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Northrop Grumman B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber

Josh_TN

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I got the impression that production was going to be deliberately slow and drawn out...which might help keep the line open for additional buys. Two hundred sounds fanciful but then again if there’s a finalized design with a reasonable fly away cost, maybe that’s doable. Replacing the B-1 and B-2 would get rid of a lot of parts streams and maintenance costs.
 

Grey Havoc

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Problem with that is that I don't think they have the time left to stretch out production in that way.
 

Josh_TN

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Have they released any kind of schedule? I thought the production rate was to be rather slow, relatively speaking. I thought they'd be producing through the early 2030s.
 

In_A_Dream

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Have they released any kind of schedule? I thought the production rate was to be rather slow, relatively speaking. I thought they'd be producing through the early 2030s.
With the recent increase in assertiveness by China and headlines about NGAD developments, I think things are going to pick up.
 

marauder2048

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Have they released any kind of schedule? I thought the production rate was to be rather slow, relatively speaking.
This is for a company that, for any type, produces at most a high single digit number of aircraft per year.
And they could very well be in a loss position on the first lot or two. So there's probably a desire
to be very gradual and ginger with the ramp.
 

haavarla

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220? I honestly didn't expect that high and am doubtful it ever will.
I hope that the USAF stick to the 220 figure and do not cut the number.
What history has showed us.
You can take that prospect of planned total produced figure, then divide that by 2... then divide that by 2 again.
And by then we should be close to the reality.
 

Dagger

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Note that that 220 figure is the total number of bombers, not the number of B-21's to be produced.
The planning is to build 100 B-21's.
The other 120 should then be existing B-52's, existing F-15E's, et cetera.
And I don't think they will actually retire the B-2's , and maybe not even all B-1's, espicially not if it turns out that the B-21 is going to be much more costly than planned (as is usually the case) and therefor less than 100 will be built.
 

Bhurki

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220? I honestly didn't expect that high and am doubtful it ever will.
I hope that the USAF stick to the 220 figure and do not cut the number.
What history has showed us.
You can take that prospect of planned total produced figure, then divide that by 2... then divide that by 2 again.
And by then we should be close to the reality.
History now that is being referenced should be from 1970s era rather than 1990-2000 era since that is size of the threat thats emanating potentially from combined growth of military capabilities of peer adversaries.

As such, thinking the B21 program will go the way of B2 or F22 in terms of production cuts would be erring.

Unlike those programs, B21 isn't a program devoid of use cases to be applied to, rather, its a necessity to fulfill the gaps of capability that have formed in the last 20-30 years.
 

Foo Fighter

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Too little too late? WRT the pacific anyway.
 

Josh_TN

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Note that that 220 figure is the total number of bombers, not the number of B-21's to be produced.
The planning is to build 100 B-21's.
The other 120 should then be existing B-52's, existing F-15E's, et cetera.
And I don't think they will actually retire the B-2's , and maybe not even all B-1's, espicially not if it turns out that the B-21 is going to be much more costly than planned (as is usually the case) and therefor less than 100 will be built.
the B-1s are falling apart and the B-2s are bespoke airframes. It’s simply a question of which gets replaced first, not if.
 

Grey Havoc

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Foo Fighter

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With respect to the current pacific situation. I think the contra temps will be sooner than any service introduction. Likely anyway.
 

marauder2048

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Open Source software / architecture has been more than a bit of a disappointment, not to mention that it is a security nightmare at the best of times. And these are far from the best of times.
Except it's not really open source (except for some of the containers for which there are decidedly closed source hardware isolation mechanism)

It's "open" in the sense that the government owns the data rights and the system integration labs.
 

stealthflanker

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As opposed to the current hefty premium for highspeed directional datalinking?
Your point being ?

I might need to elaborate. What i mean with that is the Raider will have to carry its own phased array datalink antenna or relegate the job to its Attack radar. If it wish to control the drones 360, means there has to be multiple antenna. Each with its own boxes and they need cooling too. The longer it desires to control the drone (also with requirement for it to be high bandwidth which means high frequency or big antenna or both with power) This puts premium on space.
 

marauder2048

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As opposed to the current hefty premium for highspeed directional datalinking?
Your point being ?

I might need to elaborate. What i mean with that is the Raider will have to carry its own phased array datalink antenna or relegate the job to its Attack radar. If it wish to control the drones 360, means there has to be multiple antenna. Each with its own boxes and they need cooling too. The longer it desires to control the drone (also with requirement for it to be high bandwidth which means high frequency or big antenna or both with power) This puts premium on space.
Yeah..that's IFDL or MADL or Super MADL (see the recent contract) or MIDAS.
Absolutely *nothing* of what you claimed above is true wrt to size, weight, power and cooling.
 

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stealthflanker

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Yeah..that's IFDL or MADL or Super MADL (see the recent contract) or MIDAS.
Absolutely *nothing* of what you claimed above is true wrt to size, weight, power and cooling.
Yeah, that was my bad. claiming hefty was my undoing. Apologize.
 

marauder2048

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Yeah..that's IFDL or MADL or Super MADL (see the recent contract) or MIDAS.
Absolutely *nothing* of what you claimed above is true wrt to size, weight, power and cooling.
Yeah, that was my bad. claiming hefty was my undoing. Apologize.
No problem. IIRC, Harris stated that their revenue (I presume gross) for an
entire F-35 shipset including the 6 x MADL antenna/receiver units is $2.2 million.
 

Josh_TN

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I’d think the harder part would be making a disposable drone with a directional datalink, since as pointed out there are fighter sized examples already. But I suppose the drone can be omnidirectional at a certain price point.
 

Sundog

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I never had any doubt the B-21 was going to have A2A capability. One, for self defense. Two, for the long ranges of the pacific. Given it's size, it should have an amazing radar system that can see farther out than fighters. The B-21 will be a super stealthy missileer, as just one of it's missions. So it will be able to patrol the Pacific. We're still going to have fighters, contrary to any piece at the Drive. It's really just a matter of what the mix is going to be and what size the fighters need to be. My guess is the fighters will be sized for basing in Australia, with regard to the Pacific. Australia is far enough away to give a decent warning time regarding an attack and big enough that forces can be repositioned.
 

sublight is back

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Open Source software / architecture has been more than a bit of a disappointment, not to mention that it is a security nightmare at the best of times. And these are far from the best of times.
Oh really? 2.5 billion Android phones would like a word with you. More than half the web servers on the planet would also like a word with you. A bazillion Linux users would like a word with you... Shall I go on?
 

Grey Havoc

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Oh really? 2.5 billion Android phones would like a word with you. More than half the web servers on the planet would also like a word with you. A bazillion Linux users would like a word with you... Shall I go on?
Been a long time since Linux was considered to be automatically secure. Not to mention that recent distributions & developments have been mostly disappointing. Android was never secure, nor particularly robust for that matter.
 

Arjen

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Oh really? 2.5 billion Android phones would like a word with you. More than half the web servers on the planet would also like a word with you. A bazillion Linux users would like a word with you... Shall I go on?
Been a long time since Linux was considered to be automatically secure. Not to mention that recent distributions & developments have been mostly disappointing. Android was never secure, nor particularly robust for that matter.
No operating system is automatically secure, although OpenBSD users might argue it comes close. There is no reason why open source software should be any less secure than proprietary software - on the one hand you get 'many eyes watching' (open source) on the other hand you get 'security by obscurity' (proprietary software). The risk of 'security by obscurity' is that bugs found by malevolent parties stay obscure too, which means proprietary software's bugs can be exploited for longer periods. Which, frankly, scares the willies out of me.
B-21 systems adopting open source OS and/or software?
My employer handles very large amounts of confidential information, linux has been chosen as one of several operating systems to be used on servers in the future - with ever increasing use of linux. Performance and security were big considerations in the adoption of linux.
 

marauder2048

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Oh really? 2.5 billion Android phones would like a word with you. More than half the web servers on the planet would also like a word with you. A bazillion Linux users would like a word with you... Shall I go on?
Been a long time since Linux was considered to be automatically secure. Not to mention that recent distributions & developments have been mostly disappointing. Android was never secure, nor particularly robust for that matter.
Android has gone the SELinux route and I think on DoD applications, Android is going to be a hypervisor'ed OS so
its ultimate security is less of an issue.

B-21 systems adopting open source OS and/or software?
There's nothing in the article about open source OS or software beyond containers. They are mainly talking about the government owning
the IP (source code, toolchain, system integration labs) for any {hard, firm, soft}ware that's under contract.
 
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Arjen

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I couldn't immediately reach the AW-piece, but now I have. The government striving for ownership of source code etc seems eminently sensible to me from the government's point of view. But. Agile development can be a blessing, a curse or anything in between. With the government involved? Hmmm.
 

marauder2048

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But. Agile development can be a blessing, a curse or anything in between. With the government involved? Hmmm.
If you are striving to get early feedback from the operational community I'm not sure there's a better way.
Yes, they can come and sit in your high fidelity simulator but it's not really the same.

But it does shift the burden to the test ranges and flying test assets which have availability constraints.
 

Josh_TN

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There seems to be a wider move inside the USAF to own their designs and software and not be reliant on single venders for open ended maintenance contracts. I'm not sure that is an achievable goal, but I can't blame them for trying. Procurement as it stands is horrible mess.
 

marauder2048

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There seems to be a wider move inside the USAF to own their designs and software and not be reliant on single venders for open ended maintenance contracts. I'm not sure that is an achievable goal, but I can't blame them for trying. Procurement as it stands is horrible mess.
In an alternate universe where maskless lithography were cheap and high throughput, DOD might be in a very different
position vis-a-vis software.

It used to be the case that DOD was a major player in custom semiconductors but as the
mask and foundry costs have skyrocketed (for everyone) it made progressively less sense to expend huge sums
for like 200 ASICs.
 

marauder2048

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Agile development can be a blessing, a curse or anything in between. With the government involved? Hmmm.
If you are striving to get early feedback from the operational community I'm not sure there's a better way.
Best case, yes. FUBAR if you get it wrong.
Why is that the case since this mainly about mission systems? Those don't typically have safety of flight implications.
 

Arjen

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Any military aircraft is pretty much useless without functioning mission systems. Still, not quite as bad as having it fall from the sky because of failing avionics.
 
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