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Northrop Grumman B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber

Tuna

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sferrin said:
SpudmanWP said:
If they make it fit the F135 then it can use the new3-stream engines when they are built.
Hmmm. Might be a non-starter. The F101 is quite a bit larger in diameter than the F135 but it's also about 3 feet shorter. :p
The engine nacelles would need to be rebuilt anyway to fix center of mass issues with the new, much lighter engines, and there is plenty of room for lengthening them.

Blitzo said:
I'm a bit confused, is this talk of a re-engined and modernized "B-1C" as an A2A missile truck something that the Mitchell report proposed, or is it just from sferrin's suggestion at the bottom of page 97? :eek:
Just daydreaming, I'm afraid. B-1 is a bit of a fan darling of a plane, would love to see them continue to be used in some capacity, and re-engining them with what the fighter fleet will use would not just greatly increase power, but also make them cheaper to maintain.

sferrin said:
The report recommends modernizing the B-1B so I was speculating.
Sadly, when looking at it objectively, I see very little sense in modernizing the bones further. The airframes are starting to get quite old, and as a supersonic plane they get worn in use worse than slower planes. What should happen instead is that the airforce should pay for the same kind of line production tooling for the B-21 that the B-2 got, and then instead of building twenty they should just keep cranking them out to replace everything other bomber that flies until something new and better comes out.
 

GWrecks

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Tuna said:
Sadly, when looking at it objectively, I see very little sense in modernizing the bones further. The airframes are starting to get quite old, and as a supersonic plane they get worn in use worse than slower planes. What should happen instead is that the airforce should pay for the same kind of line production tooling for the B-21 that the B-2 got, and then instead of building twenty they should just keep cranking them out to replace everything other bomber that flies until something new and better comes out.
I remember someone saying that the B-21 was an interim until something supercruise-capable came along (High-low maybe?)...but that was on 4chan, and worse yet it was on /m/.

I still wonder if the USAF is already planning said "new and better" though.
 

Dragon029

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Before the B-21 was the LRS-B it was the Next Generation Bomber aka the "2018 Bomber" (IOC was originally intended for 2018). The 2018 Bomber would be the interim until the "2037 Bomber" came around. which would be a supercruising, stealthy heavy bomber. With the NGB's evolution into the LRS-B however the 2018 / 2037 bomber plans have changed. A supersonic stealth bomber is likely still being considered for the future (2040s perhaps), but AFAIK there are no longer any written conceptual plans for one.
 

Blitzo

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sferrin said:
Blitzo said:
I'm a bit confused, is this talk of a re-engined and modernized "B-1C" as an A2A missile truck something that the Mitchell report proposed, or is it just from sferrin's suggestion at the bottom of page 97? :eek:
No, sorry. The report recommends modernizing the B-1B so I was speculating. I don't know that the F135 would fit though on further examination.
Ah okay, I see thanks. I thought I'd missed something big there for a moment.

A modernized B-1B like the B-1R that was proposed back in yesterdecade would of course be quite capable but considering how many programmes the USAF already has going on I feel like such an aircraft would be a relative luxury.
I remember watching a show called dogfights of the future that showed a number of fantastical "future" air combat scenarios one of which involved a B-1R missile truck. Good times.
 

flateric

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GWrecks said:
I still wonder if the USAF is already planning said "new and better" though.
There's a number of ESAV studies funded by AF were done not so long ago.
 

bobbymike

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https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1693107/air-force-announces-bases-to-support-b-21-raider-mission/#.W-8_PiSNND0.twitter

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- The Air Force has selected Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, to coordinate maintenance and sustainment of the B-21 Raider and Edwards AFB, California, to lead testing and evaluation of the next generation long-range strike bomber.

The decision to use these bases marks the next milestone in the development and eventual deployment of the B-21, a long-range and highly-survivable aircraft capable of penetrating air defenses and conducting a range of critical missions. The plane is expected to be delivered in the mid-2020s.

The Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker AFB has an Air Logistics Complex with a deep and accomplished history. In selecting Tinker AFB, Air Force leaders acknowledged that the organization has the right knowledge and expertise to support planning for the bomber's depot maintenance.

"With a talented workforce and decades of experience in aircraft maintenance, Tinker AFB is the right place for this critical mission," said Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson.

Robins AFB, Georgia, and Hill AFB, Utah, will support Tinker AFB to ensure the advanced B-21 is maintained and, when necessary, overhauled and upgraded. The workforce at the bases will also be equipped to rebuild parts, assemblies or subassemblies of the plane as well as testing and reclaiming equipment as necessary for depot activations.

Edwards AFB was selected as the location of the B-21's Combined Test Force. The base is home to the Air Force Test Center, which leads testing and evaluation for the Air Force to ensure aircraft and other equipment meet rigorous standards.

The testing program at Edwards AFB is also designed to provide timely, objective and accurate information to decision makers.

"From flight testing the X-15 to the F-117, Edwards AFB in the Mohave Desert has been at the forefront of keeping our Air Force on the cutting edge," said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein. "Now, testing the B-21 Raider will begin another historic chapter in the base's history."
 

bobbymike

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https://special-ops.org/47348/secret-b-21-program-passes-developmental-review-on-schedule/?fbclid=IwAR0g7FkFHd-koilMEpwj77f_vRM4CslQipABFb-c24pbac6pD0iu4CC_Q20

The highly-secretive program to develop the B-21 Raider, a futuristic bomber aircraft, passed a review this week.

“Our most recent review was last week, and the B-21 is on schedule and performance,” US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, over the weekend, Military.com reported.

“We are pleased with how that program is moving forward,” said Wilson, noting that “it’s a helpful example of how to hurry a major acquisition program well and why delegation of authority back to the services… works to accumulate high quality and to accomplish so quickly.”
 

Foo Fighter

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Not a surprise, policy is driving procurement at the expense of standards but is nothing new anywhere in the world. MB results are there for all to see, apart from data/results held back by procurers.
 

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That's a doozy of a letter. I don't think I've ever seen anyone so pointedly dismantle one of Loren Thompson's articles before. This is a very clear demonstration of the fact that Thompson is not primarily a defense analyst, he's primarily a defense marketer. His opinion depends on who is writing the checks.
 

AeroFranz

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Dismantled? that was more like vivisection. Ouch.
But seriously, it's pretty bad for an analyst to claim, without any substantiation, that there is no competition because the other company can't meet the requirements. Never mind that the other company has been way more successful and builds the most advanced seat ever.
I didn't like Loren Thompson before, I respect his writings even less now.

TomS said:
His opinion depends on who is writing the checks.
This.
 

marauder2048

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AeroFranz said:
Never mind that the other company has been way more successful and builds the most advanced seat ever.
Hard to reconcile that with the fact that MB's losing entry in the T-X competition included a STAPAC knockoff.
And MB's seat was not able to meet the F-35 spec without help.
 

Foo Fighter

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marauder2048 said:
AeroFranz said:
Never mind that the other company has been way more successful and builds the most advanced seat ever.
Hard to reconcile that with the fact that MB's losing entry in the T-X competition included a STAPAC knockoff.
And MB's seat was not able to meet the F-35 spec without help.
Is there proof of this that cannot be dismissed with the clarification letter from MB?

Sour grapes from a US manufacturer that has consistently failed.
 

AeroFranz

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If MB is so bad, have an open competition and they will lose. End of story.
 

marauder2048

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Foo Fighter said:
Is there proof of this that cannot be dismissed with the clarification letter from MB?

Sour grapes from a US manufacturer that has consistently failed.
AeroFranz said:
If MB is so bad, have an open competition and they will lose. End of story.
Martin-Baker lost the open competition for T-X. End of story.
 

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Because a second class submission never got chosen for production for political or industrial base considerations. ;D
 

marauder2048

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Because a second class submission never got chosen for production for political or industrial base considerations. ;D
If those were actual considerations for T-X then Martin-Baker would have claimed as much in their letter.
 

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marauder2048 said:
PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Because a second class submission never got chosen for production for political or industrial base considerations. ;D
If those were actual considerations for T-X then Martin-Baker would have claimed as much in their letter.
Not sure if serious.....

The letter predates the contract award to UTC.

And regardless, noone's going to say "We awarded the contract to a US company cos we want to Make America(n ejector seats) Great Again not on merit".
 

Foo Fighter

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Regardless of nationality or other considerations, MB have a better record, full stop.
 

flateric

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marauder2048 said:
flateric said:
Martin Baker is bidding with Mk16E as ejection seat for LRS-B, and UTC Aerospace Systems with ACES 5
Martin Baker was recently claiming that there was no competition for B-21 and it was sole-sourced to UTAS.

http://martin-baker.com/2018/11/29/letter-editor-forbes/

Though they did predict the future with their loss in the T-X competition.
https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2015-06-15/martin-baker-saving-lives-family-way
Recently, both teams competing for the secret U.S. Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) requirement have proposed Martin-Baker seats.
 

marauder2048

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
marauder2048 said:
PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Because a second class submission never got chosen for production for political or industrial base considerations. ;D
If those were actual considerations for T-X then Martin-Baker would have claimed as much in their letter.
Not sure if serious.....

The letter predates the contract award to UTC.

And regardless, noone's going to say "We awarded the contract to a US company cos we want to Make America(n ejector seats) Great Again not on merit".
The letter merely predates the public announcement of the award; UTAS was already hinting at this time that they had won it.

If MB sensed a rigged competition they would have said so either then or now; they've been extremely vocal in the press
when they've felt they were being treated unfairly e.g. the Aces II -> Aces 5 upgrade for the B-2.
 

marauder2048

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Full quote:

flateric said:
Recently, both teams competing for the secret U.S. Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) requirement have proposed Martin-Baker seats.
And, adds Martin, “All the primes who will bid for the U.S. T-X requirement have selected us."
Proposed the seat in which round? The LRS-B rounds were still ongoing when that article was written.
And of course proposed doesn't mean selected and selected doesn't even mean selected
since MB claims to have been selected for T-X when in fact it was an open competition which they lost.

Foo Fighter said:
MB have a better record, full stop.
MB has a criminal record in the UK after the recent indictment and conviction.
 

RavenOne

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The US Air Force announces Ellsworth AFB will be first B-21 Raider base.

https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1797946/air-force-announces-ellsworth-afb-as-first-b-21-base/

Cheers
 

NeilChapman

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RavenOne said:
The US Air Force announces Ellsworth AFB will be first B-21 Raider base.

https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1797946/air-force-announces-ellsworth-afb-as-first-b-21-base/

Cheers

From the article...

“These three bomber bases are well suited for the B-21," said Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson. “We expect the first B-21 Raider to be delivered beginning in the mid-2020s, with subsequent deliveries phased across all three bases.”

Probably can't read much into this but...

not "late-2020's" but "mid-2020's"

Also speaking of delivery with reference to this base, not necessarily test articles.
 

kitnut617

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NeilChapman said:
Probably can't read much into this but...

not "late-2020's" but "mid-2020's"

Also speaking of delivery with reference to this base, not necessarily test articles.
Does that mean it's already being tested then ?
 

coanda

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kitnut617 said:
NeilChapman said:
Probably can't read much into this but...

not "late-2020's" but "mid-2020's"

Also speaking of delivery with reference to this base, not necessarily test articles.
Does that mean it's already being tested then ?
May be partly what the new hangar is for at the area which doesn't exist?
 

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coanda said:
May be partly what the new hangar is for at the area which doesn't exist?
Doubtful, since Edwards has been preparing part of their base for the B-21 test program.
 

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kitnut617 said:
NeilChapman said:
Probably can't read much into this but...

not "late-2020's" but "mid-2020's"

Also speaking of delivery with reference to this base, not necessarily test articles.
Does that mean it's already being tested then ?
As of a year ago, they were still finalizing engine inlet design and working toward an "iron bird" version. A lot can happen in a year, but it seems unlikely they have a flying aircraft quite yet.

https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,25915.msg325891/topicseen.html#msg325891
 

bring_it_on

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Northrop Grumman's B-21 Stealth Bomber to Get Procurement Boost


The U.S. Air Force plans to spend as much as $5.9 billion over the next five years to begin buying Northrop Grumman Corp.’s B-21 stealth bombers, according to unclassified but previously unreleased five-year budget figures.

The figures are “another confirmation that B-21 is on track and production should entail higher margins for Northrop Grumman,” Byron Callan, defense analyst for Capital Alpha Partners in Washington, said in an email statement.

Procurement spending will start with $202 million in 2022 before surging to $2.4 billion in 2023 and then $3.3 billion in 2024, according to the figures, which weren’t included in the Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget justification, released March 18.
 

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Wild interpretation time! long lead items contract in 2022, contract for two planes in 2023, and three more in 2024. Assuming 2-3 years from contract to delivery , first LRIP planes might get delivered in 2025/2026.
 

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totoro said:
Wild interpretation time! long lead items contract in 2022, contract for two planes in 2023, and three more in 2024. Assuming 2-3 years from contract to delivery , first LRIP planes might get delivered in 2025/2026.
These are interesting insights.

It is worth noting that part of B-21 project was Northrop lining up expertise with production line prior to contract award. I think it is reasonable to expect that, given NG's F-35 line experience, B-21 test articles will be built on production rather than prototype tooling. Given the rapid advances in manufacturing prowess let's hope it is less than 2-3 years from contract to delivery of LRIP 1.

But it is a big jet...
 

bring_it_on

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"Initial Capability" (I assume this is the arrival of the first aircraft to an operational unit) is scheduled for the Mid-2020's and as we heard in the recent HASC hearing the program is on track and schedule.
 

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FighterJock

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bring_it_on said:
"Initial Capability" (I assume this is the arrival of the first aircraft to an operational unit) is scheduled for the Mid-2020's and as we heard in the recent HASC hearing the program is on track and schedule.
That is excellent news bring_it_on, as long as the program does not slip or suffer from cost overruns then 2025 cannot come fast enough.
 

kitnut617

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FighterJock said:
bring_it_on said:
"Initial Capability" (I assume this is the arrival of the first aircraft to an operational unit) is scheduled for the Mid-2020's and as we heard in the recent HASC hearing the program is on track and schedule.
That is excellent news bring_it_on, as long as the program does not slip or suffer from cost overruns then 2025 cannot come fast enough.
That's how I read the announcement, it's only a year away. It would suggest to me there's an aircraft already flying ----
 

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kitnut617 said:
That's how I read the announcement, it's only a year away. It would suggest to me there's an aircraft already flying ----
There isn't a B-21 flying already, we would have seen it flying already, since it's hard to hide something that big at Edwards and NG would be talking about it (good press). It just passed critical design review not too long ago and even with advanced manufacturing techniques, we can't get something like that built that fast. We do know various demonstrators have flown as proof of concept vehicles for some of the technologies being used in it. But those were not the B-21.
 

kitnut617

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Sundog said:
kitnut617 said:
That's how I read the announcement, it's only a year away. It would suggest to me there's an aircraft already flying ----
There isn't a B-21 flying already, we would have seen it flying already, since it's hard to hide something that big at Edwards and NG would be talking about it (good press). It just passed critical design review not too long ago and even with advanced manufacturing techniques, we can't get something like that built that fast. We do know various demonstrators have flown as proof of concept vehicles for some of the technologies being used in it. But those were not the B-21.
OK, maybe I'm misunderstanding what "Initial Capability" means then ---
 

_Del_

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Mid-2020's means 2023-27. Not Summer of 2020.
 

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kitnut617 said:
OK, maybe I'm misunderstanding what "Initial Capability" means then ---
My understanding is, for the most part, it is being developed with systems that have mostly already been developed. Of course they'll be modified to fit the B-21, but I think the RCO, the group at the Pentagon in charge of it's development works based on what is ready to go in now, not based on promises for what is to be ready by 2030. Having said that, I think that's also why they want it to be "plug and play," so to speak, so it can be easily upgraded as new technologies become available.

While a lot of the tech in the B-21 will probably be new to us, they, the Pentagon and the contractors, in this case NG, have spent at least the past decade to decade and a half developing the technologies that went into the B-21 and making them robust enough for a production program. So there shouldn't be too much "new development" work required for this program like there was with the F-35.
 
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