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Posted: 1/3/2005 5:04:49 PM EDT
Looks like even with budget cuts and the recent mishap the Air Force is still thinking hard on this plane as a regional bomber.
  http://www.afa.org/magazine/Jan2005/0105raptor.asp
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:09:12 PM EDT
Its a Shweeeet ride...but I don't think the military will spring for the doe...
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:12:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Rem700PSS:
Its a Shweeeet ride...but I don't think the militaryCongress will spring for the doe...



Fixed it for you.
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:15:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:15:44 PM EDT
Making the Raptor a bomber is akin to Hitler's jackass decision to make the Me-262 a bomber.
Complete misuse of the platform.

The new 250-lb gliding JDAMs can be stuffed inside the Raptor, keeping it fully stealthy - but using it as a bomber is like the retrofit of the F-14s into 'Bombcats' - abom(b)ination.
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:15:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
Looks like even with budget cuts and the recent mishap the Air Force is still thinking hard on this plane as a regional bomber.
  http://www.afa.org/magazine/Jan2005/0105raptor.asp



I mussta missed the mishap?  What mishap?
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:17:30 PM EDT
F-15E Strike Eagle turned out excellent for a plane that started out as not "a pound for ground.'
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:19:24 PM EDT
A F-22 was lost recently on takeoff, fortunately the pilot was able to eject safely. All Raptors are currently grounded.until the investigation is complete.
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:30:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rayra:
Making the Raptor a bomber is akin to Hitler's jackass decision to make the Me-262 a bomber.
Complete misuse of the platform.

The new 250-lb gliding JDAMs can be stuffed inside the Raptor, keeping it fully stealthy - but using it as a bomber is like the retrofit of the F-14s into 'Bombcats' - abom(b)ination.



They are not so much making the Raptor a bomber as they are making a bomber out of its airframe. No Raptors are picking up a new mission - it's supposed to be a separate variant like the F-15E Strike Eagle.

The other contenders for this role are based upon the F-23 airframe and the B-1B, both equally intruiging.
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:31:38 PM EDT
With the current military budget and expense of aircraft, it's tough to justify single-role aircraft. Ever notice the Navy doesn't have too many of those left? And that's just Naval Aviation. Sure, the Air Force will have single-role bombers, but single-role fighters? Yeah, those may just be going the way of the dodo bird.
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 5:35:34 PM EDT
mmx1,
  I concur on Boeing's offering, the B-1R would be my pick, depending on cost of course.
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 6:02:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rayra:
The new 250-lb gliding JDAMs can be stuffed inside the Raptor, keeping it fully stealthy - but using it as a bomber is like the retrofit of the F-14s into 'Bombcats' - abom(b)ination.



I read that the Tomcat was a better long-range strike aircraft than the Super Hornet.  Something to do with the aerodymanic efficency of carrying the ordinance between the engines instead of on the wings.
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 6:11:56 PM EDT
Well don't forget that Northrup Grumman also rumored to be flying an enlarged version of the YF-23, their ATF entry that is being eyed for the stop-gap bomber program as well as the B-1r proposal, the FB-23, accelorating UCAV development and reopening B-2 production. There are alot of options out there.
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 6:12:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2005 6:14:43 PM EDT by limaxray]
The problem is, simply put, $$$$.

You can't afford to have different planes doing different roles, like you could as late as the 70s.  

Nowadays, you need to maximize bang for your buck (pardon the pun), so you buy planes that are good at a bunch of different things, so you don't have to have separate platforms.  The days of buying separate fighter, bomber, and attack aircraft are over, simply because of cost, not only to buy the tails, but in upkeep, personnel, ramp space, etc.

The F-22 in its bomber role has many, many distinct advantages.  It can do its thing in a high-threat environment (think replacement to the F117), can deliver smaller ordnance more accurately (thereby reducing collateral damage, especially in urban environments.  Think about the difference in blast effects between a 500lb and a 250lb bomb on a city block; you can drop them closer to your own troops without killing them.) can get into and out of the target area faster than anything else we own (and therefore reducing risk to the crew and plane), and can at the same time provide an air superiority role.

The problem is the one the military has always had....in times of peace, Congress can't seem to understand you still need to buy stuff.  Rumsfeld has it right--you go to war with the military you bought ten years ago.  Our F15s average 27 years old; our F16s, something like 23.  At least one B52 pilot I know of is flying the same tail number his GRANDFATHER flew in.  These planes need to be replaced; you might as well invest in quality.

A more personal example....let's say you can only buy one pistol for use in the next ten years.  Are you going to buy a Jennings (cheap quality), an Olympic target pistol(highly specialized product), or something much more general and higher quality like a Wilson Combat 1911 or customized .357 Mag?
Link Posted: 1/3/2005 6:50:44 PM EDT
Isnt this the mistake Hitler made with his Me262s?
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 9:43:09 AM EDT
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 9, 2005

Lockheed's Next Big Idea Is Far Off The Radar Screen

Stealthy offshoot of Raptor would change colors, shapes -- and share 85% of its parts.

By Dave Hirschman

The next aircraft Lockheed Martin wants to build in Marietta is a flying chameleon with electrified skin that changes color to match the sky around it.

The high-speed, high-altitude bomber known as the F/B-22 will be able to alter its shape to become slimmer and more aerodynamic as its fuel tanks drain on long-distance flights. It would be invisible to radar, carry precision bombs and missiles, and fly fast enough to outrun most fighters.

The technology that allows planes to change color to match sky conditions is being pioneered on unmanned aircraft being developed by rival aircraft makers. It consists of a sensor that detects surrounding colors and transmits them to an electified coating that takes on hues of blue and gray.

Lockheed hasn't tried the coloring technology on any of its production planes but says the process of shading the F/B-22 is relatively simple. The idea of shedding fuel tanks for additional speed has been around since World War II, when U.S. fighters carried external tanks to extend their range, then dropped them to become lighter and more maneuverable in combat.

The stealthy F/B-22 takes that idea a step further.

The bomber would take off with extra fuel in "conformal" tanks or saddlebags that, once empty, could be pulled into the airplane during flight. With fuel tanks tucked inside, the F/B-22 could fly at supersonic speeds while retaining a shape that would allow it to fly anywhere in the world undetected by radar.

So far, the plane is only an idea in the minds of Lockheed engineers. The company has fewer than 50 people working on the F/B-22 full time.

Right now, a far more pressing issue for the Marietta plant is whether the Pentagon further cuts orders for F/A-22 Raptor fighters and curtails C-130J cargo plane purchases next year, as outlined in a recent budget document. Some analysts say those moves -- should they survive congressional review -- could spell the end of aircraft manufacturing in Marietta.

Lockheed, however, sees the F/B-22 as a logical follow-on to the F/A-22 project. It wants to sell the bombers to the Air Force in time to begin building them in about 10 years, when current F/A-22 production is scheduled to end at about 300 planes. The Pentagon is considering stopping the Raptor assembly line in five years at 160 airplanes, however, and that would require dramatically accelerating the F/B-22 timetable.

The bombers would share the Raptor's cockpit, fuselage, tail and engines and be built on the same assembly line. By using 85 percent common parts, Lockheed said it can reduce costs.

"There's pretty strong congressional support for a new bomber," said Larry Lawson, Lockheed's vice president for Raptor production in Marietta. "We have a very old bomber fleet, and the F/B-22 looks very favorable when you compare the added performance and costs."

No price tag set

Current Air Force bombers include hulking B-52s that first flew more than 50 years ago, supersonic but non-stealthy B-1s made in the 1980s, and stealthy but slow B-2s that are so vulnerable to fighters they only attack at night.

Lockheed officials haven't set a price for F/B-22s. But they say the planes would be significantly less expensive than Raptors because they won't carry the fighter's complex thrust-vectoring system, which directs engine exhaust to aid maneuverability. Raptors currently sell for about $130 million each, and Lockheed officials say prices will go down if production rates increase.

Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst for the Teal Group, said Lockheed is recognizing economic reality by pitching a derivative of an existing airplane rather than starting from scratch.

"The Air Force just doesn't have the money to launch an all-new bomber program," he said. "Lockheed wouldn't get to first base if it tried that approach."

Unmanned rivals

The F/B-22's stiffest competition is likely to come from unmanned aircraft such as the X-45 and X-47 being tested by rivals Boeing and Northrop Grumman, and a new generation of cruise missiles. The unmanned aircraft are stealthy and can cover long distances. But those under development carry much smaller payloads than the proposed F/B-22.

The Air Force is already committed to buying two Lockheed fighters -- the Raptor and the single-engine F-35. Aerospace analysts say any new bomber is likely to be a lower priority to top Air Force officers, many of whom are former fighter pilots.

"Tactical fighters are going to take precedence in a funding crunch," Aboulafia said. "Right now, there's a major funding crunch. But when that's over in a decade or so, the F/B-22 is going to be a real possibility. It blends speed and stealth, and that's very attractive to the Air Force."

Loren Thompson, defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, says outgoing Air Force Secretary Jim Roche is the main proponent for a new long-range bomber. With his departure, a plane such as the F/B-22 loses a powerful advocate.

Budget crunch

Also, huge budget deficits are likely to curtail growth in defense spending, an area that has been invulnerable in Washington in recent years.

"The [Bush] administration is questioning right now whether it can go forward with the Raptor and the F-35," Thompson said. "It's hard to see a way forward for the F/B-22 in this environment."

Thompson said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld favors the F-35, a single-seat fighter and attack plane that will be used by the Air Force, Navy and Marines, rather than Raptors or F/B-22s that only the Air Force would fly.

Lockheed expects Pentagon approval in early 2005 to increase Raptor production in Marietta from about 20 airplanes a year to more than 30. The plant is running two shifts a day and now employs about 7,800 workers -- an increase of about 800 from two years ago. Roughly 2,200 work on Raptor production.

"Lockheed and the Air Force will hold the line on Raptor production this year," Thompson said. "But asking for a variant is pressing their luck. The Air Force is going to have a huge burden protecting their existing programs, and I don't think they're going to get real creative by pursuing new ones."

Beyond visual range: F/B-22 fighter bomber

Lockheed Martin has been quietly designing the F/B-22, a long-range strike variant of the F/A-22. The wings of the F/A-22 would be converted to a delta wing.

Fuel saddlebags -- Extra-capacity fuel tanks would retract as they empty to make the plane more aerodynamic and less visible to radar.

Tail -- Would incorporate tail characteristics from the F/A-22.

Speed and agility -- The F/B-22 would be the Air Force's fastest bomber, retaining the super cruise (faster than sound without afterburners) characteristics of the F/A-22. However, it would not be nearly as maneuverable.

Weapons -- The F/B-22 would carry bombs internally. These include: four 2,000-pound bombs; two air-to-air missiles; four 250-pound bombs.

Camouflage -- With the aid of embedded sensors, the F/B-22's exterior coating changes color when exposed to an electric charge, allowing it to adopt blue and gray hues to match the surrounding sky conditions.

Specifications -- Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney F119s, Crew: Two, Weight: 120,000 pounds with full fuel and bombs, Range: 1,600+ miles
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 9:58:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ARDOC:
Isnt this the mistake Hitler made with his Me262s?



I kind of agree we already have the B-2 and F-117 specifically for this role, along with other non-stealth planes in our inventory.  It should not be a priority that this plane is made into a bomber before it enters service.  Some of the countries like N.Korea, Iran, and Syria have air forces unlike Iraq and Afghanistan.  Air supperiority in conflict is more important than 1 more plain that can drop JDAMS when we already have 2 stealth planes to do the job.  Not that the F-15 is by any means incapable but with the F-22 your risk of losing pilots is inherently less, the F-15 can do mop up.
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 10:02:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ARDOC:
Isnt this the mistake Hitler made with his Me262s?



I’ll have to to say NO on that.

Why, because during WWII, there was no where near the accuracy that we have today. A fighter/bomber with 4,000 Lb. of bombs then would be a waste, since it would be lucky to get them within 1 mile of its target. Today, a fighter/bomber with 4,000 Lb. of pounds would be very effective, since it could deliver them within 50 feet of its target.
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 10:07:08 AM EDT
We're more likely to see one with Chinese air force markings before we'll see any in our forces.  They've already cut the F-22 plans to 180 aircraft.  That's sure to be closer to 100 before they're done.  The F-35 will probably never really make it, either.  V-22 is getting slashed.  The new maritime recon plane is gone.  Commanche is gone.

I suspect we've seen the last of our acquisition of any real numbers of fighter/bomber aircraft.

Drool all you like, the F/B-22 will never take off, no pun intended.
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 10:11:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmedAggie:
We're more likely to see one with Chinese air force markings before we'll see any in our forces.  They've already cut the F-22 plans to 180 aircraft.  That's sure to be closer to 100 before they're done.  The F-35 will probably never really make it, either.  V-22 is getting slashed.  The new maritime recon plane is gone.  Commanche is gone.

I suspect we've seen the last of our acquisition of any real numbers of fighter/bomber aircraft.

Drool all you like, the F/B-22 will never take off, no pun intended.



Your making this up...
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 10:13:30 AM EDT
The future is UCAVS…



ANdy
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 10:13:37 AM EDT
And don't forget, the backbone of our bomber force is still the B-52.  And they were built in the 50's.
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 10:13:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Originally Posted By ArmedAggie:
We're more likely to see one with Chinese air force markings before we'll see any in our forces.  They've already cut the F-22 plans to 180 aircraft.  That's sure to be closer to 100 before they're done.  The F-35 will probably never really make it, either.  V-22 is getting slashed.  The new maritime recon plane is gone.  Commanche is gone.

I suspect we've seen the last of our acquisition of any real numbers of fighter/bomber aircraft.

Drool all you like, the F/B-22 will never take off, no pun intended.



Your making this up...



Oh yeah, we've never cancelled mature programs, wasting billions of taxpayer dollars.
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 10:15:38 AM EDT
UCAVs and space based weapons are going to be the force multipliers that give us a much bigger force for the same defense dollars, think 3 or 4 times the strike capability. The only thing standing in our way is the flipping fighter jock mafia with stars on their epilets.
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 10:16:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2005 10:18:10 AM EDT by ArmedAggie]
oh, and I forgot, there are also plans afoot to halt C-130J production and slash $1.5 billion form missile defense budgets.

www.aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_awst_story.jsp?id=news/01105wna.xml

There's a link to a reliable source.
Link Posted: 1/12/2005 10:21:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Armed_Scientist:
UCAVs and space based weapons are going to be the force multipliers that give us a much bigger force for the same defense dollars, think 3 or 4 times the strike capability. The only thing standing in our way is the flipping fighter jock mafia with stars on their epilets.




Preach it brother!!!

They just cannot except that over a half of a plane is devoted to keeping them alive.  The one component holding back the development of better fighter aircraft technology are the ‘fighter jocks’ that still hum ‘Into the Danger Zone’ every time they take a shit.
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