Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Some Disturbing Facts About America's Dwindling Bomber Force
Forbes ^ | 8-16-2013

Posted on 09/21/2013 2:04:31 PM PDT by ClaytonP

One of the most distinctive features of U.S. military power is the Air Force’s fleet of heavy bombers.

....

However, after 80 years of steadily developing better bombers — basically, since it entered World War One — the U.S. ceased spending money on new long-range strike aircraft following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

There aren’t many bombers left.

All of the bombers are old.

No new bomber is waiting in the wings.

(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: airforce; b1; b2; b52; bombers
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-54 next last

1 posted on 09/21/2013 2:04:31 PM PDT by ClaytonP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP

I don’t want this POS regime to have any more power than it already has. We’ll rebuild once the $h!7 is flushed outta offlice.


2 posted on 09/21/2013 2:07:19 PM PDT by Vaquero ( Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero

Can new B-1’s be built at all?


3 posted on 09/21/2013 2:09:25 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (Obama: the bearded lady of the Muslim Brotherhood))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP
Translation...Boeing and GE need new contracts to build more factories in China.


4 posted on 09/21/2013 2:11:17 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Don’t take my word for it, these are my opinions...Do your own Homework)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP

It’s a miracle the B-52 is still flying. Under Obama America’s Air Force will look like the patched up fleet of 1950s autos still plying the streets in Cuba.


5 posted on 09/21/2013 2:12:08 PM PDT by The Great RJ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero

The youngest B52 is older than me. And I am on my second midlife crisis.


6 posted on 09/21/2013 2:16:03 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the watchers?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP
Missiles rock.

Plus the nuking from Space is a Sure Thing.

(faster too)

7 posted on 09/21/2013 2:16:41 PM PDT by Paladin2 (h)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP

Ps: your link hits a 404 error.


8 posted on 09/21/2013 2:16:52 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the watchers?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Great RJ
"..it’s a miracle the B-52 is still flying."

Sometimes GREAT design (and designers) transcends.

9 posted on 09/21/2013 2:18:12 PM PDT by Paladin2 (h)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP
There aren't many battleships left, either. Or horse cavalryman. Or mailed knights.

The next war will bear no resemblance to the previous ones, though some entities continue to profit mightily from selling outdated tools to governments who believe it must be fought the same way.

10 posted on 09/21/2013 2:18:16 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Great RJ
Aren't the H's from the 60's?

We chopped a buncha older B-52's to make the Ruskies happy.

11 posted on 09/21/2013 2:19:49 PM PDT by Paladin2 (h)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Vermont Lt
http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2013/08/16/some-disturbing-facts-about-americas-dwindling-bomber-force/
12 posted on 09/21/2013 2:20:49 PM PDT by ClaytonP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Hardraade

I kinda like the B-2’s.


13 posted on 09/21/2013 2:20:57 PM PDT by Paladin2 (h)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP
In a House hearing, the AF implied it might have to cut all the B1s due to sequestration.

All branches said they cannot function in any wartime scenario or even minor spats like Iraq if sequestration is fully implemented.

After the fire, the Navy will scrap the brand new USS Miami which would cost 400 mil to repair.

The Army cannot repair damaged vehicles because personnel cuts will make that impossible.

There is no money for infrastructure upgrades and little for repairs.

14 posted on 09/21/2013 2:25:35 PM PDT by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now it is your turn ...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Hardraade
Can new B-1’s be built at all?

The last time I visited AMARC (aircraft boneyard in Tucson, AZ), the entire B-1 assembly line was sitting out in the desert under the sun and stars. Who knows if it is still useable? That was years ago. They have probably melted it down for scrap by now.

15 posted on 09/21/2013 2:34:49 PM PDT by Gritty (Nobody wants to hear about American exceptionalism when the issue is American ineffectualism-MSteyn)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP

Our bomber nuclear leg of the triad is B-52s and non-stealth cruise missiles (the AGM-129 being retired) and B2 with ancient B61 and B83 gravity bombs. I admit I am no expert, but gravity bombs? Against S-400 SAMs?
And concentrated at only three bases??? Maybe a “bolt from the blue” is unlikely, but why invite it with a tempting target?

It seems we are using old systems with old tactics against a SAM threat that continues to evolve, even against stealth if you believe the Russians.

Maybe it is time to retire the bombers, like the battleship, and focus on missile technology.


16 posted on 09/21/2013 2:35:41 PM PDT by Wildbill22 (They have us surrounded again, the poor bastards- Gen Creighton Williams Abrams)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP

Thanks. Good read.


17 posted on 09/21/2013 2:36:56 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the watchers?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Jeeves
It's a foolish and potentially fatal error to discard proven effective weapons systems and the means to replenish them.

While not deployed as cavalry, the boots and saddles Spec-Op warriors found that older methods sometimes served best.

I recall quite a few military pundits saying close quarter combat was a thing of the past so maybe we should abandon the bayonet. And yet....

18 posted on 09/21/2013 2:39:36 PM PDT by Covenantor ("Men are ruled...by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern." Chesterton)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Gritty

Just thinking out loud here, but if there were another war where long range bombers were needed, it would be over before we could dust off the blueprints.


19 posted on 09/21/2013 2:41:06 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the watchers?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Hardraade

No. No tooling or manufacturing capability. Gone.


20 posted on 09/21/2013 2:43:09 PM PDT by Hulka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: PIF
In a House hearing, the AF implied it might have to cut all the B1s due to sequestration.

All branches said they cannot function in any wartime scenario or even minor spats like Iraq if sequestration is fully implemented.

After the fire, the Navy will scrap the brand new USS Miami which would cost 400 mil to repair.

The Army cannot repair damaged vehicles because personnel cuts will make that impossible.

There is no money for infrastructure upgrades and little for repairs.

IOW Obama has turned us into sitting ducks!

21 posted on 09/21/2013 2:44:44 PM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Paladin2
We chopped a buncha older B-52’s to make the Ruskies happy.

At the time, I thought that was borderline criminal. Now, even more so. I think there are B-1s mothballed at Davis-Monthan AFB, but not certain how many. My guess is not more than 30.

You can do a lot with upgrades. And, yes, it should be possible to manufacture these again if necessary. I once heard that all the factory machinery for every bomber line was mothballed—hope that is true. With the coming bankruptcy of the USA due to entitlements, I think the probability of a new bomber is about zero.

22 posted on 09/21/2013 2:46:27 PM PDT by rbg81
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Vermont Lt
Just thinking out loud here, but if there were another war where long range bombers were needed, it would be over before we could dust off the blueprints.

If there were another war under this regime, I don't know whose side I would be on. And that is the saddest thing I have ever had to say in my 64 plus years on the planet

23 posted on 09/21/2013 2:52:02 PM PDT by Vaquero ( Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Vermont Lt

Warfare also boils down to economics to a very large degree. For the cost of one $500 million New Heavy Stealth Bomber you could buy 500 $1 million cruise missiles that are launched from stand off distance from much cheaper platforms or even ground launchers or subs. What would give the best “bang for the buck”?

Maybe our latest stealth will work against the latest in radar and thermal detection technology. But all the billions of $ of stealth will do no good on a clear day and a sharp eyed fighter pilot.


24 posted on 09/21/2013 2:54:08 PM PDT by Wildbill22 (They have us surrounded again, the poor bastards- Gen Creighton Williams Abrams)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: rbg81

Looks like a LOT of planes:

http://deanoinamerica.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/the-boneyard-at-davis-monthan-air-force-base/


25 posted on 09/21/2013 2:55:30 PM PDT by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP

Someday, the USA will have 10 working bombers.

They will cost $100 billion each.

This is how the all bureaucracies manages things - to increasing scarcity and increasing cost.


26 posted on 09/21/2013 2:57:48 PM PDT by PGR88
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gritty

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i9wQGidG2M


27 posted on 09/21/2013 3:00:55 PM PDT by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP

28 posted on 09/21/2013 3:00:56 PM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP

29 posted on 09/21/2013 3:01:27 PM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Wildbill22

Our bomber nuclear leg of the triad is B-52s and non-stealth cruise missiles. . .”

Yes. With the potential to add the B-2. . .if ever the decision was made to bring back nuclear strip-alert. (NSA Warning, I wrote “Nuclear” so this thread is now being monitored.)

“I admit I am no expert, but gravity bombs? Against S-400 SAMs?”

Conventional ALCM against SAMs, not bombers themselves.

“And concentrated at only three bases??? Maybe a “bolt from the blue” is unlikely, but why invite it with a tempting target?”

That is why we have two other legs of the triad. Most likely scenario is gradual escalation and bombers provide the option of launching and holding (in US airspace or outside), and can be recalled. Missiles cannot be recalled or destroyed in-flight.

And three bases because we don’t have enough platforms to have more than three permanent bases. Besides, in times of increased nuke tensions, options include dispersing the bombers to other airfields. . .

“It seems we are using old systems with old tactics against a SAM threat that continues to evolve, even against stealth if you believe the Russians.”

First, I don’t believe the Russians. Second, as mentioned earlier, ALCM would be the weapon of choice if stand-alone bomber package. If part of a package, then F-22’s would be used to ‘knock-down the door” to attack AD so the bombers can flow. . .much like the F-117’s did the first night of Gulf War I.

“Maybe it is time to retire the bombers, like the battleship,”

Maybe, but the third leg of the triad would be gone and that is something very troubling.

“and focus on missile technology.”

We have PGS systems under design that would allow conventional weapons to be delivered via missiles anywhere world-wide within an hour, even when maneuvering to avoid over-flight of select nations. (https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=c405f7367697748a0488de7077054cba&tab=core&_cview=1)

PGS systems would use a low ballistic trajectory and have a completely different plume so no confusion from other nations that monitor missile launches. Only bad thing now is LM is the primary for PGS development and is having a very difficult time developing the weapons delivery pod. Boeing, on the other hand, has a developed and flight proven concept that could be fielded almost immediately. (No, I do not work for Boeing).

A lot of people observing PGS development from the sidelines think LM was chosen because the LM platform “looks” like a hypersonic plane, whereas the Boeing weapons pod is cone-shaped and less “sexy” looking.

Cheers.


30 posted on 09/21/2013 3:07:01 PM PDT by Hulka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Wildbill22

I posted “Conventional ALCM against SAMs, not bombers themselves.”

Meant to post: “Conventional ALCM’s launched from bombers against SAMs, not bomber dropping gravity bombs of any stripe against a SAM.”


31 posted on 09/21/2013 3:09:40 PM PDT by Hulka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Hulka

People are stone insane.

I was just told by my email provider that every single landline in Norway would be gone in max 4 years, to be replaced with ip-phones and mobiles.


32 posted on 09/21/2013 3:11:55 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (Obama: the bearded lady of the Muslim Brotherhood))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Covenantor

“I recall quite a few military pundits saying close quarter combat was a thing of the past so maybe we should abandon the bayonet.”

I believe it was also our fearless (clueless) leader that said the same thing. And he knows what he’s talking about, after all, he’s the one that cammo’d up, low crawled across Pock-e-stan and used a Bick pen and a rubber band to kill OBL. Or hadn’t you heard?


33 posted on 09/21/2013 3:13:11 PM PDT by Hulka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Vermont Lt

We used B-1’s and B-2’s on bombing missions in Afghanistan.


34 posted on 09/21/2013 3:13:58 PM PDT by Hulka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Wildbill22

“But all the billions of $ of stealth will do no good on a clear day and a sharp eyed fighter pilot.”

True enough. . .if he survives to the merge.


35 posted on 09/21/2013 3:15:23 PM PDT by Hulka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Hardraade

Wow.


36 posted on 09/21/2013 3:16:27 PM PDT by Hulka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: rbg81
Fortunately aerodynamics don't change. The B-52 was apparently a GREAT design, transcending the decades.

I'd suggest that we make some SR-71 based bombers for the future.

37 posted on 09/21/2013 3:31:53 PM PDT by Paladin2 (h)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Paladin2

Do you or anyone else think for second that we don’t have some black project aircraft to fill these roles? When are we going to get some disclosure of the aircraft that have been flying for the past 30 years?

The last to get unveiled was the Boeing Bird of Prey, another aircraft with 30 yr old features. I’m sure they have something to unmothball in case we need to carpet bomb something that precision strikes won’t do.


38 posted on 09/21/2013 4:02:19 PM PDT by drunknsage
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Paladin2

Fortunately aerodynamics don’t change. The B-52 was apparently a GREAT design, transcending the decades.


Yes, but it has the radar cross section of a flying barn. Even with the best electronic warfare (jamming) systems available, the best strategy is not to be seen. While it did fine aginst the ot the 1960s/70s technology that Iraq had, the B-52 is probably very vulnerable to modern [Russian] SAM systems.


39 posted on 09/21/2013 4:15:11 PM PDT by rbg81
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: rbg81

Problem is that the B-52 can fill several roles that would require several new systems to replace.

From large area carpet bombing to loitering with large, ready missile loads, it can do a lot of things that would require multiple programs, and megadollars, to replace.


40 posted on 09/21/2013 4:36:59 PM PDT by tcrlaf (Well, it is what the Sheeple voted for....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: ClaytonP

If anyone has any information on why DARPA cancelled the ArcLight hypersonic missile project, I’d be curious to see it. A mach 6 missile barrage launched from numerous VLS tubes by multiple Naval platforms from 3000nm out could be a workable replacement for the manned bomber. Maybe the whole concept went black.


41 posted on 09/21/2013 4:56:13 PM PDT by Tonytitan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tcrlaf
"Problem is that the B-52 can fill several roles"

Sounds more like a dividend from good engineering from Long Ago.

42 posted on 09/21/2013 4:56:50 PM PDT by Paladin2 (h)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Paladin2

Designed with slide rules and drawn on mylar, LOL.

Somebody said doing it all on computers added 5 years to the design cycle.


43 posted on 09/21/2013 4:58:32 PM PDT by nascarnation (Democrats control the Presidency, Senate, and Media. It's an uphill climb....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: nascarnation
I personally experienced the transition from manual drawings to CAD/CAM. Both worked for me, but having a physical math model of parts to use for virtual testing/evaluation turned out to be a plus. Not always a time savings, but in general a plus.

Things still depend on the competence of those involved.

44 posted on 09/21/2013 5:05:51 PM PDT by Paladin2 (h)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Hulka

Here’s a point worth considering: stealth works against fighters because it’s virtually impossible for air defense systems to locate, let along maintain tracking on stealth platforms.

From what I’ve heard, the B-2 briefly appears on (some) radars when it’s bomb-bay doors are open—and the exposure in minimal. Once the weapons are dropped, the B-2 disappears (again).

During my spook days, I used to listen to recordings of Iraqi GCI controllers attempting to vector fighters against coalition aircraft. It was almost comical; the Iraqis, using Russian intercept tactics, were completely wedded to the controller, relying on him to call even the simplest course correction. If the radar was targeted by an anti-radiation missile, or Compass Call was working its magic against the comm links, the fighter pilot was screwed.

I listened to several shoot-down intercepts from the days of the No Fly Zones and those guys literally didn’t have a clue. During engagements with F-15s or F-16s, neither the controller nor the pilot had any real idea where our guys were at, or how close the Flogger or Foxbat driver was to meeting Allah.

Now, put a pilot from that same training system in a scenario where he must find a VLO aircraft, operating well above 40,000 ft. The odds of a “successful” intercept are very, very low. These pilots simply can’t think their way through an intercept without GCI support and in many instances, that “support” is more of hinderance than help.

The Israelis operate drones over Syria on a near-constant basis, but you never hear about the IAF losing one of those platforms. It’s not that the Syrians don’t try to shoot them down—they just can’t find them and coordinate the intercept.


45 posted on 09/21/2013 6:18:16 PM PDT by ExNewsExSpook
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Paladin2

“Fortunately aerodynamics don’t change. The B-52 was apparently a GREAT design, transcending the decades.
I’d suggest that we make some SR-71 based bombers for the future.”

The B-52 was considered nothing more than an interim design: it was an adaptation of the principles first embodied in the B-47, built larger, and with the worst vices of that hot-performing medium bomber minimized. It was intended merely as a stopgap to tide over the strategic air forces until the really revolutionary systems were developed. Great hopes were pinned on the B-70.

The B-52 has succeeded so well in part because of excellent initial design, superior manufacturing, exceptional re-engineering and maintenance, imaginative subsystem upgrades, and better software. The airframe is big enough to be really adaptable; another aerial giant, the B-36, underwent a similar series of upgrades throughout its (shorter) service life (ended 1959).

The rest has been politics and luck.

Much has been internal USAF politics: bombers have always been proportionately more expensive, so proportionately greater resistance to spending money told eventually. Also, fighter pilots took over USAF and have done as much as they possibly could, to phase out manned strike aircraft and erase all traces of bomber leadership and corporate culture.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The SR-71 would make a ridiculously poor bomber.

It sported very short legs, and only a tiny payload. Such drawbacks can be lived with (to a point) for recce missions of sufficient urgency, and with small numbers of airframes. They would sound a death knell for any bomber.

Every design consideration was sacrificed to the requirement to attain and sustain high altitudes and very high velocities. Therefore, internal spaces very small and equipment positioning was completely inflexible. This made it very, very difficult to design and build systems to fit into little holes, the locations of which was rigidly controlled. So it could not adapt.

It was never more than a quasi-experimental system, struggling to emerge from a trouble-plagued development. It demanded special fuel that was much more costly, and never used in any other system. The vast performance capabilities created a great range of operating conditions (temperature, velocity, air pressure etc), which put unheard-of demands on internal systems and structure, making it dangerously leak-prone, a fault never completely remedied.


46 posted on 09/21/2013 8:16:42 PM PDT by schurmann
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: schurmann
"Great hopes were pinned on the B-70."

Low and slow airborne missile platforms apparently have a continued mission.

Until we have enough Satellite nukes, a high altitude, fast delivery platform provides an initial, selective, credible threat to actual threats (Iranian "leaders").

47 posted on 09/21/2013 8:24:42 PM PDT by Paladin2 (h)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: Vermont Lt

The youngest B52 is older than me. And I am on my second midlife crisis.
********************
Understand. I worked at an airline in 1963-65, when I was 21-23, that flew DC-3 aircraft with placards showing mfg. dates around 1935. We had several special flights each day that took military recruits from Dallas to Fort Polk LA, and those little workhorses flew through the violent thunderstorms in East TX and LA. .......There was a lot of turbulence and barfing, but the planes always got them there safely. ....The old aircraft like the DC-3 and the B-52 were built by skilled workmen.


48 posted on 09/21/2013 9:44:37 PM PDT by octex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: octex

“... old aircraft like the DC-3 and the B-52 were built by skilled workmen.”

“Older” aircraft were overbuilt by today’s design standards.

80 odd years ago, aero engineering was still new, metallurgy primitive, safety less blessed with insight, and manufacturing techniques were inherited from craftsmen of the 19th century. Consequently, designers and engineers added much larger safety margins - on the drafting table.

Not one of these airframes has been ignored in the interim.

USAF used DC-3s until 1975, and the H model B-52 (and many Boeing 720-based airframes) soldier on. Avionics have captured most of the public’s attention (when there is any), but a very thorough-going structural maintenance program was concocted decades back and has been followed rigorously since. Boeing pioneered many technical aspects of structural analysis and testing, and Congress has (to date) deigned to fund USAF requests in this budget category. Repairs and major component replacement have been approved and carried out.

Thus USAF enjoys far longer service lives from combat aircraft than does USN. Much of it is due to institutional culture (whim) also. With the inactivation of Strategic Air Command in 1992, USAF at large was forced to adopt the more flippant approach that dominates the fighter community.

It’s not at all clear that success will continue.


49 posted on 09/22/2013 9:44:42 AM PDT by schurmann
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: Paladin2

“Low and slow airborne missile platforms apparently have a continued mission.

Until we have enough Satellite nukes, a high altitude, fast delivery platform provides an initial, selective, credible threat to actual threats ...”

Low and quick crewed penetrators still have a mission, as would high/quick ones if the country had bothered to develop any.

Standoff missile launch platforms are merely the last manned systems still operating. The nation (nagged and prodded by the likes of Robert Strange McNamara) simply lost the inclination to build anything more capable.

The entire arc of development and deployment of crewed aircraft has been highly contingent on politics (the non-germane sort) and over-application of operational “lessons learned” from USAF ops in Southeast Asia have been enshrined, set in stone like religious dogma, unalterable laws of physics, or Marxist-inspired Historical Inevitability: hence the dominance of relatively nimble single-seat fighters, which are in reality only a little more maneuverable than bomber aircraft, but with all the constraints little airplanes can never escape: low payload and embarrasingly short legs.

Pop culture now believes without question that aircraft like F-16, F-15, F-18, F-22, and F-35 are the only machines capable of surviving the modern combat environment, so the rather weak offensive capability each does embody must be accepted.

The results were never so inevitable, the tradeoffs not nearly so direct nor simple.

Had design and development not taken a different track over 50 years ago, the situation might be very different now.

Interested forum members should research Project Pye Wacket.


50 posted on 09/22/2013 10:15:22 AM PDT by schurmann
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-54 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson