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The Future USAF Bomber: Is the Long Range Strike Initiative Here Already In The Form of a YF-23?

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posted on Jan, 28 2005 @ 11:19 PM
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The USAF has listed a requirement for a long range, stealthy, fast bomber that will have in interim role 2015-2020 to help bridge the gap when the B-2 are retired in 2035-37. Called the Long Range Strike Initiative, signs seem to point to this plane being at least in the mock-up stage. Evidence?

1) The YF-23's. The two dem/val airframes for the ATF completion are strangely absent. The one that was in a southern California museum is listed by thier website as being on extended loan to Northrop for "refurbishment" The other which was supposed top be at Edwards flight test museum and then the AF Museum is in neither location.

2) Pratt and Whitney is working on a derivative of the F119 jet that is to be used in the F/A-22. The modifications include efficiency, the ability to supercruise for hours. This involves research into advanced nickel super alloys, and other material.

An article in AWST on the new Pratt design estimates that the plane could be in flight test as early. AWST Jan 10th, 2005. This points to building off an existing airframe or at least a derivative of.




posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 12:46 AM
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No links or anything?

I still think that it will be the F/B-22, with mach 2 supercruise, and visual stealth.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 01:54 AM
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Originally posted by Murcielago
No links or anything?

I still think that it will be the F/B-22, with mach 2 supercruise, and visual stealth.


No links, just conjecture. The YF-23 infor comes from the Western Museum of Flight in Hawthorn, California. We had a thread a while back and someone who had been there confirmend that the other test article was not at Edwards.

The Pratt story comes from AWST, but unless you subscribe, the link is of no use.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 02:15 AM
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Nice to see that in my hiatus, the Aircraft projects on ATS still have ATF related threads going on...Mmmmmmmmm - Stealthy, supercruising platforms of destruction



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 03:26 AM
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The only one problem is that YF-23 has not sufficient range and payload capacity. I think decent bomber should have unrefueled range at least 8000 km and should carry 8 tons bombs internally



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 03:29 AM
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Originally posted by longbow
The only one problem is that YF-23 has not sufficient range and payload capacity. I think decent bomber should have unrefueled range at least 8000 km and should carry 8 tons bombs internally


Yes, I doubt that they would use the YF-23 as is. Much like the proposed F/B-22 which may not have a tail and a delta winged design. The YF-23 may also be stretched as it were with a much bigger wing.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 03:46 AM
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Originally posted by FredT
Yes, I doubt that they would use the YF-23 as is. Much like the proposed F/B-22 which may not have a tail and a delta winged design. The YF-23 may also be stretched as it were with a much bigger wing.


Well, I don't understand the F/B-22 idea too. I think the larger X-45 would be better for this purpose. It's not supersonic, but it would be much cheaper (I think at least 12-15UCAVs for the price of 1 F/B-22). And it is unmanned so it could be send on suicidal mision. Combination of cruise misilles, UCAVs and todays strategical bombers is enough IMO. And instead investing into the F/B-22 the AF should buy more Raptors. Besides I think F/B-22 looks more like medium not long range bomber.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 03:54 AM
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One thing I did read in AWST a while back that some of the UCAV's avionis are becoming so pricey they are starting to approach the cost of manned A/C. One other intersting tidbit that came out of the AWST article on Pratt was mention of possible using the F119 in a UAV/UCAV as well.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 04:24 AM
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As I understand it the F/B will get a delta shaped wing. That will give it a much longer range. Plus, the range for the aircraft doesn't need to be quite as far reaching with mid air refueling.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 09:47 AM
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posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 12:27 PM
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longbow
I think the larger X-45 would be better for this purpose. It's not supersonic, but it would be much cheaper (I think at least 12-15UCAVs for the price of 1 F/B-22).
I like the X-45C, and it has its place in the AF, but we still need to have a supersonic stealthy bomber. and if they do pick the F/B-22 to help with funding they should start the phase out of the B-1 immediatly, since we only kep it because its our only supersonic bomber. I remember reading about this awhile back that one of the concepts was so make the B-1 more stealthy and give new engines and avionics, but I dont like that idea.


longbow
And it is unmanned so it could be send on suicidal mision.

Just because theres no pilot doesn't mean they wont care if one gets shot down, not only did you lose millions of dollars, but for obvious reasons its not good to lose an advanced aircraft over enemy territory.



longbow
Besides I think F/B-22 looks more like medium not long range bomber.

Why would you think that? It has a larger wingspan, air refeuling, supercruising, large internal tanks, its quite capable of long missions.


FredT
One thing I did read in AWST a while back that some of the UCAV's avionis are becoming so pricey they are starting to approach the cost of manned A/C. One other intersting tidbit that came out of the AWST article on Pratt was mention of possible using the F119 in a UAV/UCAV as well.

Good point...An example of that is the Global Hawk, It was originaly set at 10 mill per plane, but now the actual cost is 40 mill per plane.
Also, What Unmanned design are they looking at using the F-119 engine in?



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 08:47 PM
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Originally posted by GrOuNd_ZeRo



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 09:05 PM
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IMHO, the future USAF bomber is not going to be a Y/F-23. It will eventually be an improved range and capacity unmanned UCAV.





seekerof



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 09:23 PM
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FredT
The USAF has listed a requirement for a long range, stealthy, fast bomber that will have in interim role 2015-2020 to help bridge the gap when the B-2 are retired in 2035-37.

are you sure? Because as far as I know they relized that 2037 for the B-3 was just to long of a wait and it got bumped up to 2025. and they bomber to help bridge it, is to go operational in 2015 to 2018.


Seekerof
the future USAF bomber is not going to be a Y/F-23. It will eventually be an improved range and capacity unmanned UCAV.

The "bridge the gap" bomber will more then likely be manned, but the all new bomber in 2025, will more then likely be a Unmanned.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 11:28 PM
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Originally posted by Murcielago

The "bridge the gap" bomber will more then likely be manned, but the all new bomber in 2025, will more then likely be a Unmanned.


You think the USAF would allow what will most likely be a multi billion dollar bomber to go unmanned?

I mean if it's an edge of space hypersonic type thing, I think they would want a man onboard - even if it's for a "just in case" situation.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 11:31 PM
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Originally posted by Murcielago
are you sure? Because as far as I know they relized that 2037 for the B-3 was just to long of a wait and it got bumped up to 2025. and they bomber to help bridge it, is to go operational in 2015 to 2018.


That comment came straight from AWST and they have mentioned it several times. Perhpas they have encountered difficulties with the B-3 or want to go a whole different route?



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 11:45 PM
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as posted by American Mad Man
I mean if it's an edge of space hypersonic type thing, I think they would want a man onboard - even if it's for a "just in case" situation.


That may be the case, but UCAV technology is not just being looked at for surveillance purposes. I am not outright saying with 'utmost' assuredness that UCAV will replace strategic conventional bombers, but certainly one cannot contest that UCAV has the potential to open up a new frontier of pilotless fighters, surveillance aircraft, tactical bombers, etc. The Discovery (DTMS) channel did a very nice piece on the growing potential of UCAV's and the direction of future unmanned aircraft of varying types and military applications for the future, as applied to the US Air Force, etc.

Having a man onboard is nice and all, and one worthy of consideration, being that the air force has been debating this issue for years. But, if there are any problems onboard, there is always the pressing of the 'destruct' button from the pilot on the ground that is visually (onboard cams, etc) directing the unmanned aircraft in question. The same 'destruct' system that the US has on certain missile technologies.




seekerof

[edit on 29-1-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 01:55 PM
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AMM
You think the USAF would allow what will most likely be a multi billion dollar bomber to go unmanned?

Yes i do.
The X-45A has shown its a technology that allready works good, and if its unmanned when they drop bombs, and if they have a malfunction or get shot down then at least we wouldn't have another pilot be jailed because of it, like when the U-2 was shot down and they held Francis Gary Powers, or when the F-117 was shot down. Not having a pilot means you dont have to worry about the other side getting some politcal leverage.

Dont forget that it will be at least 20 years until its operational, by then unmanned will be very common place, possibly even on commercial airliners.

[edit on 30-1-2005 by Murcielago]



posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 02:57 PM
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Originally posted by Murcielago

Dont forget that it will be at least 20 years until its operational, by then unmanned will be very common place, possibly even on commercial airliners.

[edit on 30-1-2005 by Murcielago]


I sincerely doubt we will see 'unmanned' commercial airliners anytime in the next 50 years. Bear in mind that the Unmanned in UCAV/UAV just means theres no pilot in the aircraft. These things still require a huge ground based control presence, more often than not on a 1:1 basis for each UCAV not in formation.

Since airliners tend not to fly in formation, and fly in diverse routes, that would mean airlines having to maintain a fair ground presence for their 'unmanned' airliners including expensive low latency data connections.

Since airliners are carrying passengera anyway, it will probably ultimately be cheaper to include a flight crew than not. Only when we start getting to the point of RAI (Reactive Artificial Intelligence) controlled aircraft will you start to see unmanned airliners, and even then you have to sell the idea to passengers. Would you get into a car that had no driver, yet was speeding at 80mph down a freeway?

Remember that UCAVs are designed to fly in uncontrolled airspace, they can make waht manoeuvers they want and when they want, theres no commercial traffic to get in their way. Once you start adding restrictions to movement into the equation, the control systems start getting a LOT more problematic.



posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 03:09 PM
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The other point about manned versus unmanned. A human mind is infinitly adpatable. Computers are limited for the time being by thier programming. A computer would never been able to land the DC-10 in Souix City years ago due to the hydraulic failure. However, the pilots were able to improvise and quite a few people survived.

While the future is UCAV's ML, I simply do not see the USAF walking away from a manned "Strategic" platform anytime soon. Tactical yes, its already here with the hellfire armed Predators. But a strategic platform is a iffernet beast and the psychology in trusting them to AI or even ground controll will take a long time to get used to. No more than say people would accept a Ohio SSBN that had no crew.




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