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Dirty2 days ago
The obsession with stealth technology is a mistake. The principles which make an aircraft, tank or soldier stealthy are a hindrance to almost all other tasks and functions. During the Bosnian wars, stealth aircraft had incredibly high survival rates provided that they did not engage the enemy in combat. Once they did that, they were shot down at a rate three or four times higher than other aircraft.
The other issue with stealth technology is that it is very expensive, and become outdated very quickly. Because it is so expensive, you cannot field many weapons. This limits what you can achieve and the damage you can inflict. The B-2 was a total waste of money. The B-52 is a far superior aircraft to any modern bomber as it has a much greater payload. Even if the B-52 were driven by turboprops, it would be a far better use of money than the B-2 or the equally useless F-35.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should they replace aircraft with drones. Simple reason is that drones require satellites. Imagine being able to wipe out your enemies entire air force just by destroying a dozen satellites - which are sitting targets, being light and without any practical defence (Especially considering that you could exploit the Kessler Syndrome to cause catastrophic damage very easily).
@Dirty I'm sorry but I have to disagree with almost your entire post. Maybe I'm just not understanding what you’re talking about with some of it. Just as a little background info, I was a KC-135 boom operator from 2000-2006, with over 2500 hours including about a thousand hours of combat and combat support. I went TDY to Edwards AFB quite a bit and got to refuel some pretty amazing aircraft.
First, obsessing about stealth technology may be a mistake, but the technology itself is not. There's a reason that just about every major peer or near peer country are desperately trying to catch up to the US when it comes to stealth aircraft. This is shown by Russia's PAKFA aircraft, and China's two stealth designs in the J-20 and the J-31. So if it’s such a bad idea to focus some priority on stealth, then why are all these countries doing it? Simply put, planform design, such as with the F-22, is inherently stealthy by nature. It also creates a design that makes that jet highly maneuverable (not to mention good looking!). So your point about the principles which make an aircraft stealthy being a hindrance to almost all other tasks is simply not true.
You talk about the Bosnian wars. Where did you get this data? Stating that stealth aircraft had incredibly high survival rates as long as they didn’t engage the enemy applies equally to every single other aircraft in any war. The fact that they were stealthy had nothing to do with it. You say they were shot down at a rate three or four times higher than other aircraft....again I'd like to see a source. Cause as far as I know we only lost one stealth aircraft, an F-117, and that really had nothing to do with your point. It got shot down because of the ignorance of military flight planners running these aircraft on the same exact flight routing every single night on their way to drop bombs. Combine that with an extremely brilliant artillery commander who learned to use different parts of the spectrum to enable his radar to "track" the stealth fighter and we were bound to lose one of them. But we only lost one. And that’s the only stealth aircraft every shot down in combat in the history of United States Low Observables. So again, I'm not sure where you get your three or four times higher than other aircraft point.
In regards to stealth technology being very expensive...I can’t argue with ya on that one. It is. But again, there's this myth that stealth technology becomes outdated very quickly. If that were true, then why did we only in the last decade or so retire the F-117 fleet? (Oh and by the way they are still flying in a limited, non-combat role). But the second point in your post that I will agree with is that because of the cost, we can only build so many of them. Sad but true truth about expensive aircraft.
Now this one had me really fuming before I decided I needed to take a break before writing this. Saying that the B-2 was a total waste of money, while the first amendment entitles you to your opinion, no offense but you probably don’t even realize that just you sleeping comfortable at night is an indirect result of the B-2. In my opinion you could have worded that entire phrase differently and it would make complete sense. For example (and before I get to your uneducated claim that the b-52 has a much greater payload than modern day bombers) if you were to say that it is more cost effective to use a buff to bomb a target than say a b1 or b2 it would be hard to disagree with you. Cost per flight hour is far cheaper on the old boy. But the b-52 wouldn’t last opening day in a war with a peer or near peer state such as china or Russia. Enemy air defenses are simply too sophisticated for the buff to survive. Now a stealth bomber on the other hand, or even perhaps a stealthy b-1b at low level, has a much greater chance of surviving a bombing run and returning to base safely. As for your claiming of a greater payload....um you might wanna try google sometime. The B-1 can carry about 55,000 (yes fifty-five THOUSAND) more pounds of bombs than a buff could ever dream of carrying. Max payload of the B-52 is around 70,000 pounds, and the B-1 tops the scales with 125,000 pounds of ordinance. You are correct in that the buff can carry more bombs than the b-2 though.
Going back to your B-2 comment. You know, it wouldn’t have mattered if we built the B-2 and never ever used them to drop a single bomb in combat, the plane served its purpose. And its purpose is to act like a deterrent to other countries that might think about trying someone on the US. I know we will never know the answer to this, but I wonder how many times an enemy of the United States contemplated attacking us, and then backed off because of the thought of jdam coming right down their chimney while they were getting warm by a fire, and all this before anyone in that country knew that the aircraft was there. I'm sorry, but knowing that these weapon systems like the B-2, the ICBM force, and the SSBN's all over the world are out there gives me a huge peace of mind. They serve their purpose, regardless of the cost we pay for them (and by the way, the average B-2 per unit costs about 750 million bucks, far below the 2.4 billion dollar price tag people put on it when including R&D and stuff. In fact, if we had a long production run of say 100 B-2s back in the day instead of 21, then the aircraft probably wouldn't even top one billion dollars with all the other costs thrown in. Chalk that one up to the government and poor timing in the world with the collapse of the USSR)
In conclusion, I'll have to agree with everything you said about replacing aircraft with drones. Supplement yes. But replace? No. But the last thing I want to say before ending this is I can’t wait until the full capabilities of the F-35 are made public (if ever), so I can sit here quietly in my office and laugh so hard on the inside at all the idiots and armchair quarterbacks out there that think they know everything about the F-35.
That aircraft has the most advanced avionics in the world. Even better that the raptor. When that program reaches full maturity, the F-35 will be one of the baddest freaking fighters to ever take to the sky. You can laugh all you want now, but mark my words, the US and its JSF partners are going to enjoy a fighter dominance for the next 30 years, just as we have in the last 30 years.
originally posted by: MystikMushroom
Flying wings look like flying wings. I suppose it's whats packed inside those puppies that makes them exciting?
originally posted by: aholic
a reply to: boomer135
that's what I thought. most likely F-135 for the meantime?
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: moebius
Because the idea was that it wouldn't be seen long enough to be shot at. Chaff and flares are like huge arrows pointing at you.
originally posted by: boomer135
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: boomer135
They've already said they have it ready for a bomber sized platform.
the rumor is its only gonna have two engines, not four like the b2.