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Author Topic: Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?  (Read 109506 times)

Offline Kat Tsun

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Re: Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?
« Reply #285 on: August 31, 2016, 09:47:07 am »
B-70 seemed well suited for its job in light of the Vietnam War. High altitude high supersonic aircraft have an unfortunately undeserved reputation in popular discourse, given the cumulative effects of speed, altitude, ECM, maneuvering, and RCS are better understood now, and speed tends to be similar to stealth in that both greatly reduce launch windows at high altitude. Though, by the time the electronics had caught up to the needs of aircraft (about the 1980s I suppose?), VLO had already had lots of resources expended on it. B-2 was being developed, F-117 had been done and did, and high supersonics still had unsolved questions like skin heating that would need to be addressed from the start before serious development could begin. Compounding that, I guess you'd also have to develop new weapons designed for release at high Mach and high altitude, and it is overall a more high risk development compared to the pretty staid ATB, without much advantages beyond being baller.

It certainly wouldn't be subtle, though, but the reliance on radar for interception (between the high Mach needed at sea level and the aerodynamic heating of the target, making an infrared transparent window that could survive without being destroyed and a seeker which could discriminate the B-70's hot airframe from the surrounding supersonic air would be a feat; I think this is what ultimately killed Pye Wacket). The aircraft could probably plot and avoid optimal missile engagement windows being detected/calculated on-the-fly. I believe similar avionics exist for the F-22 and B-2, although it is geared towards avoiding detection altogether.

The best armament for such a plane would probably be some sort of hypersonic or supersonic nuclear missile, similar to SRAM. Something that would allow you to avoid flying directly over targets, basically, to further reduce engagement time/window. I think this was considered for B-70 (not SRAM, but a notional small, supersonic missile), but I don't have a source to back that up at the moment.

SAC's 1980s bomber fleet could have been very different from what it turned out to be, though. More spacesuits and anti-flash paint would be involved, I suppose, and bigger engines. Some sort of evolved high supersonic penetrator would also be an interesting weapon from the perspective of a global policeman, mostly because of its faster response time compared to a VLO subsonic penetrator.

But jeez, now it's starting to sound like TBO or something and no, I've never read any of Stuart Slade's books.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 03:10:54 pm by Kat Tsun »

Offline Dynoman

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Re: Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?
« Reply #286 on: August 31, 2016, 12:58:25 pm »
Not having an ATA electronic warfare and attack aircraft such as the A-12 Avenger II (earlier planned as the A-6 and EA-6 replacement aircraft) is what I feel a bit of a mistake. The Growler and now the F-35 will be providing the same roles as the stillborn A-12, however, as a non-dedicated platform the ability to fulfill the role successfully may be a challenge, especially if they were to accompany a strike package driving deep into enemy territory supporting F/A-18's or jointly with the subsonic B-2.

Despite its cost over runs, the A-12 or Northrop-Grumman's ATA, would have been a great compliment to the carrier-borne mix.

Offline RLBH

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Re: Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?
« Reply #287 on: September 01, 2016, 05:00:00 am »
B-70 seemed well suited for its job in light of the Vietnam War. High altitude high supersonic aircraft have an unfortunately undeserved reputation in popular discourse, given the cumulative effects of speed, altitude, ECM, maneuvering, and RCS are better understood now, and speed tends to be similar to stealth in that both greatly reduce launch windows at high altitude. Though, by the time the electronics had caught up to the needs of aircraft (about the 1980s I suppose?), VLO had already had lots of resources expended on it. B-2 was being developed, F-117 had been done and did, and high supersonics still had unsolved questions like skin heating that would need to be addressed from the start before serious development could begin. Compounding that, I guess you'd also have to develop new weapons designed for release at high Mach and high altitude, and it is overall a more high risk development compared to the pretty staid ATB, without much advantages beyond being baller.
I worked out a while ago what you'd need to reliably intercept a B-70. The latest S-300 systems would hold it at risk, roughly analogous to what the S-75 did to the B-52 - tactics would have to evolve, and the bombers would have to expect casualties, but they'd get the job done. To get the effect that the S-200 had on the B-52, you'd need a missile capable of Mach 9 and with a ceiling of 150,000 feet. In kinematic terms, that's comparable to THAAD, except that this thing has to manoeuvre to intercept an air-breathing target. Possible, but a large, expensive and probably immobile weapon.

Offline Kat Tsun

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Re: Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?
« Reply #288 on: September 01, 2016, 02:30:34 pm »
Galosh was mounted on a TEL. So was LGM-118. The radar wouldn't need to be very large because B-70 has a large RCS compared to a very small and conical reentry vehicle. "Immobile" just means you aren't trying hard enough.

Kinematics aren't the only thing to survivability, either. It's just that kinematics can approximate VLO by reducing the available launch window. If you need subtlety, which was required for B-2's mission, it would be completely incompetent at it. An aircraft with B-70's altitude and speed regimes would be difficult to attack, but you'd see it coming from a mile (or a thousand miles) away with any modern search radar and infrared detector, but so what?

A modern EA suite with something like a crosseye jamming ability for self-protection would make getting a firing solution impossible with any existing radar, though, unless you can attack the aircraft from an area that isn't covered by the jammers, like the top of the plane. It's not really apparent if it would be possible to make a towed decoy that could stay with the plane without getting ripped off during maneuvering, but if it is then it's fairly well protected from radar guided missile attack.

This is probably the wrong thread for posting this, though. I'm not Stuart Slade and I don't think that B-70 should have been built IRL, but it's also true that it wasn't particularly vulnerable to missiles or interception when you view the strategic bombing mission holistically (or any mission), and take into account other factors like ECM and evasive maneuvering and routing. It would have been inferior in most every regard to B-2 in strategic bombing role and reconnaissance, aside from being difficult to attack and having a quicker response time, and the latter probably isn't worth it considering making a faster missile is easier and more flexible than making a faster plane.

Considering that the USAF was obsessed more with making undetectable aircraft for plausible deniability overflights of the USSR at the time, B-70 was probably a dead end. With hindsight we know that it would be much harder to improve on B-70/SR-71. The time it would take to develop and field it would sap funding and stunt the growth of VLO by years.

High supersonic is still a physical barrier in some aspects, with no guarantee that the problems of skin heating and turnaround times could be solved, and no guarantees that developing an even faster and higher altitude aircraft (mesosphere hypersonic bomber [STS], aka "Ultimate Weapon") would be just as easy as making a supersonic one was.  VLO was essentially evolutionary from previous subsonic jet aircraft, with almost everything except perhaps RAM being fairly well understood from the start, and the maintenance problems with RAM has been mostly solved since F-117. Composites production was probably the biggest barrier to stealth, but composites research has benefits beyond stealth aircraft, while a high supersonic engine is a purely military product.

B-70 is just appealing from a video game perspective I guess. It's big and fast like a Veyron where B-2 is more like a Prius. You can hear one from the other side of town, but there's not a whole lot you can do about it besides deal with it, while the other is the one you never hear because it's already squished you.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 02:57:35 pm by Kat Tsun »

Online Pioneer

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Re: Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?
« Reply #289 on: October 08, 2016, 01:17:17 am »
What about -
The British government and RAF settle on freezing the GOR.339 program based on the English Electric P.17A design of Freddie Page and begin testing and development, with the intent for production.
So as to save time and money, the program is expedited in terms of its need for production and operational service, the British government in conjunction with the RAF, agree that the TRS.2, as it would become known, initially use off-the-shelf components where possible, and adding more advanced engines and avionics later.
So it came to pass, that the first batch of TRS.2's are powered by two Rolls Royce RB142 afterburner engines, with engineering and building parameters allowed for the easy installation of the more powerful Olympus turbojet when fully developed and tested!

Question to forum, if I may?
Can anyone give an indication of when the English Electric P.17A design was finalised and the time it took refining the 'actual' BAC 571(TRS.2) design that we know?

Regards
Pioneer
« Last Edit: October 08, 2016, 01:58:01 am by Pioneer »

Offline merlin

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Re: Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?
« Reply #290 on: January 12, 2017, 07:25:29 am »
Again - I'm going for changes in the thirties -

1) Specification B.9/38 OTL = Albermarle - this was a requirement for a medium bomber that could be made from non-strategic materials - in reality this meant that if suffered because it was too heavy. There is IMHO an alternative ending here in that the spec was given to three firms for their design offerings. These were - Armstrong Whitworth, Bristol, and de Havilland, BSP do not relate what happened with de Havilland, but Bristol dropped out due to other aircraft commitments. Yet, a year later de Havilland were busy with designs for an aircraft of wooden construction - seems to me there is scope here for the Mosquito being born over a year earlier.
 
2) Specification P.13/36 OTL = Manchester & Halifax. One of the designs put forward for this was by Bristol powered by two Hercules radials, it was the smallest of the designs with a span of only 79'. My thought here, is that the Air Ministry order it as a replacement to its Medium Bombers e.g.  Blenheim and Hampden. RAF win with extra range, bomb-load, and versatility - perhaps it could also carry two 18" Torpedoes!

Offline airman

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Re: Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?
« Reply #291 on: January 14, 2017, 03:21:45 am »
Cancel of development of Dornier 19 and Junkers 89  ( part of Ural Bomber Program) was a big mistake
Other big mistake was the deveploment of Heinkel 177 with two engines ( DB610) instead four engines as proposed by Heinkel !

I second your sentiments airman!!
Sentiments for those airplanes !    :D
writers , bloggers , content-curators ,  music composer and passionate of militaria and uchronia

Offline merlin

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Re: Biggest mistakes in aviation? Which projects should have been built?
« Reply #292 on: Yesterday at 03:43:27 am »
I disagree - the Do-19 could have been a viable aircraft - better engines would help. It would give the Lw experience in handling large four-engine aircraft. If Dornier were making them instead of the D0-17 (about one for two), it should also dispense with the Fw-200 Condor - which is just built with lower numbers as a transport aircraft.
Using the Do-19, also gives its replacement the He-177 four engines rather then the unreliable two.