First let me apologize for the long post – this should probably go into the Research Forum but there is no thread there on this so here goes:
The B-3 Long Range Strike Aircraft is under development at this time.
The usual U.S. aerospace manufacturers have shown artist renderings of the long-range strike concepts that are currently in R&D. Along with telltale
signs among the manufacturers are additional signs from various branches of government. The USAF, U.S. Navy, DARPA and Congress are all giving clues,
hints and input as for what to expect from the B-3 when it does debut.
Northrop’s Long Range Strike platform project is currently in R&D under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Quiet Supersonic
Platform (QSP) program. Northrop Grumman has shown a canard design with a flat underside and a dorsal inlet that deflects the sonic shockwave upwards
and away from the ground. The company has also studied configurations with highly swept, slender wings braced by struts, see image below. (Northrop
Lockheed Martin has revealed images of a stealthy, supersonic strike aircraft designed to penetrate heavily defended airspace in the initial phase of
a conflict and deliver precision-guided munitions on time- sensitive and other high-value targets.
The company developed the concept, which it refers to generically as the 'long-range strike aircraft', in support of studies on future strike
platforms that the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is leading.
According to Kevin Renshaw, Lockheed’s program manager for the Long Range Strike project, “The Lockheed Martin aircraft is a M2.0-M4.0-class system
with highly swept wings and large engines…” also you can expect a payload capacity between 15,000 lb and 40,000 lb (6,802kg and 18,140kg) Image of
Lockheed's concept below...
Boeing Phantom Works has validated the ability of the US Air Force to field Mach 10 bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. Similar in weight to a B-1B
bomber, its design would use hydrogen to reach maximum speed from Mach 4 or 5. (Jane’s Defense Weekly - November 12, 1997) Image below is Boeing's
"Blended Wing" platform.
A study by the RAND Corporation in 1999 proposed a ‘manned light bomber’ concept aircraft. The RAND study stated the aircraft should have a Mach 2
capability and an un-refueled range of 3,250 nautical miles. It should weigh between 290,000-350,000lbs, have a maximum payload of
Air Combat Command the division of the USAF which is in charge of the long-range bomber fleet has already initiated a project called the ‘future
strike aircraft’ study. It has commissioned Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to develop concepts for an aircraft to replace the B-2.
Unsurprisingly, the Pentagon has said it will call any future bomber the B-3. Very few details exist regarding the B-3, suggesting it is already under
development and is therefore classified.
A second manned bomber project called HyperSoar has also been muted. The aircraft would be a hypersonic platform that would perform global
reconnaissance and strike missions. It would be of a similar size to the B-52 and would travel at speeds in excess of Mach 10, while carrying twice
the B-52’s payload.
HyperSoar information Link:
More information on the USAF’s concept of the Long Range Strike Aircraft:
The US Navy:
In an unclassified document dealing with the Long Range Strike Aircraft R&D ongoing at the China Lake facility, a program dubbed the “RATTLRS” or
“Rattler” is mentioned. Among other things the “RATTLRS” will be “a turbine propulsion only, air vehicle system” … with the “ability to accelerate at
0.25 g or greater through the transonic flight region”… and with the “ability to cruise at a minimum
of Mach 3.0”.
(USN Document title: Revolutionary Approach To Time-critical Long Range Strike (RATTLRS) Flight Demonstration Project (FDP) 05/15/2003)
According to DARPA the new Long Range Strike aircraft would "free the US military from reliance on forward basing to enable it to react promptly and
decisively to destabilizing or threatening actions by hostile countries and terrorist organizations."
This basically feeds from the philosophy of being able to strike at an adversary’s individual targets, anywhere in the world without warning and
without the need for foreign bases. According to DARPA this capability will "hold adversary vital interests at risk at all times, counter
anti-access threats, serve as a halt-phase shock force and conduct suppression of enemy air-defense and lethal strike missions as part of integrated
strategic campaigns in the 21st Century."
The B-3: Could there be an ongoing project to deploy a secret operational squadron?
In June 2003, Donald Rumsfeld proposed to cut the numbers of B-1s by one third—from 93 to 60—and to use the estimated $165 million in savings to
improve the remaining aircraft. The reduction would close down an Air Force B-1 wing in Idaho and Air National Guard units in Georgia and Kansas.
(National Defense Magazine, December 2001)
When has D. Rumsfeld (or any Republican administration) been happy with cutting back numbers of units when the money was present
to retain those units? Could this be reminiscent of the case for Aurora’s existence? Those of you who are enthusiasts of black aircraft will recall
how the DoD cut the SR-71 from service with no other replacement.
This came around the same time the “Aurora” line item was discovered in a congressional defense budget request, fueling the
presumption that the U.S. had fielded a successor to the SR-71. Since that time there has been arguably adequate proof of this craft by sightings,
unusual contrails (“donuts on a rope”), extremely loud and out-of-the-ordinary jet engine sounds from known USAF bases that can be heard from miles
away and crafts traveling at near hypersonic speeds leaving skyquakes over southern California.
There is an established pattern demonstrating that when a “hawkish” administration is seated in Washington that they; a) do not
give up numbers of units for improving the quality of remaining units when there is adequate money to retain all units and fully improve the quality
of all, and; b) they do not cut numbers of units or cut out a type of unit altogether unless they have a far better replacement ready to be deployed
or already deployed.
Therefore using this line of logic it is very likely that Rumsfeld’s reduction in numbers of intercontinental long-range bombers is not just to
upgrade the capacities of a fleet that is now technologically inadequate by eliminating costly inefficiencies as Defense Analyst Jack Spencer suggests
in an unclassified executive memorandum, but rather has a direct relationship to the development being underway and deployment soon forthcoming of a
new secret Long-Range Strike Aircraft.
[Edited on 23-3-2004 by intelgurl]