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Author Topic: Unbuilt B-52s  (Read 34758 times)

Offline Kadija_Man

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2010, 12:59:36 am »

Someone else might be able to provide more detail, but two of the biggest reasons seem to have been:  

No one wanted to ask Congress for the upfront money that might be taken from another program USAF wanted more (similar to why, although virtually everyone wants it to have more power, USAF has never been willing to seriously entertain re-engining the A-10).

Not Invented Here;  Washington doesn't regularly look on ideas that come from outside its hallowed acres with much favor.  

As for reports detailing reasons for rejection on ideas that USAF didn't ask for, remember that DoD is under no obligation to respond to or evaluate unsolicited proposals.  It can reject them and give a reason, reject them and give no reason, or simply ignore them.  In fact, even if the proposals are in response to an inquiry of interest without any definition of a follow-on solicitation, DoD can do the same thing.  

I think there were a couple of other factors involved.  They sort of agree with what you wrote.

One was the fact that the contractors were not simply making an unsolicited proposal, but were proposing something that the Air Force had not prioritized.  It might have been a great idea, but it was not something that the USAF leadership had already decided to spend money on.  That creates two problems.  The first problem is that it forces USAF to find something to take the money from to give to this new project.  The second problem is that it becomes tough to argue for in front of Congress.  Congress (rightly) will ask: "if this is so important, why didn't you guys think of it?"

I think the second problem was that the contractors were proposing a unique approach.  I forget the details, but they were essentially offering to provide the reengining "free" in return for a servicing contract.  They wanted to in effect lease the engines to the USAF.  You can imagine a lot of problems with that.  First, from a bureaucratic standpoint, there may not be a method to do this.  It might not actually be _legal_ for USAF to sign such an agreement.  (Of course, the solution is to change federal contracting law to make it legal, but changing a law is not easy.)  Second, such an arrangement then puts the government at risk of the contractor jerking them around--the contractor could in effect say "We are raising your rent, and if you don't like it, we will take our engines back."  That would require all kinds of contract stipulations to forbid this from happening.

I thought that the reengining idea was great, until I realized that it had a lot of strings attached.

What you're saying could be true but with, as you state, a little imagination it would be possible to work ways around this.

Apart from your already mentioned need to perhaps change Government contracting law, it would be possible to create special legislation to cover this specific case and which makes sure that it is impossible for the contractees (the engine manufacturers/owners) to suddenly raise their prices without warning and excessively.   One though is forced to wonder how companies as such as Haliburton and others can be contracted so easily by the US Army to provide third and fourth line support for military activities, including combat in such faraway places as Afghanistan and Iraq.  While the case of the "Private Military Contractors" (PMCs) and their private armies raises interesting legal questions.  The major problem as I see it, is as you've also mentioned the difficulties of getting such legislation passed in the American political system.  One only has to look at the recent health care debate to see how lubricious that system actually is.

If such a contract was to be written, it would have to take into account the problems of writing off non-combat and combat losses of engines (interesting claim and counter-claim potentials on non-combat losses actually. Who compensates whom in the case of an engine failure resulting in aircraft loss?), the replacement of engines and of course the ongoing maintenance.   All are not surmountable, just untidy.  It might be easier for the USAF and the Congress not to try and take into account - in legislation - every opportunity but rather allow for the creation of regulations to cover such possibilities.   Many Western militaries have done similar things with the use of the aforementioned military contractors.  Perhaps the USAF should be looking at what the US Army is doing/has done?

Offline Matej

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2011, 03:58:29 am »

Bizarre aviation expert.

Offline fightingirish

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2011, 05:22:39 am »

Seen before at OBB's Blog.  A nuclear powered B-52.
Link: http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=7227
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Offline jstar

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2011, 05:53:26 am »
Here's something similiar, just a little smaller:

Offline Matej

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2011, 05:57:08 am »
Thanks for the clarification.

Bizarre aviation expert.

Offline sferrin

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2011, 06:39:07 am »
Here's something similiar, just a little smaller:

Canadian markings on a B-47?  :o
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline starviking

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2011, 06:56:37 am »
Here's something similiar, just a little smaller:

Canadian markings on a B-47?  :o

It's the Orenda Iroquois Engine test bed.

Offline jstar

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2011, 06:58:35 am »
Yep. Loaned to the RCAF as a test bed for the Orenda Iroquois engine to be used in the CF-105.

Offline LowObservable

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2011, 07:56:08 am »
It looks odd to me. The sketch is amateurish and even for a nuclear engine, that looks ridiculously large, and apt to burn the tail off.

Suspect that it was a 1950s joke....

Offline Jeb

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2011, 09:00:48 am »
Initial evaluation of the proposal came to the conclusion that the upfront costs of putting RB211's on the BUFF would be more expensive than the money saved through the RB211's reduced fuel consumption.  I'd certainly like to examine the study's ground rules and assumptions, especially its estimate for how much longer the BUFF would remain in service.  The engine upgrade on the KC-135R made sense, so why wouldn't something similar (albeit RB211's for TF33's, rather than CFM56's for J57's) make sense on the BUFF?


As I read it once, it was because SAC/USAF had stacks of TF33s in the B-52 parts bin, bought & paid for, ready for use. Ergo, the cost savings issue carried less weight.

Offline mithril

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #40 on: August 28, 2011, 12:24:35 am »
Some day, I just gotta do a model of a B-52 with warp nacelles under them. 


I also think that capital investment money such as new engines would detract from investment in new bomber projects.
you mean like this?

no idea who made it, but i found the image ages ago..

Offline LowObservable

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #41 on: August 28, 2011, 08:41:33 am »
Jeb - The DSB pretty well demolished that case in 2004.

www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports/ADA428790.pdf

Not only did the USAF underestimate TF33 depot costs, but they based their economics on fuel prices on the ground and forgot about the cost of KC fuel.

Offline fightingirish

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #42 on: October 05, 2011, 11:55:11 am »

A B-52 with P&W engines, B737-300 engine pylons.
Found @MP.net.

BTW, here an article about future B-52 upgrades
Quote
The planned upgrades total three:
• The CONECT program will put a digital backbone and communications suite into the largely analog aircraft.
• A new 1760 databus architecture will allow the old bird to drop modern smart weapons from its internal weapon bays.
• Strategic radar will replace the B-52’s antiquated 1960s-vintage system.
Source/Link: Air Force Times - Upgrades to keep B-52s flying through 2040


No re-engining program so far and probably never.
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Offline OM

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #43 on: October 06, 2011, 04:20:36 am »
Some day, I just gotta do a model of a B-52 with warp nacelles under them. 


I also think that capital investment money such as new engines would detract from investment in new bomber projects.
you mean like this?

no idea who made it, but i found the image ages ago..

...Might wanna check with the forum over at Starship Modeler, as ISTR this one showing up on .history - Pat Flannery may have posted the link to the image - right about the time Polar Lights released their 1:1000-scale TOS Enterprise kit. The engines are supposed to be 2nd Pilot nacelles, which means the spike on the bussard domes, and the "pinholes" in the exhaust ports. A couple of the modelers on .history were talking about making similar kitbashes with the YF-12A and B-58 kits, but I never did see anything come about from those ideas.

[thinks]

...Heh, replace the engines on a Hughes H-4 with the PL nacelles, and the pontoons with the ones from the AMT 18" kit, and imagine the wake left behind as the plane reaches takeoff speed  :) ;) :D ;D :o

No re-engining program so far and probably never.

...Never say never where the BUFFs are concerned, When I first enrolled in NROTC, we had one of the Air Farce types give an open lecture on air superiority, and during the lecture he predicted that "by 1990 the Pentagon will put out the first call for proposals for a 'multi-role' new-tech bomber to replace the B-52s by the end of the century." Of course, this was several years before Jack Northrup was vindicated and the B-2 was declassified. Then, in 1991, See-BS News did a short segment on the "aging B-52" fleet, and how they were all going to be refurbished to last "until 2010, when they'd be gradually phased out and replaced with newer Stealth bombers that will replace the B-2's."

...It's 2011 now, the Evil Soviet Empire is gone, there's no 24/7 sorties and Fail-Safe points, and there's damned sure no B-3 Super Stealths no matter what the Groom Lake Watchdogs claim. The B-52 is still our major bomber component, all the BUFFs are about to get their cockpits glassed, their cables fibered, their wings tweaked, the tires checked, and maybe even MP3 players in their custom-designed toilets. Hell, they may even get magnetic "Gulf Kick In Your Gas Tank" magnetic horseshoes to put next to the fuel inlets. Add a coating of Turtle Wax, and the B-52s will probably last well into the third quarter of the 21st century. Which is why I wouldn't rule out the possibility of an engine swapout to a more fuel-efficient design sometime after 2030 to 2040 at the latest.

Most of us old guys won't see this happen, but hopefully this forum will live long enough to see my prediction come to pass...
 
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 04:40:20 am by OM »

AAAdrone

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Re: Unbuilt B-52s
« Reply #44 on: October 07, 2011, 03:11:28 pm »
Ah the Buff.  That thing will outlive us all.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised if the B-52 does indeed get its service life extended past 2040 considering all of the things OM said.