Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider (LRS-B)

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,249
Reaction score
1,682
Intake lips are V-shaped with internal lips being also planform aligned and having smooth transition to central fuselage behind/above side windows (you can see break on starboard inlet on 2016 rendering). On 2020 renderings internal lips look having 'beefy' edges unlike sharp outer ones. Intakes and inlet ducts are the most complicated shape on Raider.
 

GreenBullet

Climbing out to the West
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
I've seen a lot of speculation about the windows, could it simply be that viewed from front/below, the window follows the shadow of the leading edge? If the window is less subdued in RCS than the surrounding material, it may be advantageous to keep it behind the wing when viewed from the perspective of ground radar systems downrange or tangential to the front of the aircraft. Knowing that the airplane is shaped to fly very high, this may even be protective against airborne emitters.

Keeping in mind that signature reduction is as much about routes and aspect as it is a fundamental property of a lower observable airplane.
 

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
4,543
Reaction score
3,967
It might even just be that an eyelid was mentioned and the artist made for it as best as he/she could.
Such system won't surprise anyone given the proliferation of blinding laser around deployment airfields today.
This oblique geometry would in effect protect each pilots while climbing out of an airfield and provide enough side vision to give pilots some references. The blinded section would be open afterward clearing the opaque triangle on the picture b/w the side and front window.
 
Last edited:

Rhinocrates

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 26, 2006
Messages
613
Reaction score
1,099
For comparison, the cockpit of a Vulcan.
 

Attachments

  • Avro_Vulcan_JF_Cockpit_6.thumb.jpg.c1021ecfc418b23eee6a8ca96fb74471.jpg
    Avro_Vulcan_JF_Cockpit_6.thumb.jpg.c1021ecfc418b23eee6a8ca96fb74471.jpg
    65.4 KB · Views: 73
  • Avro_Vulcan_JF_Cockpit_16.thumb.jpg.cc01fa602599b86886243ba29389c275.jpg
    Avro_Vulcan_JF_Cockpit_16.thumb.jpg.cc01fa602599b86886243ba29389c275.jpg
    81 KB · Views: 72
Last edited:

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
4,543
Reaction score
3,967
IMOHO banking only on two models that both will have to pass through their respective development phases is way too risky: aside of the novel B-21, the re-engining B-52 program is also not without risks. There is still a possibility that the airframe won't age on the same stable manner, thus could eventually go through a lot of new complications that would plague its modernisation for long (or even force an early retirement).
 

Josh_TN

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,044
Reaction score
699
It makes perfect sense to retire one of your three existing bomber types as the new platform comes online. It appears the B-1 fleet would be first, as the fleet is worn out and hard to maintain already. There's a lot of savings to be had by retiring an entire class of aircraft.

As for the B-52 re-engine program, the new engines are basically one for one in terms of numbers and thrust. I'd think that was a very low risk program. Previous plans to replace the engines one for two were far more risky.
 

sferrin

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
14,473
Reaction score
3,358
It makes perfect sense to retire one of your three existing bomber types as the new platform comes online. It appears the B-1 fleet would be first, as the fleet is worn out and hard to maintain already. There's a lot of savings to be had by retiring an entire class of aircraft.

And a lot of capability to be lost. The B-1B is the LAST of the three I'd want to retire, especially now that they're (supposedly) reactivating external hard points. If the B-21 is duplicating B-2 capability then retire the B-2. Both the B-1B and B-52 have capabilities the B-21 or B-2 do not.
 

Josh_TN

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,044
Reaction score
699
It makes perfect sense to retire one of your three existing bomber types as the new platform comes online. It appears the B-1 fleet would be first, as the fleet is worn out and hard to maintain already. There's a lot of savings to be had by retiring an entire class of aircraft.

And a lot of capability to be lost. The B-1B is the LAST of the three I'd want to retire, especially now that they're (supposedly) reactivating external hard points. If the B-21 is duplicating B-2 capability then retire the B-2. Both the B-1B and B-52 have capabilities the B-21 or B-2 do not.

I'm merely stating what appears to be USAF's decision. It appears the B-1 will be retired first due to maintenance issues, even though the B-2 fleet is smaller and is a closer match to the B-21 in capability. That said, I don't know what the B-1 brings to the table other than greater payload. It is barely supersonic at high altitude and I've seen it posted before that the current racks/bays aren't cleared for supersonic carriage anyway. There are also a lot of turbulence/separation issues with smaller weapons in the back bay(s).

The USAF teased the idea of updated the B-1s to use hard points but I personally never though they'd ever spend the money to do so, particularly when they had to retire over a dozen of the worst examples to keep the rest of the fleet flying.
 

NeilChapman

Interested 3rd party
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
987
Reaction score
95
It makes perfect sense to retire one of your three existing bomber types as the new platform comes online. It appears the B-1 fleet would be first, as the fleet is worn out and hard to maintain already. There's a lot of savings to be had by retiring an entire class of aircraft.

And a lot of capability to be lost. The B-1B is the LAST of the three I'd want to retire, especially now that they're (supposedly) reactivating external hard points. If the B-21 is duplicating B-2 capability then retire the B-2. Both the B-1B and B-52 have capabilities the B-21 or B-2 do not.

I'm merely stating what appears to be USAF's decision. It appears the B-1 will be retired first due to maintenance issues, even though the B-2 fleet is smaller and is a closer match to the B-21 in capability. That said, I don't know what the B-1 brings to the table other than greater payload. It is barely supersonic at high altitude and I've seen it posted before that the current racks/bays aren't cleared for supersonic carriage anyway. There are also a lot of turbulence/separation issues with smaller weapons in the back bay(s).

The USAF teased the idea of updated the B-1s to use hard points but I personally never though they'd ever spend the money to do so, particularly when they had to retire over a dozen of the worst examples to keep the rest of the fleet flying.
Knowing how fickle government is, I'm sure it's difficult to give up any capability or capacity. I expect DoD is feeling the same way. Yet, Congress must be told something.

Quite frankly, I am most interested in seeing news of what is being planned to increase Raider production rates. It seems that new tools will streamline testing and allow this plane to get to IOC far more quickly than we've seen in the past. I'd like to hear how a squadron per year might be achieved.
 

rooster

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
306
Reaction score
191
It makes perfect sense to retire one of your three existing bomber types as the new platform comes online. It appears the B-1 fleet would be first, as the fleet is worn out and hard to maintain already. There's a lot of savings to be had by retiring an entire class of aircraft.

And a lot of capability to be lost. The B-1B is the LAST of the three I'd want to retire, especially now that they're (supposedly) reactivating external hard points. If the B-21 is duplicating B-2 capability then retire the B-2. Both the B-1B and B-52 have capabilities the B-21 or B-2 do not.
The bones are worn out. They weren't meant to be in service this long. The rockwell engineers freaked out in the 80s when the usaf was doing touch and goes with them because of the wear and tear on the metal. It was afterall a high altitude aircraft that the Regan administration repurposed into a low altitude interim bomber because it was the fastest and cheapest way to add capability to the usaf for the 80s buildup to bankrupt Russia. A lot of that 80s buildup was done in haste and almost smoke and mirrors with pulling ships out of mothball just to add numbers to the navy and rushing the peacekeeper into service with parts from radioshack. The bones were meant to spend their lives sitting on alert, not serving as a replacement for the aardvark and fighting in decades long wars. Maybe if they had developed a b1c in the 90s purpose built for how they actually were going to use them conventionally it might make sense to keep it around. The readiness rate is very low for the 50 or so still in service. I never understood not putting it back into production after congress gutted the b2 program... They needed something and went with nothing.
 
Last edited:

mkellytx

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
244
Reaction score
258
And a lot of capability to be lost. The B-1B is the LAST of the three I'd want to retire, especially now that they're (supposedly) reactivating external hard points. If the B-21 is duplicating B-2 capability then retire the B-2. Both the B-1B and B-52 have capabilities the B-21 or B-2 do not.
Why the attachment to the B-1? Just what exactly is lost if the 34th BS & 37th BS convert from 12 PAA B-1's to 12-16 PAA B-21's, followed by the 9th BS & 28th BS swapping their 12 for 12-16? What exactly is better with a bomber fleet of 20 B-21's, 45 B-1's & 76 B-52's versus 20 B-2's, 45 B-21's & 76 B-52's? What capability does the latter lack that is so detrimental?
 

sferrin

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
14,473
Reaction score
3,358
And a lot of capability to be lost. The B-1B is the LAST of the three I'd want to retire, especially now that they're (supposedly) reactivating external hard points. If the B-21 is duplicating B-2 capability then retire the B-2. Both the B-1B and B-52 have capabilities the B-21 or B-2 do not.
Why the attachment to the B-1? Just what exactly is lost if the 34th BS & 37th BS convert from 12 PAA B-1's to 12-16 PAA B-21's, followed by the 9th BS & 28th BS swapping their 12 for 12-16? What exactly is better with a bomber fleet of 20 B-21's, 45 B-1's & 76 B-52's versus 20 B-2's, 45 B-21's & 76 B-52's? What capability does the latter lack that is so detrimental?
There's nothing guaranteeing it'll even be a one-for-one replacement. If the past is any indicator it will almost certainly be less. And how many B-21s does it take to equal the payload of one B-1B? They're talking about reactivating the external hardpoints on the B-1B (even if they don't the potential is still there). Will that option be available on the B-21? (That's a rhetorical question. Of course it won't be.) Will the B-21 be able to perform ALL of the missions currently performed by the B-1B?
 

mkellytx

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
244
Reaction score
258
There's nothing guaranteeing it'll even be a one-for-one replacement. If the past is any indicator it will almost certainly be less.

There never is, however, unlike the B-2 program the B-21 appears to be on cost and on (COVID) schedule. Very much unlike the B-2 the SECAF upped the number of B-21's that should be procured from 100 to 150+. Continue to be a specific if you wish, the trend here is in the favorable direction.

And how many B-21s does it take to equal the payload of one B-1B? They're talking about reactivating the external hardpoints on the B-1B (even if they don't the potential is still there). Will that option be available on the B-21? (That's a rhetorical question. Of course it won't be.)

External, other than TGP is way overblown, unless of course you want an aircraft that can't fly higher than 20,000 ft. with any meaningful fuel+bomb load, then again the external load is rather mute since the airframe is sunsetting and not likely to spend the money to

Will the B-21 be able to perform ALL of the missions currently performed by the B-1B?

Since useless dirt seems to be over the proper question is the converse, will the B-1 be able to perform all of the missions performed by the B-21. Honestly, low risk, a BUFF with a TGP can do everything a Bone can except fly supersonic. High risk, very little the B-21 can do can the B-1 do...
 

bennyp

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Messages
4
Reaction score
34
How significant is the B-1's M1.25 capability in reality?
 

kaiserd

I really should change my personal text
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2013
Messages
1,170
Reaction score
572
How significant is the B-1's M1.25 capability in reality?
Not very. Though even if not really using supersonic capability the B-1B is still that much faster than a B-52 which had and has it uses in some scenarios (e.g. a loitering bomber responding to a specific request for close air support/ target of opportunity). However this advantage is limited and probably more than balanced out by other factors even just for those scenarios (e.g. availability rate impacting if there is a loitering bomber there at all that is able to respond to such a request, etc.).
 

Hydroman

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
68
Reaction score
127
To my knowledge and from working on the B-2 program, the aircraft does not fly missions at low altitude to my knowledge, I left the program in 1997. We flight tested low altitude, terrain following but the aircraft is too slow for the low altitude mission. Tornado, F-111, B-1, all fast-movers but the B-2, not so much. However, the B-2 is quiet at low altitude when at stable speed and at a stable throttle condition. The high to medium altitude mission for the B-21 is just fine.
 

mkellytx

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
244
Reaction score
258
How significant is the B-1's M1.25 capability in reality?
Usually, not much. However, there were some niche situations where it came in handy, namely in the early stages of OEF/OIF. Before in country fighter bases were established, the Bones could fly from Thumrait or the Al Udeid into Afghanistan or Iraq without refueling, establish the orbit and get anywhere in the country within a specific response time. That saved the Bones from retirement in 2004, with peer competition and now that we're out of both it's less important.
 

thefrecklepuny

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Jan 19, 2008
Messages
82
Reaction score
20
It makes perfect sense to retire one of your three existing bomber types as the new platform comes online. It appears the B-1 fleet would be first, as the fleet is worn out and hard to maintain already. There's a lot of savings to be had by retiring an entire class of aircraft.

And a lot of capability to be lost. The B-1B is the LAST of the three I'd want to retire, especially now that they're (supposedly) reactivating external hard points. If the B-21 is duplicating B-2 capability then retire the B-2. Both the B-1B and B-52 have capabilities the B-21 or B-2 do not.
The bones are worn out. They weren't meant to be in service this long. The rockwell engineers freaked out in the 80s when the usaf was doing touch and goes with them because of the wear and tear on the metal. It was afterall a high altitude aircraft that the Regan administration repurposed into a low altitude interim bomber because it was the fastest and cheapest way to add capability to the usaf for the 80s buildup to bankrupt Russia. A lot of that 80s buildup was done in haste and almost smoke and mirrors with pulling ships out of mothball just to add numbers to the navy and rushing the peacekeeper into service with parts from radioshack. The bones were meant to spend their lives sitting on alert, not serving as a replacement for the aardvark and fighting in decades long wars. Maybe if they had developed a b1c in the 90s purpose built for how they actually were going to use them conventionally it might make sense to keep it around. The readiness rate is very low for the 50 or so still in service. I never understood not putting it back into production after congress gutted the b2 program... They needed something and went with nothing.
I read some time ago that Rockwell proposed 48 stealthier B-1C's as a cheaper alternative to the B-2.
 

rooster

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
306
Reaction score
191
It makes perfect sense to retire one of your three existing bomber types as the new platform comes online. It appears the B-1 fleet would be first, as the fleet is worn out and hard to maintain already. There's a lot of savings to be had by retiring an entire class of aircraft.

And a lot of capability to be lost. The B-1B is the LAST of the three I'd want to retire, especially now that they're (supposedly) reactivating external hard points. If the B-21 is duplicating B-2 capability then retire the B-2. Both the B-1B and B-52 have capabilities the B-21 or B-2 do not.
The bones are worn out. They weren't meant to be in service this long. The rockwell engineers freaked out in the 80s when the usaf was doing touch and goes with them because of the wear and tear on the metal. It was afterall a high altitude aircraft that the Regan administration repurposed into a low altitude interim bomber because it was the fastest and cheapest way to add capability to the usaf for the 80s buildup to bankrupt Russia. A lot of that 80s buildup was done in haste and almost smoke and mirrors with pulling ships out of mothball just to add numbers to the navy and rushing the peacekeeper into service with parts from radioshack. The bones were meant to spend their lives sitting on alert, not serving as a replacement for the aardvark and fighting in decades long wars. Maybe if they had developed a b1c in the 90s purpose built for how they actually were going to use them conventionally it might make sense to keep it around. The readiness rate is very low for the 50 or so still in service. I never understood not putting it back into production after congress gutted the b2 program... They needed something and went with nothing.
I read some time ago that Rockwell proposed 48 stealthier B-1C's as a cheaper alternative to the B-2.
I heard something about an advanced b1 proposal in the late 80s from a usaf retired brig gen I knew about 20 years ago but by then usaf had all its chips on an all stealth air force come high or hell water.... We see how that turned out.
 

NeilChapman

Interested 3rd party
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
987
Reaction score
95
How significant is the B-1's M1.25 capability in reality?
I believe Ive read that they typically run subsonic. It would be interesting to know the typical cruise speed difference between the two.

The 52s already have a significant range/loiter advantage and with new engines that will only increase will it not? 20-30%

Isn't that award due soon?
 

mkellytx

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
244
Reaction score
258
I believe Ive read that they typically run subsonic. It would be interesting to know the typical cruise speed difference between the two.

Pretty much, wing sweep determines a lot, anything below 25 degrees is limited to 0.8 M, 45-55 degrees 1.0 M. It's highly thrust/weight/sweep dependent on if you want to make a level turn above 20 kft. It's been quite a while since I've looked at the performance sup, so don't remember the optimums. The bay doors are limited to 0.94 M though.

The 52s already have a significant range/loiter advantage and with new engines that will only increase will it not? 20-30%

RFP wants 30% efficiency, 40% range/loiter.

Isn't that award due soon?

Bids were due last year so hopefully by the end of the fiscal year.
 

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,249
Reaction score
1,682

Josh_TN

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,044
Reaction score
699
It seems very likely that B-21, PAK-DA, and H-20 all adopt the same geometry of the original B-2 before the 'saw tooth' change to the design (this was driven by USAF requirements to allow for low altitude penetration in case stealth was compromised). That shape presents the least number of vulnerable angles (four) and works well for bomber sizes. The 'cranked kite' shape is apparently more flexible to scale to smaller aircraft sizes, at the cost of introducing additional angles of concern.
 

Dreamfighter

'Senior Something'
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
215
Reaction score
65
Question...
When a certain NASA 2016 SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Phase I solicitation literally mentions:

"NL-DFS will be marketed towards flight test applications on a wide class of aerospace vehicles such as: (a) USAF's F-22 and F-35 aircrafts at Edwards AFB; (b) UASF's long range supersonic strike bomber as well as stealth UAV/UCAV; (c) DARPA's advanced design concept; (d) Boeing 787; and (e) future executive jet designs of Cessna, Raytheon, etc. The proposed NL-DFS can also be applied to validate health management strategies specifically designed for aircraft designs with prominent aeroelastic characteristics."


Would the used term "long range supersonic strike bomber" in that solicitation then;
a) just be wrong, and it should have been 'long range strike bomber' ?
b) refer to the B-1B Lancer ?
c) refer to a bomber from the NGB program, preceding LRS-B (B-21)?
d) refer to some LRSA or LRS-A bomber program, as mentioned a few times in the 'US Next generation bomber studies'-thread ?
e) possibly refer to the LRS-B (B-21) ?!
f) refer to a future bomber for after LRS-B (B-21) ?


Edit: link added
 
Last edited:

Grey Havoc

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
16,722
Reaction score
6,285
d) refer to some LRSA or LRS-A bomber program, as mentioned a few times in the 'US Next generation bomber studies'-thread ?
Indeed, the B-21 was to be a supersonic bomber, back before the rather ill-advised decision to switch to a sub-sonic design. At least one testbed was even reportedly flown by NG.
 

Dreamfighter

'Senior Something'
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
215
Reaction score
65
d) refer to some LRSA or LRS-A bomber program, as mentioned a few times in the 'US Next generation bomber studies'-thread ?
Indeed, the B-21 was to be a supersonic bomber, back before the rather ill-advised decision to switch to a sub-sonic design. At least one testbed was even reportedly flown by NG.

Thanks, I was living with the idea that any supersonic requirement was dropped before contract-award to NG in fall 2015, not after.
Interesting to know that there may be a side-tracked/cancelled supersonic version of B-21 (not NGB) around.
 

Rhinocrates

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 26, 2006
Messages
613
Reaction score
1,099
Indeed, the B-21 was to be a supersonic bomber, back before the rather ill-advised decision to switch to a sub-sonic design.
Was it?
Scraping the bottom of the barrel of my memory, an early plan was to have an 'interim' bomber for 2018, followed by a '2035' bomber with supercruise, for which we've seen concepts from Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. However, both were cancelled and the B-21 survives, roughly based on the 2018 interim design requirement.
 

Grey Havoc

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
16,722
Reaction score
6,285
Yes. We have still yet to see the design in the flesh, but the indications to date are troubling. (And that is leaving aside the debate whether a non-expendable small stealthy subsonic bomber is at all viable in the present day.) Smaller bomb load (ironic in light of the original 'large and flexible payload bay' requirement), but apparently with a lesser unrefueled range than, the B-2 it is supposed to replace (even more ironic). Classifying it as a nuclear capable medium bomber would be rather stretching things, especially given that its nuclear qualification is now once again supposed to only take place at least two years after it finally reaches IOC.

One of the justifications for the switch to a subsonic design was that, with the simultaneous addition of the optionally manned required requirement (it had been previously studied as part of the NGB but the proponents for such an option had been having difficulty making a case for it to be added, especially with ongoing problems in the area of UAVs) to the program, it would be much easier and cheaper to expend an unmanned subsonic bomber than a unmanned supersonic one. Another string to this was that supposedly the B-21's refueled range would be greatly increased in unmanned mode compared to manned operations. And in cases where that was not enough, well, the USAF was confident that its large network of available airbases and its healthy (cue loud laughter) tanker fleet would, together with the much larger numbers of B-21 bombers they would now be able to buy, would be easily able to cover any contingency. However, even before Obama had left office, the optionally manned capability had been shelved (officially 'delayed' for budgetary reasons, which one could consider a darkly amusing note). Added to this the various policy, procurement, and geopolitical disasters of the day along with those that have followed in the time since, and all those airily parroted justifications have either vaporised in the cold daylight of reality, or else look shakier than a drunk trapeze artist on the high wire act without a safety net.

In the present day it now seems rather unlikely that the B-21 fleet will ever have anywhere near the numbers and deployment locations required, in the light of the type's dire lack of speed, range, and payload, to be able to respond to a sudden overseas emergency in anything resembling a reasonable timeframe. And that is before we get to things like mission systems, available payload & associated delivery options. All of course assuming that the B-21 is not abruptly cancelled in the near future.

And all that is not even touching on fiascoes like the abortive planned switch to biofuel (technically the biofuel program wasn't a B-21 specific requirement).
 

shin_getter

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
522
Reaction score
561
If the US could not get B-21 class aircraft into the conflict, it may very well be a unwinnerable conflict (or at least, not one that could be won without wwii tier mobilization) to begin with. To deal with the massive tactical disadvantage this situation suggests with technology is not unlike trying to build a fleet of amerikabomber to win the war.
 
Top