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Details of the Boeing Protest for the B-21 Raider Contract Award Revealed

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posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 04:23 PM
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a reply to: muzzleflash

You think an aircraft with the capabilities this one is looking at is nostalgia? I get that you think missiles are God's gift to warfare, but bombers give you more flexibility and capabilities than missiles alone will.

They're developing stealthy cruise missiles, even extending their range, but missiles alone will not win a war.




posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 04:32 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: muzzleflash

You think an aircraft with the capabilities this one is looking at is nostalgia? I get that you think missiles are God's gift to warfare, but bombers give you more flexibility and capabilities than missiles alone will.

They're developing stealthy cruise missiles, even extending their range, but missiles alone will not win a war.


I agree, missiles alone won't win a war.
We need radars too.

And a few guys to fix and operate them.

I understand your sentiments but my issue here is primarily with the fact that the US Government cannot keep secrets and "the enemy" has the ability to get blueprints of nearly everything we develop. I hate that fact but we have major espionage problems.

Sure the B-21 might be dominant tomorrow, but the day after that they will be able to track it at sufficient range and intercept it effectively, thus wasting all of that $$$ and resources, and putting us in a very precarious position in the heat of battle.

By developing all of these cheaper alternatives, making sure we don't sink all of our resources into extremely risky platforms, we are better off. We need to stay ahead in electronic warfare primarily, and also focus on missiles and drones. You can steal these types of secrets and it won't hurt us as badly as stealing the blueprints of the B-21 would hurt.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 04:38 PM
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a reply to: muzzleflash

It's not sentiment, it's reality. The B-2 has been flying since the 1990s and still has the ability to get past most radars out there.

Even if they get the plans, it won't help in the long term. Stealth technology evolves and changes as the aircraft ages. The skin on the F-117 was completely different when they put then into storage than the skin on it even 10 years earlier, let alone when it first flew. You act as if they can upgrade other aircraft, but stealth aircraft are stagnant and stuck with what they have when they're built.

You say getting the plans for it would allow them to be able to track it, but by the same token, according to that reasoning, it would render your missiles useless as well and we'd have to start again developing something to replace them. Which would spend more money.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 04:46 PM
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I dont get what the hubbub is about the protest. Is it different in hardware contracting than cybersecurity and etc? Contracts are protested routinely in "information" contracts. Even the system engineer contractor for ACFP only a few yrs ago protested the award. Now its ALL goig to some new system.. CF of the highest order..



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 05:04 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The B-2 hasn't faced anything challenging as far as I know.
I have serious doubts it could survive on a trip to Moscow reliably.

The specifications of technologies like this give way more ability than just to track it's location effectively, but also give them ideas on other types of weaknesses, like jamming and hacking etc.

And rather than investing in just a few missile designs, I'd prefer to spread it out and get all the viable contractors designing multiple options, making them compatible with current launchers - so we'd have maybe 200 types of cruise missiles employing all sorts of creative approaches. Then we could build millions of them, lmao. Same with drone tech.

Warfare will change drastically in just the next 30 years, rapidly. Anything we build today will become obsolete faster and faster, so getting the best bang for our $ is paramount. We don't need weapons that remain effective for decades, we need weapons that will last just long enough till the next variants replace it in less than a decade.

I feel that the B-21 is a relic of 20th century thinking, and it fails to anticipate the advancements that will occur. Military capabilities will increase exponentially for poorer nations, as air defense innovations will multiply and become more efficient and effective for increasingly low investments.

Let's say in 2028 we get into a war with Iran, and conduct a massive air operation against various assets they have deep in their mainland. Let's say they figure out some way to shoot down 6 or 7 B-21's. Sure we might win the war against them in the long-run, but just losing that many B-21s would make it a Pyrric victory at best. Our capability would go from "great" to "oh crap!" overnight, literally.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 07:55 PM
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a reply to: muzzleflash

So in other words, you want to completely gut the military and give them nothing but UAVs and missiles. Never going to happen so keep dreaming.

The B-21 uses technology that couldn't even be dreamed of when the B-2 was developed. It's as far ahead of the B-2 or anything else as the SR-71 was ahead of the Wright Flyer. And it's only going to keep getting better. Eventually someone will figure out how to see it in enough time to stop it, but by then we'll have better technology flying.

Funny that you want us to be more frugal but you want a nearly all cruise missile and uav military. You'd spend as much to build that Force as you would to build what we're building now. You'd need millions of cruise missiles to be effective at anything.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 07:56 PM
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With China and Russia playing catchup on USA tech that is 20 years old now they either have to start something different tactical wise with its tech or produce them in far greater numbers.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:02 PM
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a reply to: Blackfinger

Don't be surprised to see the Raider order doubled once they start flying. Hopefully Northrop really did get their failure resolved.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:20 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Zaphod, you've been pretty vocally supportive of the Northrop bird from what I can recall, what about it has convinced you over the lock-Bow design (that you can tell us of course haha)



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:32 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Well, being cost-effective includes more than just mere $$$ now that you mention it.

Human lives are an incredible cost we have to pay in wartime.

What's one pilot's life worth?


You'd need millions of cruise missiles to be effective at anything.


Sounds like an excellent strategy.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:33 PM
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a reply to: hawkguy

It's growing on me. I'm really nervous about the failure they had during the fly off though. If that comes back to bite them, it could bite hard, and lead to a major delay.

The biggest advantage (semi-publicly anyway) to it is its stealth characteristics. The shape will help it get by UHF/VHF radar, and the RCS is the lowest I've ever heard of.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:37 PM
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a reply to: muzzleflash

Of course pilots lives are, which is why we have the F-22, F-35, and B-21. Between the three of them, they'll kick the door open, and reduce the risk significantly for the other aircraft, for significantly less risk than using other aircraft. And with 10 times the flexibility nothing but cruise missiles will get you.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:38 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Is the low RCS a carryover from the RQ-180? Having done some reading on it earlier today it seemed to be a game changer when it was introduced, particularly compared to the -170 (although the roles did diverge quite a bit between the two).

I'd imagine the NG team would have a pretty full toolbox regarding RCS minimization coming into the program, particularly regarding deep strike within gnarly IADS.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:45 PM
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The cost estimate for the new B-21 Raider long range bomber has been cut by some $39 million each, according to the Pentagon's office of Cost Estimate and Program Analysis (CAPE). The new cost estimate is now $511 million per airplane.


Which we also have to factor in the cost of:
Upgrades, maintenance, fuel and other logistics, training pilots and ground crews, ordinance, etc.

So within 15 years, let's say over 2 billion $ per airplane.

As an arbitrary comparison, let's pick the Tomahawk CM:


US$1.59m(FY2014) (Block IV)


There are no upgrades, it only makes one flight so no repairs, it only needs to be fueled once and delivered to a limited amount of locations till launch, rather than pilots we have only the ground crew and launch platform/targeting systems operators which ought to be (in general) cheaper to train, and each missile only uses one ordinance package.

The more missiles we use, the lower we can drive the operating costs down. So maybe 2.5m $ per missile overall costs? That's just a guesstimate and definitely not an actual figure.

Not only that we have things like the LCMCM concept in the works, which if applied across the board could continue bringing prices of these types of weapons down while their effectiveness increases.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:50 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: muzzleflash

Of course pilots lives are, which is why we have the F-22, F-35, and B-21. Between the three of them, they'll kick the door open, and reduce the risk significantly for the other aircraft, for significantly less risk than using other aircraft. And with 10 times the flexibility nothing but cruise missiles will get you.


Like what kind of flexibility?
Let's focus on the B-21 specifically in this exercise.

Let's also assume that within 10-30 years we can have CM with a range of 5k to 7k miles with slightly better accuracy than current models provide.

What will the B-21 offer that stealthy, long range, accurate barrages of cheap cruise missiles cannot?



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:54 PM
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a reply to: muzzleflash

Their effectiveness only increases to a point. To a certain extent there needs to be ISR overhead to provide BDA, as well as follow up for repeat strikes if necessary. Also, as Libya proved for NATO, if PGMs are used at a high rate, they quickly begin to exhaust stores of them. Once they're gone, they're gone; as they're not easy or quick things to mass produce. Cruise missiles are also increasingly vulnerable to ground based point defenses. Cruise missiles are also bad at hitting pop-up targets of opportunity, for which a bomber could be re-routed or re-tasked for.

This is just my grunt's attempt at thinking this through however



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 08:56 PM
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a reply to: muzzleflash

It is unlikely that we will have cruise missiles with that kind of range as they would violate the intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 09:03 PM
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originally posted by: hawkguy
a reply to: muzzleflash

It is unlikely that we will have cruise missiles with that kind of range as they would violate the intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.


I'm not too keen on the specifics of that treaty.

But wouldn't a way around it be to just design the CM's to not be capable of utilizing nuclear warheads? Then it'd be purely conventional and outside of that treaty? I dunno just wondering...



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 09:08 PM
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a reply to: hawkguy

The argument for follow-up repeat strikes is reasonable to an extent, but that's only considering that the jets wouldn't get shot down during their operations.

If the jets start getting shot down, or they suffer from other non-combat failures, that takes them out of the picture. So really both CM's and jets suffer from limited quantity issues, and both can run out.

They are both difficult to mass produce, but it's clear the jets are more difficult and expensive in that regard.

Everything is increasingly vulnerable to anti-air defense systems, but if theoretically CM stealth features can be increased significantly just as jets are, than the issue seems balanced between the two.

Pop-up targets could be handled by the UAV fleet, and in a lot of ways CM's could be given more elaborate navigation capability and could further remedy that weakness.



posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 09:09 PM
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a reply to: muzzleflash

Derp, I'm bad. It only applies to ground launched missiles with 500-5500km range. This means Tomahawk is safe, along with ALCMs.

I'd just argue that relying on a giant floating arsenal to haul cruise missiles globally over a very stealthy platform for deep strike is placing your very expensive eggs in the wrong basket




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