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US Next Generation Bomber Studies

flateric

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Does anyone have something to share about this project?
 

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Antonio

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I would like to review here every concept available to the media about what is going to be the replacement for the B-52/B-1/B-2 Force.

A lot of interesting info here:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/b-3.htm

I have found these articles about early development stadium

AW&ST September 27, 1999 pg 57 "B-2 Follow-on Designs Revealed" by David A. Fulghum.

Northrop Grumman has unveiled its preliminary designs for a future replacement for the heavy bomber fleet. The bomber could be operational by 2030. The other participants in the USAF year-long study are Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The study, conducted at Wright-Patterson AFB is expected to be renewed on a year-by-year basis by the companies that stay interested in the bomber development. The program began in early June.
Northrop Grumman futuristics are looking at three classes of aircraft:

1) Subsonic: flying wing based on refinements to the B-2 concept

2) Supersonic: appears to be a cross between the B-1 and B-2 and would be capable of cruising at supersonic speed

3) Hypersonic: air-breathing, wave-rider concept designed to operate entirely within the atmosphere. Weapons are launched from multiple rails from the rear of the vertical tails at hypersonic speed

Concept 2 and 3 pictures can be seen at the globalsecurity link above.

Also under consideration is a subsonic Unmanned Global Strike Aircraft design that could operate autonomously or in a group (up to four aircraft) controlled by a third crewman in a modified B-2

AW&ST April 10, 2000 pg 30 "USAF Bomber Plans Spark Renewed Debate" by Robert Wall.

USAF is completing its work on the bomber plan, first released last year (1999). It called for upgrades to B-52H, B-1B, B-2A, but not a new aircraft until 2037. Dissatisfied with that plan, Congress told the Air Force to look at more aggressive upgrades and buying a low-cost B-2 around 2015. That referred B-2C has spurred industry to come up with alternatives for such a solution. However, industry officials acknowledge that chances are slim . "We don't think a follow-on bomber until 2030-35 or later. A B-2C or similar system is not on the cards

Neither Congress nor the USAF defined what could be considered low cost

The notional program would be for 100-130 bombers

Boeing and Northrop Grumman are putting together competing proposals

Northrop-Grumman has focused most of its unorthodox thinking on B-X designs. The company's near-term thinking, however has been directed toward the B-2 and reducing its cost targeting its production cost at $500-million

Boeing has developed several different concepts to challenge Northrop-Grumman in case a 2015 low-cost bomber program is launched eliminating futuristic tech such as hypersonics:

1) The most unorthodox thinking has gone into developing a commercially derived bomber. One concept is based on Boeing's 767. To meet low-observability, engines are moved into the aft portion of the fuselage with the inlet on top. The vertical tail would be replaced with V-tail. RAM would be applied to the outer fuselage to achieve stealth performance

2) The second commercial derivative centers on the BWB which the company hopes to have launched by 2015. The main changes would be the weapons bays in the aircraft's center section and the application of RAM materials

3) A pure military concept looks similar to the B-2

4) A second military candidate builds on Boeing's DARPA UCAV program but substancially larger. It would be a single-engine system able to carry 50,000 -75,000 lb of ordenance internally. Aircraft's weight would be about 240,000 lb


More to follow,
Antonio
 

Archibald

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The Waverider concept is an old concept... from the Sanger antipodal bomber to the early Dynasoar (launched from Titan I and II)...
Last time I heard of it was the Hypersoar of 1999... which is also the date of most of the articles you mentioned. ;)
There was some articles in Air&Cosmos at the time. I'll have to find a scanner one day ;D

Fascinating stuff and interesting thread, antonio!
 

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For a couple of year USAF thought of a relatively small F-22 derivative, an FB, with SDM and attacking from high altitude. Now they seem to have changed their mind again.
 

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I think the USAF dosen't exactly know what it wants. By 2037 a hypersonic unamnned very high-alt bomber might be practical. Any design design begun now might be outdated, SAMs might force them to go low and fast again. The design work must begin soon though given the likely complexity and cost of the programme.

The FB-22 seems the most reasonable shorter-tem cheaper option.

The 767 derivitive is going back to the 1920-30s with airliner verison of bombers!
Given the cheaper cost and lower development time this could be a good idea. The higher RCS is probably balanced by the cheaper cost and greater bomb-bay capacity.
 

frank

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What? A 767 derived bomber? How cool! Any other info?




Hood said:
I think the USAF dosen't exactly know what it wants. By 2037 a hypersonic unamnned very high-alt bomber might be practical. Any design design begun now might be outdated, SAMs might force them to go low and fast again. The design work must begin soon though given the likely complexity and cost of the programme.

The FB-22 seems the most reasonable shorter-tem cheaper option.

The 767 derivitive is going back to the 1920-30s with airliner verison of bombers!
Given the cheaper cost and lower development time this could be a good idea. The higher RCS is probably balanced by the cheaper cost and greater bomb-bay capacity.
 

SOC

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The best answer is an aerospace plane. It can be the B-3, the solution to Prompt Global Strike, and would revolutionize warfare. You'd also need a much smaller tanker fleet, and you'd be able to strike targets in minutes from CONUS.
 

Antonio

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sferrin put this link on keypublishing forum

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123028140

The Air Force is looking to get a "next generation" long-range bomber by 2018, according to the commander of Air Combat Command.

It seems that the USAF really wants an intermediate technology while waiting for the true leap forward in 2040

I think to stay alive by then because it is promised an amazing airplane to enter service in 2040 :eek:
 

Archibald

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SOC said:
The best answer is an aerospace plane. It can be the B-3, the solution to Prompt Global Strike, and would revolutionize warfare. You'd also need a much smaller tanker fleet, and you'd be able to strike targets in minutes from CONUS.

And there's plenty ways of doing it, from a launch by a conventional rocket, to more advanced engines (airbreathing , tripropellant...)
I have to traduce my website on this subject in english :p
 

Matej

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We can add to our collection another NG concept - maybe F-117 on steroids (thanks to elider for scan from Air Forces Monthly).
 

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Orionblamblam

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Matej said:
Without any usable data.

Wouldn't say that...

1) Given a source, I have contacted NorGrum PR to see if mroe info/photos are available
2) Assuming not (generally a safe assumption), note that in the original photo, there is a B-2 bomber model behind this one. With some effort, a plan view of the new bomber coudl be produced, and the span determined... assuming the two models are to the same scale.
 

sferrin

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Looks like a manned version of this:

(edit: now that I look at it again it's the same image as what's behind the port wingtip of the model)
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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flateric said:
Does anyone have something to share about this project?

Same design? Its a supersonic unmanned design from Lockheed, for the LRS study.
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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In this context, it may be noteworthy that Lockheed Martin has exhibited a model of a 70-tonne Mach 2 unmanned aircraft.

Aviation News November 2006
http://www.aviation-news.co.uk/Lockheed's%20dynamic%20duo.html
 

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Has anyone any concept image of the new lrs (long range strike) aircraft to post?
I've seen some interesting images in this forum and i think that is better to collect them and other under a single topic
 

flateric

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2001 AFRL (Air Force Research Lab) concepts

a). Mach .85 Concept - Represents an advanced technology version of current inventory
Un-refueled range ~ 13,000 nm
b). Mach 2.4 Concept- Is the maximum Mach number for an aluminum aircraft structure
Un-refueled range ~ 6,500 nm
c). Mach 4 Concept- Is the maximum Mach number for uncooled titanium honeycomb structure
Un-refueled range ~ 6,000 nm
d). Mach 7 Concept - Is the maximum Mach number for endothermic hydrocarbon fuels
Un-refueled range ~ 5,000 nm
 

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flateric

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e). Mach 11 Concept - Is the maximum Mach number that can be flown using hydrogen fuel
Un-refueled range ~ 9,000 nm
f).Orbital (or “Mach 26”) - Is a two-stage-to-orbit reusable launch vehicle
Un-refueled range ~ orbital
 

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flateric

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overscan said:
Same design? Its a supersonic unmanned design from Lockheed, for the LRS study.

Look at the placard in the lower right corner of the first post.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Indeed. I understood it was also Lockheed LRS, but it seems also the same exact design, and is presumably the 70,000kg design.
 

flateric

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Some obvious differencies in tail area configuration, inlets, but of course, basic planform the same.
 

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The inlets in the artwork remind me of the inlets they showed on their manned version a few years ago. It was in Janes.
 

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Another picture afaik the same project
 

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flateric

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Tail is obviously not the same...
 

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flateric

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flateric said:
a). Mach .85 Concept - Represents an advanced technology version of current inventory
Un-refueled range ~ 13,000 nm

Note similarity to Lockheed's Senior Peg ATB design
 

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CammNut

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The latest model of Lockheed Martin's supersonic unmanned Long Range Strike design (which it calls SSUCAS - supersonic unmanned combat air system), which was displayed at an Air Force Association symposium in Orlando in early February, had a variable geometry wing.

Also on show was what appears to be the latest iteration of the FB-22 - the F-22ER, for extended range: a single-seater with stretched fuselage, longer weapons bays each able to house a GBU-28 penetrator, and what looks like a scaled-up version of the current wing, with the same tip shape.

Northrop Grumman showed a video of its latest LRS designs - one supersonic and one subsonic, both in manned and unmanned versions. The manned supersonic design is long, slender and highly swept like Lockheed's, with the almost-flush cockpit mounted amidships, Star Wars X-Wing-style.

The subsonic design is clearly scaled up from the X-47B. Folks at the AFA show were saying that a subsonic "son of B-2" design, initially manned, is favoured by the US Air Force because it doesn't have the time or money to develop a supersonic bomber and get it into service by the 2018 deadline.
 

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FYI, Aviation Week a few weeks ago had a story on the Long Range Strike program and stated that the USAF had already ruled out any FB-22 or FB-23 variants. Of course, that's not to say they wouldn't use them in another program. ;)
 

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And now some pictures:

Boeing's X-45N UCAS-D (based on the J-UCAS X-45, but with reduced sweep)

Lockheed Martin's supersonic unmanned LRS concept

Northrop Grumman's subsonic unmanned LRS concept

More to come...
 

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Matej

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Seems that the new 2018 bomber will be subsonic and manned:

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/NEXT050207.xml&headline=Next%20decade\\\\\\\'\\\\\\\'s%20AF%20bomber%20to%20be%20subsonic,%20manned&channel=defense
 

CammNut

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What the AvWeek story doesn't say - and what is causing some debate - is the projected size of the "next-generation bomber": 14,000-28,000lb payload and "at least" 2,000nm unrefuelled radius.

That makes the aircraft substantially smaller than a B-2 (40,000lb payload) and potentially closer to the cancelled A-12. It sounds a bit like an F-111 replacement, which the A-12 was at one point intended to be.

Follow the first link in the story below to hear the USAF ACC requirements guy talk about the rationale for the new bomber being subsonic and manned, rather than supersonic and unmanned like the Skunk Works wanted.

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/05/03/213646/usaf-says-next-bomber-will-be-subsonic-and-manned.html

The problem seems to be the 2018 IOC date, which means production has to begin by 2016 and development by 2010 - which in turn means it has to use technology that is ready today including, crucially, the engines.

Using today's technology means they can't have variable-cycle engines that combine high speed and long loiter. And no-one is ready to sent an unmanned bomber on a nuclear strike mission.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Interesting stuff Cammnut. The Bomber report here http://www.afa.org/media/reports/Bomber0207c.pdf is quite nice.
 

flateric

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Some LM ADP 2006 concepts
 

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That 7th one (LM_LRShyper.jpg) is an interesting find - I'm not sure that LMSW has actually approved release of a RATTLRS cutaway yet...! :eek:
 

flateric

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Sometimes I wonder what stuff could be find in presentations readily available on the net. Several years ago I found couple of future X-planes stuff when even wasn't known that those numbers already were assigned to specific projects (X-41, X-42 stuff, etc.).
 

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Yeah, I know what you mean. I actually found that Boeing MRF-24X design in a PDF online that, IIRC, was about advanced technologies and the MRF-24X (See the tailless fighters thread) just happened to be in it.
 

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Hi,

And Anther concepts for Northrop/Grumman,include an unmanned
regional attack system based on a bomber variant of the X-47B
and a vehicle with 11100 km range,Mach 2-2.4 sustained cruise
and a C-130-sized payload.
 

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Now that the US Air Force has decided that its next-generation bomber (formerly long-range strike) will be subsonic and manned, here is the latest artist's impression from Northrop Grumman. Shows a strong heritage to the X-47B unmanned combat air vehicle.
 

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