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The Next Generation Bomber Joke (It's on us!)

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shawn a:
Well, the Pentagon is still pursuing the end of the "Next Generation Bomber Rainbow" by implying that the NGB will not use new technologies, but instead use already existing technology to keep the price at the $550 million level. There goes the supersonic dash capability, and ,I suspect, the directed energy weapons capability.
 One former pentagon official says the price could be as high as $2-$3 billion per copy.
 One analyst feels the buy would have to double to 200 planes in order to replace B-52s and AGING(?) B-2s.
 David Van Buren, the OUTGOING senior acquisition executive for the USAF says the service will take an approach more like the development of the F-117, using technology work already completed. (there must be a good reason why he's OUTGOING) ;)
 However, Winslow Wheeler, director of the Strauss Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information, says "If their model (for development) is the F-117, then they are headed for disaster"
All this from the April 2nd issue of AW&ST.
There is one design issue that makes me wonder--A subsonic, stealthy bomber better damn well attack only at NIGHT!-- This gives any country with an air defense system a serious clue as to when, and from what direction an attack will come. (gotta enter enemy airspace in the dark, attack in the dark, and leave before it gets light).
 Stealth is a "fragile" technology. Well financed potential enemies are surely giving much thought and effort to destroying this fragile advantage.
So, are we all laughing at this joke?
I know china is.

If I remember correctly the "aging" part of the B-2 has to do with some OEM(s) parts (soon) no longer being produced, don't recall if the companies went out of business or they just stopped supporting. I cannot imagine that nobody else in the industry would have a solution. I suppose it's just not worth to keep whatever is required around to fulfill a rare order (fleet size being 20, and then MTBF being many years?) for a big company, but surely some smaller more flexible company can take over. But from the info I read, it seems they wouldn't even go that route and are perfectly fine accepting sourcing problem in order to justify the new bomber?

The other thing aging were the computers and sensors, but Boeing is upgrading those. Just the fact that you can't stick a TGP on it like they did on the BUFF and BONE because it would compromise stealth... doesn't make it need replacement.

Or are we also talking other issues, wing replacement? That's a costly affair, especially on a blended wing design?

Back to the new thing, so basically: they haven't agreed on why it would be better? they don't know what they want? only know they cannot afford a lot of stuff that would make it perfect? Mentioning of F-117... was that another April 1st joke? Or maybe they just means the skunk work way of starting it.

So it will end up overbudget, late, underperforming, and difficult to maintain? That makes it fragile to "enemies within"... congress.

It's difficult to feel good about this one. 200 planes to replace some 80? Is it that pathetic? Or is the analyst taking into account like you have to start high to end up with a decent fleet, like F-22 case?

Clearly there's no funding for new technology, and current tech is pretty powerful if put together and not just bolted on and tied together 20 years too late. So I don't have a problem with that. Subsonic is the answer to keep it on budget, but certainly it limits its potential in a full-scale conflict.

Can't they just put those funds towards reworking the couple of B-2s? And make this thing a mini B-1B that is less costly to maintain? Mixed fleets for multirole fighters in small countries don't make sense... but with these kind of unit prices, why want one type to do all? You can say a lot about the Soviets, but I think long-range tactical bombers to complement the strategic bombers makes a lot of sense, especially today. Translate that to USAF, and there appears to be a gap between F-15E and the bomber fleet. If they would have anything in between (up-to-date of course), it would have done great in the conflict of the past 20 years and saved time on the B-1B/B-52 (plus more retirements would have been possible) and B-2. Or am I wrong? I thought the NGB would do that, instead of being a replacement for the three types (B-1B isn't mentioned, but another crisis and it's gone I suspect as NGB will need the funds).

Some of it is in line with my first impressions when hearing about it, but it seems not everyone is on the same page.


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