US Air Force LRS-B Bomber Thread


Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
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  • #61
We had posts and articles about the protest on Friday, and then again on Saturday. We do not need a new article everyday about the protest. We coud find dozens of them.

We know it is happening, it was not unexpected, so let's see what comes of it.

In the mean time, discuss the design of the aircraft that has been accepted at this point.

Thanks.

DO NOT RESPOND TO THS MKODERATION.
 

Brumby

Major
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Advocates Call For 200 Next-Generation Bombers

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and analysts renewed calls Wednesday for the Pentagon to build significantly more next-generation bombers than currently planned, arguing that the Air Force needs a fleet of 200 advanced bombers to project power in a more dangerous world.

In study released today by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller made the case for the Pentagon to procure a modernized bomber force of 200 aircraft by 2045.

“America desperately needs to rebuild its bomber force, starting with the [Long Range Strike Bomber] and then moving forward,” Moeller said. “100 new bombers, the analysis finds, is not enough.”

The Air Force plans to buy 80-100 LRS-Bs to replace the service’s aging B-1 and B-52 bombers, a number many advocates have decried as insufficient. The 100 LRS-Bs, plus the 20 existing stealth B-2 bombers, will not be enough to meet future threats, Moeller argued.

“Limiting production of the new bomber, LRS-B, to 100 airframes would severely decrease the options available to national decision-makers during times of crisis or periods of instability,” Moeller wrote in the study. “A modernized bomber force of 200 aircraft will sustain America’s asymmetric advantage in long-range precision strike for decades to come.”

Moeller left open the question of exactly what aircraft would make up the 200-bomber force. The future fleet could be entirely made up of LRS-Bs, or could include some combination of LRS-Bs, upgraded B-2s and whatever comes after LRS-B, he said.

Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, former deputy chief of staff for ISR, has said the Air Force needs to build 174 LRS-Bs: Airmen need 12 combat-coded aircraft for each of 10 squadrons, plus another 30 dedicated to training and testing; on top of that, the service needs another 24 aircraft for backup and attrition reserve.

Sens Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., as well as Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and Del. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam, also spoke at the event.

Rounds expressed concern that the Pentagon is shortchanging its future bomber force because of budgetary challenges.

“Analysis has consistently shown the Air Force needs 150 to 200 combat ready bombers, a figure far beyond the less than 100 bombers currently available for operational missions, and far beyond the 80-100 bombers envisioned by the Defense Department for the future force,” Rounds said. “Is their calculus national security or is it budget driven? I personally am convinced that it is budget driven.”
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
Now I'd be extra mad if I was Lockheed/Boeing for losing this contract if these calls for more bear fruit with changes to the original call for 80-100 bombers. Also wouldn't more, say 200, bring down the price per a/c down a whole lot more?
Good points about LRS-B, they would of course like to seem more LRS-Bs, but they leave open that up-graded B-2 could help fill that gap??

We have also seen the first tactical use this past week of the TU-160 conducting long range strikes against ISIL in Syria, this is in part a show in force, as well as a good will gesture, as the Russians did in fact alert the US to the mission and the aircraft given their strategic nature.

The loss of that Russian airliner, and the attacks in Paris have once again pulled the principles together for a change, and reminded them that ISIL is a common enemy, and very dangerous, with a deranged ethos that sees everyone as a threat who doesn't "wear your brand"?? This renewed togetherness is another opportunity to learn something profound, but at least for today it is pulling us together once again against heartless killers, who see themselves as "holy warriors"?

That the Russians have chosen to use the Tu-160 is illustrative of what long range strike is all about, having the options to hit targets, assess and hit them again if necessary.

I would remind everyone, that many of the B-2 missions launch from Whiteman AFB here in the heartland of the US, as well B-2s and B-52s fly some very long range missions routinely. This is the FIRST long range strike by a TU-160, they almost always us the Tu-95s and their derivatives for these long range patrol.
 
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Brumby

Major
Now I'd be extra mad if I was Lockheed/Boeing for losing this contract if these calls for more bear fruit with changes to the original call for 80-100 bombers. Also wouldn't more, say 200, bring down the price per a/c down a whole lot more?
Clearly it would but that is not the main reason for proposing a 200 unit requirement. The Mitchell report goes into the details. Firstly a 100 unit force is insufficient given the task ahead and the report lays out the reasoning. Secondly, a LRSB is the most efficient and effective delivery platform per aim point in an A2AD environment. This is the most effective proposal I have seen to-date against an A2AD threat. Lastly, it is about loiter capability.

I would remind everyone, that many of the B-2 missions launch from Whiteman AFB here in the heartland of the US, as well B-2s and B-52s fly some very long range missions routinely. This is the FIRST long range strike by a TU-160, they almost always us the Tu-95s and their derivatives for these long range patrol.
The important case being made is not just the long range strike but the capability to deliver it in an A2AD environment.

An illustrative comparison using an air strike package example in the 1991 Iraqi war where a force of 75 planes were needed to hit 16 aim points but would only require 1/5 of a B-2 to do the same job (assuming if it was configured to deliver 80 PGM's).

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this Thread, I guess:
Opinion: Stealth Matters
The
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. Like other recent big defense contracts,
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. But it’s a good bet the Air Force source selection was a sound one. Why? Because stealth matters.

As a submariner I fully appreciated the value of stealth—critical to the long-term undersea competition during the Cold War. To maintain a competitive advantage during that contest of low observability, the U.S. Navy ensured not only that each new class of submarines was quieter than the previous class, but also that each ship within the class was quieter than the ship before it.

The submarine I commanded in the late 1970s had an acoustic advantage over the potential adversary of 40dB—a 10,000-to-1 ratio of our sound to someone else’s noise. Practically, this could be expressed as being able to hear the adversary’s submarine 100 miles away while he could hear me only at a distance of a mile. That is the kind of unfair advantage one likes to bring to a military competition.

U.S. submarines have been made quieter during their lifetime, being stealthier when decommissioned than when they were brand new, but they eventually reach intrinsic technical limits for further refinement, making the next generation of platforms necessary.

During the platform’s lifetime, however, the special skills and techniques required to not only maintain stealth, but also to improve it, were developed through great effort. There is an analogy between stealthy submarines and stealthy aircraft here, as I understand that similar processes were developed and applied by Northrop Grumman to its B-2 Spirit bomber.

Six of the seven submarines I served on, including the one I commanded, were designed by General Dynamics Electric Boat. The one that wasn’t had to be significantly modified by Electric Boat during construction to substantially improve its safety and combat effectiveness. So there were some “unquantifiable intangibles” making this contractor the “go to” source for U.S. submarine designs.

Those intangibles have been made more real in the current partnership between Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries with their highly successful delivery of Virginia-class attack submarines (SSN-774) earlier than scheduled and below projected cost. It is also historically demonstrable that these unquantifiable intangibles tend to be volatile in nature, and atrophy if left unused. When U.S. shipyards other than Electric Boat became re-involved in nuclear submarine construction after a hiatus of many years, it took a considerable amount of help from Electric Boat for them to regain their expertise. This same story played out when the United Kingdom got back in the attack submarine construction game with their Astute class. There is no substitute for broad experience in designing, developing and maintaining all-aspect low observability when it comes to selecting the manufacturing source. In major acquisition programs such as a new submarine or new bomber, one wants to minimize invention and capitalize on innovation.

Moreover, even the best designed and precisely manufactured stealthy platform—well maintained and fitted with evolving technical improvements—will eventually need to be replaced by a newer design incorporating current technologies that cannot be “backfitted” to the older units.

Although no then-existing anti-submarine warfare capabilities were effective against my ship when I was the skipper, a platform similar to it would be very much at risk in today’s environment. Again, an analogy with long-range combat aircraft is appropriate. Recently, Russia responded to Turkey shooting down a Russian aircraft (it allegedly violated Turkish airspace) by moving an S-400 surface-to-air missile system into Syria. Reports credit that system with the capability to engage aircraft out to 250 miles, and claim it is deadly against all NATO aircraft except the stealthy B-2 and F-22. Unfortunately, that can’t be said about the air-defense systems of a decade or two from now. Since the threat doesn’t remain constant, neither can the required capability to defeat it. That’s the task facing the builders of the LRS-B.

As a citizen I want the nation to have credible systems in its defense portfolio. As a taxpayer, I would like that portfolio to be funded in an affordable manner. As a former stealth warrior, I would like to hire the people who know how to design and maintain low-observable combat platforms. Stealth as a force multiplier has more than adequately proved itself both in the air and under the surface of the sea, and is an indispensable capability in carrying out critical missions against increasingly sophisticated threats. Every ounce of my experiential intuition as a stealth operator says that the best chance of obtaining a credible and affordable product is to have the manufacturers of the second class of stealth bombers be those who produced the first.
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FORBIN

Lieutenant General
Registered Member
Clearly it would but that is not the main reason for proposing a 200 unit requirement. The Mitchell report goes into the details. Firstly a 100 unit force is insufficient given the task ahead and the report lays out the reasoning. Secondly, a LRSB is the most efficient and effective delivery platform per aim point in an A2AD environment. This is the most effective proposal I have seen to-date against an A2AD threat. Lastly, it is about loiter capability.



The important case being made is not just the long range strike but the capability to deliver it in an A2AD environment.

An illustrative comparison using an air strike package example in the 1991 Iraqi war where a force of 75 planes were needed to hit 16 aim points but would only require 1/5 of a B-2 to do the same job (assuming if it was configured to deliver 80 PGM's).

View attachment 22054
Interesting chart 16 fighters bombers do now with PGM the job of 32 before but the problem is the Fleets have were reduced more than that and you can get more sophisticated armament you need a minimum... now reached almost exceeded mainly in Western Air Services !
 

Brumby

Major
Northrop Bomber Award Upheld After Lockheed-Boeing Protest

Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. lost their challenge to the Pentagon’s choice of Northrop Grumman Corp. to build a heavy bomber valued at about $80 billion.

The Government Accountability Office denied the protest filed by the two biggest U.S. defense contractors, the agency said Tuesday. The companies could still pursue the dispute in court, and Boeing suggested it may do that.

Northrop shares rose 1.5 percent to $183.91 at 2:46 p.m. after earlier climbing 2.6 percent. The contract represents an $80 billion to $100 billion sales opportunity for Northrop over the next two decades, with the majority of the earnings benefit coming in the mid-2020s and 2030s, according to Jason Gursky, an aerospace and defense analyst with Citigroup Inc.


Northrop, shut out of prime contracts for U.S. warplanes since the B-2 in the 1980s, was chosen by the Air Force in October to produce the military’s first new bomber since the Cold War and one of the biggest U.S. weapons systems of the next decade. In response to the GAO decision, the Air Force is lifting a stop-work order imposed on Northrop when the the protest was filed, service spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

Investors had expected Northrop to prevail and “some of this good news was already priced” into its shares, Gursky said in a note to clients Tuesday.

‘Best Value’
While Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James called Northrop’s proposal for the Long-Range Strike Bomber “the best value for our nation” in October, Lockheed and Boeing sought to keep their joint bid alive by
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with the GAO the next month.

The agency serves as arbiter of federal contract disputes, although the original contract decision can be challenged in court even if the GAO rules it should be upheld.


“We continue to believe that our offering represents the best solution for the Air Force and the nation, and that the government’s selection process was fundamentally and irreparably flawed,” Chicago-based Boeing said in a statement. “We will carefully review the GAO’s decision and decide upon our next steps with regard to the protest in the coming days.”

Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, said the company had no comment beyond Boeing’s statement.

The GAO decision “confirms that the U.S. Air Force conducted an extraordinarily thorough selection process and selected the most capable and affordable solution,” Randy Belote, a spokesman for Falls Church, Virginia-based Northrup, said in a statement.

‘No Basis’
The GAO said in its statement that it “found no basis to sustain or uphold the protest,” concluding that the Air Force’s “technical evaluation, and the evaluation of costs, was reasonable, consistent with the terms of the solicitation, and in accordance with procurement laws and regulations.”

A decision by the GAO to overturn an award is rare but not unprecedented: Boeing won a reversal on an aerial tanker contract awarded to Northrop and the European parent of planemaker Airbus in 2008. Boeing secured the contract in 2011 after fresh bidding.

The Air Force looks “forward to proceeding with the development and fielding of this critical weapon system,” Secretary James said Tuesday in a statement underscoring that the new bomber is intended to replace aging aircraft as the air component of the nation’s land-sea-air nuclear triad.

Almost everything about the new plane, including its likely shape and specific capabilities, is classified. It will join the B-2 in the Air Force fleet and is due to be deployed in the mid-2020s as the successor to the 37-year-old B-1 and the Eisenhower-era B-52. The Air Force wants a durable, stealthy aircraft that can fly deep into enemy territory to attack hidden or mobile targets.

The competing contractors have sniped at each other’s ability to keep the bomber’s cost from soaring as other major weapons systems have.

Risk Cited
The GAO review focused on whether the Pentagon followed its own criteria in the bomber contest, not on Northrop’s ability to deliver the plane on budget, said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, which has received support from Boeing and Lockheed.

“The Air Force accepted a bid that was far below its estimates for what the bomber’s development should cost, so that implies a considerable amount of risk going forward,” Thompson said.

The Air Force has budgeted $12.1 billion through fiscal 2021 for research on the bomber, including $736.2 million this year, with projected increases to $1.3 billion in fiscal 2017 to $3 billion in 2021. The Air Force hasn’t disclosed how much it will spend on procurement.

The Air Force’s selection of Northrop was seen as a blow to Boeing’s efforts to find new military contracts to replace its F-15 and F/A-18 fighter jet assembly lines, which are approaching the end of production.
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FORBIN

Lieutenant General
Registered Member
100 days dudes :)
Protest finished and the good news come Northrop can start now ! i want 100+ :cool:

GAO Denies Boeing’s Protest of Bomber Contract; Northrop Gets Back to Work

WASHINGTON — The Government Accountability Office has denied Boeing’s protest of the US Air Force’s decision to award Northrop Grumman a contract to build the Long Range Strike Bomber, allowing Northrop to move forward with engineering and development work after a three-month delay.
"GAO reviewed the challenges to the selection decision raised by Boeing and has found no basis to sustain or uphold the protest,"
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. "In denying Boeing’s protest, GAO concluded that the technical evaluation, and the evaluation of costs, was reasonable, consistent with the terms of the solicitation, and in accordance with procurement laws and regulations."

Northrop had hit pause on LRS-B work after Boeing and partner Lockheed filed a bid protest with the GAO Nov. 6 over the Oct. 27 contract award. But now the company can move forward with engineering and development work, in anticipation of a tentative 2025 date for initial operating capability. The contract, the largest military aircraft contract since Lockheed won the F-35 joint strike fighter more than a decade ago, is expected to top $55 billion over the life of the program.

“Northrop Grumman is pleased that the [GAO] has denied Boeing’s protest and reaffirmed the Air Force’s decision to award Northrop Grumman the [LRS-B] contract,” according to a statement by Randy Belote, company vice president of strategic communications. “This confirms that the U.S. Air Force conducted an extraordinarily thorough selection process and selected the most capable and affordable solution.”

The Air Force has allotted about $12.1 billion in research, development, test and evaluation funds for LRS-B over the next five years, according to the service’s fiscal 2017 budget request. This figure is about $3.5 billion less than the Air Force had planned for last year, a delta that reflects an updated cost estimate since the service awarded Northrop the contract

Boeing will review the GAO’s decision and decide on its next step in the coming days, according to a company statement following the announcement.

“We continue to believe that our offering represents the best solution for the Air Force and the nation, and that the government’s selection process was fundamentally and irreparably flawed,” the Boeing statement reads. “Given the significance of the LRS-B program, it could not be more critical that the government procure the most capable bomber to serve the warfighter, at the greatest value to the American taxpayer."

GAO decisions can not be appealed, but Boeing can choose to bring its case before the US Court of Federal Claims.

"This is an important program for the future with significant dollars involved, and it's possible that — particularly for Boeing — that they may want to proceed to court," said Jeff Bialos, a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, who previously served as the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial policy. "If you are Boeing, I don't see a lot of downside in not appealing, in not going to court. There are such high stakes riding on this."

Even if Boeing takes the case to court, it is unlikely Northrop will have to stop work on LRS-B again, Bialos said.

At the time the protest was filed, Boeing and Lockheed called the selection process for the LRS-B “fundamentally flawed” in a joint statement, taking issue specifically with the cost evaluation performed by the government. But the companies faced long odds of a successful protest. As a recent annual report on the defense acquisition system noted, only around 2 percent of defense protests were actually upheld in 2013, the last year data was available. This rate is lower than the overall federal rate for that year, which was just under 4 percent.

Additionally, the Air Force, clearly eager to avoid a repeat of the decade-long tanker saga when a Boeing protest eventually reversed the original award to Airbus, took great pains to insulate the LRS-B award.

The Air Force was confident the source-selection team followed a “deliberate, disciplined and impartial process” to determine the winner of LRS-B, according to a Feb. 16 Air Force statement.

“We look forward to proceeding with the development and fielding of this critical weapon system. This platform will offer the joint community the required capability needed to meet our national security objectives and the evolving threat environment,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James in the statement. “It is important to ensure affordability in this program and the ability to leverage existing technology as we proceed forward.”

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