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    George1
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    Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  George1 on Mon Sep 07, 2015 3:44 am

    LRS-B Details Emerge: Major Testing, Risk Reduction Complete

    WASHINGTON — The two designs competing to be the US Air Force's next generation bomber have undergone extensive testing by the service and are far more mature than previously known, to a level nearly unheard of in the Pentagon before a contract award, Defense News has learned.

    The designs also feature significantly improved stealth capabilities when compared to the B-2 and still feature plans for future certification of nuclear weaponry and the ability to be optionally manned.

    Considered one of the US Air Force's three top acquisition priorities, the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program has been kept primarily in the dark as the service weighs two competing proposals, one from Northrop Grumman, and the other from a team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. A contract award is expected soon, with indications it could come before the end of September.

    On Tuesday, the Air Force held a meeting with outside stakeholders laying out new details on the secretive bomber. According to two individuals with knowledge of the meeting, the service has conducted far greater testing of the bomber designs than is normal for a pre-award program.

    One source said the Air Force officials who briefed made it clear that both designs are "very mature," having undergone wind tunnel testing and extensive survivability tests to evaluate the design from all angles. However, neither design has actually flown, both sources said.

    Final requirements on the program were locked down in May 2013, the source said. Since then, the two design teams have been developing and testing their systems, while the service has been focused on doing extensive risk reduction.

    A second source cited the Air Force briefers as saying that those designs are very different from each other, with widely different teams on subsystems such as the engines, electronic warfare suites and comms systems. Most of those subcontractors will not be announced when the winner is picked, the second source understands.

    "[There is] much greater fidelity than we've ever seen before for a pre-EMD program," the first source said. "It's really different. They've spent a couple years doing these tests."

    The source quoted an official as saying risk reduction has been done "down to the access panels."

    "The risk reduction is done. The designs are technically mature. And we're ready to move," that same official reportedly said, adding that the bomber program has the "highest level of maturity I've seen in an aircraft build."

    The testing, unusual this early in the acquisition process, is in part because the bomber program is being handled by the Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), a small group inside Air Force acquisitions which handles secretive programs such as the service's X-37B space plane.

    As its name implies, the RCO follows a different acquisition path than the rest of the service, with more freedom in how it procures technologies. The decision to let them take lead on the program was made back in 2011 under then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, following a review of what went wrong with a previously aborted bomber program.

    The RCO's involvement also adds an interesting twist to the long-standing Air Force claim that the bomber will draw from existing technologies. Some observers believed the Air Force might use off-the-shelf commercial tech to help keep the price down, but the RCO has access to existing technologies that most people may never have heard of.

    "We're about three years more downstream from where EMD contracts normally are," the first source said. "They've decided to award at a much higher level of maturity and design where they've done a lot of thinking about how to transition to EMD ... and that might be a legacy of the RCO approach."

    The briefers avoided giving details about when or how they might select the winning company, but did offer some general insights into the future of the program:


    •    When the contract is awarded, it will come in two parts — an EMD contract that is cost-plus incentive free, and an agreement on the first five low-rate initial production lots that is fixed-price incentive free. Those first five lots will cover the production of 21 bombers.


    •    Shortly after the contract is awarded, the service will share details on the development costs for the program. Operations and sustainment cost estimates, however, won't come until Milestone C, down the road.


    •    The bomber design will have a robust electronic attack element on board


    •    Although the bomber will not be nuclear-certified from the get-go, it will have nuclear-strike software and hardware produced on the very first aircraft. The certification process requires having five identical production models with the same configuration and software, so do not expect nuclear certification to come until the service has enough models produced so it can do the nuclear certification without halting other test requirements.


    •    The plan is still for the bomber to be optionally manned. However, first flights will be manned, and it is unclear if the ability to do unmanned operations will be built into the early production models or added later. The first source indicated that capability is not a "short term priority."


    •    The service remains focused on using an open-architecture approach which will allow future additions to be made with less costs.


    Both sources said the Air Force officials are claiming a significant improvement in low observability from the B-2, with multiple references made to improved materials that were not available when the Spirit fleet was designed.

    As to size, the briefers were apparently cagey. However, they did apparently indicate that a UCLASS-size design was too small and the B-2 design was too large.

    "The words and body language were that it's not as big as the B-2," the first source said. "But so much is driven by engine technology."

    The second source agreed but said that a smaller plane doesn't necessitate a smaller range if the service is willing to trade payload for range. Notably, the service briefers apparently downplayed payload gross weight and instead emphasized the ability to carry multiple types of munitions — selectability between large and small weapons.

    A third source, who was not in the meeting but has knowledge of program discussion, believes a design could feature "about 20 percent less payload and 20 percent less range" than the B-2. That source also believes that whichever team wins will produce a flying-wing design, perhaps similar to the UCLASS designs put forth from Boeing and Northrop.

    http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2015/09/02/new-air-force-bomber-testing-stealth-wind-test/71572050/


    Last edited by George1 on Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:31 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:33 am

    Here Are A Few Things the New Air Force Bomber Will Do Besides Drop Bombs



    Embedded antennas, targeting cameras, and a leap in processing power will turn the Long Range Strike Bomber into a versatile spy plane and airborne command center

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  George1 on Thu Sep 17, 2015 1:00 am

    Pentagon Promises to Fess Up About Real Cost of Next Generation Bomber

    After the embarrassingly high cost of developing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon has promised to be more upfront about the price of developing its next-generation bomber. And yet, official numbers have not been released, with officials, saying they’d "rather wait."

    Costing nearly $400 billion, the development of the F-35 was mired in setbacks. And even after grappling with major engine problems, cybersecurity concerns, and basic flight vulnerabilities, the Pentagon isn’t even sure if the aircraft will be worthwhile as the military shifts its focus to unmanned vehicles.

    But whereas some might have learned their lesson, Washington is pushing forward with yet another expensive aircraft development program: the top secret next-generation Long Range Strike Bomber.

    In the interest of transparency, Pentagon officials have pledged to disclose the expected costs. Just…not yet.

    "We intend to provide that information, we’re not trying to hide it, it’s just that I would rather wait – and I think we’d all rather wait – until after we get the source selection done," William LaPlante, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, told reporters on Tuesday.

    "We don’t expect anybody just to believe us at face value."

    The military is reportedly waiting to decide who will be awarded the development contract. With the new aircraft slated to replace the B-2 bombers, the contract may go to Northrop Grumman, which designed the aging Spirit. But the Pentagon is also considering a joint team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

    Both teams have already presented prototype designs focusing on stealth capabilities, but still need to integrate modern technologies. While the program is in the early stages and remains highly classified, experts have speculated that the Air Force may be interested in incorporating electronic attack elements, nuclear payload capabilities, and could potentially be optionally manned.

    Until these details are hashed out, the Pentagon has remained hesitant to disclose cost estimates.

    "I count not just what the government spent, I count what the government has spent in the prior decade," LaPlante said, according to Defense News. "I count [the amount of money] these companies have invested on their own."

    "So it’s a sizeable amount of risk reduction, but even the amount of risk reduction when we give you the number [will] not give the magnitude, in my opinion," he added.

    Despite the Pentagon’s secrecy, estimates have still emerged, with some defense experts predicting that the contract could be worth as much as $80 billion. While that’s almost a quarter of the cost of the F-35 program, it’s worth noting that the joint fighter development started with a significantly lower price tag than the eventual $400 billion it ultimately reached.

    The Air Force also seems undecided on just how many bombers it would need to purchase.

    "My belief quite frankly is 80 to 100 aircraft are not going to be enough to replace the B-1 and B-52 fleet, even though it’s capability against the target set will be greater," Lieutenant General Robert J. Elder told the US House Armed Services Committee earlier this month.

    Air Force officials have indicated that the military will decide between competing companies “soon,” but have given no indication of when, exactly, the contract will be awarded.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20150916/1027107380.html#ixzz3lwfeygXm


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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  George1 on Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:39 am

    Centerpiece of Future US Warfare: Long-Range Strike Bomber

    The new US air force bomber has been kept a secret for a long time now. The Air Force wanted adversaries to keep guessing about the bomber’s capabilities but it’s now becoming clear that the new weapon will become the foundation of future US warfare.

    The new Long Range Strike Bomber, or B-3 as it has been dubbed, will do more than just drop bombs, Defense One website reported.

    Service leaders have said that they plan to buy 80 to 100 aircraft for about $550 million each, and will award a contract to either Northrop Grumman or a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team possibly at this week’s Air Force Association convention near Washington.

    David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who was the principal attack planner for the 1991 air campaign against Iraq, calls the new weapon a ‘long range sensor shooter.’ According to him the new aircraft will be a stealthy bomb truck built to carry tons of munitions into ‘contested airspace.’

    Contested airspace as explained in the article means an area guarded by powerful radars and surface-to-air missiles that could easily shoot down today’s non-stealthy B-1 and B-52 bombers.

    Furthermore, like the B-2 bomber and the F-22 and F-35 fighters, the new aircraft will have its antennas implanted in its skin. These antennas will allow aircrew to get detailed pictures of the ground and sky in targeted areas. It will also be able to sweep the electromagnetic spectrum for other traces on the enemy’s forces.

    The B-3 will also have another role. It will be a ‘Battle Manager,’ meaning it will gather and crunch data as it goes, using its high-bandwidth communications to send information and even directions to satellites, other aircraft, and even ground forces.

    Eventually the new aircraft will be a successor to the B-1 and B-52, the only Air Force bombers currently permitted to drop nuclear weapons.

    And if that is not enough the new weapon may eventually get a laser or microwave weapon. The Navy is already experimenting with lasers to shield their ships, and technological advancements have made laser weapons smaller and cheaper to use.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20150917/1027157725/us-warplane-long-range-strike-bomber-aviation.html#ixzz3m2QxIMtE


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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:20 pm

    Air Force Poised to Buy New Bomber, Avoid Acquisition Death Spiral

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  George1 on Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:36 pm

    Pentagon: Northrop Grumman To Develop US Military’s New Long Range Bomber

    Following months of speculation, the Pentagon has announced that Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract to develop the US military’s latest Long Range Strike-Bomber.

    According to Pentagon officials, the LSR-B will incorporate open architecture that will allow the platform to be modified as technology evolves. It will also be designed to carry both conventional and nuclear payloads, and will be able to launch from the continental United States to conduct airstrikes anywhere on the planet.

    Northrop Grumman had been competing against a joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin team for the contract. According to William LaPlante, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, independent cost experts estimate that the project will cost $22.4 million for the initial development phase, and $511 million per aircraft for 100 aircraft.

    Those cost estimates are based on 2010 dollars, however, and not calculated based on fiscal year 2016.

    While a number of experts had predicted a win for Boeing-Lockheed, others criticized such an arrangement. With Lockheed responsible for the F-35 fighter and Boeing behind the KC-46 tanker, allowing the two to develop the Long Range Strike-Bomber would grant too much control over the US Air Force to those companies.

    The contract will come in two parts. The first will be for development, while the second will cover the production of the first 21 bombers. Given that a number of scale models have already been built for testing, development could proceed quicker than other military projects.

    The Air Force hopes to have the first models operational by the mid-2020s.

    Expressing fears that its current fleet was vulnerable to Chinese and Russian-made air defenses, the Pentagon has been scrambling to replace the aging B-1 and B-52 bombers. Those are set to retire in the mid-2040s.

    "The US Air Force wants up to 100 new bombers armed with all the latest weaponry and radar-evading stealth technology, able to fly long distances, penetrate even the heaviest defenses and destroy scores of targets in a single bombing run," military analyst David Axe wrote for Reuters last week.

    But coming on the heels of the exorbitantly expensive F-35 program, many have questioned the need for another costly endeavor. Costing nearly $400 billion, the Joint Strike fighter is still plagued with problems, despite being one of the most expensive military projects every undertaken.

    "[The F-35 is] arguably too slow, too sluggish and too lightly armed to defeat the latest Russian and Chinese-made fighters," Axe wrote last month.

    "The F-35 is also prone to breakdowns, engine fires and software failures. It’s years late and – at a total cost of more than $400 billion – way, way over budget."

    The F-35 was developed by Lockheed Martin.

    To allay fears about ballooning costs, the Pentagon pledged to be more transparent about development of the new bomber, although it previously opted to keep that information disclosed.

    "We intend to provide that information, we’re not trying to hide it, it’s just that I would rather wait," LaPlante told reporters last month, "until after we get the source selection done."


    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20151028/1029201209/pentagon-awards-bomber-contract.html#ixzz3psCJS48X


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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:51 pm

    Northrop Grumman to Build Air Force Bomber — But Don’t Expect to See It Soon Smile

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Thu Oct 29, 2015 4:31 pm

    The Pentagon’s Next-Generation Budget Busting Bomber



    The Pentagon's Next Long-Range Boondoggle

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    new us super bomber, what are Russia up to the challnge, PAK DA?

    Post  zenmonk on Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:58 am

    Earlier this week, the Pentagon ended months of speculation by announcing that Northrop Grumman would build the next-generation LSR-B. With an estimated budget in excess of $100 billion, the US Air Force wants 100 new warplanes to replace its aging fleet of B-1 and B-52s.


    t would carry on-board electronic attack equipment to supplement its stealth," Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute told AFP.
    "It must be stealthy in all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. It has to have electronic, on-board jamming equipment that would add to its stealth by preventing enemy sensors from working."
    That would partially explain why the contract went to Northrop. While a joint team comprised of Boeing and Lockheed Martin was expected to land the deal, Northrop’s expertise in stealth technology could have pushed it over the edge.



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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  sepheronx on Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:00 am

    Is this a serious thread? Of course PAK DA.  I dont understand the need for such a bomber.  Guess US has to spend aimlessly.  Most bombers like Tu-160 would be far out of the enemy territory dropping cruise missiles no problem.

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  GarryB on Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:40 am

    The challenge of a new US high speed bomber wont be met or addressed by a Russian bomber... it will be defeated by Russian air defences... S-400 and S-500 spring to mind for a start...


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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:14 pm

    GAO denies Boeing bid to overturn LRS-B contract

    The 16 February decision by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) disputes Boeing’s claim that the air force’s evaluation of the competing bids was “fundamentally flawed”.

    Instead, the GAO says the air force’s technical and cost evaluation of Northrop’s proposed aircraft design was “reasonable, consistent with the terms of the solicitation and in accordance with procurement laws and regulations”.

    The USAF awarded the engineering and manufacturing development contract to Northrop on 27 October, appearing to end a long competition with a rival team led by Boeing.

    Boeing filed a protest with the GAO less than two weeks later, triggering a review process that could take no longer than 100 days. The GAO released the decision on the last day of the review window.

    Boeing now has the option to appeal the GAO’s decision with the US Court of Federal Appeals.

    “We continue to believe that our offering represents the best solution for the air force and the nation, and that the government’s selection process was fundamentally and irreparably flawed,” Boeing says in a statement. “We will carefully review the GAO's decision and decide upon our next steps with regard to the protest in the coming days.”

    As Boeing considers its options, Northrop is still waiting for an order by the USAF to proceed with the terms of the two-part contract award. The first part, estimated to cost $21.4 billion, will complete the design of the new bomber and build an unspecified number of prototypes for flight tests. Another 21 production aircraft will be built under the second part of the contract award, the first batch of as many as 100 bombers currency planned for the LRS-B programme.

    For its part, Northrop says the GAO decision “confirms that the US Air Force conducted an extraordinarily thorough selection process and selected the most capable and affordable solution”.

    The precise cost to develop and build the new aircraft is, like so many details of the secretive LRS-B programme, classified. The USAF has stated only that cost to build the first 21 aircraft is in line with a long-term objective to deliver 100 aircraft at an estimated cost of $511 million each, based on the value of the dollar in 2010.

    The USAF’s Fiscal 2017 budget request submitted on 9 February shows that funding for LRS-B declined by $2.8 billion compared to the previous year’s budget proposal. But the USAF insists the programme is not being curtailed or slowed. Instead, the USAF sharpened its cost estimate for the programme based on the specific terms of Northrop’s bid.

    Northrop has not revealed any major subcontractors or systems suppliers for the new bomber. Boeing had teamed up with Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works design team, but the identities of the engines, avionics and electronic warfare suppliers were never identified.

    In December, Northrop hosted a group of journalists in Palmdale, California, to tour the empty hall where the company once built the B-2. Though the USAF has not revealed where the new bomber will be assembled, it was clear on the tour that Northrop has big plans for the old B-2 manufacturing centre. Several adjacent lots around the Palmdale airport have been acquired to accommodate unspecified expansion plans. The B-2 facility itself is due to receive a facelift, which includes plans for converting the facility into a classified production environment.

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    Not PAK-DA but first official picture of US LRSB Bomber

    Post  Austin on Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:19 pm

    Not PAK-DA but first official picture of US LRSB Bomber



    US Air Force Unveils New B-21 Bomber

    http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2016/02/26/b-21-bomber-air-force-lrsb/80976160/

    While there are no existing prototypes of the aircraft, the artist rendering unveiled Feb. 26 is based on the initial design concept, according to an Air Force statement. The Air Force settled on the B-21 designation as recognition that LRS-B is the first bomber of the 21st century, the statement noted.

    James also explained in the statement why the B-21 shares a resemblance to the B-2, also built by Northrop.

    “The B-21 has been designed from the beginning based on a set of requirements that allows the use of existing and mature technology,” James said, according to the statement.

    Northrop Grumman spokesman Tim Paynter stressed the B-21 bomber's importance to the nation's future in a statement emailed to reporters following James' remarks.

    “Northrop Grumman is proud to serve as the prime contractor for the B-21 Bomber, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, to deliver a capability that is vital to our national security," Paynter said. “Any further questions should be directed to the Air Force.”

    The Air Force awarded the contract for B-21 engineering, manufacturing and development to Northrop on Oct. 27. The service plans to field the new bomber in the mid-2020s.

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  OminousSpudd on Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:21 pm

    Pretty sure I saw an "official artist's impression" of the SR-71's successor about two years back, in the same article it stated it'd be operational by 2018... lel

    We'll see I guess.

    Major off topic.   Off Topic

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  Werewolf on Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:27 pm

    Is this confirmation that americans can only count to 2?

    B-1
    B-2

    It should have been designated B-3 but B-2+1 should work aswell.

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  George1 on Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:30 pm

    Werewolf wrote:Is this confirmation that americans can only count to 2?

    B-1
    B-2

    It should have been designated B-3 but B-2+1 should work aswell.

    The Air Force settled on the B-21 designation as recognition that LRS-B is the first bomber of the 21st century


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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  Zivo on Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:34 am

    Austin wrote:Not PAK-DA but first official picture of US LRSB Bomber



    US Air Force Unveils New B-21 Bomber

    http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2016/02/26/b-21-bomber-air-force-lrsb/80976160/

    While there are no existing prototypes of the aircraft, the artist rendering unveiled Feb. 26 is based on the initial design concept, according to an Air Force statement. The Air Force settled on the B-21 designation as recognition that LRS-B is the first bomber of the 21st century, the statement noted.

    James also explained in the statement why the B-21 shares a resemblance to the B-2, also built by Northrop.

    “The B-21 has been designed from the beginning based on a set of requirements that allows the use of existing and mature technology,” James said, according to the statement.

    Northrop Grumman spokesman Tim Paynter stressed the B-21 bomber's importance to the nation's future in a statement emailed to reporters following James' remarks.

    “Northrop Grumman is proud to serve as the prime contractor for the B-21 Bomber, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, to deliver a capability that is vital to our national security," Paynter said. “Any further questions should be directed to the Air Force.”

    The Air Force awarded the contract for B-21 engineering, manufacturing and development to Northrop on Oct. 27. The service plans to field the new bomber in the mid-2020s.

    So it's a smaller B2?

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  George1 on Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:35 am

    US Names 7 Contractors to Build New B-21 Strategic Bomber

    The Secretary of the Air Force said that the US Air Force has chosen several aerospace companies to work with prime contractor Northrop Grumman on the new long-range B-21 strategic bomber project.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Air Force has chosen several aerospace companies to work with prime contractor Northrop Grumman on the new long-range B-21 strategic bomber project, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James told a press conference.

    James said the companies are: Pratt & Whitney, BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Spirit Aerosystems and Orbital ATK.

    "Pratt & Whitney will provide new engines, the other six will work on air frames [and other systems]," James stated on Monday.

    Defence contractor Northrop Grumman won the award to be the prime contractor on developing the new long-range strategic bomber, which is expected to cost more than $500 million per aircraft, beating out a consortium of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

    The initial contract value will be worth more than $23 billion, US Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Walsh told the press conference.

    Eventually, the US Air Force may buy up to 100 of new stealth aircraft costing more than $50 billion, according to published reports.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20160308/1035929517/us-names-new-bomber-contractors.html#ixzz42GNpXYMj


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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:11 am

    Penalty for breaking Northrop's B-21 contract is '$300 million'

    The US Air Force says it would cost the US government upward of $300 million to breaks its cost-plus contract with Northrop Grumman to develop the B-21 strategic bomber.

    It might then take “20 to 30 months” to hold another competition between Northrop and the losing Boeing/Lockheed Martin team to secure the "fixed-price" development contract that outspoken Senator John McCain and other US lawmakers want.

    USAF military deputy for acquisition Lt Gen Arnold Bunch was pressed on the matter several times during a Senate hearing on 8 March, since the "taxpayer" would have to pay any cost overruns Northrop might incur during the development phase. Northrop, however, will receive pay incentives if it meets or beats cost and schedule targets.

    The ranking member of the Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee Joe Manchin says past cost-plus contracts that overran their cost and schedule targets, namely the Northrop B-2 and Lockheed Martin F-35 and F-22, have left “such a bad taste in everybody's mouth” and are “not real popular here”.

    “I still believe it's the best choice for the contract type with the risks associated,” Bunch responds. “We are on contract with a company that's gone out and put suppliers on contract and on order, and they've started their business case.”

    The air force awarded the contract to Northrop in October and recently settled a dispute with Boeing and Lockheed Martin over the source-selection process.

    The service revealed the long-range strike bomber’s B-21 designation along with an artist’s rendering at an Air Warfare Symposium in Florida last month.

    McCain has threatened legislation that would undo the B-21 contract unless the air force replaces it with fixed-price terms, like the Boeing KC-46A programme. The air force says Boeing is running at a 25% loss on that contract because of problems encountered during development.

    Service secretary Deborah Lee James testified last month that “noteworthy failures” of fixed-price developments contracts include the McDonnell Douglas A-12 Avenger II, Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile (TSSAM), US Army Future Combat System, Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and Boeing C-17.

    “Unlike the KC-46, the B-21 has no anticipated commercial or foreign military sales market to offset any unexpected development costs,” says James, while pointing to the B-2, F-22 and F-35 as cost-plus failures. “Some of these programmes were cancelled without delivery of any war-fighting capabilities.”

    Bunch says it is too late to adjust the B-21 contract type with Northrop. He would not disclose the exact contract value, but government estimates put the cost of B-21 development at $23 billion.

    The total requirement for 100 stealth bombers to replace the Boeing B-52 and B-1B is worth an estimated $80 billion, with initial operational capability expected in the "mid-2020s".

    Bunch says Congress has been told the contract value in a classified briefing, but the service is worried about potential adversaries like Russia and China “connecting the dots” by making the dollar value public. Seven top-tier suppliers including engine maker Pratt & Whitney were revealed on 7 March.


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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:01 pm

    B-21 Comes with A Stealth Final Price Tag

    The recently announced Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B or B-21) is moving forward with one hidden feature that doesn’t make a lot of sense—its actual price tag. Despite requests by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ), the Air Force has decided against releasing the final contract value to taxpayers and it stands by its decision only to release estimates.

    Unfortunately, with a cost plus contract, the widely varied estimates that have already been publically released, and the Department of Defense’s long history of drastically underestimating final program costs, Chairman McCain is right to ask the Air Force to release a final cost, not only to come clean with taxpayers but also for oversight purposes.

    Answering McCain’s questions at a Senate hearing earlier this month, Air Force Lieutenant General Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, said this about keeping the cost of the B-21 program classified (see Senator McCain’s questioning at the 1:21:28 mark):

    “Yes sir, at this time we have not released the contract value to everyone. We have released the service cost position and the independent cost estimate. We did release that. In base year ‘16 dollars it was 23.5 billion for the EMD phase.…We’re trying to balance the transparency that we want to do with the public so that they understand what we’re doing, but we’re also trying to protect the critical capabilities of this asset….

    Sir, our—we’re trying to prevent the ability of individuals to link different pieces that may be unclassified together to get an idea of where we’re—how the money is being spent…. Sir, I believe that we have shared with the public and with the Committee…. They know that the—that our average procurement unit cost. We’ve released that, and we’ve released our cost—our independent cost estimate and our service cost position.

    The contract for the B-21 was awarded to Northrop Grumman in October 2015. Phase one is the engineering and manufacturing development work. Phase two is the production of 21 aircraft out of the 100 that will ultimately be produced.

    The Department of Defense (DoD) contract announcement lacked any details about the award of the bomber. More details emerged in the Air Force’s announcement and its cost estimate, which shows 100 bombers will have a development cost $23.5 billion and an average procurement unit cost of $564 million per plane.

    The B-21 program is estimated to cost about $42 billion, but estimates have ranged from $33 billion to $58 billion, with the latter being deemed to be a “regrettable mistake.”

    Senator McCain is extremely displeased that the Air Force isn’t releasing the final value of the contract. He’s not buying the service’s claim that people could connect the dots to learn something forbidden about the program. I can’t image any enemy of the state learning about the bombers qualifications and technologies from the public release of the actual contract price.

    This contract has already generated quite a bit of controversy: Boeing and Lockheed filed a bid protest 10 days after it was awarded. The protest was denied by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), but like many other aspects of this deal, the decision wasn’t publicly released.

    Another flash point is the fact that the B-21 is being procured as a cost plus incentive fee contract. Some think it should be a firm fixed price contract to avoid the cost overrun issues that plague the F-35, which could be headed off if a final contract price was disclosed. Although building a brand new bomber involves certain technical risks, Air Force officials concede that the B-21 will utilize many mature technologies, which critics think may be more appropriately handled as a fixed price deal.

    We hope that more details are forthcoming and that the secrecy surrounding this bomber doesn’t blow up DoD’s budget. I wonder how much taxpayers paid for this artist rendering. Or is that classified, too? It’s funny that the Air Force is more worried about the contract cost revealing sensitive information than it is about showing enemies what the plane will look like. I’m a lot better at playing connect the dots when I can actually see the outline of the image.


    Quoting@User:-

    " EMD costs $23.5 billion. Assuming no cost overruns.

    A fleet of 100 B-2.1s at $564million each has a total fleet price of $56.4 billion. Also assuming no cost overruns.

    Spares, support equipment, MILCON, and training system facilities/equipment are unaccounted for outyear procurement costs which will probably add another $5 billion.

    That adds up to a total procurement cost of about $85 billion.

    And historically, lifetime O&S costs are double the procurement costs. So add another $170 billion for O&S.

    This gives a program cost of $255 billion, without cost overruns.

    But we know from history that things don't go as planned and cost overruns will occur, so increase all costs by 25% (optimistic) to 50% (realistic) to get a true picture of program costs. "

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Wed May 11, 2016 12:25 am

    DOD awaits Northrop B-21 to fill 'long-range strike deficit'




    Last month, a package of Boeing B-52 aircraft belonging to the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana deployed to Qatar to support bombing raids on the Islamic State terrorist network in Iraq and Syria. These B-52s replaced the Boeing B-1B “Bone” aircraft that left the region in January on a “six-month hiatus” back home for repair and refurbishment.

    The last time these 54-year-old “Stratofortress” aircraft were operationally based in the Middle East, then-Iraq ruler Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait and the B-52s were deployed to Saudi Arabia to support the US-led counteroffensive known as Operation Desert Storm.

    These Strangelovian aircraft might have been conceived as heavy hitting Cold War nuclear bombers, but today they double as nuclear cruise missile carriers and conventional precision attack platforms capable of raining down satellite-aided smart bombs on pre-planned and opportune targets, even in close proximity to friendly forces.

    It is the B-52’s inherent flexibility as well as its “payload, range, mass, precision and persistence” that has the deputy head of US Strategic Command saying America has a “deficit of long-range strike capability” and could use more bombers. The same can be said of the non-nuclear B-1 and the stealthy Northrop Grumman B-2, although there are just two “Spirit” squadrons with 20 usable aircraft between them.

    “When you look at what bombers bring in terms of range, persistence and payload, we have a deficit of long-range strike capability,” says Lt Gen Stephen Wilson, a former B-1 and B-52 pilot who previously served as head of Air Force Global Strike Command. “What that number is going forward I can’t tell you, but I would say we’re not where we need to be on that long-range strike.

    “As adversaries continue to build advanced anti-access, area-denial capabilities that force our forces farther out, bombers will become more important.”

    Wilson was speaking at an Air Force Association forum in Washington DC on 6 May, in relation to Global Strike Command’s preparation of a "bomber roadmap” that is expected to recommend a larger bomber force than the current active mix of 150 or so B-1s, B-2s and B-52s.

    The air force recently picked Northrop Grumman to develop and build “at least” 100 nuclear-capable “21st century” B-21 strategic bombers to replace the B-1 and B-52. But for how long those legacy aircraft will remain in active service depends on the total number of bombers needed and how fast the replacement B-21 platform can be delivered from Northrop’s former B-2 plant in Palmdale, California.

    Global Strike Command chief Gen Robin Rand said in February that the ultimate number is likely somewhere between “175 and 200”, since there must be at least 10 operational squadrons of 12 aircraft to support America’s 10 Air Expeditionary Forces, plus a significant number more for training and attrition reserve.

    The US House Armed Services Committee is taking an interest in this question. The committee adopted legislation last week calling for a detailed report on the air branch’s bomber requirement, including the actual number of B-21s sought and a “transition plan that integrates the B-21 into the current bomber fleet through 2040”.

    “The committee received independent testimony stating that the air force should procure between 174 and 205 B-21 bombers to ensure that enough aircraft are available to meet combatant commander, training, test, backup inventory, and attrition reserve requirements,” the panel’s mark of the fiscal year 2017 defence policy bill states.

    Wilson described the B-1B as a “roving linebacker” for its ability to move throughout the US Central Command area of responsibility quickly and with many weapons. They “hit hard when they get there and stay on station for a long time,” he adds.

    The introduction of precision-guided munitions, enabled by digital bomb bay upgrades, has kept the B-52 relevant since the type's maiden flight on 5 Aug 1954. It can now perform “a variety of missions including strategic attack, close-air support, air interdiction and maritime operations”, the air force says.

    The B-52 is now being integrated with high-end conventional weapons like the Lockheed Martin extended-range AGM-158 joint air-to-surface standoff missile (JASSM-ER) and Raytheon ADM-160 miniature air-launched decoy/jammer (MALD-J). The air force is even exploring ways to use bombers as “arsenal planes” that would overwhelm enemy air defence systems with tens of thousands of cheap, mostly autonomous unmanned air vehicles acting as jammers, sensors, decoys and “kamikaze” bombs.

    “In the counter-[Islamic State] fight they are doing a pretty terrific job,” Wilson says of the B-52. “What they bring is payload, endurance and a capacity that we often don’t have.”

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:03 pm

    Air Force to Announce Name of New Stealth Bomber

    The U.S. Air Force plans to announce the name of the new B-21 stealth bomber at the Air Force Association’s annual conference in September, the service announced. The Air Force plans to buy a total of 100 of the next-generation bombers at an inflation-adjusted cost of $564 million per plane to replace its aging fleet of B-52 Stratofortresses made by Boeing Co. and a least a portion of its B-1 fleet.

    There was an old joke when Reagan borrowed hundreds of billions to build the B-2. The joke goes like this, the billion dollar B-2 has to fly at night, in good weather, at high altitudes, because an old Korean War fighter could shoot it down using the Mark-1 eyeball.  Smile

    The new aircraft B-21 will have a similar design but will have the following improved characteristics:

    1)Custom coatings-radar absorbing materials are being developed to make sure the new plane flies undetected. There are many materials under development and weight and cost are the most important criteria in determining what will be adopted.

    2)The two vents on the B-2 stealth bomber are very large and create drag. In the new version, it is believed there are four smaller vents.

    3)Smart Decoys – Raytheon has developed a “Miniature Air Launched Decoy”, which create a bomber-like signature to confuse radar systems.

    4)The new plane is likely to have extra retractable wings that can be deployed when carrying heavier payloads ,such as weapons. The wings will retract inside the aircraft when it flies within range of air defense systems.

    5)The current B-2 stealth bomber has two weapons bays. The new aircraft will have a single weapons bay capable of carrying larger conventional missiles and nuclear weapons as well as 30,000 pound bunker busting bombs. The single bay also reduces the cost of the aircraft.

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:03 pm

    New stealth bomber's cost is under the radar


    Secrecy is the linchpin of a stealth aircraft's ability to carry out strikes deep within enemy territory, but when it comes to the tax dollars that are going to be spent on the U.S. Air Force's new B-21 bomber, some members of Congress say it is time pull the curtain back.

    The Air Force said it has no plans to publicly disclose the cost estimate for the aircraft touted as the "backbone" of the U.S.'s future strike and deterrence capabilities, arguing it would reveal too much information to potential adversaries and compromise a classified program.
    That's infuriated some lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain, who argue that the public deserves to see the price tag because so many defense projects have blown their budgets due to waste and fraud.
    Very Happy

    Officials have been tight-lipped as to the specific capability expectations for the B-21, but indications are that it will be stealthy, able to carry conventional and nuclear weapons, and could possibly operate with or without a pilot.

    "Releasing that [data], releasing other things that may be more insightful to our adversaries, I don't think helps the taxpayer and I don't think it helps -- certainly -- the warfighter," Randall Walden, program executive officer of the Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office, said at an event earlier this month hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

    "All we're doing is putting in that risk and we're showing our hand of what we believe this nation and the states' workers can deliver this particular weapon system for," added Walden, whose office is responsible for procuring the bomber and other classified weapons systems.

    But the service has faced pressure from several lawmakers to release the data, including the fees paid to defense contractor Northrup Grumman, which is building the sophisticated, nuclear-capable bomber, so that the taxpayers can see if the program is being properly managed.

    "At a time of growing threats and fiscal constraints, American taxpayers want to know if the Pentagon is spending their hard-earned money effectively and efficiently," McCain, one of the program's harshest critics, told CNN. "The Air Force must release the total contract award value of the Long Range Strike Bomber to ensure this program and the people managing it are held accountable."

    The Air Force has already released some financial info, but it's not the whole picture, by any means. It was disclosed that the B-21's per-plane cost is expected to come in at roughly $560 million, although that was a preliminary estimate made by the Department of Defense before Northrup Grumman had even won the contract to build the plane. The amount that the government is paying the defense contractor for the new stealth program is secret.

    The Pentagon also made public an artist's conception of the aircraft, which some lawmakers argue would be more useful to a foreign intelligence agency than the overall contract cost.

    Recent programs to upgrade stealth air capabilities, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, have been plagued by schedule delays, technology glitches and cost overruns.

    But the flaws of some past defense programs have not swayed most of McCain's colleagues to join his call for more transparency when it comes to the B-21's price tag.

    The Senate House Armed Services Committee recently voted 19-7 to limit revealing the B-21 program's total cost estimate to only members of congressional defense committees, rather than full public disclosure, during a closed-door session to discuss the details of its annual defense policy bill.
    Voting in favor of keeping the number a secret from the public were Republicans James Inhofe, Jeff Sessions, Roger Wicker, Deb Fischer, Mike Rounds, Thom Tillis, and Mike Lee. They were joined Democrats Jack Reed, Bill Nelson, Richard Blumenthal, Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, Jeanne Shaheen, Kirsten Gillibrand, Joe Donnelly, Mazie Hirono, Tim Kaine and Martin Heinrich.

    Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, Dan Sullivan, Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz joined McCain in opposition to the secrecy.
    "The Air Force has repeatedly said, citing National Security concerns, that it will not declassify the amount of Northrop Grumman's bid for the project because, as has been demonstrated in the past, doing so would allow our adversaries to use the costs associated with the program to glean information about the B-21 such as what equipment is going on it, its weight, how high it can fly, how fast it can go and how far it can travel," said a spokesman for Sen. Bill Nelson.

    "Sen. McCain introduced a provision during the Armed Services Committee mark-up of the National Defense Authorization Act that would have, in effect, killed the B-21 program unless the Air Force publicly disclosed how much Northrop bid to win the project," the aide added.

    Northrop Grumman, the developer of the Air Force's current bomber, the B-2, beat out a partnership between aeronautic juggernauts Boeing and Lockheed Martin last year for the right to build the next generation of long-range aircraft.
    The Air Force said it plans to start testing the plane sometime in the mid-2020s and hope to replace the B-1 bomber when they retire sometime in the 2040s.

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  max steel on Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:16 pm

    USAF not settled on number of B-21s

    The US Air Force will determine how many Northrop Grumman B-21 bombers are needed for the fleet after the first aircraft is fielded in the 2020s, according to the service’s deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration.

    Previously, the service called on bomber contractor Northrop to develop and build at least 100 nuclear-capable B-21s to replace the Rockwell B-1 and Boeing B-52.

    “We’re not making that decision right now because we don’t need to,” he says. “So we’ll determine what that needs to look like. We’re doing a lot of analysis right now to determine how many bombers we need for the force based on all the warplanes that will help educate and allow us to make a decision on the breadth of B-21s.”

    The entire fleet of B-21s will be both conventional and nuclear-capable, and the Air Force has built a timeline for when the aircraft will be nuclear-certificated, Weinstein said.

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    Re: Long Range Strike Bomber program

    Post  George1 on Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:03 am

    "Raider" the name of the new B-21 Bomber

    http://bmpd.livejournal.com/2137770.html


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