Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 01:18
by popcorn
Under the new plan the AF will be left with 75 B-52s and 100 B-21s. A lot depends on the Raider meeting it's cost and production targets to deliver the promised advanced capabilities in an airframe that's affordable to operate.

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

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

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

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

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

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 01:21
by XanderCrews
popcorn wrote:Under the new plan the AF will be left with 75 B-52s and 100 B-21s. A lot depends on the Raider meeting it's cost and production targets to deliver the promised advanced capabilities in an airframe that's affordable to operate.

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

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

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

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

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



I'm going to be pessimistic on this one

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 02:06
by rheonomic
*If* they meet cost and schedule targets, and *if* they buy in sufficient numbers, it probably make sense to replace the B-2s with B-2.1s. Hard to say for certain with only unclass data.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 15:58
by mixelflick
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??

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 16:05
by sferrin
"USAF's Controversial New Plan To Retire B-2 And B-1 Bombers Early Is A Good One"

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

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 16:43
by SpudmanWP
I just checked the B-21 budget.. Since it's a "Black" or should I say "Gray" program, no significant spending details are included other than MILCON spending starts in FY2021.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 17:49
by durahawk
sferrin wrote:"USAF's Controversial New Plan To Retire B-2 And B-1 Bombers Early Is A Good One"

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


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

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 18:32
by XanderCrews
rheonomic wrote:*If* they meet cost and schedule targets, and *if* they buy in sufficient numbers, it probably make sense to replace the B-2s with B-2.1s. Hard to say for certain with only unclass data.



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

It will go over budget

It will encounter delays

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


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

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

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 19:02
by sprstdlyscottsmn
XanderCrews wrote:Bonus prediction, the aircraft they will "retire early" end up serving longer than anyone predicted and/or are not fully replaced ever

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

I know not ALL of those were designed to replace the B-52, but they are all Air Force Bombers designed after the B-52.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 20:16
by SpudmanWP
I'm not sure what the justification is for keeping the Buff

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

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Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 22:07
by XanderCrews
SpudmanWP wrote:
I'm not sure what the justification is for keeping the Buff

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

Image



They won't put new engines on it. Juice isn't worth squeeze

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 23:47
by SpudmanWP
What "could have been"

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Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 05:16
by element1loop
durahawk wrote: ... I'm not sure what the justification is for keeping the Buff, at this point it doesn't seem to excel at anything except the ability to carry a crapton of ALCM's.


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

Plus external MALD-J.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Plan combo makes good sense.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 05:22
by rheonomic
mixelflick wrote:Since it's going to be smaller than the B-2 and presumably carry less fuel, how do you think it accomplishes this? Some breakthrough in engine tech that doesn't burn nearly as much fuel??


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

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

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

It will go over budget

It will encounter delays

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


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

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

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

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

Plan combo makes good sense.


Image

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 05:56
by element1loop
And once B1and B2 are gone, and B-52 is deemed non viable anymore (~2040) you necessarily extend the B-21 production line and get a 100% B-21 B-fleet.

Nice.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 07:36
by Corsair1963
element1loop wrote:And once B1and B2 are gone, and B-52 is deemed non viable anymore (~2040) you necessarily extend the B-21 production line and get a 100% B-21 B-fleet.

Nice.



Yes, my guess is once all of the B-1's and B-2's are replaced. The USAF will just continue production of the B-21 and start replacing the B-52's.....

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 07:49
by Dragon029
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.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 09:29
by wrightwing
element1loop wrote:And once B1and B2 are gone, and B-52 is deemed non viable anymore (~2040) you necessarily extend the B-21 production line and get a 100% B-21 B-fleet.

Nice.

The B-21 isn't a heavy bomber, and won't be able to replace all 3 current aircraft. The B-52 has payload, flexibility, range, and low cost per flight hour, that will insure it remains relevant.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 09:45
by Corsair1963
wrightwing wrote:
element1loop wrote:And once B1and B2 are gone, and B-52 is deemed non viable anymore (~2040) you necessarily extend the B-21 production line and get a 100% B-21 B-fleet.

Nice.

The B-21 isn't a heavy bomber, and won't be able to replace all 3 current aircraft. The B-52 has payload, flexibility, range, and low cost per flight hour, that will insure it remains relevant.



Do we really need such heavy bombers anymore???

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 20:34
by wrightwing
Corsair1963 wrote:
wrightwing wrote:
element1loop wrote:And once B1and B2 are gone, and B-52 is deemed non viable anymore (~2040) you necessarily extend the B-21 production line and get a 100% B-21 B-fleet.

Nice.

The B-21 isn't a heavy bomber, and won't be able to replace all 3 current aircraft. The B-52 has payload, flexibility, range, and low cost per flight hour, that will insure it remains relevant.



Do we really need such heavy bombers anymore???

Yes.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 22:08
by botsing
wrightwing wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:Do we really need such heavy bombers anymore???

Yes.

To me the doctrine of the B2.1 is the distribution of force over a wider area combined with integrated C4ISR.

So in essence a bomb/missile truck with lots of sensors, a long loiter time and stealth.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 23:33
by popcorn
botsing wrote:
wrightwing wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:Do we really need such heavy bombers anymore???

Yes.

To me the doctrine of the B2.1 is the distribution of force over a wider area combined with integrated C4ISR.

So in essence a bomb/missile truck with lots of sensors, a long loiter time and stealth.

AFAIK the B-21 aka LRSB is part of the Long Range Strike Family of Systems. to include other LRS like a new LRS missile and a LR penetrating multimission UAS. One way of keeping costs down on the new bomber was to partner it with a long-range UAS that could complement the B-21's capabilities eg. ISR, EW to more effectively deal with changing threat environments. So I see the B-21 operating within the networked battle space.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 23:52
by count_to_10
The B-21 isn’t going to be that much smaller than the B-2, and will probably have about the same range. If they go for half the B-2 payload in a single bomb bay, there won’t be anything the B-2 can do that two B-21s can’t.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2018, 00:20
by wrightwing
botsing wrote:

To me the doctrine of the B2.1 is the distribution of force over a wider area combined with integrated C4ISR.

So in essence a bomb/missile truck with lots of sensors, a long loiter time and stealth.

We still need the ability to have long persistence, large payload, and low cost per flight hour, too.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2018, 00:25
by wrightwing
count_to_10 wrote:The B-21 isn’t going to be that much smaller than the B-2, and will probably have about the same range. If they go for half the B-2 payload in a single bomb bay, there won’t be anything the B-2 can do that two B-21s can’t.

What's the CPFH for 2 B-21s vs 1 B-52, though? They each have their niche. The B-21 can penetrate. The B-52 can loiter, and shoot lots of missiles. In low intensity campaigns, being able to carry >70,000lbs of ordnance is very useful.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2018, 01:32
by rheonomic
wrightwing wrote:In low intensity campaigns, being able to carry >70,000lbs of ordnance is very useful.


This. The B-52 is basically the arsenal plane for uncontested airspace.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2018, 14:15
by sferrin
Corsair1963 wrote:
wrightwing wrote:
element1loop wrote:And once B1and B2 are gone, and B-52 is deemed non viable anymore (~2040) you necessarily extend the B-21 production line and get a 100% B-21 B-fleet.

Nice.

The B-21 isn't a heavy bomber, and won't be able to replace all 3 current aircraft. The B-52 has payload, flexibility, range, and low cost per flight hour, that will insure it remains relevant.



Do we really need such heavy bombers anymore???


You planning on carrying this 5000 miles on an F-15?

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2018, 15:30
by vilters
No, not on F-15's.
But was the mother of all bombs not dropped from a C-130? :devil:

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2018, 16:46
by wrightwing
vilters wrote:No, not on F-15's.
But was the mother of all bombs not dropped from a C-130? :devil:

The MOAB and the MOP are 2 completely different weapons.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2018, 18:06
by sferrin
MOAB:

a-us-air-force-massive-ordnance-air-blast-moab-bomb-sits-on-the-flight-J0KF6B.jpg


It makes a loud boom on the surface. MOP is 50% heavier and goes boom underground.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2018, 20:30
by XanderCrews
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

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2018, 01:57
by white_lightning35
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.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2018, 02:51
by marsavian
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.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2018, 03:14
by white_lightning35
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?

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2018, 17:46
by mixelflick
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)..

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 00:18
by delvo
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.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 00:37
by madrat
Or mothball B-1B and introduce them back as you ditch B-52s in 2040. START is dead after all.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 04:56
by element1loop
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.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 05:52
by SpudmanWP
It's a good thing that they are already buying LRASMs for the B-1B.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 06 Aug 2018, 15:44
by mixelflick
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.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 06 Aug 2018, 19:25
by wrightwing
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.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2018, 17:07
by mixelflick
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?

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2018, 20:40
by marsavian
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.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2018, 20:46
by XanderCrews
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

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2018, 21:07
by sferrin
That's a pretty old picture. Today it's more like this:

DM.jpg

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2018, 22:20
by XanderCrews
sferrin wrote:That's a pretty old picture. Today it's more like this:

DM.jpg



Yep, my point is they drew from those for year and years, and i assume those are the B-1s they put out to pasture specifically to free up parts years back. but I stand to be corrected.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Sep 2018, 01:45
by FlightDreamz
Is anyone else not concerned over the B-1 Spirit's bigger bomb bay's (as compared to the B-21 Raider) that is being retired.
Someone already mentioned the M.O.A.B. will the B-21 be able to carry that? A B-21 Raider/B-52J Stratofortress (as currently planned) solves a lot of problems (not the least of which is cost) but leaves some vulnerabilities too. At least from where I'm sitting. And yeah, the B-1 Lancer can do bombing AND C.A.S. but it's maintenance heavy. Retiring it could free up some funds (and maintenance personnel). Remember when the U.S.A.F. used the argument that retiring the A-10 Warthog would free up maintenance crews for the forthcoming F-35A Lightning II????

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Sep 2018, 02:57
by wrightwing
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?

750 wasn't the not less than requirement for the F-22, though. They're not going to retire the B-1B and B-2 fleets, and then do a repeat of the B-2 program. A better (and more recent model) is the F-35. The 1763 aircraft requirement hasn't changed.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 13 Sep 2018, 04:11
by element1loop
marsavian wrote:B-52/B-2 are nuclear birds too which enhances their usefulness to the military.


Maybe as a deterrent force, but not for practical usability options. The focus always needs to be on conventional poke, IMO, as that's what real-world war-fighting will be.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2018, 00:27
by popcorn
JASSM-XR is going to ensure the legacy bomber fleets remain relevant going forward. What's not to like with 1000-mile LO cruise missile?

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2018, 02:39
by wrightwing
popcorn wrote:JASSM-XR is going to ensure the legacy bomber fleets remain relevant going forward. What's not to like with 1000-mile LO cruise missile?

That'll also potentially give carriers a pretty significant strike radius, especially when combined with the MQ-25.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2018, 02:58
by popcorn
wrightwing wrote:
popcorn wrote:JASSM-XR is going to ensure the legacy bomber fleets remain relevant going forward. What's not to like with 1000-mile LO cruise missile?

That'll also potentially give carriers a pretty significant strike radius, especially when combined with the MQ-25.

Not just CVNs... No reason why they can't strap on a booster and shoot it out of a VLS..

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2018, 04:45
by wrightwing
popcorn wrote:
wrightwing wrote:
popcorn wrote:JASSM-XR is going to ensure the legacy bomber fleets remain relevant going forward. What's not to like with 1000-mile LO cruise missile?

That'll also potentially give carriers a pretty significant strike radius, especially when combined with the MQ-25.

Not just CVNs... No reason why they can't strap on a booster and shoot it out of a VLS..

Indeed. SSN/SSGNs with VLO cruise missiles would be pretty potent, too.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2018, 13:56
by sferrin
popcorn wrote:JASSM-XR is going to ensure the legacy bomber fleets remain relevant going forward. What's not to like with 1000-mile LO cruise missile?


Well considering they USE to have an 1800-mile LO cruise missile in the form of the AGM-129 (until the brain trusts at the DoD retired it). . .they still have a ways to go:

AGM-129_ACM_-_ID_DF-SD-04-03208.JPEG

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2018, 13:59
by sferrin
XanderCrews wrote:
sferrin wrote:That's a pretty old picture. Today it's more like this:

DM.jpg



Yep, my point is they drew from those for year and years, and i assume those are the B-1s they put out to pasture specifically to free up parts years back. but I stand to be corrected.


Pretty sure, as you point out, that's exactly what they're for.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2018, 16:00
by element1loop
sferrin wrote:
popcorn wrote:JASSM-XR is going to ensure the legacy bomber fleets remain relevant going forward. What's not to like with 1000-mile LO cruise missile?


Well considering they USE to have an 1800-mile LO cruise missile in the form of the AGM-129 (until the brain trusts at the DoD retired it). . .they still have a ways to go


All nukes though.

Not a bomber but a VLO multi-role (with more legs than F-15E) able to seed as many as 4 x JASSM-ER per aircraft, plus 2 x JSM internally and 2 x SLAMMERS, plus 2 x AIM-9X, has similar combined strike range (and is actually usable). In practical terms they've got it covered.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2018, 16:24
by sferrin
element1loop wrote:
sferrin wrote:
popcorn wrote:JASSM-XR is going to ensure the legacy bomber fleets remain relevant going forward. What's not to like with 1000-mile LO cruise missile?


Well considering they USE to have an 1800-mile LO cruise missile in the form of the AGM-129 (until the brain trusts at the DoD retired it). . .they still have a ways to go


All nukes though.


So were AGM-86s. . .until they weren't.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2018, 08:34
by hkultala
FlightDreamz wrote:Is anyone else not concerned over the B-1 Spirit's bigger bomb bay's (as compared to the B-21 Raider) that is being retired.
Someone already mentioned the M.O.A.B. will the B-21 be able to carry that?


Even B-1B cannot carry MOAB.

MOAB is carried by C-130.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2018, 19:16
by wrightwing
hkultala wrote:
FlightDreamz wrote:Is anyone else not concerned over the B-1 Spirit's bigger bomb bay's (as compared to the B-21 Raider) that is being retired.
Someone already mentioned the M.O.A.B. will the B-21 be able to carry that?


Even B-1B cannot carry MOAB.

MOAB is carried by C-130.

He was probably thinking about the MOP.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2018, 21:36
by hkultala
wrightwing wrote:
hkultala wrote:
FlightDreamz wrote:Is anyone else not concerned over the B-1 Spirit's bigger bomb bay's (as compared to the B-21 Raider) that is being retired.
Someone already mentioned the M.O.A.B. will the B-21 be able to carry that?


Even B-1B cannot carry MOAB.

MOAB is carried by C-130.

He was probably thinking about the MOP.


MOP can be carried by B-2. No need to be carrier by B-21 if B-2 is not replaced by B-21.

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 18 Sep 2018, 03:35
by FlightDreamz
I was thinking about the M.O.P. (-sorry-)! Thanks wrightwing and hkultala! It seems like the current plan is to retire the B-2 Spirit and keep an all (upgraded)B-52 and B-21 Raider force. I'm just wondering about loss of capability. :shrug:

Re: Early Retirement for B-1 and B-2

Unread postPosted: 18 Sep 2018, 06:04
by wrightwing
There's been nothing to suggest that the B-21 can't carry the GBU-57.