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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jetblast16

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 03:17

I can't say just how legit those pictures are...but..(I did watch the official roll-out, which was at night..)
Have F110, Block 70, will travel
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noth

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 03:28

Compared to the B-2 roll out back in 88? it's very bland and boring. No side shots? Why not? 35 years more engineering and the shape hasn't evolved all that much. Oh well, so long as it's available in big numbers by the time of the Taiwan opening show, with adequate range, it'll do. The placing of the side windows is bizarre but I'm sure someone will come along eventually to explain their shape and placement.
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afjag

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 03:59

Anyone know if that is operational color scheme for the B-21?
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jessmo112

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 04:11

2158bf43cae999404815ffeab0ec850c.png
Someone posted this on warzone.

I'd that a water mark under the plane or did it take out its 1st bird?
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charlielima223

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 06:02

afjag wrote:Anyone know if that is operational color scheme for the B-21?


Sky Ghost Grey? :-? :shrug:
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charlielima223

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 06:49

https://breakingdefense.com/2022/12/ahe ... -wont-see/

Attendees have been given strict guidance that prohibits taking smartphones into the event or shooting video during the ceremony. The B-21 will only be permitted to be photographed from a raised platform with cameras that meet lens requirements.

Although the Air Force acknowledges the existence of the B-21, the overwhelming majority of details about the classified program — including detailed cost data and information about the Raider’s new capabilities — have been kept secret in the hopes of preventing China or Russia from gaining an edge against the new bomber.
***
Northrop currently has six Raiders in production at its facilities at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale. The B-21 that will be featured in today’s ceremony is the first test article, which is currently moving through ground tests and is slated to fly sometime next year, Warden said.


This comment in the article strikes me more than others...

Northrop has touted the B-21 as the “world’s first sixth-generation aircraft” created using agile software development and digital engineering practices that allow it to model the design and sustainment of the aircraft with higher level of precision, which makes it easier for its suppliers to repeatedly produce parts that meet strict technical specifications, Warden said.


what makes this a 6th gen aircraft? :?
There is atleast some kind of definable feature or capability.
Image
(As I see it) Wtih 3rd generation aircraft it was the addition of things like radar and early computers. 4th generation aircraft seemlessly blended radar, avionics, and performance into a more efficient package. The most definable feature for 5th gen aircraft is their stealth capabilities be it LO or VLO. Along with balancing kinematic performance comparable or better than their predecessors 5th gen aircraft have things like sensor fusion (when F-22 came out it was called integrated avionics). So what is the definable feature for the B-21 that puts it a generation above 5th gen? :shrug:
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aaam

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 07:42

charlielima223 wrote:
I will say this, she does appear smaller than the B-2. I am using the ground guides as a frame of reference for the aircraft.


Well, the expectation has been that unlike the canceled NGB, B-21 was going to be smaller than B-2. Looking at the MLG, the fact that each on has two wheels rather than four as on the B-2 would tend to support this.
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aaam

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 08:02

noth wrote:Compared to the B-2 roll out back in 88? it's very bland and boring. No side shots? Why not? 35 years more engineering and the shape hasn't evolved all that much. Oh well, so long as it's available in big numbers by the time of the Taiwan opening show, with adequate range, it'll do. The placing of the side windows is bizarre but I'm sure someone will come along eventually to explain their shape and placement.


Regarding the '88 rollout, maybe USAF didn't want to make the same mistakes it did back then. Specifically, they placed the audience in such a way as to block views of the B-2's exhaust and details of the trailing edge. A lot can be determined about RCS and IR signature from the rear on an all-aspect stealth design such as the B-2 by seeing the exhausts and aft planform. They also, I believe, wanted to conceal the B-2's "double-W" trailing edge. This later feature was added in final design when USAF imposed a new requirement for the capability to do penetrations at low altitude. They didn't want to give that away too soon.

Unfortunately, they didn't think outside the box. IIRC, some enterprising and knowledgeable reporters simply rented a light general aviation aircraft and took pictures from the air. Also, it looks like not all groups communicated with each other regarding what they did and didn't want to reveal. Find a picture of the B-2 rollout, or even of the apron from the day before. Right there on the tarmac is an impressive and patriotic star, which is good PR. Look closely at the star. It is actually made up of five overhead silhouettes of the B-2 with the trailing edge shape clearly depicted.

They probably didn't want that kind of thing to happen again. Also there is the nowadays problem of camera equipped drones. My guess is that they took extra pains to make sure this rollout was more "opaque" (one of the reasons they did it at night) or at least "translucent".

Regarding the windows, program officials have reportedly said the B-21's windscreen design should be easier to maintain and offer better visibility for inflight refueling.
Last edited by aaam on 03 Dec 2022, 08:16, edited 1 time in total.
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aaam

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 08:13

charlielima223 wrote:https://breakingdefense.com/2022/12/ahead-of-b-21-raider-reveal-northrop-ceo-touts-tech-you-wont-see/

what makes this a 6th gen aircraft? :?
:shrug:


Is there any "real" definition of what constitutes an aircraft "generation" other than what someone wants to call it? I can make a good case that there have been six generations so far and that would make this new craft the "seventh". I believe for the past few decades we have been mostly using Lockheed's generation designations, but Northrop could call their design whatever they want and not be officially wrong.
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jessmo112

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 09:27

My predictions:

The only metric we have to work with is that
An article I just read stated that the plane would likely carry 1 GBU-57 rather than 2.

This gives the plane 30k lbs of ordinance bare minimum.
That should translate to 24 LSRAM or 1000 pounds weapons. Or 60 500lb Jdams

Its not the hauling capacity of the B-2 or B-1, but that is alot of firepower. We are talking 30k minimum
For weapons.

I'm also going to predict that the plane will self escort with a radar and AMRAAMs. I think that this will open up options for an arsenal plane like configuration.
Imagine this thing loitering over Kadena with 30+ amraams in the bay. Again just speculating
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charlielima223

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 14:14

aaam wrote:
charlielima223 wrote:https://breakingdefense.com/2022/12/ahead-of-b-21-raider-reveal-northrop-ceo-touts-tech-you-wont-see/

what makes this a 6th gen aircraft? :?
:shrug:


Is there any "real" definition of what constitutes an aircraft "generation" other than what someone wants to call it? I can make a good case that there have been six generations so far and that would make this new craft the "seventh". I believe for the past few decades we have been mostly using Lockheed's generation designations, but Northrop could call their design whatever they want and not be officially wrong.


We're not going to go down the Bill Sweetman route of something along the lines of claiming that the Gripen E could be a considered a 6th gen aircraft are we?

Image
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charlielima223

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 14:34

jessmo112 wrote:My predictions:

The only metric we have to work with is that
An article I just read stated that the plane would likely carry 1 GBU-57 rather than 2.

This gives the plane 30k lbs of ordinance bare minimum.
That should translate to 24 LSRAM or 1000 pounds weapons. Or 60 500lb Jdams

Its not the hauling capacity of the B-2 or B-1, but that is alot of firepower. We are talking 30k minimum
For weapons.

I'm also going to predict that the plane will self escort with a radar and AMRAAMs. I think that this will open up options for an arsenal plane like configuration.
Imagine this thing loitering over Kadena with 30+ amraams in the bay. Again just speculating


Can you please provide a link to that article you read :)

Speculations and predictions is all we have to go on at this point until data from its test and development because public info. The idea of a self escorting bomber like the B-21 sounds cool. The USAF tossed around the idea of an "arsenal plane" back in the early 2000's with their B-1R concept idea. Would they be willing to do that with the B-21? The idea of F-22s and F-35s feeding targeting info to an unseen B-21 sending an extra volley of missiles or cruise missiles sounds scary.
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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 14:55

She's a beauty IMO, largely due to the ongoing mystery surrounding her...

The assumption among many was 2 engines, but until we know more - I'd say we now have to at least entertain 4. Also, the Sec of Defense comments regarding range could be construed as anything from better fight software, to flying much higher, to an entirely new engine (and everything in between). Think use of all 4 engines on takeoff/climb, then shut 2 down when getting to cruise altitude. During the run-in/weapons release you're back to 4 engines, cruise home on 2 then land with 4 for safety's sake.

I know it isn't the norm, but we constantly hear about the reliability of engines today and.... sometimes simple engineering solutions beat complex ones. It may also be that it has a buddy tanking system. If you're flying an all up stealth bomber/LRS aircraft, tanking from an aircraft with the RCS of a barn door makes little sense..

Anyway, it's all very intriguing...
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ricnunes

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 14:55

aaam wrote:
charlielima223 wrote:https://breakingdefense.com/2022/12/ahead-of-b-21-raider-reveal-northrop-ceo-touts-tech-you-wont-see/

what makes this a 6th gen aircraft? :?
:shrug:


Is there any "real" definition of what constitutes an aircraft "generation" other than what someone wants to call it? I can make a good case that there have been six generations so far and that would make this new craft the "seventh". I believe for the past few decades we have been mostly using Lockheed's generation designations, but Northrop could call their design whatever they want and not be officially wrong.


As you can see in the image shared by charlielima223, I would say that the current "system" of 5 generations makes all sense. Basically what defines a new generation of fighter/combat aircraft is the appearance or implementation of a new ground-breaking technology or capability. For example:
- With first generation -> the jet engine
- With second generation -> supersonic and rear-aspect air-to-air missile capabilities
- With third generation -> limited beyond visual range (BVR) and all-aspect air-to-air missile capabilities
- With fourth generation -> supermaneuvrability/agility and expanded beyond visual range (BVR) capabilities
- With fifth generation -> stealth (very low observability/VLO) and integrated sensor fusion capabilities.

Of course some later gen technologies can be retrofitted in previous gen fighter aircraft but not all and as such a fighter aircraft from a generation will never be able to move to the next generation. For example:
- Some 3rd gen F-4 Phantoms were fitted with 4th gen radars and missiles (expanded BVR capabilities) but they cannot be fitted with supermaneuvrability. This means that the F-4 Phantoms can never be a 4th gen fighter aircraft.
- Some 4th gen aircraft like the Rafale are fitted with capabilities that mimic 5th gen sensor fusion capabilities but cannot be fitted with stealth. This means that the Rafale can never be a 5th gen fighter aircraft.
- And so on...


As opposed with this supposed "6th gen", what's supposed to be the ground-breaking technology or capability?? I would say there's none.
Yes, for example NGAD will be better than the F-22 and F-35 but will it bring some new ground-breaking technology or capability which updated F-22 or F-35 couldn't have? I doubt it. But I could be wrong thou.

Moreover, those generations as far as I know are only used to represent fighter aircraft or at best, light combat aircraft. They aren't used to represent strategical bombers. And the B-21 is a strategical bomber! So, calling the B-21 a "6th generation" aircraft doesn't make much sense to start with.

As opposed to what people claimed about 5th gen, the "6th gen" is actually a "marketing stunt"! I think that all this "6th gen" BS started when someone claimed that the Gripen NG/E would be a "6th gen" fighter aircraft and for some reason the "6th gen" term sticked in :roll:
The 5th gen only recently started to kick in. And while technology does indeed move at a much faster pace nowadays, it's not that fast.
Again, I don't think that there's any technology fitted on a planned or in development "6th gen" aircraft that cannot be fitted in a 5th gen aircraft. Moreover, removing control surfaces such as the tails or the horizontal stabs doesn't IMO warrants the "birth" of a new (6th) generation.

P.S - IMO, the B-21 should be a called something like a "4th generation bomber". As we can all watch on the B-21's unveiling ceremony it's more like:
1st generation (bomber) -> B-52
2nd generation (bomber) -> B-1
3rd generation (bomber) -> B-2
4th generation (bomber) -> B-21
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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steve2267

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Unread post03 Dec 2022, 16:15

Four engines is still too many IMO. Taking off with four motors and shutting two down means you are just lugging a lot of dead weight around. That hurts gas mileage.

The B-2, a larger, heavier aircraft with a larger payload -- at least 60,000lb (two GBU-57's), has four F118s with about 17,000lb each. Gen Bogdon (ret) previously had said the B-21 will use an F135 derivative (or related) motor. The F135 has about 28,000lb thrust dry. So two give you 56,000lb thrust (+/-), compared to the 68,000lb (+/-) of the B-2.

I stand by my original "prediction" of the B-21 being a twin engined aircraft.

As I stated earlier, I find the "splitter" plate inside the right air intake to be most curious. That, to me, is the biggest suggestion two motors is incorrect, but then I would imagine the motors are putting out a lot less than 28,000lb thrust.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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