Het nut van een strategische bommenwerper in de 21ste eeuw?

Gestart door dudge, 08/03/2015 | 13:53 uur


USAF's Raider maiden flight


Credit photo: Matt Hartman (@ShorealoneFilms on X)

On 10 November 2023, the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider, the world's second stealth bomber, made its maiden flight. As expected, the Raider, with serial number 0001 and ED code flew from Northrop's facility at the Air Force's Plant 42 in Palmdale (CA) towards Edwards AFB (CA).

Although later than predicted, Raider's first flight fulfills the forecast by manufacturer Northrop Grumman and the USAF that the new stealth bomber would fly before the end of 2023, and clears the way for the USAF to issue a Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract for the bomber.

The Raider, which will most probably receive the B-21A designation, is a strategic bomber under development for the USAF by Northrop Grumman. As part of the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) programme, it will become a long-range, stealth intercontinental strategic bomber for the USAF, able to deliver conventional and thermonuclear weapons. The USAF has the intention to replace its total inventory of Rockwell B-1B Lancers and Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirits by 2040.

Credit photo: SR_Planespotter (TX) (@SR_Planespotter)

Last year, on 22 October 2022, Scramble Magazine wrote about the unveiling of the Raider and Edwards being the planned home of "0001". As a side note, Scramble also mentioned that the B-21 would probably beat the Chinese future Xian H-20 stealth bomber roll-out (and subsequent first flight). Both are now a fact.

Strikingly, no full serial has been released. Scramble assesses that it could be either 15-0001 or 16-0001. Any help with that would be most welcome.

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

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


Rolls-Royce set to complete F130 engine tests for B-52J nuclear bomber

On September 7, 2023, Rolls-Royce announced that it is close to completing the first phase of testing for its F130 engines, designed for the U.S. Air Force's B-52J Stratofortress nuclear bombers. The company plans to conclude this phase by the end of 2023 and initiate flight tests in 2024. The F130 engines are expected to extend the operational lifespan of the B-52 by 30 years.

In September 2021, Rolls-Royce's F130 engines were selected by the Air Force to replace the existing powerplants in the B-52 fleet, with over 600 new engine deliveries expected. Testing has been conducted at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Rolls-Royce stated that it had met its initial objectives and gathered data that would be useful for the integration of the F130 engines into the B-52J. A critical evaluation of the project is planned for early 2024.

The engines will be manufactured at the company's facility in Indianapolis, with total production expected to exceed 600 units.

The new engines are expected to extend the lifespan of the B-52 by 30 years. The aircraft, which first took to the skies in the 1950s, celebrated the 70th anniversary of its maiden flight last April. The modernization will allow the B-52 Stratofortress to remain in service until the 2050s.

This engine is already in service with the U.S. Air Force, powering the C-37 and E-11 BACN aircraft.

Flight tests of the B-52 Stratofortress equipped with the new F130 engines are scheduled to begin in 2024 and are expected to continue until 2026. The U.S. Air Force is expected to receive more than 600 new F130 engines as part of this modernization effort.

The current version of the aircraft is known as the B-52H. After its modernization, the bomber will receive a new designation - B-52J.



B-21 Raider's First Flight Still Set For 2023 After 'Power On' Milestone

The first pre-production B-21 Raider stealth bomber has been successfully "powered on," according to manufacturer Northrop Grumman. The company also says that is still expecting the B-21 to make its first flight later this year. This comes amid concerns about delays and cost growth in the program, which is a top priority for Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force.



Citaat van: Sparkplug op 30/04/2023 | 23:03 uur

Het is handiger om een specifiek deel van een artikel te citeren in plaats van het complete artikel. Dan is duidelijk waar je op doelt en het  leest gemakkelijker. Verder heb je je eigen tekst in het citaat gezet in plaats van eronder  ;)

Vreemd genoeg stond de reactie van mij er niet eens tussen  ;D



Het is handiger om een specifiek deel van een artikel te citeren in plaats van het complete artikel. Dan is duidelijk waar je op doelt en het  leest gemakkelijker. Verder heb je je eigen tekst in het citaat gezet in plaats van eronder  ;)
A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


It?s Official: The Re-Engined B-52 Will be the B-52J

Once they receive their new Rolls Royce F130 engines, B-52Hs will become B-52Js, according to the Air Force?s fiscal 2024 budget documents.

The designation resolves a question that had been debated for several years, as the B-52 undergoes some of the most significant improvements in the H model?s 61-year service life.

?Any B-52H aircraft modified with the new commercial engines and associated subsystems are designated as B-52J,? the Air Force said in justification documents for its 2024 budget request.

The service had been considering various designations for the improved Stratofortress, because in addition to new engines, the B-52 will also be receiving a new radar, as well as new communications and navigation equipment and weapons, among other improvements intended to keep it credible and capable through the 2050s.

Given the number of major changes, Global Strike Command had considered using interim designations??J? model aircraft would have then become B-52Ks.

One of the improved weapons the B-52 was supposed to get was the hypersonic AGM-183 Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), but in the 2024 budget, the Air Force said it?s moving to ?close out? the program after a couple more tests and shift its emphasis to the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM).

The B-52 re-engining project name has also evolved from the Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP) to CERP RVP, for Rapid Virtual Prototyping, the Air Force said in its budget request.

The re-engining effort was launched as a mid-tier acquisition in order to save time and get capability sooner. The program will become a Major Capability Acquisition at the end of the RVP effort, the Air Force said.

The upgrades will also open the door to other changes, USAF noted.

?As B-52 CERP brings additional capability to the B-52, emerging security/certification requirements (nuclear hardening, cyber security, program protection, etc.) will also need to be addressed. Several concurrent aircraft upgrades during the B-52 CERP may necessitate temporary facilities or facility upgrades/ modifications.?

The Air Force is asking for nearly $3 billion in B-52 procurement across the future years defense plan, starting with a modest $65.82 million in 2024 but ramping up to over $1.1 billion each in 2027 and 2028.

Of the overall amount, the Radar Modernization Program alone claims $845.9 million, peaking in ?27 at $271.95 million. Separately?not included in the procurement account?research, development, test, and evaluation associated with the Radar Modernization Program is requested at $371 million, ending in 2026. The RMP procurement funding is to procure 74 radar kits, three training systems kits, and two engineering and manufacturing development kits.

The new radar is a variant of the Raytheon AN/APG-79, an active, electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar used on the Navy?s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter. It replaces the APG-166, which the Air Force says suffers from severe ?vanishing vendor? issues and parts problems that will make the radar ?unsupportable? before 2030.

Besides a dramatic improvement in maintainability, the AESA will add significant new capabilities in search, ground mapping, and electronic warfare. The new radar?s physical footprint is also much smaller than the system it replaces, creating growth capacity in the front of the aircraft. The B-52?s nose-mounted electro-optical blisters will be removed and a new radome installed with the new radar.

The re-engining program is funded for $2.56 billion, all in the RDT&E budget, peaking at $650.5 million in 2025. The program seeks to replace the original-equipment Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines with Rolls Royce F130s. The change is expected to eventually pay for itself through 30 percent better fuel efficiency and elimination of engine overhauls, as the F130 will not need an overhaul for the duration of its expected life on the B-52 wing.

?Along with the new engines, CERP will replace associated subsystems, such as engine struts and nacelles, the electrical power generation system, and cockpit displays,? the Air Force said. ?The development, production and installation of new engines and related subsystems will replace the legacy equipment on all 76 B-52H aircraft.?

Including monies expended so far, the total cost of the B-52 CERP Middle Tier of Acquisition effort will be $1.32 billion, including RDT&E, the Air Force said.

The Air Force expects B-52Js with both new engines and new radars to be available for operational use before the end of the decade.



Rolls-Royce Offers Peek At The B-52?s New Engines Undergoing Testing

The B-52 re-engining saga goes back many decades, but it?s finally happening in the form of Rolls-Royce?s TF130 turbofan.

Now that testing has begun, Rolls-Royce has provided first looks at the F130 turbofan engines in their dual-pod configuration that will replace the outdated TF33 engines currently equipping the U.S. Air Force?s B-52H Stratofortress fleet. Rolls-Royce has offered this imagery as part of an update on the years-long effort to re-engine and modernize the service?s bombers. In fact, the fight to get the B-52 new engines is a saga that dates back decades.

A Rolls-Royce press release explains that testing of the F130 engines under the Air Force?s B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP) is being carried out at the company?s outdoor test facility at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The current round of testing will focus primarily on both crosswind aerodynamic flow and confirming that the engine?s digital controls system can operate as intended.




B-21 Raider makes public debut; will become backbone of Air Force?s bomber fleet


The B-21 Raider was unveiled to the public at a ceremony Dec. 2, 2022, in Palmdale, Calif. Designed to operate in tomorrow's high-end threat environment, the B-21 will play a critical role in ensuring America's enduring airpower capability. (U.S. Air Force photo)

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

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


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

-- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.


New Image Shows How B-52 Will Look After Engine, Radar Replacement

A new image from Boeing shows how the B-52H will look after a series of modifications that the Air Force has said are significant enough to warrant re-designating the aircraft as the B-52J or K. The image was rendered from a digital prototyping model and is likely to closely resemble the final version.

Prominent in the image are the larger-diameter fans of the new F130 engines to be built by Rolls-Royce North America. Also noteworthy are how the engine nacelles, each containing two engines, are set higher and farther forward than the nacelles for the Pratt & Whitney TF-33 engines with which the B-52 has been flying since 1962. The new engines are set higher in part to provide more ground clearance. The need to validate how the new engines/nacelles will behave in relation to the wing and flap system is a major part of the flight testing program set to start in the next two years.

The nose of the aircraft will also be streamlined, losing the blisters that currently house the forward-looking infrared/electro-optical viewing system to facilitate the new radar, a variant of the AN/APG-79 used on the Boeing F/A-18EF SuperHornet. The FLIR/EO system was used for terrain avoidance and battle assessment, but some of those functions will migrate to the radar or already have shifted to either a Litening or Sniper targeting pod, which the B-52 can carry on a wing pylon.

In addition to the engines and radar, the B-52 is getting an updated cockpit, a ?hybrid? analog-digital engine control system, communications and navigation enhancements, and the deletion of one crew member station.

Also prominent in the images are two large humps on top of the fuselage, near the wing roots. A Boeing spokesperson said the humps are ?not new and not part of our program,? but they seem larger than any fairings or blisters now in that area, which house GPS and other comm/nav equipment. Pressed, the Boeing spokesperson said, ?I have nothing for you on that,? a phrase that sometimes indicates a classified issue. The humps? location and size might suggest a larger, anti-jam GPS antenna.

New engines were the major reason the B-52G became the B-52H in 1962, Col. Louise Ruscetta, senior materiel leader for the B-52, said in August.  But given that the combined engine/radar program represents ?the largest modification in the history? of the B-52, a new designation is likely, Ruscetta said. There may be an interim designation because the radar will be installed before the engines and will drive a change in operating and maintenance manuals and documentation. The documents will change again once the engines have been replaced. The Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command are looking at ?how do we define? the new variant or variants, Ruscetta said.

The new radar is an active electronically scanned array type as used by fighters. It will take up far less room than the old mechanically scanned system, so the change will create growth space for electronic warfare functions, Ruscetta said. At least some of the B-52 fleet will be operational with both new radars and new engines by the end of the decade.


Image of New B-52 Cockpit Shows a Cleaner Layout



Er moet toch wel meer mogelijk zijn met zo'n gigantisch vliegende bus in de lucht. Iets van toegevoegde waarde t.b.v. ICBMS.
"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion" US secmindef - Jed Babbin"


Citaat van: Huzaar1 op 29/08/2022 | 13:13 uur
Dus de B52 krijgt een nieuwe oude radar van een gevechtsvliegtuig.

Visie hoor

Aan de andere kant waarom niet !!... is wel een AESA radar, is geen "oude meuk" , wel een flinke stap vooruit.
voor gebruik in de B52 kan die prima.

How the AESA radar is improving the B-52's situational awareness and maintenance time

A key component of the B-52 modernization is upgrading its radar system. Boeing recently awarded Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business, a contract to provide a new radar. The new radar will replace a mechanically scanned system that was fitted to the aircraft in the 80s with a new active electronically scanned array, or AESA, system.

The AESA radar offers a new range of capabilities. The current radar must be pointed in the direction of its targets in order to identify them. The new radar, by contrast, can find targets in multiple directions very quickly, as well as find targets smaller than those the current system can find. The new radar will also enable B-52 crew members to find targets at standoff ranges for the first time ever.

The biggest advantage of the new radar, however, is its reduced maintenance.

"The decision to upgrade the radar was based on increasing reliability as the U.S. Air Force continues to modernize the B-52," said Justin Busse, B-52 radar modernization program director at Raytheon Intelligence & Space.

The AESA can operate for an expected 900 hours before requiring maintenance – far longer than the B-52's current system.



Dus de B52 krijgt een nieuwe oude radar van een gevechtsvliegtuig.

Visie hoor
"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion" US secmindef - Jed Babbin"