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Leader Says Future Bomber Won’t Go Solo

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posted on Jul, 10 2010 @ 08:43 PM
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By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Jul 10, 2010 9:29:44 EDT

"The aircraft that replaces today’s bombers will be less expensive, more versatile and rely on a network of support that the stand-alone B-2s, B-52s and B-1s can get along without, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for operations and requirements said.

Air Force officials are steering the decade-long debate over the next-generation bomber away from the idea of upgrading the B-2 Spirit and more toward a network of aircraft working together to provide bombing, reconnaissance and electronic warfare.

“The next-generation bomber is a term that is dead in the Department of Defense and dead in the Air Force,” Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove said at a June 24 briefing."

To see more of this article go here: www.airforcetimes.com...


[edit on 10-7-2010 by manta78]




posted on Jul, 10 2010 @ 11:16 PM
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anybody wants to speculate on what its going to look like?

i'm hoping it will take some cues from the YF-23



posted on Jul, 11 2010 @ 02:13 AM
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Does that mean the ticket price of the bomber alone will be cheaper but by the time you factor in the support network it would be just as expensive?



posted on Jul, 11 2010 @ 07:58 AM
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reply to post by Azador
 


From a portion of the article not in the OP:

"The cost savings for a long-range strike network would come from using capabilities already paid for in other aircraft, instead of building them into a new plane."

[edit on 11-7-2010 by manta78]



posted on Jul, 11 2010 @ 05:34 PM
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reply to post by manta78
 


the part that you quoted from the article made me think of this.




posted on Jul, 11 2010 @ 05:51 PM
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reply to post by toreishi
 


Good video.
Thanks for posting.


[edit on 11-7-2010 by manta78]



posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 08:12 AM
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the future bomber might be almost the same size as the B-1, with the capacity to launch and recover UAV swarms. this combined with stealth, supercruise and extended loiter time over the target would be one of the most potent weapon systems ever developed. think of it as a fast, airborne aircraft carrier and you'll get the idea of the potential of this concept.

its fun to speculate, ain't it?



posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 11:50 AM
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I interpreted the article as saying the "future bomber" would be more of a network as opposed to an actual bomber.

Think of it this way - if you have a B-52 in high 'orbit' (not ballistic orbit - but flight orbit) over the battlefield (or several of them) equipped with stand-off and direct attack weapons - you have a proven and capable system already in the field.

Now tie it into a network. That F-16 zipping around and being much more maneuverable than the bomb-trucking B-52 can use its network and tell the B-52 what needs to be eliminated. This can be done even for close-air-support operations. So long as there is always a B-52 within range of the target (or another 'truck' - the B-52 could be swapped out with B-1s for operations that require greater survivability) and the flight-time of the weapons are reasonable, you effectively give every aircraft (and non-aircraft) the ability to utilize a few dozen tons of ordnance.

Apply this concept to UAVs being able to be used as designating platforms with light air-to-ground ordnance of their own (some things just need to be 'shot in the face' and you can't wait long enough for the standoff weapon).

That's how I read it. Though it's hard to tell, there are some places that imply there is a new airframe in the works - but you don't take existing airplanes and cobble them together to get anything other than a freaky looking airplane that doesn't fly well - so it may be a multilateral project.



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 04:25 PM
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With new weaponry soon coming online or in use the new bomber need not be a lumbering B-52 sized creature at all.

In fact, it could be multiples of smaller airframes all unmanned swarming an enemy thus splitting their defences (thats if their VLO features get defeated). Mentioning VLO capabilities - smaller unamnned airframes can be made far stealthier than manned variants for any given size.. so its a win all round really (the Sabre Warrior concept is admirable having the manned mothership going into combat with a WSO to direct the action)



posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 02:30 AM
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reply to post by Astr0
 


This is simply not cost-effective.

Take whatever ridiculously complex UCAV swarm you have dreamed up in your mind. Rip out all that makes it preposterously expensive, stick a warhead on it - and you have a highly agile missile that can be launched from a much larger platform that costs far less to operate.

The problem with combat networks is bandwidth. Getting a hundred little buggers zipping about sharing real-time tactical data is going to clog all of your normal bandwidth. Reaching out beyond that just increases costs by several orders of magnitude. They have the technology to do it - but it isn't very well developed, and is not commercially viable.

Which means you're looking at building a fleet at the per-unit costs seen in prototypes and research airframes. Not good.

Not to mention it simply doesn't make sense. Servicing re-usable vehicles like UCAV swarms is far more costly and far less effective than replacing the space, weight, and parts with a few missiles (perhaps with the ability to multi-target, themselves).

It's a nice idea, and has some applications - but only in very limited roles. You would see two or three UCAVs slaved to a single piloted aircraft and the UCAVs running interference and target designation tasks. Of course - you could also invert it and make large unmanned platforms that service combat network requests for support (could be a bomb - could be an air-to-air missile designed to kill top-down on rotary wings).

There are a lot of possibilities - but the fact remains that, rather than 'swarming' with UCAVs - it would be cheaper to use long range supersonic missiles in almost every case, and just as (if not more) effective.



posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 07:37 AM
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Originally posted by Aim64C

Take whatever ridiculously complex UCAV swarm you have dreamed up in your mind.


Young man, I do not care how long you have been on this forum, but I do care very much so that when discussing a subject you remain civil. If you cannot remain civil, do not waste your time in interacting with me in any way shape or form.

I have not 'dreamed up' the swarm concept. I have however taken many hours to read a great variety of released documentation from the USAF and other DoD Offices that contain many such ideas. If you have a problem with that idea I seriously suggest you attain a Star or three on your shoulder and go bat for the team at the Pentagon.

I suggest you take time out to go and read the Pentagons desire to form 'clouds' of UAVs that can move and drift on demand as and when the war fighter needs them.



posted on Aug, 12 2010 @ 09:15 AM
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the fact is the B52 was and still is the most cost effective jdam truck the US has out there. An F16 because it can carry not nearly the same amount of bombs is much more expensive per bomb and as the US will not face a large scale conventional war anytime soon the B52 approach seems to be best for now.



posted on Aug, 12 2010 @ 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by tomcat ha
the fact is the B52 was and still is the most cost effective jdam truck the US has out there. An F16 because it can carry not nearly the same amount of bombs is much more expensive per bomb and as the US will not face a large scale conventional war anytime soon the B52 approach seems to be best for now.


Its cost effective because its paid off and theres a large surplus of spares for the airframe - the USAF stockpiled a lot in the 1960s and 1970s, and then stripped down retired airframes before they were scrapped. This has proven to be so cost effective that during the 1990s the USAF ruled out a B-52 reengine program because they had enough spare engines for more than 25 years of operations, and it was cheaper to pay the extra fuel costs and maintenance cost of engine replacements than buying new engines for the fleet.

Once that spares mountain expires, the B-52 is going to get expensive very very quickly.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 03:39 AM
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Swapping overly complicated systems from the aircraft to on the ground or elsewhere is still merely changing one vice for another . The country that produces the most lower tech , overall cheaper and simpler designs will defeat the one that produces just the opposite in a conventional war .

Cheers xpert11.



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 04:52 AM
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reply to post by Astr0
 


Demanding respect hardly nets it.

The impracticality of UCAV swarms still exists. It doesn't matter how many stars someone has on their collar - they can't change the laws of physics or economics.

"Swarms" have their place. It's not in carrying standard ordnance. Their advantage is in recon, tactical awareness, and certain specialized ordnance packages (or some offensive/defensive equivalent).


Once that spares mountain expires, the B-52 is going to get expensive very very quickly.


This entirely depends upon how the fleet is maintained. If spares are, again, ordered by the mountain, then they will not be all that costly to maintain. If they order them on an as-needed basis or in smaller quantities, they are going to get very expensive to maintain.

Of course - the cost of ordering a mountain of replacement parts would be similar to contracting an entirely new airframe with a similar mountain of parts - so, you'd have to make a choice.

Again - laws of economics and industry.



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 04:41 PM
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Originally posted by Aim64C
Demanding respect hardly nets it.


Young man, I do not care how long you have been on this forum, but I do care very much so that when discussing a subject you remain civil.

Note I said civil. Your reading and comprehension skills are sorely as lacking as your manners. I do not demand respect but the ATS borads certainly do demand manners and decorum.


The impracticality of UCAV swarms still exists. It doesn't matter how many stars someone has on their collar - they can't change the laws of physics or economics.


Actually were you to go to Afghanistan and speak to certain survivors of NATO air attacks you will be told of a UAV system that hunts in packs - four to eight at a time and they are the single most feared air system in theatre as far as the enemy are concerned.

So I suggest you go gain a few stars and find out for yourself just how relevant to war fighting the swarm UAV concept actually is.



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 12:13 AM
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Actually were you to go to Afghanistan and speak to certain survivors of NATO air attacks you will be told of a UAV system that hunts in packs - four to eight at a time and they are the single most feared air system in theatre as far as the enemy are concerned.


A single pack is vastly different from a 'swarm.' Remember what I said about data and networking? Regardless of what network structure you assume, you'll run into 'soft-caps' pretty quick.

It's also hardly the 'future' of aircraft. Like I said - you're running smaller aircraft with smaller payloads, ranges, etc.


Young man, I do not care how long you have been on this forum, but I do care very much so that when discussing a subject you remain civil.

Note I said civil. Your reading and comprehension skills are sorely as lacking as your manners. I do not demand respect but the ATS borads certainly do demand manners and decorum.


My reading comprehension is virtually infallible. I know what you typed, and I know what you want from me.

The report button is provided for a reason. Go ahead and mash away at it. I'm not quite sure how a difference of opinion could be more tame - but, if it's that important to you....


So I suggest you go gain a few stars and find out for yourself just how relevant to war fighting the swarm UAV concept actually is.


Please note it was an E-3 who leaked thousands of pages of sensitive information (and had access to that information).

Half the time, the people with stars on their collar have little idea how a weapon system actually factors into combat. That is what they have aids and a bunch of E-4s and 5s to brief them for.

Recall the F-105? That was a multi-star creation. It was going to be a fighter, supersonic bomber, and be capable of out-running any threat it would face. Of course, someone in that room full of Chair Force generals forgot to factor in physics.... Just look up the history on the F-105 to know how that turned out for them.

The enlisted community runs the military. A base in Germany recently had an issue where the vast majority of the base was comprised of E-4s, who, literally, ran the base at just about every level. It was the "E-4 Mafia."

In the military - you ask your OIC about funding and authorization to step outside of the implemented policy. You go to someone who actually works on the system to figure out how it works. My background is in electronics and Avionics.

The "pack" or "swarm" concept is certainly a powerful one - but you are going to run into problems with scaling it up. You are also going to run into problems with the sizes of the aircraft involved and their performance characteristics. Granted- there's no reason why a B-52 could not be rigged into the swarm - you're going from a swarm concept to a fully automated combat network (SKYNET, anyone?) that replaces human combat roles.



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 12:25 AM
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One only has to look at Aegis and the USN to see the direction things are going to be heading for the Army and Air Force: network aware target acquisition and engagement based on localisation.

Add in "smart" munitions that can deploy and redirect / change flight path based on threat assesment and avoidance and it's not hard to see that any particular F16, F15, F18, F22, F35, B1, B2, B52 may be carrying ordinance destined for a target.



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 12:27 AM
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Originally posted by Azador
Does that mean the ticket price of the bomber alone will be cheaper but by the time you factor in the support network it would be just as expensive?


I read into this as there is a redundancy factor in the combined system that provides a more complete tactical view and a better timing of strike, better evasion of AA systems etc. All that combined may be well worth the price.



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 02:29 AM
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A single pack is vastly different from a 'swarm.' Remember what I said about data and networking? Regardless of what network structure you assume, you'll run into 'soft-caps' pretty quick.


Controling swarms of aircraft on the same radio frequency is no problem.

Your computer if its on cable is on a shared network and each computer sends a request and gets back information. How often has your computer ever sent a request and got back data that was sent to someone else.

Using the same data sharing you could run a 1000 drones on one frequency. You could even frequency hop while controlling the aircraft.



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