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Dutchy
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To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:14 pm

The Air Force will begin retiring its B-2 Spirit and B-1B Lancer bombers in the 2030s as it builds up its new B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber fleet.

The service will also pump more money into the B-52 Stratofortress platform, according to a service announcement Monday.


The new "Bomber Vector" strategy comes with the service's fiscal 2019 budget rollout to allocate more resources for the nuclear-capable B-52.

The Air Force is pushing for a major engine overhaul for the BUFF, or "Big Ugly Fat Fellow," as it intends to keep the long-range B-52 flying into the 2050s.



https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... 2030s.html

So the B-2 will be first retired and then the B-1 and then the B-52 :o

So last in, first out policy for the bombers of the USAF.
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mmo
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:17 pm

I think the Buff will be retired long after the last B-21 is delivered. If the USAF is planning on it being around until the 2050s the B-21's production will be long over as delivery starts in the mid 2020s.
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Dutchy
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:29 pm

mmo wrote:
I think the Buff will be retired long after the last B-21 is delivered. If the USAF is planning on it being around until the 2050s the B-21's production will be long over as delivery starts in the mid 2020s.


You know in which aircraft the crew goes back to base, which have brought the last B-21 to the bone yard :lol:
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Ozair
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:27 pm

Dutchy wrote:
The Air Force will begin retiring its B-2 Spirit and B-1B Lancer bombers in the 2030s as it builds up its new B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber fleet.

The service will also pump more money into the B-52 Stratofortress platform, according to a service announcement Monday.


The new "Bomber Vector" strategy comes with the service's fiscal 2019 budget rollout to allocate more resources for the nuclear-capable B-52.

The Air Force is pushing for a major engine overhaul for the BUFF, or "Big Ugly Fat Fellow," as it intends to keep the long-range B-52 flying into the 2050s.



https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... 2030s.html

So the B-2 will be first retired and then the B-1 and then the B-52 :o

So last in, first out policy for the bombers of the USAF.

It really comes down to what the platforms are currently used for today and into the future. The B-52 remains a viable cruise missile delivery platform, at a cheaper per hour cost than the B-1 and B-2, so it can continue to soldier on in that role for many years to come. The impending development and testing of hypervelocity weapons also makes that delivery vehicle role important into the future. No one should think the B-52 has a role to play in a high air threat, or even medium air threat, conflict in anything other than an arsenal plane role. It simply cannot survive in that environment without significant additional support.

To the USAF the B-2 really is a nuclear bomber first and foremost and given the B-21 will take on that role is makes sense to replace it with the B-21 when it arrives. They could potentially de-nuclear the B-2 and use it in a conventional role permanently but I doubt it. The aircraft is costly to maintain and uses what is now considered archaic stealth.

As for the B-1, it lost nuclear capability long ago and has been great in the conventional CAS role but is costly to operate. No surprise it will go when the B-21 arrives.
 
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Runway28L
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:25 pm

So the B-52s are now expected to soldier on into the 2050s. That's absolutely incredible. We'll likely see 100 continuous years of the B-52 in service! :old:

Cheaper operating costs certainly have given this fleet an advantage over the B-1 and B-2.
 
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Revelation
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:21 pm

Should we read everything the USAF pushes at us as gospel?

We read that the B-1 was to replace the B-52 entirely back in the day, and that never happened.

We've read they're going to shut down the A-10 and that has not happened.

We've read they're going to shut down the KC-10 and that hasn't happened.

Let's pump the brakes on this one.

We have no idea how much B-21 will cost and what quantity Congress will be willing to buy.

We know Congress hates to get rid of serviceable fleets whereas USAF will sacrifice anything to get shiny new jets.

Let's see how this all turns out.
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zeke
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:07 pm

Will this see mean new engines on the B-52 ?
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Channex757
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:29 pm

Looks as well like the USAF wants to retire the most expensive and difficult to sustain aircraft first, then the secondmost, then......

Add to this the versatility of the B-52 against the lack of a distinct role nowadays for the B-1 thanks to standoff weapons and drones getting better and it all starts to make sense.

I agree though; some capital expenditure on the B-52 to increase reliability and durability is needed. Engines are a priority.
 
TheSonntag
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:06 pm

What I find so astounding is that if we look at WW2, from 1939 to just 1960 the world changed extremely, from clumsy B-17s to B-52s, and then we still find the B-52 today, 60 years later...
 
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Dutchy
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:17 pm

TheSonntag wrote:
What I find so astounding is that if we look at WW2, from 1939 to just 1960 the world changed extremely, from clumsy B-17s to B-52s, and then we still find the B-52 today, 60 years later...


The B-52 might look the same, but the weapons load changed considerably and thus the use.
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bigjku
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:55 pm

Channex757 wrote:
Looks as well like the USAF wants to retire the most expensive and difficult to sustain aircraft first, then the secondmost, then......

Add to this the versatility of the B-52 against the lack of a distinct role nowadays for the B-1 thanks to standoff weapons and drones getting better and it all starts to make sense.

I agree though; some capital expenditure on the B-52 to increase reliability and durability is needed. Engines are a priority.


The B-1 has a distinct role for non-nuclear operations. It can carry a great number of relatively cheap JASSM cruise missiles because it can penetrate within a long-range air defense perimeter fairly well.

That role will be taken by the B-21 which will have nuclear and non-nuclear tastings. The B-52 can’t really do the non-nuclear anymore without much larger and more expensive cruise missiles. On the nuclear mission it’s a non-issue so it can do it just fine.
 
mmo
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:58 pm

zeke wrote:
Will this see mean new engines on the B-52 ?


Yes, tender should go out perhaps late this year or early next year. IIRC 2025 is the date for the first aircraft to enter the mod program.
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mxaxai
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:08 pm

Ozair wrote:
It really comes down to what the platforms are currently used for today and into the future. The B-52 remains a viable cruise missile delivery platform, at a cheaper per hour cost than the B-1 and B-2, so it can continue to soldier on in that role for many years to come. The impending development and testing of hypervelocity weapons also makes that delivery vehicle role important into the future. No one should think the B-52 has a role to play in a high air threat, or even medium air threat, conflict in anything other than an arsenal plane role. It simply cannot survive in that environment without significant additional support.

To the USAF the B-2 really is a nuclear bomber first and foremost and given the B-21 will take on that role is makes sense to replace it with the B-21 when it arrives. They could potentially de-nuclear the B-2 and use it in a conventional role permanently but I doubt it. The aircraft is costly to maintain and uses what is now considered archaic stealth.

As for the B-1, it lost nuclear capability long ago and has been great in the conventional CAS role but is costly to operate. No surprise it will go when the B-21 arrives.

This (https://www.theatlantic.com/national/ar ... ne/254998/) article claims that the B1 is cheaper than the B52 by a fair margin. But since the B52 is the only nuclear bomber remaining in significant strength, I cannot imagine them retiring it anytime soon.

Note that the F135, the base engine for the B21, produces some 50 - 70% more dry thrust than the B1's and B2's engines and about double the thrust of the B52's. A twin-engined B21 would therefore likely be smaller than all three existing strategic bombers but not necessarily by much. Looking at the rumored configurations, it would probably not be able to go supersonic but a high subsonic speed at low level similar to the B1 & B2 is likely. I can see it replacing the B-2 easily but the B-1's conventional role would be a bit difficult. CAS could be delegated to the F-35, which however lacks a large bombbay and some endurance, or to the B21, which in turn has the payload and range but only low speed. If a B21 was found by enemy fighter jets it would be in deep trouble - it can't run and it can't turn.
 
Ozair
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:46 pm

mxaxai wrote:
This (https://www.theatlantic.com/national/ar ... ne/254998/) article claims that the B1 is cheaper than the B52 by a fair margin. But since the B52 is the only nuclear bomber remaining in significant strength, I cannot imagine them retiring it anytime soon.

So that is approx a 15% difference but as you suggest I would put that down to the B-52 still retaining a nuclear delivery role and the costs associated with maintain that.

mxaxai wrote:
Note that the F135, the base engine for the B21, produces some 50 - 70% more dry thrust than the B1's and B2's engines and about double the thrust of the B52's.

I haven’t seen a confirmed report on that yet. Definitely sharing tech from the F135 but perhaps not a direct placement.

mxaxai wrote:
A twin-engined B21 would therefore likely be smaller than all three existing strategic bombers but not necessarily by much. Looking at the rumored configurations, it would probably not be able to go supersonic but a high subsonic speed at low level similar to the B1 & B2 is likely. I can see it replacing the B-2 easily but the B-1's conventional role would be a bit difficult.

The B-1 has a role in the conventional space, and found a niche in Afghanistan, but I still think the temptation to replace it will be great. I don’t believe it has ever been supported internally the way the B-52 is.

mxaxai wrote:
CAS could be delegated to the F-35, which however lacks a large bombbay and some endurance, or to the B21, which in turn has the payload and range but only low speed. If a B21 was found by enemy fighter jets it would be in deep trouble - it can't run and it can't turn.

I see the B-21 having a self defence capability with AIM-120 or its successor as well as potentially a DEW. Running and turning may not be the best way to defeat for a stealth platform that has some form of self defence.
 
Ozair
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:53 pm

Revelation wrote:
Should we read everything the USAF pushes at us as gospel?

We read that the B-1 was to replace the B-52 entirely back in the day, and that never happened.

We've read they're going to shut down the A-10 and that has not happened.

We've read they're going to shut down the KC-10 and that hasn't happened.

Let's pump the brakes on this one.

Had the US defence budget restraints continued we would have seen the retirement of the A-10 and KC-10 fleets but now the flood gates have opened again they are probably safe again for a few more years.

Revelation wrote:
We have no idea how much B-21 will cost and what quantity Congress will be willing to buy.

Agree. B-21, for all its intent to be a low risk approach, could very well meet significant cost and schedule issues and not hit even production 70 jets. The USAF is keen to move to a more harmonious fleet though, for both fighters and bombers, and there will be plenty of claims for rationalising fleets for overall cost savings…again.

Revelation wrote:
We know Congress hates to get rid of serviceable fleets whereas USAF will sacrifice anything to get shiny new jets.

Let's see how this all turns out.

I don’t think that is accurate. The USAF wants specific capabilities to meet their requirements and to match the threat. If it was only about shiny new jets against everything else we would see twice or three times the number of F-22s flying today.
 
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kanban
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:26 am

So what is the latest scuttle butt on the B-52 replacement engines? some commercial left overs or new off the saturated engine lines?
 
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:15 am

Looks like my kids may have a shot at flying the B52 someday, and I'm only 25 and don't have any kids!

After seeing here that costs are a huge role in this decision, it makes sense to retire the B2 first, but the B1 is still a great psychological weapon and is essentially a tactical bomber with a much larger payload than the F15E and terrain-following radar, they should optimize it for this role further IMO.
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mmo
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:25 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Looks like my kids may have a shot at flying the B52 someday, and I'm only 25 and don't have any kids!

After seeing here that costs are a huge role in this decision, it makes sense to retire the B2 first, but the B1 is still a great psychological weapon and is essentially a tactical bomber with a much larger payload than the F15E and terrain-following radar, they should optimize it for this role further IMO.


The B-52 is a much more effective psychological weapon! While the B-1 does have TFR, it's not used. The B-1 is used in low threat areas as the aircraft, like the B-52 can't handle a high threat environment. So, the TFR isn't used at all. The problem with the B-1 and B-2 is they have a very low mission capable rate and the maintenance hours/flight hours for the B-1 and B-2 pale in comparison to the Buff. The Buff will get even more efficient when the new engines are sorted out.
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Dutchy
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:58 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Looks like my kids may have a shot at flying the B52 someday, and I'm only 25 and don't have any kids!


You can have 5 generations flying the craft when it's finally retired.

Look at it in this perspective:
First flight was in XB-52: 1952 or 66 years ago
First powered flight, wright flyer: 1903 or 115 years ago, or 49 years before the first B-52 flight

So the first flight of the B-52 is closer to the first powered flight then to the present day!!!!! Mind-boggling.
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Aesma
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:40 pm

I'm not sure we can really know what military aviation will be like 10 years from now, let alone 2040 and beyond.

I expect lots of unmanned and robot aircraft will be involved.
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boacvc10
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:24 pm

Runway28L wrote:
So the B-52s are now expected to soldier on into the 2050s. .


What could a reasonable expectation be of the 'amount' of components that have to be replaced in such a scenario for the oldest frames? Will the platforms be 'overhauled' or 'rebuilt'? I'm just curious to know just how much effort in material would be incurred if a B-52 goes in for and 'upgrade', and comes out without being stripped for parts to serve other airframes.

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MatthewDB
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:04 am

mmo wrote:
The B-52 is a much more effective psychological weapon! While the B-1 does have TFR, it's not used.


You're ignoring the ability of the B1 to perform in airshows for the enemy. On the deck, full throttle with afterburner over the heads of people deciding what side they're on for the day is an effective use of the B1.
 
mmo
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:18 am

boacvc10 wrote:
What could a reasonable expectation be of the 'amount' of components that have to be replaced in such a scenario for the oldest frames? Will the platforms be 'overhauled' or 'rebuilt'? I'm just curious to know just how much effort in material would be incurred if a B-52 goes in for and 'upgrade', and comes out without being stripped for parts to serve other airframes.

BOACVC10


The B-52s left in the inventory are sent to Tinker AFB for their Depot maintenance program. The only real area of concern on the current structure is the wing skin. IIRC, 2040 is the first time that structure will have to be addressed. I suppose Boeing/USAF could take a couple of approaches. The first would be reskinning the wings when the planned engine upgrade occurs as the pylons will have to be changed/modified. Or Boeing could do more testing of the structure and extend the service life or I suppose the last option is to do nothing and have the USAF unilaterally extend the life. Most of the remaining structure has been upgraded/modified as necessary during depot visits. In addition, the boneyard does have other airframes to use as can birds, so there shouldn't be much of an issue.
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Ozair
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Re: To Make Way for B-21, Air Force Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s

Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:58 am

MatthewDB wrote:

You're ignoring the ability of the B1 to perform in airshows for the enemy. On the deck, full throttle with afterburner over the heads of people deciding what side they're on for the day is an effective use of the B1.

A show of force by a B-1 is a nice effect to have on the battlefield it only works in a very limited set of threat environments. I don't think it is worth maintaining a capability that mmo rightly asserts is difficult to maintain given the B-52 will cover pretty much the rest of the B-1 mission set not covered by the B-21.

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