Should the Vulcan have been replaced

Discussion in 'Modern' started by Seawitch, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    #1 Seawitch, Dec 1, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
    When the Vulcan bomber was suddenly, and unexpectedly called to active service in 1982 it was only just there.
    In spite of that rude shock it was still gotten rid off a couple of years later (as an air tanker by then) without a replacement.
    I'm mindful the Vulcan was meant primarily for the obsolete Nuclear role, but I think thats besides the point.
    The Gulf wars depended on one nation within an alliance to provide a heavy bomber.
    I personally think we should have a heavy bomber in the RAF, but what, B52's?
    There seemed to be plenty laid up in 1982, so why not? I hope this isn't deemed political it isn't meant to be.
     
  2. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    #2 Colin1, Dec 1, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
    Replacement to what end? In the confrontation they were primarily designed for, the V-bombers were an expensive method of getting aircrew to commit suicide - I'd have been shocked if any had made it to their Soviet targets.

    One nation within NATO already does, the USAF still maintain a fleet of B-52s and its expensive, even for them. You might also note that they are not used without guaranteed air superiority over the target. I don't think the USAF really need a B-52 force either, they just come in useful now and again.

    So, I personally DON'T think we should have a heavy bomber because outside of the most strictly governed conditions for it's deployment, the heavy bomber has had its day, there are better tools available now.
     
  3. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Yea, guided missiles would probably be cheaper in the long run.
     
  4. red admiral

    red admiral Member

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    That is slightly harsh. They were able to operate above the level of period fighters (and had pretty good maneuverability for the ones that eventually made it there). It's only later when SAMs started to be introduced that vulnerability rose. How much by is difficult to judge given the poor performance of period SAMs. At the same time, the RAF didn't do nothing, it developed Blue Steel to give a standoff capability and reduce vulnerability. Then when more capable SAMs were introduced, the standoff capability required increased resulting in a number of advanced missiles, the longest ranged amongst them was an air launched version of Polaris. In the end, it was cheaper and better to go for the submarine launched ballistic missile approach.

    Currently there isn't much need for a bomber. What is needed is a fast, flexible, precision response and putting lots of bombs on one aircraft doesn't get that. Instead you've got fast jets with Paveway IV and JDAM.
     
  5. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    Jeepers....I thought I took the trouble to discount the Nuclear role, thats finished.
    I opened my post pointing out it was suddenly, at the very end of it's presence...needed for a conventional task, which a Vulcan could also do.
    Given the shock the British government got and shouldn't have allowed itself to have, one might have thought they would have replaced the remaining Vulcan's so they remained ready for any repeated need for them.
    As for the Vulcan being a suicide plane Colin....your beginning to sound like Norman Tebbits article 'Bomber of no return' in the Sunday Mail newspaper(anybody remember that one?:twisted:)
    The Vulcan, as most on here will know was unarmed and unescorted because it entered service as an untouchable ..that ended with the shooting down of Gary Powers and compromises began until replacement by Polaris.
    Rant over...my point is do we need a heavy bomber in a conventional role, in case we a sa nation are caught with our pants down again, only this time without a heavy bomber?
     
  6. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Why do you think we need one?
    What threat do you see that would justify the existence of the program and what would it carry to where?
     
  7. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    #7 Seawitch, Dec 1, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
    I should know? When the defense establishment can't?
    I'm in the wrong job!:shock: (then again, Witches can and do see things coming that others don't!)
    It's about being ready for anything, foreseeable or not.
    That doesn't come cheap.
     
  8. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Who says the MoD can't?
    The absence of a heavy bomber means that they can't? Or that they actually can and realise that they almost certainly don't need one?

    You can gun up for the wrong kind of war, a costly mistake in potentially more ways than one.
     
  9. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    IMHO, the age of the heavy bomber is passing - much like the dive bomber. Still useful at times, but not has much as it's been in the past.

    The Vulcan could carry 21k lbs of ordnance. The F-35 can carry something like 15-18k lbs. Unrefueled range is perhaps the only advantage the Vulcan has nowadays. With a limited budget and the price of aircraft today, which would you really prefer to haver?
     
  10. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    My mind simply go's back to 1982...vulcan nearly gone and an aircraft carrier frantically saved from the breakers..no, I don't think they can.
    BTW....they didn't see the gulf war coming either...:p
    America has plans for the B52 that is decades into the future, we could have some B52's in the RAF inventory, it's less dedicated than Vulcan to one role, it carries a payload to reckon on and it has great range.
    The need for heavy bombers is very reduced....but it's not gone or going to vanish.
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    In todays modern age, guided missiles can do the job of the Heavy Bomber. A guided missile does not have be nuclear.
     
  12. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    Adler, I agree there is great power in accuracy, thats what was sought in the Stuka, the lack of accuracy caused a lot of the bombing of cities instead by allied Air Forces.
    The cruise missile will find it's mark just about every time, even if you hit the Chinese Embassy, that you thought someone else was there is besides the point.:twisted:
    However, the stock of these missiles is limited...there was only 140 world wide at the time they zuncked the Chinese Embassy.
    No amount of accuracy can carpet bomb miles apon square miles of Desert or what ever.
    At it's extreme the Big belly version of the B52 could carry this ordnance... a total of 60,000 pounds (27,215 kg) in 108 bombs.
    That can't be replaced by Cruise missiles, nor can less extreme applications of the B.52...thats why they still have a future.
    I still think the RAF should have a small force of heavy bombers.
     
  13. red admiral

    red admiral Member

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    Why is there a need to carpet bomb anything?

    Increased targeting ability means that know exactly where the enemy is. Then, a laser or gps guided bomb will destroy the target. You don't need masses of bombs if they all hit the target. If you look at usage in Afghanistan you see examples of Paveways being used to hit single vehicles and sometime single people.

    Operating a B-52 is a ridiculously expensive way of getting the same ability. By carrying more weapons you don't have to end the sortie after weapons release but you are still limited by crew (assuming lots of air to air refueling). At the same time, weapons release isn't a common event so you're spending most of the time burning masses of fuel and doing the same job as a single Harrier or F-16.
     
  14. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    My thoughts exactly

    On the off-chance there 'might be something down there'? That's a trifle extravagant in this day and age with munitions that cost money, even dumb ordnance. If however we know there's a target down there then we don't need to carpet-bomb it, a precision strike will take it out without endangering anyone unlucky enough to be in the wrong place.

    'No amount of accuracy can carpet-bomb miles upon miles of... ' what a curious contradiction of terms. Carpet-bombing belonged in the middle of the last century because that was the limit of the technological application of bombing. We live in the age of the precision strike, good riddance to the indiscriminate nature of carpet-bombing and I understand any point you might make about the occasional collateral damage to innocent civilians from precision strikes; compared to carpet-bombing, they're utterly liveable-with.

    The point concerning the Chinese Embassy is not a resounding one, the incident was owing to poor intel, the three missiles on the other hand, went exactly where they were told to go.

    A tactical Ju87 strike in support of the army is a little difficult to compare with a strategic B-17 strike trying to knock out industrial capacity.
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Ditto, we are talking modern times. Wars are no longer fought like they were in the time you are comparing. There is no need for thousand bomber missions. Smaller striker fighters and attack aircraft combined with cruise missiles can do the job just fine. That has been proven over and over again in the last 2 decades.
     
  16. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    #16 Seawitch, Dec 2, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
    Was I saying any different? Point is this time al that accuracy didn't help, blow the wrong person of his bog seat and your in the sh*t!
    OK...nobody agrees there will ever be a need to deliver a large amount of ordnance again.:shock:
    Meanwhile 1,00,00,000,000.5 chinese are preparing to charge....:twisted:
     
  17. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Pardon me but wasn't the Vulcans forte in its latter years lo level strike or at least thats what they trained for ? Cruise missle is cheaper
     
  18. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    #18 Colin1, Dec 2, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
    I'm struggling with your sentiments as a justification for a heavy bomber program.
    Or replacement, if you still want the B-52.
     
  19. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Well you can still deliver a large amount of ordinance - you just don't need the extremely large airplane to do it. The A-10 can carry 16k lbs of ordinance, I believe the same for the F-15. With the price of aircraft and a limited budget to spend, you need to get the biggest bang for your buck - no pun intended.
     
  20. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    Only economically. If they want to invade the Falklands they're welcome, before 1982 no one in England had ever heard of it.

    That whole conflict was described brilliantly as "Two bald men fighting over a comb."

    So do we need a V-Bomber? No, not really.
     
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