US Air Force LRS-B Bomber Thread


Lieutenant General
Registered Member
well the development phase of F-35 is over (almost, there's several hundreds mil still needed but who would mention it), so I guess within several years (in 2020s) we'll hear about its combat actions (not just about so called phenomenal performance at Red Flag etc.)
The F-35 going for to be his little brother :) and right now programm on schedule :cool:

For Istael F-16I one lost in 10 years no scandal even a old SA-5 is capable sometimes down a fighter completely normal ! bla bla bla :rolleyes:

Air Force Brat

Super Moderator
The F-35 is doing just fine IS game changer.

The Zumwalt was cut to 3 ships by foolishness and that changed it...but it will still ultimately be game changer because it will pave the way for the future.

And the LCS will be uparmed and lead to the FF coning after it.

QUite frankly, the 8 years of Obama and his appointees and then the people those appointees hired have been a diaster for the US armed forces. But we will come back from it. We came back from Carter...and then later most of the way bak from Clinton. We will suirvivie the Obama era too.
Careful Bro Jeff! his minions are already protecting his legacy here on SDF,,, he's a hero to some here, LOL.... but you are exactly right on the money, it will take the US DOD a number of years to "fight their way back" from the brink of destruction, and the B-21 will become more relevant now that the threat is ramping up..

Sadly the B-21 is a leftover from the previous administration and their small thinking, I really think it should be at least B-2 size and carry 2 weapons internally!
now Some ‘hiccups’ with engine design, but B-21 on track, Wittman says
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Despite a series of early production “hiccups” with the engines and wings, including an issue with air flow, the B-21 Raider bomber aircraft is
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, according to the chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., said he was largely pleased with the work prime contractor Northrop Grumman has been doing on the bomber program, praising in particular how the company has worked to integrate its subcontractors together to find solutions to early design problems. But he acknowledged there have been a few challenges that have popped up.

“This is an extraordinary, complex aircraft,” Wittman, who has oversight of the B-21, told reporters after a speech at the McAleese/Credit Suisse defense conference held in Washington on Tuesday. “The issue is not that you have these uncertainties. The issue is how you address them.”

Wittman’s comments are notable given the
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surrounding the B-21. The service plans to buy at least 100 Raiders at a price of about $550 million, in 2010 dollars, per copy. The engineering and manufacturing development phase is being carried out under a separate, cost-plus contract that is estimated to amount to about $21.4 billion.

Wittman highlighted several times the challenge of pushing air through the B-21’s engines. “This is a very, very different design as far as airflow, and there have been some design challenges there,” he said.

“Pratt and Whitney says one thing; if the exhaust, the ducting contractor says another thing and says, ‘There’s only so much air we can move through there,’ and Pratt & Whitney says, ‘No, we need a certain amount of air to go through the front of the engine,’ then the question is: How do you do that?” Wittman added.

“Do you split [the requirements] between the two? Does Pratt & Whitney say: ‘Well, we can change some of the cowling [the cover on the engine] on the surface face there to be able to do that,’ ” he wondered, noting this as something that could impact the B-21’s low-observable characteristics.

“It’s not just the engine, but it’s the ducting on the engine, too. I think all those things are elements that you would normally expect in an aircraft that’s new, that takes a concept from B-2, refines and uses it on this platform.”

Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, noted widespread speculation that the B-21 will be a twin-engine, rather than a quad-engine, plane. If that’s the case, early tests may have shown airflow issues that could require the Air Force and Northrop to make tough decisions on trade-offs because “turbines are hot and like large apertures ― two things that stealth hates.”

The B-2 uses four F118 engines, which produce about 17,000 pounds of thrust. Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine, used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and generally assumed to be the basis for the engines used in the B-21, can produce up to 43,000 pounds of thrust, which in turn requires greater air intake. Hence, the cowling for the B-21 engines may require trade-offs between the air coming in and the stealth characteristics.

For Aboulafia, this is ”one of the most complicated parts of designing a stealth plane because there are many variables, but two of the very biggest are stealth and range.”

“The turbine thing speaks to a possible need for compromise. It’s not a deal-killer, but could that impact range? Sure. Range or stealth: Which do you want to compromise on? Or find some permutation therein,” he said. “That’s the real black art of aircraft design ― the trade-offs.”

Other issues

More broadly, Northrop has been challenged to hire “enough engineers” to make sure the design stays on track, Wittman said, adding that the company is working to get an “Iron Bird” mock-up of the B-21 up and running — something that would serve as a physical test bed for some of the design and production elements.

The congressman also indicated there have been some “snags” with designing the wing for the B-21. It is believed Spirit AeroSystems is doing some of the work on the wing in their Wichita, Kansas, facility.

A spokesman for Northrop referred questions to the Air Force, while a spokesman for Pratt & Whitney declined to comment other than to say the company was “proud” of its work on the program.

“The Air Force remains confident in the B-21's progress and in delivering this new capability as planned in the mid-2020s,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said. “While we cannot speak to program specifics, the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office is actively working with the contractor to ensure the program's success.”

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include BAE Systems, working out of Nashua, New Hampshire; GKN Aerospace in St. Louis, Missouri; Janicki Industries in Sedro-Woolley, Washington; Orbital ATK in Clearfield, Utah, and Dayton, Ohio; and Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Though perhaps minor issues, they are notable because part of Northrop’s plan to get the plane from contract to initial operational capability in about 10 years involves an admittedly fast-moving schedule, one the Air Force has raised concerns about. And part of that strategy for getting the bomber out on time involved a
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If those advanced components are having integration issues, even minor ones, it could force lag into an already tight program-production window, at a time when the Air Force is desperate to get the Raider fielded so it can
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the B-1 and B-2 bomber fleets.

“Integration is a problem,” Aboulafia said. “You can save a lot of time with doing subsystems in advance, but integration is always going to complicate things here and there. It doesn’t make it a waste of time to do these designs in advance, but integrating, that’s another issue.”

Overall, Wittman praised Northrop for sticking to an “aggressive” schedule and said the company has been very smart about identifying potential issues early and then working to smooth them out before true production begins.

“I have been impressed with the viewpoint that Northrop has with this, with their willingness to address things in a very timely way to be on top of this,” he said at the end of his remarks. “It is refreshing to see they are tremendously serious about making this happen and that they are holding [everyone on the B-21 team] to this high standard.”
ten more minutes of web-browsing on the train, so here's the story of
Brand New B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Patch Appears on Ebay
Mar 28 2018
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stay tuned, in the evening I'll be on a train back LOL
B-21 Combined Test Force patch has already been prepared at Edwards AFB. Here are some interesting details.
At least officially, there are no existing prototypes of the B-21 Raider, the U.S. Air Force’s next stealth bomber built by Northrop Grumman and destined to replace the
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In 2016, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James revealed the first artist rendering of the Long Range Strike Bomber designated the B-21, at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, that showed a concept quite similar to the B-2’s flying wing design; then, more recently, on Mar. 3, 2018, Brigadier General Carl Schaefer, Commander of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base,
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: “the B-21 is coming to Edwards and we will be testing it here in the near future,” he said in his address at the Antelope Valley Board of Trade and Business Outlook Conference.

The fact that the aircraft will be tested “in the near future” seems to suggest that a prototype of the new platform has already been built or is about to be readied for testing.

Meanwhile something interesting, that might confirm the B-21 is something more than a concept, popped up
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: journalist and photographer
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, has just found a B-21 Combined Test Force patch.

Flying units under the 412nd Operations Group of the 412nd TW are called flight test squadrons (FTS) and the squadron commander also usually fulfills the role of
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“The CTF is an organizational construct that brings together the government developmental test and evaluation personnel (i.e., military personnel and government civilians and support contractors), the operational testers or representatives of the warfighters who will eventually employ the aerospace system in combat, and the contractors who develop and test the aerospace system.

Members of the CTF formulate the test program, develop the criteria for flight test missions, execute flight test missions, analyze data from the test flights and report on the results. The CTF military personnel, government civilians, and contractors all work together as a team. This concept enables a cheaper, faster, and more effective test program and produces a more effective aerospace system for the warfighter.”

For instance, the 411th Flight Test Squadron acts as the F-22 Raptor CFT whereas the 419th FTS acts as the Strategic Systems (B-52, B-1, B-2) CFT. Provided it is genuine, the new patch may suggest the existence of a B-21 CTF dedicated to the new bomber.

Interestingly, the patch features the text “Praenuntius” that means “Harbinger” and the Roman numerals XVII (17) with the latters [speculation on] possibly pointing to a squadron: the 417th FTS, officially inactivated on Feb. 14, 2012, formerly part of the 412th OG at Edwards AFB….

The seller has explained that organizations, personnel and infrastructure at Edwards AFB are all beginning to stand up in preparation for the testing and he purchased the patch there from personnel who are standing up the testing of the new aircraft. We don’t have many details about the aircraft but collectors can get the patch ahead of the unveiling.

By the way, at the time of writing the
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costs $31 (6 bids) but it is probably going to become more expensive…


Tyrant King
USAF eyes more orders as B-21 finishes preliminary design review

  • 19 APRIL, 2018

Northrop Grumman has finished preliminary design review of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber.

The heavy bomber is now moving towards a critical design review, says Lt Gen Arnold Bunch, the air force's military deputy for acquisition during an 18 April Senate Armed Services hearing. Critical design review is the next step before assembly of the first aircraft can begin.

Northrop Grumman has also delivered the first set of software for the B-21 programme, said Bunch.

“We are making good progress,” he said. “I am comfortable today with were we are at, the progress that Northrop Grumman is making on the programme.”

The USAF has released little detail on the schedule for the B-21’s development and delivery, but said the aircraft will be fielded in the mid-2020s. The service plans to buy 100 B-21s, enough to retire by 2040 its fleet of 20 Northrop B-2 Spirit stealth bombers and 62 Boeing B-1B Lancer bombers.

Citing military secrets Bunch declined to say much more about the B-21 programme. However, his USAF colleague, Lt Gen Jerry Harris, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, appeared to indicate that the service may ask for funding to acquire dozens of additional B-21 Raiders.

“We would like to fix the nine squadrons (of bombers) we have right now to give them more airplanes per squadron and then continue to grow to somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 or 16 squadrons that are ready for the mission,” he said.

Because the B-21 Raider is the only bomber in development at this time it would likely be a leading candidate to fulfill that vision of a larger bomber force.
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Schwartz, in Memoir, Says F-22 was Traded for B-21 Bomber

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The top Air Force leadership went along with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ termination of the F-22 fighter—after producing less than half the required number—because they believed they couldn’t win the argument and that getting approval to build a new bomber was more important.

In “Journey: Memoirs of an Air Force Chief of Staff,” now in bookstores, retired Gen. Norton Schwartz said his predecessor, retired Gen. Mike Moseley, “never gave up in his principled attempts to get those 381 F-22s,” for which Gates fired Moseley and the then-Secretary of the Air Force, Mike Wynne. Schwartz was named to replace Moseley, and Mike Donley was brought in as Wynne’s replacement.

Although there were at least a dozen internal and external studies confirming 381 as the right number of F-22s, “I wanted an independent assessment to determine the minimum number,” Schwartz wrote, “and what we came up with” was 243 aircraft. Gates rejected that number too, “even though we had shaved over 35 percent off the Moseley/Wynne demand for 381,” Schwartz said. That difference of 60 airplanes would have cost “$13 billion at a time that defense budgets were being tightened,” and Gates wanted that money for “things like remotely piloted aircraft and MRAPs.”

Schwartz and Donley concluded “the F-22 debate had consumed enough oxygen and it was time to move on,” Schwartz said, and the two were “certainly not going to go to the Hill behind Secretary Gates’s back and lobby for more … That was never going to happen on our watch.” Schwartz acknowledged that some thought this “too pristine a judgement,” and that “anything in Washington is fair, but I say no. I had never been disloyal to a boss and I wasn’t about to start then.” Schwartz wrote extensively in the book about how Gates fought for Schwartz’ nomination to be Chief against congressional resistance.

Gates, in his own memoir, “Duty,” argued that the F-22 was useless in the Afghanistan and Iraq counterinsurgencies, was a Cold War relic, and that a Chinese stealth fighter wouldn’t be along until the 2020s, so nothing would be lost by killing it. In actual fact, the F-22 has been essential in the Syria campaign and China fielded its first operational stealth squadron in 2017. Every Air Combat Command chief since Gates tenure has warned that the F-22 force is far too small for the demands placed on it.

There was “a method to our madness,” Schwartz continued. “We felt that the real coin of the realm was the replacement bomber” and “we had our work cut out for us” convincing a “very skeptical civilian leadership” that the B-1 and B-52 would not last forever, that the B-2 fleet was too small, and that a replacement aircraft, in numbers, was urgently needed.Gates terminated the Next-Generation Bomber—the project preceding what’s now known as the B-21—for what Schwartz agreed were “rational reasons.” The NGB “had grown too big” and was carrying too many missions and requirements. It was to have an air-to-air missile capability for self defense, Schwartz revealed, describing that requirement as “not completely nonsensical” but unaffordable. The attitude was that “cost was no object” on the NGB, Schwartz claimed, and that didn’t meet with Gates’ worldview, “So he cancelled it.”

In explaining the termination of the NGB to Congress and the press, Gates claimed that the B-2’s unit cost had swelled unreasonably and this is why it had been cancelled in its day, but that was exactly backwards. It was cutting the planned 132 B-2s to 20 that caused its unit cost to swell, because all of the research and development costs associated with it had to be amortized across a force less than a sixth as large as had been planned.

Nevertheless, Schwartz and Donley believed there was a “valid need” for a new bomber; an “unquestioned requirement” to provide such an option for a future president, “both for warfighting and deterrence purposes.” Schwartz and Donley had to convince Gates the Air Force “would not repeat the experience of the B-2.” They argued that USAF had to have 80-100 new bombers, and the service would swear to keep the cost as the prime consideration and not break a ceiling of $550 million in 2010 dollars. Moreover, they promised the aircraft would rely heavily on offboard sensors, jammers, and other capabilities to keep the cost down, as part of a system of systems.

“We had to convince him of all of this, or like the [NGB], the long-range strike bomber would be dead in the water,” Schwartz asserted. Ultimately, Gates relented, apparently persuaded that “we as an Air Force could field such a system with discipline.” Schwartz said he and Donley are proud of having “succeeded in persuading Gates” the B-21 would be pursued with “discipline like he had not seen, and so it’s up to our successors to deliver on that promise. The Air Force has to, if it is going to bring this one home.”
according to FlightGlobal
USAF selects three bases to station the future B-21 fleet
The US Air Force plans to station its future Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider fleet at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota; and Whiteman AFB, Missouri starting in the mid-2020s.

The forthcoming stealth bombers will replace B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit aircraft at the three bomber bases. The service hasn't determined which location will receive the aircraft first.

Using the current bomber bases should minimize operational impact, reduce overhead, maximize re-use of facilities and minimize cost, according to the USAF.

"Our current bomber bases are best suited for the B-21," said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.

Barksdale AFB, Louisiana and Minot AFB, North Dakota will continue to host the B-52, which is expected to continue conducting operations through 2050.

The USAF said it plans to make its final B-21 basing decision in 2019 following compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other regulatory and planning processes.

The USAF said it doesn't plan to retire the entire B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bomber fleet until there are sufficient B-21s to replace them. Instead, the aircraft will gradually be phased out of service.
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things-are-great type-of-article
The new B-21 Raider could hit a big milestone this year
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The U.S. Air Force’s super secret
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is gliding toward a major development milestone known as the critical design review, which is set to wrap up by the end of 2018, the director of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office said Monday.

“We’ve been through the
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, so we’re on a path to go into a more critical design and move on with the production of not only the test aircraft, but if I have my way, make sure that we get the development done properly leading up to an on-time start of production,” Randall Walden said at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event. Walden’s office, the RCO, is in charge of developing the B-21 and ensuring the program’s success.

“From my perspective, this is about producing 100 bombers, not about just getting through development,” he added. “Development is a phase that leads into the fielding of this critical need. So my focus is getting the production started, but I can’t do that until we understand what the design looks like.”

Walden also acknowledged later that, while B-21 Raider production had not started, the office had begun component testing and had put a subscale model of the bomber through wind tunnel tests.

He declined to detail the scale of the model or where it has been tested, but noted that there are relatively few wind tunnel facilities in the United States, such as the Propulsion Wind Tunnel Facility in Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee.

“Any aircraft program that’s going to go through development, you’re going to do wind tunnel testing, and we’re no different,” he said.

“You’re going to go from an estimate on a piece of paper and drawings to the right things that it would take to get you to build out the system, and wind tunnel testing is one of them. We’re following that logic because it makes sense from an engineering point of view.”

On Twitter, multiple aerospace wonks, including Jeremiah Gertler of the Congressional Research Service and Tyler Rogoway of The Drive, noted that the wind tunnel tests had likely happened far earlier into the program to enable the first B-21 unit to begin fielding around 2025.

The Air Force wants to buy at least 100 B-21s. It awarded Northrop Grumman a cost-plus engineering and manufacturing development contract in October 2015, which was estimated to have a value of a $21.4 billion in 2010 dollars. The service has said each aircraft is set to cost about $550 million in 2010 dollars, and it is using a separate fixed-price contract vehicle for the production phase.

Warden said Monday that four bomber pilots from Air Force Global Strike Command are embedded within the program office to provide feedback to improve the B-21 and to help relay information to command head Gen. Robin Rand, who meets with Warden every month for a status update on the program.

And although the RCO is located in Washington, D.C., it also relies on engineers and experts from the Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Florida, he said.

Beyond that, very little information about the program is publicly available due to its high level of classification, including the
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Last year, Gen. Stephen Wilson, the Air Force’s vice chief of staff, told lawmakers that the B-21 had completed its preliminary design review and was proceeding on cost and schedule.

And in March, Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, expressed satisfaction with the trajectory of the program, even as he noted that the Pratt & Whitney-built engine was experiencing growing pains.

The issue, according to Wittman, seemed to center around the flow of air through the B-21 engine. Pratt & Whitney has not divulged the model of engines used to power the Raider, but it is thought that the bomber will use a variant of the F135 built for the F-35.

Those engine problems were found as the program began moving from paper design to testing real hardware, and have since been resolved, said Warden.

“Prior to anything being built, it’s predictive. So engineering predictions are made; the moment you start getting some insight into actual lab testing, it informs you to what the answer should be. So once we had that data, it was fairly easy to go: ‘Here’s the path we’re on,’ ” he said.

“We’re in that phase today of getting a good feel for each of the components, how they’re going to be integrated in and the engineering associated with that integration.”