B-1 vs. B-2

Message posted by JoeinTX on May 29, 2008 at 22:29:34 PST:

I'm on an obvious tear tonight so here goes.

I have long been critical of POTUS Carter's cancellation of the B-1A in 1977. It was a sign of weakness......a serious hit upon our strategic national defense......a lib/Democrat attempt at curbing our "military-industrial complex."

But, when you learn the dynamics of the time and the behind-the-scenes advances I take a second look. The B-1A was conceived in the late 1960s/early 1970s in the extreme infancy of LO technology coinciding with SAC's decision to move toward the lone low-altitude penetrator carrying multiple munitions philosophy of attack against the Soviet Union. Prior SAC thought was that of a massed at-altitude assault of one/two weapon carrying aircraft en masse.

In the late 1970s, the Carter admin was presented with a B-1A program that looked advanced versus the tests that were being completed with success with the "Hopeless Diamond" and early F-117 testing. Early stealth testing was looking very promising and providing some astounding returns. The Carter Administration, looking at all of this, deemed that the money to be spent on the B-1A was going to the better allocated for the true stealth strategic bomber presented to them by Northrop and Lockheed proposals in the years come. Carry on with the B-52 and FB-111A a while longer until the the ultimate B-2 could take the skies in number.

This seems to be a pretty reasonable and realistic approach to the technology and material at the time. Why have a half-product in the B-1A when a serious system can be obtained using the same money? Having the B-1B today has been an intellectual asset against our enemies if not an economical or operational one.

To be Carter in 1977, having advisors telling me that we have something far better than the B-1A in the works, and that saving money paid on it can be spent later on the ATB in larger numbers...........it's clear to me.

Imagine the billions not spent on the B-1B that could have been allocated to the B-2 or further improvements to the FB-111/other F-111 fleet.


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