ebj1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 2 Reply 1, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3868 times:
The B-1B is a good airplane but I don't believe it's its capabilities or lack of them that causes a reduction of that fleet. It's a matter of cost. The B-1B has proven in recent years to have capabilities in the conventional role that make it a vital asset in our armed forces. Even with that, the airplane is expensive to operate and it appears that modern strategists are more inclined to think in terms of smaller long range aircraft carrying precision weapons than they are in large long range bombers. Note the number of B-2A's built. There was no money coming forth to build more of them. Look too at the F-22A. The Air Force wanted over 350 but gets 183, if I recall correctly. Look too at the number of weapons the latest generation of fighter-bombers will carry into combat. The F-111 could carry something like 12-24 750 lb. bombs on a mission (dumb bombs, mind you) but carried fewer precision guided weapons. The F-35 isn't designed to carry a large number of weapons but what it carries is precision guided and very effective. Look too at the state of the weapons. The small diameter bomb is being developed, or has been developed, to pack the same punch as a 1,000 or even 2,000 pound bomb because it more precisely hits the target, putting more punch on the bulls-eye rather than hoping a near miss with a 2,000 lb. bomb will get the job done as well.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12968 posts, RR: 79 Reply 2, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3633 times:
No, what is being done in support of the Libyan freedom fighters is as much as can be done, you don't need extra hardware to replicate what NATO is already doing.
Ultimately, the rebels have to do the fighting, however long it takes.
Refinements such as drones and the more recent use of UK and French attack choppers to target what fast jets cannot, to aid the rebels, is sensible.
However, their boots on their ground has to be the decider.
We in the West need to be more patient, frankly it might be better to accept it takes time since this allows more space for a coherent leadership to emerge and be in place once Gaddafi falls - which he will eventually.
Recent history does not support a sudden regime removal with no proper leadership to take it's place - look what happened in Iraq.
The recent employment of the attack choppers is also a sign that NATO has reached the limits of what the fast jets can still do, without risking serious civilian casualties - which is just what Gaddafi and his isolated gang want.
From the politicking side, Capital Hill (Congress) don't seem to have the stomach for opposing fleet reduction. They seem to be more interested in keeping production line open (C-17 for example).
In the case for a long range bomber, the money would be that Congress would more likely support the current US Air force's plan for a future bomber (discussion already started with Boeing, Lockheed and Northrop).
Hard to kill "pork" (oh I mean job creation projects) unless there is a bigger pig coming down the line.
Is it me, or will the B-52 will still be flying after the B-1's are retired?
bikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1918 posts, RR: 4 Reply 5, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3143 times:
Quoting Flighty (Reply 4): But I continue to find drones morally creepy.
The current killer drones are just the latest incarnation to the cruise missile. They just reduce the time between the trigger and the impact.
The scenario that you are dreading would be the ability of the drone to initiate the "kill" order on its own. For now, the moral of killing is still a burden of a live person . . . though thousands of miles away.
Flighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 7960 posts, RR: 3 Reply 6, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3069 times:
Quoting bikerthai (Reply 5): The scenario that you are dreading would be the ability of the drone to initiate the "kill" order on its own. For now, the moral of killing is still a burden of a live person . . . though thousands of miles away.
Well, even if humans are involved in policy decisions like "kill / not kill," it is still more or less a pushbutton action to change regimes in a place like Libya. That is demoralizing for the subjects of our attention. Not only that, I would not be surprised for hostile drones to get shipped into the USA and start some terrible mischief. Or, like I said, a power like China will, like us, soon be able to realize their policy on the ground without risking a single Chinese life.
We are not vulnerable to Chinese tech but non-NATO areas probably will be. And, drones would be a great tool for a cruel dictator to oppress his people as well.