Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

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XanderCrews

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Unread post15 Feb 2018, 20:30

Corsair1963 wrote:Do we really need such heavy bombers anymore???


Something like 70 percent of the bombs are being dropped by strategic bombers.

A B-1 can carry like 82. Assume a hornet is carrying between 2 and 4. Now think how many hornets you need and tankers to match a strategic bomber

They do an insane amount of damage that would require squadrons of fighters
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white_lightning35

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Unread post16 Feb 2018, 01:57

The armchair general in me thinks the current bombers should be retired in reverse chronological order. The B-21 seems to be what the B-2 could have been: a survivable platform that can be fielded in numbers and not be a silver bullet/hangar queen, so that goes first. The B-1 can still be used to employ some weapons, and the B-52 can be an arsenal plane which goes last. The b-21 and b-52 will hopefully be a nice mix in the future instead of having to support 4 different fleets.
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marsavian

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Unread post16 Feb 2018, 02:51

Why not keep all 4 because history tells us 100 B-21s won't be bought certainly not at the price they think. The B-1B is doing excellent service as an area CAS machine using its full flight/electronic performance (military.com have had some interesting articles on it). The B-2 well is the original long range stealthy bomber, are they ever going to go out of fashion ? The B-52 is the ultra long range standoff/nuclear bomber so let's not repeat the F-22 mistake here and curtail still useful and relevant performance.
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white_lightning35

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Unread post16 Feb 2018, 03:14

marsavian wrote:Why not keep all 4 because history tells us 100 B-21s won't be bought certainly not at the price they think. The B-1B is doing excellent service as an area CAS machine using its full flight/electronic performance (military.com have had some interesting articles on it). The B-2 well is the original long range stealthy bomber, are they ever going to go out of fashion ? The B-52 is the ultra long range standoff/nuclear bomber so let's not repeat the F-22 mistake here and curtail still useful and relevant performance.


"Why not keep all 4 because history tells us 100 B-21s won't be bought certainly not at the price they think".

Because, contrary to popular belief, U.S taxpayers will not be a never-ending cash cow which infinite money pours out of. Sure, it would be nice to have it all, but that is not the case. It has been made clear by higher-ups that that B_2 will not be survivable enough for the toughest missions post-2025. If that is the case, why keep it around? It is far more expensive to use for permissive enviroment work than the others are, and what advantages does it hold in those scenarios?
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Unread post16 Feb 2018, 17:46

I'd whole heartedly agree - manned (or even unmanned) bombers are going to be more important in the future, far moreso than even the past would indicate.

But in the B-21, the USAF seems to want to shed the "bomber" label - and rightfully so. Why constrain your capabilities to bombs only? Or cruise missiles? This idea of a flying arsenal plane being the ultimate sensor/shooter is a good one. Reminiscent of the B-1R proposal, why not carry a truckload of AMRAAM's? It may not have the payload of a B-2, but with 100+ you could have air to ground B-21's, air to air B-21's, air to sea B-21's (or air to air, for fleet air defense) etc etc.

The air force seems to be approaching this one with lessons learned, and that's a good thing. Too far a reach into the future/quantum leap in capability and it invariably gets 1.) Delayed and 2.) More expensive. These things are always more expensive than their projections, and a changing world can lead to a truncated buy (see the F-22). A stealthier B-21 flying at higher altitudes coupled with F-22's/F-35's at lower altitudes (and other assets) is going to be a fearsome new capability. ISR versions will no doubt be fielded, and I can easily see a JSTARS role for the bird too. Figure the airborne laser into the equation too.

I really like the idea of (I think it was Northrop's) self defense capability. Even a rudimentary defensive system would be a welcome addition, given an enemy fighter might get lucky and visually ID one. That almost happened in Iraq I think, or Bosnia with the F-117. Regardless, some capability to defend itself seems like a no brainer on literally a billion dollar aircraft (in the case of the B-2)..
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Unread post03 Aug 2018, 00:18

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

Since it's going to be smaller than the B-2 and presumably carry less fuel, how do you think it accomplishes this? Some breakthrough in engine tech that doesn't burn nearly as much fuel??
And being based at whatever Air Force Base is closest to the target instead of halfway around the world.
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Unread post03 Aug 2018, 00:37

Or mothball B-1B and introduce them back as you ditch B-52s in 2040. START is dead after all.
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Unread post03 Aug 2018, 04:56

madrat wrote:Or mothball B-1B and introduce them back as you ditch B-52s in 2040. START is dead after all.


Because B-1B with long-range VLO missile standoff is the perfect Day-1 navy-killer. Plus it's fast and survivable. It thus frees up the B2 and preps for the B-52, plus keeps the surface fleet out of the immediate line of fire as it appoaches a hot region. i.e. it can overcome much of the early area-denial hazards.
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Unread post03 Aug 2018, 05:52

It's a good thing that they are already buying LRASMs for the B-1B.
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Unread post06 Aug 2018, 15:44

Dragon029 wrote:This also assumes that there won't be parity between the 2018 bomber + 2037 bomber concept and the current LRS-B / B-21 and some future supersonic / hypersonic bomber around the middle of the century.


I'd lay good money on the fact that hypersonic strike platform is already flying/operational. As long ago as the late 80's large, triangle shaped craft have been seen flying and setting off multiple sonic booms over southern California, Texas and other locations.

Speed didn't stop at mach 3.2 with the SR-71. That was what, almost 60 years ago?? They've no doubt had a successor for awhile. I didn't say there were a lot of them or that all the bugs have been ironed out, but there's no doubt in my mind we have them.

So what we'll be left with are circa 75 B-52's, 100 B-21's (likely 50-75 after the inevitable happens) and perhaps a dozen of these hypersonic strike birds. I'll echo the comments about retiring the B-1 early as a mistake. Too much capability to give up, especially when speed is required. It's not stealth, but the E/W suite on that thing is legendary.
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Unread post06 Aug 2018, 19:25

mixelflick wrote:
Dragon029 wrote:This also assumes that there won't be parity between the 2018 bomber + 2037 bomber concept and the current LRS-B / B-21 and some future supersonic / hypersonic bomber around the middle of the century.


I'd lay good money on the fact that hypersonic strike platform is already flying/operational. As long ago as the late 80's large, triangle shaped craft have been seen flying and setting off multiple sonic booms over southern California, Texas and other locations.

Speed didn't stop at mach 3.2 with the SR-71. That was what, almost 60 years ago?? They've no doubt had a successor for awhile. I didn't say there were a lot of them or that all the bugs have been ironed out, but there's no doubt in my mind we have them.

So what we'll be left with are circa 75 B-52's, 100 B-21's (likely 50-75 after the inevitable happens) and perhaps a dozen of these hypersonic strike birds. I'll echo the comments about retiring the B-1 early as a mistake. Too much capability to give up, especially when speed is required. It's not stealth, but the E/W suite on that thing is legendary.

100 was the low end number, not the upper limit. There's a possibility that the number may be between 150-200. 100 was a not less than figure.
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Unread post12 Sep 2018, 17:07

True, but figures change..

Remember the F-22 "figure"? 750. The world supposedly changed (Russia no longer a threat) and Gates' rosy picture of no 5th gen birds out of China for a long time went to pieces real fast. I have to hand it to the Chinese BTW, 5 stars for flying the J-20 during Gates' visit :mrgreen:

I'm also of the opinion that we shouldn't retire the B-1 or B-2. The B-1 is doing great CAS work, and as mentioned elsewhere it's a fearsome air to sea weapon. And let's not forget, China is building carriers and other large surface warships. The B-2 OK... it's a hangar queen. But the psychological impact of it would seem to warrant keeping it around.

I get the whole cost per flight hour thing, but looking at the chart... the B-52 isn't exactly cheap! Can it haul a ton to great altitude? Sure. But it's slow, has a RCS the size of a barn door and old as dirt. The incremental costs of keeping it flying have to be astronomical. Besides, the B-1 can haul just as much (or thereabouts) and get there a lot faster and be a lot more survivable.

Why again did we build 100, then retire 20 like, permanently?
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Unread post12 Sep 2018, 20:40

B-52/B-2 are nuclear birds too which enhances their usefulness to the military. Retiring the B-1/B-2 is just the current plan but I will only believe it when I see it. Let's see how many B-21s are actually built and at what cost and at what functionality. The B-1 is quite a CAS machine, again believe it when I see it.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post12 Sep 2018, 20:46

mixelflick wrote:True, but figures change..

Remember the F-22 "figure"? 750. The world supposedly changed (Russia no longer a threat) and Gates' rosy picture of no 5th gen birds out of China for a long time went to pieces real fast. I have to hand it to the Chinese BTW, 5 stars for flying the J-20 during Gates' visit :mrgreen:

I'm also of the opinion that we shouldn't retire the B-1 or B-2. The B-1 is doing great CAS work, and as mentioned elsewhere it's a fearsome air to sea weapon. And let's not forget, China is building carriers and other large surface warships. The B-2 OK... it's a hangar queen. But the psychological impact of it would seem to warrant keeping it around.

I get the whole cost per flight hour thing, but looking at the chart... the B-52 isn't exactly cheap! Can it haul a ton to great altitude? Sure. But it's slow, has a RCS the size of a barn door and old as dirt. The incremental costs of keeping it flying have to be astronomical. Besides, the B-1 can haul just as much (or thereabouts) and get there a lot faster and be a lot more survivable.

Why again did we build 100, then retire 20 like, permanently?


Spare parts. The USAF urged congress that it could actually get more B-1s flying if it had fewer of them. And they were right.


Image

Where is the B-1 and B-2 Graveyard to pull parts from? Cost is basically inconsequential
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sferrin

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Unread post12 Sep 2018, 21:07

That's a pretty old picture. Today it's more like this:

DM.jpg
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