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Subject: Future of Strategic Bombers
Roman    7/5/2004 8:05:59 PM
Do these planes have any future at all. I have not heard about any plans to develop new strategic bombers in any country. If there are such plans - what shape/features is the new bomber expected to take? Or is this part of the deterrent triad completely dead in the long run once the current crop of strategic bombers retires?
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Strangelove    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/5/2004 10:29:55 PM
Stealth, speed, range. Likely something like the Dyna-soar suborbital bomber with intercontinental range, two-three hour flight time to anywhere in the world, and a low radar cross section.
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doggtag    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/6/2004 12:29:10 AM
...perhaps an improved concept of the large loitering platform like B-1s have done in the last few years: A big beast carrying an over-abundance of long range PGMs could orbit outside the more lethal areas and deploy its weapons as requested by ground troops. Since the X-43 Hyper X proved that hypersonic combustion CAN be maintained (even if only for 10 seconds the fuel supply lasted), perhaps we could see Mch 4-8 air-to-surface precision guided ordnance that could reach far inland ( to 1000km or so?) in vastly shorter flight times could prove an effective alternative. If intercepting Mach 8 re-entry vehicles is tough, it certainly would be hard to bring down a hyper-X land attack missile..
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doggtag    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/6/2004 12:35:08 AM
...or perhaps hyper-x "MIRVs" could be sub-launched from reconfigured Trident missiles? Following suit, a land variant mounted in a trailer like Tomahawks were (even a launcher built on the Oshkosh 5-axle PLS-type chassis). The US definitely needs to increase its research and procurement of more capable land attack missiles. Definitely an improvement (longer range, greater single or cluster warhead, faster) on the ATACMS and TLAMs needs to be acquired. Nuclear IRBMs may have fallen out of favor, but ceratinly a conventional system could find effective use, especially as a deterrent platform..
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Thomas    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/6/2004 7:56:52 AM
Strangely enough (and here I differ from a lot of people with great knowledge) I think the strategic bombers place is very much assured. In fact: The B-52 is still operational in spite of the possibility of designing a far better aircraft for the same role. I think you will need a large bomber in the future for the large assortment of PGM's, where you will need a decisionmaker on the spot to choose from the vast shelves of the bomber. You don't need an airborne aircraft carrier, because the airplanes don't have to come back. But you need and will need still more the ability to hit hard on time-sensitive target - and the army really likes hostile division to run into problems. This is another reason why I belive the fighter has a future - you need something to protect the beast that on occasion will have to enter into range of hostile airdefence.
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elcid    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/6/2004 11:23:54 AM
The future strategic bomber will be a wide body modified for munitions.
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Warhammer    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/6/2004 11:24:25 AM
Yeah, the USAF is starting to plan a new bomber that is supposed to be ready in like 20+ years from now. The article was posted here on StrategyPage, but I couldn't find a link for it. They are giving it time, cause the current bombers have plenty of life left in them, and they don't want to make a bomber today, with technology that would obselete it tomorrow. The next generation of bombers will probably be works of art compared to our present bombers. There is also the possibility something will come out of thin air in the next few decades. Something like how the B-2 and F-117 came about. Secret projects that weren't even mentioned until after they entered full service. The AF could even be saying how they are planning a new and spectacular bomber 20 years from now, when in reality, they already have one, and are just finishing it up, or waiting for an opportune time to show it off.
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doggtag    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/6/2004 2:24:49 PM
I agree, Warhammer: the F-117 program, it all it Have Blue development prototypes, was a "neither confirmed nor denied" rumor for ten years (circa 1977) before it became official public knowledge (1987-88). Certainly we should consider that all these "neither confirmed nor denied" projects are quite possibly prototypes, or even as cover and distraction for the real articles we don't have any rumors about. There are some people even in the US Government who would love nothing more than to reveal to the taxpayers just where every cent of their money has gone. But we are well aware of the need for keeping true capabilities and research efforts secret, and to even generate "disinformation". Also, plausible deniability is a very effective tool: when rumors surface about aircraft of marvelous and miraculous abilities, it is quite possible to play out the rumors as being all there is about such things: blame it on one set of rumors for creating more rumors, and in the end no one really wants to believe things of such capability exist..
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Warhammer    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/6/2004 2:49:17 PM
I certainly hope we have lots of nice things hidden away, just waiting to use them. Years from now, some nation makes some power move, and out comes the a technology that just destroys all competition. Keep any enemies guessing as to what we are doing, and what we might pull out of our hat if we really got in a bind.
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Jerry W. Loper    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/6/2004 5:54:52 PM
Strategic bombers are useful for saber rattling, unlike ICBMs, SLBMs, or cruise missiles, which, once fired, go all the way. You can send B-52s (or whatever other type of strategic bomber you've got) aloft to show you mean business, then recall them if the crisis is resolved.
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Roman    RE:Future of Strategic Bombers   7/6/2004 11:37:13 PM
Hmm, wide-bodied bombers and bomb-trucks are indeed likely in the future, but I do not see them being used in the deterrent role. Perhaps Strangelove is right and the hyper-sonic concepts will give rise to future strategic bombers.
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