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The Air Force Is Exploring A Deadly New Role For The B-1B Lancer


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#41 Josh

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 1024 AM

And they won't know LRASM is on the way unless they keep their air surveillance radars on essentially all the time*, which would mean a visit from AARGM etc.
 
*Unless operating under cover of highly effective AEW, which poses its own problems.


LRASM has a very low radar cross section, so it probably would be hard to detect until it made its terminal low altitude run. At that point the limiting factor would be radar horizon I would imagine - the power of any shipboard air search radar I would imagine is enough to find it once it comes into the field of view.

However the other problem with LRASM is that it hunts ships by their radar emissions. If you don't have an airborne radar, you have a very hard choice to make.
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#42 rmgill

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 1159 AM

Once you buy into the idea that ALCMs or air-launched ballistic PGMs work, you also start to realise what an incredibly poor investment a conventional navy is.


You can't take back islands with a SSBN. You can with a conventional navy which can ALSO perform nuclear strike.

Tool boxes don't just need a big hammer.

Edited by rmgill, 03 July 2018 - 1200 PM.

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#43 Chris Werb

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 1221 PM

 

Once you buy into the idea that ALCMs or air-launched ballistic PGMs work, you also start to realise what an incredibly poor investment a conventional navy is.


You can't take back islands with a SSBN. You can with a conventional navy which can ALSO perform nuclear strike.

Tool boxes don't just need a big hammer.

 

 

Yes, but you can't take back islands with ships that are at the bottom of an ocean. Essentially, you are stuck with the problem that someone describing the problem of protecting the US DoD from hacking once used in a TV documentary. In order to protect the Pentagon from burglary, it is necessary to secure every single door and window in the building against burglars. In order to burgle the Pentagon, the burglar only has to find one door or window that is unsecure. It seems pretty unlikely that any AD system is going to work 100% reliably against modern AShMs and ballistic missiles and the experience navies have had with AShMs so far does not bode well for the future. If one gets through, it's pretty much curtains for the platform it hits - at ;east for the duration of that conflict. For the price of one modern DDG, you can buy about modern 1200 anti ship missiles and they are only one of the threats modern surface units have to contend with. The math isn't going to get any better for the surface units in the near future.


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#44 Burncycle360

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 1231 PM

Bombers and transports that use common components (wings, avionics, engines etc.) is fine, but not a fan of transport-bombers. Yeah, you can do it... but there aren't enough transports as it is. Dont need that sort of tasking battle.
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#45 lastdingo

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 1536 PM

Remember you can build 2-3 transports instead of 1 bomber when you're the USA.


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#46 rmgill

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 1622 PM

Yes, but you can't take back islands with ships that are at the bottom of an ocean. Essentially, you are stuck with the problem that someone describing the problem of protecting the US DoD from hacking once used in a TV documentary. In order to protect the Pentagon from burglary, it is necessary to secure every single door and window in the building against burglars. In order to burgle the Pentagon, the burglar only has to find one door or window that is unsecure. It seems pretty unlikely that any AD system is going to work 100% reliably against modern AShMs and ballistic missiles and the experience navies have had with AShMs so far does not bode well for the future. If one gets through, it's pretty much curtains for the platform it hits - at ;east for the duration of that conflict. For the price of one modern DDG, you can buy about modern 1200 anti ship missiles and they are only one of the threats modern surface units have to contend with. The math isn't going to get any better for the surface units in the near future.


This is why you have more than one carrier.

;)


A bunch of anti-ship missiles mounted on trucks can't cross a channel and go secure a bridgehead. To go on the offensive you have to take risks and you have to expose your ships to enemy defenses.

That's why you bring more than one ship and have capacity to suffer casualties. If you can't then you've already lost.
e0072368_4ca68c2ca21d0.jpg


Edited by rmgill, 03 July 2018 - 1626 PM.

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#47 TOW-2

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 2223 PM

 

I was kind of hoping this was a re-kindling of the counter-air B1B proposed (new radar software, rotary phoenix launcher)

Trying to do that with a newer Phoenix class missile even seems a little unworkable, given the likely future prevalence of very long range 'AWACS killer' AAM. I think if you were going to do it today, it would use one of the Standard missiles (Rim-174 ?) and would have ABM/ACM capability, i.e. an airborne area SAM system. This is close to the Russian approach discussed elsewhere.

 

 

Oh I like that idea!


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#48 TOW-2

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 2228 PM



There was a lot of strange thinking in SAC from the late 1960's on. 

 

Brother you said a mouthful.  Don't get me started on the weapon straight out of Hell itself that would've been the Pluto supersonic cruise missile...

 

brr.


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#49 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 0625 AM

Im still astonished they took the B58 our of service when they did. I love what SAC did, but you cant help but think whilst they were emeshed in the Vietnam war, they allowed their technical thinking to lapse, certainly in their primary mission.

 

As for project pluto, bad ideas clearly come in circles....

 

https://www.armscont...cruise-missile/


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#50 Dawes

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 0847 AM

SAC also operated the sort-of one-off FB-111 (later the F-111G, IIRC). Not sure how that would have actually worked out if the balloon had gone up.


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#51 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 0858 AM

Yeah, I remember reading about that in Flypast. Armed with SRAM's. They were turned over to TAC in the latter half of the 1980's IIRC. Probably warranted forward basing to be viable I think, thats what SAC did with most of the other medium bombers.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 04 July 2018 - 0859 AM.

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#52 Chris Werb

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 1217 PM

 

Yes, but you can't take back islands with ships that are at the bottom of an ocean. Essentially, you are stuck with the problem that someone describing the problem of protecting the US DoD from hacking once used in a TV documentary. In order to protect the Pentagon from burglary, it is necessary to secure every single door and window in the building against burglars. In order to burgle the Pentagon, the burglar only has to find one door or window that is unsecure. It seems pretty unlikely that any AD system is going to work 100% reliably against modern AShMs and ballistic missiles and the experience navies have had with AShMs so far does not bode well for the future. If one gets through, it's pretty much curtains for the platform it hits - at ;east for the duration of that conflict. For the price of one modern DDG, you can buy about modern 1200 anti ship missiles and they are only one of the threats modern surface units have to contend with. The math isn't going to get any better for the surface units in the near future.


This is why you have more than one carrier.

;)


A bunch of anti-ship missiles mounted on trucks can't cross a channel and go secure a bridgehead. To go on the offensive you have to take risks and you have to expose your ships to enemy defenses.

That's why you bring more than one ship and have capacity to suffer casualties. If you can't then you've already lost.
e0072368_4ca68c2ca21d0.jpg

 

 

To be honest, no one is looking at losing the well over four thousand people that go with an aircraft carrier to a single missile conducting a lame WW2 reenactment these days. We are incredibly more risk averse than we were as societies even a short while ago. You can have more than one carrier, but, at $13 billion a piece (not including air wing) for the same price, the enemy can have about 10,000 anti ship missiles. Anti ship missiles are getting ever more technologically advanced and can come from beneath the surface, from trucks, from inside caves, containers hidden among others in container parks, farmyards, on civilian vessels, or be launched from much cheaper aircraft than the B-1B.  Even the US does not randomly invade places, therefore the USN will have to enter areas where the enemy can predict them to be to have the desired effects. Then there is the potential casualty exchange ratio - how many missile trucks or 40' ISO containers would you have to blow up to equal the value of losing a CVN? The USN of course knows all this and does not intend to conduct opposed landings against peer opponents (hence all of the investment in LCAC, Osprey, ridiculous hydrofoil IFVs and implausible over the horizon strategies). Okinawa 2 is not going to happen.

 

As a student of military history, you could do worse than familiarise yourself with the performance of AShMs vs warships since 1967. It doesn't make for very reassuring reading.


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#53 Dawes

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 1228 PM

Yeah, I remember reading about that in Flypast. Armed with SRAM's. They were turned over to TAC in the latter half of the 1980's IIRC. Probably warranted forward basing to be viable I think, thats what SAC did with most of the other medium bombers.

After they were withdrawn by the USAF, Australia evidently bought 15 of them to supplement their own F-111 fleet.


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#54 R011

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 1243 PM

Im still astonished they took the B58 our of service when they did. I love what SAC did, but you cant help but think whilst they were emeshed in the Vietnam war, they allowed their technical thinking to lapse, certainly in their primary mission.

 

As for project pluto, bad ideas clearly come in circles....

 

https://www.armscont...cruise-missile/

 

The future of SAC's bomber fleet was going to be the B-70 Valkyrie.  The cost of the program and the perceived AD capabilities of the Soviets caused McNamara to kill it.  They stared again with the more modest B-1A and, less publicly, the B-2.


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#55 rmgill

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 1311 PM

To be honest, no one is looking at losing the well over four thousand people that go with an aircraft carrier to a single missile conducting a lame WW2 reenactment these days. We are incredibly more risk averse than we were as societies even a short while ago. You can have more than one carrier, but, at $13 billion a piece (not including air wing) for the same price, the enemy can have about 10,000 anti ship missiles. Anti ship missiles are getting ever more technologically advanced and can come from beneath the surface, from trucks, from inside caves, containers hidden among others in container parks, farmyards, on civilian vessels, or be launched from much cheaper aircraft than the B-1B.  Even the US does not randomly invade places, therefore the USN will have to enter areas where the enemy can predict them to be to have the desired effects. Then there is the potential casualty exchange ratio - how many missile trucks or 40' ISO containers would you have to blow up to equal the value of losing a CVN? The USN of course knows all this and does not intend to conduct opposed landings against peer opponents (hence all of the investment in LCAC, Osprey, ridiculous hydrofoil IFVs and implausible over the horizon strategies). Okinawa 2 is not going to happen.


Well, if ASMs are the end all be all, why doesn't the UK have a brace of those and dispense with the Royal Navy? What's that? You still need to project power? Well, then how are you going to do that with some Container Mounted ASMs?

For an ASM to hit it has to have targeting data. To get that you need sensors. To use those you usually need to emit radiation, some can be passive. Weapons and weapon systems are a game of rock-scissors-paper set of measure/countermeasure. Remember when everyone was pointing to Iraq having heavily defended airspace? Aircraft were useless right?

I think you're over simplifying things in the same vein of "The Japanese Bombed Pearl Harbor, what use are ships against aircraft?".

Edited by rmgill, 04 July 2018 - 1313 PM.

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#56 Chris Werb

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 1331 PM

Perhaps it's an oversimplification, but the trend is very much away from the survivability of the surface ship toward the ascendency of the missile. If the USN did not believe that themselves, they would not be looking so hard at long range AShMs and dual role SAMs on ships, arming USAF B-1s with them and having the Army get into multidomian warfare with their own anti ship missiles - even the SS(G)Ns are regaining AShMs (allegedly). Some of the reasons for the change are technological, some of it is economics and some of it is geography. There have been a few reversals, but surface ships are certainly appearing more vulnerable and getting less relevant at influencing the land domain due to their vulnerability and the crazy economics of putting aircraft and weapons on aircraft carriers and other surface warships rather than on land based aircraft or platforms. Personally, I think your question as to why we purchased two carriers is highly relevant - I'd like to know why we purchased them too.

 

If you want to take WW2 as an example, we both really started out with a lot of expensive eggs in a small number of baskets with aircraft carriers. The most effective ones you had survived Pearl Harbour through chance. Later, the outcome of the battles of Midway and Coral sea were decided largely by luck. It could have gone the other way and WW2 in the Pacific could have taken significantly (perhaps years) longer. In 1941 there was no way of attacking major warships effectively at a distance economically, but this would change with the advent of the Kamikaze. Remember that you and your allies could massively outbuild the Japanese navy, strangle their maritime commerce and cut them off from fuel. Now you are facing an enemy that can produce thousands of what are effectively non biological kamikazes and which can massively outmatch the USN in any shipbuilding contest. They are not remotely as dependent on maritime imports and they could quite easily pull off a Pearl Harbor style attack too.

 

I would like to say that carriers are useful in other scenarios, and they certainly are, particularly in peacetime, but it's really hard to come up with ones that justify the massive expense. The excellent Gator carriers you have are more than sufficient and vastly more economical for most of those missions and losing one would be whole lot less painful too. 


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#57 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 1340 PM

You need 2 things to kill a carrier. One is good targeting data. Secondly, you need saturation. Now whilst I can believe the Chinese have the latter, and are working comprehensively on the former, the Russian's still seem to have largely the same assets the Soviets did, and in far fewer numbers.

 

Is the Carrier doomed? Of course it is. No weapon system under the sun is preeminent forever. But I can remember people saying manned combat aircraft were doomed in the early 1960s, then in the 1970s it was the main battle tanks, in the 1980s it was the carrier. And we are still waiting for all these things to happen. One day they will, but up till the day it happens these things will still be useful.

 

I remember saying about 20 years ago on this grate site that I thought carriers for us were a mistake. But we got them, and they are bloody good ones and we may as well use them. And we really ought to reflect on why the Russians, whom continually deprecate carriers as a mistake, have one of their own they refuse to bin despite it being junk, and the Chinese have 2. Is very funny. :)


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#58 Dawes

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 1342 PM

Attack submarines would seem to be somewhat of a "wild card" in any future scenario. Even the threat of their presence appears to make any surface fleet nervous.


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#59 rmgill

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 1527 PM

Perhaps it's an oversimplification, but the trend is very much away from the survivability of the surface ship toward the ascendency of the missile. If the USN did not believe that themselves, they would not be looking so hard at long range AShMs and dual role SAMs on ships, arming USAF B-1s with them and having the Army get into multidomian warfare with their own anti ship missiles


When was RGM/UGM-109B developed? When was the dual mode function of Standard Missile developed? 1967?

This is not new. It's just realignment of priorities.
 

- even the SS(G)Ns are regaining AShMs (allegedly). Some of the reasons for the change are technological, some of it is economics and some of it is geography. There have been a few reversals, but surface ships are certainly appearing more vulnerable and getting less relevant at influencing the land domain due to their vulnerability and the crazy economics of putting aircraft and weapons on aircraft carriers and other surface warships rather than on land based aircraft or platforms. Personally, I think your question as to why we purchased two carriers is highly relevant - I'd like to know why we purchased them too.

 

Surface ships have been eggshells with hammers for decades. You either get more eggs or you make them more defended. We go with both. Everyone else has 1-2 eggs or no eggs.

 

If you want to take WW2 as an example, we both really started out with a lot of expensive eggs in a small number of baskets with aircraft carriers. The most effective ones you had survived Pearl Harbour through chance. Later, the outcome of the battles of Midway and Coral sea were decided largely by luck. It could have gone the other way and WW2 in the Pacific could have taken significantly (perhaps years) longer. In 1941 there was no way of attacking major warships effectively at a distance economically, but this would change with the advent of the Kamikaze. Remember that you and your allies could massively outbuild the Japanese navy, strangle their maritime commerce and cut them off from fuel. Now you are facing an enemy that can produce thousands of what are effectively non biological kamikazes and which can massively outmatch the USN in any shipbuilding contest. They are not remotely as dependent on maritime imports and they could quite easily pull off a Pearl Harbor style attack too.


How many carriers were lost to submarine attack?
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#60 R011

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 1631 PM

Wikipedia's "List of Sunken Aircraft Carriers" article notes fifteen lost to submarines.
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