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originally posted by: penroc3
a reply to: Zaphod58
Could it be that the non-winner, is being run on a limited production and the AF doesn't want to show there hand for there secret bomber/isr platform.
originally posted by: C0bzz
a reply to: BigTrain
This is flat out not true. The B-2 was used in combat after IOC but before FOC in the Kosovo War. Why? Because the B-2 had unique capabilities that meant it was the best aircraft for the job. These capabilities were stealth and GPS guided munitions. The whole way defense procurement works is that aircraft are purchased to fulfill requirements to provide a capability. In other words, the whole reason you build these aircraft is to use them - can't meet a capability if you are unwilling to actually use the aircraft.
As to your example, why would the US use its 20 B-2s dropping JDAMs on Afghanistan and Iraq from 40,0000 feet? The whole point of the B-2 is to take on high-end threats. The B-1 on the other hand is the cheapest bomber the US has to fly and has reasonably good sensors. And since it is apparently doing such a good job dropping JDAMs on Iraq and Afghanistan, why is there a requirement for a replacement B-1. Further, given there is a limited budget adding B-1Rs would take away funds from LRS-B, cutting quantities of aircraft actually procured and raising unit cost - resulting in far worse value for money.
That and given a B-1R wouldn't be survivable in a high-threat environment therefore wouldn't provide the capabilities the Air Force needs.
Loren Thompson of Lexington Institute thinks Boeing/Lockheed will win, saying a Northrop victory would be a “stunning upset” against a much better financially endowed team.
Rebecca Grant, of IRIS Research, disagrees, saying Northrop remains a “very viable company” either way through its MQ-4C, F-35 and F/A-18 work, and will probably live on.