US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

it's quite interesting What's on a B-1B Lancer Aircrew's Wish List? Room for More Bombs
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already can carry more weapons than its
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bomber counterparts.

But thinking about future airmen who will have to
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and put bombs on target, leaders are hoping the B-1B Lancer get a scheduled upgrade to its bomb racks.
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The main reason? So it can carry more than it already does.

"We have the largest payload, we have the speed to get to where we need to get to, we have the loiter time to hang out once we're there," said Lt. Col. Dominic "Beaver" Ross, director of operations for the 337th Test and Evaluations Squadron here at
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, Texas.

The 337th, umbrellaed under both the 53rd Test and Evaluations Group,
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, Nevada, and the 53rd Wing at
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, Florida, conducts test and evaluations for all B-1 offensive and defense systems. sat down with Ross during a trip to the base, and took a ride Tuesday in the B-1B over training ranges in New Mexico.

The aircraft's method of dropping bombs needs work, he said.

"We are getting what's called a BRU-56, an ejector rack [modification] and there's safety reasons for why we're getting it, but it gives us capability," Ross said.

The long-range aircraft has three types of racks that it carries in each of its three bomb bays.

"Where that ejector rack mounts on that eight-carry launcher, it just bolts on there," Ross said. "Our conventional rotary launcher … is what we carry our [GBU-31] 2,000-pound weapons with. It has eight stations on it."

But "there was a failure rate on those ejector racks," he said without elaboration.

Aside from that, there's also a spacing issue. "The B-1 carries the most 2,000-pound [
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s], but we [have to] carry [fewer] 500-pound
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," Ross explained.

When the aircraft was a nuclear platform, the BRU-56 was originally designed to carry nuclear weapons with 30-inch lug spacing, according to the program's solicitation posted on FedBizOps. But the mod calls for more variety in the ejector spacing.

"A modification and upgrade to the BRU-56 ejector rack on the Multi-Purpose Rotary Launcher (MPRL), to include 14-inch lug spacing capability, would contribute to increased safety, quicker sortie generation rates, lower maintenance time, increased reliability, and lower maintenance personnel requirements," the solicitation says.

The variation in ejector spacing is needed because GBU-38 500-pound weapons have tail kits "that are a little bit too long" for some of the carry-racks, Ross said.

Depending on whether the bombs are in the forward weapons, intermediate or rear AFT bay, there must be meticulous rearrangement so they can properly fit, he said.

"They won't fit on the upper station on the 10-carry rack," Ross said. "So it's funny because … we only carry 15 total, 500-pound JDAMs, but we can carry 24 2,000-pound JDAMs."

The BRU-56 modification will expand the rack to carry eight 500-pound JDAMs in each bay, "so it will [be able to] carry the same number [as] the 2,000-pounders," he said.

The upgrade may take awhile. The Air Force has only just started the bidding process, according to the
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, which stipulates roughly three years time to design, develop and manufacture the upgrade.

Currently, the B-1 can carry 75,000 pounds -- 5,000 pounds more than the
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-- of both precision-guided and conventional bombs.

Those bombs include Mk-82 or Mk-84 general-purpose bombs; Mk-62 or Mk-65 Quick Strike naval mines bombs; cluster munitions such as the CBU-87, -89, -97 or Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispensers such as the CBU-103, -104, -105; GBU-31 or GBU-38 JDAMs; AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles; and GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
Saturday at 8:29 PM
Thursday at 3:47 PM

... and Air Force solidifies options for B-52 engine replacement
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now noticed USAF Could Start Re-engining First Two B-52s By 2022
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The U.S. Air Force says the
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B-52H bomber’s 1960s-vintage Pratt & Whitney TF33-103 engine is “not sustainable past 2030” and must be replaced to keep the Stratofortress flying for another two decades, and the first two test aircraft could start undergoing modification by fiscal 2022.

Seventy-six of the Strangelovian Cold War bombers remain in the service’s arsenal and the fleet has been tapped to carry the new nuclear Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) cruise missile.

To keep the colossal aircraft flying beyond 2050 and meet the high power demands for next-generation weapons, a fire control radar and other electrical systems, the Air Force wants an eight-for-eight swap of the original TF33 with a similarly sized, but far more efficient, commercial replacement.

The service is specifically targeting a 20-40% improvement in fuel consumption compared to the TF33 and enough power-generation capacity to support a peak electrical load of 400-500 kVA. The old bomber will require substantial modification, including a new power architecture and full authority digital engine controls. But the service still wants to minimize any impact to the airframe and onboard systems, while maintaining the gross takeoff weight of 488,000 lb.

These and other details were provided to potential engine manufacturers and prime integrators at an industry event Dec. 12-13, 2017, at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

All of the big engine manufacturers attended the forum, including
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, Pratt & Whitney,
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. Other attendees included Boeing, Rohr of
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, L3 Technologies, Omega Air, D-J Engineering,
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and McGill Aircraft Parts.

“The B-52 has a long past and a long future (2050+), but the TF33 is not sustainable past 2030 due to age, obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing sources,” the government says in an industry day slide presentation released Dec. 15.

The document notes that the Air Force is considering the potential purchase of 650 engines, enough to upgrade 76 aircraft, with another 42 units kept as spares. The service will seek 20 engines initially to modify the first two bombers for testing.

To avoid the expense of completely recertifying the aircraft and all of its weapons, aerodynamic changes must be minimized at all costs. The aircraft’s center of gravity also must remain unchanged.

The program plan remains in flux, but seed funding to get started has been provided in the Air Force’s budget for fiscal 2018. There likely will be multiple contracts for preliminary designs and studies, followed by single awards to prime contractors for integration and engine manufacturers for engineering and manufacturing development, and production and deployment.

The service has for the first time released a draft or “notional” acquisition schedule. Depending on which course of action the government decides to take, it will likely select one contractor for the engine and one for aircraft integration, with downselects for both anticipated by mid-2020.

Following an extensive development and testing period with the first two modified aircraft, engine upgrades for the first 10 operational aircraft could start in fiscal 2026, followed by full-rate production for the remaining 64 through fiscal 2028-34. If initiated, this would be the most extensive upgrade in the bomber’s storied history.

The Air Force has been studying engine upgrades for the B-52G/H-series Stratofortress since 1971, starting with “Project Seek Four,” which would have swapped eight TF33s for four larger turbofan engines.

There have been no fewer than nine studies and proposals since then, with interest picking up in the late-1990s and mid-2000s. So far, the
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has nothing to show for its efforts except reams of paper. But with the return to larger-power competition from Russia and China and the planned introduction of the LRSO cruise missile, the Air Force appears to be getting serious.

The leading candidates are Rolls-Royce’s 16,000 lb.-thrust BR725 and
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Aviation’s 18,000-lb.-thrust
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-10. Pratt & Whitney has previously offered upgrades.
Thursday at 10:25 PM
some time ago Jun 13, 2015

now US Navy’s new missile sub cruising for cost overruns, warns watchdog
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related is GAO Report on Columbia-Class Ballistic Missile Submarine Technology Maturity
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From the report:
Additional development and testing are required to demonstrate the maturity of several Columbia class submarine technologies that are critical to performance, including the Integrated Power System, nuclear reactor, common missile compartment, and propulsor and related coordinated stern technologies (see figure). As a result, it is unknown at this point whether they will work as expected, be delayed, or cost more than planned. Any unexpected delays could postpone the deployment of the lead submarine past the 2031 deadline.

Further, the Navy underrepresented the program’s technology risks in its 2015 Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) when it did not identify these technologies as critical. Development of these technologies is key to meeting cost, schedule, and performance requirements. A reliable TRA serves as the basis for realistic discussions on how to mitigate risks as programs move forward from the early stages of technology development. Not identifying these technologies as critical means Congress may not have had the full picture of the technology risks and their potential effect on cost, schedule, and performance goals as increasing financial commitments were made. The Navy is not required to provide Congress with an update on the program’s progress, including its technology development efforts, until fiscal year 2020—when $8.7 billion for lead ship construction will have already been authorized. Periodic reporting on technology development efforts in the interim could provide decision makers assurances about the remaining technical risks as the Navy asks for increasing levels of funding.

Consistent with GAO’s identified best practices, the Navy intends to complete much of the submarine’s overall design prior to starting construction to reduce the risk of cost and schedule growth. However, the Navy recently awarded a contract for detail design while critical technologies remain unproven—a practice not in line with best practices that has led to cost growth and schedule delays on other programs. Proceeding into detail design and construction with immature technologies can lead to design instability and cause construction delays. The Navy plans to accelerate construction of the lead submarine to compensate for an aggressive schedule, which may lead to future delays if the technologies are not fully mature before construction starts, planned for 2021.
Saturday at 8:29 PM
... Air Force solidifies options for B-52 engine replacement
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but Will the B-52 Finally Get New Engines?
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The Air Force reports that it has “initial seed funding” in the 2018 budget to begin re-engining the B-52, after numerous false starts at such an effort over the last 40 years. The project is aimed at making the venerable bomber more fuel efficient, maintainable at a far lower cost, quicker to get to cruising altitude, and able to fly longer or farther.

An industry day was held last week at Barksdale AFB, La. to discuss replacing the B-52’s eight TF33-PW-103 engines with eight new engines providing better thrust, fuel burn, availability of parts, and longer on-wing time between engine overhauls. Representatives from 15 companies attended the event.

According to industry day briefing slides posted on a federal acquisition website, the fact that the Air Force is seeking information on prospective new engines is no guarantee or commitment that it will actually undertake the project.

Representatives from Tinker AFB, Okla., Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and Barksdale, were also present at the industry day. The companies were allowed to examine the aircraft and the engines to get a sense of how much work would be involved in the project. The briefing slides included a notional 17-year plan to gradually reconfigure the aircraft, and it’s expected that the program would ultimately pay for itself through fuel, parts, and manpower efficiencies.

The TF33s are “costly and manpower intensive to maintain,” and parts are becoming difficult to get, according to the Air Force slides. The “bottom line” is that the current engine is “not sustainable past 2030,” but the Air Force expects the B-52 to remain operational through at least 2050.

The service wants to re-engine all 76 B-52Hs with engines offering between 20- and 40-percent greater fuel efficiency, along with better power generation capability for electronic functions. The new engines would have to interface with existing flight systems, and require little modifications to the airframe and its systems.

The proposed requirements call for nuclear-hardened engines and electronics in a package of about the same weight of the TF33s, along with a quick start capability, and new/modified cockpit throttle controls. The Air Force doesn’t want to redesign or replace the existing wing structure, but anticipates a need for new struts, nacelles, strut attachment fittings, and wing spar stiffeners. However, any modifications must not reduce the structural life of the bomber, according to the document.

Industry attendees were told the government plans a “two-step source selection” before choosing a single engine vendor. The first step would be to “identify qualified engine vendors and require them to work with the aircraft integration contractor to develop their integration approach,” according to the presentation.

USAF is considering awarding a firm, fixed-price contract for the first step and asked industry to suggest an “appropriate cost.” During this phase, engine vendors would document technical risks associated with aircraft modifications and the approximate cost for integrating the proposed engine on the B-52. Engine vendors would finalize their proposals in the second step.

The service is considering using 20 engines for developmental testing with follow-on contract options for production engines. The Air Force cautioned attendees not to start work unless a request for proposals is issued.

Speaking at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference in September, service Secretary Heather Wilson said the Air Force was trying to balance the long-term need to re-engine the B-52 with current budgetary constraints, but noted USAF would likely have to make a decision soon. At the same conference, Air Force Global Strike Command boss Gen. Robin Rand said he’s long been a proponent of re-engining, but the bigger question is “where do we find the money, because it will compete against a lot of other areas.”

The Air Force is expected to issue a new “Bomber Vector” in tandem with the 2019 budget proposal. The document will lay out the expected inception and retirement dates, respectively, for the new B-21 bomber as well as the B-1, B-2, and B-52. A draft of the Vector obtained by Air Force Magazine confirmed that the service expects to retain the B-52 in service through 2050.

The Air Force estimates it will cost about $22 billion for upgrades to keep the bomber credible and relevant for another 32 years, but it believes “this figure is offset by $10 billion cost savings from re-engining, which pays for itself in fuel, depot and maintenance costs, and maintenance manpower in the 2040s.”
unimportant post now: am curious about the name
Ben FitzGerald
I noticed earlier today, thought it's obvious typo in Fitzgerald, but it isn't LOL!
(his story is for example inside
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I mean could this be a pseudonym?? LOL or just my English fails
Year in review: Top stories from 2017
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is an interesting collection, but the most important story (OK according to me hahaha) of appropriations to Trump's budget is unfinished
Friday at 5:47 PM
Today at 8:44 AM

"In the current bout of brinkmanship in Congress, the Defense Department could end up having to file a proposed budget for 2019 before the defense budget for 2018 is finally passed and signed by President Donald Trump."
Budget Battles Create More Risk for Military: Shanahan
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Saturday at 2:50 PM
according to DefenseNews Pentagon expects on-time budget for 2019 but Trump’s ‘masterpiece’ will be in 2020
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related, also to what I said right above, is
Trump’s promised military buildup set to begin in 2018 budget fights
Since his first day in office, President Donald Trump has promised to “rebuild” the military by increasing the number of ships, aircraft and ground combat vehicles in the services’ inventory.

Yet defense officials have said the real work on that goal begins in 2018.

Trump’s budget for the current fiscal year calls for increases in troop numbers and some military equipment, but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on several occasions has said the “real growth” in the military buildup begins with the fiscal 2019 budget, the first drafts of which will be unveiled in February.

“We didn’t get into this situation in one year, and we aren’t going to get out of it in one year,” Mattis said during congressional testimony in July. “We’re going to have to have sustained growth in [fiscal] 2019 to 2023.”

Congress still hasn’t settled on its fiscal 2018 appropriations for defense (or any other government departments) and is operating under a continuing budget resolution until Jan. 19. That means before officials can start debating a 2019 military buildup, they’ll have to fix the current budget problems first.

But lawmakers and White House officials have already provided some hints of the work to come. In the 2018 defense authorization bill, Congress called for big end strength increases, including 8,500 new soldiers, 5,000 new sailors, 5,800 new airmen and 1,000 new Marines.

Trump has also publicly promised a 355-ship Navy and at least another 100 combat aircraft for the Air Force.

But all of that will require congressional approval of billions more in defense spending during the next several years. And mandatory federal spending caps remain in place until fiscal 2021.

Trump’s past suggestions of cutting other domestic programs to pay for the increased military might have met fierce opposition from Democratic Party leaders and is a major reason why the fiscal 2018 budget is still unsettled.

The question is whether Trump, in his second year in the White House, will adopt different tactics to boost military spending or whether the same budget fights and fiscal brinkmanship will be repeated in the coming years.
source is NavyTimes
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