Skip to comments.$2 billion update for Whiteman’s B-2 bomber
Posted on 03/29/2012 10:26:20 PM PDT by U-238
Say you own a 20-year-old car and intend to drive it beyond the year 2050. It will need some fixing.
A challenge similar to that continually faces Whiteman Air Force Base, home to the B-2 stealth bomber. Many aircraft parts made in the 1980s, when the first of 21 B-2s rolled out of a Northrop Grumman Corp. hangar, are as obsolete today as the floppy disk.
Yet the plan is to keep those bat-winged bombers flying, and eluding the latest in radar technology, until 2058.
The Pentagon is moving forward with a $2 billion, 10-year effort to modernize the fleets defensive capabilities. Digital equipment will replace analog, antennas will be upgraded, communication systems and pilot displays will be enhanced all needed to address emerging and proliferating 21st century ground and airborne threats, according to an Air Force report last year to Congress.
Col. Rob Spalding of Whitemans 509th Bomb Wing called the coming enhancements the biggest and most complex update of the B-2 in its history.
Washingtons commitment to the B-2 is a no-brainer, experts say, given the planes lethal legacy. It has been involved in every combat action since NATOs 1999 bombing of Serbia in the Kosovo War.
The B-2 is a door opener, said John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org, a think tank on weapons systems. It has the unique ability to fly unescorted into hostile airspace and blow up a lot of stuff without us first having to take out the other guys air defenses. Maintaining the fleet now down to 20, following the wreck of a B-2 flying out of a Guam air base into heavy rain in 2008 is job one at Missouris Whiteman. Scheduled overhauls happen every seven years, and replacement parts are increasingly difficult to find, Spalding said.
(Excerpt) Read more at kansascity.com ...
Appreciate your posts, sir, as a civilian. Well done.
Too bad Whiteman AFB removed all of their Minuteman missile and Peacekeeper missiles.OSCAR-1 is now a museum.
I thought I read somewhere that there is a rfp out for a new bomber.....is that new bomber not going to be operational before 2058?
In your opinion is this a waste of $$ or an essential and needed spend to modernize the air vehicle?
I appreciate your posts as well. Always something interesting to read as I drift off to sleep.
Time to dust off my wrenches and head west.
I’m goin to Kansas City, Kansas City here we come
They got some crazy little wimmen there, and I’m gonna get me one.....
$2B isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. The DoD is likely spending more on the “I love Sodomy and you better too” training given to accomodate the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
The new program has started.Long-Range Strike Bomber is supposed to be out by 2020.The Air Force wants 80-100 of the new bombers with the option to be unmammed. The USAF wants to strech out the B-52 until 2040 but I doubt it will complete its missions due to the ever improving of the Russian and Chinese Air Defense Network. Do I think its a waste of money? No I do not. The B-52 is a relic of another time period and needs to be replaced.
Thank you very much the compliment.
It is still an amazing technology. 60 years old and still flying.
I should of said the plane would be ready by the mid 2020s.Most of the plane supposedly will be from “off the shelf” technology.I did not include all the cost-overruns. HASC did give a $100 millionn grant to start the project.
It is but how can you compete with Russia and China developing new AAA technology everyday with better command and control.
So has the contract been awarded? Lockmart or NGC?
Do you really need to dodge all the AAA ? Why can’t you hit the same target with cruise missiles?
NGC got the contract.
Figures NGC got it....they built the B-2 and it keeps the wealth spread around the defense contracting community. Plus Lockmart has it’s hands full on JSF.
I was a college student at Central Missouri State U, just 10 mile to the west of beautiful downtown Knob Noster:-) back in the early 70s. I took a few flying lessons and it was intersting to see the silos from the air.
In ground school one of the kids asked the instructor about what he should do if he saw a silo opening.
Basically Mr Instuctor said one was no big deal but more than one and you could kiss your...
Many of these cruise missiles were developed in the 1970s and technology has made great leaps and bounds since then. You can shoot down a cruise missile. You can actually spoof its GPS system and give it new coordinates or render it useless.They also need to reach a certain point for it to be effective.
Everything halfway down the state of Missouri would be hit by a Soviet warhead.
OSCAR-11 from the movie “The Day After” is still there. Its all fenced in now.
I have not been on base since 1976 when I had to go take a flight physical for the USMC,
It did not work out, sigh
Two of my kids went to CMSU or as it is now known as UCM. They said you would be walking across campus and all of a sudden a BIG shadow would appear and looking up would be a B-2.
Well back to work I must go
Pike is an idiot who has obviously never been tasked with generating nor executing ATOs providing SEAD for B-2 missions. He's given quite a few Prowler squadrons a good chuckle with that bit of BS.
Since when did they rename the “B-2 Bomber”? I specifically remember its name being the “Controversial B-2 Bomber”, at least during the 1980s and 1990s.
I must have missed something.
Secret new bombers are most likely flying in space.
Maybe DARPA knows.