B-21 (LRS-B) Thread

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

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Unread post10 Jul 2019, 01:50

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.
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mixelflick

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Unread post11 Jul 2019, 16:25

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...
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jetblast16

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Unread post25 Jul 2019, 14:32

New B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Scheduled To Make Its First Flight In Late 2021

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... -late-2021
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Unread post25 Jul 2019, 15:05

Looking forward to that!
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blain

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Unread post25 Jul 2019, 20:50

mixelflick wrote: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...


A good way to keep cost down is to buy a lot of B-21s - predictable yearly buys at efficient numbers. The AF knows that. It's always the politicians that screw it up.

I was hoping for first flight in 2020 at least. I thought they were moving faster. But what about roll out? I thought the artist concept that AFM did was the best concept so far. I was anticipating that the intakes would be a lower profile than the B-2 - similar to the early B-2 design which adopted the intakes from Tacit Blue. I believe when they modified the B-2 design so it could penetrate at low altitude they needed to move the engines out from the center fuselage.

Size looks similar to the B-2. 2 weapons bays? Carrying 2 GBU-57s instead of one makes much more sense. If the size is similar to the B-2 then I would think that it is likely it will have 4 engines.

I will say this about the AF. They are marketing the B-21 like Apple markets the iPhone. First there was the naming contest. Every couple of months they release tidbits of info to keep people interested. I hope NG can keep the cost down.
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blain

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Unread post25 Jul 2019, 21:18

jetblast16 wrote:New B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Scheduled To Make Its First Flight In Late 2021

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... -late-2021


I love how Tyler threw in a reference to the RQ-180. So it has to exist, right? Shouldn't it be operational by now, or was it some type of demonstrator?

In a previous article he also mentioned the possibility of an NG long range strike demonstrator which flew during the early 2000s. What did they need to demonstrate? You would think that NG's experience with the B-2 is enough. I always thought of the B-21 as an evolutionary design of the B-2. Or are there technologies in the B-21 which are new?
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Unread post26 Jul 2019, 04:14

blain wrote:I love how Tyler threw in a reference to the RQ-180. So it has to exist, right? Shouldn't it be operational by now, or was it some type of demonstrator?

In a previous article he also mentioned the possibility of an NG long range strike demonstrator which flew during the early 2000s. What did they need to demonstrate? You would think that NG's experience with the B-2 is enough. I always thought of the B-21 as an evolutionary design of the B-2. Or are there technologies in the B-21 which are new?


It struck me how similar the B-21 art is to the few available images of Northrop's ATA proposal. That being said there is no evidence they ever built anything for that program.
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Unread post26 Jul 2019, 12:20

ErJ8A5e.jpg


The B-21 Program.. A mirage :mrgreen:
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Unread post28 Aug 2019, 13:24

B-21 Development Applying Tough Lessons From B-2

Aug 21, 2019

Lee Hudson | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

PALMDALE, California— The U.S. Air Force is taking lessons learned from the plagued B-2 Spirit bomber development program and applying them to the next-generation B-21 Raider. While it is unknown when the B-2 will retire, the aging stealth bomber may end up flying alongside the B-21. ... Although technical and acquisition problems inundated B-2 development, the classified B-21 is taking a different approach. ...

B-21 development appears to be progressing; the Air Force’s No. 2 officer—Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson—has said first flight is slated for December 2021. ... An Air Force illustration issued in 2016 of the B-21 design suggests it may closely resemble the B-2. ... “What we’ve learned on B-2 are finding themselves baselined in the design for B-21 for supportability, sustainability, [and] mission capable rate.”

The aging B-2s must be overhauled every nine years and are taken off the flight line for up to 12 months. Maintenance includes modifications and upgrades to antenna technology, avionics and software systems, costing U.S. taxpayers an average of $60 million for each aircraft, says Richard Sullivan, vice president and B-2 program manager at Northrop Grumman.

Separately, the Air Force is funding the $3 billion B-2 Defensive Management System Modernization (DMS-M) program to enhance the aircraft’s direct attack capability and upgrade its integrated air defense systems. The current DMS was designed in the 1980s and has not received any upgrades. “By leveraging ‘state-of-the-art’ electronic warfare antennae, processors, controller and displays, B-2 aircrews will realize unprecedented situational battlespace awareness and dynamic, real-time threat avoidance in the most complex radio frequency emitter environments,” the Air Force says. “The inherent increased sensitivity of the modernized DMS over the legacy system, with increased processing power, will build a battlespace picture that could be shared with joint force platforms by onboard communication systems.” DMS-M is facing a possible eight-month delay as the service works with Northrop Grumman to implement an agile software development framework, Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper told lawmakers in March. Engineering and manufacturing development for the effort goes through July 2022, according to fiscal 2020 budget documents.

Lawmakers acknowledge it is important that the nation’s only operational stealth bomber remain relevant. But the House Armed Services Committee is concerned about DMS-M schedule delays, according to a report accompanying the lower chamber’s mark of the fiscal 2020 defense policy bill. “Unless the B-2 DMS-M program makes significant changes, there may continue to be delays that will impact the success of the program,” the report says. ...

“Everything I hear is that cost, schedule and performance is right on expectations,” Dawkins says.

https://aviationweek.com/defense/b-21-d ... essons-b-2


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Unread post17 Sep 2019, 10:49

ohhh yah! ...

More B-21s Likely; B-1s To Carry Up To 8 Hypersonic Weapons
By COLIN CLARK
September 17, 2019 at 12:17 AM

AFA 2019: The United States will probably need substantially more B-21 bombers than the 100 it currently plans to buy. He didn’t say it that way, but that’s the only conclusion one can reach after listening to the head of Air Force Global Strike, Gen. Timothy Ray, here.

The U.S. has 156 bombers today. But the Air Force is committed to boasting 386 squadrons, up 75 from its total today. “Certainly,” Ray said, “that means good growth for the bombers.” He cited outside studies that conclude the Air Force needs 225 bombers. The current official benchmark, set by the bomber roadmap, is for 75 B-52s and 100 of the new B-21s bombers being built by Northrop Grumman. So 225 would mean another 50 bombers. ...


https://breakingdefense.com/2019/09/mor ... c-weapons/

Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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blain

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Unread post18 Sep 2019, 18:56

Goldfein wants to cut B-1s to fund B-21s.

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... ments.aspx

I think that's a reasonable trade off. If reliability can be improved, the B-1 still has value with its ability to carry large payloads internally. The new emphasis on sea control/sea denial in the Pacific will require more long range bombers. A squadron or two of B-1 armed with LRASMs could lay waste to the PLAN.

If upgrading the B-1 proves too costly then more B-21s would prove to be an asymmetric advantage in the Pacific in the first few days/weeks of a conflict, especially if the CSGs are forced to operate outside the envelope of the ASCM/ASBM threat.
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Unread post18 Sep 2019, 23:08

Will any other bomber or fighter from USAF receive the LRASM?
It would be very absurd to lose the anti-ship capacity.
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Unread post19 Sep 2019, 01:03

It's counter-intuitive to scrap B-1B and retain B-52H. If they are not executing the re-engine program for the B-52 then it will implode anyhow. B-1B is a Cadillac solution, but it is paid for already and available now. I'd want B-1B to be offered, for a lend-lease program of some type, to France or the UK at the least. Simply drawing them out of service for something not even in production is such a waste.
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Unread post19 Sep 2019, 15:21

madrat wrote:It's counter-intuitive to scrap B-1B and retain B-52H. If they are not executing the re-engine program for the B-52 then it will implode anyhow. B-1B is a Cadillac solution, but it is paid for already and available now. I'd want B-1B to be offered, for a lend-lease program of some type, to France or the UK at the least. Simply drawing them out of service for something not even in production is such a waste.

From the scuttlebutt in industry I am hearing the B-52 re-engine is a go.
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Unread post19 Sep 2019, 15:34

So just last week they were pimping the ability of the B-1B to carry larger weapons forward now with restoring the ability to use the movable bulkhead forward, as well as external pylons. And now they're saying they need to get rid of the bomber altogether? Could they please get their story straight? :doh:
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