Ozair
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:22 am

The B-21 has now passed its critical design review, 7 months after the preliminary design review, and the USAF appears to be very happy with progress. It might just be we get a military aircraft program that will track to budget and schedule... It obviously helps the B-21 is reusing a significant amount of technology from existing programs but the progress is still very promising.

Blink and you’ll miss it: The B-21 bomber accomplishes another big review

The Air Force’s super-secret new bomber recently completed its critical design review, an Air Force official confirmed Dec. 6.

The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record on the program, offered no further details about the status of the B-21 Raider. However, Air Force officials had stated that the milestone was slated to occur by the end of 2018 — putting the program on pace to begin fielding aircraft around 2025.

During the Reagan National Defense Forum on Dec. 1, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters that the program had recently accomplished a key review, although it was not immediately clear whether it was the critical design review.

She said that the program continued to move forward on budget and on schedule, and praised its steady progress, according to Military.com.

"It's a good example of how to run a major acquisition program well and why delegation of authority back to the services … works to get high quality and to do so quickly," Wilson said.

The Air Force has only sparsely released information about the Northrop Grumman-produced bomber, and details about the exact status of the plane’s development — such as whether a prototype exists or has been flown — continue to be shrouded in mystery.

The service plans on buying at least 100 B-21s, but airpower advocates are hopeful that the requirement will grow in light of the Air Force’s stated desire to grow its number of bomber squadrons from 9 to 14 by 2030.

The program is managed by the service’s Rapid Capabilities Office, a small shop separated from the Air Force’s larger acquisition apparatus that is able to use special authorities to more quickly develop and field new technologies.

Earlier this year, RCO head Randall Walden acknowledged that office has begun component testing and put a subscale model of the bomber through wind tunnel tests.

“From my perspective, this is about producing 100 bombers, not about just getting through development,” he added. “Development is a phase that leads into the fielding of this critical need. So my focus is getting the production started, but I can’t do that until we understand what the design looks like.”

In November, the service announced that it had picked Edwards Air Force Base in California to handle testing and evaluation of the advanced long-range strike bomber and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma for depot maintenance of the B-21. Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and Hill Air Force Base in Utah will also play a role in sustaining the aircraft.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/12 ... ig-review/
 
Ozair
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:18 pm

Apparently this very quiet program is continuing on with no significant issues...

Northrop Gives USAF Encouraging B-21 Update

Although nearly all of the program details remain shrouded by classified secrecy, the head of Global Strike Command met with reporters and offered a positive review of a meeting with Northrop’s program managers earlier on Feb. 28.

"I was with the Northrop team here in the last couple hours. I have seen some very encouraging updates. So I'll tell you I'm pleased with the process we're following," Gen. Timothy Ray said.

https://aviationweek.com/awindefense/no ... -21-update
 
bigjku
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:21 pm

Ozair wrote:
Apparently this very quiet program is continuing on with no significant issues...

Northrop Gives USAF Encouraging B-21 Update

Although nearly all of the program details remain shrouded by classified secrecy, the head of Global Strike Command met with reporters and offered a positive review of a meeting with Northrop’s program managers earlier on Feb. 28.

"I was with the Northrop team here in the last couple hours. I have seen some very encouraging updates. So I'll tell you I'm pleased with the process we're following," Gen. Timothy Ray said.

https://aviationweek.com/awindefense/no ... -21-update


Maybe all programs should be done like this. The less GAO and Testing Office nonsense we have the faster things can actually get done. I wonder what percentage of time is spent filling out inane forms for these two groups.
 
Ozair
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:54 pm

bigjku wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Apparently this very quiet program is continuing on with no significant issues...

Northrop Gives USAF Encouraging B-21 Update

Although nearly all of the program details remain shrouded by classified secrecy, the head of Global Strike Command met with reporters and offered a positive review of a meeting with Northrop’s program managers earlier on Feb. 28.

"I was with the Northrop team here in the last couple hours. I have seen some very encouraging updates. So I'll tell you I'm pleased with the process we're following," Gen. Timothy Ray said.

https://aviationweek.com/awindefense/no ... -21-update


Maybe all programs should be done like this. The less GAO and Testing Office nonsense we have the faster things can actually get done. I wonder what percentage of time is spent filling out inane forms for these two groups.

It is certainly a completely different development experience to the F-35 program. Far less public scrutiny but also less actual development effort on technologies compared to the F-35. The B-21 program benefits greatly from all the tech and time taken with the F-35 so no surprise it is a smoother process.

I’m not sure how much additional oversight GAO and the DOT&E place on programs but I would suspect that these two are still involved in oversight of the B-21 program, the difference being their reports remain classified.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:36 pm

As irritating as the oversight can be I think it's still useful to have it. Anything that helps keep projects more honest isn't a bad thing.

As for the B21 I do think the biggest thing that's reduced risk is them essentially just repackaging lots of the F35 work. It probably helps that a lot of the F35 work was to make it easy to modify for future upgrades, which should also apply to putting the same stuff in a different skin.
 
bigjku
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:47 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
As irritating as the oversight can be I think it's still useful to have it. Anything that helps keep projects more honest isn't a bad thing.

As for the B21 I do think the biggest thing that's reduced risk is them essentially just repackaging lots of the F35 work. It probably helps that a lot of the F35 work was to make it easy to modify for future upgrades, which should also apply to putting the same stuff in a different skin.


There to me is a difference between useful overaife and oversite that is justifying its own existence. Just some examples.

The GAO trying to cost out the life cost of ownership of the F-35 for 30 or 50 years. It’s a wasted exercise. It can’t be done. It just generates nonsense headlines and demands thousands of man hours of attention and expense. You are usinbmade up flying hour numbers and made up fuel cost numbers and made up manhour numbers. Just stop.
 
Ozair
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:13 pm

Given its role as the B-1 training unit it makes sense to train and base the first operational B-21 squadrons at Ellsworth AFB.

Ellsworth to be first operational B-21 base

The Air Force announced on Wednesday that it has chosen Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota to be the first base to house an operational B-21 bomber unit, as well as the formal training unit for the Raider.

Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas will follow, and receive B-21s as they become available, the Air Force said in a release.

“These three bomber bases are well-suited for the B-21,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in the release. “We expect the first B-21 Raider to be delivered beginning in the mid-2020s, with subsequent deliveries phased across all three bases.”

The release said Ellsworth was chosen as the preferred location for the first of the advanced long-range strike bombers because it has enough space and existing facilities to accommodate simultaneous missions at the lowest cost, and with minimal impact across all three bases.

But it will probably be 2021 before the final decision on where to base the B-21 is made. The Air Force said that decision will be made after it complies with the National Environmental Policy Act and other regulatory and planning processes as part of the service’s strategic basing process.

Last November, the Air Force announced that Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma would maintain and sustain the B-21, and Edwards Air Force Base in California would handle testing and evaluation. Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and Hill Air Force Base in Utah were also chosen to support Tinker on maintaining, overhauling and upgrading the B-21, the Air Force said last fall.

The Air Force plans to gradually retire the B-1 Lancers and B-2 Spirits once enough B-21s have been delivered, the Air Force said.

“We are procuring the B-21 Raider as a long-range, highly survivable aircraft capable of penetrating enemy airspace with a mix of weapons,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said in the release. “It is a central part of a penetrating joint team.”

The Air Force will keep operating B-52 Stratofortresses at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The B-52 is expected to continue conducting operations through 2050 — nearly a century after it first became operational in 1955.

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your ... b-21-base/
 
SuperiorPilotMe
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:55 pm

Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:17 am

...and the first B-21 pilots are going to be so thrilled about that....
Stop the stupids!- Claus Kellerman
 
Ozair
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:44 am

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
...and the first B-21 pilots are going to be so thrilled about that....

Ha, there aren't exactly a lot of glamourous postings for bomber pilots these days and the basing is unlikely to change anytime soon. Dyess, Barksdale and Whiteman are reasonable but Minot and Ellsworth are pretty remote. It will probably come down to a decision on either flying an aircraft older than their Grandfather or cutting edge aircraft in a more remote location.
 
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kc135topboom
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:17 am

The B-21 is going to need lots of construction at Dyess and Ellsworth. Not so much at Whiteman. Like the B-2A, each B-21 is going to need its own hanger to protect the stealth coatings on the ground in bad weather. Whiteman has 7 hangers that hold 2 B-2s each, the same design can be used at Ellsworth and Dyess, since the B-21 has about the same wingspan as the B-2.

The B-2 also has a portable environmentally controlled shelter called the B-2 Shelter Systems (B2SS) that is deployable to forward bases such as Andersen AFB, Guam, Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia. and RAF Fairford.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:02 am

The B-21 stealth technology is based on the F-35 stuff. So it's a lot more hardy and resistant to poor weather. I would expect they'll just need awnings to reliably protect the coatings long term. Or just standard hangers at worst.
 
Planeflyer
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:28 am

Given the black nature of the program army we making an assumption that no negative news is a big positive.

Hope it’s true but it’s tough to say.

Makes sense that w each new stealth ac it gets simpler but I wouldn’t count any chickens just yet.
 
Ozair
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:35 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
Given the black nature of the program army we making an assumption that no negative news is a big positive.

Hope it’s true but it’s tough to say.

Makes sense that w each new stealth ac it gets simpler but I wouldn’t count any chickens just yet.

It isn’t just an assumption. The program has passed the preliminary design review and the critical design review with no significant issues or apparent cost/schedule changes. That is a great sign so unless the wheels fall off between now and first flight it should continue to move on well.

The low issues with development are a direct relation to the acquisition model the USAF has taken with the aircraft, little new technology has been developed and the aircraft will likely enter service with few troubles. I expect later issues will emerge, such as fitting of DEW into the design post IOC or even FOC and other upgrades that they won’t push during the initial development program. Similar to F-35 the first Block advancement for the B-21 will likely be sizeable in both cost and capability.

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
The B-21 stealth technology is based on the F-35 stuff. So it's a lot more hardy and resistant to poor weather. I would expect they'll just need awnings to reliably protect the coatings long term. Or just standard hangers at worst.

Agree 100%. This is not early stealth coating issues anymore given we know even the RAM material and application from the F-35 program have been moved to the F-22.
 
Reddevil556
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Fri May 10, 2019 1:32 pm

From a ground pounder perspective, an unmanned bomber is a bit frightening. When calling CAS I like to actually talk to a pilot at the controls. It’s a nice feeling having a pilot able to acknowledge my position and reference danger close margins. I shudder at the thought of a computer operating simply on data. Bad data can be devastating on the battlefield. And talking to some cat in an office chair in Florida flying the bloody thing doesn’t increase my confidence much. The fog of war is bad enough, but from my experience drones and remote systems have less situational awareness than humans, then again those computers are more consistent. Maybe I am just old school. I’ll be hanging up my boots by the time this thing becomes operational. I also suppose this will first be solely strategic bombing before rolling into the tactical role.
Jumped out of: C130H, C130J, C17A, C212, CH47, and UH60. Bucket list: C160, A400, C2
 
DigitalSea
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Fri May 10, 2019 3:42 pm

Reddevil556 wrote:
From a ground pounder perspective, an unmanned bomber is a bit frightening. When calling CAS I like to actually talk to a pilot at the controls. It’s a nice feeling having a pilot able to acknowledge my position and reference danger close margins. I shudder at the thought of a computer operating simply on data. Bad data can be devastating on the battlefield. And talking to some cat in an office chair in Florida flying the bloody thing doesn’t increase my confidence much. The fog of war is bad enough, but from my experience drones and remote systems have less situational awareness than humans, then again those computers are more consistent. Maybe I am just old school. I’ll be hanging up my boots by the time this thing becomes operational. I also suppose this will first be solely strategic bombing before rolling into the tactical role.


I believe they have been utilizing the MQ-9 recently for CAS.
 
Reddevil556
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Fri May 10, 2019 10:50 pm

DigitalSea wrote:
Reddevil556 wrote:
From a ground pounder perspective, an unmanned bomber is a bit frightening. When calling CAS I like to actually talk to a pilot at the controls. It’s a nice feeling having a pilot able to acknowledge my position and reference danger close margins. I shudder at the thought of a computer operating simply on data. Bad data can be devastating on the battlefield. And talking to some cat in an office chair in Florida flying the bloody thing doesn’t increase my confidence much. The fog of war is bad enough, but from my experience drones and remote systems have less situational awareness than humans, then again those computers are more consistent. Maybe I am just old school. I’ll be hanging up my boots by the time this thing becomes operational. I also suppose this will first be solely strategic bombing before rolling into the tactical role.


I believe they have been utilizing the MQ-9 recently for CAS.


I like UAVs in a surveillance/quick strike role, but I don’t believe they are ready to be a stand alone CAS platform
Jumped out of: C130H, C130J, C17A, C212, CH47, and UH60. Bucket list: C160, A400, C2
 
Planeflyer
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Sat May 11, 2019 4:29 am

Ozair wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
Given the black nature of the program army we making an assumption that no negative news is a big positive.

Hope it’s true but it’s tough to say.

Makes sense that w each new stealth ac it gets simpler but I wouldn’t count any chickens just yet.

It isn’t just an assumption. The program has passed the preliminary design review and the critical design review with no significant issues or apparent cost/schedule changes. That is a great sign so unless the wheels fall off between now and first flight it should continue to move on well.

The low issues with development are a direct relation to the acquisition model the USAF has taken with the aircraft, little new technology has been developed and the aircraft will likely enter service with few troubles. I expect later issues will emerge, such as fitting of DEW into the design post IOC or even FOC and other upgrades that they won’t push during the initial development program. Similar to F-35 the first Block advancement for the B-21 will likely be sizeable in both cost and capability.

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
The B-21 stealth technology is based on the F-35 stuff. So it's a lot more hardy and resistant to poor weather. I would expect they'll just need awnings to reliably protect the coatings long term. Or just standard hangers at worst.

Agree 100%. This is not early stealth coating issues anymore given we know even the RAM material and application from the F-35 program have been moved to the F-22.


Hope you are right. One can hope we are gliding down the stealth learning curve.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
Posts: 895
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Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Sun May 12, 2019 8:40 pm

Reddevil556 wrote:
DigitalSea wrote:
Reddevil556 wrote:
From a ground pounder perspective, an unmanned bomber is a bit frightening. When calling CAS I like to actually talk to a pilot at the controls. It’s a nice feeling having a pilot able to acknowledge my position and reference danger close margins. I shudder at the thought of a computer operating simply on data. Bad data can be devastating on the battlefield. And talking to some cat in an office chair in Florida flying the bloody thing doesn’t increase my confidence much. The fog of war is bad enough, but from my experience drones and remote systems have less situational awareness than humans, then again those computers are more consistent. Maybe I am just old school. I’ll be hanging up my boots by the time this thing becomes operational. I also suppose this will first be solely strategic bombing before rolling into the tactical role.


I believe they have been utilizing the MQ-9 recently for CAS.


I like UAVs in a surveillance/quick strike role, but I don’t believe they are ready to be a stand alone CAS platform


Interesting view. Others I've seen talk who've been deployed to Afghanistan have noted their preference for the Reaper over crewed platforms due to better situational awareness and time on station.
 
Reddevil556
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:09 pm

Re: Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider Production And Delivery Thread

Mon May 13, 2019 3:34 am

Time on station is nice and have the eagle eye perspective is huge, but when it comes to ordinance I want a human pulling the trigger that is seeing exactly what they are shooting at or dropping a bomb on. It’s reassuring when taking to a pilot above you they exactly where you are what you want them to destroy.
Jumped out of: C130H, C130J, C17A, C212, CH47, and UH60. Bucket list: C160, A400, C2

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