I'd discounted hitting strategic missile launchers because solid-rocket missiles can be fired almost
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
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
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.
(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."