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ATB: B-2 evolution and competitors

Orionblamblam

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This came fromt he rect Av Week article. However, I *know* i've seen this drawing before. I'm looking for a higher resolution version of it... if anyone can point me towrds it, I'd much appreciate it.

Anyway, this was apparently the first sketch of what became the B-2.
 

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elmayerle

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What's interesting is that I recognize the signature on that sketch. i do believe I've worked with the gentleman. ;)
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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http://www.aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_awst_story.jsp?id=news/032706p1.xml

Text from the "Stealthy Genesis" story.
 

elmayerle

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Orionblamblam said:
Any chance of inside poop on the early B-2?

Like some of the alternate configurations looked at during the redesign in 1983/4? Or stuff from the early days? I do know that Northrop's interset in LO dates back to the Snark when they noticed that it dropped off radar at certain angles. They started R&D on the subject then but had nothing concrete for a fair while.

I wasn't there in the early days (started there in late-1982) and I've seen nothing at this point that says I can say too much about the alternate configurations. About all I think I can say is that all the aircraft companies involved did suggest alternate configurations to meet the revised USAF requirements.
 

Orionblamblam

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elmayerle said:
Orionblamblam said:
Any chance of inside poop on the early B-2?

Like some of the alternate configurations looked at during the redesign in 1983/4? Or stuff from the early days?

Either/or. My Bomber Projects book is goign to be *fat* with B-47 stuff, *bloated* with B-52 stuff, *fat* with B-70 stuff, very lean with B-1 stuff, and basically devoid fo B-2 stuff. I have a few pics yanked off the net and from Bill Scott's articles, but that's it, and ain't none of it sloppin' over with decent image quality. My reconstructions are therefore gonna be *quite* provisional.
 

elmayerle

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Orionblamblam said:
elmayerle said:
Orionblamblam said:
Any chance of inside poop on the early B-2?

Like some of the alternate configurations looked at during the redesign in 1983/4? Or stuff from the early days?

Either/or. My Bomber Projects book is goign to be *fat* with B-47 stuff, *bloated* with B-52 stuff, *fat* with B-70 stuff, very lean with B-1 stuff, and basically devoid fo B-2 stuff. I have a few pics yanked off the net and from Bill Scott's articles, but that's it, and ain't none of it sloppin' over with decent image quality. My reconstructions are therefore gonna be *quite* provisional.

Well, the early days I really can't talk to since I wasn't there at the time. The alternate configurations get into a gray area where I'm not certain what's cleared for release. I will just mention in passing that both the B-2 and the AGM-137 TSSAM owe a lot to the technology established by and developed for Tacit Blue. The one alternate I can carefully mention had the same planform as what was built, but the inlets were more like Revell's "guesstimate" save that they came farther forward to the lower leading edge. There were some reasons behind that one, though they proved unfounded.
 

flateric

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El, did you mean that Revell kit?
 

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elmayerle

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flateric said:
El, did you mean that Revell kit?

Yep. If you correct that configuration to the final B-2 planform, you get something close to one of the alternate designs looked at in 1983/84. Incidentally, the joke around work there was that the kit went together better than AV-1. :D
 

elmayerle

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An RB-2 would be an easy aircraft to manufacture. Relative to the production B-2, it would require a new Aft Center Section to be developed by Boeing with the necessary reconnaisance equipment fit. Otherwise, all the existing major subsections of the B-2 could be used without modification.

That was one of the nice aspects of the B-2, the modular design would've allowed for new variants to be developed comparatively easily.
 

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Easy to manufacture, but nearly impossible to pay 700 mil. USD for each plane + reconnaissance equipment.

Does anybody know the connections between posted UAV designs? Are they related to Tier III, or are they late 90s proposals (except W570)?
 

elmayerle

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Well, if the full proposed production run of B-2s had been procured, the cost would've dropped (more airframes to amortize sunk costs over) and, really, you wouldn't need all new structure in the Aft Center Section. Exactly what changes would be necessary would depend on whether you kept the basic structure of two "Cargo Bays" (no kidding, that's what the drawings for those areas were titled) or redid them to optimize the placement of certain sensors. And, really, not all the sensors would have to be new, the LPI surveillance radar flown and demonstrated on Tacit Blue would be perfect as part of the equipment package.
 

Archibald

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Any chance of a B-2 production revival? (quite impossible, but "you never know", with only 20 airframes...) Is the tooling and production line still available or had it been scrapped?
 

elmayerle

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Honestly, I don't know whether the tooling has been scrapped or not. On the other hand, all of the design data, and tooling design data, should exist in electronic databases that would simplify resurrecting the production line if that became expedient.
 

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There is no real chance to re-open B-2 producton line. In may 2001, shortly after Northrop/Grumman high-officer Roche nomination as ministry of USAF, was proposed that 40 new B-2 could be build under fixed price 29,4 mld. USD. New planes were planned as pure conventional B-2C (conventional) without protection against nuclear detonation and EMP pulse. It also included latest avionic equipment, more-durable and cheaper stealthy surface, etc. Beginnign of the production was planned in 2003 with frequency 3 or 4 bombers per year.

But USAF administration said, that when they dont have enough money to operate current bombers (32 B-1B aircrafts were retired due to the lack of money and problems with maintenance), they are not in position to buy any new B-2.

PS: In early 90s, also SIGINT variant was proposed as EB-2.
 

Archibald

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elmayerle said:
Honestly, I don't know whether the tooling has been scrapped or not. On the other hand, all of the design data, and tooling design data, should exist in electronic databases that would simplify resurrecting the production line if that became expedient.

According to this website
http://www.airsceneuk.org.uk/hangar/2000/boneyard/boneyard.htm
(the guy visited the Boneyard, Davis Monthan by bus.)

Quote - Just beyond the remaining Buffs, where the bus turned to make its way back to the museum, are two parks of odd looking equipment. The equipment is the tooling and jigs for the B-1 and B-2 bomber production lines. - quote
 

TinWing

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There is nothing "secret" about B-2 tooling on display at AMARC - the guides actually announce it.

It is very easy to recognize the tooling jig for the B-2's cockpit section.
 

flateric

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pre-B-2 screenshot from Discovery Channel documentary + Northrop ATB/ATF program patch
 

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Golfus

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I am interested in the ATB program wich conducted to the B-2 Spirit. In fact I´m interested in the other contenders. Wich were they? Any 3-view available?

On the other hand, I´ve got a huge 3-view drawings database of aircraft, ships, submarines and land vehicles. If you need one, just ask.

Regards
 

Antonio

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Thanks for your kind offer Golfus. I'm not only interested on unbuilt aircraft but also in ships, submarines and land vehicles so feel free to email me if you are looking for anyone of this topics that are outside the scope of this superb forum :)

This is Lockheed's contender (codename Senior Peg) which was finalist with Northrop's ATB

http://www.dreamlandresort.com/black_projects/senior_peg.html
 

SOC

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As far as I can remember those were the only two contenders. Northrop was given an entry based on their TACIT BLUE results, and Lockheed submitted their enlarged SENIOR TREND design as a contender.
 

TinWing

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According to Ben Rich's professional autobiography, Lockheed's final proposal looked very much like Northrop's. However, Lockheed produced a slightly smaller, shorter ranged aircraft with twin, canted vertical tails. Rich claims the Air Force favored the Northrop design because it was bigger, and bigger was considered to be better. Rich also claimed that his smaller flying wing need vertical tails for stability because.... it was smaller? I don't understand that.

The scaled up F-117 design was apparently offered to the Air Force early on. Rich refers to a proposal with the size and range of the F-111 - as an alternative to the larger ATB.
 

flateric

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TinWing said:
...his smaller flying wing need vertical tails for stability because.... it was smaller? I don't understand that.

Smaller a/c-> less flying wing lenght -> control surfaces reaction forces uncufficient to control pitch effectively as force application point to close to CG projection-> need to have a tailboom with unstealthy V-tail that Senior Peg had -> loosing a contract. Interesting that Senior Peg nickname was choosen by Rich to warm up hi-rank bluesuiter that was one of decision maker (general's wife's name was Peggy)
 

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SOC said:
As far as I can remember those were the only two contenders. Northrop was given an entry based on their TACIT BLUE results, and Lockheed submitted their enlarged SENIOR TREND design as a contender.

Yes. A lot of companies studied proposals for future bombers, but in ATB program were only two contenders - Lockheed (later teamed with Rockwell) and Northrop (teamed with Boeing and LTV).
 

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This aircraft: http://www.dreamlandresort.com/black_projects/senior_peg.html is listed as the Senior Peg entry into the ATB competition but there's a completely different looking aircraft pictured in the recent book F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter: Photo Scrapbook by Yancy D. Mailes and Tony Landis. I don't have access to my scanner at the moment, but that book shows a much different looking Senior Peg. It still has the butterfly V-tail, but it's not as faceted as what's on Dreamland Resort's page. There is a line drawing as well as a photo of the RCS pole model in the Mailes/Landis book.

Do the two versions represent different evolutions of the Lockheed design?
 

elmayerle

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Sentinel Chicken said:
Do the two versions represent different evolutions of the Lockheed design?

Very likely. Though I wasn't in on it 'til late 1982, I'm aware of a few iterations in the B-2's development history as well as "some roads not taken".
 

SOC

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I just ordered the book, it'll be here tomorrow and I might be able to get some scans of the SENIOR PEG concepts.
 

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Alright, the book arrived, and is awesome. Now to the point: there is a plan view drawing of the SENIOR PEG design, as well as a photo of the SENIOR PEG RCS pole model. That design has very little to do really with the photo shown at Dreamland Resort. Here's what I think. I think that the aircraft shown on the internet is clearly a smaller airframe. The pole model design is clearly much larger. Want a visual image of the SENIOR PEG? Take the Polecat, and merge it with the B-2. Then add F-117-style engine inlet grills. Polecat does appear to be an offshoot of SENIOR PEG in a few respects. Now, that leaves us with the issue of the internet photo. Like I said, in my view there is no way that this aircraft is SENIOR PEG. It's a smaller aircraft, and has a different planform with a far more swept wing. Lockheed's original ATF concept (the one that wouldn't fly as it was actually very unstable) is closer to the F-22A than this thing is to SENIOR PEG. However, while SENIOR PEG does show some general F-117A lineage, the internet aircraft (if it's not a mere artist's concept, which is entirely possible having actually seen SENIOR PEG) is far closer to being an F-117 offshoot. Ergo, I think that the aircraft seen at Dreamland Resort may actually be an authentic design, but not for SENIOR PEG. I think that one is the ATA-B, which would have been a logical starting point for SENIOR PEG anyway.
 

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SOC said:
Now, that leaves us with the issue of the internet photo. Like I said, in my view there is no way that this aircraft is SENIOR PEG.
Have you contacted Jim Goodall about the issue? After all, he was the one who made this photo available.
 

SOC

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Not yet. I may give him a call this weekend and see what the story is. I know he got a whole mess of stuff a short while back, including the SENIOR PROM images, so maybe there's something we're missing here that he can shed some light on. My point is that the Dreamland Resort image doesn't seem to depict an intercontinental range bomber. The SENIOR PEG design in the book definitely does. That's why I'm thinking the former might actually be ATA-B. Maybe it was included or labeled as related to SENIOR PEG as ATA-B was the likely jumping off point for the design?
 

Deino

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SOC said:
Alright, the book arrived, and is awesome. ....

Sounds very interesting .... but is there a chance to post a picture ???? PLEASE !!!

Cheers, Deino :)
 

Sentinel Chicken

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Here is a scan from the entire page of Yancy Mailes/Tony Landis' book:

SeniorPeg.jpg


As you can see, it's a vastly different aircraft than what's pictured on the Dreamland Resort website.
 

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Sentinel Chicken said:
As you can see, it's a vastly different aircraft than what's pictured on the Dreamland Resort website.
Depends on the definition of "vastly" ;). In fact, I can imagine that the Mailes/Landis SENIOR PEG is a refined version of the DLR model. While they are different in all details, the basic principle (a flying wing with twin tails on a sort of tail boom) is the same. So SOC's idea that the DLR "SENIOR PEG" is really an ATA-B design, which served as a baseline for Lockheed's ATB, sounds very plausible to me.
 

elmayerle

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Sentinel Chicken said:
Here is a scan from the entire page of Yancy Mailes/Tony Landis' book:

SeniorPeg.jpg


As you can see, it's a vastly different aircraft than what's pictured on the Dreamland Resort website.

The three Senior Prom pictures seem to show at least some deploying surfaces at launch, which would tend to match what I've heard of the unsuccessful Lockheed competitor to Northrop's TSSAM.
 

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Thats very interesting. I had a problems before to imagine connection between Lockheed´s ATB proposal and Tier III, but now it is clear.
 

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On Lockheed's ATB design, what are the windows in front of the cockpit? At least, they look like windows ...
 

flateric

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Damn, canopy glass reminds me Soviet 1933 LK-1 (Leningradsky Kombinat-1, other name was Fanera-1 (Plywood-1), from the childhood's movie about polar explorers:)

Kidding apart, this is much more pleasant aerodynamic shape that Senior Peg murky CG drawings we all have seen before, masterpiece of playing with faceted surfaces (or, is it really faceted?) but now I see that Ben Rich story about USAF general who saw Senior Peg model at Rich's office and wondered where Skunk Works had stealed model of Northrop's proposal, was somewhat an overstatement.
 

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SOC

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Two things. First, the USAF guy who commented on the Lockheed ATB model...if you look at some of the early ATB configurations from Northrop with the less serrated trailing edge, it makes a little more sense.

Second, what happened to the Iron Bird test articles? There were at least two of them constructed. I've got a photo of two sitting covered with spraylat at either Edwards or Palmdale. One of them was fixed up and sent to the USAF Museum. So where is the other one? Were there more?
 

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The 1979 sketch from that article that Scott reckoned he's seen before was in the 1991 AIAA article 91-3069 "Technology in the lives of an Aircraft Designer" by Irv Waaland. I think this was the first time the Northrop XST was depicted, too.
 

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