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State of the B-1 fleet hits all time low

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posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 04:58 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

There was a slow uptick in mission capable rates, but then the grounding last year hit, and before they could recover from that this grounding hit.




posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 07:54 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Yeah, strengthening the airframe so it could take the abuse of low -level penetration added about 18,000lbs overall to come in around 192,000lbs, it also gained about 5500 lbs of thrust down low and more than doubled it's useful payload.

I can tell the high-quality journalism involved in the '86 article when they say: "Long considered by its critics to be overweight at 477,000 pounds, ..." because they are citing the MTOW to prove how heavy it is... The MTOW of the "more capable" B-1A was in the neighborhood of 390,000lbs.

Which meant, not only could the Bone now go 90knots faster on the deck, where it would actually be used, it could carry the same 75,000lbs of weaponry internally, AND the strengthened fuselage could now carry another 50,000lbs on new hardpoints. And structural and thrust improvements meant we could now take off 80,000lbs heavier with a full 125,000 payload AND full internal fuel. That cost us around 18,000lbs empty weight, but made it immensely more capable. The extra ~60,000lbs of payload and fuel that make up most of the increased MTOW is not a bad thing. LOL

Instead of the A's 24 SRAM and partial fuel load , the Bone could carry another 12 externally and take off at full fuel.

The criticism of wing-loading was odd, because it uses max weight to raise the wing-loading from 160 something to 244 lbs/ft^2, and then ignores that higher wing-loading is frequently regarded as a good thing for gust response and ride down in the weeds. All where the USAF now wanted the new design to fly.

It just reminds me of how politically motivated defense journalism was and is.



posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 08:03 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Those weight increases came with a cost though. They had to find a way to get the speed back where they wanted it, so it cost them several important bits and pieces, that more or less guaranteed that they were going to be hangar queens from the word go.



posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 09:04 AM
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The Bone is faster than the B-1A in low-level penetration, which was where the speed most mattered. The B-1A empty weight and is over 90% B-1B. The weight made near zero difference on max speeds. It is a minor consideration on cruise speed (and hence range), and the engine optimization offset most of it. The max speed at altitude has nothing to do with weight. Saying things like "One of the things they did to reduce weight, and allow it to hit Mach 1.2 was ..." is really exposing you. If you run a near empty Bone, it won't go any faster than the fully loaded one at the same altitude. It is not weight limited in regards to max speed.

In exchange for the weight gain in the redesign, the Bone delivers far greater payload, greater speed in penetration phase, decreased need for ingress tanking, longer lifespan/resilience at low altitude, a massive RCS reduction, much reduced cost of manufacture (abandoned much titanium), etc.

Both aircraft are variable-geometry, four engine, strategic bombers which fielded (or attempted to field) bleeding-edge avionics and defensive systems. The B-1A was never going to be more reliable. The things that were not done were based on faulty assumptions about the service lifespan of the B-1. Neither version would change that factor because the ATB was seen as right around the corner.

In what criteria other than supersonic dash at altitude (which wss not considered survivable in that time frame, so is not operationally relevant), was the B-1A "more capable" ?



posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 09:15 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

And yet they made pretty significant changes that resulted in creating more issues than they fixed after they changed the design to add the weight. If it had such a minimal impact, then why make those changes.

The A had a more robust electrical system. They didn't change the generators until they made the changes to the B.



posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 10:55 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Why did they make changes? I just told you why changes were made. To make it a weapon and not just a sports car. The B-1A was designed for a mission that ceased to exist.

Carrying around an extra 18 or 19 thousand pounds of structural weight is not great for performance, but it does not affect the Mach 1.2 speed. It does adversely affect things like take off and landing speeds, low speed handling in particular, stall speeds, cruise efficiencies, range, etc.
On the flipside some of that was absorbed by engine optimization, and the changes and extra structural weight allowed lower RCS, allowed an aircraft originally designed for high speed, high altitude work to become a low level penetrator, allowed greatly increased weapons carriage and fuel load, etc, etc



posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 11:05 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

It also reduces speed and efficiency beyond just the top speed, although you can't tell me that an extra 18,000 pounds had absolutely no effect on its speed. They had to balance the weight gains, which affected the aircraft's ability to carry out its mission. They compromised by gutting the electrical system, which ironically, affected the aircraft's ability to carry out its mission.

No matter how you look at it, the aircraft developed a weight issue that had to be fixed. It was fixed by compromising on the design further resulting in further issues for the aircraft later in its life.
edit on 6/5/2019 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 03:33 PM
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If you think that a roughly five percent operational-weight gain caused a near 50% reduction in max speed at altitude, you're probably the sort of person who thinks this little slit is the intake for propulsion.



posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 04:50 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

I never said weight was the sole reason for the speed reduction. I said they had to reduce weight to get it up to the target speed. That's not the same thing.
edit on 6/5/2019 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 5 2019 @ 04:54 PM
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When I was in Qatar we had 3 B-1s show up about halfway through my rotation.

At least one of them was ALWAYS broken. Sometimes all 3.



posted on Jun, 8 2019 @ 02:24 AM
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Surely by now somebody must have looked at the cost and complexity of reinstalling the missing generator. Or better still replace the current generators with the latest high efficiency types, along with whatever GCU system and bus controls it has, so they can run everything without having to load shed. The fact that it has spent 35 years in that condition is ridiculous, considering the impact it has on the aircraft and pilot workload.



posted on Jun, 8 2019 @ 02:52 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

They *might* have with this latest update, but I'm not privy to everything they changed out so can't say for sure.



posted on Jun, 8 2019 @ 03:37 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: 727Sky



From your 2017 numbers

B-1B at 52.78 and the B-2A @ 53.83 is pretty close to 50% and is abysmal IMO.. Even the B-52 has a better mission availability rate and it is older than the pilots flying them by several years.

Same for the F-22 @ 49.01 and the F35 @ 54.67... while the old F-15s are running in the 70% availability bracket..as is the old old T-38A..

It would appear, "the aircraft are old" is not a valid argument.. The 2018 numbers I saw were even worse if I remember correctly..

I am past the point of arguing about how we get screwed by the MIC and their gold plated B.S. military equipment that seems to have problems preforming as advertised,delivered on time,at a promised price..If the government is OK with this who am I to say anything.

I heard the other day that the newest greatest Raytheon AMRAAM Missile had a 38% failure rate out of the box. Sounds just like Vietnam failure rate all over again to me...maybe not.... the unofficial failure rate was closer to 50% in Nam. I tried looking where I read or saw that but no luck; only Ra Ra MIC propaganda of how everything is good and great and we are the best B.S. at the greatest price etc etc..
edit on 727thk19 by 727Sky because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 8 2019 @ 03:53 AM
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a reply to: 727Sky

Yeah, you really can. Other than the F-35, just about every aircraft on that list is 10+ years old, and many are 30+. But there are several other factors at play as well.

Stealth has *always* had a low mission capable rate to begin with. The skin is notoriously difficult to deal with and causes a lot of issues if they aren't careful.

The F-35 rate is plagued by numbers. Between new aircraft being broken in and early production aircraft having a number of CND issues, it's going to be low. ALIS is still a hypochondriac, but learning.

These mission capable rates have nothing to do with being screwed by the MIC and everything to do with being screwed by the Pentagon. Where do you think the budget cuts came from when they played their dick beating games with Congress and had to cut the budget. It certainly wasn't going to come from somewhere important, like cutting staff positions that are redundant or unnecessary. You can't keep mission capable rates up if you don't have the money or personnel to do maintenance on the aircraft.
edit on 6/8/2019 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 8 2019 @ 04:14 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: 727Sky

Stealth has *always* had a low mission capable rate to begin with. The skin is notoriously difficult to deal with and causes a lot of issues if they aren't careful.

The F-35 rate is plagued by numbers. Between new aircraft being broken in and early production aircraft having a number of CND issues, it's going to be low. ALIS is still a hypochondriac, but learning.

These mission capable rates have nothing to do with being screwed by the MIC and everything to do with being screwed by the Pentagon. Where do you think the budget cuts came from when they played their dick beating games with Congress and had to cut the budget. It certainly wasn't going to come from somewhere important, like cutting staff positions that are redundant or unnecessary. You can't keep mission capable rates up if you don't have the money or personnel to do maintenance on the aircraft.


All valid points and all you left out were the parts which comes back to the money thing and inventory..

I do not have any magic wan but golly gee whiz I wish I did. Our western world in the next 10 to 20 years (maybe less) may be threatened like never before by another tier one country such as China. If we are all flash and no substance or can't get our assets into action all I will be able to do is hang my head in shame at the stupidity... If we or anyone else goes nuclear because of losing then we all lose ... Luckily unless I make 90 or 100 I won't see it.. which in my way of thinking is better anyway. Someone else's problem... all empires fall given time.... I just hope it is not our time to fall due to all the stupidity we both see.

I see you went back and did an edit to add:


Yeah, you really can. Other than the F-35, just about every aircraft on that list is 10+ years old, and many are 30+. But there are several other factors at play as well.


You are talking to someone who did airshows in a 1948 Super Swift.. as did several of my friends ... This was my aircraft that I flew for several years. I did not have the gas turbine engine as it had been removed... I had a Continental IO-360 that I rebuilt so that instead of the rated 210 HP it would produce 225 HP static..

LoPresti used the Swift fire as a test bed to redesign (make it faster with a better wing design) the Swift which they planned on producing.. The program of making the new Super Swift never got off the ground due to they finally figuring out that very few were going to pay $250,000 for a two seat tail dragger..

Skip to the 7:30 minute mark and miss all the sales talk if interested. youtu.be...

The original Swift had a red line of 189 MPH and an 85 HP engine. LoPresti had the Swiftfire over 312 or 314 indicated at 12,000 ft. I think the TAS was upper 340s or around 347 ? Been a long time ago to remember..

I routinely flew the bird at 250 IAS but what was more impressive was with flaps down the aircraft stalled at around 25 IAS..and clean around 37 IAS.. I won some money a few times demonstrating that to my unbelieving pilot friends. I had no stall strips on the wings...it would stall and the nose would drop and you were back flying without doing anything..

So back to my point.. If people know how to take care of equipment, and can get parts, age has very little to do with longevity with a good design. I flew the Swiftfire hard during shows but I also inspected the crap out of it, why, because it was my butt flying the thing.... I really did love that aircraft as much as anyone can love such a thang ! hahah

Who would have thought the old Buff would still be flying after all these years...?

edit on 727thk19 by 727Sky because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 8 2019 @ 04:41 AM
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a reply to: 727Sky

There are multiple levels of mission capable. The rates are based on being Fully Mission Capable. Not being FMC doesn't mean they can't still fly the mission if they had to. Having 9 FMC B-1s doesn't mean that no other B-1s can fly, it just means that they have maintenance needs that affect various aspects of the mission.

Currently there aren't many B-1s that can fly because of their egress issues, but normally they'll fly them if they're PMC. That could be anything from one of the radios not working well or at all, to something that can be deferred until Phase or even PDM. It would be less than optimal to take a PMC jet into combat, and I would hate to be the pilot of it, but if things were that bad it could be done.



posted on Jun, 8 2019 @ 08:47 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: 727Sky

These mission capable rates have nothing to do with being screwed by the MIC and everything to do with being screwed by the Pentagon. Where do you think the budget cuts came from when they played their dick beating games with Congress and had to cut the budget. It certainly wasn't going to come from somewhere important, like cutting staff positions that are redundant or unnecessary. You can't keep mission capable rates up if you don't have the money or personnel to do maintenance on the aircraft.


This is exactly right. I witnessed this first hand while I was still in. Our O&M budgets were crippled, but God forbid some General lose his Deputy Commanders (yes, plural), Vice Commander, Assistant Deputy this and that, and the armies of Lieutenants that wipe their ass. Some of those positions do have legit functions, but as you said there's a lot of redundancy and nonsense.

edit on 8 6 19 by face23785 because: (no reason given)




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