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Debate Inside DoD on LRS

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posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 04:28 PM
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Predictably, there seems to be a great deal of turmoil inside the Pentagon regarding what direction the future Long Range Strike platform will take.

Though air service officials are moving forward with plans to field a new long-range strike aircraft around the 2018 mark, it is apparent that the joint air services department at the Pentagon are not seeing eye to eye because the need is not fully understood. While all agree that a new long-range bomber is needed the disagreement seems to be on what kind of aircraft or missile should be designed to meet the requirement.

Just last week the DoD announced that $5 billion had been allocated for LRS development and fielding by 2018. This was in keeping with the Quadrennial Defense Review which directed that the USAF stop work on it's portion of the J-UCAS program. Meanwhile the US Navy has coninued moving forward on it's newly dubbed "N-UCAS" program.

A wide spectrum of platforms have been considered by DoD officials, including a new supersonic stealth bomber, the FB-22 or FB-23 revamped ATF platform, a ballistic missile, and a revised version of the B-1A and B-2 Spirit.
There have been some defense officials who have publicly stated that the new long-range strike aircraft should be able to take off from and return to Navy aircraft carriers as well as air fields.

So the debate goes on in the Pentagon just as it has here on ATS! I guess we are in good company~


Source:

USAF ‘HAVING A HARD TIME’ STARTING BOMBER PROGRAM, OSD OFFICIAL SAYS; Inside the Air Force, Sept 1, 2006




posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 04:47 PM
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I'll post a another reply tomorrow, but I just wanted to say that the talk about using ICBM's with conventional explosives is very dangerous. It sure is a cheap alternative to hypersonic bombers, but how can an enemy nation tell the difference between an nuclear ICBM and a conventional one?
The B-1R with four F119 engines you mentioned earlier sounds like a perfect simple and relatively cheap solution to me, although it would be a challenge to land it on a carrier



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 05:28 PM
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Well, I don't think such ICBMs would be fired en masse, it will be more like 1-2 at once against high priority targets. I also do not think they would be used against nuclear powers.
Also I don't think any kind of bomber can fulfill the requirements. SR-71 made 3.2 Mach just with light payload and in order to strike the target in 2 hours the bomber would need to go much faster - over mach 10, with substantialy larger payload. In fact they only way how to accoplish it is to use some kind of space bomber - something like military version of shuttle, and that would be too expensive. I don't think even screamjets are capable to fullfill the requirements.

Also I don't understand the logic of B-1 taking off from carrier (IMPOSIBLE!)- it has enough range and speed to operate from ground bases. It could be modified to start from smaller airfields, however.
Of course if this new "bomber" should be in F-111/F-22b class (that means tactical), then the carrier landings are not bad idea.

BTW it looks like DoD doesn't know what they want - between B1 and F-22 is huge difference, they should firstly specify what kind of bomber they want.

[edit on 1-9-2006 by longbow]



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 06:32 PM
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That carrier capable option is unnecessary and quite frankly absurd, it places too many restrictions on the design and offer little advantage and I doubt it will be used in that fashion at all.

IMO whatever they decide I think these capabilities have to be implemented. High speed, stealth, high payload and out of CONUS range, though the last one is not that important.

[edit on 1-9-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Sep, 2 2006 @ 08:45 AM
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Originally posted by Zion Mainframe
The B-1R with four F119 engines you mentioned earlier sounds like a perfect simple and relatively cheap solution to me.


and me. ive always thought that a modified and upgraded b1b would be the perfect interim solution, untill hypersonic weapons become a reality and then maybe start using the blended wing arsenal aircraft carrying hypersonic (and maybe conventional) cruise missiles as well as carrying a couple of ucavs, if the technology has advanced far enough to make this possible.

this would give you the best of both worlds, planes sending back real time footage of the target that can drop a bomb almost instantly and yet anything that is expensive way back away from the target carrying a heavy payload ready to deliver a heavy punch at within moments. lots of power, relatively little risk.

the dod should just ask for the desingers ideas and then pick and mix what they like instead of trying to say exactly what it should be this early on in the design stage only to change ther minds later on.

justin

westpoint23 im enjoying reading your signiture, very amusing. keep it up.

[edit on 2-9-2006 by justin_barton3]



posted on Sep, 2 2006 @ 08:55 AM
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A B-1B Strike variant, four F-119 engines, and a belly full of RATTLR hypersoinc strike missiles sounds to be a good bet to me - I adore the B-1B, ever since i got to have a look see inside one in '98 (I was reserved armed forces at the time)

Nice plane, great abilities, and a decent hypersonic payload would wreak havok in the GWOT.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 04:17 AM
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The need is not fully understood? I will assume this means they don't know which platform will best provide the capabilities they desire.

So which solution would I pick?

First I'm agonna nix the ICBM concept. Our problem isn't hitting targets wherever we like, its finding things to shoot at. A ballistic missile doesn't spend enough time in the air to look for a target, so it's out.

Second, this is intended to be an "interim" project, which means its intended for short term use until another aircraft fills the role a decade or two later. So I'd nix any aircraft that's all-new: there's no sense investing in an all-new platform for short-term use.

That takes FB-23 off the list. I'd also nix FB-22 - with so many changes proposed you're effectively buying a new aircraft, while getting a compromised design that was originaly intended to be something else.

And we'll axe the carrier launch capability too. CATOBAR launch capability limits size: range or payload, something will have to be sacrificed. We're looking for long-range and high payload, so we might as well use a proper airfield.

Which leaves us with the B-1A revision or new-build B-2s. And between the two, "B-1R" is an easy choice:

* 67 aircraft availible vs. 40 proposed B-2s.
* 75,000lbs vs. 40,000lbs of payload.
* Rebuilt aircraft cost less than new airframes.
* B-1R should be able to supercruise with F119, right?

That last item I think would be most important. Bombs dropped in supercruise travel much farther, which means you can "throw" your JDAMs from outside the range of most air defenses. And Mach 2.2 (I assume this takes afterburners) means the B-1R can beat a hasty retreat if enemy fighters try to engage it.

On a seperate note, I don't expect "Stealth" to remain effective for as long as we plan on using these jets, which is a second strike against the B-2: I'd want an aircraft that hold its own even if the other guy can see it coming.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 05:18 AM
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i was thinking about this and the conclusion of my thoughts apart from my first post is that maybe we should have a design the new bomber competition on ats, to help the dod out. i would start one but i dont have any suitable software and couldnt draw a worthy entry anyway.

justin

[edit on 3-9-2006 by justin_barton3]



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 08:36 AM
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img310.imageshack.us...

Heres my first simple effort for the DoD.

A B-1R (Butterfly tails to improve stealth) as well as F-119 in full burners for supercruise. (Just made the burners brighter and a bit longer, i know its cheating, but...)

I love the tails on the YF-23 and F-117, so i thought if they improve stealth over the old slab tail i'd include them.

Heres a close up as it comes into refuel - damn the B1 B is one beautiful plane... Now have a look at what it could be...even nicer imho!

img72.imageshack.us...

[edit on 3-9-2006 by D4rk Kn1ght]



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 11:00 AM
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D4rk Kn1ght you missed one detail in your first image there, a B-1 would not be on full burner with the wings extended out like that.

Now as for the B-1R, to me it does not offer enough new capability, if we are to use this interim bomber until 2030 or thereabout we are in big trouble. Its ability to penetrate advanced anti-access zones until 2030 by itself will be very poor. That is why interim or not, stealth and high speed at the very least are a must, I'd go for either the FB-22 or FB-23 as an interim solution.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 11:13 AM
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D4rkKn1ght,

The problem with the Bone and indeed any VG airframe is that it trades the drag for lost lifting area in changing aspect ratio with wingsweep. This (along with almost 110,000lbs increase in allowable mission gross) cost the SIOP configured aircraft any ability to even refuel above 12-14,000ft (heart of the weather).

Indeed, effective combat radius was only about 1,200nm (at a time when it was advertised as 4,800nm ranged weapon) and only _500_nm with a significant lolo segment. Even once CMUP brought a different mission scenario (all high altitude) with it, the Bone has had severe problems staying in the game. During OAF, B-1's sucked dry at least two tankers per mission out of Blightey whereas the BUFFs, depending on how long they were in the ops area and which route they used, could get by with about half of one.

Now, maybe the dry thrust reserve on the F119 (26.5lbst) is so much greater than that of the F101-GE-102 upgrade (IIRR, originally about 19,800lbst and 29-31,000lbst in burner) that it can sustain ceiling on power. I dunno. But if you are not at 35-40K, you aren't gonna get efficient supercruise and if you can't hold contact position behind the tanker at at least 20,000ft, you are gonna burn a lot of gas climbing back up to transit height again.

Speaking of which, while your pictures are interesting, I would definitely start with one that was fully swept to mimic a supercruise profile and I would probably also choose an image which allowed a ventral side perspective so that the required changes to the inlets would be visible.

This is NOT likely going to be a plug'n'play switchout people. There are enough Bones in inventory and at AMARC to speed along any test program but significant changes or reratings of materials and powerplant/inlet design will still be crucial to qualifying the airframe to sustained supersonic ops. Q, thermal cycles, fuel use and CofG management for trim, _everything_ will change.


KPl.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 11:31 AM
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Fully swept and displaying the inlets it will be then.


Cheers for the pointer about the burners . Doh!


I do like the idea of an updated B-1B, but I will say i am in favour of it carrying a payload of RATTLRS from stand off distance and letting them lay the mach 4 slap down on targets.

Fantasy and wishes aside, i do agree that it will probably be an all new airframe that gets the nod on this one - The bones just my pet project if you like.

Cheers for the input.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 12:13 PM
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RedMatt,

>>
The need is not fully understood? I will assume this means they don't know which platform will best provide the capabilities they desire.
>>

Oh they know, they're just scared pissless of the 'U-word'.

>>
So which solution would I pick?

First I'm agonna nix the ICBM concept. Our problem isn't hitting targets wherever we like, its finding things to shoot at. A ballistic missile doesn't spend enough time in the air to look for a target, so it's out.
>>

That's not what it's for. Its for killing Iranian Shahab IV/V/VI or Taepo Dong 2s before they can get them off the pads. In this, think how close Europe and Japan are. As well as how bad you're gonna look if you use atomic preemptively.

CICBMs, along with increased earth penetration warhead capabilities, may also be critical to hostaging deeply buried targets like the Libyan chemical complex.

>>
Second, this is intended to be an "interim" project, which means its intended for short term use until another aircraft fills the role a decade or two later. So I'd nix any aircraft that's all-new: there's no sense investing in an all-new platform for short-term use.

That takes FB-23 off the list. I'd also nix FB-22 - with so many changes proposed you're effectively buying a new aircraft, while getting a compromised design that was originaly intended to be something else.
>>

Agreed to the extent that I also don't like their design parameters for aircraft whose ergonomics don't support the aircrew for extended mission durations. And whose stated range doesn't look compatible (to me) with the airframe volumes.

>>
And we'll axe the carrier launch capability too. CATOBAR launch capability limits size: range or payload, something will have to be sacrificed. We're looking for long-range and high payload, so we might as well use a proper airfield.
>>

Actually, I like the ability to launch and recover from Carriers, I just don't think it's practical for a weaponized airframe. If you look at the C-130 and U-2 operations from big deck carriers, the notion of using a scissor wing airframe (with tails) no longer looks quite so ludicrous as a long duration ISR platform. Targeting being the big deal corporate memory thing which keeps weapons cabinets from having any real utility in single orbit holds.

>>
Which leaves us with the B-1A revision or new-build B-2s. And between the two, "B-1R" is an easy choice:

* 67 aircraft availible vs. 40 proposed B-2s.
* 75,000lbs vs. 40,000lbs of payload.
* Rebuilt aircraft cost less than new airframes.
* B-1R should be able to supercruise with F119, right?
>>

The B-1 has never been an easy to maintain airframe. So 'Availability' may be more deterministic than you think. Equally important will be the number of tankers it takes to get a mission aircraft from Diego or Guam or Sig forward to an ops area at least 2,000nm away.

I dislike the over emphasis upon absolute payload fractions. At least when it was a SIOP airframe, the B-1 ran almost all the time with an aux tank in one of the weapons bays and some bombs also tend to clear better from certain locations. More important is the ability to design a CWM/CBM type module that can rapid-stack a given number of GBU-38/39 without having to clean (literally soap + water + brush), circuit check and recart the pyro systems of the current module. This process can take up to three hours per bay with the ladder-rack and requires a dedicated 40,000lb capable trailer to change out as a single unit. If you stick with BRU-61s dangling from rotary spindles (as all photos of the GBU-39 on the B-2 seem to indicate) then you are looking at 8X4X2 or 64 bombs. That's 16,000lbs.

Rebuilt airframes have to be requalified to a new performance regime which might just accelerate an already uneven service life with a lot of hours spent at low level and some airframes having had their SMCS deactivated for a period of almost 2 years.

>>
That last item I think would be most important. Bombs dropped in supercruise travel much farther, which means you can "throw" your JDAMs from outside the range of most air defenses. And Mach 2.2 (I assume this takes afterburners) means the B-1R can beat a hasty retreat if enemy fighters try to engage it.
>>

The B-1B, with the current inlet system is actually only a Mach 1.25 capable platform (though originally it was stated as a Mach 1.4 system). The main point here being that _if_ the B-1R cannot do the fast-out/fast-back transit phase, then you are either going to have to double the number of airframes available to any given theater commander or go back to a clean piece of paper design.

Myself, the Bone doesn't have enough LO or EW anymore to be rushing head long at supersonic speeds towards anything. It takes 10-15 miles to turn the thing around in, just because it looks sleek and has a fighter stick in the cockpit, don't mistake it for an F-22. Instead, I see it as purely a weapons cabinet airframe with perhaps some UAV combat controller relay options (like the Predator/AC-130 combination) that allows it to drop on targets from an offset holding orbit.

In this, you have to accept that the GBU-39's '15nm to the side, 25-30nm ahead and 50nm with airburst only' standoff is your baseline BRL for _fully supported_ attacks against any kind of sophisticated IADS. And that otherwise the jet is purely an all-weather replacement CAS/OBAS asset.

Mind you, I can also see it throwing out JASSM-B or RATTLRS type weapons in an emergency response to Korean or Iranian threats, provided it does so from behind a screen of Japanese of CVSF based interference runners.

>>
On a seperate note, I don't expect "Stealth" to remain effective for as long as we plan on using these jets, which is a second strike against the B-2: I'd want an aircraft that hold its own even if the other guy can see it coming.
>>

I fully expect the ABL-1 to be a line of sight weapons system against (high altitude) aircraft. Say as much as 1,000km or more. When this is proven to be the case, everyone will jump on the COIL system as the cheap and easiest way to get DEWS. At which point no asset worth more than 10-20 million dollars will be put overhead until the fixed sites and/or their relay mirrors (LTA or Aerostat) are knocked out.

Such -may- be the threshold point at which a Hypersonic airframe tries to skipbomb from the edges of the theater airspace. But IMO, the best solution will likely be aeroballistic cruise weapons with LOCAAS or SMACM type separable mini drones that can bus _short_ (50-60nm) of the target and then send in multiple kill mechanisms under the effective horizon line.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 12:13 PM
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The problem with this approach is that it basically disqualifies the AF from any mission within 800-1,000nm of a sea interface since an arsenal ship (SSGN converted Boomer or CG-X) will be, by far, the cheapest means to get what will likely be very expensive (2-4 million each) missiles to the theater. Rather than pay for both the missiles and a bomb truck to sling them from.

Again, particularly Europe is too close for a hypersonic anything to make a difference '2hrs out'. But the U.S. diplomatic and PR position is so degraded over Iraq and now Lebanon that nothing serious will be done to Iran or Norkia to prevent nuclear weapons development. Which means you are back to suppressing a threat before it can launch by killing it's silos or mobile TELs. That means a 10 minute flight time, /max/, and a persistent ability to project presence without necessarily giving an opportunity for direct aggression ala the 'where are the carriers?' Presidential query of the 20th century. IMO, such a combined request can only be best served by requalified conventional SLBM on depressed trajectories or a new class of aeroballistics which are GOING to be expensive. But hopefully not so much so, compared to a 200-700 million dollar bomber that they cannot saturate at least the early generation DEWS while obviating hunting weapons altogether.

CONCLUSION:
I don't think the USAF is willing, just yet, to admit that 70-90% of the wars they fight actually come under the heading of SSC/OOTW in nature and -always have-. Even Iraq was only a conventional/high intensity campaign by virtue of the main force logistics involved. As such, I think that they have tried to make a lizard-chicken or lion-eagle weapons platform that can do two things at once purely for the 'virtue' of being manned. Instead of simply dividing the missions up into cheap targeting and cheaper weapons cabinet, subsonic, long-endurance mission requirement for 'after dominance is achieved' (missile or air) subjugation of primitive ground threats. And a secondary system which _gains_ that dominance by virtue of cutting out the costs of the bus platform to get costly missiles down range quickly in saturating numbers sufficient ot defeat a threat which may not itself have the numbers to withstand the 'use it or lose it anyway' compression effect of having all their strategic nuclear forces compromised by conventional weapons. While themselves not being able to reach out and touch U.S. strategic systems with the same kind of weapon effect (i.e. Try nuking U.S. and we will eliminate all life from Longitude 50E to 65E, south of the 40th Parallel. Try using like-conventionals and you will first have to survive the effort to /come find us/ before you precisely target our forces). Such awould undoubtedly compromise the Iranian position of developing nukes to threaten Europe and drive a wedge between the NATO allies. Even as it would allow the U.S. to continue a campaign of creeping encroachment by which Iranian state terrorism is defeated _on the battlefields_ of AfG and Iraq. As much as Taiwan or Korea. By robotic airpower.

If the USAF can get past their manned uber alles bigotry and give the USN the primary theater missile _suppression_ as much as 'defense' (CEC) mission, the definition of the LRSA may not be hard so much as moot. Otherwise, we are left with the reality that we cannot fight wars where the conventional combattants skulk like guerillas and the guerillas use high tech to strike key assets and force elements which we cannot protect using single platforms as theater 'persistent presence' assets.


KPl.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 07:34 AM
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ch1466,


I'd discounted hitting strategic missile launchers because solid-rocket missiles can be fired almost instantly; there's no way to hit them quickyl enough. But Iran/N. Korea don't have that technology, so hitting their launchers before they can fuel their missiles shouldn't be too difficult.

However, might I recomend something smaller than a CICBM for the job? 250lbs on a 500nm single-stage "heavy artillery rocket" could be TEL-fired (HEMTT/PLS), and that would buy us enough range to cover all of Iran (via. Iraq and Afg.) and N. Korea (via. Japan). A single stage, single warhead solution would be much cheaper than a CICBM, and wouldn't raise any concerns with Russia/China's "first strike" alert systems.

But that's an Army solution, and it's the USAF that wants to spend money here, so back to LRS as a tactical/strategic bomber...

The reason I like "B-1R," aside from likely having the lowest (additional) cost, is its speed. This might not be enough to throw bombs the distances I'd hoped, but you can still move a large payload (84 x Mk. 82 = 42,000lbs internal storage) at a high rate of speed.

As with Raptor I see this being used to sprint to the weapon's release point, avoid engaging enemy jets on unfavorable terms, and swing back to the nearest airbase for reloads in the shortest possible time. I could see FB-23 doing this as well, but new USAF jets tend to exceed their value in gold: purchasing 67 new airframes for equivalent capability to B-1R would cost far more than any "interim" project should.

I'm assuming here that Stealth is much easier to detect than normally assumed: Phased array radars operating in NATO L-band are claimed to be effective against "low-observables" targets (Smart-L, SPY-3, etc.). Using longwave radar to command-guide a missile to the bomber, and IR-imaging for terminal guidance, should be enough to score a hit against LRS-type bombers.

If that's true (I'll leave it for the others to parse that theory) then no high-value bomber is making its way through active air defenses, stealthy or not, and the real increase in capability is going to come from a rocket/missile that can be fired from a healthy standoff position until air defenses are knocked out.

I'd picture something along the lines of an AGM "artillery rocket," though I don't know what that would cost. GPS/INS, a unitary warhead, and a solid rocket motor should be sufficient. Perhaps an SDB + AIM-9X motor hybrid. The question is if you can get enough range/payload for sufficiently low cost for the weapon to be both affordable and effective.

But I'd still pick B-1R for weapons delivery, for the afformentioned high speed engage/disengage capability, (likely) lower pricetag, and shorter mission times.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 10:55 AM
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RedMatt,

>>
I'd discounted hitting strategic missile launchers because solid-rocket missiles can be fired almost instantly; there's no way to hit them quickyl enough. But Iran/N. Korea don't have that technology, so hitting their launchers before they can fuel their missiles shouldn't be too difficult.
>>

The problem is not at the TEL but in the command and control loop and particularly in integration to achieve near simultaneous firings which saturate a GBI type defense 'somewhere in Eastern Europe'.

You also have to realize that not only does Iran need to be able to get any future truck based system into a known (presurveyed in case GPS goes out) location, stop them and fire on command; but they also have to know that OUR weapons are inbound and how many of their units are threatened. Who's gonna tell'em, not you surely? Even if they can get reliable attack warning, if they fire off all their birds on a use'em or lose'em basis; what forms their second strike option?

Furthermore, if Iran decides to use nukes to target area population centers as a function of absent ability to hit (say) the Albione Plateau or the Brit Boomer bases, while WE use conventional missiles to hit their TELs or pads, do you realize how bad they will look? How likely it is that they will have bought the end of their 'grand and glorious 5,000 year civilization'? I betcha they do. And since they only /pay others/ to go rabid-nuts as Shahid, one can postulate that, deep down, they aren't quite as interested in dying for Allah's Will as they state. Indeed, how can you spread a dogma of his religion on earth by your interpretation if you are vaporized?

>>
However, might I recomend something smaller than a CICBM for the job? 250lbs on a 500nm single-stage "heavy artillery rocket" could be TEL-fired (HEMTT/PLS), and that would buy us enough range to cover all of Iran (via. Iraq and Afg.) and N. Korea (via. Japan). A single stage, single warhead solution would be much cheaper than a CICBM, and wouldn't raise any concerns with Russia/China's "first strike" alert systems.
>>

No. Because this would mean stationing them on foreign soil (dual key control and 'acceptability' to a literally targeted audience, something we had a very hard problem convincing the Euros to do with P2 and Gryphon.). There might additionaly be problems with the INF and MTCR treaties. Lastly, the reason someone wants the U.S. for their nuclear deterrent guarantee is so that /to kill them/ any threat has to defeat an 'outside power' which can avenge without direct exposure. No reason to nuke their nation because nothing they hit will touch the deterrent force and the very act of _counter valuing_ (strikes upon 'innocent civillians') guarantees an overwhelming response in kind.

>>
But that's an Army solution, and it's the USAF that wants to spend money here, so back to LRS as a tactical/strategic bomber...
>>

The Navy is where it's at as far as rapid counterforce targeting for the foreseeable future. Putting variable missile loads on boomers or on an SSGN type dedicated ships ala Virginia is the best way to keep the threat honest becuase it means that they have to develop the same kinds of blue water ASW capability as the Russians once tried to and frankly they don't have the money or the time before (hopefully) we again gain the upper hand with DEWS.

>>
The reason I like "B-1R," aside from likely having the lowest (additional) cost, is its speed. This might not be enough to throw bombs the distances I'd hoped, but you can still move a large payload (84 x Mk. 82 = 42,000lbs internal storage) at a high rate of speed.
>>

First off, I made a mistake. If you use the BRU-61 as your intermediate rack/adaptor (allowing multiples to be preloaded) then the weight has to be 8X2X1,640 or 26,240lbs to account for the smart rack. Throw in the weight of the MPRL at say 5,000lbs each and you are talking 41,240lbs overall (though the spindle is such a common fixture, I don't know if it is considered an element of the basic operating weight or not).

For much the same reason, 84X585lbs = 49,140lbs. Now add the weight of each CWM which is probably on the order of 10,000lbs. And you are up to 79,000lbs.

In any case: "56 spent impulse cartridges must be removed from each CWM. Then the area is scrubbed to remove carbon and fresh cartridges put in and the wiring checked. Then 28 bombs must be loaded. Loading the first bomb takes up to 40 minutes, and every subsequent bomb needs not less than five minutes, so loading each CWM takes three hours. If there are three modules and there is only one loading crew per aircraft, the gap between missions cannot be less than nine hours." (WAPJ #24, 'Rockwell B-1B Lancer', by Bill Gunston).

If fast reaction and/or continuous persistence is your goal, you can't minimize the transit time only to get stuck on the turn interval. I must also say that I don't know /for sure/ that the B-1B CWM is capable of taking smart weapon programming commands. I know that they converted a percentage of them to be able to carry WCMD type clusters (X10) and I have to assume that they are indeed so enabled. But getting databus commands to 26-28 individual GBU-38s would be a nightmare and _without this capability_ all the effort you put into loading up an enduring weapons cabinet asset goes right the way of the dodo in terms of being able to stay overhead a unit in contact and drop SINGLE bomb after bomb onto discretely relayed aimpoints. Now we know that the B-2 CBM can do exactly this. But not (AFAICT) the B-1 equivalents.

The above having been said, it's still the stealth that kills you. Head on, the way it was explained to me was the the B-1A was an order of magnitude smaller than the B-52 and the B-1B was an order of magnitude smaller than the B-1A. If the B-52 has a 100m2 frontal RCS, that means the B-1B has a 1m2 one. However; this is deceptive because that's only for a factory fresh bird with coatings in perfect condition and it makes no emphasis upon altitude vs. penetration depth. Or the fact that the ALQ-161 has gone from being a 200 LRU offensive jammer to little more than a 34 unit techniques generator for the terminal defense ALE-50 TRD.

Throw in a little dirt and grime and a lot of variable aspect viewing aspect transitional effects (that monstrous tail for one and the combined nozzle/wingtip/root seals for another) and you are probably looking at a 26 square foot frontal RCS (which is still smaller than a non Have Glass F-16 at 4m2) and possibly as much as 150-200sqft (12-15m2) for the side and rear quartering aspects.

Such is the penalty you pay for letting nature glide your weapons instead of powering them independently, you cannot measure RCS as a flat-horizon restricted 2D shape change.

archive.gao.gov...

(Search: Keyword 'RCS')

>>
As with Raptor I see this being used to sprint to the weapon's release point, avoid engaging enemy jets on unfavorable terms, and swing back to the nearest airbase for reloads in the shortest possible time. I could see FB-23 doing this as well, but new USAF jets tend to exceed their value in gold: purchasing 67 new airframes for equivalent capability to B-1R would cost far more than any "interim" project should.
>>

The F-22 works because stealth and a 9G supercruise capability doesn't impale you on the threats kinematic pole. The B-1B would not be as lucky, not least because it's a 3-4G airframe under most conditions which means that (quoting Colonel Bob Murphy in WAPJ #24, 'Rockwell B-1B Lancer', by Bill Gunston) ): "I miss the maneuverability in a fighter. The B-1B needs 18 miles to make a 180` turn."



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 10:57 AM
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I'm assuming here that Stealth is much easier to detect than normally assumed: Phased array radars operating in NATO L-band are claimed to be effective against "low-observables" targets (Smart-L, SPY-3, etc.). Using longwave radar to command-guide a missile to the bomber, and IR-imaging for terminal guidance, should be enough to score a hit against LRS-type bombers.
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Yes, but at some point you have to draw a cutoff line in assuming that the threat will not have a DDX type radar and if they /do/ they will not be able to survivably bring it forward to the point where it can be a threat to the bomber launching extended range cruise or aeroballistic weapons in the 600-800nm category. This is why the 'weapons cabinet' approach works. You are not doing anything more than fire weapons off somebody else' targeting. If you start to add EOTS/Sniper and APG-81 (and and and) the modification pacakge price just /skyrockets/.

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If that's true (I'll leave it for the others to parse that theory) then no high-value bomber is making its way through active air defenses, stealthy or not, and the real increase in capability is going to come from a rocket/missile that can be fired from a healthy standoff position until air defenses are knocked out.
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Agreed, the three problems (at least) then being that-

1. We lack the means or the will to maintain a Chrome Dome type airborne ready force of rotating B-1Rs within missile launch envelopes off Iranian if not in fact Persian Gulf waters where they are both threatening and yet untouchable.

2. If we were to attempt such an effort with say four aircraft each carrying 4 RATTLRS for maximum time on station vs. the 'known' Iranian launch pads. There may be less reason to make an excessive investment in the B-1R technology upgrade solely to get reactivity from a given theater base. Since you are trading a much higher fuel burn rate for only a marginal improvement in getting to station from Diego or indeed Iraq.

3. If the threat /goes mobile/ then you still need to be able to fast-target it in the interval between satellite passes and that means 'something' has to go peaking over the fence. Something a lot less valuable than a 200 million dollar B-1B with 50 million dollars in engineering upgrades.

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I'd picture something along the lines of an AGM "artillery rocket," though I don't know what that would cost. GPS/INS, a unitary warhead, and a solid rocket motor should be sufficient. Perhaps an SDB + AIM-9X motor hybrid. The question is if you can get enough range/payload for sufficiently low cost for the weapon to be both affordable and effective.
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Well, ATACMS was originally to be both an airborne and ground launch capable weapons system so that's not completely unreasonable. OTOH, if you are back to tackling strategic weapons, even those with only nominally MRBM/IRBM ranged delivery to Europe, you had better go at it with a maximum capability investment in the missile itself. Better bullets win because they can be hung from ANY airframe with $olveable carriage compatibility issues. Whereas an advantage resident in only a given B-1R is only as good as it or it's twin is available IN the operating area to react with their unique capabilities.

Again, the definitive issue here is likely to be "Why pay 20 billion for a system that can only travel 2,500nm without refueling at 60-100 grande per sortie and yet has only 8-10hrs total sortie duration when you can invest a couple billion in a missile-integration effort ot the existing fleet and get 15-17hrs total mission time, albeit with about half that spent in transit. Or go to a DDG/CG or SSGN that can in fact go 10-100,000nm between refuelings and costs pennies per ton mile in terms of comparitive maintenance and DCO (direct operating costs) 'per cruise vice sortie'.

The air option is only good for high rate saturation over medium radius distances and short surge intervals. i.e. To WIN the tactical war in which the freedom to hit targets is a given but their targetable presence is considered fleeting enough or low value enough not to be worth a dedicated missile. For endurant 'CNN says they're there...' mode coverage, particularly of _high value_ target matrixes, you have to put the weapons on a platform which may take two or even ten days to get to a given AOR but once there will remain for another 20-60 without rotation. Achieving permanent ready-intimidation factor then being relatively simple when you already know that this is a high value area of the world and can keep one or more CVSF sitting out in the Arabian Sea or at most Mediterranean/Red Sea standoff distances at all times.

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But I'd still pick B-1R for weapons delivery, for the afformentioned high speed engage/disengage capability, (likely) lower pricetag, and shorter mission times.
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About the only real advantage I see for ANY strategic bomber over UCAVs derives from the absolute depth in-continent on Asian and/or Access Denied targets. And the need to conserve tanking to just a few assets in getting there. Remember, a tacair asset may suck 8-10,000lbs of gas _2-3 times_ during an extended op which means that a 60-90K offload from the tanker which is dragging along a pack of fighters will actually only service 4.5-5.6 airframes. OTOH, if you have one tanker that serves only as a launch assist agency (i.e. it allows the bomber to launch at sub maximum gross weights, make an efficient climbout profile with a heavy weapons load, fill up the rest of the way and then proceed forward without the waste of fuel in prolonged high throttle settings getting up to cruise height before itself coming back down to regas) and another which tops off just shy of fence-in and maybe again upon theater egress; then you get all kinds of benefits in terms of cruise Mach point and profile altitude efficiencies for both the bomber and the KC (which can readily outrun and outclimb a fighter in all but burner conditions). Thus the number of push-forward hours that any ONE asset receives as a function of being the sole recipient of gas goes way up, even though it may well be sucking down a full 80-110,000lbs all on its own.

If you are flying 1,500-2,500nm to a target area due to problematic basein politics (launching out of the Horn Of Africa to gain entry to a PG gone completely hostile to any U.S. presence; flying out of Guam or Hawaii to hit Taiwan or Norkia because you can't come any closer and remain outside missile ranges while not hostaging Japan; intervening in a PakIndi crisis gone nuclear with the Indian Navy threatening any and all foreign naval presences), then even a UCAV launched from a carrier is not going to be able to project force far enough forward, long enough, to have useful mission loiter times. Certainly not without having 'combat tanking' right ontop of possible threat air defenses.

OTOH, even if you can break a bomber into threat airspace on the 'camel with a bigger hump' theory of gas pass efficiencies; the -targeting- and -reactivity- problem remains.

Since you have to assume that any constantly radiating ISR asset like a GHawk is going to be a major target in and of itself and even assuming you have the numbers of them to just throw away (@ 144 million each with MEP), the bomber is STILL going to be one lonely orbit with perhaps 50-60nm of SDB target servicing radius 'bubbled' around it. And everything TCT-else may require upwards of an hour or even two of displacement to suppress what may be gone in only a few minutes.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 10:58 AM
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Maybe the CIA has such a ring of black-constellation satellites up there that the area coverage of any given 1,000X1,000nm target zone doesn't have to obey the laws of 1-2 KH-11 type long-interval orbital mechanics. Maybe they also have the bandwidth and processing capacity to auto-task from all the streaming video data on shapes and patterns of shapes so as to provide instantaneous real time targeting of these same totality regions. But I doubt it. Because if they did, UBL would have been dead a long time ago. And cheap conventional ballistics or aeroballistics (the SRAM dates back to 1972, Skybolt to 1962) would have long since become the derigeur choice for reactionary attacks on threats which are otherwise too fleeting to TLE lockdown in the interval between sighting and weapon carrier transit to LARs.


KPl.



posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 12:46 AM
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ch1466,

The problem is I'm trying to picture some alternate use for LRS, when the defining mission seems to be TEL hunting and Silo busting. Which B-1R probably isn't up for, I'll agree.

Actually, thinking it over, for the mission I have in mind, upgrading an aircraft that's designed to act as a standoff delivery platform doesn't make much sense anyway. So moving on...


Here's my main concern with hunting "Strategic weapons:" Iran doesn't need a sustained/second strike capability. If we try to pre-empt them, and they get even one missile off, we're already at "unacceptable losses."

The rest isn't stuff I know, but I'd like to learn more about. If you're willing to fill in the blanks...

If Iran develops nukes in the future, won't any device small enough to fit a strategic missile also fit an A2G bomb or cruise missile? Can we reasonably expect to cut off all delivery options before they get any shots off?

If we go after Iran's ICBMs, what are their launchers going to look like? Are we hitting Slios, TELs, or (my gues) both?

And how hard is it to crack a silo? I know they're meant to be nuke proof, but that's with a 100m CEP MIRV. If we scored a hit on the silo doors, how much force would it take to bust through? Would BLU-113 or BLU-116 have enough punch? Or would a KEP ("1 ton CKEM" with GPS guidance, for example) fired verticaly into the silo be more effective/be enough to kill the missile?

I'm guesing TELs have little armor on them... one GBU-39 should be enough to put one out of action, right? And how hard is it to find these things? Hezbolla's Katyusha launchers were a pain, but they're also much smaller and easier to conceal.


And on a different subject, how far could we take the F-22A airframe towards ground attack, without making permanent changes to the airframe? Borrowing a few of the suggestions that could be carried over from FB-22:

* Ground search radar mode (AESA should make this part easy).
* Bulged weapons bay door (larger weapon options?).
* Clip-on Stealthy Pods (weapons or fuel? Would this nix Supercruise?)

Could such an aircraft - with heavier weapons and greater fuel supply - be useful in TEL hunting or Silo busting/LRS strike missions?

It's not ideal I'll admit, but I'm trying to stick to solutions mentioned in the first post. I'd much prefer a Raptor that could be "accesorized" for A2G work, rather than the full cost of the FB conversion/redesign...I guess what I'm asking is, how many of the FB-22 capabilities could we apply to F-22A?

So that's it for tonight, no answers or suggestions, just questions.



posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 03:58 AM
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the b-1 is how old of an airframe? yack no way unless they want to field 1000s of them to make up for the loss of quality even at 2018, quanitity over quality. yack! The B-2? Is nice but its another OLD airframe but a revamped FB-22 or FB-23 would be way "newer" than the other options or even create a totally new bomb truck using the lessons learned from the FB-22/23 projects and the B-2.


I would go with the FB-24 the renewed, rebuilt, upgrade and redesigned FB-23 which came from the yf-23. They need to get their butts into gear and start working on this, they need to pick up the pace why would it take 12 years for a project like this?



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