

**COUGH, COUGH** <splutter>. Say WHAT??

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2017, 22:01
by durahawk
sferrin wrote:
mixelflick wrote:But that may be a tough sell to Congress, given the lack of Chinese aggressive behavior.

**COUGH, COUGH** <splutter>. Say WHAT??


I guess dredging up man made islands in international waters to put military installations on them is not agressive enough.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2017, 22:09
by juretrn
durahawk wrote:I guess dredging up man made islands in international waters to put military installations on them is not agressive enough.

Or bullying their smaller neighbours into compliance, or supporting North Korea (or at least refusing to sanction them), or constantly threatening Taiwan, etc.
Russia is all bark, no bite.
China, on the other hand...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2017, 00:05
by count_to_10
Neptune, man, there are some real doozies in the comments.

Cosmic Observeron Nov 29, 2017
I really don't see how one aircraft is going to replace three other entirely different types. Its the F-35 all over again. My understanding is it's not supersonic, doesn't have a bigger payload or range, and who knows what it will cost to fly. Will it even be stealthy by the time it fly's? I recently read that small satellites are being designed to look down and see stealth aircraft with constellations in the thousands.
:roll:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2017, 01:37
by nutshell
OTOH China survives thanks to the massive export sales to the whole west...

Then there are all the gargantuan investments the chinese made at all levels in both Eu and US.

Nah; too much to loose from both parties.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2017, 01:40
by popcorn
This is probably what the Chinese-satellites-detecting-stealth comment was about.
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/16 ... ealth-jets

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2017, 02:16
by nn8734
popcorn wrote:This is probably what the Chinese-satellites-detecting-stealth comment was about.
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/16 ... ealth-jets


Seems like Chinese wishful thinking to me. No doubt Northrop Grumman has accounted for this another so called stealth detection methods in the B21’s design. By time China actually has success with this, we will have come up with at least three ways to defeat/get around it.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2017, 08:48
by neptune
count_to_10 wrote:Neptune, man, there are some real doozies in the comments....:


....interesting effect of a "Secret" program, as is often said; "those that know will not comment, those that don't know will comment "ad nauseam".

...I did like the comment of it being a "heavy" bomber; similar to what it is replacing. I interpret as long range and large capacity, a "new" B-2(ish).
:)

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2017, 02:55
by rheonomic
neptune wrote: a "new" B-2(ish)


Well, It is the B-2.1 after all...

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 22:45
by jetblast16
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18 ... ittershare

"For the first time ever, I would like to publicly announce that the B-21 will be tested at Edwards Air Force Base... Edwards has been the home of bomber test and now we also can publicly release that the B-21 is coming to Edwards and we will be testing it here in the near future."

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2018, 00:29
by Dragon029
A little insight into the current development:

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/03 ... tman-says/

“Pratt and Whitney says one thing; if the exhaust, the ducting contractor says another thing and says, ‘There’s only so much air we can move through there,’ and Pratt & Whitney says, ‘No, we need a certain amount of air to go through the front of the engine,’ then the question is: How do you do that?” Wittman added.

“Do you split [the requirements] between the two? Does Pratt & Whitney say: ‘Well, we can change some of the cowling [the cover on the engine] on the surface face there to be able to do that,’ ” he wondered, noting this as something that could impact the B-21’s low-observable characteristics.

“It’s not just the engine, but it’s the ducting on the engine, too. I think all those things are elements that you would normally expect in an aircraft that’s new, that takes a concept from B-2, refines and uses it on this platform.”

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2018, 02:15
by white_lightning35
ERMAHGERD, SO EXCITED.

:inlove:When this thing is shown, it will be absolutely beautiful. It doesn't matter what it actually looks like. I feel like the Air force not giving anything away about it will cause a frenzy when we actually hear something.

Also, airflow troubles? Perhaps due to three-stream engines? :lol:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2018, 05:09
by Corsair1963
So, the B-21 is going to be powered by a version of the P&W F135 or is that just going to be used for early developmental aircraft. Until a version of the "ACE" is ready???

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2018, 03:29
by popcorn
I guess he felt he just had to share... :roll:


http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/19 ... let-design

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2018, 15:16
by mixelflick
With the many intake/exhaust variation on past stealth aircraft, it strikes me as odd they're having difficulty with this. Then again, most of those were tactical aircraft (F-117, F-22, YF-23A, F-35, Bird of Prey etc) and not bigger birds like the B-2. Sounds like much higher thrust engines are driving it..

They will figure it out. Just how much $ it adds to the finished product will be the big question. Like PCA, the B-21 is supposed to leverage off the shelf designs/not too much "stretch" capability. Like PCA, I have doubts the air force will stick to that mantra. For the 100 airframes it wants though, it may not have another choice..

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 00:23
by count_to_10
mixelflick wrote:With the many intake/exhaust variation on past stealth aircraft, it strikes me as odd they're having difficulty with this. Then again, most of those were tactical aircraft (F-117, F-22, YF-23A, F-35, Bird of Prey etc) and not bigger birds like the B-2. Sounds like much higher thrust engines are driving it..

They will figure it out. Just how much $ it adds to the finished product will be the big question. Like PCA, the B-21 is supposed to leverage off the shelf designs/not too much "stretch" capability. Like PCA, I have doubts the air force will stick to that mantra. For the 100 airframes it wants though, it may not have another choice..

There is no real indication that they are having any more trouble than they have had before.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 01:12
by popcorn
LOL.. we're relying on a leaky congressman for drip-drips of info on the new bomber.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 04:00
by citanon
popcorn wrote:I guess he felt he just had to share... :roll:


http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/19 ... let-design


The Congressman is talking like an engineer. I like it! As long as he doesn't blabber too much of course.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 10 Apr 2018, 15:28
by element1loop
Air Force "Bomber Vector" Strategy Sees New Attack Weapons, Tactics

Warrior Maven

The Air Force’s Bomber Vector calls for wide range of new technologies & attack weapons

https://www.themaven.net/warriormaven/a ... V7Fctjc6w/

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 21 Apr 2018, 03:19
by popcorn
B-21 has an aggressive timetable but so far no hiccups. Still a long road ahead though. If they execute as promised it will be easier to justify additional units.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -d-447860/

USAF eyes more orders as B-21 finishes preliminary design review


19 APRIL, 2018 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM BY: GARRETT REIM LOS ANGELES
Northrop Grumman has finished preliminary design review of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber.

The heavy bomber is now moving towards a critical design review, says Lt Gen Arnold Bunch, the air force's military deputy for acquisition during an 18 April Senate Armed Services hearing. Critical design review is the next step before assembly of the first aircraft can begin.

Northrop Grumman has also delivered the first set of software for the B-21 programme, said Bunch.

“We are making good progress,” he said. “I am comfortable today with were we are at, the progress that Northrop Grumman is making on the programme.”

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 26 Jun 2018, 00:23
by zerion
Long article

The new B-21 Raider could hit a big milestone this year

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s super secret B-21 bomber program is gliding toward a major development milestone known as the critical design review, which is set to wrap up by the end of 2018, the director of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office said Monday.

“We’ve been through the preliminary design review, so we’re on a path to go into a more critical design and move on with the production of not only the test aircraft, but if I have my way, make sure that we get the development done properly leading up to an on-time start of production,” Randall Walden said at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event. Walden’s office, the RCO, is in charge of developing the B-21 and ensuring the program’s success.

“From my perspective, this is about producing 100 bombers, not about just getting through development,” he added. “Development is a phase that leads into the fielding of this critical need. So my focus is getting the production started, but I can’t do that until we understand what the design looks like...

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/06 ... this-year/

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 23 Sep 2018, 10:31
by element1loop
Defense One update article.

The Must-Haves of the Next Strategic Nuclear Bomber

By Patrick Tucker Technology Editor Read bio

September 21, 2018

Air Force officials opened up — just a bit — about at the thinking that’s informing the design process.

Almost nothing is known about the new bomber in development, the B-21 Raider, the most important Air Force project of the new century. But it will differ from previous bombers in one critical feature: rapid upgradability, according to Air Force Gen. Tim Ray, who leads the service’s Global Strike Command. In essence, there will be no single bomber but an ever-evolving platform that will change as technology and circumstances change as well.

So the B-21 will be modifiable in four key areas: sensors, communications, electromagnetic signature, and defensive capability, Ray said during the recent Air Force Association conference, just outside of Washington, D.C.

That means the Air Force and prime contractor on the project, Northrop Grumman, need to build a plane that can exhibit a wide variety of attributes depending on the mission and even the current state of technology. That will require changes in the way that the service acquires technology. Said Ray, “all of these things are moving much faster than our acquisition approach.” Another change: the Air Force is planning upfront to spend more to acquire and keep the intellectual property it needs as part of the program, particularly in information technology. “I’m not interested in letting intellectual property sit outside my family,” Ray said.

Air Force leaders see the future bomber as a critical component of nuclear deterrence but deterrence has changed a lot from the height of the Cold War when the government saw the three legs of the nuclear triad—ICBMs, nuclear-missile-armed submarines, and bombers—as sufficient to deter the Soviet Union from launching a nuclear war.

Both the Russians and the Chinese have developed new capabilities, including better radar, cyber, and electronic warfare tactics and longer-range missiles, that will make it harder for U.S. aircraft to penetrate enemy defenses.

Additionally, emerging technologies like quantum radar threaten to scuttle conventional advantages that the United States has enjoyed for years, such as stealth. That means that designing new craft with no rounded edges to defeat conventional aircraft won’t yield as much return on investment as it has in the past.

It’s a problem that the Air Force has only begun to wrap its arms around. Gen. James Holmes of Air Combat Command was asked about the future effects of quantum radar on next-generation craft design.

“I have a quantum physicist in the family, my daughter, so I understand what she’s able to patiently explain to me… we’re trying figure out what the problems are and where the threats are.”

Right now, the design strategy is: increase the versatility of all the aircraft that might be tasked with penetrating enemy air defenses, according to Gen. Stephen Wilson, the Air Force Vice Chief of Staff. That means making strategic bombers that can also carry conventional weapons and arming the F-35 with the long-range standoff nuclear cruise missile. Next-generation electronic warfare effects and long-range sensing, of the sort that give the F-35 its core value, would also factor into the mix.

The future bomber will have to be well-integrated with the rest of the military’s jets, drones, ships, and satellites, all of that within a massive data-sharing networking. Air Force officials talk repeatedly about the need to create a massive nervous system of communication to defeat enemy electronic warfare defenses across the domains of sea, air, land, space, and information. But those lofty plans for massive information sharing among heterogeneous platforms look distant against today’s low-bandwidth secure communications (the commonly used Link 16 secure data link generally sends data at just 115.2 kilobits per second.) And while the Air Force’s next-generation aircraft will feature more modern communication gear, they will still need to be able to link to older aircraft.

Defense One asked Holmes about bridging the gap between today’s encrypted communications gear and the ones he wants to see on future aircraft.

We think there’s three core capabilities that we have to pursue as we transition to a multi-domain capability against peer adversaries. One is multi-domain awareness,” meaning a near-perfect understanding of how every satellite, ground or sea vehicle or cyber operator is affecting the mission and how vulnerable each of them is, Holmes said. “We’re moving from a world where air combat command presented a threat to your air sensors primarily and only your air sensors to thinking about how you use space sensors, how you use air sensors, publicly available information, and how do we sort through all of the information that’s out there to give us multi-domain” awareness.

The next one, he said, is advanced battle management, meaning how do you take all of the information about the objects on the field, across the domains, and construct a strategy of attack. “The third part is agile, resilient [communications]: How do we make sure that we can link that multi-domain info with advanced battle management?”

When communication between these nodes fails because of the way the enemy is using cyber or electronic warfare, the fourth component will be “how do we teach our people to take the information that they have to make a decision and act and drive an [operations tempo] that forces the enemy to keep up with you.

Read that to mean: no matter how advanced the next bomber is, and how smart the aircraft flying alongside it are, there will be moments when communication is incredibly sparse. All of the platforms, and the operators using them, will have to use rare moments of clarity and data sharing to maximum effect.


https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2 ... d-topstory

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2018, 10:54
by popcorn
B-21 Program stealthily making progress.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/12 ... ig-review/

Blink and you’ll miss it: The B-21 bomber accomplishes another big review

WASHINGTON — The Air Force’s super-secret new bomber recently completed its critical design review, an Air Force official confirmed Dec. 6.

The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record on the program, offered no further details about the status of the B-21 Raider. However, Air Force officials had stated that the milestone was slated to occur by the end of 2018 — putting the program on pace to begin fielding aircraft around 2025...

The program is managed by the service’s Rapid Capabilities Office, a small shop separated from the Air Force’s larger acquisition apparatus that is able to use special authorities to more quickly develop and field new technologies.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 03 Mar 2019, 18:11
by tank-top
3-2-19

“Sen. Rounds: B-21 Bomber announcement coming ‘any day’”


More breadcrumbs? This was just a local report out of S Dakota, no other sources I can find to backup the quote.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2019, 15:17
by mixelflick
Has to be the first flight.

In fact (given a fielding date of 2025), I'd be shocked if it hasn't already flown. Still, this may be opening up daytime flights at Edwards and the ensuing first look so to speak, for the general public.

Exciting times. The Raider is going to be our new "big stick". I just hope nobody pulls a Gates, and we build it in meaningful numbers..

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2019, 16:28
by sferrin
mixelflick wrote:Has to be the first flight.


I'd guess that's still several years away. They haven't even done CDR yet.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2019, 17:17
by sprstdlyscottsmn
sferrin wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Has to be the first flight.


I'd guess that's still several years away. They haven't even done CDR yet.

Pretty sure they completed CDR last year

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2019, 17:23
by crosshairs
mixelflick wrote:Has to be the first flight.

In fact (given a fielding date of 2025), I'd be shocked if it hasn't already flown. Still, this may be opening up daytime flights at Edwards and the ensuing first look so to speak, for the general public.

Exciting times. The Raider is going to be our new "big stick". I just hope nobody pulls a Gates, and we build it in meaningful numbers..


Definitely hasn't flown. Look at when the business was awarded and the date today. It takes longer than that to tool up a complex aircraft and build it - slow build at that.

I think the USAF has said that in a manner of speaking the B-21 has already flown in that the off the shelf technology in it has flown already. Heavy emphasis on I think the USAF said something like that.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2019, 17:23
by sferrin
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
sferrin wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Has to be the first flight.


I'd guess that's still several years away. They haven't even done CDR yet.

Pretty sure they completed CDR last year


Yeah, didn't realize how old the post was that I was looking at up the page. Still, even if they completed CDR fall of '18 I wouldn't expect a first flight until 2020/21-ish.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2019, 18:46
by sprstdlyscottsmn
Everything about this programs schedule has been aggressive. I would not be surprised to learn that the aircraft already began assembly prior to CDR and that as long as nothing safety related turned up it would continue as a prototype, and that if nothing was turned up in CDR then they have the first production example in progress.

IIRC a similar thing happened with the B-2. The first flying prototype ended up being so close to the production version that it was modified after the fact to become the 21st B-2A.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 05 Mar 2019, 00:00
by marauder2048
Or just an official AF announcement that Ellsworth will host the B-21 (possibly the first base to host it).

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Mar 2019, 21:41
by marsavian
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ea-456987/

The US Air Force selected Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota on 27 March as the preferred location to base the first operational Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber and the stealth aircraft’s formal training unit.

After that, Whiteman AFB in Missouri and Dyess AFB in Texas will receive B-21s as they become available, says the service. The USAF says it selected bases using criteria meant to minimise mission impact while transitioning from older bombers, maximise facility reuse, minimise cost and reduce overhead.

“These three bomber bases are well suited for the B-21," says Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “We expect the first B-21 Raider to be delivered beginning in the mid-2020s, with subsequent deliveries phased across all three bases.”

Ellsworth AFB was selected as the first base because it has enough space and facilities to handle missions at the lowest cost and with minimal operational impact across all three bases, says the USAF.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Mar 2019, 22:14
by sprstdlyscottsmn
So the Bone is the first to fall.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 28 Mar 2019, 22:53
by sferrin
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:So the Bone is the first to fall.


Typical. Scrap the most useful first. :doh:

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2019, 15:27
by tank-top
Announced yesterday, first flight soon.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... light.html

Once it makes its first flight can we get a dedicated page?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2019, 15:35
by sprstdlyscottsmn
Excellent news.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2019, 15:58
by crosshairs
tank-top wrote:Announced yesterday, first flight soon.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... light.html

Once it makes its first flight can we get a dedicated page?


If it's truly that close to flight, the next milestone is actually high speed ground runs. Very exciting. I wonder how many they are actually in the process of completing.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2019, 16:04
by f-16adf
If Joe Biden, Beto, or Bernie become president in 2020 expect things to change if not out right cancellation.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2019, 16:06
by sferrin
f-16adf wrote:If Joe Biden, Beto, or Bernie become president in 2020 expect things to change if not out right cancellation.


If any of those idiots win we'll have WAY bigger problems than a cancelled bomber.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2019, 21:25
by blain
crosshairs wrote:
tank-top wrote:Announced yesterday, first flight soon.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... light.html

Once it makes its first flight can we get a dedicated page?


If it's truly that close to flight, the next milestone is actually high speed ground runs. Very exciting. I wonder how many they are actually in the process of completing.


How soon is soon? The CDR was at the end of last year. I believe the B-2's roll out was two years after the CDR. But that doesn't mean they could not have begun assembly before it was completed. It is supposedly on a faster track so but reading the tea leaves it seems there has been a lot of activity lately which would point to the program making significant progress.

It was announced that testing would be conducted at Edwards. Ok, we kind of knew that already but why did they announce that now? Depot maintenance would be done at Tinker. Then the announcement that Ellsworth was selected as its first base. Could we see something by the end of this year?

The aircraft resembles NG's original B-2 design as a high altitude, low observable, penetrator so it is not as much as a risk as the B-2. But it is still a new design.

To a great extent, the B-21 will be a game changer if it can be purchased in numbers. It compensates for the Navy's short fall in long range penetrating strike aircraft.

I'm curious as to the following:
1. Size - it is supposedly slightly smaller than the B-2. Related - how much smaller is the payload and does it have 1 weapons bay or two? You would think that the weapons bay would need to accommodate at least 1 GBU-57. If that is a requirement then there may only be enough room for one weapons bay. That is not much of a payload if you assume that a rotary launcher carries 8 GBU-31s. Though it could carry many more GBU-38s and Storm Breakers.

2. Engines - Pratt and Whitney is the engine manufacturer. Is it a non after burning derivative of the F135 or a different design? If they are intent on reducing the number of engines to 2 you would likely need to produce more dry thrust. GE was able to get more thrust out of the F110 in order to develop the F118 so its possible.

3. Performance - flying at higher altitude with only two engines will help with range, but I wonder if its cruising speed will be similar to the B-2?

4. ISR capability - the B-21 is not going to loiter in near or in the enemy's battle space but I would think it will have a similar capability to the F-35 in terms of being able to identify, analyze, and counter threats.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2019, 21:27
by blain
sferrin wrote:
f-16adf wrote:If Joe Biden, Beto, or Bernie become president in 2020 expect things to change if not out right cancellation.


If any of those idiots win we'll have WAY bigger problems than a cancelled bomber.


The biggest problem with Biden is that he will ruin the stealth coating by trying to grope and stiff it.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2019, 01:41
by crosshairs
f-16adf wrote:If Joe Biden, Beto, or Bernie become president in 2020 expect things to change if not out right cancellation.


Very unlikely ADF.

Even Obama was in favor of updating the nuclear triad. At least he allocated funds.

When the b2 was terminated, the cold war was over, china was not a serious threat, and we had bones and buffs with decades of life left in them, plus we had agm129 to compensate for not having a stealth bomber.

Now, things are worse. China and Russia are developing stealth bombers. Bones and buffs are worn out and not credible systems to use as penetrators.

It isn't 1994 again.

Likely we would get a usable number as a deterrent , but no more.

Even if Trump wins 2020, a republican in 2024 is not a guarantee of 140 raiders. Look was Bush did to the raptor. Bush senior also made some dubious decisions.

People that visit these forums are in the minority.

What worries me more than the raider is PCA/NGAD and the new icbm. Columbia seems to be moving along nicely all things considered. Large numbers of stealth bombers are great a deterrent to a major war, but we keep getting into skirmishes and the fighter force needs recapitalization - not just the f35.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2019, 02:02
by f-16adf
It was Obama and his DS Gates who did in the Raptor. Bush 43, Cheney, Rummy, Adelman, Bolton were the ones interested in making every Muslim dictatorship a Western style democracy. Which was a dumb mistake.

I'd bet my house and my shorts that if a dem is elected Pres in 2020 this fantasy bomber, PCA, and the like will be the first to go. And expect F-35 production to be cut somewhat. I highly doubt I'm wrong.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2019, 12:34
by sferrin
crosshairs wrote:
f-16adf wrote:If Joe Biden, Beto, or Bernie become president in 2020 expect things to change if not out right cancellation.


Very unlikely ADF.

Even Obama was in favor of updating the nuclear triad. At least he allocated funds.


Window dressing.

https://www.heritage.org/defense/report ... ons-policy

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2019, 15:59
by afjag
sferrin wrote:
crosshairs wrote:
f-16adf wrote:If Joe Biden, Beto, or Bernie become president in 2020 expect things to change if not out right cancellation.


Very unlikely ADF.

Even Obama was in favor of updating the nuclear triad. At least he allocated funds.


Window dressing.

https://www.heritage.org/defense/report ... ons-policy


As if the Heritage Foundation is an objective and impartial entity. :roll: Needless to say, it is a remarkable oversimplification to blame bad defense policy decisions solely on a single specific politician.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2019, 21:04
by tank-top
f-16adf wrote:It was Obama and his DS Gates who did in the Raptor. Bush 43, Cheney, Rummy, Adelman, Bolton were the ones interested in making every Muslim dictatorship a Western style democracy. Which was a dumb mistake.

I'd bet my house and my shorts that if a dem is elected Pres in 2020 this fantasy bomber, PCA, and the like will be the first to go. And expect F-35 production to be cut somewhat. I highly doubt I'm wrong.



I’ll bet my undershirt Barr slow plays the FBI/DOJ investigation right through 2020. I’m not too worried about anyone the Dem’s can put on the ballot. Plus the Dem’s just tried to shoot Biden, their best hope.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2019, 23:32
by bayernfan
f-16adf wrote:It was Obama and his DS Gates who did in the Raptor. Bush 43, Cheney, Rummy, Adelman, Bolton were the ones interested in making every Muslim dictatorship a Western style democracy. Which was a dumb mistake.

I'd bet my house and my shorts that if a dem is elected Pres in 2020 this fantasy bomber, PCA, and the like will be the first to go. And expect F-35 production to be cut somewhat. I highly doubt I'm wrong.


These kinds of replies are not of the quality in this forum......

B-21 program was awarded in 2014 and was on a fast-track every since, across (dramatically) different Admins. PCA was also seriously discussed as the future direction starting in Obama era. F-35 was re-organized during Obama Admin to propose the newer IOC/FOC dates and all of them have been fulfilled. No cut to ultimate procurement of F-35 (well, current Admin once threatened to buy F-18 instead of F-35). I see no evidence you brought up to support your anticipation, maybe it is only your anticipation based on nothing then.

To have a general impression that certain political side is supporting/opposing advanced weapon system is a bad idea, at least if you want to have high quality discussion on specific issues.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2019, 23:45
by f-16adf
So who made you the all encompassing infallible judge of content? If Bernie or Joe become President and they fund them, you can say: See I told you so. Until then, I will believe the contrary.

And since you, the apex of maturity, believe in such "quality" content; I suggest you correct your numerous spelling/grammatical errors and avoid the seemingly childish emojis in your past posts-

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Apr 2019, 13:58
by mixelflick
bayernfan wrote:
f-16adf wrote:It was Obama and his DS Gates who did in the Raptor. Bush 43, Cheney, Rummy, Adelman, Bolton were the ones interested in making every Muslim dictatorship a Western style democracy. Which was a dumb mistake.

I'd bet my house and my shorts that if a dem is elected Pres in 2020 this fantasy bomber, PCA, and the like will be the first to go. And expect F-35 production to be cut somewhat. I highly doubt I'm wrong.


These kinds of replies are not of the quality in this forum......

B-21 program was awarded in 2014 and was on a fast-track every since, across (dramatically) different Admins. PCA was also seriously discussed as the future direction starting in Obama era. F-35 was re-organized during Obama Admin to propose the newer IOC/FOC dates and all of them have been fulfilled. No cut to ultimate procurement of F-35 (well, current Admin once threatened to buy F-18 instead of F-35). I see no evidence you brought up to support your anticipation, maybe it is only your anticipation based on nothing then.

To have a general impression that certain political side is supporting/opposing advanced weapon system is a bad idea, at least if you want to have high quality discussion on specific issues.


Generally speaking though, he's right.

It seems every time a Democrat is in office the military gets gutted. Cutbacks, meager if any increases in pay and outright cancellation of programs are common, and they're weak on foreign policy too IMO. Carter and Reagan being the classic example, but they're far from the only ones. If Crazy Bernie gets in, expect to see massive reductions in defense spending and massive increases in social welfare programs. If Biden gets in, he might actually be worse. When the SEALS took down Bin Laden, they also took away a treasure trove of intelligence. Including a "hit" list of assassination targets. Every except... touchy/feelie Joe.

He was deemed to be an asset to their cause..

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 13 Apr 2019, 14:39
by marsavian
Ronald Reagan ? A Democrat ? Weak on defense ?! Did you mistype Clinton ?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 01:44
by bayernfan
f-16adf wrote:So who made you the all encompassing infallible judge of content? If Bernie or Joe become President and they fund them, you can say: See I told you so. Until then, I will believe the contrary.

And since you, the apex of maturity, believe in such "quality" content; I suggest you correct your numerous spelling/grammatical errors and avoid the seemingly childish emojis in your past posts-


Thank you for investigating me with such dedication. I learnt my lesson and will keep my mouth shut. You experts, please go on.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 02:36
by crosshairs
Bush cut the F-22 program, and is fact. The captain zero administration certainly put the nail in the coffin. Bush practically was a continuation of Clinton. Trump is the first republican since Reagan to try and build the military up. Bush could have bought more B-2s in the early 2000s for something like 600M a copy. Nope. Nadda. Gotta keep the decrepit buffs around for 100 years. Ignored a surging China and rode the armed forces hard and put it to bed wet.

Republicrats are not a guaranteed win for the military.

Bernie is a communist. The country hasn't moved that far left yet.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 02:44
by firebase99
marsavian wrote:Ronald Reagan ? A Democrat ? Weak on defense ?! Did you mistype Clinton ?


I think he was illuminating the polarity of the two.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 07:00
by sferrin
bayernfan wrote:
f-16adf wrote:So who made you the all encompassing infallible judge of content? If Bernie or Joe become President and they fund them, you can say: See I told you so. Until then, I will believe the contrary.

And since you, the apex of maturity, believe in such "quality" content; I suggest you correct your numerous spelling/grammatical errors and avoid the seemingly childish emojis in your past posts-


Thank you for investigating me with such dedication. I learnt my lesson and will keep my mouth shut. You experts, please go on.


You sound almost intelligent enough to find the door on your own.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 08:00
by knowan
f-16adf wrote:It was Obama and his DS Gates who did in the Raptor.


The original order for 750 was reduced by a review started by SecDef Dick Cheney in 1990, reducing the order to 648, although that reduction wasn't finalised until 1996 when Clinton was President.
A year later it was reduced further to 339, and then under Bush Jr in 2003 it was reduced to 277, and then again to 183 in 2004.

Further opposition to the F-22 completing it's limited production run started under Rumsfeld. Gates continued this opposition, publicly stating as such, before Obama became President.

From what I can tell, reducing the F-22 production numbers was fairly bipartisan.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 11:37
by madrat
There's a lot more to reducing or increasing orders. The democrats controlled the purse when they drew down development of the Raptor and simply assured the program was unsustainable with poison pills.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 14:28
by f-16adf
In retrospect, Bush did cut the F-22 program (I never said he didn't). Conversely, it was Obama who cancelled it.


Obama in his own words regarding the Raptor program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFZvEHZd3Dw
***(please also note his said words concerning health care/deficits, they deserve a chuckle)




At that time F-22 per unit was approx ~140-150 million. The most recent CBO per unit for the PCA is projected at around 300 million, total plans call for over 400. I find it very arduous to digest a "potential President Sanders or President Biden" in favor of a jet with a price tag anywhere estimated from 200-300 million per copy. As I said, only time will tell.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 19:00
by knowan
madrat wrote:There's a lot more to reducing or increasing orders. The democrats controlled the purse when they drew down development of the Raptor and simply assured the program was unsustainable with poison pills.


The Republicans controlled Congress in 1996 and 1997, when Clinton reduced the production order to 648 and 339.
The Republicans controlled Congress in 2003 and 2004, when Bush Jr reduced the production order to 277 and 183.

The Democrat controlled Congress in 2008 increased funding for the F-22 to allow for 187 to be completed, above the previous DoD order of 183 from 2004.


f-16adf wrote:In retrospect, Bush did cut the F-22 program (I never said he didn't). Conversely, it was Obama who cancelled it.


It's not entirely accurate to say Obama cancelled it; the plane completed the previously ordered and funded number of 187 planes.
Obama didn't allow for further planes to be ordered, which is genuinely a mistake, but the limited production of the F-22 is a mistake shared by both sides of US politics.

As for other military programs, it depends on how much threat from Russia and China the politicians feel. In a way, the media frenzy over Russia makes it harder for the Democrats to downplay Russia as a military threat.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 22:04
by f-16adf
I agree with most of what you said. Republicans do share a little of the blame. As I previously mentioned, they were too interested in funding regime change/nation building during the mid 2000's.





However, Mr Obama must be judged ultimately by his words and actions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/busi ... fense.html
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... KN20090721
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/200 ... uture.html

Judging from the above articles, sounds like the USAF wanted more jets past the 187 number. Obama and his democratic controlled House and Senate said no. So the program died-




The next decade will be extremely interesting. If Mr. Trump is out by 2020 or 2024. His successor will have some arduous decisions to make concerning these very expense military programs: i.e. Fantasy bomber, PCA, and the like.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 23:24
by sferrin
f-16adf wrote:I agree with most of what you said. Republicans do share a little of the blame. As I previously mentioned, they were too interested in funding regime change/nation building during the mid 2000's.





However, Mr Obama must be judged ultimately by his words and actions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/busi ... fense.html
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... KN20090721
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/200 ... uture.html

Judging from the above articles, sounds like the USAF wanted more jets past the 187 number. Obama and his democratic controlled House and Senate said no. So the program died-




The next decade will be extremely interesting. If Mr. Trump is out by 2020 or 2024. His successor will have some arduous decisions to make concerning these very expense military programs: i.e. Fantasy bomber, PCA, and the like.


"Fantasy bomber"? Which one is that?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2019, 23:47
by f-16adf
B-21. I call it that because I would like to see if President Sanders, Biden, or Harris build it to the proposed numbers.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 02:12
by sferrin
f-16adf wrote:B-21. I call it that because I would like to see if President Sanders, Biden, or Harris build it to the proposed numbers.


Given that none of them has a snowball's chance in hell, I'm not going to lose too much sleep over it.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 02:42
by knowan
f-16adf wrote:Judging from the above articles, sounds like the USAF wanted more jets past the 187 number. Obama and his democratic controlled House and Senate said no. So the program died-


From what I've read, the Democrat controlled Congress only gave up on more F-22s after Obama threatened to veto any bill that funded more planes, so the Democrats in Congress apparently were in favor of more planes up until that point.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 02:54
by weasel1962
Yup, that was the big fight back in 2009. Dems controlled Congress wanted 7 more F-22s for $1.75 billion. McCain said no. Obama agreed with McCain calling the F-22 "outdated and unnecessary". History is 20/20.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 10:16
by Corsair1963
weasel1962 wrote:Yup, that was the big fight back in 2009. Dems controlled Congress wanted 7 more F-22s for $1.75 billion. McCain said no. Obama agreed with McCain calling the F-22 "outdated and unnecessary". History is 20/20.



I wrote and spoke to Senator McCain about it during the period. He believed the money was better spent on the JSF (F-35) Program. That we couldn't afford both programs (F-22 and F-35) and the former could jeopardize the latter.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 14:41
by f-16adf
I'd have to go back and check. But you guys have already said (as did the above articles): Obama said no. So in the end, that's where the buck stops.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 14:54
by f-16adf
In 2009 the Dems had 59 seats in the Senate.


Here is the Senate vote on the resolution:

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/ ... =00235#top

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 19:02
by afjag
If you think the harm that recent democrats have done to national security through budget cuts outweighs the destruction of the rule of law by the current administration then you seriously have a case of permanent hypoxia. Budget cuts are one thing, but an “America First” doctrine is so corrosive to national security it will take decades to earn back the trust of some of our allies.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 19:35
by crosshairs
afjag wrote:If you think the harm that recent democrats have done to national security through budget cuts outweighs the destruction of the rule of law by the current administration then you seriously have a case of permanent hypoxia. Budget cuts are one thing, but an “America First” doctrine is so corrosive to national security it will take decades to earn back the trust of some of our allies.


Every president, with the exception of the super hero - Captain Zero - has essentially been an America First policy president. Yes we have had some bad legislation from both parties.

Bush 2 became the first prototype apologist, first kissing up to China and "expressing regret" or sorrow over the death of the Chinese pilot who stupidly rammed our aircraft with his Chinese piece of junk. Zero picked up that football and ran with it apologizing to the world for America being a great country while at the same time trying to dismantle the US military to its weakest level, ever. He tried to kill the US energy industry. The man was truly treasonous in his actions.

If our "allies" are not paying their share of their defense of Europe, then what good is it to call them allies? Most of Europe does not take its self defense seriously as they have lived under the USA's golden umbrella. The US doesn't need allies that aren't willing to stand up for themselves. That isn't being an ally; that is called being a burden.

Pakistan got behind the US during the cold war as an ally. What did they do? They kept UBL in comfort and safety next to their version of West Point. Yes you're right, we need to go back to apologizing to the world and "leading from behind" because it's corrosive to put your country first over Belgium and France and Mexico.

But back to point, it hardly matters which party gets elected in the case of the B-21. The US has no other options and its B-52s and B-1s are beat to hell. The elected leadership kicked the can down the road for decades and not time's up. Either buy a new bomber or eliminate the nuclear triad and eliminate long ranged conventional strike off the USAF menu.

The president isn't a king or queen and you also have to deal with congress. Congress may want to axe the B-21.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 20:17
by afjag
I am all for a massive capital infusion for the military. But at what cost? We do not have the unlimited capacity to continue to run massive deficits. Nor are we in position to slash many domestic programs. So I ask you what programs can we shift money from to keep paying for this massive military rebuilding? How about farm subsidies? Or college loan programs so that only the wealthy can afford to go to college?

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 22:16
by marsavian
I really doubt B-21 would ever be cancelled as it would be the state of art in stealth bombing but then again so was the B-2 at the time and its numbers were severely reduced. I think the only thing in doubt about B-21 is the ultimate production number and that would depend on who controls the Presidency and Congress going forward and their overall priorities as guided by their voters. B-52/B-1/B-2 are all getting long in the tooth now and will all need replacing this century so something has to replace them all in time.

p.s. Biden looks the most likely Democrat candidate and militarily he is no shrinking violet. Sanders and in the long run AOC are the ones for the military to avoid.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2019, 21:36
by blain
Looks like confirmation of flight testing inn 2021.

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... -Size.aspx

Assembly in 2019/20. If they go the roll out route will likely be in 2020. Production around 2024.

Can't wait.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 22 Apr 2019, 19:59
by blain
Maybe the B-21 will not be smaller than the B-2. Since they are going to cost $500 million I certainly hope it will include two weapons bays.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... bers-53627

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 22 Apr 2019, 20:17
by marauder2048
blain wrote:Maybe the B-21 will not be smaller than the B-2. Since they are going to cost $500 million I certainly hope it will include two weapons bays.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... bers-53627


Pretty sure it's smaller than B-2.

https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-news/2015/09/02/lrs-b-details-emerge-major-testing-risk-reduction-complete/

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 10 Jul 2019, 01:27
by blain
Has the first B-21 been built? A very provocative headline by National Interest, which is typical.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... mber-66131

It contains a quote from the AF COS - “We’re closely monitoring the build of the additional test aircraft and associated software to support the first flight." The assumption is that there is already a test aircraft. Maybe he misspoke or was inelegant in conveying his thoughts.

The test aircraft is likely a sub scale model used to test RCS. I hope I am wrong. The critical design review was at the end of last year. So manufacturing has likely started. I would think that they would do an official roll out and conduct first flight in the open. Is there a way to get an aircraft as large as a bomber from Plant 42 in Palmdale to Area 51? I think it would be hard.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 10 Jul 2019, 01:34
by wooster
blain wrote:Has the first B-21 been built? A very provocative headline by National Interest, which is typical.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... mber-66131

It contains a quote from the AF COS - “We’re closely monitoring the build of the additional test aircraft and associated software to support the first flight." The assumption is that there is already a test aircraft. Maybe he misspoke or was inelegant in conveying his thoughts.

The test aircraft is likely a sub scale model used to test RCS. I hope I am wrong. The critical design review was at the end of last year. So manufacturing has likely started. I would think that they would do an official roll out and conduct first flight in the open. Is there a way to get an aircraft as large as a bomber from Plant 42 in Palmdale to Area 51? I think it would be hard.


Additional test aircraft clearly means additional raiders, not a subscale demonstrator. That phase was over years ago. They likely tested full scale models at groom or other radar facilities. subscale models are used for proving out flight controls, not RCS. The subscale have blue was used to tryout the flight controls and aerodynamics associated with flying a winged faceted diamond, yes stealth was clearly part of it too, but they had to make it fly controllably.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 10 Jul 2019, 01:50
by blain
wooster wrote:
blain wrote:Has the first B-21 been built? A very provocative headline by National Interest, which is typical.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... mber-66131

It contains a quote from the AF COS - “We’re closely monitoring the build of the additional test aircraft and associated software to support the first flight." The assumption is that there is already a test aircraft. Maybe he misspoke or was inelegant in conveying his thoughts.

The test aircraft is likely a sub scale model used to test RCS. I hope I am wrong. The critical design review was at the end of last year. So manufacturing has likely started. I would think that they would do an official roll out and conduct first flight in the open. Is there a way to get an aircraft as large as a bomber from Plant 42 in Palmdale to Area 51? I think it would be hard.


Additional test aircraft clearly means additional raiders, not a subscale demonstrator. That phase was over years ago. They likely tested full scale models at groom or other radar facilities. subscale models are used for proving out flight controls, not RCS. The subscale have blue was used to tryout the flight controls and aerodynamics associated with flying a winged faceted diamond, yes stealth was clearly part of it too, but they had to make it fly controllably.


I wasn't able to find the context of his quote so thought he might have been speaking about a longer time frame. I don't Goldfein indicates completion of the first B-21. It is likely there are several aircraft on the production line at various stages.

Re: B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2019, 16:25
by mixelflick
I sincerely hope they can keep the cost down. If they can procure 125-150, it'll be the first time since the B-52 a US bomber was built in that quantity.

We built 100 B-1B's: That was supposed to replace the B-52
We only built 21 B-2's: Talk about a silver bullet force

Even assuming such a production run, it sounds like the B-52 will still be going strong. I assume they're pulling spare parts out of the boneyard, but wow - really makes you think. We field around 75 or so today, out of 744 built! With new engines, that thing's service life will likely out-live me. Amazing to think about, it just keeps on keeping on...