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

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shawn a:
Well, folks, How about that NGB? Oh, excuse me, it's now called "the Long Range Strike Concept"
"Originally to be a manned, stealthy, subsonic, nonnuclear bomber ready for service in 2018, it is now proposed to be an optionally-manned, supersonic, more surveillance than strike oriented, and not on the ramp until the LATE 2020s" This is according to AW&ST
Is the US Air Force now wandering aimlessly like NASA?
I KNEW the damn thing had a snowball's chance in hell of being ready by 2018, even if the original concept was adhered to. Now the whole concept has changed, and in my opinion will change again before "metal is cut".
Don't get me started on the "Tanker Joke"!

F-111 C/C:
Think they'll call it the B-3? I say save the money and utilize what we have. The fact that the B-52H is still around is a PERFECT example of being able to adapt the mission without building a new platform. I say upgrade the B-1s and B-2s to get lifespans out of them like the B-52.

shawn a:
I like the B-1, even with it's complexity. But it seems to be a hassle to maintain.
The B-2 is like a bat--in more ways than one. Useless in daylight, but hard to see at night.
The -52 is a great platform in SECURE airspace.
The NGB will supposedly have directed energy weapons as part of it's repertoire.
The "optionally manned" part is worriesome to me. Does that mean 2 different models?
I see the directed energy weapons as possibly being used as a method of self defense. The ABL just shot down a couple of targets, but the real useful laser will be the solid state variety, the kind that was fired from a Herk recently. If the NGB takes until the "late 2020s", then directed energy weapons will most definitely be aboard.
Electronic attack should also be aboard the plane. I wonder if enemy planes will be susceptible to a form of EA that would render their guns useless, or maybe just turn the whole darn plane off, or maybe just activate the enemy's ejection seat! The B-2 could use that kind of stuff. (Actually, I hope it has that kind of stuff on it now).

Webmaster:
Good points. I sometimes wonder if the B-1B fleet would have gotten just as much love as the B-52/KC-135, whether there would be as much complaints. Also, the article "lemon bombers" or something is now dated with the B-1B fully adapting its new role and logistical issues sorted (I think). The Bone has kicked butt since after Desert Storm, nevertheless it's still remembered/known as the big bomber that couldn't, just because it was not yet ready for conventional warfare and its complicated EW system didn't quite work. But this had such a big impact, that it became popular to talk down the B-1B. Yes, it's complicated and thus costly, but is it really compared to for example the B-2? B-52 is a workhose for sure, but we should not forget the limitations. And yeeha, the B-1B got Sniper now, it's basically doing CAS nowadays with its huge payload!

The original 2018 bomber draft almost sounded to me like either a FB-111-gone-stealth, or simplified B-1B type, also I thought about a more basic concept similar to the P-8. Either way I got excited, been a while since we've seen a really new bomber. But I was already regarding 2018 as first flight date at the most optimistically possible scenario. But now it all got changed, it looks to me they want that FB-22. Or just that Darkstar thingy or whatever it's called. Ah well, basically they end up with something as expensive and complicated as the B-1B, as costly to maintain as the B-2 probably, so let's hope it will at least be useful. Better investment than Star Wars imho, but still questionably. I suppose you can always cancel it if there's no need, then shelve it, and then redo it 10 years later.

So mixed feelings, not expecting much, definately not soon or exciting, but enthusiastic about the fact that we'll have a new bomber to explore, probably the last to be manned (even though optionally is the design aim).

What do you think is the ETA on the first "cost overruns" article? 2014?

F-111 C/C:
Have faith! These things always come in on time and under budget ;D ;D

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