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DoD Quietly Ends Bomber Research Effort

By SAM LAGRONE

The Pentagon told two groups that have been researching the U.S. Air Force’s long-range bomber to quietly close up shop while the service’s leaders stumped on the Hill for a long-range strike capa­bility, according to analysts and defense industry sources.

U.S. Defense Department offi­cials gave the order in the first week of June to the research teams, one from Northrop Grum­man and a combined Boeing­Lockheed Martin shop, said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Arlington, Va.-based Lexington Institute, a think tank.

“For now, there is no program because the contractors are being told to wrap it up,” Thompson said.

Cutting the bomber program was one of the sweeping budget changes that were announced on April 6 by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

More recently, Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley put a long-range bomber near the top of their un­funded priorities list for the 2010 defense budget.

“This is a great disappointment as Northrop Grumman, the B­2 bomber provider, has great insight into this mission and clearly un­derstands the need,” company of­ficials said in a written statement responding to questions about the cancellation of the bomber pro­gram. “From a national security perspective, delaying this capabil­ity will limit the nation’s future op­tions.” Boeing and Lockheed officials declined to comment.

Schwartz and other Air Force of­ficials stressed the need for a new bomber in House and Senate pos­ture hearings in late May and ear­lier this month.

“The bottom line was that I don’t think that our secretary of defense was comfortable with how the Air Force had defined the parameters of this platform. I do not believe that he has misgivings about the fundamental mission of long-range strike,” Schwartz told Rep. Norman Dicks, D-Wash., vice chairman of the House Appropri­ations defense subcommittee, in a June 3 hearing.

Schwartz told lawmakers that the Air Force wasn’t necessarily looking at a bomber per se to fill the role the Air Force is now call­ing “long-range strike.” He said the Air Force’s need for the capability would be addressed in the upcoming Quadrennial De­fense Review.

“The system that the Air Force initially came up with was consid­ered unimaginative,” Thompson said. “That may have had some im­pact.” Details of the bomber develop­ment program have been kept un­der wraps because of the classi­fied nature of the components, Thompson said.

In testimony, House members referred to a $140 million unfund­ed request to keep the program afloat. The unfunded list does not have a line item for the next-gen­eration bomber, but there is a $140 million line item labeled “classified.” ■

E-mail: slagrone@militarytimes.com.

“This is a great disappointment as Northrop Grumman, the B-2 bomber provider, has great insight into this mission and clearly understands the need.”

Northrop statement

edit for quotes

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Edited by OverTQ

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...the B-52 suddenly becomes viable through 2060...

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...the B-52 suddenly becomes viable through 2060...

No shit...can you say 100+years of service?

Don't worry, the bomber UCAV is right around the corner

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I don't know how true it is but there was a rumor that the genesis of the 2018 bomber project was the Navy going to Congress a few years ago and saying that since the AF seems to want to ditch the long-range strike mission by delaying a new bomber, that the AF should go away and all the money the AF was spending on fighters should go to the Navy. The Navy was saying that the AF's raison d'etre'is long-range strike and AF fighters duplicates a Navy mission but the Navy doesn't have to ask for basing rights. The rumor says that very soon after this the AF started up the 2018 bomber project. Given the lack of seriousness with the AF is taking the 2018 bomber thing, there might be some truth to this rumor...

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No shit...can you say 100+years of service?

Don't worry, the bomber UCAV is right around the corner

I'll believe it when it actually happens. Right now the fighter mafia is hell bent on making sure their hobbies (flying Mach 2 upside down with their hair on fire) stay intact over what is better for the Air Force and its future. With that kind of resistance, I find it hard to see how it will advance until that mentality is overcome in the upper echelons of leadership.

Same is true for cyberwarfare

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So no hopes of a B-1R?

I think the new research and development version is coming soon....the B-1RD.

The Navy has a similar program called the C-GU11.

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This just means the Buff is going to live forever...

According to BUFF guys I know, the wings on the BUFF move almost 18 feet vertically from full droop to the opposite extreme. I'm not an Aero engineer, but that much flexing in a metal structure over the course of sixty years just can't be good. One day, the wing tips are going to meet in the middle and the AF will have to start revising their long term plans.

To quote the Commander in Chief "It just isn't sustainable."

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It would be totally ironic if 40 years from now the BUFF ended up being the last of the manned cockpits for those who want to kill the enemy and break their stuff.

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I'll believe it when it actually happens. Right now the fighter mafia is hell bent on making sure their hobbies (flying Mach 2 upside down with their hair on fire) stay intact over what is better for the Air Force and its future. With that kind of resistance, I find it hard to see how it will advance until that mentality is overcome in the upper echelons of leadership.

Same is true for cyberwarfare

The best thing that could have happenned to the B-1 (what's left of them of course), the B-2, and the BUFF is the Global Strike. From what I have heard lately, it looks like Barksdale was selcted...good food and hot semi-cajun women work for me.

Global Strike aka SAC v2.0 will get us the MAJCOM representation bombers need. We aren't fighters and ACC can't understand that or the big-picture strategic use of a single aircraft vs the tactical use of a a shit-ton of pointy-nosers. They mean well, there is just no culture for it in ACC, hence global strike. Flying in Red Flag this week, it's blaringly obvious.

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According to BUFF guys I know, the wings on the BUFF move almost 18 feet vertically from full droop to the opposite extreme. I'm not an Aero engineer, but that much flexing in a metal structure over the course of sixty years just can't be good. One day, the wing tips are going to meet in the middle and the AF will have to start revising their long term plans.

To quote the Commander in Chief "It just isn't sustainable."

Not likely...

The Buff is currently at 50% airframe life right now...2040 is the projected retirement solely on the airframe. None of the aircraft have had/needed major airframe upgrades/replqacements inclduing spars and wing structure-there is a reason why they call it the Superfortress, it's built like a freaking tank.

The wing carries 4 fuel tanks per side and about 50% of our fuel...the rest resides in the midde fueselage. As we use fuel form the wings, we encounter airspeed limitations associated with wing flutter due to the low fuel state. This occurs because Boeing designed the plane as a wet-wing jet, meaning that the wing gains it's strength from the fuel it caries.

Instead of loading our wings with extra crap, they simplifed the fuel tank system and intregrated it into the aircraft structure. Therefore, the load we apply to the wings under stress is far less than if we had said extra crap in it. Goes back to the whole Force=mass*accel....the less mass, the less force, the less strain.

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I think the new research and development version is coming soon....the B-1RD.

The Navy has a similar program called the C-GU11.

Saw a couple of those on the ramp here at Barksdale.

The best thing that could have happenned to the B-1 (what's left of them of course), the B-2, and the BUFF is the Global Strike. From what I have heard lately, it looks like Barksdale was selcted...good food and hot semi-cajun women work for me.

Global Strike aka SAC v2.0 will get us the MAJCOM representation bombers need. We aren't fighters and ACC can't understand that or the big-picture strategic use of a single aircraft vs the tactical use of a a shit-ton of pointy-nosers. They mean well, there is just no culture for it in ACC, hence global strike. Flying in Red Flag this week, it's blaringly obvious.

2

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Guest whyme?

you think being in a Bomber is bad try being in a pred. I never asked to be here and we are the Red headed stepchild from the Husbands brother. ACC hates us, fighter mafia has turned its back on us, yet DoD LOVES us. So the mom and dad hate us but Coach LOVES us. So whatever your suck, pred guys can 1 up you all day long. 45 min drive each way Literally uphill both ways, little dip in the middle, SHIFT WORK! WOOOHOO, zero weekends to speak of, no holidays, leave is a gift not even a privileged, never ending surging, I believe we are still surging from the last surge in 94. The rest of the USAF forgets you are mentally fighting a war 24//7/365 Oh did I mention its like being deployed without any of the pay? But we do get to deploy too. Yeah really cool to fly combat support then go home, till you smoke someone then get to go hug the wife.

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Guest Justshootme
The best thing that could have happenned to the B-1 (what's left of them of course), the B-2, and the BUFF is the Global Strike. From what I have heard lately, it looks like Barksdale was selcted...good food and hot semi-cajun women work for me.

Global Strike aka SAC v2.0 will get us the MAJCOM representation bombers need. We aren't fighters and ACC can't understand that or the big-picture strategic use of a single aircraft vs the tactical use of a a shit-ton of pointy-nosers. They mean well, there is just no culture for it in ACC, hence global strike. Flying in Red Flag this week, it's blaringly obvious.

Agree/Disagree.

GS will give us the "SAC-Attack" mindset back, which will keep us viable as a strategic option probably until the wings fall off the plane in 2050ish. The Bomber will stick around as a strategic deterrent long after they've ditched most of our ICBM's as it is the most visible (and only recall-able) strategic long-range threat.

However, any hope we ever had of getting back into the conventional fight is probably long gone. We bring a lot to the table in terms of persistence/payload/sensor-shooter (with a pod), and we could bring a ton more with a few simple upgrades, but now that we are GS's little kids, that hard-to-get cash is probably a pipedream.

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you think being in a Bomber is bad try being in a pred. I never asked to be here and we are the Red headed stepchild from the Husbands brother. ACC hates us, fighter mafia has turned its back on us, yet DoD LOVES us. So the mom and dad hate us but Coach LOVES us. So whatever your suck, pred guys can 1 up you all day long. 45 min drive each way Literally uphill both ways, little dip in the middle, SHIFT WORK! WOOOHOO, zero weekends to speak of, no holidays, leave is a gift not even a privileged, never ending surging, I believe we are still surging from the last surge in 94. The rest of the USAF forgets you are mentally fighting a war 24//7/365 Oh did I mention its like being deployed without any of the pay? But we do get to deploy too. Yeah really cool to fly combat support then go home, till you smoke someone then get to go hug the wife.

Couldn't agree more. I think Global Strike would be wise to "acquire" those assets

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you think being in a Bomber is bad try being in a pred. I never asked to be here and we are the Red headed stepchild from the Husbands brother. ACC hates us, fighter mafia has turned its back on us, yet DoD LOVES us. So the mom and dad hate us but Coach LOVES us. So whatever your suck, pred guys can 1 up you all day long. 45 min drive each way Literally uphill both ways, little dip in the middle, SHIFT WORK! WOOOHOO, zero weekends to speak of, no holidays, leave is a gift not even a privileged, never ending surging, I believe we are still surging from the last surge in 94. The rest of the USAF forgets you are mentally fighting a war 24//7/365 Oh did I mention its like being deployed without any of the pay? But we do get to deploy too. Yeah really cool to fly combat support then go home, till you smoke someone then get to go hug the wife.

Yeah your life sucks. I mean living at a FOB or COP in Afghanistan for 15 months is way better than having to "drive 45 min uphill bothways" and "having to hug your wife" every night. I sure hope that you dont have to endure this pain too long. How's the buffet at that new casino in Aliente by the way? Its probably way worse than MRE's or the gorment food that KBR feeds us.

I hear ya brother but before you start "complaining" think about how way worse your life could be.

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you think being in a Bomber is bad try being in a pred. I never asked to be here and we are the Red headed stepchild from the Husbands brother. ACC hates us, fighter mafia has turned its back on us, yet DoD LOVES us. So the mom and dad hate us but Coach LOVES us. So whatever your suck, pred guys can 1 up you all day long. 45 min drive each way Literally uphill both ways, little dip in the middle, SHIFT WORK! WOOOHOO, zero weekends to speak of, no holidays, leave is a gift not even a privileged, never ending surging, I believe we are still surging from the last surge in 94. The rest of the USAF forgets you are mentally fighting a war 24//7/365 Oh did I mention its like being deployed without any of the pay? But we do get to deploy too. Yeah really cool to fly combat support then go home, till you smoke someone then get to go hug the wife.

FWIW, AETC seems to love you too. Everyone here at Maxwell praises you.

yeah your life sucks. I mean living at a FOB or COP in Afghanistan for 15 months is way better than having to "drive 45 min uphill bothways" and "having to hug your wife" every night. I sure hope that you dont have to endure this pain too long. How's the buffet at that new casino in Aliente by the way? Its probably way worse than MRE's or the gorment food that KBR feeds us.

I hear ya brother but before you start "complaining" think about how way worse your life could be.

Evidently everyone here at AETC loved their deployment, and they keep wishing they could go back.

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Not likely...

The Buff is currently at 50% airframe life right now...2040 is the projected retirement solely on the airframe. None of the aircraft have had/needed major airframe upgrades/replqacements inclduing spars and wing structure-there is a reason why they call it the Superfortress, it's built like a freaking tank.

The wing carries 4 fuel tanks per side and about 50% of our fuel...the rest resides in the midde fueselage. As we use fuel form the wings, we encounter airspeed limitations associated with wing flutter due to the low fuel state. This occurs because Boeing designed the plane as a wet-wing jet, meaning that the wing gains it's strength from the fuel it caries.

Instead of loading our wings with extra crap, they simplifed the fuel tank system and intregrated it into the aircraft structure. Therefore, the load we apply to the wings under stress is far less than if we had said extra crap in it. Goes back to the whole Force=mass*accel....the less mass, the less force, the less strain.

My beloved B-52. God I miss that sexy bitch!!

Bomber

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Guest whyme?
Yeah your life sucks. I mean living at a FOB or COP in Afghanistan for 15 months is way better than having to "drive 45 min uphill bothways" and "having to hug your wife" every night. I sure hope that you dont have to endure this pain too long. How's the buffet at that new casino in Aliente by the way? Its probably way worse than MRE's or the gorment food that KBR feeds us.

I hear ya brother but before you start "complaining" think about how way worse your life could be.

Nice try BUT

I'd rather be deployed. Maybe it would get some of the guys that don't grasp the war concept to grasp it. Maybe the USAF would have to fund the program. Trouble is we would have to be indefinitely deployed so they cant do that.

So seeing you have the cat by the tail tell me how it would work if you just went out on a patrol and look over and see your bros get blown to millions of pieces. You follow the fu(kers that did it and blow them into a million pieces then go count the parts. Then you go straight home to your wife. So instead of your FOB front gate you go through your front door. I'd rather be deployed... oh and I picked the USAF, which as a flying force can only sustain 4-6 months at a time. YOU picked the grunts NOT me. Oh I do get to be deployed to the same garden spots you do, so S2.

You tell me... sitting in a FOB with the JTAC you are supporting or back here trying to separate your life with war???

I love my job. Just dont sit there and tell me how great it is when you look at your kids while replaying stuff in your head. You haven't deployed if you can't grasp the reasons Deploying to Fight a war is better. Im guessing you have never engaged anything either. You talk from a position of a guy that doesn't grasp what goes on during a fight. The bullets flying is the easy part.

In the Balkans the Aviano guys had the same deal going on. So they deployed guys from other bases to Aviano to fight in the Balkans. Sorry but you detaching yourself from the war makes it a WHOLE lot easier to do you job.

Aliante Station is the SAME as all the other Station Casinos you should know that.

FWIW, AETC seems to love you too. Everyone here at Maxwell praises you.

Evidently everyone here at AETC loved their deployment, and they keep wishing they could go back.

I love the job. I have said I joined to rain hell, and I get to. Nothin better than working with a JTAC and winning the war one 114 and raid at a time. The rest of the USAF would hate to walk in these shoes. Its all the suck of deployment w/o the benefits including the benefits of being with your bros that when you send a little round downrange, you can knock back the brews after and press the next day and never associate it with your family or wife as you are detached from them. If you deployed on the ground or in direct support of the ground... IE the AH-64 vid on Fox News last night, but we could have better graphics or not... you would know exactly what I speak of. This ain't pickling a GBU-12 GBU38 and rolling on home with no thoughts except the clunk of it leaving the jet. Nope you follow the shot from its origin to its finally impact.

Edited by whyme?

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Right now the fighter mafia is hell bent on making sure their hobbies (flying Mach 2 upside down with their hair on fire) stay intact over what is better for the Air Force and its future.

<yawn>

This is such a tired piece of rhetoric that gets towed out every time any community wants to pin the blame of their ills somewhere.

The "fighter mafia" may have been a driving force behind top-level decisionmaking in the 1970s and 1980s, but to use that phrase to describe anything happening in the USAF in the last decade is just asinine and ignorant.

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Really? How about that plan to "replace" the A-10 with the F-35?

Now I don't think that's "fighter mafia," I think that most fighter pilots disagree with the idea. But it sure as hell wasn't a heavy driver coming up with it . . .

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Guest whyme?
Really? How about that plan to "replace" the A-10 with the F-35?

Now I don't think that's "fighter mafia," I think that most fighter pilots disagree with the idea. But it sure as hell wasn't a heavy driver coming up with it . . .

Did you hear spluttering Barney Frank last night on O Reilly? He Said Pay for Healthcare by CUTTING DEFENSE!!!!! Mentioned how the F-22 has no enemies and we are wasting money on airplanes that are meant to fight cold war enemies. When the wars of today and tomorrow will be insurgent wars.

Trouble is that the USAF leadership is fighting with a Congress that is too busy bailing out the people that don't want to work, so we need aircraft that are jacks of all masters of NONE.

It would be nice to have specific airframes for specific missions but those days are gone. We need to pay for healthcare etc. Not to mention all out airframes are breaking at the same time because in the 90s when stuff should have been being R&D'd it was cut to "balance" the budget. So we have nothing.

Welcome to the SUCK. I hate to say this but I can see why the USAF tries to move money like it does. Yeah life in the pred would be EASILY fixed if it was funded like it could be, but the money needs to go elsewhere or we are screwed.

We need a REAL Ground attack A-10 Replacement

We need a Tanker

We need A Bomber

We Need A C-130 Replacement

We need a CSAR replacement

We need MORE F-22s

We are GOING to need an F15E replacement.

We need UAVs to be funded like a real MWS

Guess what we will get? Barely a thing. More with less boys more with less. I am sorry but if you look at my list and don't agree with it... I dont know what to say. This is a MILITARY. We defend this country and we don't need to be taking less and cutting corners. We have that stuff now and shouldnt be consolidating. Unless we can consolidate and increase our lethality or mission effectiveness. If we can't then we need to rethink it or build the specific airframe.

I am starting to feel like the russian pilots must have felt like when the USSR feel. I talked to a few and they said they saw it coming with the consolidating and cutting. Kinda like this.

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