I notice that document does explicitly list GBU-39 as integrated on the B-2; pertinent to is it integrated/is current only planned to be integrated discussion.

Sure, but contra that:


The F-15E Strike Eagle is currently the only aircraft outfitted with the SDB weapon system. Future platforms include the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-117, B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

Now, that's at least somewhat out of date (F-22 and F-35 have been cleared, I think), but it's not resounding endorsement of the idea that the B-2 can carry SDB-I.

And after some digging around on Twitter, I found a ref that sounds like he knows what he's talking about. (Usual caveats for Twitter reliability, etc. But poking at his blog, he mentions having worked on the B-2's Smart Bomb Rack and JDAM integration for the RLA, so I suspect he's legit.)

View: https://twitter.com/SMSgt_Mac/status/1511547774361341953

Depressing if true, and it sounds like something USAF would do.
 
This increase in mishaps is becoming particularly worrying...

B-2 Stealth Bomber Damaged During Emergency Landing​

by Tyler Rogoway
Dec 10, 2022 9:18 PM
A B-2A Spirit stealth bomber experienced an in-flight emergency that resulting in an emergency landing that sparked a fire and damaged the aircraft. The incident occurred at Whiteman AFB in Missouri, where the fleet of just 20 B-2s in existence is primarily based.
The War Zone reached out to the 509th Bomb Wing public affairs for comment and they promptly responded with this description of the event:
"A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit experienced an in-flight malfunction during routine operations today and was damaged on the runway at Whiteman Air Force Base after it successfully completed an emergency landing. There were no personnel injuries. There was a fire associated with the aircraft after landing, and the base fire department extinguished the fire. The incident is under investigation."
Was fiddling around Whitman AFB in Google Maps, looking for B-2s when I saw this. After looking it up, that's definitely the Bomber in question.

Image is dated 2023
1674608365359.png
 
An old story (that some not heard) of flying wings, flies and professors.
 

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An old story (that some not heard) of flying wings, flies and professors.
Yes... and considering that the article was written before the B-2 even started its flight testing, the actual performance of the B-2 is much more compelling and pertinent than arguments over reports that may have been botched back in the late 1940s.

Resolution of the Foa-Sears debate awaits
the B-2 flight test program, which has yet to
record its first hop, though the bomber was
rolled out last November.

Rollout was Nov. 1988.
First public flight was July 1989.
 
MagRAM to replace RAM coating tapes. New flight planning mission software (shared with B-21):

 
Gotta love a good Elephant Walk!

Anyone want to bet that it's only 11 birds because that's all that were airworthy at the time?

Honestly shocking that 11 could be mission capable all at once (another source stated 12).
 
The ONLY bucket of wings.

It is basically a special operations force incapable of sustained bombardment. That said, it is a unique capability, and the B-21s will make a more mainstream form of offensive AirPower.
 
It is basically a special operations force incapable of sustained bombardment. That said, it is a unique capability, and the B-21s will make a more mainstream form of offensive AirPower.
It's a SAC bomber. Sustained bombardment wasn't part of the remit. It was supposed to sit on alert, take off with a load of ACMs, meet with a tanker over Canada, and light up the Soviet Union with nukes. Fifty hour missions to do CAS over Afghanistan are way outside the design concept.

Frankly I think the B-2 should be kept, transferred to STRATCOM permanently, loaded up with nukes and tasked with their original job, sitting on nuclear alert.
 
1714798766446.png
Have not been able to find particlar information on these, so I guess here is the best place to ask. What are these "grilles" at the front of the spirit's bomb bay? Seems to be something for air flow, perhaps some sort of way to counter turbulent flow screwing with the bombs inside of the bay?
 
View attachment 727841
Have not been able to find particlar information on these, so I guess here is the best place to ask. What are these "grilles" at the front of the spirit's bomb bay? Seems to be something for air flow, perhaps some sort of way to counter turbulent flow screwing with the bombs inside of the bay?

Weapon bay spoilers:

 
It's a SAC bomber. Sustained bombardment wasn't part of the remit. It was supposed to sit on alert, take off with a load of ACMs, meet with a tanker over Canada, and light up the Soviet Union with nukes. Fifty hour missions to do CAS over Afghanistan are way outside the design concept.

Frankly I think the B-2 should be kept, transferred to STRATCOM permanently, loaded up with nukes and tasked with their original job, sitting on nuclear alert.
They're too expensive to maintain, the stupid things have to live inside an air conditioned hangar when not in flight. Their RAM coatings are easy to damage, too, which eats more maintenance time.

B21s should have RAM baked into the skin panels like the F35 does, so they're a lot tougher and so don't take as much work to keep the RAM in good shape.
 
View attachment 727841
Have not been able to find particlar information on these, so I guess here is the best place to ask. What are these "grilles" at the front of the spirit's bomb bay? Seems to be something for air flow, perhaps some sort of way to counter turbulent flow screwing with the bombs inside of the bay?
Spoilers for diffusing the airflow so the weapon can drop and exit the bays. The F-117 and B-1 have spoilers as well. Without these, weapons could float within the bay flowfield or pop back inside causing significant damage.
 
Spoilers for diffusing the airflow so the weapon can drop and exit the bays. The F-117 and B-1 have spoilers as well. Without these, weapons could float within the bay flowfield or pop back inside causing significant damage.
Even the X32 had spoilers shown on the plastic model!
 
That seems like such a big investment into a small fleet. Has the air force given a retirement date target for the B-2 yet? With that kind of money being spend on sustainment, I would assume it serves for another decade.
 
It is really surprising. This amounts to roughly 300M$ per plane, hence being as much expensive as a nearly similar amount of B-21...
Given that the production line starts outputting Raiders at roughly 6 unit per year, the USAF seems quite pressed by the time that it can´t wait 3 or 4 years to substitute the entire fleet by a modern design.

The sense or Urgency that transpires in that is breathtaking. Either they are expecting unforeseen delays or have a crying need to keep the B-2 aside of the B-21.
 
It is really surprising. This amounts to roughly 300M$ per plane, hence being as much expensive as a nearly similar amount of B-21...
Given that the production line starts outputting Raiders at roughly 6 unit per year, the USAF seems quite pressed by the time that it can´t wait 3 or 4 years to substitute the entire fleet by a modern design.

The sense or Urgency that transpires in that is breathtaking. Either they are expecting unforeseen delays or have a crying need to keep the B-2 aside of the B-21.

The sense I get from that figure, and the fact that one of the other articles that discussed referred to weapons integration being part of the program, is that the B-2 force is considered a hedge for a conflict this decade, before a force of B-21s can replace it one for one, or at least payload for payload. Also it seems likely to me that this means B-1s are in fact being cut first. The choice of the first B-21 base always implied this, but various divest dates for the B-1 and B-2 force that the USAF released seemed to contradict each other. Spending half the cost of a new B-21 on every B-2 seems to indicate that type will retire after the B-1s do, otherwise there's too little return on the investment.
 
The sense I get from that figure, and the fact that one of the other articles that discussed referred to weapons integration being part of the program, is that the B-2 force is considered a hedge for a conflict this decade, before a force of B-21s can replace it one for one, or at least payload for payload. Also it seems likely to me that this means B-1s are in fact being cut first. The choice of the first B-21 base always implied this, but various divest dates for the B-1 and B-2 force that the USAF released seemed to contradict each other. Spending half the cost of a new B-21 on every B-2 seems to indicate that type will retire after the B-1s do, otherwise there's too little return on the investment.
If they're spending that much on weapons integration, you think the USAF is finally going to play "How many SDB2s can we stuff into a B2?" It's either going to be 16x4=64 on the rotary launchers, or ~80-160 in the BRA (depending on whether you can fit 1 per 500lb slot or 2 per)
 
If they're spending that much on weapons integration, you think the USAF is finally going to play "How many SDB2s can we stuff into a B2?" It's either going to be 16x4=64 on the rotary launchers, or ~80-160 in the BRA (depending on whether you can fit 1 per 500lb slot or 2 per)

I would have thought just throwing SDB 1 on a rotary launcher pretty easy, but maybe the old electronics make it difficult. But if you're going to overhaul the system thoroughly, go for as many SBD II as you can. That is probably far, far more work - there apparently were a lot of issues just prepping F-15Es with stormbreakers on them, let alone the integration. But I suspect that is part of the effort, if it costs that much. What other weapons could be integrated with the B-2?

"Without offering specific examples, Kodama says that includes integrating some of the USAF’s latest long-range precision weapons into the B-2. 'We’re looking for flexibility in loadouts that we’ll be able to bring to the B-2 and the integration of new advanced weapons,' she notes."

 
This video is great, and I'd just like to highlight that cheap solutions still reign supreme, even on an airframe that costs upwards of 700 million USD. (Same can be said for the lawn chairs that pilots used in Kosovo & other long haul missions too lol)
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If they're spending that much on weapons integration, you think the USAF is finally going to play "How many SDB2s can we stuff into a B2?" It's either going to be 16x4=64 on the rotary launchers, or ~80-160 in the BRA (depending on whether you can fit 1 per 500lb slot or 2 per)

It's not just weapon integration. That giant number is the cap for the whole contract, which also includes sustainment, logistics, etc.

I think at least part of it is implementing the integration that was tested in 2021, which includes JASSM-ER and Radar-Assisted Targeting for B61-12.

 
I had thought RAT and JASSM-ER already bought and paid for?
 
I had thought RAT and JASSM-ER already bought and paid for?

The article implies that the testing was done in 2020-21, but deployment across the fleet was waiting on an Air Force decision, which suggests the full integration might not have been funded.
 
But that not possibly amounts for $300M per plane. A bunch a cables and a new radar mode doesn't cost that much, even if you had to contract Apple.

I am wondering if any furture mission profile are not added to the aircraft.
Tanking?
 
They're too expensive to maintain, the stupid things have to live inside an air conditioned hangar when not in flight. Their RAM coatings are easy to damage, too, which eats more maintenance time.

B21s should have RAM baked into the skin panels like the F35 does, so they're a lot tougher and so don't take as much work to keep the RAM in good shape.
Living in air conditioned hangars on nuclear alert is what they were designed to do. Living on nuclear alert is what the B-1 was designed to do. All the other crap they've been doing the last 20+ years is what has worn the fleets down. Not that a mere 20 bombers is a fleet.
 
But that not possibly amounts for $300M per plane. A bunch a cables and a new radar mode doesn't cost that much, even if you had to contract Apple.

I am wondering if any furture mission profile are not added to the aircraft.
Tanking?

Well they are apparently changing the external coating; that could certainly get pricey. Perhaps along with the magRAM changes, these updates save enough man hours of work that maintenance costs drop, or at least availability goes up.
 

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