posted on Apr, 15 2006 @ 12:41 PM
Some things come to mind...
The B-52 is probably the easiest of the platforms to upgrade because of it's mix of clipload and external carriage. Indeed, I would, in designing
new options, make integrated rack/rail combinations that exploited the HSAB ability to load complete -modules- (similar to the F-22/35 external
'stealth pods') of preset loads. This would go a long way towards making fewer jets cycle faster. As a con, you have the reality that NONE of the
other platforms are external carriage airframes so that the question is really one of how much you can transfer the technology straight across vs.
whether you want to . I have seen pictures of the B-2 loaded with single BRU-61 quads of GBU-39 on individual rotary stations and even assuming they
don't clash and you can get a full 16 units onboard, that's only 64 bombs. A very inefficient means of exploiting the Batarangs payload capability
(26,240lbs out of an 80,000lb max?) when you could be going with a modified CBM.
2. Standoff vs. Stealth vs. Supervalue Singleshot.
There has to be some kind of moderation of approaches here because what we are setting ourselves up with is the reality of having too few stealth to
go in with direct penetration (and next to no EA/DEAD to back them). And too few CM shooters to hit targets by alternative means. Vs. a CICBM which
may well run, what, a 100 million per shot? Again, this DOES NOT make sense. Because unless the missile is redesigned to salvo multiple weapons
(again) it just won't have the DMPI equivalency of an IAM carrier. And can these missiles even BE reequipped, under treaty, with MIRV'ing tech?
3. Where Are We At.
On the various weapons mods? I heard the AGM-86C conversions stopped for cost and the USN took over completely with the Tomahawk. Can we restart?
Can we rebreed a MRASM type mini-Tom? What are the comparible costs and clearance times for each weapon from each shooter? Again 'last I heard'
the AGM-158 had to meet a couple of very strict standoff prohibtions in the CFE and Cruise Proliferation Treaties which kep it more or less a
180-220nm weapon. This is NOT GOOD ENOUGH for a bomber that faces a modern SAM and certainly not one looking a Flanker down the barrel.
If we go to the AGM-158B as a 600-700 mile weapon, how many will each bomber class be able to handle? It's a fat missile and if it's anything like
the AGM-129, a full rotary may not be an option. This too then raises the question of external adaptation (and all the acoustics and missile fatigue
factors that brings) ONLY on the Buff.
4. Tanking & Reliability.
The Bone was taking 2 and 3 sucks to drag it's sorry butt from Blightey to Serbia back in 1998. The B-52 was doing it in 1 or even none. Even with
aged engines, the internal fuel load and superior cruise profile/wingloading just makes a HUGE difference. If we keep ANY combination of these
airframes, what is our lookout on the tanker fleet replacement? Do we gain an economy of scale or are we looking at a fixed buy ceiling no matter
what? 'Last I heard' we were looking at a two front war with a bomber hold response going one direction and tacair 'win' the other. That puts a
BIG hit on both the staging and initial response options.
Similarly, while the BUFF may be decrepit in terms of the hours they have to put in every year in deep-M to keep it running. The B-1 has never been
anything but a redball express either and I don't know but that they ever really 'fixed' that except in one mandated exercise when they
artificially pumped up Texas I think it was by raiding the parts locker and support teams of Kansas and Snowville.
I doubt if the B-2 is much better, AHFM or no.
5. What about New Ideas?
Can we put a hypervelocity weapon on a C-xx or Civil aircraft conversion and just standoff a 1,000nm in-racetrack? Can we split the difference on a
UCAV force and simply fly over their heads with so many of them that you get an equivalent munition count and a MORE DIVERSE (including riskier)
target set simultaneous engagement?
Knowing how much gas these monsters take and having a pretty good guess on how many MMH:FH, the questoin for me becomes WHY are we bombing stone-agers
back to stick-and-bone level with such massively expensive, limited, platforms?
If there is no air defense and the ranges are largely 'tactical' (sub 1,500nm anyway) it doesn't make much sense to fly Aluminum Overcast from
2,000-2,500nm out of Diego or Doha.
You cannot judge an ability without a notional threat. While I have my own doubts about over committing to a war that costs us future
'conventional' (high intensity) capabilities; I have to wonder if the combination of DEWS awareness /in other countries/.
Along with likely considered attack-prep political and strategic threat levels (Korea, Taiwan, Iran) don't indicate an actual low point in our
needful response curves for which a hard drawdown might open funding paths for future program starts, sooner.
The question then again becomes HOW SOON on a SOA vs. Developmental technology level we need to have exploitable options. For anyone that remembers
the old '747 with 6-10 ALCM rotary launchers' proposals, it seems to me that a switch to a 777 or 787 level tanking capability might include a 'few
extra airframe options' (10X2) for a rapid cruise slinger conversion might be just the thing.
IF you also pay for the Falcon or similar on a 2010 vs. 2020 flow in basis.
No threats in 2009? Fine. We make them tankers. No threats in 2015? Fine, we wait for whatever eventuates out of B-3/LRSA. 2020? Well I figure
we're all one big happy family or dead but maybe a TAV of somesort.
P.S. While the CICBM option may be necessary for overpenetration factors on truly deep targets, the notion of their needing small nukes 'anyway',
combined with the requirement to telegraph our shots so as to keep matters from being misunderstood, when added to the cost factor, makes me a bit
leery of treating them as dual-hatted weapons. Especially without a publically acknowledged NMD capability dense enough to defeat a salvo-launch of
similar weapons from whereever.
We're not talking 1-2 from NK here. We're talking possible coalitions using clusters of rod-from-god type systems (similar to the Minuteman with
BKEP cluster) to flatten highrise buildings or saturate the superbowl.
If they are conventional, I don't see how we can use nuclear counterfire. But if they are enough to beat down an SM-3/ABL-1/THEL token midcourse and
terminal option, I don't see that our being able to flatten their hovels in return does U.S. much good on a WTC for mudhut type equivalent trade.
i.e. Mo Money for defense may mean literally that right now. Before we start contemplating Pizza Hut Delivery style ballistic warfare
[edit on 15-4-2006 by ch1466]