Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider (LRS-B)

TomcatViP

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The revolutionary things that might be identifiable with a direct sighting (or the absence of!) would be:
- distributed exhaust
- fluidic actuators (or the absence of ailerons since it is already presumed that this will be a flying wing)
- visual stealth
 

bobbymike

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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.
The B-2 was built 30+ years ago there has been billion upon billions spend in black budget R&D some of which will end up in the B-21, you’d think. It appears the “smooth” going towards first flight confirms some money well spent?
 

rooster

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The revolutionary things that might be identifiable with a direct sighting (or the absence of!) would be:
- distributed exhaust
- fluidic actuators (or the absence of ailerons since it is already presumed that this will be a flying wing)
- visual stealth
Visual stealth already can baked into the paint and not at all be visible.
 

TomS

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They say "accelerated" I hear "concurrency". Hope it works out OK but it's the sort of thing that makes me nervous.
 

sferrin

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They say "accelerated" I hear "concurrency". Hope it works out OK but it's the sort of thing that makes me nervous.
The public has been conditioned to associate "concurrency" with "bad". It's a tool, nothing more. If not using it will not get you what you need in time then you use it. The lesser of two evils.
 

Forest Green

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They say "accelerated" I hear "concurrency". Hope it works out OK but it's the sort of thing that makes me nervous.
It is very weird to here such things, because they were always talking about left-shift when I was studying at university 20+ years ago, which meant ironing everything out before production, so you don't get nasty surprises later on.
 

sferrin

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They say "accelerated" I hear "concurrency". Hope it works out OK but it's the sort of thing that makes me nervous.
It is very weird to here such things, because they were always talking about left-shift when I was studying at university 20+ years ago, which meant ironing everything out before production, so you don't get nasty surprises later on.
The difference between theory and practice.
 

NeilChapman

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They say "accelerated" I hear "concurrency". Hope it works out OK but it's the sort of thing that makes me nervous.
It is very weird to here such things, because they were always talking about left-shift when I was studying at university 20+ years ago, which meant ironing everything out before production, so you don't get nasty surprises later on.
The difference between theory and practice.
Recall, it's been reported that EMD and LRIP are on production tooling.

B-21 was (reportedly) digitally designed. There is (again, reportedly) relatively low risk tech involved. If the design and integration are good, the airframes are good.

FY25-26 production funds are for long lead time materials, correct? They won't have room on the line by then, right?
 

kaiserd

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I think it’s more about keeping options open in relation to the eventually optimal mix between the B-21 and its unmanned compliments/ partial substitutes.

I’m sure the US airforce doesn’t want to be held to an arbitrary higher number by a congress (or be pressured to buy a non optimal mix) due to politicians and other pressure groups being potentially more interested in totems to shape perceptions rather than in the actual best solutions.
Such mood music from does suggest the US airforce’s interest and confidence in these unmanned compliments/ partial substitutes is growing.
 

FighterJock

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I knew I shouldn’t have gotten excited when they talked about building 200 :(

So will the USAF get 100 or 150 B-21s? I thought that 200 bombers was asking too much, perhaps the USAF just doesn't have the funds for them at present. :(
 

Josh_TN

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I knew I shouldn’t have gotten excited when they talked about building 200 :(

So will the USAF get 100 or 150 B-21s? I thought that 200 bombers was asking too much, perhaps the USAF just doesn't have the funds for them at present. :(
To even build a hundred airframes, the line will have to run way past 2030 if they are only minting a dozen or so a year. There's a lot of room for more orders if the strategic situation demands it.
 

FighterJock

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There's a lot of room for more orders if the strategic situation demands it.

I hope that is true Josh_TN, I am thinking of the future reveals of the Xian H-20 and the Tupolev PAK-DA, I wish that the USAF looks at both future bombers and place further orders for the B-21 when the need arises.
 

Bhurki

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There's a lot of room for more orders if the strategic situation demands it.

I hope that is true Josh_TN, I am thinking of the future reveals of the Xian H-20 and the Tupolev PAK-DA, I wish that the USAF looks at both future bombers and place further orders for the B-21 when the need arises.
I think its safe to assume PAK-DA won't be here anytime soon. Russians will have enough problems as it is trying to backfill the lost stuff from the current conflict and mature their ongoing programs like Su-57/75.

The H-20 fleet, on the other hand, will probably be limited only by bases from which it can fly, so the strategic calculation about whether to match or 1 up their fleet would need to actively consider how far can the chinese go to secure bases in the region.
 

kaiserd

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I appreciate expansion of Chinese and/ or Russian nuclear forces would see equivalent US force numbers being looked at again.
But in terms of a numbers game it’s never going to be they have X number of bombers so we’re going to buy the same X number of B-21s; it’s far more complicated than that.
 

In_A_Dream

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I appreciate expansion of Chinese and/ or Russian nuclear forces would see equivalent US force numbers being looked at again.
But in terms of a numbers game it’s never going to be they have X number of bombers so we’re going to buy the same X number of B-21s; it’s far more complicated than that.

What's concerning is that China has better manufacturing infrastructure and capability to turn things around faster and at higher quantities if they wanted to. The United States is missing that luxury at the moment (something continually highlighted by think tanks).
 

Tool_Shed_Toker

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I appreciate expansion of Chinese and/ or Russian nuclear forces would see equivalent US force numbers being looked at again.
But in terms of a numbers game it’s never going to be they have X number of bombers so we’re going to buy the same X number of B-21s; it’s far more complicated than that.

What's concerning is that China has better manufacturing infrastructure and capability to turn things around faster and at higher quantities if they wanted to. The United States is missing that luxury at the moment (something continually highlighted by think tanks).
Quantity sure, Quality and complexity is another question. Quantity is a quality in itself though.
 

kaiserd

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I appreciate expansion of Chinese and/ or Russian nuclear forces would see equivalent US force numbers being looked at again.
But in terms of a numbers game it’s never going to be they have X number of bombers so we’re going to buy the same X number of B-21s; it’s far more complicated than that.

What's concerning is that China has better manufacturing infrastructure and capability to turn things around faster and at higher quantities if they wanted to. The United States is missing that luxury at the moment (something continually highlighted by think tanks).
Do they really?
I would say it very much varies by the sector.
For example how many F-35s versus J-20s currently produced per year, how many B-21s versus what ever new Chinese bomber emerges per year, etc?
This is not to minimise the genuine challenge and threat the emergence of China as a true military superpower represents.
But generalisations with more than tinge of alarmist non-specificity don’t really help.
 

skyblue

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I appreciate expansion of Chinese and/ or Russian nuclear forces would see equivalent US force numbers being looked at again.
But in terms of a numbers game it’s never going to be they have X number of bombers so we’re going to buy the same X number of B-21s; it’s far more complicated than that.

What's concerning is that China has better manufacturing infrastructure and capability to turn things around faster and at higher quantities if they wanted to. The United States is missing that luxury at the moment (something continually highlighted by think tanks).
Interestingly, Frank Kendall doesn't think China actually moves any faster than us. Its more that they've got the resources and political will to pursue everything they want.



China’s timetable for fielding new equipment is “not better than ours. It’s probably not as good as ours. But they started earlier and they’ve been working aggressively on a larger number of things,” Kendall said.

 

sferrin

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I appreciate expansion of Chinese and/ or Russian nuclear forces would see equivalent US force numbers being looked at again.
But in terms of a numbers game it’s never going to be they have X number of bombers so we’re going to buy the same X number of B-21s; it’s far more complicated than that.

What's concerning is that China has better manufacturing infrastructure and capability to turn things around faster and at higher quantities if they wanted to. The United States is missing that luxury at the moment (something continually highlighted by think tanks).
Quantity sure, Quality and complexity is another question. Quantity is a quality in itself though.
Where do they have a problem with complexity? On the other hand they do MANY things we have problems with, if we can do them at all.
 

X-39

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Producing New B-21 Bomber Will Cost $20 Billion Through 2027​


April 26, 2022 | By John A. Tirpak

The Air Force expects to spend close to $20 billion on producing the B-21 Raider through fiscal 2027, but it doesn’t say how many of the advanced bombers it will buy for that cost. Including research and development, USAF will spend more than $32 billion on the Raider through fiscal 2027, according to service budget documents.

Justifications for the Air Force’s fiscal 2023 budget request include spending estimates across the future years defense plan, or FYDP, stretching through 2027. B-21 procurement, which does not include military construction or research and development, is requested at the following amounts:

Fiscal Year B-21 Procurement Funding Request
2022 (enacted)$108 million
2023$1.787 billion
2024$3.551 billion
2025$4.429 billion
2026$4.638 billion
2027$5.023 billion

The 2022 amount is likely to be for materials and long-lead items for initial production. For the period ’23 through ’27, the planned B-21 production total request is $19.536 billion. Northrop Grumman is building the B-21.

The Air Force has opted to classify how many B-21s it plans to buy for the requested amount. However, at the outset of the program, the cost of the bomber was capped at $550 million each in base year 2010 dollars, or $729.25 million in current dollars. That figure was intended to be an average unit cost over a production run of about 100 airplanes, and early examples of a new military aircraft always cost the most, when the learning curve is highest and the most tweaks tend to be made to the design.

Meeting the price cap was deemed a “critical parameter” of the program, the Air Force said. The B-21’s predecessor, the Next-Generation Bomber, was canceled because Pentagon officials deemed its cost too high and its capability too “exquisite.”

If production costs were fixed at the current level, the Air Force could buy 2.5 B-21s in fiscal ’23; nearly five in fiscal ’24; six in fiscal ’25; and between six and seven per year after, or just over 20 for the five-year period. Those figures roughly agree with initial revelations about the B-21 contract, which calls for 21 Raiders to be built in the first five production lots. However, that would not include further cost escalation due to inflation or new capabilities demanded by changing threats.

The amounts suggest that the fiscal ’25 budget achieves something of a plateau for the bomber, with rapid growth in the near years slowing to more modest growth in the latter part of the FYDP. The Air Force has said early versions of the B-21, although designated for testing, will nonetheless be “useable assets” available for combat operations.

Research and development of the Raider doesn’t stop, though.

Fiscal YearB-21 Research and Development Funding
2022 (enacted)$2.873
2023$3.254
2024$2.322
2025$1.708
2026$1.527
2027$1.262

From fiscal ’22 through ’27, the Air Force expects to spend $12.946 billion on B-21 research and development, making the six-year grand total for both procurement and R&D $32.482 billion.

Randall Walden, head of the Rapid Capabilities Office, which is developing the B-21, has said the first example could roll out of the Northrop Grumman plant at Palmdale, Calif., in the next few months.
 

FighterJock

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Producing New B-21 Bomber Will Cost $20 Billion Through 2027​


April 26, 2022 | By John A. Tirpak

The Air Force expects to spend close to $20 billion on producing the B-21 Raider through fiscal 2027, but it doesn’t say how many of the advanced bombers it will buy for that cost. Including research and development, USAF will spend more than $32 billion on the Raider through fiscal 2027, according to service budget documents.

Justifications for the Air Force’s fiscal 2023 budget request include spending estimates across the future years defense plan, or FYDP, stretching through 2027. B-21 procurement, which does not include military construction or research and development, is requested at the following amounts:

Fiscal YearB-21 Procurement Funding Request
2022 (enacted)$108 million
2023$1.787 billion
2024$3.551 billion
2025$4.429 billion
2026$4.638 billion
2027$5.023 billion

The 2022 amount is likely to be for materials and long-lead items for initial production. For the period ’23 through ’27, the planned B-21 production total request is $19.536 billion. Northrop Grumman is building the B-21.

The Air Force has opted to classify how many B-21s it plans to buy for the requested amount. However, at the outset of the program, the cost of the bomber was capped at $550 million each in base year 2010 dollars, or $729.25 million in current dollars. That figure was intended to be an average unit cost over a production run of about 100 airplanes, and early examples of a new military aircraft always cost the most, when the learning curve is highest and the most tweaks tend to be made to the design.

Meeting the price cap was deemed a “critical parameter” of the program, the Air Force said. The B-21’s predecessor, the Next-Generation Bomber, was canceled because Pentagon officials deemed its cost too high and its capability too “exquisite.”

If production costs were fixed at the current level, the Air Force could buy 2.5 B-21s in fiscal ’23; nearly five in fiscal ’24; six in fiscal ’25; and between six and seven per year after, or just over 20 for the five-year period. Those figures roughly agree with initial revelations about the B-21 contract, which calls for 21 Raiders to be built in the first five production lots. However, that would not include further cost escalation due to inflation or new capabilities demanded by changing threats.

The amounts suggest that the fiscal ’25 budget achieves something of a plateau for the bomber, with rapid growth in the near years slowing to more modest growth in the latter part of the FYDP. The Air Force has said early versions of the B-21, although designated for testing, will nonetheless be “useable assets” available for combat operations.

Research and development of the Raider doesn’t stop, though.

Fiscal YearB-21 Research and Development Funding
2022 (enacted)$2.873
2023$3.254
2024$2.322
2025$1.708
2026$1.527
2027$1.262

From fiscal ’22 through ’27, the Air Force expects to spend $12.946 billion on B-21 research and development, making the six-year grand total for both procurement and R&D $32.482 billion.

Randall Walden, head of the Rapid Capabilities Office, which is developing the B-21, has said the first example could roll out of the Northrop Grumman plant at Palmdale, Calif., in the next few months.

Twenty billion Dollars through 2027 for the B-21 program? I am just wondering how does this compare with the entire cost of the B-2 program back in 1990 when only 21 B-2s were built?
 

Tuna

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Twenty billion Dollars through 2027 for the B-21 program? I am just wondering how does this compare with the entire cost of the B-2 program back in 1990 when only 21 B-2s were built?

The total program cost for B-2 is estimated to have been ~$45B, of which a tad more than half was R&D and a bit less than half was procurement.
 

NeilChapman

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The first 21 are LRIP. Isn't that being paid for under development $? Production would be post those 21 LRIP air vehicles, no?
 

RavenOne

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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.

Hmmm wonder what those 5 x elements be ..is it the avionics, the structure ? Skin paint ? Defense aided suites etc ?

Theres been plenty of books with in depth drawings and photos of B-2 for the last 3 decades.

Cheers
 

rooster

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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.

Hmmm wonder what those 5 x elements be ..is it the avionics, the structure ? Skin paint ? Defense aided suites etc ?

Theres been plenty of books with in depth drawings and photos of B-2 for the last 3 decades.

Cheers
Electroluminescent paint... You can look right at it and until it's turned in you'll never know. Just 1 example. The other thing is that the B2 uses differential thrust for flight maneuvers when in full stealth modes to avoid spikes from deflecting the control surfaces.
 
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