Re: It's been along time coming if it is!

Message posted by Magoo on February 01, 2002 at 1:51:58 PST:

I don't think it would or could replace the B-2, but rather supplement it for tactical or mini-strategic precision missions much like the F-111 used to perform. There's little doubt the retirement of the F-111 left a capability gap in USAF ranks. A platform such as the concept we know as 'Switchblade', an 'F-22E', or the perhaps "oversized F-117" Joerg saw last year could be what they're looking at fielding in the next decade to take over from the F-117, F-15E, F/A-18C/D and other 70's and 80's generation tac bombers, and complement the F-35 and B-1 (if either of those programs survive!).

It would probably be somewhere in between the F-22 and B-1 in weight class (around 90-110,000lb gross), have 35-40,000lb thrust class engines, be able to supercruise (supersonic without afterburner), be quite stealthy with a large internal weapons capability and passive sensors, and have a comprehensive onboard EW self-defence suite.

The current B-2 fleet will be around for some time yet, but the jet was designed in the early 1980's and whilst not yet obsolete, is no longer cutting edge either. The avionics, sensors, weapons, and parts of the stealth 'applique' can all be updated over time, however the basic aerodynamics, engines and other 'backbone' systems are pretty much fixed for the life of the aircraft. A new build run of B-2s wouldn't offer much of an advance except really to extend the life of the current fleet in the longer run. People often talk about the B-2 costing $2 billion a pop, but when you look at the advances in LO and passive sensor technology that has evolved from that program, then that cost can be spread alot thinner.

With the new generation of stand-off weapons coming on line in the next few years (JASSM etc), the good 'ol B-52 and the B-1 will still be potent bomb trucks able to launch precision weapons from out of harms way. JASSM, JSOW, JDAM-ER and other precision stand-off weapons will also be able to be carried by F-16, F/A-18 and other tac jets.


In Reply to: Re: Something NEW coming.....?? posted by gary on January 31, 2002 at 17:22:26 PST:


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