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B-21 Raider: Next step, First flight!

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posted on Jul, 27 2019 @ 04:37 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I think the USAF is optimistic in its timeline.

I've been reading a forum full of of column B posts, so my apologies if I lumped you into the wrong crowd.


I think there are a lot of demonstrators related to the program, and I think precisely none of them would qualify as a prototype or EMD aircraft. A YB-21 as such does not and has not existed, despite the plethora of comments on the forum.
I think they are going to try to go strait to LRIP and build the EMD aircraft on a line to accelerate the program to production. I'd guess they're trying to skip an actual prototype flight-test program because they have experience with other platforms, more than forty decades of ATB and post-ATB work to draw from on the aerodynamic side, and are (crossed fingers) building on existing and mature system technology. The industrial method work and system technology demonstration programs are/were the foundation stones they're going to build on. And the early lots will be the "EMD" aircraft similar to how they ran the B-2 and F-35 line production. There wasn't a YF-35 to prototype. The earlier X-35 was essentially the EMD aircraft. They ran 15 or whatever the number of "pre-production" F-35's starting with AF-1 that were completely identical to production models. AV-1 did the same thing for ATB. No prototype, straight to flight-testing of the design off the line.
Not convinced that's a great plan, but I think that's going to be the roadmap. Then they can test to destruction the first few after the flight-test program, and upgrade the others into the next block, or modify them for testing as a basis for the next block. And if all goes as expected, the line is already in place for the green light because it is identical to the "pre-production" aircraft produced on it. Theoretically, concurrency saves time and money. In practice, it wastes money unless everything is actually mature.


edit on 27-7-2019 by RadioRobert because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 27 2019 @ 05:26 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert


I still think we’re arguing semantics. You are very strict about the meaning of terms that only have a lose definition that tends to shift form program to program.

Did Northrop build and fly a YB-21 post contract award? No of course not, there simply isn’t enough time. I haven’t seen anyone on the forum trying to argue that.

But as I *understand* it, Northrop and Lockheed both had advanced demos for the flyoff. Very advanced vehicles compared to the recent fighter programs. No programs are exactly alike and this one is a very special case. The LRSB teams were able to draw from various previous efforts and had vehicles closer to the operability than what we have seen with say the X-32 and X-35
I’m saying that if they wanted to they could pass the winning vehicle off as an B-21 prototype / pre production vehicle / YB-21 and no one would bat an eye.
Yes in actually it would just be a dressed up demo, but so what?? Semantics.

Also whether or not Northrop had a pre redesign ATB prototype is a very open question IMO.



posted on Jul, 27 2019 @ 09:50 PM
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You two need to go grab a beer.



posted on Jul, 27 2019 @ 09:51 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

It's not really that loose a definition in the industry.



posted on Jul, 27 2019 @ 09:52 PM
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a reply to: Masisoar

I'm sure it'd be fun.



posted on Jul, 29 2019 @ 12:35 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

there have been sightings of both LM and Boeing's demo aircraft during the fly off and other more mature winning versions so there were and are things flying that could be call a B21 but might be very different under the skin once we get public look at it.

i want to see up close the 'loser' but the fact we haven't means there are likely other plans for it.


it seems silly to think that with all the rapid prototyping and composite manufacturing techniques let alone the bottomless pits of cash contractors have that they are just sitting around not coming up with new things.

the real question i have is are the contractors names been bought and paid for by the Gov. that in reality the name and 'private' nature of them create a perfect wall to block FOIA and the curious(gov or civilian) as they do not need to answer to congress, the pres or the population.

it would be funny to find out all these new aircraft are just black projects or UFO(UnFunded Opportunities) of the past. a few examples being the quiet boom, flapless wings and more exotic tech allot of us here have seen with our own eyes.

its easy to doubt that these 'contractors' aka USGOVERMENT has super advanced tech be it in the form of materials, propulsion, radar etc. but once you see it the idea that these people couldnt whip off a great aircraft is silly.

the real problem is going from a handful or even 1 aircraft to making a 100's


just imagine what is in some book locked up deep to never see natural light again buried in some vault



posted on Jul, 29 2019 @ 05:51 PM
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originally posted by: mightmight
a reply to: RadioRobert

But as I *understand* it, Northrop and Lockheed both had advanced demos for the flyoff. Very advanced vehicles compared to the recent fighter programs. No programs are exactly alike and this one is a very special case. The LRSB teams were able to draw from various previous efforts and had vehicles closer to the operability than what we have seen with say the X-32 and X-35


If I were a betting man, I'd guess that the LRSB flyoff demonstrators were sort of an inverse X-35/X-32. The JSF flyoff demonstrators were damn near identical, size-wise, aerodynamically, and in terms of layout, to the actual production aircraft, but beneath superficial similarities, they had next to nothing in common with the planned EMD aircraft aside from their engines, being clad only in composite sheeting and running completely different avionics suites with none of the planned sensor capabilities that the F-35 now has.

Meanwhile, I'd bet that the LRSB demonstrators were actually very close to the planned production aircraft in terms of sensors, avionics, and electronic capabilities, and maybe stuff like stealth coatings, but were probably smaller than the planned production aircraft and possibly looked nothing like them aside from convergent aerodynamics to grant them similar performance envelopes. I can easily picture something like Northrop entering into the fly-off a 150% scale X-47b with a 2-man cockpit, but loaded out with prototype version of the entire B-21 sensor/avionics/data bus/datalink/flight control package, conformal antennas, etc and all.

This makes sense because the electronic stuff is where the F-35 has had it's worst teething problems, and by all means the LRSB program was about procuring a far less aerodynamically ambitious aircraft than either the ATF or the JSF programs were.
edit on 29-7-2019 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 29 2019 @ 06:30 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby

I'd say you're on the right track, but... shape/signature compromises were largely settled in the early 80's at the cost of billions to determine what compromises work best for requirements. The physics involving EM radiation has not changed.

What is left to demonstrate? Sensors, systems, and methods, material science, production technology, engines... Nothing about the demonstration is inherently or exclusively related to the LRSB airframe. That's the point of a program like MP-RTIP and other parallel efforts for different technologies. So now, you have almost 40 years of development work on flying wing configurations, but a host of other things to demonstrate (to minimize risk of "teething problems" -- that's the point) few/none of which have to necessarily be tested in composite. So none of your LRSB demonstrators necessarily look anything like your end product in size and shape (though, I think we can safely assume a similar shape was perhaps dusted off or adapted by NG for the purpose).

edit on 29-7-2019 by RadioRobert because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 29 2019 @ 06:42 PM
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originally posted by: RadioRobert
a reply to: Barnalby

I'd say you're on the right track, but... shape/signature compromises were largely settled in the early 80's at the cost of billions to determine what compromises work best for requirements. The physics involving EM radiation has not changed.


Yeah, that's what I meant. The RCS stuff is more or less settled science, but the electronic stuff has been a nightmare to integrate on the F-22, F-35, and B-2, so it would make sense for the demonstrators to center on demonstrating the aspects of their designs that would be the most likely to cause headaches during the EMD/LRIP phase, if only to prove to the USAF brass that the LRIP stage would have a development timeline more like a 60s, 70s, or 80s program than a 90s/00s/10s one.


originally posted by: RadioRobert
a reply to: Barnalby
So none of your LRSB demonstrators necessarily look anything like your end product in size and shape (though, I think we can safely assume a similar shape was perhaps dusted off or adapted by NG for the purpose).


That's my guess, that Northrop probably flew something derived from something that we've already seen, while Lockheed leveraged their rapid prototyping skillsets developed on the RQ-170, the Polecat, and the X-55 to quickly and cheaply throw together some design that had previously only existed in a CAD file, if only as practice for the Skunk Works greenhorns and maybe to give the C-suite another cool model or photobook to add to their private collections.
edit on 29-7-2019 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 29 2019 @ 07:17 PM
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NG-Mission Systems is providing the DMS upgrade for B-2. Along with the EW suite.

Has demonstrated Vanguard scalability, and provides the LPI AESA for the F-35, oversees the sensor and integration for the new Hawkeye and defunct JSTAR replacement program. Probably whatever is on the the RQ-180 is also NG-MS. Plus whatever effort has been poured into the "family of systems"...

EODS for the F-35 is a NG-MS product.

Most of the LRSB systems should be extant or derived from those products.


Presumably all this is experience is mature and factored in the program scorecard.



posted on Jul, 31 2019 @ 05:04 PM
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originally posted by: Barnalby
Yeah, that's what I meant. The RCS stuff is more or less settled science, but the electronic stuff has been a nightmare to integrate on the F-22, F-35, and B-2, so it would make sense for the demonstrators to center on demonstrating the aspects of their designs that would be the most likely to cause headaches during the EMD/LRIP phase, if only to prove to the USAF brass that the LRIP stage would have a development timeline more like a 60s, 70s, or 80s program than a 90s/00s/10s one.


Key phrase - has been a nightmare.
As in it has been done. In large parts by Northrop. There is not pressing need to demonstrate their ability to put off the shelf solutions into a different platform.

RCS reduction on the other hand is not more or less settled sience. They're evolving every day and neither the F-22 nor F-35 are ruthlessly optimized for full aspect stealth.
The B-21 will push much further in this regard. Aviationweek speculated about -70db per square meter once - one thousandth of the assumed RCS of JSF. Whether thats true or not, it gives you a rough idea on what full aspect stealth means in the 21st century.
So if you think about it, at least the Lockheed team had not demonstrated that kind of signature reduction before LRS-B. At least not with modern materials and production methods, if you're inclinded to believe in Quartz follow on theories, a RQ-3 follow on, a black PHAE or whatnot.
Northrop was actually in a better position with the *RQ-180* supposedly playing in more or less the same league RCS wise as the eventual B-21, beating whatever LM had to offer.
Kinda strange if you think about that, Lockheed should have been on the forefront with all the work they put in it post Quartz. Northrop sorta came in from out of left field and kicked their asses. But thats a topic for another day.



posted on Jul, 31 2019 @ 05:53 PM
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Makes you wonder why they didnt go with the Israel philosophy of standardization.



posted on Aug, 1 2019 @ 08:13 AM
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a reply to: Blackfinger

Israel needs a working military. The US needs to shovel money to defense contractors.



posted on Aug, 1 2019 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

shadow



posted on Aug, 15 2019 @ 05:10 PM
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Wilson stressed that the service needs “at least 100” B-21s.

The U.S. Air Force’s new B-21 stealth bomber could fly as early as December 2021, Air Force vice chief of staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said at an event in Washington, D.C. on July 24, 2019.

Air Force magazine broke the news.

Wilson told the audience he in recent weeks visited Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Melbourne, Florida, where he was “looking at the B-21.” Northrop is “moving out on that pretty fast.” Wilson said, adding he has an app on his phone “counting down the days … and don’t hold me to it, but it’s something like 863 days to first flight.”

“That would put the first flight of the B-21 in December 2021,” Air Force editor John Tirpack noted. “The Air Force has said from the beginning that the first B-21 would be a ‘useable asset’ but has also said it doesn’t expect an initial operating capability with the B-21 before the ‘mid-2020s.’”



Source

863 days is awfully specific, he also stated he has an app on his phone counting down the days...



posted on Aug, 15 2019 @ 11:45 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

That is what people lose sight of. If an integrated stealth design was easy, alot of countries would be flying stealth.

Its alot like nuclear weapons. The theory is there but putting the pieces together is hard.

All aspect stealth is not easy and even the J-20 seems to be stealthy in the frontal aspect but not so much in the rear. Now add integration of avionics and the like and thats where the nightmare comes in.

I mean most sources list the B-2 at -40 dBs. If they are getting -70 that is a significant leap



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