A Proposal, of Sorts..

Message posted by Rocketfox on April 16, 2003 at 17:48:21 PST:

So, for the past few months -well before the shooting war- I've been considering an addition to the Armed Forces, that, the more I think about it, has some potential. Try this on for size, and tell me what you think..

Given the nature of Air Superiority, and the swiftness with which we have gained it in the last few conflicts, I had this idea for a "new" bomber. Rather than expending multi-Billions of dollars in research and development, this is a change of role, or an additional duty to an already existing aircraft system. With the recent conversion from area bombing to much more specific targeting of military systems and "pinpoint" or "precision" operations my suggestion is this:

For a relatively small investment {Millions V Billions} It is possible to construct a bomb-handling and dispensing system that fits in cargo aircraft. Yes, that's right, the B-130, B-141, and B-17 Bomber...

This system would consist of a framework that holds the munitions, allows them to be attached to the targeting hardware, and deploys them out the rear of the aircraft, in groups perhaps as large as six, or individually. The particular system I have in mind is, less the electronics suite, self-contained, loaded on the ground, checked out and then loaded and tied down in position on the cargo deck. After the aircraft enters the operations area an extensible system is placed into position outside the open fuselage, and the munitions are "spun up" and released. All done with gravity, springs, and hydraulics. Very little power is needed for this system and cetainly less than the aircraft is capable of producing currently. The system is conformable to each aircraft as it is palletised, and sections can be added or deleted as room in the aircraft allows.

Consider the possibilty: After the SEAD {Antiaircraft Supperssion} flights and the "coast is clear" {relatively speaking} the Cargo/Bomber can ingress, and loiter and operate for extended periods of time with a much greater payload than the current fighter/bomber aircraft are individually capable of. This means that more ordnance is available for a greater length of time "on target" and with the reduction of actual aircraft in a given operation the mission-planning phase becomes somewhat simpler.

Not to denigrate the role of the current F/A systems for there is still very much a need for them in the inventory but the individual aircraft with the individual or paired crews are placed at a disadvantage regarding "switchology" and multiple-tasking that is overcome by crew-served systems. Additionally with a larger crew, there is less danger of "pilot fatigue" and it's attendant complications.

The F/A aircraft we do have would be valuabe both in a targeting/forward observer role, and also can act as a Combat Air Patrol for the higher altitude bombers if the need arises.

Fighter load-outs would change to a more air-to-air configuration, and the decrease in weight by reducing the payload extends the fighter aircraft capabilities in this role

Certainly there is merit in a system that -on estimate- could deliver up to one hunded {or more} munitions per aircraft with precision before requiring it to land and reload. For example the C/B-17 can carry a significant number of weapons and loiter, with relief crews, as long as the fuel holds out, and can go off-station to refuel and return to the operational area faster than a fighter can return to base and reload, refuel and sortie again.

In the bombing of Baghdad we saw an expenditure of munitions that, for short increments was truly impressive. Consider a squadron of larger capacity aircraft that could sustain a drop rate for hours, rather than minutes. The psychologial imoplications alone are worth considering. Bombs "dropping like clockwork" can be very debilitating, as shown in survivors reports from the Second World War from all countries, where waves and waves of bombers were used for all-night raids. There is the opportunity to accomplish the same effect, maximum targetd damage , minimum collateral damage with far fewer aircraft.

It's worth thinking about, and related to this discussion group as a good deal of this would would be well-suited not only for development at Groom but for advanced testing at Nellis...

My original thought was, "if they have to use the C-130 to drop the Daisy Cutter and it's cousin, why can't it srop regular bombs, and how would we go about that ?"

There are, of course other considerations and factors that tie into this, such as the role of the Navy, Combined Operations with forces on the ground, what to do with the B-52, but this is enough for starters.

Finally, what Cargo Pilot didn't really want to be a Bomber/Fighter jock in the first place?

Your thoughts would be helpful..


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