Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider (LRS-B)

rooster

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Thought experiment...

mass = $$$

Loyal wingman for B-21 probably doesn't need the same payload as B-21. Does it make sense to build a baby B-21 with maybe a 5000kg payload? Or do you build something smaller with a payload of ~2500kg?

And since you should be able to send these drones to a point in space, they dont need to leave with the bomber flight. They can be picked up wherever. The point being they won't require high subsonic speed. They can leave earlier or from a different location, be in the air already and assemble at a given location. Perhaps you also have the ability to deploy from odd locations; highways, small islands, even aircraft carriers if it makes sense. Smaller and lighter equals less runway required.

Sure, you could always just send another B-21. If the objective is ordinance to an objective for a price then perhaps you go smaller and slower. Maybe a less expensive engine with a higher TBO - reducing maintenance costs and allowing more time in the air. Perhaps you build it for hose-and-drogue refueling as well. A smaller airframe doesn't need high refueling rates and forward deployed perhaps it gets fuel regularly from C-130's and even MQ-25's.

If it's smaller, slower, and much cheaper, then perhaps you build more. Building more, by itself, creates additional cost reductions. F-35A is down to $80m.

How inexpensive can I build a drone with B-21 type stealth, a payload of 2,500kg and a range of 4,000 miles? MQ-25 is $150m per copy. If NG built it, perhaps half that? (Only partially tongue-in-cheek) But if I built several hundred of only slightly different variants then my costs come way down. Perhaps some have a focus for B-21 missions, others carry munitions for HAVCAP fighters for tankers and ISR platforms. Still others may originate additional munitions for F-35C carrier strikes from further behind the lines, extending the reach and punch of the CSG.

It's a bit fanciful. The one thing I agree with Stalin about is that 'quantity has a quality of its own.' Several hundred stealthy drones constantly ferrying munitions to battle like a conveyor belt would be a very welcome tool in my opinion.
One thing is for sure that removing the cockpit and life support and the human element and large bomb bays, one can make the drone even stealthier and potentially even longer ranged.
 

rooster

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Thought experiment...

mass = $$$

Loyal wingman for B-21 probably doesn't need the same payload as B-21. Does it make sense to build a baby B-21 with maybe a 5000kg payload? Or do you build something smaller with a payload of ~2500kg?

And since you should be able to send these drones to a point in space, they dont need to leave with the bomber flight. They can be picked up wherever. The point being they won't require high subsonic speed. They can leave earlier or from a different location, be in the air already and assemble at a given location. Perhaps you also have the ability to deploy from odd locations; highways, small islands, even aircraft carriers if it makes sense. Smaller and lighter equals less runway required.

Sure, you could always just send another B-21. If the objective is ordinance to an objective for a price then perhaps you go smaller and slower. Maybe a less expensive engine with a higher TBO - reducing maintenance costs and allowing more time in the air. Perhaps you build it for hose-and-drogue refueling as well. A smaller airframe doesn't need high refueling rates and forward deployed perhaps it gets fuel regularly from C-130's and even MQ-25's.

If it's smaller, slower, and much cheaper, then perhaps you build more. Building more, by itself, creates additional cost reductions. F-35A is down to $80m.

How inexpensive can I build a drone with B-21 type stealth, a payload of 2,500kg and a range of 4,000 miles? MQ-25 is $150m per copy. If NG built it, perhaps half that? (Only partially tongue-in-cheek) But if I built several hundred of only slightly different variants then my costs come way down. Perhaps some have a focus for B-21 missions, others carry munitions for HAVCAP fighters for tankers and ISR platforms. Still others may originate additional munitions for F-35C carrier strikes from further behind the lines, extending the reach and punch of the CSG.

It's a bit fanciful. The one thing I agree with Stalin about is that 'quantity has a quality of its own.' Several hundred stealthy drones constantly ferrying munitions to battle like a conveyor belt would be a very welcome tool in my opinion.
Seems like it would also make a great companion for NGAD, acting as a missile truck. Perhaps take it a step further and develop a base platform that can fill a few niche uses; tanker, awacs etc.
It won't be fast enough for a ngad companion. Its going to be subsonic wing
 

NeilChapman

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It's a bit fanciful. The one thing I agree with Stalin about is that 'quantity has a quality of its own.' Several hundred stealthy drones constantly ferrying munitions to battle like a conveyor belt would be a very welcome tool in my opinion.
Seems like it would also make a great companion for NGAD, acting as a missile truck. Perhaps take it a step further and develop a base platform that can fill a few niche uses; tanker, awacs etc.
It won't be fast enough for a ngad companion. Its going to be subsonic wing

If the drones can take off earlier and pre-position then they don't need to be fast, just 'vewy, vewy' stealthy. Also, AIM-250 is to run mach 5 with a +100 mile range. The drone can launch from further to the rear and NGAD can guide it in.

Hypothetically...
 

rooster

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Supersonic aircraft don't need to go supersonic and usually don't most of the time.
You mean like legacy fighters which are obsolete? So you're saying NGAD is going to be no faster cruising the a super bug or mud hen? Maybe the USAF would like you to share that with them.

Just because they fouled up the F-35 and made it too fat to spend any significant time over mach 1 dont superimpose that mistake into NGAD.
 
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Forest Green

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You mean like legacy fighters which are obsolete? So you're saying NGAD is going to be no faster cruising the a super bug or mud hen? Maybe the USAF would like you to share that with them.

Just because they fouled up the F-35 and made it too fat to spend any significant time over mach 1 dont superimpose that mistake into NGAD.
I'm saying that being supersonic doesn't mean it can't accompany a subsonic bomber.
 

X-39

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Old News, but i remembered a user from The Drive ponting out the differences between B-2 & B- 21's BoP like cockpit alignment:
ea72e6bfe6a4637a77dcfbe282d24cdc


 

X-39

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A Closer Look At Northrop Grumman's B-21​

March 24, 2022

[...]The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has confirmed a few details regarding the technical performance and characteristics. Inferences can be made from official Northrop Grumman and service supplied renderings as well as the aircraft’s program history.


Click on the blue boxes below to get some clues to the overall size and features of the bomber.

The B-21 is expected to have improved LO performance over the B-2, the B-21 has been described as “extremely low observable” compared to the F-22 and F-35’s “very low observable”.
ELO... in other words, a synonym for the crazy low -70dbsm RCS claim.
 

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Flyaway

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I would not like to be one of those aircraft spotters at Plant 42, the security surrounding Plant 42 must be incredibly tight right now considering the B-21 is nearing it's first flight.
Why on Earth did that guy think he’d find a petrol station behind a triple layered barbed wire fence for heaves sake!!!
 

mkellytx

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I would not like to be one of those aircraft spotters at Plant 42, the security surrounding Plant 42 must be incredibly tight right now considering the B-21 is nearing it's first flight.
Why on Earth did that guy think he’d find a petrol station behind a triple layered barbed wire fence for heaves sake!!!
Now you need to keep in mind that Mr. Smith's call sign when I used to fly with him was "Jester", but it is the Antelope Valley so the guy may really not have known...
 

FighterJock

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First flight in 2023? Sloppy reporting or did I miss something?

If it's sloppy reporting, don't give them the benefit by clicking on the link.



I think that it is going to be a lot sooner than 2023 NeilChapman, judging how things are going with the B-21 at present. I just do not know how soon.
 

flateric

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NeilChapman

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I think that it is going to be a lot sooner than 2023 NeilChapman, judging how things are going with the B-21 at present. I just do not know how soon.
It definitely felt that way. I heard someone mention May a short while back. Then this silly article stating 2023. I figured you guys would know the latest available information.

Thanks
 

Josh_TN

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Nobody is sure; there are no official dates. But everyone in know has released statements to the effect that program is advancing on schedule and that the EMD aircraft are going to be very close to full production models. Id put money on us seeing a first flight this year.
 

Bhurki

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Good news that NG has been building new hangers at Plant 42, looks like they are getting ready for full scale production whenever the order comes
Long term procurement for subsystems is already on, consodering the significant growth in B-21 program budget.
 

Cordy

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Nobody is sure; there are no official dates. But everyone in know has released statements to the effect that program is advancing on schedule and that the EMD aircraft are going to be very close to full production models. Id put money on us seeing a first flight this year.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks speaking during an April 12 Defense Writers Group breakfast seems to confirm the rollout of the B-21, predicted for the April/May timeframe, will happen on schedule.

 

FighterJock

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Nobody is sure; there are no official dates. But everyone in know has released statements to the effect that program is advancing on schedule and that the EMD aircraft are going to be very close to full production models. Id put money on us seeing a first flight this year.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks speaking during an April 12 Defense Writers Group breakfast seems to confirm the rollout of the B-21, predicted for the April/May timeframe, will happen on schedule.


So the B-21 is going to be rolled out sometime during April or May, I personally cannot wait. :cool:
 

Flyaway

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Nobody is sure; there are no official dates. But everyone in know has released statements to the effect that program is advancing on schedule and that the EMD aircraft are going to be very close to full production models. Id put money on us seeing a first flight this year.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks speaking during an April 12 Defense Writers Group breakfast seems to confirm the rollout of the B-21, predicted for the April/May timeframe, will happen on schedule.

Interesting timing….
 

Josh_TN

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Interesting timing….
In what way? It was pretty much always scheduled to roll out in 2022, though at one point I think there was a rumor of a late 2021 roll out. I suspect it will happen without a lot of fanfare given the current conflict.
 

TomS

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Interesting timing….

The quote is

Hicks was asked where her next trip will be to, and she said “back to California, … very soon,”

It's so weird that they seem to be assuming the only reason she might have for going to California is the B-21 rollout. It's not like there aren't literally dozens of things that might take the Deputy Secretary of Defense there.

For example, she was there just a week earlier to visit LA Air Force Base, NASA, and CalTech.

 

NeilChapman

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Interesting timing….

The quote is

Hicks was asked where her next trip will be to, and she said “back to California, … very soon,”

It's so weird that they seem to be assuming the only reason she might have for going to California is the B-21 rollout. It's not like there aren't literally dozens of things that might take the Deputy Secretary of Defense there.
Oh...I could see someone giving an indication of intent; a nod, a look, a gesture. I concede it very well may have been interpreted incorrectly but we humans frequently use body language.
 

Dagger

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Nobody is sure; there are no official dates. But everyone in know has released statements to the effect that program is advancing on schedule and that the EMD aircraft are going to be very close to full production models. Id put money on us seeing a first flight this year.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks speaking during an April 12 Defense Writers Group breakfast seems to confirm the rollout of the B-21, predicted for the April/May timeframe, will happen on schedule.

A roll-out in April or May does not necessarily mean that the project is on schedule. They can roll out an airframe without engines or fuel tanks or electronics or anything else inside that is not visible from the outside. As long as it looks good and has wheels it will do. It's just a show for the media.

First real flight could very well be in 2023. But who knows, maybe they succeed to get it into the air on 31 December for a short hop just for show, with still a lot of things missing inside, so that they can claim that it flew in 2022. A bit like the Tu-144 ("Concordski") that first flew on 31 December 1968.

Don't believe all the propaganda from the USAF, the US DoD and the manufacturer. They usually will not admit delays or problems until they really can't deny it any longer.
 

rooster

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Nobody is sure; there are no official dates. But everyone in know has released statements to the effect that program is advancing on schedule and that the EMD aircraft are going to be very close to full production models. Id put money on us seeing a first flight this year.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks speaking during an April 12 Defense Writers Group breakfast seems to confirm the rollout of the B-21, predicted for the April/May timeframe, will happen on schedule.

A roll-out in April or May does not necessarily mean that the project is on schedule. They can roll out an airframe without engines or fuel tanks or electronics or anything else inside that is not visible from the outside. As long as it looks good and has wheels it will do. It's just a show for the media.

First real flight could very well be in 2023. But who knows, maybe they succeed to get it into the air on 31 December for a short hop just for show, with still a lot of things missing inside, so that they can claim that it flew in 2022. A bit like the Tu-144 ("Concordski") that first flew on 31 December 1968.

Don't believe all the propaganda from the USAF, the US DoD and the manufacturer. They usually will not admit delays or problems until they really can't deny it any longer.
This isn't the ussr parading plywood icbms for a parade.
 

Hansblix

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I'm curious if there has been anything alluding to advanced tech that will be incorporated in this. There is seemingly a lot of work into meta materials and composites. Even optically. There is a ton of work being done in grey spaces in “academics”.

I think it’s interesting that OXCART incorporated plasma generation to reduce RCS almost from day one with cesium additive and Project KEMPSTER which was an electron beam generator that I’m not sure was implemented. This was in the 60s. 60 years ago.

With the B2. It’s been long rumored that there are 5+ areas or elements that are still unknown to the public.

This seems to be a low cost replacement for an aging and expensive fleet built around lower cost to maintain.

I feel like I’m either missing the hype on this as it’s just a fleet aircraft essentially. Less about innovation.

Or is my mind going to be blown at some point with pocket aces on this aircraft.
 
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