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(The Drive)   The War Zone attends the unveiling of the B-21 stealth bomber, takes copious notes   (thedrive.com) divider line
    More: Followup, Stealth aircraft, B-2 Spirit, B-21s, United States Air Force, B-1 Lancer, F-22 Raptor, B-52 Stratofortress, Northrop Grumman  
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1392 clicks; posted to STEM » on 03 Dec 2022 at 8:15 AM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



39 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-12-03 6:30:16 AM  
I made some light tweaks to exposure and color levels and can reveal they are putting Area 51 alien UFO technology to good use.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-12-03 8:33:31 AM  
Can it fly in the rain?
 
2022-12-03 9:40:16 AM  
What's the point of journalists taking notes when they can't even see, hear, or smell it? "Now ladies and gentlemen, you might think this is just an empty aircraft hangar. But if you step up to the this line and stick out your tongue, you will taste quite the surprise!" Good job, file that with the food critic editor.
 
2022-12-03 10:17:52 AM  
Aaaaand there's already an anthropomorphised version:

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-12-03 10:29:33 AM  
Under $550/million a copy.

Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, the B-52 will continue to truck bombs where they are needed until at least 2050
 
2022-12-03 10:50:45 AM  
If they make it any thinner, they can load more bombs.
 
2022-12-03 11:54:44 AM  
I liked this bomber the first time I saw it, back when it was called the B-2
 
2022-12-03 12:13:02 PM  
It's cool, but just wait until the Army unveils its new velcro pockets flaps.
 
2022-12-03 12:24:53 PM  
thank god the republicans were here to fix the military..  if a single lgbt person had been involved in the design of that aircraft it would have been painted hot pink or bombed people with flower bouquets or been forced to trail a rainbow flag behind it.  lets all give congressional republicans a moment of saluting in front of a windblown flag with bald eagle screeching in the background for saving this plane.
 
2022-12-03 2:44:30 PM  

Glockenspiel Hero: Under $550/million a copy.

Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, the B-52 will continue to truck bombs where they are needed until at least 2050


While being increasingly vulnerable to peer AA systems.  Look, I love the old BUFF, but it first flew before SAMs entered service.  Assuming that anyone we fight in the future will be goatherders with no ability to challenge the skies will lead us to the kind of quagmire Russia is in.
 
2022-12-03 2:56:51 PM  

NEDM: Glockenspiel Hero: Under $550/million a copy.

Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, the B-52 will continue to truck bombs where they are needed until at least 2050

While being increasingly vulnerable to peer AA systems.  Look, I love the old BUFF, but it first flew before SAMs entered service.  Assuming that anyone we fight in the future will be goatherders with no ability to challenge the skies will lead us to the kind of quagmire Russia is in.


Funny you mention it, because that's exactly what happened to us the one time we DID use it against someone with decent air defenses.
 
2022-12-03 3:02:11 PM  

MythDragon: I liked this bomber the first time I saw it, back when it was called the B-2


article lists a dozen bullet points in how its different from the B-2
 
2022-12-03 3:15:05 PM  

The Bestest: MythDragon: I liked this bomber the first time I saw it, back when it was called the B-2

article lists a dozen bullet points in how its different from the B-2


Bullet points are for chumps who actually RTFA.
This is Fark, and there is shiatposting to be done.  Ain't nobody got time for that.
 
2022-12-03 3:21:37 PM  

NEDM: Glockenspiel Hero: Under $550/million a copy.

Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, the B-52 will continue to truck bombs where they are needed until at least 2050

While being increasingly vulnerable to peer AA systems.  Look, I love the old BUFF, but it first flew before SAMs entered service.  Assuming that anyone we fight in the future will be goatherders with no ability to challenge the skies will lead us to the kind of quagmire Russia is in.


And when was the last time we used a strategic bomber against an enemy where we didn't have total air supremacy?

As a nuclear delivery system it's pointless- missiles do that job better

If you're looking at standoff weapon delivery, a BUFF can do that even against an equiv-tech enemy.  Hell, revive the old 747 cruise missile carrier concept, there are a bunch of old 747s we can get cheap.

At a billion+ dollars a copy we're only going to build a few of them and we aren't going to risk them to drop a few conventional bombs on any target that's not worth more than the plane

These things are going to spend their lives doing patriotic flyovers of football stadiums while older systems fight any actual war, even against someone like China.
 
2022-12-03 4:08:17 PM  
It looks like a digital scan of a manta ray was made, scaled up, and a giant 3D printer created it.

external-content.duckduckgo.comView Full Size
 
2022-12-03 4:36:43 PM  

Glockenspiel Hero: NEDM: Glockenspiel Hero: Under $550/million a copy.

Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, the B-52 will continue to truck bombs where they are needed until at least 2050

While being increasingly vulnerable to peer AA systems.  Look, I love the old BUFF, but it first flew before SAMs entered service.  Assuming that anyone we fight in the future will be goatherders with no ability to challenge the skies will lead us to the kind of quagmire Russia is in.

And when was the last time we used a strategic bomber against an enemy where we didn't have total air supremacy?

As a nuclear delivery system it's pointless- missiles do that job better

If you're looking at standoff weapon delivery, a BUFF can do that even against an equiv-tech enemy.  Hell, revive the old 747 cruise missile carrier concept, there are a bunch of old 747s we can get cheap.

At a billion+ dollars a copy we're only going to build a few of them and we aren't going to risk them to drop a few conventional bombs on any target that's not worth more than the plane


When's the last time we fought a war where we didn't have total air supremacy?  The Gulf War?  The B-2 wasn't even in service at the time, but the F-117 was and we used the fark out of them.  The usefulness of stealth strike aircraft was proven then and we're not going to give it up now.  The B-2 was further validated when we used it in Kosovo.  Something like 50 out of tens of thousands of sorties, but still dropped over 10 percent of all bombs in the campaign.

Even still, that we haven't fought against such an enemy in decades doesn't mean we won't in the future.  The last time the Russia fought a peer enemy with functional AA systems was farking WW2, and look at where they are now.

These things are going to spend their lives doing patriotic flyovers of football stadiums while older systems fight any actual war, even against someone like China.

That is pure folly.  You really think that after a war validating everything in our aircraft design philosophy, we're just going to knowingly ignore it and send more vulnerable aircraft in?
 
2022-12-03 4:49:56 PM  

akallen404: Funny you mention it, because that's exactly what happened to us the one time we DID use it against someone with decent air defenses.


Oh yeeeeeeeeaah.  Linebacker completely slipped my mind.  The B-52 had pretty high attrition in Vietnam, and SAM systems have only gotten more advanced since then.
 
2022-12-03 4:54:33 PM  

NEDM: Glockenspiel Hero: NEDM: Glockenspiel Hero: Under $550/million a copy.

Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, the B-52 will continue to truck bombs where they are needed until at least 2050

While being increasingly vulnerable to peer AA systems.  Look, I love the old BUFF, but it first flew before SAMs entered service.  Assuming that anyone we fight in the future will be goatherders with no ability to challenge the skies will lead us to the kind of quagmire Russia is in.

And when was the last time we used a strategic bomber against an enemy where we didn't have total air supremacy?

As a nuclear delivery system it's pointless- missiles do that job better

If you're looking at standoff weapon delivery, a BUFF can do that even against an equiv-tech enemy.  Hell, revive the old 747 cruise missile carrier concept, there are a bunch of old 747s we can get cheap.

At a billion+ dollars a copy we're only going to build a few of them and we aren't going to risk them to drop a few conventional bombs on any target that's not worth more than the plane

When's the last time we fought a war where we didn't have total air supremacy?  The Gulf War?  The B-2 wasn't even in service at the time, but the F-117 was and we used the fark out of them.  The usefulness of stealth strike aircraft was proven then and we're not going to give it up now.  The B-2 was further validated when we used it in Kosovo.  Something like 50 out of tens of thousands of sorties, but still dropped over 10 percent of all bombs in the campaign.

Even still, that we haven't fought against such an enemy in decades doesn't mean we won't in the future.  The last time the Russia fought a peer enemy with functional AA systems was farking WW2, and look at where they are now.

These things are going to spend their lives doing patriotic flyovers of football stadiums while older systems fight any actual war, even against someone like China.

That is pure folly.  You really think that after a war validating everything in our aircraft ...


F-117 was shot down over Kosovo.

Evidently when you open the bomb bays they become visible. I'm sure the B-21 has a different design.
 
2022-12-03 4:56:39 PM  

NEDM: akallen404: Funny you mention it, because that's exactly what happened to us the one time we DID use it against someone with decent air defenses.

Oh yeeeeeeeeaah.  Linebacker completely slipped my mind.  The B-52 had pretty high attrition in Vietnam, and SAM systems have only gotten more advanced since then.


I think Ukraine has shown that drones are much cheaper, require less training and are highly effective.

But a drone pilot will never make 4 star general in the Air Force.
 
2022-12-03 5:06:41 PM  

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: F-117 was shot down over Kosovo.

Evidently when you open the bomb bays they become visible. I'm sure the B-21 has a different design.


That's not why it was shot down.  It was shot down because they flew the literal exact same flight path into Serbia every night at roughly the same speed and time, and the Serbians did some crazy finagling to brute-force a target lock.  I think they basically tracked the thing visually and then prefired the missile using their radar for terminal intercept or something else equally wild...that was only possible because of the arrogance of the F-117 commanders because of laxness and the older stealth tech used on the F-117 (which is still about as advance as stealth tech other nations have today).  Both of which have been rectified since, and the B-2/B-21 is far more advanced than the F-117 was.
 
2022-12-03 5:08:34 PM  

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: NEDM: Glockenspiel Hero: NEDM: Glockenspiel Hero: Under $550/million a copy.

Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, the B-52 will continue to truck bombs where they are needed until at least 2050

While being increasingly vulnerable to peer AA systems.  Look, I love the old BUFF, but it first flew before SAMs entered service.  Assuming that anyone we fight in the future will be goatherders with no ability to challenge the skies will lead us to the kind of quagmire Russia is in.

And when was the last time we used a strategic bomber against an enemy where we didn't have total air supremacy?

As a nuclear delivery system it's pointless- missiles do that job better

If you're looking at standoff weapon delivery, a BUFF can do that even against an equiv-tech enemy.  Hell, revive the old 747 cruise missile carrier concept, there are a bunch of old 747s we can get cheap.

At a billion+ dollars a copy we're only going to build a few of them and we aren't going to risk them to drop a few conventional bombs on any target that's not worth more than the plane

When's the last time we fought a war where we didn't have total air supremacy?  The Gulf War?  The B-2 wasn't even in service at the time, but the F-117 was and we used the fark out of them.  The usefulness of stealth strike aircraft was proven then and we're not going to give it up now.  The B-2 was further validated when we used it in Kosovo.  Something like 50 out of tens of thousands of sorties, but still dropped over 10 percent of all bombs in the campaign.

Even still, that we haven't fought against such an enemy in decades doesn't mean we won't in the future.  The last time the Russia fought a peer enemy with functional AA systems was farking WW2, and look at where they are now.

These things are going to spend their lives doing patriotic flyovers of football stadiums while older systems fight any actual war, even against someone like China.

That is pure folly.  You really think that after a war validating everything in our aircraft ...

F-117 was shot down over Kosovo.

Evidently when you open the bomb bays they become visible. I'm sure the B-21 has a different design.


I thought they were using some kind of really old lower frequency radar. Like right after WW2 Era stuff. Maybe that was a movie.
 
2022-12-03 5:15:46 PM  

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: I think Ukraine has shown that drones are much cheaper, require less training and are highly effective.

But a drone pilot will never make 4 star general in the Air Force.


The clips released by the Ukrainian military on Twitter do not tell the whole story, namely the extremely high attrition suffered by those drones.  Bayraktars are averaging about 6 flights before being shot down, quadcopter ones like 2-3.  Modern battlefields are extremely farking lethal for non-stealth aircraft, and drones mitigate that lethality by not putting pilots in danger, but they can't carry the weapons full-size aircraft can.  A Bayraktar can carry 300 pounds worth of weapons, a B-2 can carry north of 40,000.
 
2022-12-03 5:19:45 PM  

SomethingBetter76: I thought they were using some kind of really old lower frequency radar. Like right after WW2 Era stuff. Maybe that was a movie.


No, that's Pierre Sprey's stupid reasoning why stealth on the F-22 was useless and should be abandoned, completely ignoring the fact that A: Nobody uses those radars anymore, B: Nobody uses those radars anymore, and C: those radar sets are about as useful as looking at the window and pointing at the plane flying across the sky; sure, you can see it, but your weapons still can't.
 
2022-12-03 6:07:12 PM  

NEDM: SomethingBetter76: I thought they were using some kind of really old lower frequency radar. Like right after WW2 Era stuff. Maybe that was a movie.

No, that's Pierre Sprey's stupid reasoning why stealth on the F-22 was useless and should be abandoned, completely ignoring the fact that A: Nobody uses those radars anymore, B: Nobody uses those radars anymore, and C: those radar sets are about as useful as looking at the window and pointing at the plane flying across the sky; sure, you can see it, but your weapons still can't.


And D (or maybe B.2): There's a big difference between "detect" and "track."
 
2022-12-03 6:09:01 PM  

NEDM: These things are going to spend their lives doing patriotic flyovers of football stadiums while older systems fight any actual war, even against someone like China.

That is pure folly.  You really think that after a war validating everything in our aircraft design philosophy, we're just going to knowingly ignore it and send more vulnerable aircraft in?


Which war is that?

If you're talking Ukraine, the lesson there is that cheap drones trump everything.  And mid-priced drones.  And even some expensive ones.  And there's no reason whatsoever why you can't take those higher end drones and make them stealth- we've had the RQ-170 since the late 2000s.

And the lessons the Russians have learned is to keep your expensive assets the hell away from the battlefield and use them as missile carriers.  Yeah, they suck at it because their missiles suck, but ours don't.  And yeah, the Ukrainans are shooting down the missiles, which is why we have stealth missiles like the JASSM-ER

The future is swarms of (relatively) cheap stealth drones and cheap stealth missiles, not a handful of billion dollar+ manned bombers.
 
2022-12-03 6:54:19 PM  

Glockenspiel Hero: If you're talking Ukraine, the lesson there is that cheap drones trump everything. And mid-priced drones. And even some expensive ones. And there's no reason whatsoever why you can't take those higher end drones and make them stealth- we've had the RQ-170 since the late 2000s.


That is not the lesson from Ukraine.  That's the lesson that Ukraine's selectively-released twitter videos teach, but they don't mention the high attrition those drones are suffering (because their clips are still propaganda, no matter how close to the truth they are, and have to be taken with a grain of salt because they're not required to reveal anything that doesn't show them in the best of lights).  Even the TB-2 is suffering high losses, with an average expected life of 6 sorties before being shot down; you noticed how they stopped releasing Bayraktar clips for months, there's a reason for that.  The "cheap" drones die even faster still, with an average life expectancy of 2 combat sorties.  This is expected because they're inherently disposable.  This also doesn't take into account that their payload capacities are far less; a TB-2 can only carry 300 pounds worth of stuff.

This is not to say drones are useless, at all.  The biggest advance for drones has been their usefulness as artillery spotters, and that's been where they've been having they're greatest effect.  But that doesn't mean they're replacements for strike aircraft in a major shooting war.

Glockenspiel Hero: And the lessons the Russians have learned is to keep your expensive assets the hell away from the battlefield and use them as missile carriers. Yeah, they suck at it because their missiles suck, but ours don't. And yeah, the Ukrainans are shooting down the missiles, which is why we have stealth missiles like the JASSM-ER


They learned that lesson because their expensive assets are all ultimately Soviet-era tech and have the survivability to match.  Backfires and Bears are the equivalents of a B-52.  If they could be dropping JDAMs they would be (if they had any), or even just carpet bombing like they did in Chechnya, but since they don't have air superiority or any real answer to Ukrainian AA they can't send in any aircraft that can't fly nap of the earth.  They'd be trying to force aircraft that were never meant to be flown in this kind of combat environment into the jaws of death, and while they're stupid enough to try, they can't replace any of them so they aren't.  B-2s are designed to fly in this kind of combat environment, and if anything this is showing how useful they'd be, because the ability to fly a bomb truck with 40k+ pounds worth of guided bombs over one of these battlefields or marshalling yards is something both Ukraine and Russia wish they had.

Glockenspiel Hero: The future is swarms of (relatively) cheap stealth drones and cheap stealth missiles, not a handful of billion dollar+ manned bombers.


"The future is all nuclear bombs and nuclear missiles, we don't need ground attack aircraft or any kind of close in weapon."
 
2022-12-03 7:13:19 PM  

Glockenspiel Hero: Under $550/million a copy.

Riiiiight.


Call me silly, but this one appears to be the unbelievably rare military contract with costs controlled to where it will come in at/under budget. Northrop Grumman has all the experience of building and maintaining stealth bombers. They are using modern fabrication and construction techniques with all their continuing institutional knowledge. It appears they will deliver on time and on budget.
 
2022-12-03 7:47:09 PM  

NEDM: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: I think Ukraine has shown that drones are much cheaper, require less training and are highly effective.

But a drone pilot will never make 4 star general in the Air Force.

The clips released by the Ukrainian military on Twitter do not tell the whole story, namely the extremely high attrition suffered by those drones.  Bayraktars are averaging about 6 flights before being shot down, quadcopter ones like 2-3.  Modern battlefields are extremely farking lethal for non-stealth aircraft, and drones mitigate that lethality by not putting pilots in danger, but they can't carry the weapons full-size aircraft can.  A Bayraktar can carry 300 pounds worth of weapons, a B-2 can carry north of 40,000.


The B-21 doubles as a drone, it does not have to be manned.
 
2022-12-03 8:18:19 PM  

NEDM: Glockenspiel Hero: The future is swarms of (relatively) cheap stealth drones and cheap stealth missiles, not a handful of billion dollar+ manned bombers.

"The future is all nuclear bombs and nuclear missiles, we don't need ground attack aircraft or any kind of close in weapon."


A few years ago, there was a demo (Navy, I think) on TV (60 Minutes, i think) where one or two F/A-18's deployed a swarm of 100-200 Perdix drones from external pods.  Drone swarms are cool.  Cheap stealth missiles (if "cheap" ones exist) are also cool.  Neither of them has the legs to get from the US to, say, Ukraine under their own power. A "bomber" could give them a ride, maybe even along with a few actual bombs.

mrmopar5287: Glockenspiel Hero: Under $550/million a copy.

Riiiiight.

Call me silly, but this one appears to be the unbelievably rare military contract with costs controlled to where it will come in at/under budget. Northrop Grumman has all the experience of building and maintaining stealth bombers. They are using modern fabrication and construction techniques with all their continuing institutional knowledge. It appears they will deliver on time and on budget.


I for one am not gonna call you silly.  Not because I've known people at NG, but because I know people on the DoD RDE and AQ side of things.  There are certain entities that have reputations for "bang-for-the-buck," and for money not being wasted.  The folks overseeing the B-21 have that kind of reputation, having already delivered a couple big-ticket systems that have been operational for a dozen-plus years without any problems I've heard of.  They oversee a farkton of smaller things that you'll never hear about, too.  And they want to maintain their reputation, since it makes folks who control 11-digit amounts of "black" funding far more likely to give them as much as they ask for next time they get a big project.
 
2022-12-03 9:31:08 PM  
If you rtfa, you'll notice a slide where the Buffs and the Raider are going to use the long range standoff missile. This helps reduce the AA threat to Buffs.

Since this has a smaller payload and a lot of electronics to communicate forward/backward and is going to be almost as much of an intel bird, they're going to use it as a drone quarterback. Get inside the enemy lines and use it to drive/guide less stealthy drones to range and delivery. If it's anything like the Spirit, they'll be picking up tons of enemy radar signatures and will be able to map the signal better than from a more remote location.
 
2022-12-03 10:26:23 PM  
You aren't sending a billion dollar bomber in where anti-aircraft hasn't been wiped out already, unless it's a sudden outbreak of all out war and WWIII is commencing. And in that case, the missiles are flying and no one gives a rat's ass about bombers. These bombers are for intimidation. The implicit threat is that we'd send in our fighter bombers to destroy anti-aircraft systems THEN send in these bombers. That saves us from wasting missiles and allows flexibility in which types of bombs to use. Two or three of these bombers getting through would be enough to fark up any country.
 
2022-12-03 11:32:13 PM  

NEDM: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: I think Ukraine has shown that drones are much cheaper, require less training and are highly effective.

But a drone pilot will never make 4 star general in the Air Force.

The clips released by the Ukrainian military on Twitter do not tell the whole story, namely the extremely high attrition suffered by those drones.  Bayraktars are averaging about 6 flights before being shot down, quadcopter ones like 2-3.  Modern battlefields are extremely farking lethal for non-stealth aircraft, and drones mitigate that lethality by not putting pilots in danger, but they can't carry the weapons full-size aircraft can.  A Bayraktar can carry 300 pounds worth of weapons, a B-2 can carry north of 40,000.


B-21 will cost $800+ million and $200,000 per hour to fly.

If can buy a drone at $10,000, you can deliver the same amount of ordnance for the same cost with no danger to a human pilot.

Drone costs will only decrease in the future. B-21 costs will only go up.
 
2022-12-04 12:29:52 AM  
TedCruz'sCrazyDad:

B-21 will cost $800+ million and $200,000 per hour to fly.

If can buy a drone at $10,000, you can deliver the same amount of ordnance for the same cost with no danger to a human pilot.

Drone costs will only decrease in the future. B-21 costs will only go up.


What on Earth are you smoking?  A, no drone (but the B-21 apparently) can carry that much ordnance.  The Bayraktar TB-2, the biggest drone in use in Ukraine, can only carry 300 pounds worth of stuff.  And B: $10k buys you a large quadcopter drone.  A Bayraktar TB-2 costs roughly $5-$5.5 MILLION.

Let's do some quick math, hm?  The stated payload for the B-2 (which is all we have) is at 40,000; presumably the B-21 is similar or larger.  To equal that payload you need 134 Bayraktars, which comes out to...roughly $740,000,000 total.  For a swarm of aircraft that does not have the survivability of a stealth bomber.  Wow, what a shocker.
 
2022-12-04 12:32:16 AM  

Birnone: You aren't sending a billion dollar bomber in where anti-aircraft hasn't been wiped out already, unless it's a sudden outbreak of all out war and WWIII is commencing.


Uh... The whole point of stealth is being able to operate in contested and defended airspace and wipe out defenses that have a hard time seeing you.  That's why F-117s were the first planes over Baghdad the first night of Desert Storm in 1991.  It's why F-117s were the first planes over Baghdad again in 2003.  Once the defenses are gone, stealth buys you very little.

That said, decent odds you're right, and the next time we need that sort of thing to happen, it's done by F-35's.  But some of the possible loadouts for a B-21 that've already been discussed (standoff missiles, drones) might also be capable.  And of course one must always ask "Why don't we have both?" with F-35's, standoff missiles, or drones taking out the anti-aircraft sites while one or more additional B-21's drop tons of precision freedom on other high-value targets.
 
2022-12-04 12:33:19 AM  

NEDM: The stated payload for the B-2 (which is all we have) is at 40,000; presumably the B-21 is similar or larger.


IIRC, the B-21 is slightly smaller than the B-2, and payload is estimated at about 30,000.  Still a farkton of drones worth of boom, though.
 
2022-12-04 1:42:06 AM  

dbirchall: Birnone: You aren't sending a billion dollar bomber in where anti-aircraft hasn't been wiped out already, unless it's a sudden outbreak of all out war and WWIII is commencing.

Uh... The whole point of stealth is being able to operate in contested and defended airspace and wipe out defenses that have a hard time seeing you.  That's why F-117s were the first planes over Baghdad the first night of Desert Storm in 1991.  It's why F-117s were the first planes over Baghdad again in 2003.  Once the defenses are gone, stealth buys you very little.

That said, decent odds you're right, and the next time we need that sort of thing to happen, it's done by F-35's.  But some of the possible loadouts for a B-21 that've already been discussed (standoff missiles, drones) might also be capable.  And of course one must always ask "Why don't we have both?" with F-35's, standoff missiles, or drones taking out the anti-aircraft sites while one or more additional B-21's drop tons of precision freedom on other high-value targets.


That was my point though. F-117 type aircraft would be the ones to destroy an enemy's ability to defend against the incoming bombers. That's the first wave. The bombers need to be stealthy to survive their bombing runs. Not all anti-aircraft will be destroyed, just most of it. It will still be dangerous for bombers like the B-52s. Stealth bombers would have higher survivability. There are standoff weapons but you have to plan worst case scenario. Worst case scenario is that the best bombs for the job require the bomber to fly over enemy territory.
 
2022-12-04 4:04:26 AM  

Birnone: dbirchall: Birnone: You aren't sending a billion dollar bomber in where anti-aircraft hasn't been wiped out already, unless it's a sudden outbreak of all out war and WWIII is commencing.

Uh... The whole point of stealth is being able to operate in contested and defended airspace and wipe out defenses that have a hard time seeing you.  That's why F-117s were the first planes over Baghdad the first night of Desert Storm in 1991.  It's why F-117s were the first planes over Baghdad again in 2003.  Once the defenses are gone, stealth buys you very little.

That said, decent odds you're right, and the next time we need that sort of thing to happen, it's done by F-35's.  But some of the possible loadouts for a B-21 that've already been discussed (standoff missiles, drones) might also be capable.  And of course one must always ask "Why don't we have both?" with F-35's, standoff missiles, or drones taking out the anti-aircraft sites while one or more additional B-21's drop tons of precision freedom on other high-value targets.

That was my point though. F-117 type aircraft would be the ones to destroy an enemy's ability to defend against the incoming bombers. That's the first wave. The bombers need to be stealthy to survive their bombing runs. Not all anti-aircraft will be destroyed, just most of it. It will still be dangerous for bombers like the B-52s. Stealth bombers would have higher survivability. There are standoff weapons but you have to plan worst case scenario. Worst case scenario is that the best bombs for the job require the bomber to fly over enemy territory.


By the way, B-2's were hitting Baghdad on the 2nd night of the 2003 war.  I guess between the F-117s destroying however much in the way of anti-aircraft defenses the previous night, and stealth, they felt it was an acceptable risk.

One other thing to consider: the B-21 benefits from ~20 years of R&D post B-2 and ~45 years post F-117.
 
2022-12-04 11:00:29 AM  

NEDM: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: I think Ukraine has shown that drones are much cheaper, require less training and are highly effective.

But a drone pilot will never make 4 star general in the Air Force.

The clips released by the Ukrainian military on Twitter do not tell the whole story, namely the extremely high attrition suffered by those drones.  Bayraktars are averaging about 6 flights before being shot down, quadcopter ones like 2-3.  Modern battlefields are extremely farking lethal for non-stealth aircraft, and drones mitigate that lethality by not putting pilots in danger, but they can't carry the weapons full-size aircraft can.  A Bayraktar can carry 300 pounds worth of weapons, a B-2 can carry north of 40,000.


And yet modern battlefields remain extremely farking lethal for non-stealth aircraft, particularly for the hulking B-52 that all modern AA systems are designed to be able to kill.

Technology has moved on. The kinds of weapon systems that would be useful in a WWII style total war are no longer useful in a MODERN battlefield where guided missiles, satellite surveillance and low level precision bombing exist.
 
2022-12-04 1:17:43 PM  

akallen404: NEDM: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: I think Ukraine has shown that drones are much cheaper, require less training and are highly effective.

But a drone pilot will never make 4 star general in the Air Force.

The clips released by the Ukrainian military on Twitter do not tell the whole story, namely the extremely high attrition suffered by those drones.  Bayraktars are averaging about 6 flights before being shot down, quadcopter ones like 2-3.  Modern battlefields are extremely farking lethal for non-stealth aircraft, and drones mitigate that lethality by not putting pilots in danger, but they can't carry the weapons full-size aircraft can.  A Bayraktar can carry 300 pounds worth of weapons, a B-2 can carry north of 40,000.

And yet modern battlefields remain extremely farking lethal for non-stealth aircraft, particularly for the hulking B-52 that all modern AA systems are designed to be able to kill.

Technology has moved on. The kinds of weapon systems that would be useful in a WWII style total war are no longer useful in a MODERN battlefield where guided missiles, satellite surveillance and low level precision bombing exist.


?

That's circles back to my original point.  The B-52, no matter how cool, is a farking deathtrap over contested airspace without the ability to stealth radar like the B-2 and B-21.
 
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