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B-1B gunship - Boeing thinks it can work.

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  • B-1B gunship - Boeing thinks it can work.

    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

  • #2
    A bomber as a gunship? At a huge cost to the taxpayer? What next? Flying tanks? Oh, right...the Soviets tried that one.

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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    • #3
      Do they pay people to come up with these kind of ideas? There are only 62 B-1 Bombers and the AF reports 50% are capable of flying at one time. In fact there are seldom more than ten ready to fly at a given time. The cost of flying B-1 is also very high.

      Boeing wants to attach automatic cannon on it and make it a gunship? The C-130 does that mission cheaper and has a much better maintenance record.

      I still remember the Air Force bragging they were using the Bomber to buzz Afghans there and called it "Shock and Awe"?

      Maybe it is time to retire them?

      Pruitt
      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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      • #4
        Wow the AC-130 is just fine in the role. As the article says it would probably fly too fast to be effective. Nuts.

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        • #5
          Typical l-justification project for an aircraft rarely used in its primary role. Remember a few years back when the Air Farce wanted to convert ICBM's to carry conventional warheads?
          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
            Do they pay people to come up with these kind of ideas? There are only 62 B-1 Bombers and the AF reports 50% are capable of flying at one time. In fact there are seldom more than ten ready to fly at a given time. The cost of flying B-1 is also very high.

            Boeing wants to attach automatic cannon on it and make it a gunship? The C-130 does that mission cheaper and has a much better maintenance record.

            I still remember the Air Force bragging they were using the Bomber to buzz Afghans there and called it "Shock and Awe"?

            Maybe it is time to retire them?

            Pruitt
            The A-10 Warthog does it even better than any of them. The 130 lacks the survivability of the A-10.
            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

            Comment


            • #7
              I guess next we will hear that the Air Force Generals want to use the B 1 for CAS?

              Pruitt
              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                I guess next we will hear that the Air Force Generals want to use the B 1 for CAS?

                Pruitt
                Paratroops...
                Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                • #9
                  XB-40 anyone ?

                  And that's before we even look at the Mitsubishi G6M (an up-gunned, "Betty."), or the Me 323 Waffentrager.

                  This concept has been explored a dozen times - and has always ended in abject failure.
                  Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                    A bomber as a gunship? At a huge cost to the taxpayer? What next? Flying tanks? Oh, right...the Soviets tried that one.

                    America was there first
                    If you couldn’t fit the vehicle into an aircraft, thought some military inventors, why not fit wings to the vehicle? The 1930s had already seen ingenious (but on the whole unsuccessful) attempts to produce the flying automobile. It was left to the indefatigable Mr. Christie to introduce the flying tank. He took his 1938 fast tank (the one capable of 70 mph across country) and added wings, a tail and a propeller.
                    There appears to be some doubt as to exactly why Christie produced this hybrid. Some sources suggest that it was to create a tank that could ‘hop’ over obstacles on the battlefield, if so the idea, whilst superficially seductive, is ludicrous. The tank would have to wear its wings until it encountered such an obstruction, these would make it a large and unwieldy ground vehicle much more likely to encounter obstacles it would need to fly over (if it could find room for takeoff), the solution would tend to create the problem it was intended to resolve. Moreover ‘hopping’ over an obstacle without knowing if there was anywhere suitable to land on the other side would seem somewhat foolhardy. The tank would probably only be practical in areas that were relatively large, open and flat with few obstacles (which would remove the raison d’etre for it in the first place). The second theory advanced is that it was intended to be carried under an aircraft and released to land behind enemy lines. This makes more sense until one considers that the USA at the time had neither airborne forces nor military aircraft capable of either lifting or towing Christie’s flying tank. Of course by this time Christie seems to have been so focused on the idea of speed in tanks for speed’s sake that one should not assume that there was any other logical purpose behind the vehicle and Christie having produced a solution may have been looking for a problem that it fitted.

                    Text and drawing by me

                    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                      ...The A-10 Warthog does it even better than any of them...
                      I agree.

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                      • #12
                        The device looks reminiscent of the old dustbin turrets of the inter war period

                        The idea of stuffing heavy bombers with cannon is as old as WW1 when there were proposals to fit batteries of Davis recoiless guns in HP heavy bombers.

                        A couple of HPo100 bombers were converted into gun ships by adding extra Lewis gun positions. These were sent to lurk off the Belgian coast and intercept Gotha bombers returning from raids on London. In this they appear to have been reasonably successful but for some reason Trenchard didn't think that this is what the bombers should be doing and the scheme was stopped.
                        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                        • #13
                          You don't get it. Boeing isn't attempting to adapt the B-1B as a replacement for the C-130 gunship for the USAF, they're attempting to fill a niche that has always existed, namely the ability to employ a gunship in contested air space. The C-130 has virtually 0 survivability in any sort of varied threat rich environment, while the B-1B was designed to go long and low at speed for a very long time, while remaining relatively undetected, or at least hard to find, in that same environment; note, A-10's can't do that. If you can meld those qualities with the ability to accurately fire lots of small rounds and medium artillery types at ground targets, then you've got another weapon in your arsenal. What could it be used for? How about the ability to support Special Ops. inserted way behind enemy lines, where gunships and A-10's can't be employed, comes to mind. If the B-1B can be so adapted, the issue becomes, is it worth going to all the trouble and cost to acquire that usefulness for future applications? I dunno.

                          Boeing replacement for the AC-130? The AC-737 MAX, I hear they're deadly
                          Last edited by Marmat; 11 Jul 19, 08:11.
                          "I am Groot"
                          - Groot

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Marmat View Post

                            Boeing replacement for the AC-130? The AC-737 MAX, I hear they're deadly
                            They are an area weapon, not a guided one...

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                            • #15
                              I'm still in the Nope category on this one Marmat.

                              The B1B is too big to be bringing into a contested airspace environment for the long loiter times that you need a gunship for. Yes it's less vulnerable than the AC130, but only by virtue of speed and radar cross section. Both of which will be less valuable since it'll be low, slow, and easy to spot, and the gunship configuration certainly won't help its radar cross section.

                              What I see here is Boeing, and maybe the Air Force to a degree, trying to come up with something that they can pass off as 'just as good' as the A-10 for the role of CAS in a less than friendly airspace environment. And ultimately it's going to be a fail.

                              I agree that A-10 needs to be replaced. So replace it, with something that is built to do the job at hand, which is:
                              -Heavy COIN
                              -CAS/battlefield interdiction in contested airspace (what the A-10 was built to do originally)

                              And a big bomber with a big crew isn't going to be it. They need a new single-seat aircraft to do the job. And no, the F35 isn't going to be up to the task with its anemic capacity, short loiter time, and preference for operating at medium altitudes or above.
                              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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