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B2 Bomber - Is it really a viable weapon for the future ?

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posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:02 PM
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Seeing how costy this airplane is to operate and the increasing threat of modern counter LO radars.. is this plane still a viable option for 'silver bullet' type day one attack against heavily defended targets ?



Only about seven of the U.S. Air Force's 21 B-2 bombers are ready to go at any time, and now, a combination of robots, sprayers and quality control are trying to double the readiness rate. But for a long time, the B-2 has been known as a "Hanger Queen" (an aircraft that spends too much time in the hanger for maintenance or repairs).

Two years ago, the U.S. Air Force introduced the use of robots to reduce the maintenance efforts required to keep their B-2 bombers flying. The B-2 uses a stealth (anti-radar) system that depends a lot on a smooth outer skin. That, in turn, requires that the usual access panels and such on the B-2 must be covered with tape and special paste to make it all smooth. And after every flight, a lot of this tape and paste has to be touched up, either because of the result of flying, or because access panels had to be opened.

All this takes at lot of time, being one of the main reasons the B-2 required 25 man hours of maintenance for each hour in the air. Since most B-2 missions have been 30 or more hours each, well, do the math. The readiness rate of the B-2 fleet (of 21 aircraft) has been about 35 percent, which is less than half the rate of most other aircraft. This means, that whenever there is a crises that requires the attention of B-2s, there are not many of these bombers ready to fly.

The main base for B-2s is in Missouri, and over a thousand maintenance personnel are assigned to take care of 21 aircraft there. A team of four robots were installed, to liquid coating to B-2s, thus cutting maintenance hours in half. But there were quality control problems with the liquid coating, often forcing maintenance crews to go back to tape and paste. Now the quality control problems are thought to be solved, and, if that is the case, the readiness rate of B-2s may go up to 70 percent. Maybe, if everything works out.

B-2s still requires a special, climate controlled hangars. There are some portable B-2 hangers, that can be flown to distant bases, thus keeping the bombers in the air less, and reducing the amount of maintenance needed. B-2 quality hangers have been built at Guam, in the Pacific, and Diego Garcia in the Indian ocean Still, the cost to operate the B-2 is over three times that of the B-52. If stealth is not an issue (not much enemy opposition), than it's a lot cheaper to send a B-52.

This is exactly what the air force does most of the time. But in a war with a nation possessing modern (or even semi-modern) air defenses, the B-2s can be very valuable. Costing over two billion dollars each to buy, and very expensive to operate, the B-2s provide that extra edge. No other nation has anything like the B-2s, although many are working on ways to defeat it's stealth and knock them down. Still, when equipped with over a hundred of the new SDB (250 pound, GPS guided Small Diameter Bomb), the B-2 would be a formidable one-plane air force.


www.strategypage.com...




The B-2s are actually not used much now, partly because few targets justify risking aircraft that cost $3 billion apiece in today's dollars, and partly because their flights by some estimates cost $135,000 per hour - almost double that of any other military airplane.
$135,000 per hour of flight? That's a steep price tag, especially considering the flight was round-trip and involved two stealth bombers. Per the military's statement:

This mission by two B-2 Spirit bombers assigned to 509th Bomb Wing ... involved flying more than 6,500 miles to the Korean Peninsula, dropping inert munitions on the Jik Do Range, and returning to the continental U.S. in a single, continuous mission.
The military didn't say how many hours the B-2s were in the air. But even if the B-2s were traveling at top speed the entire way (628 mph), which they most certainly were not, it would mean 10.3 hours each way -- a tally that doesn't even include the amount of time it took to drop the munitions on the South Korean island. Adding it all up, that's 20.6 hours of flight time for two B-2 bombers -- for an estimated cost of $5.5 million.
edit on 30-8-2014 by buntalanlucu because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:13 PM
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Simple answer: Yes.



posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:17 PM
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No.

10 stealth drones can deliver the payload of one at 1/3 the cost.



posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:19 PM
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a reply to: Retikx

With more that can go wrong. One airplane hitting one target has less that can go wrong when compared to 10 or more hitting one target.



posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:24 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Brand new simplified mass produced tech wins over aging human controlled finite weaponry.

With drone tech going further and further every year you could afford to have 10 bombers and 20 disposable decoys and still achieve the same results as a b2 at 1/3 the cost.



posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:29 PM
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a reply to: buntalanlucu

I retired as a command pilot at Oklahoma and Missouri ... after F4 F111 B52 B1B. B2 is an expensive boondoggle . Most refueling is about avoiding weather - not mission related ( directly ) .

Wyoming and NDakota have aircraft Mach 6+ which are much stealthier , always have . B2 is ( was ) great for investors , that 's about it . Sorry .Also- a take your life in your hands sort of sled to fly - tell you what .



posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:32 PM
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a reply to: Retikx

And they're still human controlled. But that's not the point. The point is that it's a lot better, from every aspect, to have one or two planes to hit multiple targets, than it is to have a huge gaggle to hit fewer targets. It's better from a maintenance standpoint, it's better from a C3 standpoint, it's better from a ground control standpoint.... The less you have that can go wrong, the better. Adding more aircraft to the mix is NOT the better way to go.



posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:35 PM
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a reply to: Bazart

What does refueling have to do with whether it works or not?

And it's hardly a "take your life in your hands" type, considering that it's flown for over 20 years now, and they've only lost one, and both crew got out.



posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:39 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Retikx

And they're still human controlled. But that's not the point. The point is that it's a lot better, from every aspect, to have one or two planes to hit multiple targets, than it is to have a huge gaggle to hit fewer targets. It's better from a maintenance standpoint, it's better from a C3 standpoint, it's better from a ground control standpoint.... The less you have that can go wrong, the better. Adding more aircraft to the mix is NOT the better way to go.


Hate to seem negative ... but investors prefer the more is better approach . It's all about investors , I now know ( in my old age ) .



posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 11:43 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I can't really say , except that certain ' coatings ' are atmospherically sensitive , if you will ...

The product does not in fact function without stealth .

I'm a white knuckle survivor , as to the last ...

edit on 30-8-2014 by Bazart because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 12:51 AM
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Nothing in military procurement is worth the money.. $800 dollar toilet seats and $500 hammers not to mention paying usually 150% over for things most civilians can buy at any parts place.. Milspec or military specifications for parts are part of the cost but evidently since China and even Russia supply some of the parts used in our fighters or rockets things might have changed... Since our manufacturing base has been eroded by our tax system and companies finally figuring it just ain't worth it to play by America's tax laws anymore.... I suppose we get the parts where we can..

If you look at the wars we have fought since WWll we do not fight the big boys but the little guys who we know we can kick their butt due to airpower.

Korean war showed we were severely lacking in air superiority until we got the F-86 to fight the Chinese/Russian/ Korean Mig 15s which many were flown by Russian trained Chinese and Russian pilots... After the war, the US Air Force claimed a kill ratio of around 10 to 1 for MiG-Sabre battles. Other research has challenged this and suggested that the ratio was much lower primarily due to encounters with RUSSIAN pilots who had also survived WWll and had actual combat experience .

At this rate the B-52s can continue to fly for another 50 years if we only fight countries with limited assets... Besides the name of the game is proxy wars.. Fire up some faction in a country and get them to do the fighting and dying.. Run a B-2 in during the middle of the night 'if needed' to help your proxies achieve some military goal...no one the wiser... The military can always (in their minds) justify the cost of obscenely priced hardware.. Spend it or lose it.. Mild rant finished, whew !

I just hope if we ever do get into a real shooting war with a worthy opponent our military doctrine with regards to airpower is sufficient to keep our pilots and air crewmen from dying for their country.. I always thought the others guys were supposed to die for their country and we tried to insure that scenario by giving our guys the best equipment money could buy..

Vietnam and F-4s with no guns an sorry no-worky air to air missiles allowed F-4s to be shot down by Mig 15s, 17s, and Mig 21s which changed my faith in the American planners and procurement process.. Depending on the source a total of 445 Air Force Phantom fighter-bombers were lost, 370 in combat and 193 of those over North Vietnam (33 to MiGs, 30 to SAMs, and 307 to AAA.. With those type of loss rates we will be down to pulling stuff out of mothballs form the desert if we actually went against a country that knew what it was doing.. If I remember correctly there were 30 or 31 B-52s shot down during Vietnam and one of those shoot downs was claimed by a Mig 21 pilot... The Airforce said it was a Sam but the NV pilot got the credit in his country for the kill. So... 21 gold plated bombers against a worthy opponent what is to keep an enemy from bombing the base and wiping out half the fleet in an opening move... They don't seem to know where Malaysian airlines flight 370 is so what makes anyone think a sneaky attack could not be pulled off on Guam or some other outlying base.. At 37,000 feet the radar from Guam could pick us up at about 225 miles from Guam.. If we would have been wave hopping we could have done a Pearl Harbor type attack before the commander even got his shoes on. Much of the stuff that is hinted at as far as effectiveness is for enemies to have something to think about and to keep the moral and that winning attitude with our troops alive and believing Ra Ra USA. Not saying we do not have some awesome systems when they work.. Key wording is WHEN THEY WORK ! Also with political medaling in military operations the results are men die needlessly... Call me "Ye of little faith" not in our men who do the actual fighting and flying but in those who give them the weapons of war. F-35 will be interesting the first time it is used in a real conflict as will the F-22... War games and real life and death war does not always mirror each other IMO.

I would worry about attrition during a prolonged non nuke conflict with a country such as China or Russia....



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 01:23 AM
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a reply to: 727Sky

Regarding mh370 if the us govt did pick it up on radar they probably wouldn't say anyway because it shows the power of their radars.



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 03:45 AM
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originally posted by: 727Sky

Poor spelling, incorrect use of punctuation, random paragraphs and irellevent nonsence.






I just hope if we ever do get into a real shooting war with a worthy opponent our military doctrine with regards to airpower is sufficient to keep our pilots and air crewmen from dying for their country


Like the B2? Like the F22? Like the F35 will be?

So im lost in your post, are you saying it is, or is not a viable weapon?



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 04:17 AM
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a reply to: Bazart

So they've been flying around for almost thirty years, with no problems, refueling, flying forty plus hour missions etc, but they're death traps that require new coatings after every flight.

BS much?



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 04:18 AM
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a reply to: Bazart

Right, because the Air Force is run by investors.



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 04:56 AM
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My understanding is that the B2 has some tricks up her sleeve. Also that aircraft seem to do a leap frog type thing. So the most badass thing the public knows about is the most badass thing the public knows about (capability or other aircraft may differ and be far more advanced). By the time even people that research the crap out of this can verify the latest and greatest there's already something else.

I don't really know crap, but after doing too much reading about planes over the last few months I'm fairly confident that the B2 isn't nearly as detectable as people may think. Also that some other things may already be operational, or at least about to be.

---

Question about B2 flying in inclement weather. I thought there may have been some truth to that, and that certain things wouldn't function as well or even at all. Not the RAM, but the thing that does some stuff. I basically screwed my memory trying to retain too much at once about things I know nothing about, but I was under that impression right or wrong.



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 05:02 AM
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originally posted by: TheCrowMan

originally posted by: 727Sky

Poor spelling, incorrect use of punctuation, random paragraphs and irellevent nonsence.






I just hope if we ever do get into a real shooting war with a worthy opponent our military doctrine with regards to airpower is sufficient to keep our pilots and air crewmen from dying for their country


Like the B2? Like the F22? Like the F35 will be?

So im lost in your post, are you saying it is, or is not a viable weapon?


Sorry if my writing is not up to your reading comprehension. Made perfect sense to me. hahahha



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 05:16 AM
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a reply to: 727Sky

I was a little lost with your post too. I don't think any offense was intended by the other poster.



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 05:32 AM
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originally posted by: Domo1
a reply to: 727Sky

I was a little lost with your post too. I don't think any offense was intended by the other poster.


Yes sir and none taken.. The op is about the high priced B-2 and I got carried away with things that happened long ago.. Which in my mind is just the same old crap going on even today.. But hey I had fun !

The closest I have ever been to god was during some carpet bombing by B-52s ... Awesome is a total understatement... I can not imagine being in some sand pit while 750 dumb bombs fall anywhere in my area.. The B-2 with all it's Gee whiz stealth and avionics is a big leap forward for bombers... Maybe they got it right ?

The airforce bought the B-2 and will now have to live with it for the foreseeable future.. Let us all hope it lives up to it's billing and when called upon can do it's mission as advertised...



posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 07:01 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
Simple answer: Yes.


That would be correct enough if you disallow unmanned munitions and standoff delivery systems as part of the equation. A "yes" answer would be appropriate if you insist that old-fashioned, navies and air forces were to be the major factors of a world war. They were all we had in the day, ultimate delivery systems of defense and attack, but conventional bombers, carriers and battleships are from yesterday's war, museum pieces with droopy wings and leaking hulls. Future wars won't be fought that way.

As I've stated many times, most of the big-ticket military stuff touted today to us from government and the aerospace industry are make-work products that hide the really serious stuff. The F-117A was a subsonic dog (since retired), as is the handicapped B-2. Throw in there the seriously over-rated F-35 (if not the F-22), the Osprey and about any new navy ship at sea and you have a picture of "modern" obsolete equipment useful only for limited engagements.

Modern world war will be by weapons delivered within minutes and hours from bunkers, and orbiting space weapons platforms and the mysterious black triangles.





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