gatnerd

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B21 Revealed    General Aircraft topics

Started 3-Dec by gatnerd; 588 views.
gatnerd

From: gatnerd

3-Dec

While a bit outside the the scope of our normal discussions, figured something like this doesn't happen that often. 

The B21 Raider, the successor to the B2 Stealth Bomber, has finally been revealed. This is the first new bomber for the US in 30 years, and will likely be a major factor in overall US force projection for decades as its expected that 100+ will be built, compared to the 20x B2's:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/1/what-we-know-about-new-us-b-21-stealth-bomber-first-in-30-years

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/northrop-grumman-set-unveil-b-21-nuclear-bomber-us-air-force-2022-12-02/

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/this-is-the-b-21-raider-stealth-bomber

So far what notable is that its

-Even smoother / stealthier looking then the B2, pointing to further refinements

-Its smaller, so will have a reduced bomb capacity (by how much, unknonw)

-The UFO Grey color scheme may suggest that its intended to also operate during the day

...

All in all I'm pretty stoked.

I still remember seeing the B2 as a kid a few years after it was revealed, got to walk nearly right up to it at an airshow (perks of the 'end of history' security relaxation of the 90's). This reveal kinda brought me back to that moment. 

  • Edited 03 December 2022 2:40  by  gatnerd
Farmplinker

From: Farmplinker

3-Dec

Be interesting to see how many Naval Strike Missiles it can carry.

In reply toRe: msg 1
Refleks

From: Refleks

3-Dec

The B-2 definitely needs replacing but I don't like the idea of giving up range or payload which is presumably the case (though not necessarily) with a smaller aircraft. More tanker support and more aircraft per sortie per ton of ordnance which means even more tanker support.

This will presumably be far cheaper to maintain so that's huge!

gatnerd

From: gatnerd

3-Dec

Farmplinker said:

Be interesting to see how many Naval Strike Missiles it can carry

Yes, the anti ship role for the B21 I think is especially interesting. Weight wise, it could probably carry a bunch. Probably the limitation is the hardpoints on the internal rotary launcher?

Theres also the super stealthy LRASM, which may be a better fit for the B21 (it's basically the B21 of anti ship cruise missiles):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-158C_LRASM

Theres also the QuikSink anti-ship JDAM and QuikStrike air deployed naval mine, all of which I could see the B21 dispensing. 

gatnerd

From: gatnerd

3-Dec

Refleks said:

The B-2 definitely needs replacing but I don't like the idea of giving up range or payload which is presumably the case (though not necessarily) with a smaller aircraft

I agree, I don't like the reduction in payload.

Although how much payload is actually reduced is the question. And whether overall munitions capacity is dictated more by weight, or by how many hardpoints there are on the internal rotary rack launchers? It's possible the B21 could carry say a comparable number of SDB or 500lb bombs to the B2 due to hardpoints, but lack the overall weight capacity of the B2 to say carry 2x 30,000lb MOP bunker busters.

In terms of range, the (totally speculative) discussion I've read so far believes the B21 may have a longer overall range then the B2 due to having 2x fuel efficient engines as opposed to the 4x of the B2. 

In reply toRe: msg 5
gatnerd

From: gatnerd

3-Dec

Best picture to date:

And a look at the makings of:

https://time.com/6238168/b-21-raider-bomber-us-military-exclusive/

In reply toRe: msg 6
gatnerd

From: gatnerd

4-Dec

From the Time article, one of the less sexy but most important aspects of the B21 is that its designed to be much lower maintenance than the B2 due to improvements in the design as well as more modern RAM coatings.

In reply toRe: msg 7
gatnerd

From: gatnerd

5-Dec

Meanwhile, despite the B21s ascension, the B52 shall remain eternal. Perhaps the 2nd longest running weapon system of the US after the M2 Browning .50

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