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USAF to Retire B-1, B-2 in Early 2030s as B-21 Comes On-Line

jsport

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So would that new non-stealthy bomber have supersonic cruise capability like the B-1? Or be subsonic like the B-52? :confused:


"Rule #1 - Will not, repeat NOT be based on an airliner!"

A modern B-1B, with some tweaks would probably be ideal.

OTOH, if ever there were a good time to acquire some lightly used commercial widebody aircraft...
...before the air freight companies gobble them all up.
The will be a BBC special this weekend on the death of the 747. It is not time to restart the line but buying some would be great idea. .
 

marauder2048

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So would that new non-stealthy bomber have supersonic cruise capability like the B-1? Or be subsonic like the B-52? :confused:


"Rule #1 - Will not, repeat NOT be based on an airliner!"

A modern B-1B, with some tweaks would probably be ideal.

OTOH, if ever there were a good time to acquire some lightly used commercial widebody aircraft...
...before the air freight companies gobble them all up.
The will be a BBC special this weekend on the death of the 747. It is not time to restart the line but buying some would be great idea. .

The air freight companies seem to buying all of the 747-400s that are out there and converting them to freighters.
The -8s will fly for a while. The A380s however...
 

TomcatViP

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Hmmm. Cargo is more sensible to freight cost than passengers transportation. A plane like that one couldn't have compete against an increase of rotations by more economical planes able to land everywhere that is needed.
Despite more than hundred of year of fist clinching toward the sky by countless delusional airplane manufacturer's CEOs, the market has always leaned toward cost-effectivness.
Airbus should have known where it was heading the day the A380 configuration was frozen.
 

marauder2048

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The economics didn't make sense for the A380F. But a pax to cargo bomber conversion might since the residuals
for the A380 passenger version aren't there at all as commercial pax to freighter conversion
doesn't really make economic sense either.

So there's the potential for acquiring some very low-time A380s very cheaply.

And that RAND study by Rozsa didn't model a rotary launcher on the upper deck which would really amplify the
carriage capacity.
 

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Archibald

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I can't see the B-2 going away "completely" - considering the present fate of some F-117s.

Stealth assets are so insanely expensive, you can be sure USAF will milk them out until they fall from the sky.

Hmmm... "agressors" B-2 to mimick that future Russian (and Chinese) quite similar bombers... roundels included...
 

Foo Fighter

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The A-380 would make a useful command and control platform with all that luvverly space for kit/people/upgrades. Unlikely though even with low cost availability.
 

TomS

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The A-380 would make a useful command and control platform with all that luvverly space for kit/people/upgrades. Unlikely though even with low cost availability.

It would be nice to be able to deploy your C2 aircraft to more than a handful of carefully selected bases or airports. The A380 is really big, and doesn't fit a lot of airports.
 

Foo Fighter

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Good point I totally missed. I know but it is a slow day. Could they even operate from a B-52 capable runway?
 

Archibald

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Boeing has spent the last five decades repeatedly pitching all kind of different 747s to the US military, every five years or so.

Military cargo and civilian cargo, tanker, cruise-missile carrier, ballistic-missile carrier, fighter-carrier, airborne command post, President flying White House, and countless others.

Their one and only successes, have been the VC-25 and E-4, exactly SIX airframes.

Why on Earth would the US military buy A380s, even more at the time when the 747-8 barely survived it ?
 
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TomcatViP

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Because they go for cheap these days (spare parts included).
Just like the Max. Even a non-modified Max won't be more difficult to fly than a B-47. Hence adding an after market kit to missionize the airframe, like a refuelling kit, might do the trick.
 
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Josh_TN

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In the context of retiring the B-1, it makes sense. I'm just hoping that the transition makes good use of all the established talent...I hope any able bodied B-1 nav or ECM guy gets the opportunity to transition their experience to the new platform. If you split a B-1 crew in half, you're left with two pilot/commander positions and two offense/defense positions. Seems to me with a little retraining you could make a lot of two man crews and take advantage of operational experience.
 
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sferrin

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In the context of retiring the B-1, it makes sense. I'm just hoping that the transition makes good use of all the established talent...I hope any able bodied B-1 nav or ECM guy gets the opportunity to transition their experience to the new platform. If you split a B-1 crew in half, you're left with two pilot/commander positions and two offense/defense positions. Seems to me with a little retraining you could make a lot of two man crews and take advantage of operational experience.


You do know they're going to be around for probably another 20 years, at least, right?
 

Flyaway

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sferrin

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Still makes me laugh that USAF bomber force going forward is going to consist of two aircraft built some seventy years apart. Mind you it does give the idea that the B-52 is the best US bomber so far ever built.
Not really.
 

dark sidius

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Still makes me laugh that USAF bomber force going forward is going to consist of two aircraft built some seventy years apart. Mind you it does give the idea that the B-52 is the best US bomber so far ever built.
Not really.
What you mean ?
 

Flyaway

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Still makes me laugh that USAF bomber force going forward is going to consist of two aircraft built some seventy years apart. Mind you it does give the idea that the B-52 is the best US bomber so far ever built.
Not really.
What you mean ?
Yeah I am as mystified as you by that comment.
 

sferrin

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Yeah I am as mystified as you by that comment.
Is it as fast as the B-1B? No. Does it carry as many bombs as the B-1B? No. Is it as stealthy as a B-2? No. There are many ways of defining "best". If I could only have one type of bomber would I want it to be the B-52? HELL no.
 
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Flyaway

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Is it as fast as the B-1B? No. Does it carry as many bombs as the B-1B? No. Is it as stealthy as a B-2? No. There are many ways of defining "best". If I could only have one type of bomber would I want it to be the B-52? HELL no.
At least it has a better operability rate than the B-1B, and the B-1B is a heck of a lot newer. Plus the USAF must see something in it being as unlike the others you listed it isn’t being retired for a long while yet.
 
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Josh_TN

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The B-52 has lower costs per flying hour than every other bomber type, despite its age. The engine upgrade will likely improve this even more. It's other big advantage going forward is the ability to carry large, outsized payloads, which will include a lot of the air launched hypersonic weapons. But perhaps the biggest advantage is that it exists in numbers, with examples remaining in storage (and recently one was dusted off and reactivated). The B-2 fleet is tiny and the B-1 fleet ever shrinking. It will probably be a decade before B-21s outnumber B-52s.

Edit: I think B-52s also have the longest unrefueled range, and that will also increase significantly with the engine upgrade.
 

Jeb

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At least it has a better operability rate than the B-1B, and the B-1B is a heck of a lot newer. Plus the USAF must see something in it being as unlike the others you listed it isn’t being retired for a long while yet.
Big-ass external pylons would have to be the reason.
 
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In_A_Dream

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Yeah I am as mystified as you by that comment.
Well if you remember back to American bomber fleets of the 1800s, we were typically flying things that were made in the late 1700s. So there's been a precedent going forward with huge spans of times between bomber generation production runs.
 
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Helix88

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Well if you remember back to American bomber fleets of the 1800s, we were typically flying things that were made in the late 1700s. So there's been a precedent going forward with huge spans of times between bomber generation production runs.
Ah, yes. Based at the many airports of the revolutionary war.
 
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aim9xray

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Well if you remember back to American bomber fleets of the 1800s, we were typically flying things that were made in the late 1700s. So there's been a precedent going forward with huge spans of times between bomber generation production runs.

I remember the 1800s very differently...
You must be a really Senior Member.
 

Foo Fighter

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Have I fallen through a crack into the Twiglet zone?
 

jstar

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Well if you remember back to American bomber fleets of the 1800s, we were typically flying things that were made in the late 1700s. So there's been a precedent going forward with huge spans of times between bomber generation production runs.
Ah, yes. Based at the many airports of the revolutionary war.
It must have been so: “Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory,”
 

mkellytx

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Yeah I am as mystified as you by that comment.
Is it as fast as the B-1B? No. Does it carry as many bombs as the B-1B? No. Is it as stealthy as a B-2? No. There are many ways of defining "best". If I could only have one type of bomber would I want it to be the B-52? HELL no.
Sure, the B-1 has gone 1.3M hauling ass out of Kosovo chased by its malfunctioning towed decoy at the high risk of chugging the engine and melting down the turbine. FWIW I used to run the B-1 engine shop back in the day so I've seen pools of slag in the afterburner baffles with broken turbine blades sticking out. The bomb bay doors on the Bone are limited to .94M, the BUFF prior to getting all of the bumps and blisters on the nose was a .92M plane but is now limited by the pitot static system to .88M not that much faster. FWIW I conducted a Bone sortie dropping a JDAM at .94M and 1500 ft AGL over the PIRA and ran the orange instrumentation on 0050 when we dropped a MALD at .92M at 390 KCAS.

Try making a turn in the Bone above 30kft with any type of load, oh wait it can't without losing altitude or airspeed. I've been in a BUFF practicing SAM evasions over the UTTR above 30kft, hint it can turn, maintain altitude and airspeed. Then there's the thing about range, carrying ALCM/CALCM, GBU-28's, GBU-57.

But the Bone does look a lot cooler and sound really loud if it manages to get airborne. I flew the BUFF and maintained the Bone, there's a reason one is going to fly along side the B-21 while the other sits at DM and museums...
 

mkellytx

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Don't sugar coat it. How do you really feel? ;)
Don't get me wrong, it was fun from 2002-2005 when we retired 1/3 of the fleet and had spare parts. By 2008 they were falling apart difficult to maintain, I'd hate to be stuck at EL or DY today after over a decade more of being rode hard. Really we needed the B-21 5 years ago, and we won't have it until the mid 20's. What a shame.
 

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Another batch of B-1s was retired to support the remainder. I think I read there are just over forty with two dozen combat coded.
 

mkellytx

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Another batch of B-1s was retired to support the remainder. I think I read there are just over forty with two dozen combat coded.
Yes, there was the attempt to retire another 17, but I think congress wouldn't let them. The 40 number comes from 12+1 PAA for each combat coded squadron, the 9th, 34th and 37th BS's (go Bats!), so that gets you to 39-40. The +1 is for your jets in the depot at Tinker. The 28th BS is the FTU and their number of PAA fluctuated through the years. When I showed up to Dyess in 2002 it was 14, but you had the 13th BS which supported test and weapons school, which since then disbanded then reformed at the 509th with the B-2. Once the Oscar and the hearse left for Missouri, the 28th's PAA went up to 18 +2 IIRC and the 337th was stood up with no PAA leaving the 28th to support FTU, weapons school and OT. That get's you to 60, there was one at Edwards when I was there. All said the number was 67 after getting rid of the 83 and 84 tails and there were at least two write-offs that I'm aware off which takes that number down to 65 although I do recall seeing news about one Bone refurbishing from DM.

Hopefully, Northrop delivers on budget and there are enough B-21's to properly replace the worn out Bones.
 
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Ronny

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Try making a turn in the Bone above 30kft with any type of load, oh wait it can't without losing altitude or airspeed. I've been in a BUFF practicing SAM evasions over the UTTR above 30kft, hint it can turn, maintain altitude and airspeed
Can either of them really maneuver to evade SAM?
 

aim9xray

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I think that's the wrong question. I recall that in the December 1972 Linebacker II bombing effort over North Vietnam, the B-52Ds and Gs could not maneuver out of formation to evade a SAM because doing so would degrade the mutual support effects of the ECM jamming from the other bombers in the formation and put all at risk.
 

mkellytx

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Try making a turn in the Bone above 30kft with any type of load, oh wait it can't without losing altitude or airspeed. I've been in a BUFF practicing SAM evasions over the UTTR above 30kft, hint it can turn, maintain altitude and airspeed
Can either of them really maneuver to evade SAM?
Yes, the how and what go into TTP, not saying more on that.
 

mkellytx

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I think that's the wrong question. I recall that in the December 1972 Linebacker II bombing effort over North Vietnam, the B-52Ds and Gs could not maneuver out of formation to evade a SAM because doing so would degrade the mutual support effects of the ECM jamming from the other bombers in the formation and put all at risk.
Marshall Michel discusses that in The 11 Days of Christmas, highly recommend reading that book. SAC would not allow the crews to evade or maneuver in the beginning, there was a near aircrew revolt after the initial loses, then sanity prevailed. Cool fact, I read the book on a 12 hour sortie from ED to the EG ranges to shoot a MALD. Nothing like reading a book about the BUFF in Linebacker II while sitting in the gunner seat flying cross country to launch a decoy.

Hopefully the B-21's never find themselves in the same situation.
 

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