Norlander
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Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:22 am

A question as the title says.

Is it possible to use the winning airframe of the KC-45 program as the basis for replacing the B52 fleet? Or are the structural problems with making bomb bays and hard points too costly for such a program?

With todays fuel prices there would be a substantial savings for the US Air Force, if their main bomb truck was based on the Boeing 767 or the Airbus 330 instead of the B52 and B1B.
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Cruiser
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:43 am

I think it would be much cheaper to just proceed with the re-engining program that has been proposed. The B-52 still has a considerable life left in it, and it has proven to be extremely reliable.

As for the replacement of the B-1B, the 767/A330 is just not up to the task. Neither are supersonic, and neither can be made to be stealth in any fashion. The B-1B is certainly an incredible airplane that would take a whole new clean-sheet design.
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:20 am

The only bomber mission the B-767 or A-330 could possibly take on would be that of a large cruise missile carrier. About 20 years ago, or so, there was a proposal for the (then new) B-747-400F to do that. It would have carried some 240 AGM-86s and spit them out through a shut near the lower tail. It would have replaced the B-52G/H, B-1B, and FB-111A in the penetration role.

SAC didn't think much of the proposal.
 
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:46 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
The only bomber mission the B-767 or A-330 could possibly take on would be that of a large cruise missile carrier. About 20 years ago, or so, there was a proposal for the (then new) B-747-400F to do that.

Personally, I'm a fan of the "Airborne Aircraft Carrier" concept, in which a 747 was to carry, deploy, and recover a small fleet of fighters:



 Smile

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kc135topboom
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:11 am



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 3):
Personally, I'm a fan of the "Airborne Aircraft Carrier" concept, in which a 747 was to carry, deploy, and recover a small fleet of fighters:

That was actually tried with the B-36.
 
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:26 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):
Quoting 2H4 (Reply 3):
Personally, I'm a fan of the "Airborne Aircraft Carrier" concept, in which a 747 was to carry, deploy, and recover a small fleet of fighters:

That was actually tried with the B-36.

And the USS Macon and Akron.

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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:39 am

The Russians did many experiments with flying 'aircraft carriers' in the 1930s and 1940s. I recall images of 5 single engined aircraft attached to a Tupolev 4-engined aircraft (converted bomber?). I think the risk of collision leading to total disaster was/is too high.

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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:04 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
SAC didn't think much of the proposal.

I will bow to your experience but I believe another obstacle was the SALT or START arms talks and the Soviets declared that if the project went ahead all Western airliners or at least all B747 would be considered strategic bombers, not a scenario the governments nor the airlines concerned though very palatable.

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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:10 am

I have read years ago that Airbus was looking at a bomber version of the A340 but since European forces did not take interest the idea was dropped.
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Norlander
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:37 pm



Quoting Cruiser (Reply 1):
As for the replacement of the B-1B, the 767/A330 is just not up to the task. Neither are supersonic, and neither can be made to be stealth in any fashion. The B-1B is certainly an incredible airplane that would take a whole new clean-sheet design.

My point was that in the role as a bombtruck you don't need stealth or supersonic speed. The B52 has proven that for over 50 years now.

Building the bomb truck from a modern widebody commercial airliner would enable the Air Force to greatly increase it's bomb payload from 20-40 tonnes of munitions to 60-125 tonnes, while at the same time using less fuel and being able to stay on station for a longer period of time without refueling.
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replaceme

Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:38 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
About 20 years ago, or so, there was a proposal for the (then new) B-747-400F to do that. It would have carried some 240 AGM-86s and spit them out through a shut near the lower tail.

She was actually a 747-200.

http://atsmedia.cachefly.net/uploads/ats39557_B-747cruise.jpg

I did however, find the patent Boeing filed in April 1980 for it - http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4475436.html

And this gentleman wrote a thesis about using C-17s for the role - http://www.fas.org/man/eprint/benson.htm

[Edited 2008-01-17 05:45:04]
 
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:13 pm

those things loke like tampons!
 
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Sat Jan 19, 2008 7:42 am



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 11):
those things loke like tampons!

A tampon dispenser from SAC....

 rotfl   rotfl   rotfl 
 
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:47 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 11):
those things loke like tampons!

150 kiloton tampons.  Wink
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:56 pm

With currently current satelite / uav / ground guided munitions I think speed, range stealth and costs are more important then sheer capasity needed to excecute the carpet bombing requirements of the past.

The current internet / cellphones / satelite networks made them publicly unacceptable too.. Collateral damage is on everybodies screens hours before the Dod can deny it.
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:41 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 14):
With currently current satelite / uav / ground guided munitions I think speed, range stealth and costs are more important then sheer capasity needed to excecute the carpet bombing requirements of the past.

The current internet / cellphones / satelite networks made them publicly unacceptable too.. Collateral damage is on everybodies screens hours before the Dod can deny it.

Not all combat operations take place in the middle of an urban environment...
 
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:06 pm

A heavy bomber plane needs:

- a minimal sized pressurrized cabin for survivability (some nasty things might hit it)

- the room at center of gravity freed up for bomb / cruise missile bay.

Therefore a lot of things prohibit planes like ordinarily airliners to be modified as bombers:

- the whole fuselage structure

- landing gear arrangement

- wing spar arrangement.

Maybe the tail feathers of an airliner could be used for a B-52 replacement. Not much more.

The B-52 can be maintaned for many more years. But why haven't they been reengined?

Me thinks that the main obstacle for reengining is the lack of a suitable engine. It will be very costly to modify current civil turbofan engines to accept simultaneous cartridge start of all engines.

If a potential opponent knows that he with one ballistic missile can nuke out a whole B-52 squadron before it gets off the ground, because it takes 15 minutes to get those engines spinning, then.....
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replaceme

Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:01 am



Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 16):
The B-52 can be maintaned for many more years. But why haven't they been reengined?

Me thinks that the main obstacle for reengining is the lack of a suitable engine. It will be very costly to modify current civil turbofan engines to accept simultaneous cartridge start of all engines.

If a potential opponent knows that he with one ballistic missile can nuke out a whole B-52 squadron before it gets off the ground, because it takes 15 minutes to get those engines spinning, then...

I'm not sure China is in a position to sail the Type 094 close enough to the US to achieve a fifteen-minute or less launch window with our ASW network. I wonder too if our ABM system might be able to intercept them. And I do not expect Russia, the UK or the French to launch an attack.  Smile

Worst case, we just go back to the orbiting B-52 fleet as well as the "hot standby" force ready to go in under five minutes.

I imagine the real reason is the old dog doesn't need the update to keep doing her job and while their would be savings to be had in using CF6s or RB211s vs. the eight TF33s, the GAO felt the cost to modify the planes would be twice as much just keeping the existing engines on, though that original report has been met with skepticism and criticism.
 
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RE: Can The 767 Or 330 Be A Possible B52 Replacement?

Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:17 am



Quoting Keesje (Reply 14):
With currently current satelite / uav / ground guided munitions I think speed, range stealth and costs are more important then sheer capasity needed to excecute the carpet bombing requirements of the past.

No, it is just that the old "carpet bombing" techniques are no longer a viaable military statigy used by the US. Maybe someday it can be useful again. But, for now, using one or two samrt bombs is a lot cheaper than 108 Mk. 82 dumb bombs.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 17):
I'm not sure China is in a position to sail the Type 094 close enough to the US to achieve a fifteen-minute or less launch window with our ASW network. I wonder too if our ABM system might be able to intercept them. And I do not expect Russia, the UK or the French to launch an attack.

One of the problems with the current form of defensive thinking, for a USN CVNBG, or any other US military force, is the defensives can easily be overwelmed by very high numbers. China, Russia, Iran, and others already knows this, and has no problem accepting losses of hunderds of airplanes or troops if it can sink a CVN

Quoting Keesje (Reply 14):
The current internet / cellphones / satelite networks made them publicly unacceptable too.. Collateral damage is on everybodies screens hours before the Dod can deny it.

Thats because liberals think war should be conducted in such a way that no body gets hurt........

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 16):
Me thinks that the main obstacle for reengining is the lack of a suitable engine. It will be very costly to modify current civil turbofan engines to accept simultaneous cartridge start of all engines.

No. The cartridge start capability was eliminated on the KC-135A when it was reengined to the KC-135R, with F-108-100 (CFM-56-2B) engines. All that was needed was an improved APU over what the KC-135A had. Adding an APU to a reengined B-52H to be able to start the engines is easy.

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 16):
A heavy bomber plane needs:

- a minimal sized pressurrized cabin for survivability (some nasty things might hit it)

- the room at center of gravity freed up for bomb / cruise missile bay.

Therefore a lot of things prohibit planes like ordinarily airliners to be modified as bombers:

- the whole fuselage structure

- landing gear arrangement

- wing spar arrangement.

Well, it is nice to have all of those, but not necessary. All you really need is a very good control over the rapidly changing CG during heavy bomb releases. The B-52, B-1, and B-2 do this by sequencing the individual bombs for release. They drop a bomb from the front, followed by one from the back (of the bomb bay or wing pylon), and so on. this keeps the airplane balanced during the rapid CG change. Tankers do this manually by monitoring the amount of fuel pumped from each individual tank.

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