Re: Palmdale wish list.......

Message posted by Magoo on March 27, 2001 at 19:23:32 PST:

This report really appears to be gaining some credibility, as I have now seen it in several reputable aerospace publications.

An additonal 40 B-2s would probably be a very good buy, as it would then negate the need to re-engine and further update the B-52s. As much as I love the old BUFF, the youngest one now in service is over 37 years old, and no matter how many gizmos and gadgets you put in them, they still look as big as a barn on radar!

Another benefit of additonal B-2s, would be the need for fewer tactical attack aircraft (and their infrastructure, e.g. crews, tankers, bases etc) in the F-117 class. The new JDAM and GAM GPS guided bombs with wing kits and JSOW and JASSM class weapons can be dropped from dozens of miles uprange at altitude, meaning the B-2 doesn't even need to expose itself to local defences, thus reducing the risk to it and making it more flexible to war planners. It will be able to hit any point on the globe without the need for refuelling, once the new deployment bases at RAF Fairford and Anderson AFB (Guam) are complete.

With a current fleet of only 21 aircraft, there is little flexibility. One aircraft is semi-permanently detached to Edwards/Palmdale, and is probably heavily instrumented and would not be easily converted back to operational status. Another three to five aircraft could be expected to be in depot level maintenance or undergoing upgrade work at Palmdale at any one time, and then another two to four aircraft would probably be undergoing lower level maintenance at Whiteman AFB. Therefore, it may reasonably be assumed that there would be a maximum of 15, and perhaps as few as 10 B-2s available for immediate operations at any one time. If continual operations of longer than a few weeks are required, this availability rate may drop further.

An additional 40 airframes would not only give the planners greater flexibility, but also extend the service life of the B-2 fleet, perhaps by a decade or more, by reducing the amount of hours each airframe is flown each year, and allowing additonal preventative maintenance to be performed without compromising operational readiness.

At $700M a pop, I know they sound expensive, but over the 30-40 year life of the fleet, the long term benefit to the Air Force would be immense, not to mention that to the local aerospace industries and economy in the Palmdale area.


In Reply to: Palmdale wish list....... posted by zipper on March 27, 2001 at 16:40:19 PST:


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