AerospaceFan
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"Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:26 am

Someone in one of the other threads mentioned that if we wanted to build more strategic bombers, then we'd probably build B-2 Spirits based on the lack of of B-1 Lancer machine tools, which I presume the poster means have been destroyed some time after production ended. B-52 machine tools must have been scrapped long ago.

Now, the B-2 is great, and I've seen it on TV doing flyovers during the Rose Parade. But it doesn't have the payload of the B-52 or the B-1, as I recall, and its Stealth features aren't as needed in operations involving the smaller, anti-terrorist conflagrations that are likely in the future.

So, all in all, in that sense, it's a disappointment that we don't have the ability to build the likes of the B-52 any more.

Nevertheless, what kind of "surge" capability do we have to build more strategic bombers, and is it worth it to build more B-2's, or should we go for a new design, which could take years just to blueprint?

I'm not sure the production lines for the B-2, even if they were restarted, could manage more than 1 or 2 a month. That's up to 24 a year under this theory. Maybe even that is unrealistic. In a total emergency, maybe they could double that, but I sort of doubt it.

Recalling that the Air Force built 744 B-52's between the start of production in the 1950's until 1962 (only to destroy 365 of them in 1991, leaving us with only 85 active B-52's and 9 in reserve), I really don't know that we're better off today from a defense industrial point of view than twenty years ago. The average rate of B-52 production appears to have been around 80 a year -- and although this was during the Cold War, it wasn't considered a "surge" at the time. Compare that with maybe 24 a year for the B-2 based on an urgent need for new bombers.

Am I being pessimistic, or has our industrial plant really deteriorated this badly?

I guess they could build more B-2 factories, but that in itself would require some time.

And before anyone questions the need for any "surge" capability, what about potential threats posed by China over Taiwan, or even a revanchist Russia under an increasingly authoritarian Putin?

[Edited 2006-01-01 16:30:48]
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GDB
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:34 am

No.
You don't need fleets of strategic bombers anymore.

The US has plenty of SLBM's (Trident D5 is very accurate), ICBM's too.

The remaining, mostly conventionally armed, B-52's, B-1's, B-2's provide all that is needed.
I'm betting the mooted replacement for them in 2030-40, which is what is planned, will be some kind of UCAV and/or impactor deployed from sub-orbit.
 
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:42 am

I think we still have strategic bombers equipped with nuclear weapons, don't we? They're the third leg of our strategic triad.

Also, if we don't need bombers, why would Defense Secretary Rumsfeld have pushed for them a few years ago, I wonder?

And, I know you haven't mentioned them, but there is the issue of cruise missiles. In recent wars, the Tomahawk got most of the glory in this regard, but the second variety of cruise missile, the AGM-86B, depends on a bomber platform. It was the 86B that constituted the backbone of our cruise missile-based strategic deterrent. No bombers, no missile. They can't be launched by any other means.

[Edited 2006-01-01 16:48:41]
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dl021
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:27 am

The need for bombers is not for nuclear delivery. Our B-1 force was the last of the full time nuclear delivery vehicles (they were unable to participate in our first Gulf War because they were on nuclear alert) and we still maintain the ability to deliver weapons by airplane, but our main delivery systems are missiles, both land and sea based.

The tomahawk is not the primary nuclear missile, that would be the ALCM and the Air Force has those in the inventory, but even those are more useful as CALCMs (conventional) because they are fast and have excellent payloads.

You have to remember that bombers were important when we could not accurately deliver weapons within a necessary CEP with any reliability at long range. After that they were kept alive more for political reasons than strategy, plus they kept the USSR spending lots of money on their PVO Strany while we did not have to build thousands more to keep our threat up.

We do have the ability to build more nuclear capable strike aircraft in St. Louis, but war nowadays would not give us time to build more airplanes.

Any nuclear conflict would be over in days if not hours....this is not the second world war we are planning against. If nuclear war comes it will be fought with what we have right now. Luckily I don't think it's coming, as the main threats now to the world don't have enough to be more than terrorists or threatening to their neighbors. Russia has zero intention of launching its own self immolation, as do we.......

Maybe you should take a minute and consider this while debating the points of strategic bombers. We certainly could use some more, but can we spend the money elsewhere more effectively?
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:36 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 3):
The need for bombers is not for nuclear delivery.

I do realize that. Perhaps I should have said "long-range heavy bombers", instead, since "strategic bomber" equates to nuclear-equipped aircraft.

Now, with that in mind, wouldn't you agree that we need more long-range heavy bombers in case a few rather powerful countries become problems for the West? Without them, we risk a rapid escalation to nuclear conflict.

For example, suppose that China attacks Taiwan, or Russia begins to move back into Eastern Europe. Instant nuclear war? No, but after weeks of diplomacy fail, the nuclear option must be considered more readily if we don't have the conventional means to deter -- or to respond.

The Pentagon has already moved some strategic or long-range bombers to Guam, and again I point out Rumsfeld's rather strong urging that we invest in more bombers a few years ago.
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jwenting
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:56 am

The US is sorely lacking in non-nuclear power projection capability outside the European (and even there it's getting pretty thin as forces draw down) and centreal American theaters.
It has been (not counting active warzones) that way since the 1950s or early 1940s as WW2 stocks of long range conventional weapons systems were scrapped to make place for smaller numbers of purely conventional systems.
That drawdown accellerated when the dual capable bombers of the 1950s and 1960s were replaced with ICBMs and SLBMs in the 1970s, leaving only a small force of B-51s and B-1s in a dual capable role.

At the moment there is no production capability to quickly tool up for production of long range aviation assets.
The B-2 line could likely be reactivated but production rate would be low. Possibly Boeing could convert the 747 and 777 lines to military production given a few months warning but there is no aircraft to build on those lines (for fastest conversion a bomber derivative of one of those airframes would be the most logical choice).

Lockheed Martin still exists but has no heavy aircraft production lines, the largest they have in their stable being the C-130.

And that's all there is for heavy aircraft production facilities in the USA today.
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GDB
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:02 am

I doubt Bombers would play a massive role in any (however unlikely), China/Taiwan/US conflict.
The USN and Pacific based USAF would be in the firing line for the most part.

China's relatively small ICBM force would be deterred by existing US nuclear forces, not that any Chinese leadership would go for national suicide.

The prospect of a Russian move into Eastern Europe is less likely still, those nations are largely now in NATO, any attack on them is an attack on all, so all NATO members would be obliged to resist.
In any case, Russia has quite enough to worry about, with the whole bloody Chechen mess, which is spilling over to neighboring regions.
The whole of that corner of the former USSR is a tinderbox.
Which can, and does in the form of terrorism, reach as far as Moscow.
 
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:37 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 1):
No.
You don't need fleets of strategic bombers anymore.

Correct. You can fire a Tomahawk cruise missile with any number of warheads from a thousand miles away and park it within a few inches of your target....far-far More accurate then conventional methods, far less taxing and far safer then sending in a B-52 crew.
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dl021
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:37 am

1st thing....the term strategic bomber does not merely refer to nuclear capable, but to strategic versus tactical impact on conflicts. A tactical fighter may be able to take out a tank or two and impact a battle, but a long range attack on a factory or critical airfield that impacts the enemies ability to make war on a large scale is strategic. Nuclear weapons can be tactical as well as strategic, so the term strategic does not necessarily imply nuclear.

Let me also be clear and say that I think that we could certainly use another 50 or 60 Bones, as well as another 20 B-2s. Our power projection would be enhanced and our current forces would be better able to rotate for maintenance during heavy usage. The extra bombers would give us more flexibility, but at a larger cost than adding to our cruise missile capability, although that point is arguable since one Bone can drop 40000lbs of bombs in one general area or 20k lbs with precision and it takes several cruise missiles to accomplish the same task.

However, I don't really think that our military would be best served by increasing large bomber funding with todays requirements and we would be better served with a new stealth type bomber/strikefighter, which is what I believe Rumsfeld was suggesting we needed. The FB-22 proposal made by Lockheed would be an excellent idea and provide us with an unmatchable capability to add on to the B-2 capability (which we could also build, but at tremendous cost...remember that it was originally built to a cold war requirement).

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 4):
For example, suppose that China attacks Taiwan, or Russia begins to move back into Eastern Europe. Instant nuclear war? No, but after weeks of diplomacy fail, the nuclear option must be considered more readily if we don't have the conventional means to deter -- or to respond.

If China attacks Taiwan most of our aviation assets involved will be Navy. Our options would be limited by a reticence to attack mainland Chinese targets, thus limiting the utility of strategic bombers, where we would need more naval interceptor and strike assets than anything else.


Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 4):
The Pentagon has already moved some strategic or long-range bombers to Guam, and again I point out Rumsfeld's rather strong urging that we invest in more bombers a few years ago.

Guam has long been a forward operating base, as has Diego Garcia in the IO. This is not a new thing.

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 5):
Lockheed Martin still exists but has no heavy aircraft production lines, the largest they have in their stable being the C-130.

LM has the ability to produce whatever it decides to produce, and the tooling for C-5 still exists (141 is gone...room made for other products), although the last large bomber that their lines produced were Bell manufactured B-29s during WWII. As far as the ability to produce large bombers converted from transports (which is somewhat dubious, as transports and bombers are built differently) I would say that Boeing has that ability in Long Beach as well as Renton/Everett, and even could easily reconstitute its ability to make large purpose built bombing airplanes in Palmdale (the tooling is there).....but to what avail? The amount of time it takes to build an airplane from scratch is far too long to merit any consideration toward planning to build at the outset of any conflict.

Bombers are not the most pressing need we have. More tactical and transport aircraft are needed, and the abiltiy to support these airplanes with spares and other logs.
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Spacepope
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:07 am

I think that sheer numbers are misleading in this argument. With the advent of the SDB, a small number (less than 20) B-52H bombers today could do the same damage as those 365 B-52D-Gs that were axed in 1991. We're going to begin seeing numbers of smaller PGMs carried on smaller platforms, I.E. an F-15E replacing the B-52 in strike roles. B-2s are nice, and now that they can carry 80 500 pound GPS guided bombs per sortie, their power has been multiplied.

Just think of it this way: In the Falklands war, the UK sent Vulcan bombers on long trips just to drop a couple of sticks of bombs on Argentine runways. Nowadays, in OEF/OIF, B-2s were sent to drop a small portion of their payload on runway/taxiway intersections to deny airfield access. They're more like airborne precision heavy artillery. Flying a route that could take them to several places and chucking out a weapon here and there as needed. And instead of having 40 large bombers on call, you instead have strike aircraft available to do the same job, on call for when a target suddenly presents itself.
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:14 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 9):
They're more like airborne precision heavy artillery.

Exactly, that is how the war in Afghanistan was fought.

Orbit over the field waiting for the SF guys to illuminate a target with a laser. Then drop the weapon.
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:14 pm

Quoting DL021 (Reply 3):
If nuclear war comes it will be fought with what we have right now. Luckily I don't think it's coming, as the main threats now to the world don't have enough to be more than terrorists or threatening to their neighbors. Russia has zero intention of launching its own self immolation, as do we.......

I'm not so convinced about the Russians. Thay have lots of problems that could cause a war, their economy being the most dangerous. China and North Korea are pogue unstable countries that do posess a threat to the US.

Quoting GDB (Reply 6):
China's relatively small ICBM force would be deterred by existing US nuclear forces, not that any Chinese leadership would go for national suicide.

I would not bet the farm on that. Remember, Chinese culture is much different than ours. Not, better or worse, just different.

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 7):
Correct. You can fire a Tomahawk cruise missile with any number of warheads from a thousand miles away and park it within a few inches of your target....far-far More accurate then conventional methods, far less taxing and far safer then sending in a B-52 crew.

Yeah, one Tomahawk, one target, $1M. The same with CALCMs. Unfortunately there are thousands of targets. The only economical way to get them is with heavy bombers.


Quoting DL021 (Reply 3):
Our B-1 force was the last of the full time nuclear delivery vehicles (they were unable to participate in our first Gulf War because they were on nuclear alert) and we still maintain the ability to deliver weapons by airplane, but our main delivery systems are missiles, both land and sea based.

The B-1B, most B-52G/Hs and the remaining FB-111A were also on alert during ODS. The B-1B was not conventional certified in 1991, that is why it wasn't used.

But, back on topic. The only production lines we could open would be the B-2A, and long lead items would take up to 2 years to build. We still have the F-15E line open, that is our only bomber line that could spin up.
 
dl021
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:26 pm

As far as I know Tomahawks are not multiple warhead vehicles. They can carry CBU type munitions, but that's it.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 11):
The B-1B was not conventional certified in 1991, that is why it wasn't used.

Hence why I called them the last full time nuclear bombers.....everything else was dual use with some models being used conventionally and others on the nuclear mission.
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GDB
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:27 am

Mao might have indulged in loose talk decades ago about nukes being a 'paper tiger'.
But at the same time there was a crash nuke programme going on.
(As it turned on, they'd be aimed at USSR).
He said a lot of things he didn't mean.
Anyway, China has moved way on since.

China would be very, very reluctant to get in a shooting war with the US.
Not for a few decades more anyway.
By then, China would have changed all the more, I personally think it's increasing Capitalist, consumer society is incompatible with the Parties non democratic rule, bottom line, China is becoming more 'Western'.
They can barely control the net and satellite TV, who has the advantage here?

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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:34 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
Someone in one of the other threads mentioned that if we wanted to build more strategic bombers, then we'd probably build B-2 Spirits based on the lack of of B-1 Lancer machine tools

That isn't necessarily true.

Boeing is studying an improved B-1B (called the B-1R) that features newer engines, new avionics, and some new materials. The objective was to improve fuel burn (extending range), reducing maintenace, and improving penetration and survivability.

http://www.boeing.com/ids/allsystemsgo/issues/vol2/num2/story01.html

The high unit price of the B-2 and limited mission application would make it unlikely IMO that the USAF would aquire more.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
As far as I know Tomahawks are not multiple warhead vehicles.

The BGM-109 Tomahawk can be fitted with three warheads (that I know of) :

1. W80 nuclear warhead
2. 1,000 pound high-explosive warhead
3. Bomblet dispersal

The bomblets are usually scattered over a concentrated area, like a runway.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
I've seen it on TV doing flyovers during the Rose Parade

The mark of an excellent stealth penetration bomber  Wink

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
And before anyone questions the need for any "surge" capability, what about potential threats posed by China over Taiwan, or even a revanchist Russia under an increasingly authoritarian Putin?

In many people's opinion, the USAF lacks more tactical bombers than it does long-range, strategic bombers.
 
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:34 am

That Boeing article about the B-1R sounds interesting! I wonder if they could easily retool their facilities to produce it.  Smile

Great replies, everyone!
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atmx2000
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:19 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 13):
By then, China would have changed all the more, I personally think it's increasing Capitalist, consumer society is incompatible with the Parties non democratic rule, bottom line, China is becoming more 'Western'.
They can barely control the net and satellite TV, who has the advantage here?

They can also barely control the hypernationalism that they stoke on occassion.

What I would be concerned about is a shift toward authoritarian ethnocentric nationalism. Communism is dead, but at least some in power seem to see the need to replace it with some other ideology. The Jet Li flick Hero seemed to me to be propaganda for a fascist China.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 10):
Exactly, that is how the war in Afghanistan was fought.

There was at least some non precision bombing of front line forces.
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dl021
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:26 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 14):
Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
As far as I know Tomahawks are not multiple warhead vehicles.

The BGM-109 Tomahawk can be fitted with three warheads (that I know of) :

1. W80 nuclear warhead
2. 1,000 pound high-explosive warhead
3. Bomblet dispersal

OK..but not all at the same time......I was under the impression that the earlier poster was thinking that they could carry multiple warheads at once, similar to an ICBM capable of carrying MIRVs.

That's what I meant by referring to CBUs, which are as close as they get to carrying more than one warhead per vehicle.
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:16 pm

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 4):
Russia begins to move back into Eastern Europe. Instant nuclear war? No

Most of these countries are now NATO members. Such an invasion would lead to a war against NATO and I don't think that Russian politician and military HQ are that stupid or desperate to try that. And the next question is: what would this invasion bring to Russia ? What advantages ?
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:13 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 15):
That Boeing article about the B-1R sounds interesting! I wonder if they could easily retool their facilities to produce it.

I would expect that they would use updated technologies from the newer CFM56 engines in the F101. (The CFM56 was originally a non-afterburning version of the F101.)
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:13 am

Quoting Stall (Reply 18):
And the next question is: what would this invasion bring to Russia ? What advantages ?

I don't think any of us truly understand the Russian geopolitical thinking. But it seems to me that they obsessed with the notion of buffer states.
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:46 am

Quoting Stall (Reply 18):
Most of these countries are now NATO members. Such an invasion would lead to a war against NATO and I don't think that Russian politician and military HQ are that stupid or desperate to try that. And the next question is: what would this invasion bring to Russia ? What advantages ?

Regardless Russia has always had a need/desire/obsession with "buffer states"...and lets not forget that there has rarely ever been a time in history where the new NATO members and Russia have gotten along nicely. They very reason these countries joined NATO is for security from Russia.

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AerospaceFan
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:41 pm

I'm not comfortable with Russia right now. Their disputes with Georgia and the Ukraine makes it all seem that Russia is more interested in its own national interests than in the global interests of which a large member of the international community should be cognizant.

I fault Rumsfeld for being too much of a patsy. When the heck is this man going to increase our military, for once? Where the heck is our surge capacity?
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jwenting
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:52 am

I've not been comfortable with the USSR from the day I could read and understand what they were all about, and Russia is no different from the USSR and hasn't been since 1991.

You guys at least have a piece of rather hard to cross water and a lot of very tough land between you and them, from Moscow to Amsterdam all they need to do is follow the roadsigns on the highway and they're there in a day or so.
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:58 am

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 23):
You guys at least have a piece of rather hard to cross water and a lot of very tough land between you and them, from Moscow to Amsterdam all they need to do is follow the roadsigns on the highway and they're there in a day or so.

That's a frightening thought!

I think that the nations of the West have to stop bickering amongst ourselves in case the Russians decide to go nuts on us. I mean, I would like to think that Russia is under control and a responsible part of the world community, but every once in a while, there's a dispute or two that makes me kind of nervous.

For example, Russia apparently has just proposed to enrich plutonium for Iran as a guarantor that it will not be used in nuclear weapons. Is this what we really want?

[Edited 2006-01-25 18:59:15]
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jwenting
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:13 am

I'd read it like Russia is supplying Iran with weapons grade Uranium so they don't have to upset the US by operating an enrichment plant of their own...

Russia isn't under control, she's just biding her time. The flare up in first Yugo, then Afghanistan and the Gulf has put a small dent in the longterm plans for NATO disarmement which would open up Europe for conquest (plans which include the supposed collapse of the USSR which was under planning since the days of Stalin).
Without those we'd have scaled back even further, leaving nothing at all to defend ourselves, and the US would almost certainly have relapsed into another period of extreme isolationism, probably resulting in the collapse of NATO.

That's understood to have been the longterm goal of the USSR as enacted during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the entire "collapse" being a well coordinated hoax.
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norcal
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:22 am

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 25):

Wow that is some theory you got there

I don't know much about Russia, other than are probably the most confusing country on earth. (I don't mean that as a bad thing, just that they are kind of an enigma if you will)

What is their current military potential? I have always been under the impression that their military is in decrepit state right now and that they are more worried about China then they are about the West.
 
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:33 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 22):
I fault Rumsfeld for being too much of a patsy. When the heck is this man going to increase our military, for once? Where the heck is our surge capacity?

The DoD has no authority to increase defense spending on its own. If you’re concerned about the size of our current military, you need to look to Capitol Hill.

That being said, you are seriously misreading the current and reasonably foreseeable strategic threat to the US. We don’t need a larger long-range bomber force. In fact, it would be grossly irresponsible to squander limited DoD resources to produce such a force.

While China and Russia are not to be taken for granted or ignored completely, neither one of those countries present a credible threat to the US. The conventional forces of the Russian military are a mere shadow of their former selves. China derives its current power from its economy and it’s not going to risk its future by engaging the US in armed conflict to say nothing of their almost total lack of expeditionary or strategic airlift capability.

What the US does face is increasing stateless trans-national terrorism and other asymmetric conflict in the context of 4GW and the growing trend of nuclear proliferation from rogue nation-states. You don’t need more bombers to deal with that threat. You need additional SF units, light infantry BDs, more UAVs, COIN aircraft, and most importantly the System Administration force talked about by strategic planners like Tom Barnett and Admiral A. K. Cebrowski.

Your talk of a large bomber force and surge capacity belongs in a discussion of WWII.
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:15 am

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 27):
That being said, you are seriously misreading the current and reasonably foreseeable strategic threat to the US. We don’t need a larger long-range bomber force.

I don't think that having a long-range bomber force is a bad thing when Russian and Chinese threats might loom on the horizon.
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:43 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 28):
I don't think that having a long-range bomber force is a bad thing when Russian and Chinese threats might loom on the horizon.

It's a really bad thing if we spend billions to build a force to counter a threat that plainly isn't looming on the horizon. To do so would mean forgoing procurement in other areas that really do matter. It is nothing short of foolish to use our limited resources creating a capability to address a threat that does not exist.
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RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 8:41 pm

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 29):
It's a really bad thing if we spend billions to build a force to counter a threat that plainly isn't looming on the horizon.

There are plenty who disagree that these threats are not looming on the horizon.
What's fair is fair.
 
AerospaceFan
Topic Author
Posts: 6990
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:43 am

RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:28 am

I just found an interesting article on what the Air Force wants: Unmanned bombers that are even larger and faster than the prototype just developed by the Boeing Company.

Although the X-45 is already fairly large for an unmanned aircraft, the Air Force says it's not large or fast enough.

(Excerpt)

Quote:
Unmanned bombers. Even though Boeing says it has received nothing official, there are growing signs that the company's project to develop the X-45 unmanned combat aircraft for the Air Force may be short-lived.

In a recent briefing for reporters, Gen. Bruce Carlson, chief of the Air Force Material Command, said the service wants a bigger and faster unmanned bomber to augment the B-52, B-2 and B-1 bombers.

Boeing's X-45 is inadequate for the new bomber requirements, according to a report this week in the industry publication Flight International.

The X-45 is under development in St. Louis. It will be nearly as big as an F-16, well armed and able to fly at close to the speed of sound.

See:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/258683_air08.html
What's fair is fair.
 
MD-90
Posts: 7835
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2000 12:45 pm

RE: "Surge" Capability To Build More Bombers?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:33 pm

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 29):
It's a really bad thing if we spend billions to build a force to counter a threat that plainly isn't looming on the horizon.

Especially our strength derives from our economic power, not our military might. Even Osama bin Laden gets it. A smaller military, less stupid, unnecessary wars, and decreased gov't spending/decreased taxes leads to a stronger America.

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