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

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  • #16
    I feel that the Air Farce should embrace the CAS role as one that fits the actual image of pilots as they see themselves, kind of a cross between Errol Flynn and Ahhnold , balls to the wall and Mach 3 with their hair on fire. CAS takes real guts and precision, the hallmark of a professional.

    So the solution? Give CAS back to the separate services, especially the Marines. The Air F0ace can then wave in cool comfort as they pass by the battlefield at 60,000 feet on their way back to their air condtioned Officers Club to brag about their accomplishments.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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    • #17
      Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
      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.
      You're not hurting my feelings Tac, I was merely defining the role as envisioned, not whether the B-1B would actually do the trick!
      "I am Groot"
      - Groot

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Marmat View Post
        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
        Possibly by sheer accident you've hit the nub of the matter -and the gap Boeing are trying to fill is the hole that will be left in their balance sheet if they can't fix the 737 Max and a nice Department of Defence funded B-1 development project might do that job very nicely
        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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        • #19
          Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

          So the solution? Give CAS back to the separate services, especially the Marines.
          The Marines never stopped doing CAS.

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          • #20
            Boeing just took another hit in the airline sector when SaudiArabia announced they would fly an all-Airbus fleet. Is suspect this cannon/machine gun/bomber combo is a way to distract and get stock prices up again. It won't go anywhere, and I think Boeing knows this...but at least they could have presented a concept that wasn't so ridiculous.
            You'll live, only the best get killed.

            -General Charles de Gaulle

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            • #21
              Originally posted by johns624 View Post
              The Marines never stopped doing CAS.
              I meant to say give them all of it.
              Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by asterix View Post
                Boeing just took another hit in the airline sector when SaudiArabia announced they would fly an all-Airbus fleet. Is suspect this cannon/machine gun/bomber combo is a way to distract and get stock prices up again. It won't go anywhere, and I think Boeing knows this...but at least they could have presented a concept that wasn't so ridiculous.
                Like arming the Airbus?
                Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                • #23
                  Let's just the knuckle draggers like this:

                  Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by asterix View Post
                    Boeing just took another hit in the airline sector when SaudiArabia announced they would fly an all-Airbus fleet. Is suspect this cannon/machine gun/bomber combo is a way to distract and get stock prices up again. It won't go anywhere, and I think Boeing knows this...but at least they could have presented a concept that wasn't so ridiculous.
                    Not really. This isn't Saudia Airlines, their flag carrier, but an LLC named Flyadeal. If Southwest cancelled their orders, that would mean something.
                    Boeing's military and commercial divisions are totally separate.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by johns624 View Post

                      Not really. This isn't Saudia Airlines, their flag carrier, but an LLC named Flyadeal.
                      And it will still smart
                      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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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                        And it will still smart
                        Not really. It was more than balanced by a LoI signed by IAG, parent of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling for 200 of the Maxes.

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                        • #27
                          B-1B has a Gunship. Interesting concept. It may be quite useful as an option for covering SpecOps forces in the middle of nowhere exfiltrating - where a A-10 would not have the legs to reach them and a bit too vulnerable for a slower AC-130.

                          May also be useful for a SF A Team (again in the middle of nowhere) in support of an attack or defense by indigenous force, where the use of heavier bombs would not be an option.

                          I can understand the skepticism of some of the post in this thread, but I would not disregard the B-1B loaded with guns as a potential force multiplier at some occasion. I'm not sure however, how large of a B-1B gunship fleet would be required - Perhaps 9-12 aircraft .

                          As for B-1B used as CAS...Well, I have been there in Afghanistan. You should have look at our faces when dealing with a threat, the USAF FAC comes along and tells us that a B-1B will be on station to support us in 3 minutes...We did not have to use the support, but it would have been interesting.
                          Last edited by Capt AFB; 11 Jul 19, 18:00.

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                          • #28
                            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
                            But it has been doing CAS, going back as far as 2007. It carries a heavier load than the B-52, can loiter for many hours, and move onto other targets very quickly if needed. CAS is a mission set.

                            Take Operation Arc Light as another example of CAS.
                            Last edited by Achtung Baby; 17 Jul 19, 03:23.
                            "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                            Ernest Hemingway.

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                            • #29
                              I rather liked this idea for the B1-B:

                              It was in this spirit of disruptive thinking that, at a CNAS-hosted panel discussion titled “A New American Way of War,” former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work casually offered up a fascinating bit of heresy:

                              “If the Air Force is getting rid of the B-1 bomber, I’d say ‘You are out of maritime strike.’ We’re going to give the B-1 to the Navy, we’re going to load up with 3,000 LRASMs, and we’re going to base them in Guam and all over the place, and in the first 72 hours [of a conflict] they are going to go out and hunt down and kill every ship in sight.”

                              “In other words,” Work continued, “give the whole Chinese anti-access / area denial network no targets to shoot at.”
                              https://othjournal.com/2019/04/15/a-...-for-the-navy/

                              This would add another dimension to US forces in the region and give any Chinese naval forces looking to confront the USN something to think about.
                              Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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                              • #30
                                One big issue for the B-1B, is the high operational tempo has probably pushed the bomber into being retired earlier than planned.

                                https://www.popularmechanics.com/mil...ber-readiness/
                                "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                                Ernest Hemingway.

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