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B-3- what do you think/hope it might be?

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posted on May, 9 2008 @ 10:48 AM

Originally posted by _Del_

There has been no secret about the projects existing -- they've been discussed for quite some time. Jane's has had a few mentions, as well as a few others.

Thats what I was thinkin when I read Bill's article that I had been hearing and reading about these options before. Interesting project but the interm bomber vs the new "SR-72" isn't really in the same ball park if I understand what is being thrown around right now as you 2 are talking. Can we sorta clarify what is going into these 2 programs or where there being aimed at

posted on May, 9 2008 @ 01:56 PM
The Global Strikes Initiative is the plan laid out to achieve Prompt Global Strike (PGS): simply, it is the goal that anywhere in the world be available for strike within 60 minutes. The idea as I recall is to attain this by 2020. There are obviously different routes for this. Ideally you have more than one system for different applications.
My position was that a manned bomber was redundant and wasteful in light of other potential systems. In part that assumes that AHW works as advertised -- I don't see anything radically more difficult refining AHW (or a similar project) than in designing a survivable manned bomber. There are several projects (existing and on the board) which would make a "B-3" redundant. I cannot find a role that a new bomber would carry out that could not be carried out by one or a combination of other weapon systems. In fact most of those systems seem to be rather cheaper to develop and acquire. That being the case, I would not spend money on a "B-3".

[edit on 9-5-2008 by _Del_]

posted on May, 16 2008 @ 03:45 PM
reply to post by _Del_

I Agree with _Del_ in that it is a COMPLETE WASTE of money to try to create
a manned B3 bomber, when we can use COTS (Common Off The Shelf)
systems taken from current and PROVEN designs to make either a
long-range strategic bomber OR a close support craft for tactical
uses such as clearing of urban combat zones.

For the B3 roles, I'd modify Cargo-type Boeing 777's and even 747's into
cruise missile platforms and for delivering multiple MOABs and 2000lb
JDAM bunker busters.

In the ground troop support role, my personal preference (If I was a
4-star General) is for getting something RIGHT NOW (i.e. Less than
2 years development) is to use a modified C130 Hercules.

Again as per my earlier comments and based upon the comments of my
Brother who HAS served in Afghanistan, Golan Heights, Cyprus and a few
OTHER hell holes in addition to him GOING BACK to Afghanistan this
summer, it is common GI knowledge that there is a distinct SHORTAGE
of advanced ground support craft that can KNOCKOUT enemy positions
AS SOON as they are spotted! This means we need a plane that can
LOITER around for at least 12 to 16 hours and then attack with bunker
busters and ACCURATE small-scale enemy placement destruction
weapons that don't kill the surrounding civilians.

Again my suggestion is a version of the Hercules C130 platform.
The AC-130 Gunship, although a good start, is still prop-driven
and does NOT have the loiter & range capabilities I seek, so my suggestion
is to GUT a C130 - add a highly PRESSURIZED fuel system using
carbon fibre fuel tanks at say 1000 to 2000 psi of JP1 fuel to allow
long-range and long loiter times.

Then i'd stuff the C130 FULL of Hellfire missiles
and small-scale 500 lb or even 250 lb JDAM type bombs
designed for ACCURACY of PLACEMENT rather than large-scale
wanton destruction.

I'd get rid of those propellor engines and replace them with the same
Pratt & Whitney F135 engine or General Electric F136 engines
used in the JSF/F35 fighter which would save money and be
INTERCHANGEABLE with the JSF programme for ease-of-maintainance.
I'd change the fuel management software to allow for high fuel-efficiency
modes to allow long loiter time at high altitude on 2 engines and then
a high powered FAST attack 4-engine mode for ground-hugging
flight at the flick of a switch.

Next I'd STUFF the C130 with an All-axis combination of
FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-red) and Starlight Night imaging
cameras pointing forward, aft, both sides and of course up and down.
I'd stuff the camera electronics with Object & Human movement recognition
software algorithms to help automate the task of tracking and
targetting enemy movements, hardware and placements.

Since I also want Stealthy GROUND HUGGING capabilities, some
extra DSP chips that do terrain following would allow tree-top
and near-to-ground flights that CAN both ATTACK or TRACK
enemy operations and placements. The extra & lightweight
ceramic armour plates would up survivability to an acceptable level.

Lightweight but superstrong Titanium wheel struts and gas shocks
attached to blow-out proof tires (Google TWEEL as a search term)
would allow short takeoff and landing from gravel roadways and
rough rocky fields to allow for dispersal and retrieval of
special forces troops and fast loading of bombs.

Again the C130 Hercules is an IDEAL craft for this type of modification
and it would be a HELL of a lot cheaper than doing a craft from scratch.
I believe the C130 could be modified into this type of ground support role
in as little as 18 months.

If the Marines or ARMY need my help in showing them how it could be
done I would be more than willing to help, just email me and i can tell
them exactly what needs to be purchased and modified.
I would using NOTHING but simple & PROVEN COTS technology to
have a working model up in the air in 18 months!

posted on May, 17 2008 @ 09:32 AM
The B3/NGLRS/SSLRS/NGB, whatever you want to call it, is not intended to lob cruise missiles. It is intended to penetrate and linger in the airspace of an enemy with an advanced air defense network. A commercial airliner will not facilitate that. With heavy modification, I suppose they could be able launch cruise missiles, but that makes them a standoff weapon, which is not what USAF desires from a B3.

As for the upgraded AC-130, it is a fine close air support solution provided there is no air defense network to speak of. Assuming it is to be used in conflicts against enemies without a good air defense network, upgrading it would be a relatively cheap solution. The only upgrades I see as being worthwhile would be newer avionics/optics/electronics/etc. for better weapons targeting/delivery and a re-engine-ing. Newer turboprops or propfans would improve it's range/payload/endurance, and could easily be bought off the shelf from a commercial line very cheaply today (which you list as being important).

The F135/F136 is/are probably the worst candidate/s for the re-engine-ing. The SFC sucks compared to any turboprop, even an old one ... and neither one is ready today ... and neither one is cheap. You don't need (or want) a high specific thrust engine in an aircraft that flies low and slow. The fundamental design of such a machine makes it a poor performer in terms of fuel efficiency. Newer does not automatically equal better.

Lastly, you wouldn't want to use the AC-130 airframe for high-speed, low-altitude strike missions, as it is in no way designed to fly that mission. It is in no way designed to be stealthy either. It is a fine airframe for a gunship, or a missile lobber, but not for strike or for anything in contested airspace.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 03:21 AM
reply to post by Nipples

You are corect that a modified 777/747 would be used more as a standoff
weapon but since most modern conflicts seem to be short-duration/high
intensity operations in mostly 3rd world countries anyways, it might be a
good a idea to have a cruise-missile/smart bomb delivery platform that
can deliver MAXIMUM amounts of firepower from 100 to 300 miles away
or from from say 50 thousand feet plus which would put it higher than the
el-cheapo 1980's era Soviet Surface to Air missiles which are used by the
many Whatever'Stans of today.

777/747's craft can carry MUCH more payload than the aging B52 to deliver
MORE firepower in a shorter period of time in a much more accurate manner.


Regarding my idea for converting the C130 aircraft to close-ground-support
roles, it is ALREADY designed for low & slow cargo operations and since it
is ALREADY designed for heavy-duty troop & machinery delivery in difficult
terrain, it makes sense to use it's robust airframe as the basis for an
ACCURATE medium capacity, low & fast Hellfire & JDAM delivery platform
by re-engining it with more powerful engines.

Turboprops are easily damaged and the F135/F136 engine has TWO things
that makes it a GREAT candidate for adding onto a C130 airframe.
It's EASILY & QUICKY removeable for maintainance...engine switchovers
are 300% faster that the current turboprops which makes maintenance
in desert/dirty landscapes that much EASIER, cheaper and faster.

Since it would take 18 to 24 months to develop a Warthogged C130
anyways, that would be enough time to re-engine those C130's with
production quality versions of the F135/F136 engines which are
now coming online.

The OTHER great thing about the F135/F136 engine is that
at least SOME design has gone into making them Resistant
to multiple bird strike/sand/foreign debris ingestions.

As far as I know, the current C130's will crack or destroy their
prop blades on any SINGLE debris strikes and the air intakes were
NEVER designed for "Dirty" operations requiring resistance
to multiple debris and sand ingestions.

And since the C130 can fly LOW, by adding JETS they could fly
FAST even in contested airspace. Advanced nightvision
and software-automated target identification & tracking
could give a fast enough heads-up on ground-level
threats that the problem of shoot-downs would be mitigated.

Flying FAST at treetop level using ground-hugging, terrain-following
flight control software would also relieve some of the pressure from
SAMS and Ground Radar and by adding ceramic plates on vital areas,
small-arms fire could be resisted to the same level as the A10 Warthog.
Low-level flying would also mitigate acoustic signatures until it's
too late for the on-ground enemy positions to react.

I'd HATE to be an enemy soldier that hears that jet whine suddenly
pass over and then the whistle of a few 250lb or 500lb bombs dropped
from less than 100 feet.

And for concerns over limited range, that's where multiple 2000 psi
carbon-fibre tanks of JP8 fuel could REALLY make the C130 into a
long range, fast and low attack craft. At such high fuel storage
pressures, a Warthogged C130 could have a range of 4000+ miles
in a minimal space. Since the current useful load of the C130 is
72,000 lb (33,000 kg) the pressurized fuel system wouldn't take
too much away from that capacity if it's designed right!

My guess is it would cost about a 60% to 70% premium for a Warthogged
version of the C130 over it's current cost, which is STILL a heck of a
lot CHEAPER than the cost of a SINGLE JSF/F35 fighter attack plane
or F22 Raptor, much less a manned B3 bomber!

For the cost of a single B2 bomber we could have a whole SQUADRON of
Warthogged C130's and still have enough change left over for all the
extra JDAMS and Hellfire missiles that'll be stuffed into each craft.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:13 AM
reply to post by StargateSG7

Man where to start....

First of all, you can't compress a liquid, that's the whole idea behind hydraulics. So pressurizing fuel tanks is pointless from a capacity standpoint.

Slapping on F135 engines onto the wings of a C-130 requires a complete redesign of the wings of a C-130. The wing is half of the aircraft, you might as well start from scratch at that point.

The only good idea in the whole post, is an arsenal of hellfires and SDB's.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 12:14 PM
reply to post by StargateSG7

Regarding the C-130 - why not just use a C-17?

A slow moving ground hugging aircraft certainly has it's mission role - but stealthy behind the lines strategic bombing isn't on the menu. Ground support a la AC-130 & Warthog would more suitable.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:01 PM
reply to post by lpbman

On a technical basis liquids can DEFINITELY compressed...please note
at the bottom of the Marianas Trench at 6.8 miles below sea level
the pressure of the water is 108.6 MPa (15,751 PSI), or over one
thousand times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level.

This DOES NOT MEAN that the VOLUME of water at the bottom
is 1000 times greater than at sea level, but there IS SOME volume
compression so I must respectfully disagree that liquids cannot
be compressed.

The equation is:

An increase of pressure by 1 atmosphere (= 1013mbar = 14.7 psi)
causes a decrease of the water volume by 5.3*10-5 of the original volume.

If my math & physics is correct, water will compress by a
volumetric factor of 0.46 under 1 GPa of pressure?
which at 2000 PSI will compress only a tiny number
of fractional percentage points in volume at 2000 PSI.

So on this basis, WATER can be technically
considered to be nearly uncompressible.

HOWEVER, since JP8 fuel is a less dense liquid than water,
compressibility would be greater, on the order of about 1.3:1
(if my admittedly shaky math is correct) volume-wise at
high pressures in excess of 2000 PSI (some carbon fibre tanks can
take 5000 to 7000 PSI!) so fuel compression IS a viable option
for some liquid fuels.

The possibility of Compression Ignition of the pressurized fuel stream
would NOT be a safety problem IF multi-stage compression valves
are used. I expect that OTHER JP series fuels might be even lighter
and could possibly be even more compressible.

Yes, the generally LOW compressibility of MOST liquids would be an issue,
but much like the SCUBA gear I have, MULTI-STAGE
compression/decompression valves can be used to COMPRESS or
DECOMPRESS a liquid fuel to a desired pressurization and volume
reduction/expansion point depending upon the inherent strength
of the fuel tanks and inherent compressibility of the liquid fuel.

It's a problematic engineering issue, but NOT an insurmountable one
since the limiting factors are the tanks themselves and the hoses and fittings.

The pressurization of the fuel DOES have one added benefit of helping
fuel vaporization upon expansion which could account for an increase
in horsepower OR an increase in efficency and therefore
an increase in final operating range.

Again, for extending the current range of a C130 aircraft using
highly pressurized fuel system IS a viable (if unorthodox) solution
to keeping the internal storage volume (and carrying capacity)
of a Jet-engined Warthogged C130 to within an acceptable limit.

The wings are VERY sturdy on a C130 and the wing structure could
definitely take the increase in strain. If THERE IS an issue
with the wing structure, it is suggested that a HIGHER GRADE of
aluminum be used for the wing and engine nacelle supports.
Such a CAD/CAM redesign and wing load recalculations wouldn't
take more than 2 months, so there is NO NEED for a complete
re-design, only a re-calculation of strain loads in critical
areas and a subsequent use of better quality (i.e. stronger)
aluminum struts and supports.

And if my recollection of actually sitting in a C130 is correct,
and seeing a real F35, I seem to remember that the F135/F136 engines
are only slightly larger volume-wise than the C130 engines and
actually LIGHTER than the Allison T56-A-15 engine C130 engines.

My opinion is still that the C130 COULD BE converted to a viable
Warthogged Ground Support role aircraft for a final price of
around 32 to 37 million dollars which is STILL a heck of a lot
cheaper than a B2 bomber.

It would be interesting to see if any Lockheed honchos are reading
this thread and hopefully getting some idea that this avenue might
be worth taking a look at!

And I have a suggestion for a name for this new craft....

Ground Support & Attack 130 ...or... GSA-130 Scorpion

cuz it Strikes Quickly and it STINGS HARD !!!!

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:31 PM

Originally posted by intelgurl

Regarding the C-130 - why not just use a C-17?

This would also keep the C-17 line open until the USAF (hopefully) realizes that it needs more heavy-lift/long-haul capability.

I think the difficulties of re-winging/re-engining a C-130 is being underestimated. I'm not sure where the 32-37M dollar figure is coming from -- seems extremely low.
If the goal is simply to hang missiles on the aircraft, why not choose an aircraft with more survivability and multi-role capability. Or equip a vehicle like the Global Hawk for the role (and retain it's other capabilities) where the unit cost would be under $40M.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:36 PM
Ok, so you want to take a 50 year old design, change it in virtually every conceivable way, and make it cost half as much as the original version.

Um, no.

And regarding the density of the fuel and pressurization, It's absurd. It's a completely unnecessary layer of complexity when volume isn't the determining factor to begin with. It's weight, the effect of pressure and temperature on the densities of liquids and solids is small so that a typical compressibility for a liquid or solid is 10–6 bar–1 (1 bar=0.1 MPa) and a typical thermal expansivity is 10–5 K–1.

Just for poops and giggles, you want to strap on engines which have yet to finish their development programs...These engines are designed to operate most efficiently at a higher speed than the C-130 and you severely underestimate the amount of work that needs to be done for a total redesign of the flight/thrust profile...

You know what... nevermind. Proceed immediately to your local LM engineer with ideas in hand.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 08:36 PM
Oh my god, why would you ever want to use atrociously inefficient supersonic fighter engines on an airframe designed to fly slow? Significantly raising the cruise speed of the C130 is a CXXX - a new aircraft. That bird was designed to fly slow, and strapping on rocket engines won't change that fact. I don't know what the Q is that those wings are overloaded and rip off, but since the C130-J max speed is listed on Wiki as around 0.5-0.6MN, I'm guessing that airframe pulls apart north of 0.8MN. That speed delta will mean nothing to any post-Vietnam SAM site. When enemy radar sees this beast flying in with its complete lack of stealth, Mr. Mach-3 SAM won't care if it's going 0.6MN or 0.8MN. It will just toast it faster. So let's just throw away this idea of a speedy Herc.

I think you're overestimating how much of a known quantity the F135/F136 engines are. The F135 is cooking LPT blades and pitching them out the back end, and the F136 is just in the early stages of testing. Therefor, NOTHING is known about their reliability, serviceability, interchangeability etc.

But I'm willing to put both those arguments in the parking lot for now, under the auspices of them being in a development program; and I'll grant each manufacturer the benefit of the doubt (haha) that each engine lives up to quoted performance and lifeing and operations predictions. I'll even be so kind as to say this all happens in two years. Now where are we? Are we really discussing putting a massively-high-specific-thrust afterburning fighter engine designed for supersonic flight in a vehicle that gets no benefit from a modest speed boost (and will probably not be able to have the wings/empenage stay on at speed ... but whatever)? The SFC of the F135/6 SUCKS next to a modern day turboprop ... SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS (and that's BEFORE you light the burner). So now you've got gobs of thrust, but you can't really use it ... but you sure as hell got to spend a ton of fuel to get that useless thrust capacity. To quote the now famous movie ... "This is madness!" (and no, this isn't Sparta).

The only other thing attracting to you to the F135/6 is this bird-strike concern, but I believe turboprop propellers are held to the same certification requirements that turbofans are. Turbofans may be designed to 'take' a bid-strike, but they are immediately return-to-base-ed, pulled off the line and inspected in such an event. I think propellers are even held to higher standards, since being and un-ducted blade, they are considered to some extent, prime-reliable (cannot fail). Put that one in the parking lot for now too.

Finally we come to the argument, "well my SFC sucks b/c I chose a horrible engine solution, but no big deal b/c I'll compress that fuel". NO ... NO NO NO ... compressing deals with volume, not mass. You can compress the fuel to the size of my fist ... who cares? It's the mass that counts. If you want to add gas b/c your engines' performance is awful, just throw drop-tanks in the cargo bay, and rig up a half-a$$ed fuel scavenge system ... but not before you dump cargo or resign yourself to a shorter ride than you previously thought. That's way easier than trying to compress a liquid. Squeezing the fuel does not get you more fuel weight for free, unless these are anti-gravity pressure tanks. You can play with range/payload/TOS. If you want more of one, you need to give up on the other/s.

In the end, the optimal solution to improving the C130 is an upgrade of the electronics/avionics and the engines/props. This will give it the greatest benefit in terms of improved range/payload/TOS, as well as day-to-day operations. And wouldn't you know, that's EXACTLY what the C130-J is

Side Note: USAF - through AFRL - has recently been, and is currently, researching deploying what amounts to 'pallets' of cruise missiles out of the a$$-end of a cargo aircraft. One of my friends at AFIT was running CFD on this tricky little problem for his MS.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 10:15 PM
reply to post by Nipples

Now this thread is getting VERY interesting.....

Although the mid-50's design is decidely slow-going, I can definitely see
where certain modififications to the airframe structures DOES MAKE SENSE
because we can take advantage of it's USEFUL LOAD of 72,000 lb
(33,000 kg) to enhance range by not necessarily reducing fuel MASS
but rather it's volume taken up within the airframe and this is where
HIGHLY PRESSSURIZED fuels come in handy.

Because of the SHAPE of the JDAMS, Hellfires and 250/500 lbs dumb bombs,
mass is NOT what we always want to reduce! The total VOLUME taken
up by tanks vs Total Fuel Load vs Maximum Range at Full Load
is the equation that we need to focus on.

Reiterating my earlier comments, high pressure DOES enhance fuel
vapourization so we get a cleaner burning, more fuel efficient engine
thus increasing range. Granted this "Enhancement" would be somewhat
mitigated (as pointed out by the ATS poster Nipples) by the higher
burn rate of a F135/F136 jet engine, ...BUT...

There would be some significant performance enhancements to take the
292 knots (336 mph, 540 km/h) cruise speed of the C130 and bring it
up to around 500 MPH/800 KMH which is GREAT for LOW-LEVEL, TREE
HUGGING fast attack modes.

I should make a stronger point than my earlier comments in that the
KEY issue of making a Warthogged C130 Ground Support & Attack plane
viable, is NOT its low-observability or level of "Stealth", but rather having
an advanced avionics and optics package that allows automated
tree-top-level flying along with advanced night-vision optics plus
software-automated object & target recognition software so that we can
reduce the pilot and navigator workload and get on with ACCURATELY
identifying and bombing enemy positions from near tree-top heights
in BOTH flat desert and urban/suburban environments so that SAM's
and radar have problems locking on properly.

Even in flat desert invironments, SAM radar and small arms fire
can be made almost ineffective by simply flying LOW & FAST and
dropping 250 lbs and 500 lbs bombs from less than 100 feet.
And by the time an enemy operator brings up their Stinger
shoulder fired missile apparatus, it's too late to do anything
as that 250lbs bomb dropped on them will be shredding them
to pieces before they even think about pressing the fire button.

And again turboprops would be EATEN ALIVE in such environment
because the current C130 engines are simply NOT designed for
that role. The F135/F136 engines DO have multi-bird strike
and sand ingestion resistance built right in and although
NOT in full service, maintenance and engine swaps are a
BREEZE compared to the current C130 engines.

The designers of those engines are MUCH BETTER than you might
think and because of HUGE advances in automated
Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling and Finite Element Analysis
of engine parts and their fittings, I am also CONFIDENT that
the F135/F136 jet engines are going to be WINNERS in terms of
damage resistance and reliability, not to mention
ease of maintainance.

You are right that wing support structures do need to be
beefed up, but since the C130 is ALREADY a BEEFY design,
and having looked at the internals of the C130, I can
confidently say (based upon an aircraft engineer friend's opinion)
that an upgrade in the quality (i.e. strength)
of certain critical aluminum wing support structures
would compensate for the higher wingload
at speeds in the 475 to 500 MPH range.

I also understand that Vibration is considerably LESS
using the F135/F136 jets than the current Allison T-series
engines so this is ALSO a big advantage.


posted on May, 20 2008 @ 10:19 PM

And yes I do know the wingload is basically squared
as speed doubles, but because of advances in metallurgy,
there are aluminum alloys that could be substituted
to strengthen the C130 airframe with no other engineering
required other than re-calculation of airstream wingloads
and engine nacelle loads.

Force = A x ASP x Cd

A = The projected area of the item

ASP = Airstream Pressure (Psf) = .00256 x V^2 (V= Velocity in Mph)

The F135/F136 engines are LIGHTER than the current Turboprop Allisons
and ironically, in the 1970s, Lockheed proposed a C-130 variant
with turbofan engines rather than turboprops but that never got off
the ground due to Air Force indifference.

Earlier I said the cost would be around $37 million to convert
to a Warthogged version...OOPS!...I read a 1970's unit cost
of $22 million 1970's calculated a baseline modification cost
from there. So sorry about that mistake - My Fault for reading too fast!

The C130-J is currently priced at $66.5 million BUT
I think that the lightweight but strong carbon fibre tank
technologies currently used in high pressure GASEOUS environments
such as Marine Diving and hydraulic systems could be retrofitted
for use in pressurized LIQUID FUEL environments by testing for
problem issues such as preventing compression ignition, mitigating
liquid fuels acting as a solvent, multi-stage hoses and fittings
burst resistance and tank impact/vibration resistance.

The wing struts and jet engine nacelles could use some
aluminum or titanium alloys and for armouring, some advanced
snap-on or glue-on fittings could hold the lightweight ceramic plates
fitted to the underside and other vulnerable parts to bring small arms
fire and bird strike resistance to the lower body of the C130.

Replace the current tires and undercarriage with lightweight
but impact resitant TWEEL technology and the total weight
of the craft would stay about the same to STILL leave a useful
load of 72,000 lb (33,000 kg) for JDAMS, Hellfire Missiles
and dumb bombs.

I still say the unit-cost premium would be around $20 million,
so even at $86 million a Warthogged C130 is STILL a bargain versus
a 2 billion dollar B2 bomber or $138 million F22 Raptor which only
carries about 3,915 lb (1,775 kg) internally and approximately
19,000 lb (8,635 kg) on external pods.

Basically the GSA-130 Scorpion ground support & attack craft
would offer a much bigger bang for the buck during ground troop
support missions, especially in urban environments where weapons
delivery accuracy is MORE important than long-range standoff systems.

This would be a totally NEW program, but rather an extension
of an existing platform much like the AC-130 Gunship is an extension
of the current C130 Hercules platform....

So lets DO IT !!!!

The GSA-130 Scorpion Ground Support & Attack craft
sounds pretty sweet to me..... !!!!!!!!!!

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 11:13 PM
Your 90M is still way too low. The "conventional" AC-130 with all the add-ons (from weaponry to ECM/IRCM, etc) will run you almost 200Million dollars. Even at the miracle 90M per unit (and your figure is not including development costs so I'll use the appropriate comparison figures), I'd rather have 3 Global Hawks with 20 hour endurance, lower RCS, useful sensors, datalink, proven airframe/systems, and external weaponry. Ready to deploy much faster than a complete redesign of the -130. Using a more believable figure of 200M or more for your AC-130, the choice is more obvious to me. Roughly six or seven proven, flying Global Hawks for the same price as your AC-130 variant (Or several more of the $10M 1/2 scale mo. 396 proposed).

It won't carry the raw payload of a C-130 (assuming you manage to find a useful configuration to store/deploy weaponry), but I increase surveilance coverage and maintain pinpoint strike ability. Five Global Hawks covering the same area as one AC-130 enables me to spot and put ordinance on target much sooner than the roving low-level AC-130. I place fewer crewmen in danger, save money on development costs, save money on maintenance, save money on flightcrew.

And flying at tree top level is not nearly as safe as you make it sound, as the RAF Tornado's designed for the high speed low level strike role would tell you. Ignoring enemy fire, you increase the likely hood of all sorts of accidents, and increase the strain on the wings.

Sorry, I get long winded

posted on May, 21 2008 @ 12:22 AM
I have to say, a weaponised Global Hawk sounds like fantastic idea!

They should do it.

posted on May, 21 2008 @ 12:50 AM

Originally posted by C0bzz
I have to say, a weaponised Global Hawk sounds like fantastic idea!

A company now under the Northrop-Grumman umbrella (which actually developed the RQ-4 before being acquired) first launched a Maverick, HOBO, and a Shrike from a UAV in the very early 70's. The topic has been discussed, we can be sure.

EDIT: Model 396 is a half scale model of the RQ-4 specifically to carry ordinance. Target unit cost is under $10M. I don't think they'll hit that, but it'd be nice if it was close.

[edit on 21-5-2008 by _Del_]

posted on May, 21 2008 @ 01:59 AM
reply to post by _Del_

Ok _Del_ says to use weaponized Global Hawks which
do have their uses, but I think there are other options.

So let's text-wise within this thread DESIGN a MANNED or UNMANNED
aircraft on a scale of the C130 that can carry large flexible combinations
of GPS-guided JDAMS, Hellfire Missiles, APR's, 250 & 500 lbs dumb bombs.

I want 100+ hours digital recording of Widescreen Daylight Video, Infrared
Nightvision & Starlight Nightvision cameras at HDTV resolutions of 1920 by
1080 pixel 60 frames per second recording for EACH camera which will be
situated and pointed forward, rear, both sides, straight down and finally up
from either 50,000+ feet or as low as tree top level with sharp focus and in
widescreen glory.

I also want full wideband sidescan and ground penetrating Synthetic Aperture
Radar with software-based object and target recognition and tracking of up
to 25 targets simultaneously.

For my in-flight mission capabilities, I want LOW-LEVEL treetop attack
capability at 500 MPH in ground-hugging mode like what the B1B Lancer
bomber can do IN ADDITION to high altitude recon & loiter capability at
50,000+ feet with a loiter time at FULL weapons load of 12 hours MINIMUM.
I want a USEFUL payload of 80,000 lbs with flexible firing and dropping of a
combination of guided and unguided weapons as need arise in-flight.

I want to simply be able to press a series buttons to choose the number of
individual munitions to fire or drop at specific times and targets on a fully
automated basis. If I want to fire two Hellfire missiles at target A & B two
miles ahead of me from 3000 feet up and then drop 4 JDAMS from 16000
feet at targets C, D, E and F within five minutes after the Hellfire launch then
that should be a completely automated process.

After that scenario, when OPS tells me to drop some dumb bombs from 100
feet within the next 20 minutes at terrorist urban cafe target G but not touch
surrounding urban market and be able to fly at low-level for maximum
psychological impact and while doing so get treetop level side-view live
video recon of possible target H which is located in other part of market,
I should be able to do that!

For costs, I want to use as MUCH off the shelf technology as possible.

1) What CURRENT airframes can I use that can carry cameras, radar and
80,000 pounds of multi-type munitions plus two swivel-mount .50 cal or
higher Gatling guns.

2) What type and number of engines should I use and from what CURRENT
program which will allow me to attack at 500 MPH at 100 feet or allow me to
loiter for 12 hours at 50,000 feet. I also want multiple bird strike and sand
ingestion resistance and direct engine swapping capability within 2 hours or

3) What type of fuel storage and delivery system can I shoehorn into the
wings and body to give me 12 hours loiter time at FULL 80,000 lbs load.

4) What current cameras give me long ZOOM-lens HTDV live video at
50k feet & closeup widescreen at 100 feet in GYROSCOPICALLY
STABILIZED sharp focus in daylight, infrared and starlight conditions.

5) What SAR radars and Ground penetrating radars are available that
can be stuffed into a space of 8 feet long by 4 feet wide by 1 foot deep
for placement within the front underbody of the craft

6) What wheel and undercarriage system will allow me to take off & land
on ROUGH gravel roads & runways of less than 2500 ft

7) What fast-load system of munitions laod & refueling allows me to palletize
the JDAMS, Hellfires, Armour piercing rounds and dumb bombs so I can
load 80,000 pounds of multi-type munitions, re-fuel and takeoff within
30 minutes of landing.

8) What armour protection system can I use, (Ceramic, Titanium, Kevlar,
etc.) off-the-shelf to protect the fuel tanks, engines, etc from small arms fire
of .50 cal.

9) Who can build it for less than $140 million per unit?

posted on May, 21 2008 @ 02:02 AM

Originally posted by StargateSG7
9) Who can build it for less than $140 million per unit?

No one. You can't build/buy the less capable AC-130 for that, and its development has already been paid for.

The same attributes that would enable it to cruise and loiter at high altitude would make it untenable in the weeds. And vice-versa. A JSTARS costs 200 some odd million. The C-17 runs 200 some odd million. The AC-130 runs 200 some odd million. You want to combine the abilities (and then some) of the three and come in under 150M -- it's a pipe dream. You'd get blank stares if you put out an RFP like that.

[edit on 21-5-2008 by _Del_]

posted on May, 21 2008 @ 08:09 PM
I think what myself and several others are getting at here is that while PERHAPS technically feasible (although I seriously doubt it), turning the C130 into a fast attack craft is going to require so many 'cheap' upgrades that you wind up with an expensive solution that is still not optimal. For all the money, time and effort put forth, you might as well just build an optimized new aircraft that will have a fatigue-free aiframe.

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