RAF Need Modern Bomber

Discussion in 'Modern' started by td90uk, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. td90uk

    td90uk New Member

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    Surely, from years of having heavy bombers the RAF needs a new one, the last were the Vulcan and the Victor, now the RAF just use Tornado's and whatever attack aircraft they can get their hands on, they need a heavy bomber, the Americans do and so do practically every other air force on earth, so why not the RAF?
     
  2. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I think the term 'heavy bomber' is rather redundant these days, isn't it?

    I think your portrayal of the RAF's capability is overly dismissive, the Tornado is a capable strike aircraft, good for a few years yet and 'whatever attack aircraft they can get their hands on' - such as what, for example?
     
  3. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    What use would a heavy bomber be to the RAF these days? Only the USAF now operates a heavy bomber in the traditional sense of the word (B-52), and that will soon be out of service, without a replacement aircraft fulfilling the same intended role of high-altitude bombardment with free-fall iron bombs. Indeed, very few air forces even use such a mission profile any more, preferring low alt, high speed strikes with PGMs - a profile in which the Tornado is a proven winner. Plus, the arrival of Typhoon provides the RAF with a interdiction/strike capability on a par with any major air force on the planet.

    While you cite the V-bombers in your post, you must accept that all in all they were an epic waste of money. The Valiant was pulled from service due to structural failings and the Victor ended it's days as a tanker. While the Vulcan finally saw combat during Black Buck, it proved to be an insanely expensive way of getting 10 tons of HE from A to B, and in a full-scale war against a well-armed foe with proper AAA assets, Black Buck would have been a murderous flop. Airborne nuclear attack is essentially an obsolete principle, as is WWII style strategic bombing, the roles now being held by SSBNs and Tornados respectively - so where would the RAF find space in it's inventory for a new breed of V-bomber?
     
  4. Negative Creep

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    I was under the impression the B52 will be kept on for quite some time yet?
     
  5. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    That may or may not be the case
    but do you think prolonging its service life heralds a new age for the heavy bomber?
     
  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    I heard the B-52 is planned to be inservice until at least 2040 (http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/b-52-life.htm). Even then the B-52 is surplus to requirements if you consider the current operational conditions. But a total service life of 84 years (if it goes to 2040) is impressive.

    As for the RAF there is absolutely no operational requirement (or need) for a heavy bomber style aircraft. As BT as described this work is done very adequately by the Tornado (will be phased out of service after 2015) and now the Typhoon which is starting to do this role as well and will take it over fully from the Tornado after it has been retired. In this is will be partnered by the F-35. The only new aircraft that are on order/predicted to be ordered are the A-400M to replace the C-130's (if it ever happens) and the A-330 FSTA (Future Strategic Tanker Asset) to replace the current fleet of in-flight refuelling aircraft (Tristars mainly).
     
  7. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    My bad on the B-52. I thought that some might be sacrificed to keep the B-1 in service? Can't even remember where I saw that now though... :rolleyes: :lol:
     
  8. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    B-52 is long in the tooth. However, it remains an asset that is not likely to be retired until the 2020-2030 timeframe. US is doing studies for a B-2 follow on. A highly stealth bomber, subsonic, 5,000m range, with a 25,000-30,000lb payload.

    Europe is not remotely likely to invest in a large bomber. Thinking nuclear, UK and France have other delivery systems that serve as deterents in the nuclear force (submarine-strike airplanes).

    UK has the Tornado and France has the Mirage 2000N. Both equally capable for intermediate range delivery in relatively low threat battlefields.
     
  9. Flyboy2

    Flyboy2 Member

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    Matt you refer to the 2018 bomber right?
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Sweb

    Sweb Member

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    When the last B-2 is ferried out and mothballed in the desert they will send a B-52 to pick up its crew.
     
  11. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Yeah maybe... :lol:

    You have to remember the B-2 is 30yrs old technology. The next US bomber will not be of the "cold war" derived mission.

    Rather you will likely see a more stealthy airframe, with less legs and payload... But with perhaps greater ability for on station time, ability to engage fast moving targets, power generation that allows direct inhibition of surface radar/gnd-2-air enemy capability, C3I intrusion/manipulation, and mission integration with Unmanned Combat Aircraft Systems (UCAS).

    What is most intriguing is not the aircraft weapon loadout, but rather the ability to integrate all these platforms and their "situational awareness". Being able to exchange this information between weapons platforms is a key multiplier of force application.
     
  12. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    The last thing the RAF 'needs' is a heavy bomber. It is a completely outmoded concept these days.

    The UK is working towards a new type of strike platform through various efforts from BAE and Qinetiq which is similar, but not quite the same, as the US UCAV programme. BAE has already flown several UAV demonstrators and the latest, the Taranis, is currently under construction.

    The plan is for a 'swarm' of Taranis type UCAV's operating semi autonomously under the leadership of a manned 'squadron leader' type of aircraft (current favourite for that job is a development of the two seat Typhoon as there is no two seat F-35 yet). Work in developing the command and control infrastructure for such a venture has already been started and a Tornado was successfully flown on a mission profile under control of a 'pilot' who was in Qinetiq's BAC one Eleven about a year or so ago (the Tornado was obviously manned as well)

    The concept of 2, 3 or more (for redundancy in case of accident/interception) manned control fighters accompanied by UCAV attack platforms would seem to be where the RAF's future lies.

    As long as it can be paid for.
     
  13. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Waynos, would I be right in thinking that each UCAV would be much cheaper than a single Typhoon/JSF airframe? Obviously, there are huge cost savings to be made in not training and keeping aircrew for these machines as well.
     
  14. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    Yes, absolutely. Although not exactly 'cheap as chips' due to them having a high level of sophistication, the mere fact of them not having to accomodate a pilot leads to them being smaller and lighter than an equivalent manned strike aircraft, which in itself gives a cost saving beyond mere purchase price.
     
  15. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    UCAV concepts are nice. But ability to reduce the target ident-to-weapons release times are not currently there. And with larger yield weapons in more populated areas, UCAVs are not proven... yet.

    It all depends upon a nation-state mission. UK missions in support of NATO are one thing. US missions and world deterrence are another.

    Nothing meant in offence to my UK mates in that statement.
     
  16. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    None taken on my part Matt, but seeing as most of the UK's fighting is done alongside the US these days, shouldn't they be looking for basically the same operational capabilities :?:
     
  17. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Sure... but how do you build a large airframe with inherent stealth technologies that bridge the gap of assuring low cost (for other nations procurement) and not give away stealth technology secrets.

    Same as with the F-35. What the US gets in stealth capability is NOT what other participating nations will get. Ask Lockheed and all they will say is "we can neither confirm nor deny". Same would hold true with the NextGen bomber, but likely even more difficult due to the airframe likely needing a much more sophisticated coupling of stealth technology integrated into the airframe itself.

    Don't get me wrong... I'd personally love to see you guys have your own long range bomber fleet again. Makes me safer too. We only have 19 B-2s. But you guys are struggling with 4 C-17s. That is pretty telling of how a new bomber fleet funding would go over in Parliament. And frankly, I'm not sure how Congress is going to view our bomber needs. The way bomber procurement has been trending over time with literally hundreds of B-52s, than about 100 B-1s and now 20 B-2s. The next US procurement may actually mothball existing airplanes instead of building new ones. :rolleyes:
     
  18. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I was referring to UCAVs rather than large manned bombers - there will never be another large manned bomber in the RAF inventory as far as I can see. Whether US or UK operated, unmanned vehicles will have to have a capability to release weapons rapidly and accurately while minimising the risk of blue on blue incidents and civilian casualties. I don't see how this required capability differs between the RAF and USAF, nor how there is any fundamental difference between the missions carried out by US forces and those carried out by UK forces - we are fighting in the same countries against the same people for the same ends, right?
     
  19. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    For most missions, I would agree. That's why you currently own two Reapers.
     
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