Air Force Wants A Bomber That Balances Cost With Capability

Gestart door jurrien visser (JuVi op Twitter), 16/01/2013 | 11:53 uur


USAF reveals Northrop's B-21 long-range strike bomber

By James Drew, Orlando | 26 February 2016

The US Air Force has revealed its bomber for the 21st century, the Northrop Grumman B-21 long-range strike bomber.

The official designation comes as the air force for the first time releases an artist's rendering of the still-classified bomber — a flying wing design similar to the Northrop B-2 and the company's concept for the previous Next-Generation Bomber (NGB) project.

The air force hasn't purchased a new bomber in this century and is still dependent on 54-year-old Boeing B-52H and 28-year-old B-1B. Its 21-year-old B-2 Spirit, the only in-service stealth bomber, will be in use through 2060, officials say.

Revealed at the closing of her "state of the air force" address in Orlando, Florida today, USAF secretary Deborah Lee James revealed the official B-21 designation to rapturous applause.

"Our fifth-generation global precision attack platform will give our country a networked sensor-shoot capability that will allow us to hold targets at risk in a way the world and our adversaries have never, ever seen," says James.

US Air Force

Many bomber experts have been pushing the B-3 tag as a sequential follow-on to the B-1 and B-2. However, Mitchell Institute dean David Deptula believes the new designation reflects that fact that it is the air force's premier bomber platform for the 21st century.

"It's not surprising in terms of the shape based on the physics of low observability, but it's good that we have an artist's rendering out and the designation is a good one too," says the former three-star air force officer.

The air force picked Northrop's design in October and is proceeding with development after the US Government Accountability Office rejected losing team Boeing and Lockheed Martin's bid protest.

The new stealth bomber will cost $23.5 billion to develop and is worth $564 million per aircraft, according to US government estimates.

USAF wants 100 B-21s, but Deptula believes the true requirement should be 174.

"We need 174 of them," he tells Flightglobal after the announcement. "We need a minimum of one squadron for 12 air expeditionary forces to establish the rotational base requirement during peace time to be able to shape and maintain peace and stability around the world.

"We need that number to maintain the ability to support our national security strategy to engage in two major regional conflicts if, in fact, it's necessary to go to war, particularly in the advanced threat environment that has been growing."

Northrop's bomber team was characteristically coy in its response to the unveiling: "Northrop Grumman is proud to serve as the prime contractor for the B-21 Bomber in partnership with the US Air Force, to deliver a capability that is vital to our national security. Any further questions should be directed to the air force."
A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


Citaat van: Harald op 09/12/2015 | 12:33 uur
eerst al dat er F-15 en F-16 ge upgrade of nieuw gebouwd zouden worden om door te vliegen tot ruim na 2040
en nu de ontwikkeling rondom upgraden van de B-52

heeft alles te maken met budget.

Vooral het gebrek aan projectmanagement en de focus op het budget daarbij, met als gevolg dat er nu voornamelijk zeer complexe, dure en niet altijd effectieve oplossingen zijn in te kleine nummers, waarbij plan B vaak neerkomt op het oude model nog maar eens upgraden danwel nieuw bouwen, wat dus ook veel gebeurd is. Natuurlijk merkt ook de US military dat het budget flink daalt, maar nog steeds beschikken over een groot deel van de wereldwijde defensieuitgaven, daar moet dus echt wel wat mee mogelijk zijn.


eerst al dat er F-15 en F-16 ge upgrade of nieuw gebouwd zouden worden om door te vliegen tot ruim na 2040
en nu de ontwikkeling rondom upgraden van de B-52

heeft alles te maken met budget.


Citaat van: jurrien visser (JuVi op Twitter) op 09/12/2015 | 12:16 uur
Zeker, maar wel door de LRS-B, waar er eerst spraken van 80-100 exemplaren was is er nu sprake van 100 en er zijn geluiden om dit aantal te verhogen naar 160 á 200.

Hold your horses. Het zijn plannen Jurrien, het kan nog alle kanten op.
Het zou niet vreemd zijn als er een fiks aantal van deze toestellen gekocht wordt en dit de nieuwe standaard wordt. Maar 200 van deze toestellen is ook een behoorlijke kostenpost, en ja, ook het Pentagon, The Hill en het WH zit vol met zeeuwse meisjes.

Daarbij kan de aanschaf van deze systemen niet los gezien worden van andere discussies, zoals de minuteman replacement, Ohio replacement, ontwikkelingen van prompt global strike, UCAV's, en natuurlijk de (pork barrel) politics.

Er is niemand op de planeet die weet hoeveel van die dingen gekocht gaan worden, en welke rollen ze gaan vervullen. Daar is het gewoon nog te vroeg voor.


idd, een zeer interessante ontwikkeling.

Straks B-52 met 4 motoren ipv de huidige 8 ?

B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies

The U.S. Air Force is reviewing industry studies of fitting its 50-year-old Boeing B-52 bombers with new commercial-derivative engines, according to Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of the service's Global Strike Command.

So far, Wilson said Oct. 9 at a Washington meeting, the Air Force assesses that the change would result in a net cost savings over the remaining life of the B-52s, which are expected to fly until 2040.

Wilson did not identify the contractor that made the proposal or whether more than one company is involved. However, an industry source confirms that Boeing has presented a "concept brief" and that General Electric has looked at fitting the bomber with eight CF34-10 engines. Pratt & Whitney also is exploring options.

Fitting new engines would sharply reduce the bombers' fuel burn, and in turn reduce the need for tanker support, Wilson said. Moreover, under current commercial standards the new engines would not have to be removed for routine maintenance over the lifetime of the aircraft.

Wilson's Global Strike Command and Air Force Materiel command are examining the proposal; separately, Wilson said he wants his command to become more agile and innovative in terms of procurement and upgrade programs, and that he has worked on learning lessons from Air Force Special Operations Command in this area. One example is the Dragon's Eye demonstration this summer, in which a Northrop Grumman ASQ-236 radar targeting pod was fitted to a B-52 and flight tested in four weeks.

The main obstacles to a re-engining program could concern budgets and regulations, Wilson says. Airline operating experience would have to be used to support military airworthiness requirements, and the proposal rests on recovering an early investment through lower operating costs. Wilson notes that commanders have budgetary discretion to spend money against future energy savings when they modernize bases and other facilities, but not to modify aircraft.

This represents at least the third attempt to re-engine the B-52, which is powered by eight TF33 engines similar to those used on the Boeing 707.

Pratt & Whitney studied the idea in 1982, with four PW2000-series engines. In 1996 Boeing and Rolls-Royce jointly proposed to fit B-52s with four RB211-535s, with the government leasing the engines. The first plan was not taken up because all B-52s were to be replaced by B-1s and B-2s by the late 1990s, and the second failed because of resistance to leasing combat assets and a flawed economic assessment by the Air Force.

According to a 2004 Defense Science Board report, the USAF failed to take the cost of air refueling into account. At that time, tanker-delivered fuel cost $17.50 per gallon, 14 times the cost of fuel on the ground. The DSB task force "unanimously recommend[ed] the Air Force proceed with B-52H re-engining without delay," but no action was taken.

"Had we done it all those years ago, we'd be patting ourselves on the back today and telling everyone how smart we were," Wilson said.

GE's eight-CF34-10 option could deliver more thrust than the current engines (variants are rated at 17,640-20,360-lb. thrust) and would avoid engine-out handling issues.

Pratt & Whitney announced in May that it was launching the PW1135G-JM, aimed initially at the A321neo and rated at a 35,000-lb. thrust class, slightly more than two TF33s. The new engines would deliver an even greater performance and efficiency improvement than the engines proposed in 1996.

The RB211-535 has been out of production since the end of the Boeing 757 line in 2004, and the last F117s (military PW2000s) are being delivered with the final C-17s, so neither engine is a strong candidate today.


jurrien visser (JuVi op Twitter)

Citaat van: Sparkplug op 09/12/2015 | 12:09 uur
Dacht dat de B-2 pas na de B-1 en B-52 werd vervangen.

Zeker, maar wel door de LRS-B, waar er eerst spraken van 80-100 exemplaren was is er nu sprake van 100 en er zijn geluiden om dit aantal te verhogen naar 160 á 200.

Uiteraard eerst maar eens zien want ook de US defensie wordt geknepen.


A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.

jurrien visser (JuVi op Twitter)

Citaat van: Sparkplug op 09/12/2015 | 11:53 uur
Veel MPA's zijn ooit ontstaan uit bommenwerpers en sommige MPA's zijn ook daadwerkelijk ingezet als een bommenwerper en/of grondaanval toestel (d.w.z. als gunship o.i.d.).

De LRS-B moet zowel de B-1 als de B-52 vervangen. Als ze besluiten om de B-52H tot B-52J te moderniseren, dan zal dit gevolgen hebben voor de LRS-B.

We vergeten de B2 in het rijtje.


Citaat van: Thomasen op 09/12/2015 | 11:42 uur
Ik ben altijd van mening geweest dat MPA's door hun intrinsieke eigenschappen ook geschikt zijn om secundair als bommenwerper op te treden, omgekeerd nooit zo aan gedacht.

Zou dan wel betekenen dat de LRSB alleen de B1 vervangt, of in ieder geval in eerste instantie alleen de B1.
Veel MPA's zijn ooit ontstaan uit bommenwerpers en sommige MPA's zijn ook daadwerkelijk ingezet als een bommenwerper en/of grondaanval toestel (d.w.z. als gunship o.i.d.).

De LRS-B moet zowel de B-1 als de B-52 vervangen. Als ze besluiten om de B-52H tot B-52J te moderniseren, dan zal dit gevolgen hebben voor de LRS-B.
A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


Ik ben altijd van mening geweest dat MPA's door hun intrinsieke eigenschappen ook geschikt zijn om secundair als bommenwerper op te treden, omgekeerd nooit zo aan gedacht.

Zou dan wel betekenen dat de LRSB alleen de B1 vervangt, of in ieder geval in eerste instantie alleen de B1.


The Case for the Centuryfortress: Defining the B-52J

"With a well-considered upgrade plan, the B-52 can serve to its 100th birthday."
By Col Mike "Starbaby" Pietrucha
December 09, 2015
-Gen Nathan Twining, March 18, 1954

It seems increasingly likely that there will be a B-52 flyby for the retirement of both the B-1 Lancer and the B-2 Spirit. The venerable bomber, which first flew in 1952, remains the primary component of the USAF's bomber force for both nuclear and conventional missions. Lacking the stealth of the B-2 and the speed of the B-1, the B-52 remains a frontline combat aircraft because of its exceptional range, unmatched versatility, and flexible payload options. It is debatable whether today's aviation industry could re-create an airplane with this essential mix of capabilities, but a fully modernized B-52, in combination with the new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B), would provide the USAF with an asymmetrical advantage over both China and Russia that neither is likely to match. Far from being obsolete, the Stratofortress could well serve into the 2050s, making an updated bomber well worth the effort and expense, and ushering in the B-52J Centuryfortress – the 21st century bomber.

Citaat van: Thomasen op 09/12/2015 | 11:18 uur

Background -> Zie dit topic, want bericht was te lang.

The B-52J

Under a distant interdiction strategy, the bomber becomes the premier force, provided that threats to the bomber can be mitigated. Their extremely long range allows bombers to conceivably be based on U.S. or Australian territory and conduct effective operations from a great distance, with basing out of reach of attack from ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles. The heavy payload means that a bomber can do the work of flights of fighter aircraft, provided that they have the tools required to be effective at a standoff distance from the threat. And the long flight times mean that a bomber aircraft can effectively surveil large areas of ocean, a task made easier by the restrictive maritime terrain in the region. The ideal strike aircraft in this environment is one that has long-range sensors to detect, identify, and support weapons against surface combatants from outside their effective defenses. Against the Soviet threat in the North Atlantic, the Harpoon-armed B-52G fit this bill. In the more crowded Asian littorals, against the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), a more advanced set of capabilities is necessary.

The future bomber force could consist of aircraft optimized for two different sets of conditions. LRS-B would be a penetrating aircraft, designed for survival in or around a modern air defense system. The B-52J would assume standoff roles, using longer-range weapons capabilities to strike from a distance. The shaping requirements of the LRS-B will likely preclude the massive wing of the B-52, which allows for large fuel storage, external weapons carriage, and unmatched high altitude performance. Similarly, the B-52 will never again be a penetrating aircraft, lacking as it does the speed and low observability characteristics of the LRS-B.

A modernized B-52 would improve on the airplane's basic attributes to better meet these standoff requirements. The objectives of a whole-aircraft modernization would be to extend the service life of the aircraft and adjust to the advances made by adversary systems since the initial design. Under the J proposal, the refitted bombers would receive several upgrades:

   A replacement of the ageing TF-33 turbofans with modern, low-maintenance turbofans derived from regional jet designs
   Installation of a modern AESA radar to provide broad area maritime surveillance, ship identification, situational awareness and standoff weapons employment
   Weapons certification upgrade, including JDAM-ER, JASSM-ER, Standard Missile derivatives and antiship weapons
   Certification of NASA's 25,000-lb. Aerospace Vehicle Pylon as an option in place of Heavy Stores Adapter Beam for Pegasus derivatives.
   Upgrade of communication systems to include Link-16, Iridium, BLOS communications and to provide the baseline for integration into Navy Integrated Fire Control (NIFC).
   Modernization of ESM and EA systems to provide both passive detection and self-projection jamming against the threats capable of addressing a stand-off platform
   Aircraft upgrades, including improved cooling, high-capacity electrical generation, glass cockpit, addition of an APU, removal of excess weight and RVSM compatibility
   Upper Wing Skin replacement (if necessary)

At the end of the conversion, all remaining B-52H could receive the refit, resulting in around 82 B-52J total aircraft inventory.

The Upgrades

Engines. The B-52 has been the subject of at least four major re-engining studies, the most recent having been completed by the Defense Science Board in 2004. In every case, the studies have concluded that replacement of the aged TF-33 turbofans would result in an increase in reliability, lower fuel consumption, and an overall savings, provided that the B-52 remained in service for at least another decade. The USAF has been unwilling to commit to retaining the B-52, but the J model upgrade proposed here would extend aircraft viability to at least 2050, placing the economic argument on solid ground. There are several modern engines in the regional jet class with similar dimensions and thrust ratings to the TF-33, allowing the 8-engine configuration to be retained while improving fuel consumption by at least 20 percent, eliminating the smoke trail, and maintaining the full flight envelope. Key parameters for the refit have yet to be determined – there are competing issues regarding the structural strength of the pylon and the aerodynamic shape of the engine pod. The fan diameter of the B-52H's 17,000-lb. thrust TF-33 engines is 51.5 inches, which is comparable to the most modern business-class turbofans. Examples include Rolls Royce's BR725 (52 inches / 17,000 lb.), GE's Passport 20 (51 inches / 20,000 lb.), or the Pratt & Whitney PW1217G (56 inches / 17,000 lb.); the first two engines being lighter than the TF33. A replacement would give the B-52 an unrefueled range of over 9000 nautical miles, allowing strike missions into the South China Sea to be conducted from Hawaii, New Zealand or bases in the Middle East without tanker support. The typical engine in this class has a time between overhauls of 10,000 flight hours, further reducing sustainment costs.

Radar. Improved sensor capabilities are essential in a maritime strike role. A bomber that can detect and ID enemy surface combatants from outside their weapons range has a decisive advantage, particularly against a fleet with limited or no carrier aviation. In addition, air-to-air capabilities will provide the bomber with a degree of situational awareness, reduce its dependency on airborne early warning, and allow it to effectively participate in Navy Integrated Fire Control (NIFC) networks. A modern Active Electronically Steered Array (AESA) is capable of performing surface search, imaging, air search and target track functions simultaneously, allowing a massive capability upgrade compared to the existing radar. Given that ships cannot hide very effectively on the ocean, the radar is not only the most important target acquisition tool, but the most important survivability measure as well. Existing systems may well fit the bill – the Super Hornet's AN/APG-79 is already being upgraded with long range surface search and surface target ID modes, although there are other options as well.

Weapons. The weapons upgrade would logically include JASSM and JASSM-ER, adding to the cruise missile capabilities of the aircraft and obviating the need to count on the B-1B, with its very low mission capability rates. Antiship missiles are a key component of the upgrade, be they LRASM, the Joint Strike Missile or improved Harpoon. For antisurface warfare (ASuW) missions, the capability to detect, ID and engage targets outside 150 nm would keep the bomber well outside PLAN antiair weapons range. Use of Quickstrike-ER or Quickstrike-P weapons would allow single-pass aerial mining from standoff ranges, providing a fast-response, offensive mining capability in shallow water.

It is conceivable that air to air missiles might be loaded, giving the bomber a lethal self-defense capability. Indeed, with the large external stores racks, the B-52J could pack a much longer range punch than possible with the medium-range AIM-120 AMRAAM. The USAF modified the RIM-66 SM-1 Standard missile into an air-launched antiradiation missile (ARM) in 1968; conversion of the various long-range Standard missile variants into a long range antiair or antisurface weapon would be reasonable for a bomber aircraft with large external stores capacity.

The Aerospace Test Vehicle Pylon. In 2001, NASA accepted delivery of a B-52H to replace the retiring NB-52B that had served to launch dozens of air vehicles from the X-15 to the Pegasus rocket. Prior to returning the B-52 to the USAF, NASA developed the ATV pylon, which is designed to carry a single vehicle up to 25,000 lb. weight. This would allow the B-52J to carry large air vehicles, including first-generation hypersonic vehicles or orbital systems like the Pegasus, both of which were launched from the NB-52.

Communication Systems. The incorporation of a tactical datalink will be essential for strike coordination, situational awareness and weapons guidance. Link-16 will allow for sharing of tactical data, and the installation of a TTNT terminal will allow full integration with NIFC-CA, the counterair variant of NIFC. NIFC-CA's architecture would allow for engage on remote, allowing a suitably-equipped B-52J to support antiair shots by fighters and Aegis ships – or the other way around, deepening the missile magazine in any joint engagement. With Iridium NEXT coming on line this year, the installation of an inexpensive Iridium terminal will also enhance the B-52J's beyond line of sight communications. Combined with the communications upgrade already funded for the B-52H, the complete system will give the B-52J unparalleled communications and datalink capability.

Electronic Warfare. While powerful, the B-52H's ECM suite is outdated, and is in need of an upgrade similar to that currently ongoing for the F-15C and F-15E. The large airframe of the B-52 has advantages not available to fighters, in that the aircraft is much more amenable to the installation of surveillance equipment that can detect low frequency radars and communications, and the long antenna baselines may allow single-ship target location to occur, particularly against surface targets. This is particularly important in the ASuW role, in that it will enhance the capability to detect and identify hostile surface combatants not using emissions control. In the case of lower frequency voice and data communications, a long-baseline ESM array could detect surface ships by their RF communications links, regardless of any radar or jammer activity. The potential for real-time battle management of Electronic Warfare, run by the B-52's EWO, would be enabled with the communications upgrade and a new receiver array. A modern expendables system would allow for the employment of smart decoys not currently available to the B-52H.

Subsidiary Systems. The engine upgrade would allow for a full electrical and cooling upgrade to the B-52J, which is likely to be necessary for new sensors and ECM equipment, but which will also significantly improve crew comfort in tropical climates. Since the entire package of upgrades will require the modification of the crew stations anyway, it may be worthwhile to convert the flight deck to a partial or full glass cockpit configuration and make the aircraft RVSM compliant. As with all older aircraft, the B-52H is filled with excess weight from equipment that was deactivated but not removed, including the remnants of the tail gun and fire control system, and this equipment could be removed (and replaced with nonferrous ballast, if necessary), reducing some of the corrosion control issues with the aircraft. Alternatively, the weight and volume could be partially taken up by an auxiliary power unit (APU), which would lessen the B-52's requirement on ground equipment for external power, engine start and many maintenance functions.

Upper Wing Skin. The final element of the B52J refurbishment is the replacement of the upper wing skin, which is the structural area most prone to failure if the aircraft is flown beyond the 2025 timeframe. At the current flying hour consumption of 250 hours per year, this modification is not necessary, but if airframe flying hours are increased, it becomes an issue. Absent a future structural complication identified by Boeing, this is the key element of airframe refurbishment necessary to take the B-52 well beyond a century of flight.

The B-52J in the Pacific

The refurbishment of the B-52 will allow the Stratofortress to remain dangerous and useful for the next few decades, and is of particular importance to the Pacific Theater. With a modern sensor and weapons capability, the B-52J could be the most lethal antiship capability every possessed by the US. A three-ship of Centuryfortress, required to launch from Darwin, will enter the Sulu Sea and begin patrol three hours after takeoff. With the new engines, the B-52J flight will be able to extend its mission duration to 19 hours with a full load of fuel, surveying 2.3 million square nautical miles during a 12-hour on-station time. (This assumes that the three-ship stays together and that the range of the sensors is 200nm either side of the track. From an altitude of 45,000 ft., the radar horizon extends past 260 nm either side of track, making the possible search area 30 percent larger than calculated.) If the flight encounters an enemy task force, it will be able to lunch as many as 60 antiship missiles in rapid succession – the weapons loadout of two and a half Navy fighter squadrons. Equipped with its own air-to-air radar, the B-52s may operate unescorted outside the range of land-based fighters while still maintaining awareness of air traffic.

Similarly, a flight could carry standoff weapons to a distant launch point, allowing the three-ship to strike targets or emplace a 60-mine field from standoff ranges. With full tanks overhead the field, a B-52 could strike anywhere along the Asian Coast from Taiwan into the Arctic Ocean – taking off from Hickam Field in Hawaii. With this kind of capability, the B-52 fleet will be able to execute long-range, lethal missions from standoff even under conditions where forward fighter bases are neutralized, potentially even supporting penetrating missions by LRS-B. Indeed, an upgraded bomber force could gain strategic effects against China in the absence of basing in the first island chain, allowing effective strikes from a great distance against Chinese power projection capabilities.

Today, the B-1B's mission capable rate hovers at levels too low to make the aircraft a reliable warfighting platform. The B-2's sortie rate is extremely low, although the remaining 20 aircraft fill a very special niche. The B-52 is likely to remain the backbone of the bomber force, with its amazingly long range, heavy payload, and the unparalleled flexibility granted by the ability to carry weapons or parasite aircraft externally. The dual-role nature of the aircraft also makes it a critical aspect of the nuclear enterprise, and the necessity for upgrading the bomber leg of the nuclear triad should not be discounted. With a well-considered upgrade plan, the B-52 can serve to its 100th birthday, acting as the backbone for the bomber force until the LRS-B comes on line, and partnering with that aircraft until the middle of the century.

Col. Mike "Starbaby" Pietrucha was an instructor electronic warfare officer in the F-4G Wild Weasel and the F-15E, Strike Eagle, amassing 156 combat missions and took part in 2.5 SAM kills over 10 combat deployments. As an irregular warfare operations officer, Colonel Pietrucha has two additional combat deployments in the company of US Army infantry, combat engineer, and military police units in Iraq and Afghanistan. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force or the U.S. Government.


Calls for Pentagon to raise combat-coded bomber count to 160

By James Drew, Washington DC | 20 November 2015

Air power advocates in Washington have called for the Pentagon to consider building to a force of 150 to 160 mission-ready heavy bombers before the Boeing B-1 and B-52 retire in 2045.

According to estimates presented in a new report by the Mitchell Institute, America would need to muster 258 heavy bombers to succeed in a large-scale conflict with Russia if 50% of the targets in 180 days of campaigning were assigned to long-range bombers.

Using the same calculations, 103 bombers would be needed to strike 40% of an estimated 81,925 potential targets in Iran over 60 days. Sixty bombers could be needed to win against North Korea, the report states.

The analysis by former USAF strategic plans and programs chief Michael Moeller comes as the US air force embarks on a major recapitalisation of its outdated bomber inventory through the $80 billion Long-Range Strike Bomber programme – awarded to Northrop Grumman in October.

Moeller, who details his analysis in his report published this week, contends that the quantities of bombers procured should be strategy-driven and not solely influenced by tight budgets.

He believes the service needs to buy "a minimum of 100" LRB-B weapon systems, but the total bomber force should be nearer to 200 to sustain 150 to 160 combat-coded aircraft.

Seven DOD bomber force structure examinations since the Air Force White Paper in 1992 established various optimal inventory numbers, but since 2001 the requirement has been for 157 bombers, sustaining a combat-ready force of 96. A large percentage must always be set aside for depot maintenance, training and testing, Moeller says.

Today, the air force maintains 97 mission-ready B-1s, B-2s and B-52s out of a total inventory of 159. Of those aircraft, by the 2018 there will be 42 nuclear-armed B-52s and 18 B-2A bombers dedicated to the nuclear deterrence mission.

Moeller says based large-scale mission planning from operations like Desert Storm and Allied Force in the 1990s, the DOD must consider acquiring 200 advanced bombers to achieve current US national security strategy objectives.

"The analysis affirms the necessity of maintaining a force of 200 advanced bombers, providing an operational force of 150 to 160 aircraft to give national leaders the nuclear and conventional air-breathing power projection option to deter or defeat any foe," he writes. "A modernised bomber force of 200 aircraft will sustain America's asymmetric advantage in long-range precision strike for decades to come."
A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


Advocates Call For 200 Next-Generation Bombers

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and analysts renewed calls Wednesday for the Pentagon to build significantly more next-generation bombers than currently planned, arguing that the Air Force needs a fleet of 200 advanced bombers to project power in a more dangerous world.

In study released today by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller made the case for the Pentagon to procure a modernized bomber force of 200 aircraft by 2045.

"America desperately needs to rebuild its bomber force, starting with the [Long Range Strike Bomber] and then moving forward," Moeller said. "100 new bombers, the analysis finds, is not enough."


voor gehele artikel zie onderstaande LINK


Bomber advocates target USAF's 'squishy' LRS-B requirement

By James Drew, Washington DC | 13 November 2015

Long-Range Strike Bomber advocates are calling on the US air force to drop its "squishy" requirement for 80 to 100 next-generation heavy combat aircraft to replace the B-1B and B-52 and instead focus on the "bare minimum" number of 100.

The call comes amid concern that statements by senior air force leaders about the need for "80 to 100" production bombers makes the requirement seem weak and unanalysed, which could put the programme at risk when US lawmakers decide levels of funding for the programme.

"Eighty to 100 just makes you look squishy; like your analysis wasn't rock-solid," defence analyst Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute explained at an LRS-B forum in Washington this week. "Congress is always going to take the low end of your bet.

"The air force came in with a weak opening hand, and they should just forever put a stake in the heart of 80 in the requirement and just talk about the bare minimum of 100."

David Deptula, dean of the Air Force Association's (AFA) Mitchell Institute, argues for at least 174 new bombers, comprised of 12 ready squadrons of 10 combat-coded aircraft plus another 54 for training and attrition reserve.

The debate over force structure numbers will likely feature in a looming "budget war" between competing air force priorities from now into the mid-2020s as the LRS-B programme accelerates.

When it comes to annual appropriations, Teal Group vice-president Richard Aboulafia says the $80 billion programme, recently award to Northrop Grumman, will face internal and external competition from the Lockheed Martin F-35 and Boeing KC-46, but also smaller but important demands like the T-X next-generation training jet and "JSTARS" recapitalisation.

Aboulafia contends that keeping the LRS-B subcontractor base secret also puts the programme at a disadvantage against F-35 and KC-46 because the industrial implications of those programmes and their impact on local economies are well documented and noted by lawmakers. While some defence hawks in Congress are pushing the bomber as a national security priority, "about 95%" are concerned about jobs in their districts, he says.

"More dissemination about where it's built and the economic footprint per area will get people onboard," Aboulafia said at the 10 November forum, hosted by AFA. "KC-46 and the massive subcomponent family of F-35, they'll have strong political advantage in the budgetary wars."

According to Eaglen, Pentagon officials are concerned about a general deterioration of America's technological military edge, but mostly within the air force.

Those officials are also pushing for more spending on space-based capabilities, she says, and an expensive recapitalisation of the nuclear triad, to include the new bombers as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. However, the biggest budgetary competition is between LRS-B and the funding demands for F-35 production, she says.

"The air force budget is not equipped to fully support this programme already," she says. "The bomber will compete forever with the F-35, and let's hope we don't have sore losers."

LRS-B is expected to cost $23.5 billion to develop and a further $564 million per aircraft. The award to Northrop last month is currently subject to a bid protest by the losing team, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


DUBAI: USAF head stands by bomber award as Northrop downs tools

By James Drew, Washington DC | 11 November 2015

The secretary of the US air force expects that selection of Northrop Grumman for the Long-Range Strike Bomber programme will hold up to scrutiny by the Government Accountability Office following Boeing's bid protest last week.

Speaking 10 November at the Dubai Air Show, Deborah Lee James said the source-selection process was very deliberate and based on multiple independent cost estimates that took into account more than just historical data.

The service issued a stop-work order to Northrop on 6 November after Boeing submitted a bid protest to at the GAO, citing a "flawed" cost evaluation process. A decision on the protest's merit is due by 16 February, 2016, according to the bid protest docket.

"If they found certain discrepancies, they could ask that we redo some of the factors," says James. "It would not necessarily be a new contract situation. It's too early to say."

Boeing along with its teammate Lockheed Martin say the "fundamentally flawed" selection process did not properly consider the team's proposals to limit the bomber's acquisition cost or its ability to execute the programme relative to Northrop.

Concerns have been raised that the selection relied too heavily on historical cost data, and didn't fully consider advances in manufacturing processes since the costly Northrop B-2 project of the 1980s and '90s.

Northrop, which built the B-2A, naturally contends the LRS-B selection process was "exceptionally thorough and disciplined".
Northrop Grumman

"Although historical costing data was part of the process, it was more complex than that," explains James. "It wasn't that and that alone. We sought a variety of outside peer reviews, outside the programme office and outside the air force, and independent cost estimates – several of them.

"It has been my experience, more often than not, that [independent estimators] do have these pesky things called data and facts on their side."

The last time Boeing protested a major aerospace contract, the air force's KC-X award to Northrop/EADS was overturned and later secured by Boeing.

That 2008 aerial tanker contract was valued at more than $35 billion, whereas LRS-B is worth more than doubt that at $80 billion for development and production of 100 stealth bombers.
A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.