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The USAF's Next-Generation Long-Range Strike A/C is a B-58?

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posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 07:37 PM
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As the USAF completes its Next-Generation Long-Range Strike (LRS) Phase 2 study some interesting proposed concepts are comming to light.

One of which is described as a modern version of the short lived but oh so fast B-58 Hustler. The Hustlerwas a mach 2 capable 4 engined delta winged bomber that was used by the SAC untill 1971. A modern version using composites, stealthy construction and modern engines would make the B-58 concept an ideal high speed penatrating bomber that could be on station very quickly.

The AF is looking at range, speed and most importantly battlefield persistance as it evaluates what it needs. It also is looking at unmanned platforms as well.

The whole story can be found here for those with an AWST subscription:



Future Bomber




posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 12:04 AM
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It seems that there are so many concepts for LRS being bounced around that it's hard to keep up.
It is becoming apparent at least to me that the LRS concept may very well end up being a variety of systems as opposed to just one, in much the same fashion as Missile Defense's "layers" consists of various systems.

There are discussions of revamping old Peacekeeper nuclear missiles so that they carry conventional MIRV warheads, there's the C-17 Arsenal Aircraft concept, B-2's, FB-22's, FB-23's (YF-24 maybe?), and a wide variety of UCAVs - and now a modernized B-58 Hustler?

Here's a sampling for what the US gov't is presently considering:


For more on this subject:
USAF: Long-Range Strike Options Considered





[edit on 6-12-2006 by intelgurl]



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 12:36 AM
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FredT,

>>
As the USAF completes its Next-Generation Long-Range Strike (LRS) Phase 2 study some interesting proposed concepts are comming to light.

One of which is described as a modern version of the short lived but oh so fast B-58 Hustler.
>>

Well, in /some ways/ this makes sense. The B-58 at altitude was capable of sustained Mach 2.65 or better and was called 'the only plane capable of intercepting the SR-71'.

And of course a delta wing is always a good thang because it gives you maximum structural depth for a given root:tip taper and predictable overall profile draq quotient across a curve of airspeeds.

That said, the B-58 has _so very many_ 'other problems'.

1. It was terribly unreliable.
With everything from avionics/cabin cooling to skin cracking and thermal cycle breakdown of tank sealants. The B-58 also had one of the worst accident records of the time as I recall. All of which was further magnified by having to have a veritable crane for a workplatform to reach anything ON the jet. Literally, you _could not_ get to the upper wings using anything else because the canopies were self blocking and the wing too high off the ground to reach while the engine nacelles were too smooth to scramble over.
2. Incredibly short range.
Even with tanking over the Atlantic or Pole, the Hustler could, essentially, only reach peripheral targets and that assumed next to no sprint value with what must certainly qualify as the largest external tank ever fitted to an aircraft.
3. Cramped Cabin.
In which you have three people seated in indiviual cockpits so tight that they were forced to pass messages (for the nuclear go-codes etc.) up a clothesline and pouch system of 'no potty, no fridge, no microwave, no barkalounger' Strategic one-way mindset.
4. Poor LO.
In addition to the aforementioned tank (which is about 70% of the size of the fuselage and a constant-taper round perfect scatterer of both direct specular and traveling/surface wave effects) you also have the FOUR J79 engine pods and a rather large tail.

Assuming all of the above could be resolved, the real answer is still going to be that we already built just such a 'replace the Hustler' (as an intra-theater) platform in the B-1A and it would likely cost a heckuva lot less to strip the engine nacelles from the Bone-B and reengine the beast with an F110-132 or F135 clone (to recapture supersonic cruise and high-fast profile transit altitudes) by virtue of 30% more (17K vs. 26.3K lbst) thrust per engine in a smaller core (better TSFC by massflow implicaton).

2,600nm combat radii with a Mach 1.25-1.4 transit and a 10 hour combat hold being easily possible if you're only carrying 250lb class standoff weapons.

Of course the B-1B is also nothing if not a maintenance pig (as are all the strategic bombers to be honest) and thus the real answer in terms of StratCom 'persistence' is probably going to be as much based on cheap economics as any real or perceived increase in performance metric.

If a bomber can carry 4-6 AGM-158B JAASM-ER extenally and 40-50 GBU-39 internally, with only two engines in the Trent class, while functionally behaving as f a commercial airliner (in terms of profile flight mechanic and ease of global logistics access) it is already doing more than ALL the existing platforms. Simply by combining capabilities while halving or quartering, engine counts.

The latter, while it may not give you sonic-cruiser transits (just due to the fan size and compressor/bypass configuration on commercial cores) will certainly give you 'persistence' over the battlefield. Because you are not throwing away lb/sec JP just to keep a core turning over at flight idle (indeed, a single 50-90Klbst class engine could likely fly most of the loiter portion of a mission, assuming you could restart it for the return trip).

Once ICBM/SLBM came onstage, SIOP was more or less a "Look into my eye!" really bad joke for SAC's manned force. And yet it is the design of nuke-hard, multi-2,500lb carriage, systems on giant rotary bay launchers that dictates most of the configuration features of the existing bomber fleet.

Dump that absurdity and you can almost clean-sheet-of-paper redesign the entire airframe from new-class scratch.

This brings up another unpleasantness however in that one bomber will never penetrate alone to deliver a useful DMPI count over a standing IADS under _conventional_ conditions. We just wouldn't risk it.

And once you have tactical escorts in-theater to make sure it's a round trip, the question still comes up: WHY.

Have one CAS stack asset over AfG or Iraq. Utterly unable to reach more than one suddenly threatened force asset or itself (as an interdictor) able to hostage a single infrastructure or airbase equivalent target. When, for the same money in acquisition and the same _tankers_ in fuel offload, you can have 10-20 robotic UCAVs able to cover or hold at risk twice as many individual hotspots, just as long.

Until the USAF can answer this question, they have no business developing another manned or otherwise, sub strategic, asset. They might get somewhere furthe with a TAV/FOBS type system like FALCON. But even that is an emergency suppression asset (maybe 10-15 airframes, MAYBE). Not a fleet of B-58 profile aircraft.


KPl.



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 04:13 AM
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As a child I remember being completely baffled why the sexy B-58 was scrapped when the Vulcan and B-52 were still front line bombers


I suppose a 'B-58B' type upgrade would have to be pretty far reaching to be worthwhile.



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 04:14 AM
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I would love to see them do this, just to see what it could do, and how they could make it stealthier. I imagine that having the engines hanging off the wings like that would hurt the RCS, so it would be interesting to see how they'd get around that. You can't really do a long intake/exhaust like on the B-2 with them slung under the wings. This would be an interesting one to research and follow through with for the challenge if nothing else.



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 07:22 AM
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Manned B-58 replacement concept...

As Kurt (CH1466) so accurately pointed out in his loooong post, the B-1A was the replacement for the B-58 Hustler. That is why Boeing is offering the B-1R for one of their LRS options.

Of course all 3 of the major US aerospace manufacturers have similar offerings:



Boeing's B-1R Regional Bomber concept using 4 Raptor engines to hurl it through the skies at Mach 2+.

Lockheed's FB-22 concept, which doesn't seem to offer much in improved payload capacity.

Northrop Grumman's revamped F-23 with a larger fuselage to accomodate a 2 man cockpit as well as more fuel and ordinance payload.

Of those choices, the B-1 is not stealth although it does have reduced RCS technology.
The Raptor/Bomber version again does not have much in the line of improved payload capacity;
It seems that the F-23 with larger fuselage, stealth, etc comes closest to fitting the bill - of course the cost associated with a new system like this as opposed to modifying an existing system could be prohibitive depending on Congress and Pentagon bean counters whose job it is to say no.

My vote is for Northrop's offering.



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 08:02 AM
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Always shooting for the sexier plane eh intelgurl?

I too was always a fan of the YF-23, kinda disappointed they cancelled the it in favor of the F-22, just hope that the FB-23 makes a legacy for the YF-23.

But cost-wise, the B-1R is possibly the way the Air Force will go because it's only retro-fitting an existing airframe.

Why revive the B-58? It's airframe is old 50's tech, if you're going to make all the changes necessary, then that would mean changing the entire air frame and making it a different aircraft.

Shattered OUT...



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 10:01 AM
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ch1466, I'd think you'd be a fan of the B-58, as it was so effective at culling the jet-jockey population


B-58 was a really amazing aircraft in some ways, and certainly looked stunning, but it was very prone to making large smoking craters in the ground, and not with ordnance. 26 out of 116 built were lost in accidents, a stunning loss rate for a plane that never saw combat.



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 10:38 AM
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Xmotex,

>>
ch1466, I'd think you'd be a fan of the B-58, as it was so effective at culling the jet-jockey population


B-58 was a really amazing aircraft in some ways, and certainly looked stunning, but it was very prone to making large smoking craters in the ground, and not with ordnance. 26 out of 116 built were lost in accidents, a stunning loss rate for a plane that never saw combat.
>>

I have a fondness for the Hustlers lines though I generally don't like 'podded' airframes (one of the reasons I'm not fond of airliners) as it is such a 1950's cowardly solution to the problem of enclosing power and gas within an aerodynamic shape.

In fact, I'm still hoping 'someone, somewhere, someday' will turn up a picture of the sole aircraft painted (for a single day!) in a modified SEA/SIOP hybrid scheme as a black-bellied pathfinder for 'Nam.

Given the Iraqi's supposedly used MiG-25RBs to sling-bomb Iranian oil platforms from over 60 miles out using nothing more than Peleng radionav triangulation systems, I think we missed a big chance to exploit the high-fast envelope and 'forget penetrating by SEAD -or- Stealth' here.

Indeed, I would have enjoyed seeing the North Vietnamese scramble to defend their Capital with 15-20nm systems against bombers that were 'pulling off target' some 40-50 miles out overwater.

Goodbye Rail Yards. So long, GT Powerplant. Ooops, there goes the Parliament and Hanoi Radio. So sorry about the dykes over the rice fields. Throw as many flunk-rock Guidelines as high as you like folks, I really enjoy the fireworks.

With _no lost crews_.

That's the difference between what people assume of my dislike of inhabited systems today and what I acknowledge of the shortcomings in technical capabilities and misinterpreted historical lessons inherent to 'getting here' through previous conflicts.

When you fight a war, you FIGHT TO WIN.

And no kidding about with the political consequences of seeing a principle strategic deterrent shot down like any other high-slow-stupid-repeat-track TARGET DRONE.

Most especially when the best way to stop an externally motivated insurgency within your ally's turf is through terrorizing the foreign sourced 'volunteer' populace into realizing that the propoganda of 'a long walk South to your grave' is no longer a dying-place reality they can dissociatively count upon their flawed leadership to save them from.

Make physical change happen by changing peoples minds. I think Mau said that in his little red book. And we never have 'gotten' how to do that with the overkill available to us.

Having lost the will to 'fight for the honor of our name' and made wars a vicariously moral spectator sport instead; the concept of terror as an 'active deterrent' is somehow remains alien to us. Even as the rise of laser weapons and a spiralling escalation in asset values will never let a conventional bomber penetrate a defended airspace alone, _period_. I don't care how 'sexy' it looks.

Which brings you back to tactical aircraft making better fragged-sortie use of gas and apertures.

Frankly, given the kinds of global threats we face today, even a Mach 2 class platform is not going to give a president the kind of reactive-spank options he needs, IMO (though there are equal dangers related to commitment vs. need when you give him a Mach 15 ASP skip bomber). Which is why LRSA/B-3 studies based on these systems are still a mistake.

Because the best way to stop war (among barbarians who see nukes as big-boy toys) is STILL to put a horror of _conventional_ annihilation on the threat population base in such a way as to deny a dictator 'leadership' of a functioning society. And that cannot happen so long as we don't have the ability to project an immediacy of overwhelming firepower, on target, within 3-5 hours ANYWHERE.

To discourage anything like another PGW-I or II, India-Pak 1967 or Nork-ROK 1950.

Should we continue to persist in a Global Cop belief in Pax Americana, it had better come a lot cheaper than 1 Trillion Dollar Deployments of forces to save the savages from themselves.


KPl.



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 11:19 AM
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Should we continue to persist in a Global Cop belief in Pax Americana, it had better come a lot cheaper than 1 Trillion Dollar Deployments of forces to save the savages from themselves.


And it won't, which is why the US ought to get out of the GloboCop business postehaste.
Or at least, one of many reasons.

In no war since WW2 have the stakes been high enough for ordinary Americans to support "doing what it takes to win", because frankly none of these conflicts represented any threat of real consequence to ordinary Americans (with the possible exception of Afghanistan). The "glory" of Empire, or proving to ourselves that we're still "#1", simply isn't something that's a strong motivator for much of the population, other than a small minority of armchair toughguys overcompensating for, err, something


As for the SEA camo B-58, I've only ever seen it on models.
The Aerofax Series: Convair B-58 Hustler: The World's First Supersonic Bomber may have pictures, I know it has a section on the idea of sending the B-58 to Vietnam.

[edit on 6/12/06 by xmotex]



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 08:49 PM
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A rather interest fact about the Hustler was when Robert McNamara asked the Air Force what they would need for a low altitude bomber, he was shocked when they requested that the B-58 be placed back into production. That's asking a lot. But I guess it showed just how highly they regarded it.
And as far as the 'problems' with performance, it could benefit a lot from today's technology. Even in it's original, non-stealthy form, upgrades in powerplant, structural, and weapon systems would make it very formitable.



posted on Jun, 13 2006 @ 09:26 AM
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Originally posted by ch1466
Well, in /some ways/ this makes sense. The B-58 at altitude was capable of sustained Mach 2.65 or better and was called 'the only plane capable of intercepting the SR-71'.


Oh, Really?

I've heard some outragious statements, but this is in a class of it own! Where did you get this?

The Mach 2.56 B-85 intercepting an SR-71? You can't be serious!

First of all, how do you intercept Anything with a bomber? Bombers are built to drop weapons on ground targets, not th shoot other airplanes down.

The B-58's record Ceileing was 85,360 ft. The Blackbird, on the other hand could reach over 100'000 ft. That's over 10'000 ft difference!

Third, how does a plane fling at Mach 2.56 (just over 2 1/2 times the speed of sound) catch ssomething flying at over Mach 3? At the Least, the Blackbird has around 400 mph on the B-58.

What about a Mach 2 Bomber intercepting a mach 3+ spy plane makes sense to you?

Tim


ISJ

posted on Jun, 13 2006 @ 09:37 AM
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Well the way i understand the B-58 was it was a waste of money and a death trap.

No matter how cool/sexy/beautiful you make an aircraft, and the Hustler came under all of these IMO, but it couldn't carry a decent enough payload, couldn't fly far enough and suffered lots of accidents.

The B1 was immediately sanctioned and as soon as it was ready the Hustler was scrapped.

I am not well read on the subject of the B-52, but i hear that the are serious plans to re-engineer the craft with new avionics and new engines to make it basically a new airplane to last into the next generation.
I feel this is important as its only the possible immenient withdrawal from service of the B-52 that is causing these new design briefs to be speculated/disscussed/submitted.

Forgive me if i have missed a certain point, i haven't had time to read the linked article.

[edit on 13/6/06 by ISJ]



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