The opening paragraph says it all. The USAF knows it cannot afford the JSF and _any other_ program.
It knows it /does not want/ the UCAV because the will let any soldier control his own destiny without the moronic idiots sitting in the cockpit say
so. It knows that it is _Congressionally Obligated_ to have 33% of it's long range deep strike fleet unmanned.
So what it does is _start_ the process on the maximum number of study programs possible to ensure a clogging of the budget arteries and then waits for
"But we don't want to give out our highest technology to foreign hands!" (Oink! Oink! Huuuueeeeeeee!)
"But there is no room for so many in the outyear budget plans!"
To ensure that a MANNED followon which breaks FEDERAL LAWS is chosen. Because that will be the cheapest to 'continue studying, no production
required yet' solution while allocating R&D contracts only to U.S. Companies which 'Congress' approves.
Whether an airframe is ever produced or not, the money (and the promotions) are in the R&D these days on the basis of a 20:1 ratio of investigating
solutions to the solutions rather than bulding anything.
Probably the key sentences which can be used to fight this utter corruption of the system are as follows-
Perhaps more importantly, the Pentagon's senior civilian leadership says it will shake up how acquisition money is spent.
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England says he doesn't know how exactly it will work, but he's certain that more horizontal control and
enterprise-wide management is needed.
Open ended contracts tends to create fraud in the inducement and 'buying in' practices by government and industry respectively whereby the
government can change the
spec to the point where it can make the contractor look like he is failing to meet contractual obligations. And the contractors either do work which
compromises their fiscal capacities on the expectation of proceeding to production to level out their technology base investments (buy the program or
lose the contractor).
Or generate 'horizontal' make work (under their own oversight) which doesn't meet the smell test for independent progress objectivity (is the
program doable) via phased program goals and oversight reviews. Whereby THEY determine expenditure independently (buy the progress or we won't work
anymore and you will lose the program anyway).
Something which will never happen in Congress because they are greedy /pigs/ whose 'allocation' of funds comes down to 'my share, your money' (as
in-district contract kickbacks). Indeed, both the DOD and Congress are _explicitly forbidden_ from doing what the above sentences suggest on the
basis of Antideficiency Act requirements which carry a minimum 2 years felony prison time and 10,000 dollars PER offense for accepting work without
known outcome or 'for free'.
Instead of leaving program management up to the services, it wants to promote horizontal integration that would put money into capability funding
pools and joint portfolios. Later these capabilities would be further integrated across the international community.
Which will create /countless/ work product conflicts even beyond those relevant to unregulated foreign investment in a _UNITED STATES_ defense
program, destroying the security of the technology base through 'sharing' (i.e. increasing the generational rate at which individual systems are
outmoded by funciton or manufacturing ease). Companies which have been forced to do this kind of thing in the past (with the Israeli's in
particular) have been ruined.
Something which is terribly important when the Anti Deficiency standards by which FOREIGN governments and companies are not required to abide, allow
them to generate work product independent of obvious buying in or spec'd performance ratios. 'Horizontal becomes Vertical' at this point through
subsidies deliberately designed to win contract bids.
Furthermore, fail to provide equal /work share/ and they sue your ass blind for 'free trade' violations under the WTF, even if you choose to not
complete the program for convenience of the government. Which usually means they end up with a still-twitching bloody chunk of the overall program
'value' (technology or funds) anyway.
Which in turn violates (U.S. only) standards which typically specific COMPLETE ownership of the product of the Contract by for and of The People.
Bluntly: If it's worth doing FOR our defense, in a reduced threat world where the technology of military escalation should be _slowing_. It should
be worth doing BY U.S. companies alone. On a specified mission needs and cost effectiveness evaluation analsysis (MENS + COEA) basis whose schedule
and fisk are _strictly_ adhered to.
Please, let's have no 'ENRON' BS with aritificially pumped up program 'portfolio' values independent of achieved work. No work done without
specific contractual coverage for ownership and remuneration of efforts. And no phase dependent fail safes which allow the USG to define the quality
of the product as the program goes rather than 'lump sum' for the whole effort.
The other is looking at a manned bomber with the range for 4-5 hr. of loiter, but with a heavier payload, Mach 2 speed and very low observability so
it can penetrate deep and strike heavily defended targets. They also believe it must be nuclear-capable to replace the B-2, and that means a crew.
They want each bomber to be capable of hitting 100 individual targets.
Because that one aircraft is not going to cover 10-20 company level troop deployments chasing guerillas. And it's Mach 2 capability is directly at
odds with it's achievable loiter _AT RADIUS_ compared to a 'burns less to go farther' platform which has a fifth or less the fuel.
Indeed, if 10 A-45s were to fly 100 miles apart and ONE of them encountered an S-300 battery, the total loss would be 20 of 200 million not 1 of 500
million dollars. And if stealth worked, it would not matter how fast you got to the theater on the zero work leg, only the amount of contribution you
made when you got arrived. Because each jet would create less signature moving slowing than fast, even if it was 10 vs. 10 (SAM sites vs. drones)
compared to a 1v.1 (SAM site vs. Mach 2 bomber).
Here too, the UCAV can cover more areas, for longer, with fewer tankers, than the manned option. By an order of magnitude (150-200,000lbs of fuel for
ONE LRSA/Regional Bomber = 10 hours loiter for 10 A-45s on the pointy end, assuming they refuel just before fence in or make a couple in-out
Will this put the FB-22 & FB-23 back on the table?
Absolutely not. Rewinging an airframe is one of the most risky things you can do in terms of achieved aerodynamic returns vs. structural weight
commitment. IMO, the FB-22 as the Air Farce last envisioned it-
Would no more make Mach 2 in the transit than you would, flapping your arms.
Furhtermore, 1:15 transit each way + 5hrs on-station is a HUGE penalty to absorb in crew fatigue.
And if 'deep strike' means hard and deeply buried targets, you are right back down to a 200-250 million dollar (ala F/A-18E 'essentially new
development') airframe vs. the equivalent number of (4 GBU-31) penetrator munitions that 40 million dollars worth of equivalent (2) A-45s could
achieve on equal or greater (tanked) radius with MUCH more 'rattled saber' hang time on the borders of the threat (10-20hrs if you have a tanker
This is the same argument as once justified the JSF's 'big belly' bombbays and the cheapest argument against it is that NO ONE risks an asset that
valuable for tactical (conventional) strikes beyond the reach of escorts and rollback. NO ONE.
i.e. Either the GBU-38/39 munitions catalogue is inadequate for the HDBT target set (indicating Mission Needs are not being adequately looked at).
Or the jet's ability to do deep strike is irrelevant compared to other mission factors (which means other platforms may do as well or better at the
The FB-23 is so old as a technology base and NorGrumman so out of the big-two tacair producers that their ONLY chance is through naval UCAV.
Even so, such an aircraft would not look like an impossibly long nosed F-106B attached to the wings of a Black Widow. It would instead appear more
Both because you will need an expanded fuselage with which to emplace a wider weapons bay. And because you _cannot_ ask an aircraft to 'replace'
the B-2 with anything similar to Global Reach mission provisions if the mission endurance instantly skips from 10-12hrs to 20-36. Not without a
portapotty, a refrigerator and microwave plus a barkalounger to do power napping on.
They will not be able to support the crew endurance factors.
I think everyone would love it if Northrops BlackWiddow Fighter, goes bomber.
No. We would love it if the almighty Armed Farces would stop playing musical chairs with roles and missions long enough to make some SERIOUS CUTS in
their mission capability /before/ the start 'planning the replacement'.
There's no need for CICBM 'conversions' and all the baited-breath uncertainty of 'what just came over the far horizon that we have to tell Russia
about' if you have ARRMD or Fast Hawk or even FRSW (air launch) off of naval assets within 800-1,100nm of a hotspot.
There is no need for a B-1 in the tactical roles if A-45 replaces them in the small-IAM dropping theater-strategic (B-17 radii) endurance CAS/OBAS
There is no need for a B-52 in the iron dropping and cruise carrier roles if you adequately stock carrier magazines and _conventional_ USAF fighter
wing deployment pallets with AGM-158A JASSM while staying within the letter of the law on both CFE/INF and MTCR/NPT. Because fighters with 180-220nm
(i.e. sub 400km) standoff can avoid even S-300 threats with the simplest of sub-horizoning and fighters can also get /to/ a theater faster than most
bombers can on a contingency deployment basis.
The B-2s sole utility as a standalone weapons platform is in the dumb-and-dirty backwards theaters which is ironic since none of these are apt to have
nuclear weapons which can threaten more than battlefield forces adn so the 'urgency of controlled response after unreduced penetration' is just not
Which is particularly ironic when you consider that the B-2 is a hangar queen, even with AHFM and that it soaks up support sorties which are better
off used elsewhere whenever it goes to a 'real' warzone.
The DOD and AF want a long range strike aircraft? They want a 'portfolio' of funding investment to justify that aircraft? FIRST THINGS FIRST they
had better cut HALF the existing bomber fleet from inventory. Not 'retired to DM until the next administration'. I want them chopped in two and
sold for glue. So that perhaps 30 BUFF and 20 B-2 are all that is left.
Then, using the saved maintenance, training and warchest funding for those airframes, they can quit pretending that breaking the law doesn't apply if
you wear a uniform and honor the budgetary funding guidelines by which they were CONGRESSIONALLY INSTRUCTED to have 1/3rd of their deep strike in
unmanned systems by no later than 2010.
THEN, if they are /really really/ good. They should be allowed to retire one half of what is left (presumably the B-52) to buy however many 'B-3'
they can finagle for a total of less than 20 billion bucks as a one-time contract.
This basically states that what there looking for...the FB-23 could probably handle...right?
No. Because stupid statements like this-
"The other is looking at a manned bomber with the range for 4-5 hr. of loiter, but with a heavier payload, Mach 2 speed and very low observability so
it can penetrate deep and strike heavily defended targets. They also believe it must be nuclear-capable to replace the B-2, and that means a crew.
Says NOTHING about how /far/ the jet must fly BEFORE it does Mach 2. OR stays on station for 4-5 hours.
Endurance is worthless if it doesn't come with an at-radius tag. A B-52 can and did make 9-11 hours over Afghanistan after flying 2,000 miles from
Diego. Even it needed to refuel roughly half of it's 313,000lbs of internal fuel to ensure it had a margin for the long overwater return trip.
Similarly speed is useless if you have to /burn off/ fuel to get high enough to make use of it. This isn't the days of the 1-way trip to SIOP Russia
in a B-58 folks. You have to go out, do the mission, RTB and /turn/ to do it again. 'faster for longer' than an equivalent value-number of slower
jets could cycle in and out of the combat area, subsonically.
Where said jet can fly off a carrier or from endangered 'forward fields' which a bomber /dares not/ approach in an era of precision TBMs; that means
that the bomber not only has to cost less and come farther, faster, than a similar number of fuel+munitions equivalent UCAV. It also has to STAY
LONGER than the alternative do.
Which is utterly impossilbe because an A-45 can fly 1,100nm, stay on station for 2hrs and come home on 12,000lbs of fuel. All while costing 20
Multiply that by 25 for a 500 million dollar bomber or even by 10 for 200,000lbs of fuel. And the 'lone hunter' aircraft is never going to beat the
TIME ON STATION efficiencies of the pack for equivalent loiter or radial extension (if the UCAV's total cycle time is 10hrs, subsonic, and the entire
fleet can take on 10,000lbs to /equal/ what a tanker would offload to a single B-3, EACH aircraft is now a 20hr endurance machine. Together, they
represent 200hrs in the air. If even 1/3 of that is on-station combat time, that's still 65hrs covering spot X and nothing a man can do while
staying alert can match that number.).
The B-2 can bomb 80 targets with one load, using the MK-82 JDAMS, which is a 500 pound bomb. But this article doesn't say a bomb size...So I would
assume that the "100" number is refering to the newer Small Diameter Bombs (SDB), which is 250 pounds. Which would mean the Aircraft would need a
payload of 25,000 lbs.....for comparison, the B-2's is 40,000 lbs.
The B-2 uses a rewired CBM or Conventional Bomb Module for GBU-38 (the Mk.82 based JDAM). However; it uses a conventional rotary launcher in each
weapons bay. Each with eight stations. Each with one BRU-61 SMER, to carry 4X8X2 GBU-39 (the 250lb Small Diameter Weapon). That's only 64 weapons
i.e. it's never the munition but the way in which you stuff it into the airframe that is rack-determinative as to total payload and with four hours
of fuel at 1,000nm radius with 'Mach 2 each way' on the legs inbetween target area and home plate, the notion that any FB-23 could manage both the
fuel load (estimated 150-175,000lbs /minimum/ IMO) and special purpose rack volume for 100 munitions that are each 6ft long X 7" X 7" wide is
ludicrous. Even if you did four rows of tandem-two or 25 SDB's per column stack, that's a 13 X 9" _vertical_ carriage box separation for a bay
/height/ of almost 120" or TEN FEET DEEP. Not including bay roof hardware, stringers, frames or other such nonsense.
This YF120 engine-
Has roughly the same fan face vs. maximum case diameter of an F100 at 34 and 46 inches respectively. To me, it looks to be about the same diameter as
the upper fuselage.
Add another 24 inches (i.e. roughly 72 inches overall) and you have a fuselage whose total depth, is roughly 6 feet.
Not only are you carrying almost THREE TIMES the weight of a fully loaded (64,000lbs) YF-23 _in just fuel_. But you are also at leat 160% shy of
scale for volume. And you STILL haven't figured out a way to stuff the crew into tandem single place cockpits with no room to stretch, tap a kidney
or boil water. For a minimum 7-8 and probably closer to 10hrs at a time.
You kill aircrews with stupid-mistake extended stress and 'please I can't get up' fatigue that way.
And for what? So that they can 'look good' being carried off the flight line on a gurney?
What about the guy on the ground who isn't fragged to their support list that day. But who /could have been/ if he had had slow-but-reliable UCAVs
as an alternative when the mortar fire started coming in from the ridgecrest across the valley. Is he going to 'look good', blown in half below the
waist at his closed casket funeral because some stupid pilot-phile wanted to see a 'manned solution' so that he could dream it was him flying the