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B-52 "Arsenal Plane"

bobbymike

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True. I was thinking more in general. For example SpaceX, with their Starship, is breaking new ground in ways we haven't seen since the 60s. Software aside, most military stuff is incremental. We won't see something like Project Pluto (even though Russia has their own nuclear-powered cruise missile). That US Army 1000-mile gun is new.
I agree in terms of airframes and aero structures, etc. we won’t see the 50s & 60s again. I still get surprised reading an old space tech news article saying “we were doing THAT 60 years ago!”
 

TomS

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Again I ask if you’re just enhancing/increasing the number of air to ground weapons aren’t you still just a bomber? How does it make it an “Arsenal Plane”
The crucial factor may be who controls the weapons. Arsenal Ship, for example, had no onboard targeting sensors and was supposed to launch weapons "on remote" with other platforms providing the guidance. An Arsenal Plane would presumably be similar, releasing weapons as directed by external observers/controllers who would provide weapon guidance.
 

bobbymike

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Again I ask if you’re just enhancing/increasing the number of air to ground weapons aren’t you still just a bomber? How does it make it an “Arsenal Plane”
The crucial factor may be who controls the weapons. Arsenal Ship, for example, had no onboard targeting sensors and was supposed to launch weapons "on remote" with other platforms providing the guidance. An Arsenal Plane would presumably be similar, releasing weapons as directed by external observers/controllers who would provide weapon guidance.
I’ve always felt it should mean “everything in the arsenal” including a deep magazine of A2A missiles.
 

NUSNA_Moebius

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Seems like there could be a convergence of AWACS and arsenal planes since AWACS has become such a big target, and will need anti-missile weapons against newer ultra-long-range A2A munitions. As systems get more automated, it seems pertinent and practical to have one plane to do both jobs, or at least have your arsenal plane have some kind of limited AWACS-like capability, whether it's stealth or not. Fighters are going to become artillery spotters essentially, and will need mass amounts of smaller missiles to counter enemy aircraft and missiles now too.

Weird to see some anime and video game tropes having some shred of credibility.
 

TomcatViP

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I don't see how. Time on station will dictate that an arsenal plane can't be a loitering AWACS. With an arsenal plane, once your magazine is empty you need to rtb in order to reload, something unthinkable for a platform like an AWACS that need some kind of persistence for the sake of the air armada.
 
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AN/AWW-14(V)

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The Air Force's strategic development planning and experimentation office says it's exploring the possibility of a small proof-of-concept effort to examine the feasibility of a "palletized munitions" concept. "SDPE is assessing the potential for an experiment in response to direction defined by [Air Force] senior leadership," the SDPE office said in an email Wednesday.

 

Archibald

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I agree in terms of airframes and aero structures, etc. we won’t see the 50s & 60s again. I still get surprised reading an old space tech news article saying “we were doing THAT 60 years ago!”
Fact is that

- airliners ran into supersonic flight, as uneconomical, so they are stuck at mach 0.95

- combat aircraft ran into hypersonics and kinetic heating, so they are stuck to Mach 2.5 max since 1960.

- Same for rocketry, the Tsiolkovsky equation is a huge PITA with a logarithm inside, making SSTO completely crazy (95% of liftoff weight = propellants - or DIE) and staging mandatory to go anywhere. Also since 1960, we are stuck there.

Musk himself did not got around staging, his real stroke of genius with BFR / BFS is to make the first stage reusable (done with Falcon 9R, clever guy) and the second stage a multipurpose vehicle - second stage, TMI stage, cruise spaceship and Mars lander ALTOGETHER.

Compared to Stephen Baxter / NASA standard Manned Mars ship, starship by itself take over all the jobs - S-II injection stage and S-IVB return booster and Skylab-like interplanetary cruise ship and MEM lander and Apollo atmospheric return capsule.
This is amazing when you think about it, folding all this separate missions into one and only vehicle. Radical, bold, although pretty risky, too.
I can tell you that, from 1955 to 2015, nobody ever thought or tried to build a... TSTO to Mars surface from Earth surface.

Closest thing from BFR/BFS I can think off, is this. Boeing 1976 Space Freighter, imagined for O'Neill Space colonies.

dbuv5fj-bd18eaaf-5fc2-485e-b472-c9c60f91f4d8.jpg
 
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jsport

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RanulfC

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I agree in terms of airframes and aero structures, etc. we won’t see the 50s & 60s again. I still get surprised reading an old space tech news article saying “we were doing THAT 60 years ago!”
Musk himself did not got around staging, his real stroke of genius with BFR / BFS is to make the first stage reusable (done with Falcon 9R, clever guy) and the second stage a multipurpose vehicle - second stage, TMI stage, cruise spaceship and Mars lander ALTOGETHER.

Compared to Stephen Baxter / NASA standard Manned Mars ship, starship by itself take over all the jobs - S-II injection stage and S-IVB return booster and Skylab-like interplanetary cruise ship and MEM lander and Apollo atmospheric return capsule.
This is amazing when you think about it, folding all this separate missions into one and only vehicle. Radical, bold, although pretty risky, too.
I can tell you that, from 1955 to 2015, nobody ever thought or tried to build a... TSTO to Mars surface from Earth surface.

Closest thing from BFR/BFS I can think off, is this. Boeing 1976 Space Freighter, imagined for O'Neill Space colonies.
There's a reason for that and it kinda of shows in Starship: It needs a set of dedicated tankers and multiple rendezvous in LEO to go anywhere else AND unless its lightly loaded it needs similar infrastrcture on the other end to refuel again and get back. In fact the person who is credited with the basic concept is Robert Zubrin with Mars Direct. The only difference is he didn't reuse the same vehicle because they were optimized for going to Mars and one to go back to Earth.

It's actually FAR from a 'radical' idea as it was a staple of how fiction went anywhere. One, maybe two stages the whole way was the norm. There's a reason we call it "flying a rocket like God and Robert Heinlein intended" :)

I'd point out that RHH himself was clear that short of somesort of 'torch' drive multiple systems IS actually more economic IF you are going to build any in-space infrastructure at all as you can easily optimize each 'segment' for economy and safety. The 'point' of Starship is to NOT build any infrastructure in space but only on Earth and Mars.

Randy
 

TomcatViP

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The munition can then glide separately to their target, extending range.
I also do understand that a vehicule hosting multiple munition could be air launched and extend reach far beyond gravity + glide performance.
Imagine a cheap powered glider (solid booster? Electrically powered engine? Low cost turbine(s)?) with a collapsible wing set fitted with a bomb bay and made out of radio transparent/absorbant material.
 

TomS

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The Drive comes through with a much better write-up. Including photo. This starts to make more sense. Two weapons on a pallet isn't absurd; it's basically one target with two aimpoints. The other article sounds like six weapons in a single drop, which is hard to make efficient use of. You don't usually have six aimpoints at once in a CAS-type mission, which is what they seem to be focused on.


The sole picture we have of the CLEAVER munitions so far shows that it has four tail fins and streamlined design that is visually similar in some respects of the AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) glide bomb. The JSOW has pop-out wings to help them glide across extended distances, but it is not clear if CLEAVER has this feature. The new design is an in-house Air Force development from AFRL's Center for Rapid Innovation (CRI), which has now transitioned the project to the Munitions Directorate.

During the test at Dugway in January, an MC-130J Commando II special operations transport from the 27th Special Operations Wing, which is based at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, dropped two pallets, each with two CLEAVER munitions, along with a third pallet with two additional unspecified "simulated munitions." The exact method of deployment is unclear, but it appears that the pallet, also known as a Combat Expendable Platform (CEP), falls into a vertical position with the help of a parachute after leaving the aircraft and then releases the munitions via some form of remote or pre-set triggering mechanism.
 

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jsport

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This CLEAVER tube and wing concept does not seem to be designed for max standoff ie BWB (+ lift to weight ratio). T and W also suffer from limited stealth.
A long range propulser has yet to be designed/revealed either. As repeatedly stated, a Thirsty Saber like concept which CLEAVER could be is what the USN and USAF needs.
 

red admiral

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This CLEAVER tube and wing concept does not seem to be designed for max standoff ie BWB (+ lift to weight ratio). T and W also suffer from limited stealth.
A long range propulser has yet to be designed/revealed either. As repeatedly stated, a Thirsty Saber like concept which CLEAVER could be is what the USN and USAF needs.
How do you fold up a BWB to carry it internally? Or carry as many of them internally?
 

Grey Havoc

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There have been inflatable BWB concepts in the recent past, I believe.
 

uk 75

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A blended wing bomber would have a lot of space for weapons bays.
 

jsport

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fold out/ inflatable is pretty mature and tested.. Modern materials etc.. Not to mention as uk 75 expresses just stacked BWBs would be worth it for the stealth and range. .
 

jsport

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Resources need to be spent. This Col has apparently has not read the above article. A hundred B-21s are not making up for the shortfall. They are expensive and small. The B-1 is obsolete. An NDAA which supports development of a F/B-XX (low altitude bombing) and an Arsenal Plane would be a good start.
 

jsport

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First of all the cost of standoff is what Congress allows in the first place..so a bogus argument to start w/. Force genuine competetion and cost could come way down. That won't happen if the current missile mafia is allowed to control the game.

A company mass produced V-1s in the US after WWII according the Janes. It is a question of intent.
This is not to mention arguing for more pilots endangered over the vast Asian landmass, as counter-stealth trends accelerate, is absurd on its face. Low altitude high speed, a FB-XX, is a counter counter stealth strategy.
 
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It’s untenable for allies to accept that “we’re going to be there to support you, but we’re going to do it from 5,000-6,000 miles away. It’s just not a compelling argument.” He said, “We want to be right next to them, shoulder to shoulder, in the face of a conflict.”
What is needed here is a new F-111/B-58
 

jsport

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w/ a hypersonic gun to defeat hardened structures. Rands Pac War study pointed out that JSOW etc are not going to defeat these structures w/ one bomb also bombs are going to be intercepted by point defenses.

If there is an insistence in fighting inside the A2AD environment BG Winkler (INDO-PACOM) admitted forward bases may produce more bomber losses on the ground than in the air w. very long sorties. Given a future Russian SAM might reach 1000miles there might be many more loss in the air w/o low altitude ingress. Their is no money for Gonzo's 240 marginally survivable manned B-21s, something will have to give if Lt Gen Nelom's need for mass fires to accomplish the mission. Distributed Basing for bombers is limited due to to the need for storage of large amounts of bombs which can not be done on the fly according to BGW. ..am a bigger fan of the Strategic Long Range Cannon (SLRC) than ever.
 
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trose213

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It’s untenable for allies to accept that “we’re going to be there to support you, but we’re going to do it from 5,000-6,000 miles away. It’s just not a compelling argument.” He said, “We want to be right next to them, shoulder to shoulder, in the face of a conflict.”
What is needed here is a new F-111/B-58
This is why the decision to retire the B-1B is outrageous. It should be used as a low flying antiship bomber that doubles as an arsenal plane.
 

Helix88

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It’s untenable for allies to accept that “we’re going to be there to support you, but we’re going to do it from 5,000-6,000 miles away. It’s just not a compelling argument.” He said, “We want to be right next to them, shoulder to shoulder, in the face of a conflict.”
What is needed here is a new F-111/B-58
This is why the decision to retire the B-1B is outrageous. It should be used as a low flying antiship bomber that doubles as an arsenal plane.
The b-1b fleet was never designed to be used so heavily at low altitudes, it has really stressed the airframes and they would need to be entirely overhauled for low altitude ops to really solve anything definitively. That’s not going to happen, it’s to expensive and the fleet is too far gone..
 

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Is there any official statement of interest in a FB-XX? It may solve the problem of basing, they are small enough to go in hardened hangers or hide somewhere.
 

jsport

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The service is also looking at novel concepts within these categories, including "fighter jets" that do not fit traditional definitions, such as a derivative of the future B-21 Raider stealth bomber armed with air-to-air missiles and networked together with a number of loyal wingmen.

This is, in many ways, extremely similar to how discussions about a future air combat platform have transformed over the past two decades within the Air Force. That service also started with a focus on a manned sixth-generation combat jet, referred to as F-X, before shifting focus to a family of systems approach that will include unmanned designs as part of its own, unrelated, NGAD program.


 

trose213

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It’s untenable for allies to accept that “we’re going to be there to support you, but we’re going to do it from 5,000-6,000 miles away. It’s just not a compelling argument.” He said, “We want to be right next to them, shoulder to shoulder, in the face of a conflict.”
What is needed here is a new F-111/B-58
This is why the decision to retire the B-1B is outrageous. It should be used as a low flying antiship bomber that doubles as an arsenal plane.
The b-1b fleet was never designed to be used so heavily at low altitudes, it has really stressed the airframes and they would need to be entirely overhauled for low altitude ops to really solve anything definitively. That’s not going to happen, it’s to expensive and the fleet is too far gone..
With there no longer being constant deployments, there's a chance that the fleet could be regenerated and maintenance finally catches up. There's also the 30 ones at the Boneyard.


The service is also looking at novel concepts within these categories, including "fighter jets" that do not fit traditional definitions, such as a derivative of the future B-21 Raider stealth bomber armed with air-to-air missiles and networked together with a number of loyal wingmen.

This is, in many ways, extremely similar to how discussions about a future air combat platform have transformed over the past two decades within the Air Force. That service also started with a focus on a manned sixth-generation combat jet, referred to as F-X, before shifting focus to a family of systems approach that will include unmanned designs as part of its own, unrelated, NGAD program.


The Navy is broke and NAVAIR would keep buying manned fighters as long as Congress keeps giving them money.
 

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With there no longer being constant deployments, there's a chance that the fleet could be regenerated and maintenance finally catches up. There's also the 30 ones at the Boneyard.
The B-1s in the Boneyard are likely being stripped to keep the remainder flying as it is. They've already pulled back the ones that were potentially usable.
 

trose213

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With there no longer being constant deployments, there's a chance that the fleet could be regenerated and maintenance finally catches up. There's also the 30 ones at the Boneyard.
The B-1s in the Boneyard are likely being stripped to keep the remainder flying as it is. They've already pulled back the ones that were potentially usable.
I meant if the concern is structural, which is the only thing a little maintenance can't fix.
 

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The B-1s in the Boneyard are likely being stripped to keep the remainder flying as it is. They've already pulled back the ones that were potentially usable.
I meant if the concern is structural, which is the only thing a little maintenance can't fix.
"A little maintenance" can't replace old parts that were stripped out of a mothballed airframe to repair an operational aircraft because no source for new replacement parts. If there is some LRU that can't be made any more, for example, Boneyard aircraft may be the only source. And once you've pulled that out of the mothballed aircraft, that airframe may be impossible to restore.
 

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The B-1 fleet is clapped out. Only the retirement of more airframes can keep it in service and refurbishing airframes for more hours is cost prohibitive. Better to focus money on a new build. There will unfortunately be a draw down of US strategic bombers this decade, but it is unavoidable.
 

trose213

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The B-1s in the Boneyard are likely being stripped to keep the remainder flying as it is. They've already pulled back the ones that were potentially usable.
I meant if the concern is structural, which is the only thing a little maintenance can't fix.
"A little maintenance" can't replace old parts that were stripped out of a mothballed airframe to repair an operational aircraft because no source for new replacement parts. If there is some LRU that can't be made any more, for example, Boneyard aircraft may be the only source. And once you've pulled that out of the mothballed aircraft, that airframe may be impossible to restore.
The concern with the Bones now is their structural integrity. Turning them into arsenal planes would probably be close to the proposed B-1R program and mean a complete overhaul of the planes.

The B-1 fleet is clapped out. Only the retirement of more airframes can keep it in service and refurbishing airframes for more hours is cost prohibitive. Better to focus money on a new build. There will unfortunately be a draw down of US strategic bombers this decade, but it is unavoidable.
It's cheaper and not as long of a lifespan as a new plane. Unfortunately, there's no money available and even if there was it wouldn't be going towards an arsenal plane. Better to extend the lifespan and maintain fighting strength. It's too bad that the KC-46 turned out to be an absolute dud, otherwise that could've been adapted to this role.
 
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