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Northrop bid sees testbed role for B-2 (B-2B!)

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posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 01:08 PM
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Flight Int.

Northrop Grumman is raising the stakes in its bid to win the US Air Force’s next-generation long-range strike aircraft contest by planning to use the B-2A bomber as a flying demonstrator.

The aircraft would be used to test long-range strike technologies that could also provide future upgrades of the B-2A itself. News of the initiative comes as Northrop nears completion of the USAF’s analysis of alternatives (AoA) studies on long-range strike, which calls for a target service entry of 2018-20.

Along with Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which are also engaged in the AoA studies, the growing Northrop consensus is that the most realistic long-range strike solutions are likely to be subsonic rather than supersonic or hypersonic. However, all appear more convinced that the new platform will carry supersonic/hypersonic weapons.

“The thing that’s least achievable by 2018 is hypersonic,” says Boeing precision engagement and mobility systems vice-president Darryl Davis. “The least risk approach would be subsonic...if you want entry into service by 2018.”

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Very interesting development. Also interesting to read a hypersonic system by 2018 is 'least achievable', does this mean the Aurora doesnt exists afterall?




posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 04:25 PM
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Originally posted by Zion Mainframe
Very interesting development. Also interesting to read a hypersonic system by 2018 is 'least achievable', does this mean the Aurora doesnt exists afterall?



It never did - except in the minds of wackos!



Not really a surprise, I think someone on here may have predicted a similar policy a while back - develop a cheap B-2 variant and a greater reliance on stand-off munitions to perform the risky bit.



posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 05:45 PM
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Originally posted by Zion Mainframe
Also interesting to read a hypersonic system by 2018 is 'least achievable', does this mean the Aurora doesnt exists afterall?


Yeah sure it does, even if they guy knows about what's going on in the black he couldn't go against the "official" public story.

But anyways, I doubt the USAF is going to lend one of its B-2's to NG to perform future design tests on it, there are just to few for that, unless I read wrong?

[edit on 3-10-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 11:03 PM
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Originally posted by kilcoo316
Not really a surprise, I think someone on here may have predicted a similar policy a while back - develop a cheap B-2 variant and a greater reliance on stand-off munitions to perform the risky bit.

That would be this post:
USAF: Long-Range Strike Options Considered



posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 11:06 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
Yeah sure it does, even if they guy knows about what's going on in the black he couldn't go against the "official" public story.

But anyways, I doubt the USAF is going to lend one of its B-2's to NG to perform future design tests on it, there are just to few for that, unless I read wrong?

[edit on 3-10-2006 by WestPoint23]

Actually from what I gather, it is supposed to be a major upgrade for the B-2, with SAR and small diameter bomb capability, etc. I would not at all be surprised if the USAF allowed NG to demo the new tech on one of their airframes.



posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 11:22 PM
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Originally posted by intelgurl
I would not at all be surprised if the USAF allowed NG to demo the new tech on one of their airframes.


Problem with this is that it would take it away from the active fleet, for far longer than a systems upgrade rotation. But then again perhaps the USAF is ok with that, as it would only be one bomber.



posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 11:55 PM
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damn.

I was really hoping that Northrop would go with the supersonic F/B-23.

The AF have several systems allready that can take care of the bomb truck role, I was hoping for something a little different that another flying wing type of config.

There final design they have in mind must look a lot like the B-2 if they want to use one to work with. Its good that whatever it is, is that it will make the B-2 a more capabile bomber in the future.

I just really dont want the "next-gen" bomber to be another slow one that brings nearly the same capabilities to the table that the AF allready posseses.



posted on Oct, 4 2006 @ 03:37 AM
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Any idea what that plane would cost. I have a very hard time to figure out since the A model alredy cost more than it's weight in gold.



posted on Oct, 4 2006 @ 02:49 PM
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f they are using the B-2 as a test bed, that would suggest that a new version of the B-2 might be in the works! If you think about how expensive R&D is the B-2 has one Huge Advantage over the others: It's already PAID for!

The R&D for the B-2 was paid for back in the 1990's when the origional fleet was built. With a new model, the only additional costs would be if they add something new plus construction costs. I personally think this has More Promise then any of the other concepts when you balance Cost vs. Capibilities!

Tim



posted on Oct, 4 2006 @ 07:55 PM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
Any idea what that plane would cost. I have a very hard time to figure out since the A model alredy cost more than it's weight in gold.

It should come in around 800 Million... a significant savings over the 2.2 Billion for the B-2A's. As Ghost said, the airframe's R&D has already been paid for.



posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 05:08 AM
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I've always wondered if the B-2 was a front for a look alike aircraft with a faster / longer range and optical camouflage that needed time to mature - I wonder aloud if the tier III Quartz has finally been allowed to mature and will slot into this new role? It was supposed to be higher / faster / stealthier than the B-2, but got canned as costs spiralled and tech took too long to mature...


I for one hope so!



posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 07:32 AM
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Originally posted by D4rk Kn1ght
I've always wondered if the B-2 was a front for a look alike aircraft with a faster / longer range and optical camouflage that needed time to mature

I think all of the above is certainly possible, with the exception of faster. I really don't see a B-2 size flying wing going supersonic.
There have been rumors that some form of electro-optical visual stealth has been experimented with on a B-2, which is another reason I think the USAF would allow a B-2 in their very limited inventory to be used as a demonstrator of advanced tech SAR, etc.



[edit on 10-5-2006 by intelgurl]



posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 12:36 PM
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Thank you intel gurl - that does make sense actually if you look at it from the AirForce's perspective - retro fitting a possible optical suit on the B-2 fleet IF it works well on a test bed.

Hey - I had a good idea for a bit of photoshop trickery! (I will post it with large FAKE markings on it!)



posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 03:48 PM
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Originally posted by intelgurl

Originally posted by D4rk Kn1ght
I've always wondered if the B-2 was a front for a look alike aircraft with a faster / longer range and optical camouflage that needed time to mature

I think all of the above is certainly possible, with the eception of faster. I really don't see a B-2 size flying wing going supersonic.
[edit on 10-5-2006 by intelgurl]


Speaking of Supersonic, aren't Sonic Booms still an issue with stealth aircraft, or have they gotten rid of the sonic boom and I missed it? I know a while back NASA was Working on it, but I don't know they perfected it.

A stealth bomber with a loud sonic boom seems like a potential problem to me.

Tim



posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 04:19 PM
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A couple of the posts here have questioned whether the USAF would be willing to let NG do a tech demo on one of their B-2 fleet, so I asked one who would know and he said that the USAF would have no problem with this and that there are generally only 16 of the 21 B-2's that are mission capable at one given time. the rest of the fleet are being tweeked on.

There is in fact a slight upgrade going on that is replacing the RAM tape and caulking with a spray-on sealant (Alternate High Frequency Material) that only takes a half hour to cure rather than the usual 20 + hours to cure... but I guess I'm getting off the subject now...



posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 04:22 PM
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Originally posted by ghost

Speaking of Supersonic, aren't Sonic Booms still an issue with stealth aircraft, or have they gotten rid of the sonic boom and I missed it? I know a while back NASA was Working on it, but I don't know they perfected it.

A stealth bomber with a loud sonic boom seems like a potential problem to me.

Tim

I know some of the development in that area does not eliminate the sonic boom, just directs most of the sound up instead of down toward the ground. If this is an applied technology on a current inventory system, I am not aware of it.



posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 04:52 PM
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Originally posted by ghost
Speaking of Supersonic, aren't Sonic Booms still an issue with stealth aircraft, or have they gotten rid of the sonic boom and I missed it? I know a while back NASA was Working on it, but I don't know they perfected it.

A stealth bomber with a loud sonic boom seems like a potential problem to me.

Tim


Still a problem?


Sure the first stealthy aircraft that has the problem is the F-22 [we'll exclude the SR-71].


Besides, what will a sonic boom tell you - there is an aircraft somewhere - it would be pretty useless for pinpointing there position to be honest. Also... you can fly subsonic if needs be.



The NASA work was more intended for SSBJs [bizjets] and as a base for work for any future SST as far as I was aware. As intelgurl said, it focussed on directing the boom upwards. Progress was made, if you've more interest in it, have a glance at the technical report server - ntrs.nasa.gov...



posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 05:44 PM
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Edited for content.


[edit on 5-10-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Oct, 6 2006 @ 12:11 AM
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Originally posted by ghost
I know a while back NASA was Working on it, but I don't know they perfected it.

They have done a couple different sonic boom reduction mods...Both have been successfull in making the boom, quieter...but not gone.
I've also heard that if you have 2 tails leaning inwards, that to will help with the reduction.


Heres Nasa's modified F-5 & F-15.




posted on Oct, 6 2006 @ 02:13 AM
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Interesting that the B-2 A cost 2.2 biliion, since my countrys whole defense budget isn't even that big.



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