Skip to comments.New Bomber In New Budget Still A Long-Shot
Posted on 02/11/2011 4:40:15 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
It appears that planning for an advanced long-range strike and reconnaissance aircraft will remain rudimentary for a while.
Finding the necessary funding needed to get to a meaningful down-select is still an open question, says Paul Kaminski, former Pentagon acquisition chief and current chairman of the Defense Science Board. Thats one of the things Im looking for in the [new defense] budget. From what I know about the technology so far, I dont see the supersonic requirement and capability in the early block.
The U.S. Air Force is faced with rationalizing its investment in a new, long-range, bomber-reconnaissance aircraft while struggling under the burdens of tightening defense spending and a high-priority F-35 strike-fighter program that continues to drop behind schedule and add costs. Moreover, there are an number of major uncertainties about the new bomber program. Will it be supersonic, optionally manned or hardened against nuclear-weapon-generated, electro-magnetic pulses?
Kaminski is an advocate of breaking large, complicated programs into pieces -- block upgrades. That strategy allows an elemental version of a new aircraft the F-117, for example to fly earlier that with a monolithic program structure that demands everything be in place before an operational debut. The F-117 operated and finally retired without a radar that was initially considered imperative. The block upgrade strategy pays benefits in managing risk by letting immature technologies wait for a later block.
(Excerpt) Read more at aviationweek.com ...