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kitplane01
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What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 2:15 am

Between 1988 and 2004, the USAF spent $72B on developing/producing the B-2 bomber. (inflation adjusted, $44B nominal)

What should the US military have spent that money on?
 
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kitplane01
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 2:22 am

My answer:

(1) The Oliver Hazard Perry frigate production was just ending. A successor of similar size but more modern capability produced just after the year 2000 would be nice to have now, even if they would be getting on in years. Also, anything that avoids the LCS debacle is a good.

(2) The 767 was already 17 years old in 1988. A tanker version of the 767 developed then would be nice to have now, and not dragging the KC-135 through the last two decades might have saved money??
 
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N328KF
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 3:23 am

This is a specious question. At the time it was being developed, the need for this aircraft was very real, and to this day, its very existence affects the behavior of the two main adversaries. The fact that the need continues is illustrated by the B-21 following in its footsteps.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 5:09 am

N328KF wrote:
This is a specious question. At the time it was being developed, the need for this aircraft was very real, and to this day, its very existence affects the behavior of the two main adversaries. The fact that the need continues is illustrated by the B-21 following in its footsteps.



Then it’s not a specious question. And your answer is the B-2. At over (inflation adjusted) $3B per plane that seems wrong to me but OK.

Is America safer with 21 B-2s or something like 60 frigates?
 
VMCA787
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 8:33 am

kitplane01 wrote:
N328KF wrote:
This is a specious question. At the time it was being developed, the need for this aircraft was very real, and to this day, its very existence affects the behavior of the two main adversaries. The fact that the need continues is illustrated by the B-21 following in its footsteps.



Then it’s not a specious question. And your answer is the B-2. At over (inflation adjusted) $3B per plane that seems wrong to me but OK.

Is America safer with 21 B-2s or something like 60 frigates?


I think you are missing the point that the response is trying to get at. When the B-2 was originally designed the plan was to purchase 132 airframes. However, USSR imploded and the threat vanished in a very short period of time. So, we now have the total development costs amortized over 21 aircraft rather than the planned 132. That is what has driven the cost to such an astronomical high.

Should the B-21 suffer the same fate and have the quantity reduced from over 100 down to some minuscule buy, the same thing will happen again!
 
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 9:33 am

Technology developed for the B-2 has been critical for many other programs. So while expensive, it gave the US a significant advantage that still exists to this day.

LCS gets kicked around but they are out there serving every day, and crews like them. Their concept is just different than the traditional categories of warships. They were designed to replace three classes of ships, and are successful at two of them. The need for a more lethal frigate has reemerged, but the lower end frigate duties can still be handled by LCS.
 
mxaxai
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 10:11 am

The B-2 fulfilled (and to an extent still does) an essential role for the US: being able to penetrate enemy air defences and deliver nuclear weapons as part of nuclear deterrence.

The B-52, which it was supposed to replace, couldn't do that anymore thanks to advances in radar and missiles; neither could the then-new B-1 which focused on speed rather than stealth. The lack of a credibly adversary following the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a reduction in numbers, resulting in continued use of both the B-52 and B-1B in the conventional role.

There was no alternative for the US government at the time the B-2 was designed. A bunch of frigates or tankers is useful, sure, but neither of them can carry nukes (at least not in any strategically useful manner).
 
texl1649
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 12:53 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
Technology developed for the B-2 has been critical for many other programs. So while expensive, it gave the US a significant advantage that still exists to this day.

LCS gets kicked around but they are out there serving every day, and crews like them. Their concept is just different than the traditional categories of warships. They were designed to replace three classes of ships, and are successful at two of them. The need for a more lethal frigate has reemerged, but the lower end frigate duties can still be handled by LCS.


The issue with that idea is that only two could have been produced, and not made operational. Additional updated F-15E’s (a la EX) probably would have been a better investment. Or, you know, an actual tanker that works about 30 years prior to the RVS2.0 on a KC-46 finally being installed. More (updated) C-17’s also would have been nice, down the road. Airlift/tanking always takes a back seat to the combat programs, until it’s an absolute emergency.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... provide-it
 
Avatar2go
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 4:32 pm

texl1649 wrote:

The issue with that idea is that only two could have been produced, and not made operational. Additional updated F-15E’s (a la EX) probably would have been a better investment. Or, you know, an actual tanker that works about 30 years prior to the RVS2.0 on a KC-46 finally being installed. More (updated) C-17’s also would have been nice, down the road. Airlift/tanking always takes a back seat to the combat programs, until it’s an absolute emergency.


There is always a need for more capacity, but not an unlimited budget. The KC-46 also gets kicked around, but it too is now forward deployed, and is very active even without RVS 2.0.

If conflict with China broke out tomorrow, the B-2 fleet would be essential. Hence the need for B-21 to replace them, based on the same technologies.

C-17 replacement would require a new program, but they have many years life remaining.
 
Vintage
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 4:54 pm

One of our two military's biggest threats is being taken down to nothingness in conventional arms, and if we stay the course keeping Ukraine supplied, Russia will remain a non- threat for at least a decade. At the same time, we appear to have ended our attempts to rule the Middle East, and we are in the process of distancing ourselves from Saudi Arabia / UAE. If we continue with the course we're on, and in the process divest ourselves of any obligation for Israel's defense needs, the only significant adversary remaining is China.

In a world where China is our only significant defense challenge, our heavy lift logistics needs will be much reduced from current needs.

Assuming that the Ukraine war continues its current bleeding of Russian military assets, we can safely put this subject on the back burner for a long time.
 
texl1649
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 6:47 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
texl1649 wrote:

The issue with that idea is that only two could have been produced, and not made operational. Additional updated F-15E’s (a la EX) probably would have been a better investment. Or, you know, an actual tanker that works about 30 years prior to the RVS2.0 on a KC-46 finally being installed. More (updated) C-17’s also would have been nice, down the road. Airlift/tanking always takes a back seat to the combat programs, until it’s an absolute emergency.


There is always a need for more capacity, but not an unlimited budget. The KC-46 also gets kicked around, but it too is now forward deployed, and is very active even without RVS 2.0.

If conflict with China broke out tomorrow, the B-2 fleet would be essential. Hence the need for B-21 to replace them, based on the same technologies.

C-17 replacement would require a new program, but they have many years life remaining.


It should not have taken 30 plus years to procure a KC-135 replacement.

If a conflict breaks out with China that is non-nuclear, the B-2 will be utterly irrelevant. Tiny weapons payload, high risk, requiring a ton of refueling assets. If it becomes nuclear, then it will be totally irrelevant, as ICBM/SLBM’s will take over handling the nuclear apocalypse.

C-17 might last that long if extended to 45K hour lives, but it is limited, and the lack of cargo lift capacity would be a huge issue moving forward with any tier 1 or 2 foe. Again, not about critiquing that program, but if “I had a crystal ball where should the USAF have spent B-2 procurement funds 25+ years ago?” I think a longer legged, multi role tanker/cargo aircraft is an easy no-brainer.

Keep in mind this is with each (of 20 total) $700+ million B-2 costing at least $45 million a year just to maintain, in today’s numbers. It’s sort of farcical to keep them in service, imho.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboo ... eap-199018
 
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 8:11 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
texl1649 wrote:

The issue with that idea is that only two could have been produced, and not made operational. Additional updated F-15E’s (a la EX) probably would have been a better investment. Or, you know, an actual tanker that works about 30 years prior to the RVS2.0 on a KC-46 finally being installed. More (updated) C-17’s also would have been nice, down the road. Airlift/tanking always takes a back seat to the combat programs, until it’s an absolute emergency.


There is always a need for more capacity, but not an unlimited budget. The KC-46 also gets kicked around, but it too is now forward deployed, and is very active even without RVS 2.0.

If conflict with China broke out tomorrow, the B-2 fleet would be essential. Hence the need for B-21 to replace them, based on the same technologies.

C-17 replacement would require a new program, but they have many years life remaining.


It should not have taken 30 plus years to procure a KC-135 replacement.

If a conflict breaks out with China that is non-nuclear, the B-2 will be utterly irrelevant. Tiny weapons payload, high risk, requiring a ton of refueling assets. If it becomes nuclear, then it will be totally irrelevant, as ICBM/SLBM’s will take over handling the nuclear apocalypse.

C-17 might last that long if extended to 45K hour lives, but it is limited, and the lack of cargo lift capacity would be a huge issue moving forward with any tier 1 or 2 foe. Again, not about critiquing that program, but if “I had a crystal ball where should the USAF have spent B-2 procurement funds 25+ years ago?” I think a longer legged, multi role tanker/cargo aircraft is an easy no-brainer.

Keep in mind this is with each (of 20 total) $700+ million B-2 costing at least $45 million a year just to maintain, in today’s numbers. It’s sort of farcical to keep them in service, imho.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboo ... eap-199018


B-2 is the only non-missile asset we have that could strike the defended Chinese mainland . It would be part of the counter strategy if conflict erupted, to degrade Chinese offensive capability. B-21 is better of course. Enough that Australia has considered something similar for long range strike, and both Japan and Australia provide basing.
 
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 8:14 pm

I would have completed one of the hypersonic programs like dynasoar. Then have a nuclear capable hypersonic aircraft that likely nothing could shoot down.


Then have the B2 as a backup.


However that might not be necessary as the hypersonic thing might exist anyway.
 
Vintage
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 8:19 pm

The B2 dropping bombs into China reminds me of this passage from Conrad's "Heart of Darkness":

Once, I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast. There wasn’t even a shed there, and she was shelling the bush. It appears the French had one of their wars going on thereabouts. Her ensign dropped limp like a rag; the muzzles of the long six-inch guns stuck out all over the low hull; the greasy, slimy swell swung her up lazily and let her down, swaying her thin masts. In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent.

Pop, would go one of the six-inch guns; a small flame would dart and vanish, a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech—and nothing happened. Nothing could happen. There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding, a sense of lugubrious drollery in the sight; and it was not dissipated by somebody on board assuring me earnestly there was a camp of natives—he called them enemies!—hidden out of sight somewhere.
 
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 8:49 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Between 1988 and 2004, the USAF spent $72B on developing/producing the B-2 bomber. (inflation adjusted, $44B nominal)

What should the US military have spent that money on?


Better procurement management?

Project Management 101 classes for all involved in the B-2, LCS, and who knows how many other suboptimal defense programs?

A platoon of Marines guarding the requirements documents with orders to shoot anyone who tried to change them?

The possibilities are endless.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 11:21 pm

VMCA787 wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
N328KF wrote:
This is a specious question. At the time it was being developed, the need for this aircraft was very real, and to this day, its very existence affects the behavior of the two main adversaries. The fact that the need continues is illustrated by the B-21 following in its footsteps.



Then it’s not a specious question. And your answer is the B-2. At over (inflation adjusted) $3B per plane that seems wrong to me but OK.

Is America safer with 21 B-2s or something like 60 frigates?


I think you are missing the point that the response is trying to get at. When the B-2 was originally designed the plan was to purchase 132 airframes. However, USSR imploded and the threat vanished in a very short period of time. So, we now have the total development costs amortized over 21 aircraft rather than the planned 132. That is what has driven the cost to such an astronomical high.

Should the B-21 suffer the same fate and have the quantity reduced from over 100 down to some minuscule buy, the same thing will happen again!


Of course I understood all that.

Knowing what we know now .. the B-2 was a mistake. Knowing what we know now ... spending the money on any number of other things would be better.

So .. knowing what we know now ... what should we have spent that money on.
(This is not a judgement on the B-2 management, who had to work in current-year knowledge. Just a question of what would have been better.)
 
RJMAZ
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 11:22 pm

If the F-22 and B-2 programs were cancelled, China might have captured Taiwan 5 years ago.

Looking into a crystal ball in 1988 they would have seen 20 years of counter insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. So the correct answer is the following.

1) Anti-IED systems
2) Anti-sniper systems
3) Humvee replacement that was IED proof with a V shaped bottom.
4) Cleansheet APC offering better protection and lighter weight.
5) Micro 1 megawatt nuclear generators that can fit in a Chinook. Halving the number of fuel trucks getting ambushed.
6) Tilt rotor family to replace all of the short range helicopters. This eliminates aviation fuel storage and transport in the combat zone.

Small tilt rotor - 10t takeoff weight 8-10 seat cabin or an attack version to replace Blackhawk, Apache and A-10. 80% of the size of the V-280.

Medium tilt rotor- V-22 MK2 with wider cabin like a Chinook. No fancy folding mechanisms for ship use. Can fit one of the Humvee replacements inside.

Large tilt rotor - V44 quad tilt rotor. C-27J sized cabin to fit one of the new APC vehicles. It can carry roll on and roll off fuel pods to remove the remaining half of the fuel trucks from the road.

7) Unmanned tactical refueling tanker. Take a RQ-4B global hawk and put a drogue on it. They can loitor at high altitude. The tilt rotor fleet can gain massive performance when combined with a tanker.

A tilt rotor for example might have a 10t maximum vertical takeoff and a 13t slow takeoff weight. So after taking off vertical the tilt rotor can hit up the tanker for 3t of extra fuel. A helicopter can not do this so it would have to sacrifice payload for additional fuel.

8) Rapid CAS system. A network of unmanned drones that have can hit ground targets with small GPS guided missiles. I would actually think the best system would be to have a drone at 50,000ft and the small missiles could travel 100+nm horizontal at high speed/altitude before diving down. This allows for fewer drones to cover the same area.
Last edited by RJMAZ on Sat May 07, 2022 11:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 11:22 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:

There is always a need for more capacity, but not an unlimited budget. The KC-46 also gets kicked around, but it too is now forward deployed, and is very active even without RVS 2.0.

If conflict with China broke out tomorrow, the B-2 fleet would be essential. Hence the need for B-21 to replace them, based on the same technologies.

C-17 replacement would require a new program, but they have many years life remaining.


It should not have taken 30 plus years to procure a KC-135 replacement.

If a conflict breaks out with China that is non-nuclear, the B-2 will be utterly irrelevant. Tiny weapons payload, high risk, requiring a ton of refueling assets. If it becomes nuclear, then it will be totally irrelevant, as ICBM/SLBM’s will take over handling the nuclear apocalypse.

C-17 might last that long if extended to 45K hour lives, but it is limited, and the lack of cargo lift capacity would be a huge issue moving forward with any tier 1 or 2 foe. Again, not about critiquing that program, but if “I had a crystal ball where should the USAF have spent B-2 procurement funds 25+ years ago?” I think a longer legged, multi role tanker/cargo aircraft is an easy no-brainer.

Keep in mind this is with each (of 20 total) $700+ million B-2 costing at least $45 million a year just to maintain, in today’s numbers. It’s sort of farcical to keep them in service, imho.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboo ... eap-199018


B-2 is the only non-missile asset we have that could strike the defended Chinese mainland . It would be part of the counter strategy if conflict erupted, to degrade Chinese offensive capability. B-21 is better of course. Enough that Australia has considered something similar for long range strike, and both Japan and Australia provide basing.


Is your plan to send B-2s with non-nuclear payloads over mainland China?
 
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kitplane01
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 11:25 pm

Avatar2go wrote:

LCS gets kicked around but they are out there serving every day, and crews like them. Their concept is just different than the traditional categories of warships. They were designed to replace three classes of ships, and are successful at two of them. The need for a more lethal frigate has reemerged, but the lower end frigate duties can still be handled by LCS.


You must be surprised that Navy is decommissioning so many LCS so early. And moving on to a new platform. If they USN thought the LCS was worth having they would repair the ones that need repair, and would not be decommissioning the ones they have.
 
Vintage
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sat May 07, 2022 11:53 pm

I don't understand what a frigate offers that an LCS doesn't.
If a pickup truck can host a harpoon missile why can't a LCS?
 
Avatar2go
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 1:21 am

kitplane01 wrote:

You must be surprised that Navy is decommissioning so many LCS so early. And moving on to a new platform. If they USN thought the LCS was worth having they would repair the ones that need repair, and would not be decommissioning the ones they have.


Fact check: 9 LCS have been proposed for retirement, of the 35 ships ordered. Reason being that the ASW mission package was cancelled, leaving 9 operational ships without a package. However Congress has yet to approve this, and USN has surplus MCM packages that could be used.

3 of the 4 original development ships have been retired, due to their role as training ships being absorbed by the growing fleet. They had not been upgraded and were becoming obsolete for training purposes.

If they do retire 9 more ships, it makes sense to retire those needing repairs. But this in no way means the LCS is being retired as classes. A far more likely scenario is that Congress will authorize the 4th development ship, and possibly 2 that had more serious propulsion damage. However those two have now emerged from repair and rejoined the fleet, so their current status is uncertain.

Further the need for the Constellation class frigate is to add lethality to the program, which the LCS was never designed to provide. And now also it will handle the ASW component. But the LCS will continue to provide the patrol, surface warfare, aviation, and mine countermeasures missions it was always intended to perform. And there are not enough Constellations to fulfill those LCS roles.

Even if the USN gets their way and retires the requested ships, there will be 2 squadrons of Independence class and 1 squadron of Freedom class. I think it more likely Congress will preserve 3 squadrons of Independence and 2 squadrons of Freedom.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 1:24 am

kitplane01 wrote:

Is your plan to send B-2s with non-nuclear payloads over mainland China?


Not my plan, USAF plan. Why they are forward deployed and presence has been invited by the host nations
 
Avatar2go
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 1:43 am

Vintage wrote:
I don't understand what a frigate offers that an LCS doesn't.
If a pickup truck can host a harpoon missile why can't a LCS?


The LCS issue concerns the threat environment they were designed for. The USN wanted a multi-role ship with both blue-water and littoral capability, with the speed of a patrol boat, and ability to run with a carrier. The trade-off was that the ship would have lighter construction to serve in standalone mode in low-threat environments. For high-threat environments, it would operate as the littoral component of the carrier strike group, with air and missile defense cover. It could sprint into shallow waters to extend the group influence and missions

All of that is still its purpose, but there is increasing concern about survivability, if it is caught in standalone mode in a high-threat environment. For that you need a true traditional frigate, built to heavier standards, a large crew for damage control, and greater firepower. You could add firepower to the LCS, as they are doing with the Naval Strike Missile (NSM). But you can't easily address the issue of battle survivability. The LCS is built to Level 1+, with a small crew, the Constellation will be Level 3.

LCS was tested successfully with the Harpoon, but the decision was to use the more advanced NSM instead. Some also have the Hellfire, both on the ship and on the MH-60 helicopters. There are plans to arm the Firescout helicopter drone for future versions as well.
Last edited by Avatar2go on Sun May 08, 2022 1:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 1:45 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Of course I understood all that.

Knowing what we know now .. the B-2 was a mistake. Knowing what we know now ... spending the money on any number of other things would be better.

So .. knowing what we know now ... what should we have spent that money on.
(This is not a judgement on the B-2 management, who had to work in current-year knowledge. Just a question of what would have been better.)


There seems to be a difference in what “we” know and what you know.

Your question is a rhetorical question with an incorrect premise - that the B-2 is, was then, and always has been a mistake. That is, was, and always will be wrong. Your question is specious, as in “superficially plausible, but actually wrong.” It’s like saying “instead of wasting our money on home insurance we should’ve bought a Rottweiler”. Not only do they serve entirely different purposes, but you can’t weigh deterrence equally.

The B-2’a ability to penetrate contested and defended airspace with nuclear and/or conventional weapons is vital to US national security and gives our non-friends and competitors (USSR —> Russia, China, Iraq, and others) strategic pause. Frigates and tankers don’t do that. I’m a tanker guy and I freely admit that tankers (like frigates) are a strategy enabler, but the strategy is what the B-2 delivers.

If your question was “should the Navy have bought for Perry frigates instead of the LCS?” that would’ve been a valid question.
 
Vintage
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 2:42 am

Please forgive me if I come off as naive in this, I am not a Navy guy, but I am interested in this subject.
Avatar2go wrote:
The LCS issue concerns the threat environment they were designed for. The USN wanted a multi-role ship with both blue-water and littoral capability, with the speed of a patrol boat, and ability to run with a carrier.
If they wanted a ship to run with a carrier why did they ever fund the LCS? They offer nothing to a carrier group, nothing on offense, nothing on defense. I have read the Wikipedia description of the Constellation class frigates and two things stand out; the first is that these ships are to be part of the carrier group, they have both offensive and defensive roles. The second thing I see, is that these ships will be too valuable to be sent into bays and estuaries or even close to shore; they would be abandoning their role in the carrier group if they did.

So it appears to me that the Navy wants to abandon the mission of going in close, to support the Marines.

Avatar2go wrote:
The trade-off was that the ship would have lighter construction to serve in standalone mode in low-threat environments. For high-threat environments, it would operate as the littoral component of the carrier strike group, with air and missile defense cover. It could sprint into shallow waters to extend the group influence and missions
It makes sense that in a (very) high threat environment a LCS would retreat to the carrier group's protection. But it is just there for protection, it adds nothing to the carrier group. In a sense it is out of action, it can't do its job at a time when the enemy has control of the air (I assume that is the perceived threat that makes it seek protection).

Avatar2go wrote:
All of that is still its purpose, but there is increasing concern about survivability, if it is caught in standalone mode in a high-threat environment. For that you need a true traditional frigate, built to heavier standards, a large crew for damage control, and greater firepower.
You could add firepower to the LCS, as they are doing with the Naval Strike Missile (NSM). But you can't easily address the issue of battle survivability. The LCS is built to Level 1+, with a small crew, the Constellation will be Level 3.
It seems to me that it would be a rare occurrence for any ship to get hit and not be put out of action in the 21st century.

Avatar2go wrote:
LCS was tested successfully with the Harpoon, but the decision was to use the more advanced NSM instead. Some also have the Hellfire, both on the ship and on the MH-60 helicopters. There are plans to arm the Firescout helicopter drone for future versions as well.
LCS would be an ideal drone platform and drones certainly are going to be a large part of 21st century warfare.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 3:46 am

Vintage wrote:
If they wanted a ship to run with a carrier why did they ever fund the LCS? They offer nothing to a carrier group, nothing on offense, nothing on defense. I have read the Wikipedia description of the Constellation class frigates and two things stand out; the first is that these ships are to be part of the carrier group, they have both offensive and defensive roles. The second thing I see, is that these ships will be too valuable to be sent into bays and estuaries or even close to shore; they would be abandoning their role in the carrier group if they did.


The LCS has an Aegis-compatible combat system, so it functions as part of the carrier group network, as both remote sensor and remote fire platform. The value is that it can extend that capability into the littoral environment, which no other strike group asset can do. It has specialized radar designed for ship-to-shore, plus the aviation assets which are linked back to the LCS, and via Aegis to the strike group.

It was also supposed to provide ASW support to the group, and thus run with the carrier, but that role is now ended with the mission package cancellation. As far as the Marines, LCS could support EABO operations with the large mission bays, to rapidly put small distributed forces & hardware ashore. That's now viewed as an essential Marine requirement, as important as the larger amphibious landing capability.

Vintage wrote:
It seems to me that it would be a rare occurrence for any ship to get hit and not be put out of action in the 21st century.


The construction levels include factors that allow the ships to remain functional to various degrees. Level 0 is commercial standard, sunk or destroyed for combat damage. Level 1 is protected engineering spaces, ability to maneuver after combat damage but no ability to fight. Level 2 is extensive firefighting and damage control, ability to remain in fight if hull not compromised. Level 3 is full internal redundancy, compartmentalization, watertight integrity, plus firefighting & damage control. Expected to survive combat damage and recover during a fight. Difficult to sink outright (SINKEX has confirmed this, many shots required to sink targeted Level 3 vessels).

LCS is Level 1+, it has the firefighting, compartmentalization, and integrity, but not damage control or redundancy (crew is too small). So it is expected to remain afloat & maneuver away from the fight. That was a concession to the value of the crew, they are not expendable even if the ship was.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 4:17 am

Avatar2go wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:

You must be surprised that Navy is decommissioning so many LCS so early. And moving on to a new platform. If they USN thought the LCS was worth having they would repair the ones that need repair, and would not be decommissioning the ones they have.


Fact check: 9 LCS have been proposed for retirement, of the 35 ships ordered. Reason being that the ASW mission package was cancelled, leaving 9 operational ships without a package. However Congress has yet to approve this, and USN has surplus MCM packages that could be used.

3 of the 4 original development ships have been retired, due to their role as training ships being absorbed by the growing fleet. They had not been upgraded and were becoming obsolete for training purposes.

If they do retire 9 more ships, it makes sense to retire those needing repairs. But this in no way means the LCS is being retired as classes. A far more likely scenario is that Congress will authorize the 4th development ship, and possibly 2 that had more serious propulsion damage. However those two have now emerged from repair and rejoined the fleet, so their current status is uncertain.

Further the need for the Constellation class frigate is to add lethality to the program, which the LCS was never designed to provide. And now also it will handle the ASW component. But the LCS will continue to provide the patrol, surface warfare, aviation, and mine countermeasures missions it was always intended to perform. And there are not enough Constellations to fulfill those LCS roles.

Even if the USN gets their way and retires the requested ships, there will be 2 squadrons of Independence class and 1 squadron of Freedom class. I think it more likely Congress will preserve 3 squadrons of Independence and 2 squadrons of Freedom.


Re Fact Check: 3 already retired, and 9 scheduled to be retired, counts as "many".
 
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kitplane01
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 4:24 am

Avatar2go wrote:
Vintage wrote:
If they wanted a ship to run with a carrier why did they ever fund the LCS? They offer nothing to a carrier group, nothing on offense, nothing on defense. I have read the Wikipedia description of the Constellation class frigates and two things stand out; the first is that these ships are to be part of the carrier group, they have both offensive and defensive roles. The second thing I see, is that these ships will be too valuable to be sent into bays and estuaries or even close to shore; they would be abandoning their role in the carrier group if they did.


The LCS has an Aegis-compatible combat system, so it functions as part of the carrier group network, as both remote sensor and remote fire platform. The value is that it can extend that capability into the littoral environment, which no other strike group asset can do. It has specialized radar designed for ship-to-shore, plus the aviation assets which are linked back to the LCS, and via Aegis to the strike group.


I'm so so sorry, but this is not even close to right.

Every destroyer and cruiser in the USN has as Aegis-compatible combat system, and every one has a radar that will work better than the LCS in any mode including ship-to-shore. So when you wrote "can extend that capability into the littoral environment, which no other strike group asset can do" that would be false since every destroyer or cruiser the navy has can sit a mile offshore and no a better job of this than the LCS.

The reason this is not done is because it's a suicide mission for any ship, including the LCS.

The LCS is the worst ship program in the USN since the Zumwalt. The Navy is doing there best to dump them as fast as they can even though they are young.

I imagine your going to write something about how times have changed and the ASW module sux and such. But none of that changes the USN is trying to get rid of them well before their lifetime is up.
 
Vintage
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 5:07 am

kitplane01 wrote:
The LCS is the worst ship program in the USN since the Zumwalt. The Navy is doing there best to dump them as fast as they can even though they are young.

My assumption is that the LCS's have an ability to receive data from the Aegis network of the Carrier group, but do not have Aegis arrays themselves, that isn't their job, they need a local radar that can tell them about the specific area they are in. They can see that better than an Aegis ship that is a hundred or 500 miles away. In any event, the carrier group is not dependent on the LCS's for anything.

What I get out of all this is that the LCS ships are excellent ships for the task they were intended to be used for, but the Navy doesn't want to pursue that mission anymore. So now the Navy and its fans have decided to denigrate a platform because it isn't capable of doing a job it wasn't designed for; it never was a frigate, it was never supposed to be a frigate.

What I don't see is any discussion of is the actual role the LCS's were intended to do. That's just been swept by the way; but we know that a frigate is not suited for that job, whatever it was.
 
Vintage
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 6:04 am

Too late to edit, the Freedom class LCS does have an Aegis array, the Independence class does not.
Although the freedom class has AESA arrays they only face forward.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 6:12 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
Vintage wrote:
If they wanted a ship to run with a carrier why did they ever fund the LCS? They offer nothing to a carrier group, nothing on offense, nothing on defense. I have read the Wikipedia description of the Constellation class frigates and two things stand out; the first is that these ships are to be part of the carrier group, they have both offensive and defensive roles. The second thing I see, is that these ships will be too valuable to be sent into bays and estuaries or even close to shore; they would be abandoning their role in the carrier group if they did.


The LCS has an Aegis-compatible combat system, so it functions as part of the carrier group network, as both remote sensor and remote fire platform. The value is that it can extend that capability into the littoral environment, which no other strike group asset can do. It has specialized radar designed for ship-to-shore, plus the aviation assets which are linked back to the LCS, and via Aegis to the strike group.


I'm so so sorry, but this is not even close to right.

Every destroyer and cruiser in the USN has as Aegis-compatible combat system, and every one has a radar that will work better than the LCS in any mode including ship-to-shore. So when you wrote "can extend that capability into the littoral environment, which no other strike group asset can do" that would be false since every destroyer or cruiser the navy has can sit a mile offshore and no a better job of this than the LCS.

The reason this is not done is because it's a suicide mission for any ship, including the LCS.

The LCS is the worst ship program in the USN since the Zumwalt. The Navy is doing there best to dump them as fast as they can even though they are young.

I imagine your going to write something about how times have changed and the ASW module sux and such. But none of that changes the USN is trying to get rid of them well before their lifetime is up.


You are entitled to your negative opinion, it's just not supported by the facts, which are correct as I gave them. I told you the reason the USN gave for the retirement request, multiple times now. You are welcome to confirm. The LCS radar is optimized for ship-to-shore, again you are welcome to confirm. The LCS is capable of operating as a remote platform via Aegis, under the umbrella of the strike group, as was the design intent. Again you are welcome to confirm. The LCS has a draft that can be adjusted to as little as 10 feet, so is able to operate closer to shore than other strike group assets. Again you are welcome to confirm.

At present, 3 ships are retired out of the requested 6. 6 more are requested for a total of 12 out of 35, and that will be unlikely at best. Again you are welcome to confirm. Just spouting that facts are false is not an argument, it's just insisting on your own opinion.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 6:18 am

Vintage wrote:
Too late to edit, the Freedom class LCS does have an Aegis array, the Independence class does not.
Although the freedom class has AESA arrays they only face forward.


The statement was that the LCS has an Aegis compatible combat system, so that it functions as a node in the Aegis network. Not that it had an Aegis radar. It does not and the reason is that the LCS radar is optimized for ship to shore, as stated.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 6:30 am

Vintage wrote:

What I don't see is any discussion of is the actual role the LCS's were intended to do. That's just been swept by the way; but we know that a frigate is not suited for that job, whatever it was.


The development history of the LCS is well documented on line, but is too lengthy for this forum. I've already given the short version. It is well suited for the intended purpose (with the exception of the ASW package which failed in development) but that purpose has not been recognized or accepted by many, both inside and outside USN. So it remains controversial. Yet continues to serve well in both local & forward deployments.
 
Vintage
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 6:43 am

Avatar2go wrote:
The development history of the LCS is well documented on line, but is too lengthy for this forum. I've already given the short version. It is well suited for the intended purpose (with the exception of the ASW package which failed in development) but that purpose has not been recognized or accepted by many, both inside and outside USN. So it remains controversial. Yet continues to serve well in both local & forward deployments.

That's obviously the real issue, the current navy brass doesn't want that mission.

I am of the other view. I see their aircraft carrier investment as a dead end that is coming fairly soon, with a bang.
This is another case of the (O7s and above) trying to refight the last war after times have changed.
 
MohawkWeekend
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 11:40 am

I always thought the LCS's surplus to the Navy should be given to the US Coast Guard. Low crew costs, fast. Would serve well in drug interdiction and fishery protectection.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 11:42 am

Vintage wrote:
I see their aircraft carrier investment as a dead end that is coming fairly soon, with a bang.
This is another case of the (O7s and above) trying to refight the last war after times have changed.

I completely agree. Stopping aircraft carrier production would be a massive decision and no one has the guts to make it. Unfortunately it would take multiple aircraft carriers to be sunk before the US Navy would ever admit to the aircraft carrier having no future.

The USAF NGAD will be the aircraft that makes the aircraft carrier mission redundant. It will be able to fly all the way from Japan to Taiwan in only 30 minutes. It will still have enough internal fuel remaining to return without inflight refueling.

The USAF has said this week that the aircraft will cost "multiple hundreds of millions of dollars". I am sure kitplane01 will be the first to say that it is far too expensive compared to a Super Hornet when it comes to the job of dropping a bomb. But the huge cost of the aircraft carrier and it's escort ships must be divided across the 40 or so Hornets. Suddenly the super expensive 6th gen fighter becomes the cheapest way to drop bombs and provide air dominance over Taiwan.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... expensive/

It is basically the same reasoning with the expensive high speed VTOL aircraft to replace a cheap turboprop and helicopter combo. It will make the vast majority of the personel at a forward operating base redundant once all of the logistics is removed.

If they stopped aircraft carrier production today and just finished the John F Kennedy, then they would have 12 aircraft carriers in 2025 and then lose a carrier roughly every 4 years. So they would still have 6 carriers in 2050 and the last aircraft carrier would be retired in 2073

Does anyone here still think we will need aircraft carriers in 2073?

If I was in charge of the US Navy I would make the America class LHA and Arleigh Burke destroyers nuclear powered. A small safe 100 megawatt nuclear electric power system would create electricity. Electric motors would run the the props like in the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. Both the Arleigh Burke and America class could share the same powerplant size. The smaller destroyer will then have a faster top speed and more electricity for lasers.

Unmanned drone submarines/ships can then be fully battery electric. They pull up next to a destroyer and get recharged. Nice and simple. No refueling ships. I expect the America class to have a big role in the future. Sea basing the forces with MVM. Less need for land bases in the combat zone.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 12:18 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
Vintage wrote:
I see their aircraft carrier investment as a dead end that is coming fairly soon, with a bang.
This is another case of the (O7s and above) trying to refight the last war after times have changed.

I completely agree. Stopping aircraft carrier production would be a massive decision and no one has the guts to make it. Unfortunately it would take multiple aircraft carriers to be sunk before the US Navy would ever admit to the aircraft carrier having no future.

The USAF NGAD will be the aircraft that makes the aircraft carrier mission redundant. It will be able to fly all the way from Japan to Taiwan in only 30 minutes. It will still have enough internal fuel remaining to return without inflight refueling.

The USAF has said this week that the aircraft will cost "multiple hundreds of millions of dollars". I am sure kitplane01 will be the first to say that it is far too expensive compared to a Super Hornet when it comes to the job of dropping a bomb. But the huge cost of the aircraft carrier and it's escort ships must be divided across the 40 or so Hornets. Suddenly the super expensive 6th gen fighter becomes the cheapest way to drop bombs and provide air dominance over Taiwan.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... expensive/

It is basically the same reasoning with the expensive high speed VTOL aircraft to replace a cheap turboprop and helicopter combo. It will make the vast majority of the personel at a forward operating base redundant once all of the logistics is removed.

If they stopped aircraft carrier production today and just finished the John F Kennedy, then they would have 12 aircraft carriers in 2025 and then lose a carrier roughly every 4 years. So they would still have 6 carriers in 2050 and the last aircraft carrier would be retired in 2073

Does anyone here still think we will need aircraft carriers in 2073?

If I was in charge of the US Navy I would make the America class LHA and Arleigh Burke destroyers nuclear powered. A small safe 100 megawatt nuclear electric power system would create electricity. Electric motors would run the the props like in the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. Both the Arleigh Burke and America class could share the same powerplant size. The smaller destroyer will then have a faster top speed and more electricity for lasers.

Unmanned drone submarines/ships can then be fully battery electric. They pull up next to a destroyer and get recharged. Nice and simple. No refueling ships. I expect the America class to have a big role in the future. Sea basing the forces with MVM. Less need for land bases in the combat zone.


Don't want to start the carrier argument here, so will just give the opposing side. USN assets are divided into two broad categories, sea-control which revolves around the large CVN's, and shore/land control which revolves around the smaller CVL's. These two tasks are very different and the forces are optimized accordingly.

USN doctrine requires that sea-control must be established before land-control becomes possible. The CVN carrier strike groups have the capacity to project sea-control anywhere in the world. That task cannot be done with the CVL's, at least as they now stand. They are not survivable in the absence of sea-control.

This is not just recognized by USN, but by other naval forces which are also building CVN's around the world. USN builds & operates far more due to the world-wide mission. Yet even today, the CSG's are in high demand.

It's true that CSG tactics have to change with new weapons technologies. Perhaps the day will come when carriers aren't needed for projection of sea-control, with aerial assets having 12,000 mile ranges. But that is probably some ways into the future, if at all. For now the CSG is essential, unless the US wants to give up that role in the world. In that case you can be sure that China would build CVN's, and assume that role.
 
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 3:44 pm

For what it's worth, part of the vision for the LCS was that it would span the sea and land control missions described above, being sufficiently flexible to serve in either. In that sense it was a unique concept that didn't fall into the traditional hierarchical structure of naval ships. For better or worse, the USN has tried to reduce the number of rungs on that ladder requiring support, by shifting the rungs up to new positions, and eliminating the rungs at top & bottom (cruisers & patrol boats). But not everyone agrees with these ideas.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 5:41 pm

Only in hindsight we know the B-2 was not needed. But at that time, it was the correct decision. Then, we didn't know that the Soviet Union would eventually collapse.

It was just good luck that historical events made the B-2 jobless, while many older aircraft soldier on.

The military does not think in terms of luck. If an operation fails due to bad luck, it was still a good decision to begin the operation. If an operation succeeds only by good luck, then you're an incompetent commander.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 7:26 pm

Back to the OP, at the time of conception the B-2 was a vital program providing the tip of the spear, a huge leap in stealth tech. It was going to be a large program but the unit costs got crazy so the fleet became 32 I recall. Enough for the mission after the Soviet Union collapsed, but other aircraft could cover much of the mission profile of the B-2 for far less dollars. Same with the F-22, very necessary programs but with a lot of gold plated specs involved. The decision to build was right, the decision to scale back was also right.

The USN dropped the ball on the Ford class carriers, the last Nimitz class cost under half what the Ford cost, with a lot of development costs not included. Going from steam to electric catapults was a good decision, but there were things like no disconnects for each catapault so maintenance cannot happen unless all 4 cats are locked out - plain dumb. Hydraulic shock absorbers are a perfect design for arresting cables, idiotic to change that system out, same with the elevators, only minimal gained with extensive costs. Both of these needed a lot more development time.

The DDG 1000's cost 27B for 3 ships that have no purpose, 1/3 of what the B-2 cost for basically no return. What idiots thought that program up!!

The LCS's had poor specifications and a poor mission concept. Sort of a Perry class frigate replacement, but if one drops the resiliance, basically allowing any battle damage to take out the ship is an OK concept, but there needs to be strong offense capabilty. Heck, most of the new USCG cutters are more capable than the LCS. This USNI article hits home, ALL Freedom LCS's currently in service getting mothballed, only the ones getting built will be in service, the cost to fix the combining gear including the lost yard time for other vessels was too much. Better to spend on the frigates. A promising Class turned out to be a real Turkey!!

https://news.usni.org/2022/03/29/all-fr ... y-disposal

An Arleigh Burke has a 31 foot draft, a Nimitz carrier 41 feet, Independence class LCS 14 feet, Freedom class 12.8 feet draft. Placing naval ships in water less than 40 feet basically makes them sitting ducks. What weapons do they have that give an advantage in that sphere that outweights the disadvantage.

Back to the OP, the B-2 program was money well spent, but capping the buy at 32 was also proper. Hopefully the B-21 turns out to be a successful program.

Our DOD needs to get better with their programs - The Navy has had 3 recent turkeys - Ford, DDG 1000, and LCS. The Army and Air Force both have had many programs that were stillborn. The USCG has managed to have good success with all of their cutter programs.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 7:41 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
Back to the OP, at the time of conception the B-2 was a vital program providing the tip of the spear, a huge leap in stealth tech. It was going to be a large program but the unit costs got crazy so the fleet became 32 I recall. Enough for the mission after the Soviet Union collapsed, but other aircraft could cover much of the mission profile of the B-2 for far less dollars. Same with the F-22, very necessary programs but with a lot of gold plated specs involved. The decision to build was right, the decision to scale back was also right.

The USN dropped the ball on the Ford class carriers, the last Nimitz class cost under half what the Ford cost, with a lot of development costs not included. Going from steam to electric catapults was a good decision, but there were things like no disconnects for each catapault so maintenance cannot happen unless all 4 cats are locked out - plain dumb. Hydraulic shock absorbers are a perfect design for arresting cables, idiotic to change that system out, same with the elevators, only minimal gained with extensive costs. Both of these needed a lot more development time.

The DDG 1000's cost 27B for 3 ships that have no purpose, 1/3 of what the B-2 cost for basically no return. What idiots thought that program up!!

The LCS's had poor specifications and a poor mission concept. Sort of a Perry class frigate replacement, but if one drops the resiliance, basically allowing any battle damage to take out the ship is an OK concept, but there needs to be strong offense capabilty. Heck, most of the new USCG cutters are more capable than the LCS. This USNI article hits home, ALL Freedom LCS's currently in service getting mothballed, only the ones getting built will be in service, the cost to fix the combining gear including the lost yard time for other vessels was too much. Better to spend on the frigates. A promising Class turned out to be a real Turkey!!

https://news.usni.org/2022/03/29/all-fr ... y-disposal

An Arleigh Burke has a 31 foot draft, a Nimitz carrier 41 feet, Independence class LCS 14 feet, Freedom class 12.8 feet draft. Placing naval ships in water less than 40 feet basically makes them sitting ducks. What weapons do they have that give an advantage in that sphere that outweights the disadvantage.

Back to the OP, the B-2 program was money well spent, but capping the buy at 32 was also proper. Hopefully the B-21 turns out to be a successful program.

Our DOD needs to get better with their programs - The Navy has had 3 recent turkeys - Ford, DDG 1000, and LCS. The Army and Air Force both have had many programs that were stillborn. The USCG has managed to have good success with all of their cutter programs.


Well said. The B-2’s later low-level gold-plating contributed mightily to its overruns, too.

If memory serves there were 21 built to fly (one prototype later upgraded to full mission-standards), one crashed because of water, so 20 left. The one at Wright-Patt was a structural test article (I think).
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 7:50 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
JayinKitsap wrote:
Back to the OP, at the time of conception the B-2 was a vital program providing the tip of the spear, a huge leap in stealth tech. It was going to be a large program but the unit costs got crazy so the fleet became 32 I recall. Enough for the mission after the Soviet Union collapsed, but other aircraft could cover much of the mission profile of the B-2 for far less dollars. Same with the F-22, very necessary programs but with a lot of gold plated specs involved. The decision to build was right, the decision to scale back was also right.

The USN dropped the ball on the Ford class carriers, the last Nimitz class cost under half what the Ford cost, with a lot of development costs not included. Going from steam to electric catapults was a good decision, but there were things like no disconnects for each catapault so maintenance cannot happen unless all 4 cats are locked out - plain dumb. Hydraulic shock absorbers are a perfect design for arresting cables, idiotic to change that system out, same with the elevators, only minimal gained with extensive costs. Both of these needed a lot more development time.

The DDG 1000's cost 27B for 3 ships that have no purpose, 1/3 of what the B-2 cost for basically no return. What idiots thought that program up!!

The LCS's had poor specifications and a poor mission concept. Sort of a Perry class frigate replacement, but if one drops the resiliance, basically allowing any battle damage to take out the ship is an OK concept, but there needs to be strong offense capabilty. Heck, most of the new USCG cutters are more capable than the LCS. This USNI article hits home, ALL Freedom LCS's currently in service getting mothballed, only the ones getting built will be in service, the cost to fix the combining gear including the lost yard time for other vessels was too much. Better to spend on the frigates. A promising Class turned out to be a real Turkey!!

https://news.usni.org/2022/03/29/all-fr ... y-disposal

An Arleigh Burke has a 31 foot draft, a Nimitz carrier 41 feet, Independence class LCS 14 feet, Freedom class 12.8 feet draft. Placing naval ships in water less than 40 feet basically makes them sitting ducks. What weapons do they have that give an advantage in that sphere that outweights the disadvantage.

Back to the OP, the B-2 program was money well spent, but capping the buy at 32 was also proper. Hopefully the B-21 turns out to be a successful program.

Our DOD needs to get better with their programs - The Navy has had 3 recent turkeys - Ford, DDG 1000, and LCS. The Army and Air Force both have had many programs that were stillborn. The USCG has managed to have good success with all of their cutter programs.


Well said. The B-2’s later low-level gold-plating contributed mightily to its overruns, too.

If memory serves there were 21 built to fly (one prototype later upgraded to full mission-standards), one crashed because of water, so 20 left. The one at Wright-Patt was a structural test article (I think).


I was going by memory that it was in the low 20's, I think you are right in your numbers.

BTW, I enjoy your tanker experience coming out in your posts, the real world experience is always good.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 7:55 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
LyleLanley wrote:
JayinKitsap wrote:
Back to the OP, at the time of conception the B-2 was a vital program providing the tip of the spear, a huge leap in stealth tech. It was going to be a large program but the unit costs got crazy so the fleet became 32 I recall. Enough for the mission after the Soviet Union collapsed, but other aircraft could cover much of the mission profile of the B-2 for far less dollars. Same with the F-22, very necessary programs but with a lot of gold plated specs involved. The decision to build was right, the decision to scale back was also right.

The USN dropped the ball on the Ford class carriers, the last Nimitz class cost under half what the Ford cost, with a lot of development costs not included. Going from steam to electric catapults was a good decision, but there were things like no disconnects for each catapault so maintenance cannot happen unless all 4 cats are locked out - plain dumb. Hydraulic shock absorbers are a perfect design for arresting cables, idiotic to change that system out, same with the elevators, only minimal gained with extensive costs. Both of these needed a lot more development time.

The DDG 1000's cost 27B for 3 ships that have no purpose, 1/3 of what the B-2 cost for basically no return. What idiots thought that program up!!

The LCS's had poor specifications and a poor mission concept. Sort of a Perry class frigate replacement, but if one drops the resiliance, basically allowing any battle damage to take out the ship is an OK concept, but there needs to be strong offense capabilty. Heck, most of the new USCG cutters are more capable than the LCS. This USNI article hits home, ALL Freedom LCS's currently in service getting mothballed, only the ones getting built will be in service, the cost to fix the combining gear including the lost yard time for other vessels was too much. Better to spend on the frigates. A promising Class turned out to be a real Turkey!!

https://news.usni.org/2022/03/29/all-fr ... y-disposal

An Arleigh Burke has a 31 foot draft, a Nimitz carrier 41 feet, Independence class LCS 14 feet, Freedom class 12.8 feet draft. Placing naval ships in water less than 40 feet basically makes them sitting ducks. What weapons do they have that give an advantage in that sphere that outweights the disadvantage.

Back to the OP, the B-2 program was money well spent, but capping the buy at 32 was also proper. Hopefully the B-21 turns out to be a successful program.

Our DOD needs to get better with their programs - The Navy has had 3 recent turkeys - Ford, DDG 1000, and LCS. The Army and Air Force both have had many programs that were stillborn. The USCG has managed to have good success with all of their cutter programs.


Well said. The B-2’s later low-level gold-plating contributed mightily to its overruns, too.

If memory serves there were 21 built to fly (one prototype later upgraded to full mission-standards), one crashed because of water, so 20 left. The one at Wright-Patt was a structural test article (I think).


I was going by memory that it was in the low 20's, I think you are right in your numbers.

BTW, I enjoy your tanker experience coming out in your posts, the real world experience is always good.


Your grasp of the program difficulties and command of the alternatives were spot-on. Remembering exactly how many jets were made is a very minor point compared to that. :)

Thanks! It’s a complex world we live in, and I think it’s important for people to understand why things happen the way they do.
 
Avatar2go
Posts: 968
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2022 3:41 am

Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 8:20 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
Back to the OP, at the time of conception the B-2 was a vital program providing the tip of the spear, a huge leap in stealth tech. It was going to be a large program but the unit costs got crazy so the fleet became 32 I recall. Enough for the mission after the Soviet Union collapsed, but other aircraft could cover much of the mission profile of the B-2 for far less dollars. Same with the F-22, very necessary programs but with a lot of gold plated specs involved. The decision to build was right, the decision to scale back was also right.

The USN dropped the ball on the Ford class carriers, the last Nimitz class cost under half what the Ford cost, with a lot of development costs not included. Going from steam to electric catapults was a good decision, but there were things like no disconnects for each catapault so maintenance cannot happen unless all 4 cats are locked out - plain dumb. Hydraulic shock absorbers are a perfect design for arresting cables, idiotic to change that system out, same with the elevators, only minimal gained with extensive costs. Both of these needed a lot more development time.

The DDG 1000's cost 27B for 3 ships that have no purpose, 1/3 of what the B-2 cost for basically no return. What idiots thought that program up!!

The LCS's had poor specifications and a poor mission concept. Sort of a Perry class frigate replacement, but if one drops the resiliance, basically allowing any battle damage to take out the ship is an OK concept, but there needs to be strong offense capabilty. Heck, most of the new USCG cutters are more capable than the LCS. This USNI article hits home, ALL Freedom LCS's currently in service getting mothballed, only the ones getting built will be in service, the cost to fix the combining gear including the lost yard time for other vessels was too much. Better to spend on the frigates. A promising Class turned out to be a real Turkey!!

https://news.usni.org/2022/03/29/all-fr ... y-disposal

An Arleigh Burke has a 31 foot draft, a Nimitz carrier 41 feet, Independence class LCS 14 feet, Freedom class 12.8 feet draft. Placing naval ships in water less than 40 feet basically makes them sitting ducks. What weapons do they have that give an advantage in that sphere that outweights the disadvantage.

Back to the OP, the B-2 program was money well spent, but capping the buy at 32 was also proper. Hopefully the B-21 turns out to be a successful program.

Our DOD needs to get better with their programs - The Navy has had 3 recent turkeys - Ford, DDG 1000, and LCS. The Army and Air Force both have had many programs that were stillborn. The USCG has managed to have good success with all of their cutter programs.


The B-2 scale-back and LCS design resulted from the same withdrawal of the Soviet threat. Both were reasonable decisions at the time.

The Ford class innovations are now being copied by nations around the world, they are the future of carrier operations.

The Zumwalt class was a case of too many innovations on one ship, which generated the well-known cost death spiral. But the innovations themselves will live on. Already being adopted in other ship designs.

Coast guard cutters are not more capable than LCS. They are meant to be defensive patrol vessels. In general they don't attempt to innovate very much between classes and thus are not subject to the same risks. The LCS can fulfill the patrol role and other offensive roles besides.

As noted here many times now, USN specifically said the reason for the LCS retirement request was not the expense of the combining gear repair, which was a latent defect for which Lockheed/Renk are responsible. It was the cancellation of the ASW module that left ships without a mission package.

It's unlikely Congress will allow that retirement since the ships are perfectly viable. USN wants to spend the money on other things, which is understandable in a constrained budget environment, but Congress rightfully will not permit them to dispose operable ships when the fleet count is declining.
 
johns624
Posts: 5527
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 10:40 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
The Zumwalt class was a case of too many innovations on one ship, which generated the well-known cost death spiral. But the innovations themselves will live on. Already being adopted in other ship designs.
...except for the 6in gun, the main reason for the class...fire support.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 4065
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Sun May 08, 2022 11:27 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
Back to the OP, at the time of conception the B-2 was a vital program providing the tip of the spear, a huge leap in stealth tech. It was going to be a large program but the unit costs got crazy so the fleet became 32 I recall. Enough for the mission after the Soviet Union collapsed, but other aircraft could cover much of the mission profile of the B-2 for far less dollars. Same with the F-22, very necessary programs but with a lot of gold plated specs involved. The decision to build was right, the decision to scale back was also right.

The USN dropped the ball on the Ford class carriers, the last Nimitz class cost under half what the Ford cost, with a lot of development costs not included. Going from steam to electric catapults was a good decision, but there were things like no disconnects for each catapault so maintenance cannot happen unless all 4 cats are locked out - plain dumb. Hydraulic shock absorbers are a perfect design for arresting cables, idiotic to change that system out, same with the elevators, only minimal gained with extensive costs. Both of these needed a lot more development time.

The DDG 1000's cost 27B for 3 ships that have no purpose, 1/3 of what the B-2 cost for basically no return. What idiots thought that program up!!

The LCS's had poor specifications and a poor mission concept. Sort of a Perry class frigate replacement, but if one drops the resiliance, basically allowing any battle damage to take out the ship is an OK concept, but there needs to be strong offense capabilty. Heck, most of the new USCG cutters are more capable than the LCS. This USNI article hits home, ALL Freedom LCS's currently in service getting mothballed, only the ones getting built will be in service, the cost to fix the combining gear including the lost yard time for other vessels was too much. Better to spend on the frigates. A promising Class turned out to be a real Turkey!!

https://news.usni.org/2022/03/29/all-fr ... y-disposal

An Arleigh Burke has a 31 foot draft, a Nimitz carrier 41 feet, Independence class LCS 14 feet, Freedom class 12.8 feet draft. Placing naval ships in water less than 40 feet basically makes them sitting ducks. What weapons do they have that give an advantage in that sphere that outweights the disadvantage.

Back to the OP, the B-2 program was money well spent, but capping the buy at 32 was also proper. Hopefully the B-21 turns out to be a successful program.

Our DOD needs to get better with their programs - The Navy has had 3 recent turkeys - Ford, DDG 1000, and LCS. The Army and Air Force both have had many programs that were stillborn. The USCG has managed to have good success with all of their cutter programs.

The issues with the Ford were more of integration issues caused by constantly changing designs; there were were a lot to the Fords which haven't had their design elements frozen right up to construction.

Also, many of the systems are just new. They haven't had manuals, SOP's written for them or developed, and developing those will take time and actual experience with the equipment.

The AAG is going to be a major step up in terms of capabilities; the deceleration force from the AAG is far more gentler on the airframe compared to the the current hydraulic systems, which should reduce airframe stress, prolonging aircraft service life. It should allow the integration of certain types of UAV's, which are far more fragile compared to existing aircraft.
 
Avatar2go
Posts: 968
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2022 3:41 am

Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Mon May 09, 2022 12:45 am

[twoid][/twoid]
johns624 wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
The Zumwalt class was a case of too many innovations on one ship, which generated the well-known cost death spiral. But the innovations themselves will live on. Already being adopted in other ship designs.
...except for the 6in gun, the main reason for the class...fire support.


The innovation has lived on though, there are multiple companies developing low-cost versions of guided rounds for the Mk-110 57 mm naval gun, as used on the LCS and other small surface warships. That technology is maturing. It also helps that the Mk-110 gun is used across many vessels, including both USN and CG, so it won't suffer the death spiral.
 
Avatar2go
Posts: 968
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2022 3:41 am

Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Mon May 09, 2022 12:49 am

johns624 wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
The Zumwalt class was a case of too many innovations on one ship, which generated the well-known cost death spiral. But the innovations themselves will live on. Already being adopted in other ship designs.
...except for the 6in gun, the main reason for the class...fire support.


The innovation has lived on though, there are multiple companies developing low-cost versions of guided rounds for the Mk-110 57 mm naval gun, as used on the LCS and other small surface warships. That technology is maturing. It also helps that the Mk-110 gun is used across many vessels, including both USN and CG, so it won't suffer the death spiral.
 
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kitplane01
Topic Author
Posts: 2479
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:58 am

Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Mon May 09, 2022 5:12 am

Vintage wrote:
Please forgive me if I come off as naive in this, I am not a Navy guy, but I am interested in this subject.
...
LCS would be an ideal drone platform and drones certainly are going to be a large part of 21st century warfare.


The US Navy is retiring LCS hulls as fast as it can. The biggest constrain is whether Congress will let the USN retire ships that are so new and cost so much when built.
 
Vintage
Posts: 490
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2022 10:48 pm

Re: What would you have spent the B-2 money on?

Mon May 09, 2022 5:19 am

kitplane01 wrote:
The US Navy is retiring LCS hulls as fast as it can. The biggest constrain is whether Congress will let the USN retire ships that are so new and cost so much when built.

I won't join in but I see you are getting a lot of push back from others on this subject.

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