New life of the "strategist": B-1 may become a flying arsenal of hypersonic weapons


"Lancer" at all times



It’s hard to find something more paradoxical than strategic aviation US Air Force. Judge for yourself, the subsonic eight-engine B-52, which made its first flight back in 1952, wants to to exploit almost until the middle of the XXI century, while the much newer B-1, which was created to replace it, can be written off (at least, they wanted until recently). And even the inconspicuous B-2 in the foreseeable future can be decommissioned, giving its functions to the promising B-21 Raider. Which, however, only has to make the first flight and prove that he is capable of something.

No less surprising are the metamorphoses that occurred with these machines. In this sense, the B-1 Lancer is perhaps the most unusual aircraft. Recall first B-1A, capable of speeds up to 2300 kilometers per hour, transformed into a much more “modest” transonic B-1B. And then a low-altitude breakthrough and nuclear weapon the latter was replaced with precision bombs and tactical cruise missiles, turning the Lancer into a weapon against terrorists.

In the new incarnation, the aircraft performed well, but it still did not fall into the list of the U.S. Air Force’s favorite combat vehicles, and in addition, it showed relatively low combat readiness compared to other winged vehicles: in 2018, the U.S. Air Force stated that the level of combat readiness is B -1V is 51,75%. For comparison: as of fiscal year 2018, the combat readiness of the B-52H was 69,3%.


Last year, it became known that the U.S. Air Force was analyzing the possibility of abandoning the B-1B series in order to redirect the freed funds to implement the Long-Range Strike Bomber program, that is, to the B-21 Raider. And in February, the American edition of “Air Forces Times” in the article “Air Force general: Two-bomber fleet is the future” reported with reference to a speech by Lieutenant General David Naom that the Air Force plans to have a mixed fleet of B-21 and B-52 bombers .

Cruel Intentions


It seemed that the aircraft was about to finally go into oblivion. But it was not there. As it turned out, now the car is again considered as one of the most important elements ensuring the high potential of the US Air Force. The situation was influenced by the plans of the Pentagon to get airborne hypersonic weapons.

In short, the situation looks like this. Until recently, the US Air Force conducted two programs to create hypersonic missiles. We are talking about the complex Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), better known as AGM-183A, as well as the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon, which is a conceptual development of the widely known X-51. In February of this year, it became known about the rejection of the second for financial reasons. Only ARRW left.


According to AFGSC Eyes Hypersonic Weapons for B-1, Conventional LRSO, in April, Air Force Magazine said the US Air Force Strategic Command plans to modernize the B-1B Lancer strategic bombers to equip them with the promising AGM-183A hypersonic missile. In addition, they want to teach the aircraft how to use the non-nuclear version of the new strategic long-range stand-off (LRSO) cruise missile: in case the AGM-158B JASSM-ER cruise missile range is not enough. Recall that she (range) is limited to a mark of about 1000 kilometers. For comparison, a tactical Russian cruise missile X-101 air-based range can exceed 5000 kilometers: at least, according to the media.

The situation looks something like this: first, the Americans will write off seventeen B-1Bs, and then the remaining 44 cars will be upgraded to a new standard. As part of the modernization, the aircraft will receive eight external suspension units, on which it will be possible to place the AGM-183A.

“My goal would be to get at least one squadron of B-1B aircraft equipped with external suspension components to carry the ARRW hypersonic cruise missile.”

- leads “Air Force Magazine” the words of the head of the US Air Force Strategic Command General Timothy Ray.


Here, however, an important clarification needs to be made. For Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon or AGM-183A they want to use both external holders and internal turret mounts. Thus, the total number of hypersonic missiles should be 31 units! The B-1B has never had such tactical capabilities.

Defense or attack?


What is an AGM-183A? We have repeatedly considered this issue in previous materials. In short, the complex consists of an aeroballistic missile and a hypersonic block, the carrier of which it is. According to unofficial data, the block speed can reach 20 Machs.

The US is actively testing promising weapons, as confirmed by photographs taken last year. On them you can see the ARRW missile model suspended under the strategic bomber B-52N-150-BW S / N 60-0036, which took part in many other tests. ARRW is being developed under a $ 480 million contract that Lockheed Martin received in 2018. Work must be completed by December 2021. The US military expects to receive existing samples of new hypersonic weapons in the first half of the 2020s, which, without a doubt, will significantly strengthen the potential of the US Air Force.


And not only them. The US Ground Forces and the US Navy intend to receive their hypersonic weapons. And all this, too, should happen in the foreseeable future. Recall that for the Army they create the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon: a universal ground-based solid-propellant medium-range ballistic missile having a guided planning hypersonic warhead Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB). Concerning fleet, then the concept is similar: a rocket acting as a carrier + a hypersonic block. They want to equip the fourth-generation multipurpose Virginia-type submarines with new weapons. At least part of them.

In general, the Pentagon’s Napoleonic plans, combined with very tight deadlines, raise a variety of questions. Are US plans real? Are they not well-camouflaged misinformation designed to draw opponents into a devastating arms race for them?

After all, if you think about it, the United States can solve all the tactical tasks before them with the available means: that is, high-precision bombs and subsonic cruise missiles. Do Americans need a complex and expensive complex like ARRW?


If we discard the conspiracy theology, then the only reasonable answer is to ensure the complete not only tactical, but also strategic domination of the United States throughout the world. In this regard, not only the new B-21s, but also the old B-1B Lancer, each of which, as we already know, can carry three dozen hypersonic missiles, can really be useful to the Americans.
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  1. Amateur April 14 2020 05: 52 New
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    as we already knowwill be able to carry three dozen hypersonic missiles.

    As in the old joke: of course he will be able to carry three dozen hypersonic missiles, but only where will he get them?
    Well, the expression "as we know" is generally wonderful. Source - "OBS" media (one grandmother said)
    1. Bersaglieri April 14 2020 11: 56 New
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      It can’t :) Come on in size, nor in PN.
      1. clidon April 15 2020 07: 24 New
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        Is the AGM-183 heavy?
        1. Bersaglieri April 15 2020 12: 49 New
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          Heavy - not really, but oversized.
  2. Maks1995 April 14 2020 09: 18 New
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    Ah, they wrote in vain:
    “It's hard to find something more paradoxical than US Air Force strategic aviation.”

    It was repeatedly discussed here. The situation is the same as ours, only there are more aircraft.
    The old ones are being modernized for new stuffing and rockets, and leisurely they are developing new ones.

    Previously, they didn’t give much money to strategists, but here Russia helped - as they began to boast of successes and cartoons, they began to allocate more money.
  3. Nikolaevich I April 14 2020 09: 20 New
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    What is an AGM-183A? We have repeatedly considered this issue in previous materials. In short, the complex consists of an aeroballistic missile and a hypersonic block, the carrier of which it is. According to unofficial data, the block speed can reach 20 Machs. 20 Machs? And with what "strain"? After all, the "Entra" ARRW is conceptually not very different from the X-47M2 "Dagger." If it “differs”, then only if there is an additional accelerator on the hypersonic block, but this ... on the “water is written with a pitchfork”! It is known that the “Dagger” provides 10 Machs in the presence of a “booster block” (MiG-31)! And this plane was chosen not by the tails-eagle method, but because of its “specificity”! But will the necessary "specificity" provide for the 31 pieces of "American Saber" the notorious "Lancer", and even with external suspension? And what about the "start-overclocking" block? With what “strain” will the “mentioned 20 M” appear? Indeed, in spite of the detachable unit, the “hypersonic swings” of the ARRW will have to be achieved in the “whole” form (!) ... like the “Dagger” ... which is “with 10 swings”! Even in the presence of an "additional accelerator"! Basically, the accelerator on the warhead will be able to preserve the “hypersound” or, to some extent, increase the falling speed of the warhead to the “hypersound” at the “last mile” (!)! PS I do not exclude the possibility that “Dagger-2” is being developed, where a detachable planning combat unit will probably be used ...
    1. BREAKTHROUGH READY April 14 2020 11: 02 New
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      After all, the "Entra" ARRW conceptually not very different from the X-47M2 "Dagger"
      conceptually, it is not much different from the “avant-garde”, which accelerates to 27M.
      MiG-31)! And this plane was chosen not by the tails-eagle method, but because of its “specificity”!
      This aircraft was chosen for only one reason - the only heavy aircraft that is available and which is not a pity to remodel. But the “dagger" itself can be launched even from Tu95, even from the ground.
      1. Nikolaevich I April 14 2020 14: 58 New
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        Quote: BREAKTHROUGH READY
        "Enta" ARRW is conceptually not very different from the X-47M2 "Dagger"
        conceptually, it is not much different from the “avant-garde”, which accelerates to 27M.

        Fir-trees! Compare horseradish (such a vegetable ...) with a finger! In that case, why not “compare” the “Dagger” with the “Vanguard” ?! But for some reason, the “Dagger” is so far capable of 10 M, and the Vanguard is capable of 20 M (this is a “guaranteed” value, which is often given ...)! And now what? I need to spend my time explaining to you that the “Dagger” (like the ARRW ...) is an aeroballistic rocket and flies in the atmosphere, although sparse ... And the “Vanguard” is in space ... if not all distance, then significant! Next ... what speed is needed to bring the warhead BR into space? Have you heard about the first space? And what is the speed of the Iskander? (given that the rocket needs to "gain" a height of 50 km ... speed 9M723 is given in the technical specifications of Iskander ...)
        Quote: BREAKTHROUGH READY
        MiG-31)! And this plane was chosen not by the tails-eagle method, but because of its “specificity”!
        This plane was chosen for only one reason -

        Again I "chew" "from what, why why ... yes, for what reason ..."? It won’t work out ... I don’t have it at the moment for this time!
        1. voyaka uh April 14 2020 17: 50 New
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          “But for some reason,” the “Dagger” is so far capable of 10 M, and the Vanguard is capable of 20 M (this is a “guaranteed” value, which is often given ...)
          ----
          1) The dagger is a tactical BR Iskander air launch
          2) Vanguard - ICBM, which launches a space warhead planning
          Of course, the speed of ICBMs is two times higher than the speed of tactical ballistic missiles.
          But in the atmosphere, the speed of the glider will drop to the same 7 M above the target.
          Another thing is that the Vanguard can be pulled into America, and the Dagger - not far.
    2. Bersaglieri April 14 2020 11: 53 New
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      ARRW on MGH and TTX is the reincarnation of the good old SkyBolt, supplemented by a "glider" instead of the traditional "cone". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAM-87_Skybolt

      Specifications
      Mass 11,000 pounds (5,000 kg)
      Length 38 feet 3 inches (11.66 m)
      Diameter 35 inches (890 mm)
      Warhead W59 thermonuclear weapon (1 megaton)
      Engine Aerojet General two-stage solid-fuel rocket
      Wingspan 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m)
      Operational
      range
      1,150 miles (1,850 km)
      Flight ceiling> 300 miles (480 km)
      Maximum speed 9,500 miles per hour (15,300 km / h)
      Guidance
      system
      inertial guidance
      Launch
      platform
      Aircraft
      1. voyaka uh April 14 2020 17: 55 New
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        Right. Therefore, the development is so fast.
        Only the tactical glider is something new.
        The result was a kind of dagger mixture with a glider from the Vanguard laughing
    3. Vadim237 April 14 2020 21: 39 New
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      Probably the same will appear as 15 Machs appeared in the latest modification of the SM 3 SAM.
  4. NN52 April 14 2020 09: 26 New
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    "Tightened" external APU.

    Only it is not clear, 12 on external suspensions and 19 inside? Somehow busting ...
    1. Bersaglieri April 14 2020 11: 52 New
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      So he was expelled from the “breakthroughs” a long time ago, so “we carry the Kyrgyz Republic to the launch line”. It is true for all "strategists" now.
    2. Vadim237 April 14 2020 21: 46 New
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      If each rocket weighs 1600 kilograms in the final version, then 24 on external and internal suspensions will pull.
    3. Hermit21 April 15 2020 07: 51 New
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      These are ancient pictures. Holders for ALCM, with which B1B flew only on tests
  5. Operator April 14 2020 09: 29 New
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    At the moment, 1/10 of the V-1 fleet is in operation in the amount of 6 aircraft - for the rest there are no spare parts, there is no money for the production of them at all.

    In connection with the decision to extend the airworthiness of the B-52 with the "Lancer" - FSO.
  6. Peter is not the first April 14 2020 11: 04 New
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    Weapons and their delivery vehicles are being prepared to reload target channels and subsequently destroy our S-300 ... 500.
  7. BREAKTHROUGH READY April 14 2020 11: 18 New
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    More like a translation error in an article.
    I would not be surprised if 31 pieces are the total number of missiles ordered for b1b, but not the combat load of one aircraft.
  8. Bersaglieri April 14 2020 11: 50 New
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    Hmm, what's so surprising? Good launch platform. Just like the Tu-160 (in one "niche" they sit, if on conventional weapons).
  9. Undecim April 14 2020 17: 48 New
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    Here, however, an important clarification needs to be made. For Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon or AGM-183A they want to use both external holders and internal turret mounts. Thus, the total number of hypersonic missiles should be 31 units!
    Here it is necessary to make an even more important clarification - the author wrote complete nonsense.
    The goal of the Lancer upgrade, Ray reportedly said during a phone call hosted by the Defense Writers Group following his conversation with Air Force magazine, is to enable the B-1B to carry at least six ARRW hypersonic missiles while leaving the aircraft's bomb bay open to haul conventional missiles like the Joint Air to Surface Stand-Off Missiles-Extended Range (JASSM-ER), as well as the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM).
    Yes, the B-1B can use both external holders and a turret mount. But the AGM-183A, it can carry only six pieces on the external sling, and on the internal, at the same time, its full-time weapons.
    The qualifications of authors writing on the website are rapidly moving towards zero.
  10. Old26 April 14 2020 18: 32 New
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    Quote: Bersaglieri
    It can’t :) Come on in size, nor in PN.

    If, in terms of dimensions, you can agree with you at a stretch, then in terms of PN they definitely pass.

    Quote: Amateur
    As in the old joke: of course he will be able to carry three dozen hypersonic missiles, but only where will he get them?

    In the same place where we take the KZBR, which KTRV is preparing, in the same place where we take the Anchar. Their missile is being tested, which means it is only a factor of time. And there is nothing supernatural in the new rocket. Even if the "glider" is separated from it on the KU.

    Quote: Nikolaevich I
    What is an AGM-183A? We have repeatedly considered this issue in previous materials. In short, the complex consists of an aeroballistic missile and a hypersonic block, the carrier of which it is. According to unofficial data, the block speed can reach 20 Machs. 20 Machs? And with what "strain"? After all, the "Entra" ARRW is conceptually not very different from the X-47M2 "Dagger." If it “differs”, then only if there is an additional accelerator on the hypersonic block, but this ... on the “water is written with a pitchfork”! It is known that the “Dagger” provides 10 Machs in the presence of a “booster block” (MiG-31)! And this plane was chosen not by the tails-eagle method, but because of its “specificity”! But will the necessary "specificity" provide for the 31 pieces of "American Saber" the notorious "Lancer", and even with external suspension? And what about the "start-overclocking" block? With what “strain” will the “mentioned 20 M” appear? Indeed, in spite of the detachable unit, the “hypersonic swings” of the ARRW will have to be achieved in the “whole” form (!) ... like the “Dagger” ... which is “with 10 swings”! Even in the presence of an "additional accelerator"! Basically, the accelerator on the warhead will be able to preserve the “hypersound” or, to some extent, increase the falling speed of the warhead to the “hypersound” at the “last mile” (!)! PS I do not exclude the possibility that “Dagger-2” is being developed, where a detachable planning combat unit will probably be used ...

    The namesake, do not believe everything that is said. After all, speaking in March 18, our GDP also spoke of the fact that our Avangard can fly in dense layers at a speed of 20M. And this is the temperature of the Sun ...
    IMHO the speed of this AGM-183A is unlikely to be greater than the speed of our "Dagger", that is, about 9-10M

    Quote: BREAKTHROUGH READY
    conceptually, it is not much different from the “avant-garde”, which accelerates to 27M.

    Do not confuse warm with soft. “Vanguard” flies in space, “AGM-183A is unlikely to rise above the Karman line. But most likely its flight will take place at altitudes of 30-60 km with a speed of hardly more than 10-12M

    Quote: BREAKTHROUGH READY
    This aircraft was chosen for only one reason - the only heavy aircraft that is available and which is not a pity to remodel. But the “dagger" itself can be launched even from Tu95, even from the ground.

    Can. But the maximum speed and maximum range will be much less

    Quote: Bersaglieri
    ARRW on MGH and TTX is the reincarnation of the good old SkyBolt, supplemented by a "glider" instead of the traditional "cone". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAM-87_Skybolt

    Unlikely. Most likely the new missile is shorter (sometimes a length of 6 meters and a diameter of 0,77 is indicated. Correspondingly, a range of about 800 is indicated. Mass? HZ, but I think there will be a ton and a half.

    Quote: BREAKTHROUGH READY
    More like a translation error in an article.
    I would not be surprised if 31 pieces are the total number of missiles ordered for b1b, but not the combat load of one aircraft.

    Least similar to a translation error. The aircraft has six double external suspension units and they say there was one more single. The double is designed for a load of about 4 tons, single - for about 2,5-3 tons.
    If the American rocket will have a launch rocket of 1,2-1,5 tons, then double rockets can accommodate 3 rockets, and single rockets - 2. Total 20 rockets on the external sling. Plus 8 more on a turret in a double bomb bay. Total 28 missiles. This is so offhand, having no data on this American missile. It is possible that they will place 31.
    1. Nikolaevich I April 15 2020 10: 36 New
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      Quote: Old26
      the speed of this AGM-183A is unlikely to be greater than the speed of our "Dagger", that is, about 9-10M

      So, and I about the same! This "fuss" began because I "protested" against 20 M at ARRW!
      Quote: Old26
      But the “dagger" itself can be launched even from Tu95, even from the ground.

      Can. But the maximum speed and maximum range will be much less

      I wanted to explain the same thing to the brow with the nickname “TO BREAKTHROUGH READY” ... but my time “ran out” at that moment, and everyone was tired of “chewing” what seems obvious ...!
  11. Hermit21 April 15 2020 07: 54 New
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    20 Machs ?! There is doubt that this blunt shit will accelerate to at least 5-6. Well, given the state of the B1B fleet, it will have to look for another carrier