Military Review

US programs to create new strategic bombers

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The state of American strategic aviation can not be called fully good. Currently, the US Air Force is armed with three types of strategic bombers: Rockwell B-1B Lancer, Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit and Boeing B-52H Stratofortress. The number of aircraft of each of these types does not exceed several tens. In addition, they all have certain disadvantages. So, the last of the B-52H bombers built left the assembly shop half a century ago, the newer B-1Bs have great restrictions on the types of ammunition that can be used, and the B-2s were built in a series of only 21 units. Thus, at present, the US Air Force is in need of a new long-range bomber capable of replacing outdated or small equipment available in the troops.




It should be noted that the Pentagon began to consider the creation of a promising bomber at the beginning of the last decade. First, the features of the use of such aircraft in modern wars, including local ones, were studied. Then a list of requirements was formulated and the 2018 Bomber program was launched (“2018 Bomber of the Year”). It was assumed that the new strategic bomber will make its first flight in the middle of the tenths and by the end of the decade will be adopted.

In the middle of the two thousandth, it was claimed that the aircraft, created by the program 2018 Bomber, would be similar to the currently operated B-2. In the new project, it is also planned to use stealth technology that will help the subsonic aircraft to overcome the modern and future anti-aircraft defense of a potential enemy. In addition, in the middle of the last decade, some sources mentioned the possible name of a promising aircraft - B-3.

How information about the name of the bomber corresponded to reality is unknown. However, by the end of the two thousand years, the Pentagon had updated some of the requirements for the aircraft, and also announced a new name for the program: now it did not mention the year of the proposed adoption. According to representatives of the US military, the result of the NGB project (Next-Generation Bomber - “Next Generation Bomber”) should be the creation of a promising, subtle, inconspicuous aircraft with an average take-off weight and long range. Early assumptions about the creation of a super- or even a hypersonic bomber, as well as versions of the transition to unmanned technology, received an official refutation. The reason for this was the development of technology, as well as the requirements regarding the timing of development and the start of construction of aircraft.

Requirements for the NGB aircraft are constantly adjusted. They regularly added new items to them, as well as changed existing ones. As of the end of the last decade, the Pentagon required developers to create a medium-weight bomber capable of using any existing guided and unmanaged weapon. In addition, he was required from a long range and the possibility of many hours of duty in a given area in readiness to strike at orders. In view of the characteristics of the air component of the US nuclear triad, the possibility of equipping NGB with cruise missiles with a nuclear warhead was seriously considered.

At the beginning of 2008, an event occurred that could be considered decisive for the subsequent work on the project. Boeing and Lockheed Martin have agreed to jointly participate in the NGB project. Due to the absence of other such large and powerful participants capable of comparing with a consortium of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, these companies began to call the winners of the future competition for the development of a technical project. However, subsequent events have refuted such assumptions. It was expected that at the end of 2009, the customer would issue final requirements for the NGB aircraft and begin the tender. However, in mid-2009, US Secretary of Defense R. Gates announced that there were some problems that would have to change the project schedule. Economic problems and some issues related to international treaties in the field of nuclear weapons, have led to the fact that the NGB project could no longer produce results by the 2018 year.

B-2 SPIRIT strategic bomber


The economic side of the NGB project at the end of the last decade is of particular interest. Seeing the frankly unsuccessful financial aspects of the B-2 project (each of these aircraft cost 2 more than a billion dollars, which made it possible to build only an 21 machine), the US military demanded from the outset potential developers of the NGB project to reduce the price of the finished aircraft. It was expected that one aircraft of the new model would cost no more than 500-550 million dollars. While preserving the financial capabilities of the past years, the Pentagon planned to order 120 such bombers for combat service and 55 for reserve and use as training machines.

However, at the end of the two thousand years, Congress demanded a reduction in military spending, which had corresponding consequences. In the summer of 2010, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant General F. Breedlove announced that he had stopped work on the NGB project. According to him, now the Air Force, the military department and the aviation industry intend, using the available experience on the latest projects, to develop and put into operation a family of long-range strike aircraft. The new project was named LRS-B (Long Range Strike Bomber - “Long Range Bomber”).

During the first months after the announcement of the start of the new project, the Pentagon representatives made several interesting statements. A number of statements by military commanders and officials suggested that the LRS-B project was in fact a slightly revised, taking into account some of the new NGB requirements. As before, the promising aircraft should resemble the Northrop Grumman B-2, but have a significantly lower cost.

In the spring of 2011, it became known that over the next 10-15 years at least 80 new bombers could be built. The maximum number of aircraft of the new type required by the air force was determined at the level of 100 units. The cost of each aircraft was supposed to be kept at the level indicated in the NGB project.



In the same year 2011, during the development of the military budget for the next year, new interesting information was published. As it turned out, together with the LRS-B bomber it was planned to create modifications intended for reconnaissance, jamming, etc. tasks. Project activities planned for 2012 year are estimated at about 200 million dollars. At 2013 fiscal year, project development costs were estimated at 290 millions. In total, it is planned to spend 3,7 billion dollars for the development of the bomber and its modifications over five years. The total cost of the program, including the construction of a large series of aircraft, was estimated at 40-50 billions.

As follows from News, appeared at the beginning of last year, work on the LRS-B project started in the fall or winter of 2011. According to reports, the development of outline designs on a competitive basis is still ongoing. The list of contest participants has not yet been published. Probably, the same companies that participated in the work on the Next-Generation Bomber, namely Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, are developing their LRS-B project options.

In May of the current 2013 of the year, the United States Air Force announced that the promising long-range bomber LRS-B should reach the state of initial operational readiness in the 2025 year. This means that the first flight of the new aircraft should take place at the end of the current decade or at the very beginning of the next. At the same time, US officials spoke about the approximate appearance of a promising bomber. As stated, it will resemble existing B-2, both externally and in some of its characteristics. In the basic version of the aircraft will be manned, but in the future does not exclude the possibility of creating an unmanned version. Some technical solutions providing such an opportunity are supposed to be laid already in the early stages of design.

Almost all information about the appearance of the aircraft LRS-B is classified. The latest data on the possible characteristics of a promising bomber were published at the beginning of 2011, and therefore, probably, they became outdated and no longer correspond to reality. From the information, announced more than two years ago, it follows that the LRS-B bomber will be made according to the “flying wing” scheme. This will allow it to have a relatively low visibility for radar detection equipment, as well as provide good flight characteristics. Flight range without air refueling was estimated at 9000 km. Payload - no more than 12 tons. It was argued that the new aircraft, depending on the tactical situation, could use both nuclear and conventional weapons of various types. Finally, in the future, the long-range bomber should become the base for the reconnaissance aircraft, the jammer, and also, possibly, for the air command center.

A promising long-range bomber LRS-B should become a kind of transitional link from modern American technology of its class to the newest aircraft, which is supposed to be developed during the 2037 Bomber program (2037 Bomber of the Year). Work on this new project will begin no earlier than the twenties. For obvious reasons, all information about the next generation of US strategic bombers is limited to only a few exemplary statements that can be confirmed or refuted in the future. It is assumed that the 2037 Bomber of the Year will replace the aircraft of all types currently in service, including the B-52H, which are supposed to remain in service until the beginning of the 1940s. The new bomber will be able to fly at supersonic speeds and use advanced aviation weapons, including nuclear ones. With future progress in this area, the 2037 Bomber can be the first aircraft in its class to perform combat missions without crew on board. This does not exclude the possibility of saving pilots when using equipment for remote control or creating a special manned version.

Since the 2037 Bomber has been operating for about a quarter of a century before the proposed start of operation, all information about this project is purely presumptive. Moreover, it cannot be excluded that the next project of a strategic bomber will be subject to serious adjustments or even be closed in favor of the new program, as it was with the 2018 Bomber of the Year.

As you can see, the United States has big plans for the creation of new long-range bombers. They are going to create a new project that can meet the requirements that are quite ambitious for the time being and at the same time save on both the development and the construction of mass-produced aircraft. In addition, there are already some considerations concerning the further development of strategic aviation. In fact, to date, the Pentagon has created a rough plan of action, designed for the next 25-30 years. Of course, the late stages of this plan, related to the 2037 Bomber project, cannot be called a clear program of action, but steps for the near future have already been defined. This means that in the middle of the next decade, the US Air Force will be replenished with new LRS-B aircraft.

However, such optimism has a downside. First of all, these are financial aspects of the project. Despite existing restrictions on the cost of new aircraft incorporated into the project, the actual values ​​of this parameter can go beyond all reasonable limits in 10-12 years. A similar situation has already been observed with several of the latest American projects of fifth-generation fighter aircraft, which in the end turned out to be much more expensive than originally planned. No one can guarantee that the LRS-B project will not suffer the same sad fate.

The second feature of the LRS-B and 2037 Bomber projects, which is not very pleasant for the US air force, lies in the timing of their implementation. The first of the aircraft will go to the troops not earlier than in 10-12 years, and the second - in 12-15 years. Thus, for the next decade (with the actual work consistent with the current schedule), the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress will remain the main strategic bomber missile carrier of the United States Air Force, capable of using a wide range of missile and bomb weapons. It is worth recalling that the newest aircraft of this type was built in the early sixties of the last century.


On the materials of the sites:
http://flightglobal.com/
http://aviationweek.com/
http://airforce-magazine.com/
http://defensenews.com/
http://janes.com/
http://globalsecurity.org/
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  1. Civil
    Civil 21 October 2013 07: 52
    +5
    Having an undeniable superiority over all unfriendly armies, the United States is still making even more modern bombers. Is it true that Russia has no external enemies ?!
    1. Basileus
      Basileus 21 October 2013 09: 01
      +1
      PACK YES. The project, judging by the description, is quite similar. Despite the fact that the lag compared to the F-22 / PAK FA pair is almost miserable.
      1. Basileus
        Basileus 21 October 2013 09: 23
        11
        By the way, such a thing blew in TsAGI this summer:
    2. Vadivak
      Vadivak 21 October 2013 09: 41
      16
      Quote: Civil
      . Is it true that Russia has no external enemies ?!


      Truth. There were external steel internal.
    3. Airman
      Airman 21 October 2013 11: 13
      +1
      Quote: Civil
      Having an undeniable superiority over all unfriendly armies, the United States is still making even more modern bombers. Is it true that Russia has no external enemies ?!

      I believe that the states with the most powerful aircraft-carrying fleet in the world and a bunch of nuclear submarines with CD on board will need such bombers only for solving "emergency" tasks when aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines do not have time to reach the point of use of weapons. Or for striking in the depths of a country, such as Russia, where axes do not reach the center.
    4. Grifan
      Grifan 21 October 2013 14: 22
      +2
      The US is still making even more modern bombers ...

      ... than the B-52? wassat
  2. rrrd
    rrrd 21 October 2013 08: 22
    -2
    I think they are useless against the multilayer modern air defense. there are enough of their hearty ones
    1. tronin.maxim
      tronin.maxim 21 October 2013 08: 49
      +6
      Quote: rrrd
      I think they are useless against the multilayer modern air defense.

      A moot point. If this device will fly at an altitude of 20 km and above + advanced stealth technologies + false targets + long-range hypersonic missiles (naturally maneuvering). Such an apparatus would be a formidable force.
    2. Airman
      Airman 21 October 2013 10: 59
      +5
      Quote: rrrd
      I think they are useless against the multilayer modern air defense. there are enough of their hearty ones

      What is "Multilayer modern air defense"? I know the "layered air defense system". But in Russia there is no air defense of the country, there is an on-site air defense, which covers the most important objects, and not the whole country.
    3. mixxlll
      mixxlll 21 October 2013 14: 30
      -1
      Not ours, compared with the US rest, laughing , laughing
  3. Sirocco
    Sirocco 21 October 2013 08: 46
    +5
    I think we have already passed this in the early 80s, and this bluff was called SOI. Now they are positioning the UAV for everyone, but is it anything that our Iranians planted a similar unit? No matter what and whoever says there, a person will still not be replaced for a long time, especially in such an important area as strategic nuclear forces.
    1. rrrd
      rrrd 21 October 2013 09: 11
      +2
      Yes, and artificial intelligence, I think, is not soon knocking at our door.
    2. patsantre
      patsantre 22 October 2013 00: 33
      +2
      Whether they actually landed is a controversial question. But I am generally touched by the position of the local "potreots" about stealth and UAVs. A funny argument - stealth was shot down, UAVs were planted, so they are useless. There are so many ordinary planes shot down and "planted" that at least. ... now and what not to do? Or are you starting to carry such nonsense from the fact that the United States is overtaking us in the area of ​​stealth aircraft and UAVs?
  4. Turkestan
    Turkestan 21 October 2013 10: 42
    0
    There is no reception against scrap, besides another scrap. For modern air defense there are no non-intercepting air targets. It all depends on the level of military professional training of personnel operating air defense systems. Remember how OLD air defense systems successfully shot down ultra modern US Air Force aircraft in Iraq and Yugoslavia. In my opinion, the most promising military aviation in the near future will be white-ticket travelers of various classes and radius of action, the cost of which will be hundreds of times cheaper than airplanes such as V-1, V-2. And most likely in the near future, such aircraft as V-1, V-2 will be considered yesterday.
    1. Turkestan
      Turkestan 21 October 2013 17: 01
      +1
      In my opinion, the most promising military aviation in the near future will be drones of various classes and radius of action, the cost of which will be hundreds of times cheaper than airplanes such as V-1, V-2.
    2. Nayhas
      Nayhas 21 October 2013 18: 19
      +2
      Quote: Turkestan
      Remember how OLD air defense systems successfully brought down ultra modern US Air Force planes in Iraq and Yugoslavia

      You think in amateurish ways. The fact that in Yugoslavia they shot down ONE F-117 out of several that made hundreds of sorties while ensuring defeat in the war and changing the political regime means absolutely nothing. If the air defense of Yugoslavia thwarted all air attacks on the country, then it would be worth whistling after the retreating adversaries and spit on the wreckage of their aircraft, but this did not happen, an isolated case is nothing more than a statistical misunderstanding that should not even be taken into account.
      1. Turkestan
        Turkestan 21 October 2013 19: 49
        -1
        \ an isolated case is not more than \ There is an element of regularity. You do not understand me. All modern air defense systems operate under certain technical conditions. And they are not the same. An article \ NATO Losses in Yugoslavia was published on this site \ READ You will be interested.
  5. _KM_
    _KM_ 21 October 2013 11: 00
    +1
    I apologize for the stupid question (not strong in aviation) - if the USA still has the B-52 in service (and in the Russian Federation the Tu-95), then why aren’t airplanes of this type being created?
    1. ben gun
      ben gun 21 October 2013 14: 20
      +1
      A very expensive pleasure is a new distant bomber - to come up with, approve at the top, draw a project, execute it in hardware, run it in a series and get rid of childhood diseases.
      In addition to Russia and the United States, no one else makes strategic birds. In China, the TU-16 is upgraded a hundred times.
  6. _KM_
    _KM_ 21 October 2013 15: 31
    0
    This is understandable, which is expensive. But the price and technical risk of such an aircraft is still less than that of a V-2, etc.
    1. Nayhas
      Nayhas 21 October 2013 18: 31
      0
      Quote: _KM_
      This is understandable, which is expensive. But the price and technical risk of such an aircraft is still less than that of a V-2, etc.

      It’s just that the United States is set within a certain framework, or rather, the bar is raised so high that a decrease in it will entail bad consequences. In theory, of course, a certain arsenal of aircraft is only more logical, from which it is only required to dump as many strategic long-range strategic missiles as possible on the enemy’s border and to bring them back quietly. But the average layman asks, where are the advanced stealth technologies and artificial intelligence? What are taxpayer funds spent on?
  7. Turkestan
    Turkestan 21 October 2013 17: 17
    -1
    And why, come up with something. They are living, tested. Well, take the famous SU-100 SU-50 than you are not an ultra-modern bomber, M-50 is not a modern aircraft. Install a new sighting navigation system, cover the fuselage with a special coating and here you have the modern Russian STELS. And it is not known who will be better than the M-1 or B-XNUMX
    1. nazgul-ishe
      nazgul-ishe 21 October 2013 22: 03
      0
      We will finalize with a file, tint with ship's minium, load bombs on parachutes - a ready-made kamikaze.
      1. Turkestan
        Turkestan 22 October 2013 00: 21
        0
        Well, why so rude. After Mr. Khrushchov cut the aircraft. Equipment was made for the AN-12 Airplanes which, after installation, they could mine the entire Indian Ocean with three regiments in a short time. And An 12 could take 90 Fab100 bombs and plow a 15 km section in 2 seconds. So much for bear aviation
  8. Ivanovich47
    Ivanovich47 21 October 2013 18: 00
    0
    The fuss with promising long-range strategic bombers from the United States is very reminiscent of the hype raised by Reagan on the "Star Wars" program. Our political leadership must really look at the state of the domestic economy. not to admit shuffling and gradually solve problems under the PAK DA program.
  9. cormorant
    cormorant 21 October 2013 18: 00
    0
    Quote: Basileus
    By the way, such a thing blew in TsAGI this summer:


    Thanks for the photo. But is the development of PAK YES not classified? It is strange to see the forms of a promising aircraft in the public domain.
    1. Basileus
      Basileus 21 October 2013 19: 19
      0
      Not the fact that it is PAK YES. There is a similar photo with a model with civil engines. Either Tupoli, out of habit, then wants to make a passenger out of a bomber, or it's just working out a layout that has little relation to PAK YES.
  10. Rus2012
    Rus2012 21 October 2013 18: 32
    0
    Quote: tronin.maxim
    If this device will fly at an altitude of 20 km and above + advanced stealth technologies + false targets + long-range hypersonic missiles (naturally maneuvering).

    In this proposal, dear colleague, lies at least 3 insurmountable engineering contradictions:
    - a bomber flying at altitudes from 20.000 with a combat load will eat so much kerosene that it will become superheavy
    - "advanced stealth technologies" always come into conflict with the requirements of aerodynamics, and hence the indicators of altitude, speed, range
    - a weapon on "hypersonic", as a rule, is a sprinter. If you try for a long range, it will come out super cumbersome.

    The optimal long-range bomber-bomber, in terms of flexibility of use, cost, mass, fuel consumption: this is near sound, altitude 12-14tys., Range - 8-12tys.km, payload (combat load) - 20-30tonn
    weight - approx. 100 tons
    The addition of supersonic will lead to an increase in mass, cost and fuel consumption.

    Here are the data of the famous "weave" T-4:
    empty mass - 55,6
    take-off mass - 135
    fuel - 57
    max speed, km / h 3 200
    cruising - 3 000
    practical range, km - 6000
    combat load - approx. 10tons,

    at the same time, only a decrease in cruising to 800-900km / hour increases the range to 10.000 (T-4М, project)
    1. BBM
      BBM 22 October 2013 22: 18
      0
      In this proposal, dear colleague, lies at least 3 insurmountable engineering contradictions:
      - a bomber flying at altitudes from 20.000 with a combat load will eat so much kerosene that it will become superheavy

      и
      The addition of supersonic will lead to an increase in mass, cost and fuel consumption.

      Well this is not entirely true. The famous Valkyrie is the first three-swing aircraft. It had a cool speed and a very acceptable fuel consumption, there was a very interesting trick with deflectable wing tips - plus an optimal aerodynamic design for supersonic sound - a tailless wing of a cocked hat and a far-out PGO. a plane bomb is true and cost like a shuttle.
  11. Lone gunman
    Lone gunman 21 October 2013 19: 02
    +1
    Now there will be those who will argue that the Tu-95 and T-160 are the best bombers and we don't need the best, but on the other hand, America is in debt like silk ... $ 17 trillion ... and because of such expensive programs, including ..., but not stop progress ... why is the richest country Russia, such a "poor" eprst ...? The people deserve the power that the "people" have ...
    1. Turkestan
      Turkestan 21 October 2013 20: 03
      0
      Not at all. Great cars. But if you were inside these machines, then you would be stunned by the large number of main and backup equipment on these planes. And ROMAN can be written about the weight and size of these blocks installed, at least on a Tu 95 airplane. One unit ABC AIR SHOOTING machine is worth what.
  12. nazgul-ishe
    nazgul-ishe 21 October 2013 21: 55
    +1
    Quote: Turkestan
    And about the weight and size of these blocks installed, well, at least on a Tu 95 airplane, you can write ROMAN. One unit ABC AIR SHOOTING machine is worth what.

    It weighs a lot, it costs a lot, it’s not much use.
  13. _KM_
    _KM_ 22 October 2013 13: 52
    0
    Well, then create a Tu-95 based on modern technologies and materials. Let it not be supersonic, but with a 30-ton combat load and the ability to hang in the air for a day. So that "if that" one gulp to cover the territory of a potential friend!