Skip to comments.New Bomber Program 'Underway' But Cloaked in Secrecy
Posted on 02/24/2012 9:09:08 PM PST by U-238
America's new long-range bomber program is "underway," will involve somewhere between 80 and 100 planes and will be delivered sometime in the mid-2020's. "And that's about all we're saying," Air Force Secretary Mike Donley told reporters. It's been known for some time that the bombers will not fly alone but will be part of a family of systems that may include UAVs and other systems.
The really interesting part of all this is the secrecy and why it's so dark. It would seem to indicate several things: that the U.S. does not want potential competitors such as China or Russia to know how advanced a system will be delivered or exactly what capabilities it will involve; that the Air Force is still putting the larger architecture together, deciding which capabilities will be available.
The bomber will almost certainly include an unmanned capability, but no one has made a formal decision yet, an Air Force source told me. Many of the important subsystems have not yet been chosen, this source said. Even presuming that the $4 billion for the bomber in the 2013 budget submission spread over five years is supplemented by a few billion more in the black budget that is not much money to build 80 to 100 planes that will cost at least $550 million each. Even if that is flyaway cost -- which excludes research and development costs -- building a bomber able to penetrate denied airspace and fly thousands of miles to do it without refueling has never been cheap.
(Excerpt) Read more at defense.aol.com ...
And they would make dandy targets for the Chinese anti-sat missiles ...
True. But our GPS sats are a far more important military target. An RFG sat they can track and kill at will saving them a few hits on their facilities. Drop out GPS net and we’re toast. Why waste a good tactical advantage by taking out an RFG that is minimal threat unless its parked over Hong Kong?
Will be algae powered?
I think 9 is optimisitic. Maybe the AF will get to keep the two prototypes. Given its history over the last 25 years, how can any contractor believe military claims about how many A/C will be acquired?
The B52 was an amazing design, but the USAF is crazy if they think it will serve until 2040. The B52 was first flown in 1952. Having a 90 (!!!) year old aircraft in 2040 would be the equivalent to having the USAF flying biplanes from the 1920's as front line bombers today.
Umm...no. (Being polite here.)
Historical point of interest - the concept for RFG was originated by Jerry Pournelle when he was a Cold Warrior involved in strategic weaponry; he has an Operations Research background. He has been a noted computer columnist and science fiction writer for the last few decades, and was a space adviser to Reagan and Gingrich. He is a really interesting guy. I support him and his web site at about the same level I support Free Republic (and I’m a monthly). He is worth it.
I meant to ping you to my post above as well.
The Serif Patrol is going to have to gig the apostrophe in “2020’s there in the first sentence of the article.
Press the buzzer, Madeline.
And now the Serif Patrol will acknowledge the missing quotation mark in his post.
I too would like to see something from orbit.
Talk about reaching out and touching someone!
OK, make it an F-15 then.
Hahaha...that was a good way out of that one!
True. I still think the F-4 can do the job, but some say it lacked some dexterity although if it was the only thing I had to fly, well so be it. I was a bit tired anyhoo when I posted that.
LOL, that’s okay. Glad I was the only one who jumped on you..;)
I loved the Phantom. Classic plane . Sure, it can handle more ordinance, so as a flying ordinance truck, that is about the only thing it might have an advantage, but it would get toasted in 100 out of 100 air superiority metrics.
If some gave ME a Phantom to fly, I wouldn’t throw it out bed for eating crackers in the rack!
Can you say ‘stand off’ cruise missiles until the enemies AA system’s shut down. The US Navy can do it, the Air Force should do it. I love Hienlan’s ‘Rods from Gods’ program. No radioactive fall out or emp
Robert A. Heinlein’s novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress employs the concept of kinetic bombardment of the Earth from mass drivers on the Moon during a war of secession between the two planets.
Have to check that out. Thanks
The C-5 wouldn't need to be able to penetrate Soviet air space. It could just be flying during times of threat, and launch the missile from somewhere over Canada if an attack was confirmed.
The B-52 would have a problem with modern air defenses. It would be best as a missile platform, bringing large loads of cruise missiles near the target while staying out of range of enemy AAM. It would also be good for leveling places without modern air defenses.
The B1-B was not used in the Iraq war until after the US had completely destroyed Iraq's air defenses. It was not used until after B-52's were flying missions there.
The B-1B is pretty much a sitting duck against an opponent with modern air defenses because of its size/RCS, and problems protecting it with on-board electronic warfare equipment. The B-2 was developed to counter this vulnerability.
The B-1B is good for dumping a lot of bombs on unprotected targets (as is the B-52). I suppose it can get to the targets very fast (830+ mph) but I very much doubt that capability was required in any of its operational missions to date.
You waste fuel faster when going tree top level. You do have to contend with the laws of gravitation.
Excellent Point. By the time B-52s reach their targets nothing would be left of Russia and there would be not too many operational air bases funtioning in the United States.
Some Russian SLBMs would strike civilian airport runways that are at least 7000 Ft long. This is the minimum length required by B-52s; there were 210 such runways in the U.S. in 1977. During a crisis, big bombers would be dispersed to many of these long runways, and enemy SLBMs would be likely to target and hit these runways in an effort to destroy the maximum number of bombers. I have a plan to bring back any surviving bombers who managed to complete their objectives home but its only a plan.
A big problem with bombers, that most of them are located near ICBM bases.Making them susceptible to be destroyed in a sneak attack. That is why they are dispersed in civilian airports in emergencies.
“It would seem to indicate several things: that the U.S. does not want potential competitors such as China or Russia to know how advanced a system will be delivered or exactly what capabilities it will involve”
This is the insightful analysis that earns journalists their well-deserved high paying jobs.
Why would we need a new bomber, we hardly use the old ones.
Light ‘em up wimp!
“I loved the Phantom. Classic plane”
At a Marine Air Show when I was about 10 or 11 years old, a Marine pilot gave me my first lesson in aerodynamics by telling me “The Phantom is proof positive that if you put enough thrust behind it, you can make a brick fly”.
Some decades ago I was having an argument with guy over whether the Soviet "Backfire" should be considered a viable strategic bomber against the US. His argument was that the bomber couldn't carry enough fuel for a round trip.
My response was that they wouldn't expect a base to return to. They would hit their target, head for some wilderness area, set the autopilot, and have the crew bail out. They could go camping for a while until a winner was announced. (Or have some local communist meet them and bring them to a safe house).
You are right again.
People are forgetting these bomber crews will be exposed to high amounts of radiation by flying through the fallout. Unless, they weave around the clouds and waste precious fuel.There is also no guarantee that they will complete their missions when they are suffering acute radiation sickness.
As long as the bomber crew is far enough away at detonation time that they escape the blast effects of the bomb they dropped, they will outrun the fallout as well.
Bomber crews will be entering fallout from Russian cities and bases from our strikes.Returning home they will encountering fallout from American cities.
I would like to suggest to the surviving bomber crews and SSBNs to find a place in the southern hemisphere.
While Heinlein used it, Pournelle originated it. See my #61.
They were personal friends. Jerry very much looked up to Robert, and obviously Robert didn’t mind using some of Jerry’s genius.
Boy, that Marine pilot was spot on with that assessment of the Phantom, wasn’t he? Of course, those big honking, smoking J-79 engines were the epitome of power! From what I know of them (and being a former jet mechanic, I do know a little bit about them) they were apparently some damned rugged engines which could still function with compressor blades or turbine blades missing and that is saying something!
When I lived in the Philippines when I was a kid, I used to go over to the officers beach that was near Cubi Point. Things were different back then, and as a kid I would go up and walk around all the airplanes that were tied down, and nobody would stop me. I remember seeing the Phantoms, the Crusaders, the Corsairs, even saw a few Sky Warriors and Spads.
As a kid, it was glorious. I used to build these models all the time, and to see them up close in real life, peering into the intakes and the exhausts was too good to be true for me. Oddly enough, they had a high-power test area further down the beach. They would tie down the planes with their exhaust pointing out towards the water and run them at full throttle! We used to go down there and try and throw things into the exhaust, or run through the area even though there were signs up saying not to do it. (It wasn’t all that dangerous because the airplanes were tied down at the top of a large rocky embankment, so wasn’t as if the exhaust would blow directly at you. It was pretty much going over your head
I did the same thing there that I pretty much did down at the docks where the ships were tied up, and would ask all the sailors leaving the ship if they would take me aboard and show me around. If I asked 50 sailors, one of them will eventually do it, so I got to go all kinds of ships.
Up where they had the planes tied down, I would walk up to the pilots during their preflight walk around, and follow them around asking them questions. Once in a while, one of them would let me sit in the cockpit, which was completely the coolest thing since sliced bread!
One time, there was a pilot doing a preflight walk around on a Crusader. Right before he climbed in the cockpit, he told me I had to leave, then said Watch what I do when I take off while he grinned and climbed up into the plane.
I watched as he taxied out and took off. No sooner than his wheels left the ground, he retracted them, pulled back on the stick and went up into the sky at about a 70° angle. As he gained altitude, the aircraft began to roll continually, and went up and up, rolling wildly until he disappeared into the high clouds. It blew me away, I thought Hey he did that for me!
What was funny is I was up there a few days later and described to another pilot what he had done, and asked if he could do the same thing. I remember he looked at me shaking his head and said No, he got into a bit of trouble for that .