Welcome to the Utopia Forums! Register a new account
The current time is Sun May 20 12:41:01 2018

Utopia Talk / Politics / B-1B Gunship
swordtail
Anarchist Prime
Mon May 14 13:06:13
Boeing's Been Granted A Patent For Turning The B-1B Into A Gunship Bristling With Cannons

The patent includes various concepts that would allow multiple cannon configurations to be uploaded into the B-1's weapons bays.

By Tyler RogowayMay 10, 2018

B-1B Lancer 'gunship' may sound like something a kid doodles on his desk during a 4th-grade math class, but Boeing has actually been awarded a patent for just that.

U.S. Patent 9,963,231 B2 was awarded on May 8th to Boeing. It depicts a number of cannon configurations that can be stowed in a B-1B's weapons bays and extended down outside of those bays for use. Our good friend and marvelous patent sleuth Stephen Trimble of Flightglobal.com was the first to find the patent.

The patent certainly envisions different concepts that could be used to convert the 'Bone' into a heavy-hitting gunship without making many if any permanent changes to its existing configuration or outer mold-line. The cannons are shown mounted in various manners with elaborate mechanisms that allow them to tuck neatly inside the B-1B.

One includes a trapeze-like system that is mounted inside the aircraft's cavernous weapons bays, and when the bay doors open it drops down and is turreted to fire in different directions. The other shows a few variants of a semi-recessed mounting configuration where the guns drop down into a semi-recessed fairing installed on the belly of the aircraft and are fired sideways from that position.

As for the weapons shown, they look similar to M230 30mm cannons as well as the much larger Bushmaster cannon, which can run from 25mms to 40mms in size. One drawing even shows two different sizes of cannons mounted on the same turret side-by-side.

The patent's description directly refers to using the guns for close air support and ground attack. It also seems fairly clear that these concepts could be applied to any aircraft with a voluminous weapons bay, not just the B-1B. The idea being that these kits could be able to more easily turn existing aircraft into gunships, packing a huge amount of firepower in a small space via compact, mechanized, space-saving designs.

The patent also describes how being able to store cannons inside the aircraft, instead of leaving their barrels hanging out in the aircraft's slipstream, results in certain benefits. These include the ability to go supersonic while toting around such weapons, increased range, better maneuverability and overall performance, and most interestingly, stealth:

Considering the future realities of warfare in anti-access and aerial denial situations, the idea of a stealthy gunship that can move faster and farther than an AC-130 without its massive radar signature is intriguing. Although stealthy transport and tanker aircraft have been and remain attractive concepts to the Pentagon, the B-1B is now slated to retire by around 2035. Although very complex and costly to operate, the jet is fast, has considerable range, is built to penetrate enemy air defenses at low altitude, and has a degree of low-observability (stealth) baked into its design. With that in mind, maybe Boeing will one day pitch a B-1B gunship in an effort to save a number of the aircraft from retirement.

Such an initiative could also be eventually paired with the arsenal ship concept that seems to have been put on the back burner by the Trump administration. In addition, some of the designs put forward in this patent could also be adapted to field directed energy weapons—as in lasers—in the not so distant future. The B-1B has always been eyed as a platform for a surrogate for such a weapon, even in pop-culture.


As it sits now, the AC-130J will be the first to receive a laser weapon, but the technology is progressing quickly and is certain to spread to other platforms not long after its initial operational iteration debuts. In fact, in a recent interview, Tom Palenske, commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, described how a tactical laser would be used just as we did a couple years ago, with Military.com Oriana Pawlyk writing:



In the future, AC-130 crews also hope to incorporate a high-energy laser aboard the gunship.

Palenske said the laser will be the ultimate ace in the hole, making disabling other weapons systems easier.

"If you're flying along and your mission is to disable an airplane or a car, like when we took down Noriega back in the day, now as opposed to sending a Navy SEAL team to go disable [aircraft] on the ground, you make a pass over that thing with an airborne laser, and burn a hole through its engine," he said.

Palenske was referring to Operation Nifty Package to capture and remove Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega from power in 1989, during which a SEAL team "disable[d] his aircraft so he couldn't escape."

With a laser, "it's just like that. And you just keep going on, and there's no noise, no fuss, nobody knows it happened. They don't know the thing's broken until they go and try to fire it up," he said.


But it's also worth pointing out that most of these patents never amount to anything but intellectual property in big defense contractors' back pockets. Still, a similarly exotic patent we wrote about in the not so distant past just turned into a request for proposal (RFP) from the U.S. Navy, so you never know exactly where these patents could end up or if there is a hard plan in place for them at the time of their granting.

When it comes to adding guns to an aircraft like this, much more goes into it than mechanical storage and employment concepts and there are certainly developmental pitfalls along the way. Just the gun's recoil can be a major integration factor and targeting architecture is a whole other issue.

But B-1B gunships? Who can't hope for that, even if in an adolescent kind of way?

Update: 6:45pm PST—

The precision night striker B-57G also explored a somewhat similar concept under the 'PAVE GAT' program, here is video of it in action:

Our own Joseph Trevithick also noted that General Electric had a design for mounting a row of miniguns that fired downward out of a weapons bay:

The AP-2H TRIM (Trails Roads Interdiction Mission) Neptune also used downward-firing grenade launchers as well.

http://www...gunship-bristling-with-cannons
murder
Member
Mon May 14 13:19:03

"In the future, AC-130 crews also hope to incorporate a high-energy laser aboard the gunship."

lol! Yeah ... no. Where do people get these stupid ideas?


As for the B-1B gunship. That would be too costly and wouldn't make any damn sense.

Seb
Member
Mon May 14 13:55:25
Murder:

Several hundred kw Laser on ac-130 is very feasible.

The engines generate enough power, and the power density of fibre lasers work well.

Fast moving airstream allows cooling.

Totally doable.
murder
Member
Mon May 14 14:23:40

And it hasn't been done because?

swordtail
Anarchist Prime
Mon May 14 14:25:39
putin
Seb
Member
Mon May 14 15:12:33
Murder:

Still under development. Just because it's possible (as in, feasible)) doesn't mean the particulars don't take time to work through.

There's some footage of a German laser demo with an engineering test bed firing out the back of an A400m at target drones. I think from 2014. Possibly prior.

Lots of little details to work out.

But totally doable. A few more years.

Seb
Member
Mon May 14 15:19:08
N.b. suspect initially it will be defensive: anti manpad etc.

murder
Member
Mon May 14 15:40:12

Can you name any operational laser weapon on any platform be it air/land/sea based, anywhere in the world?

Wrath of Orion
Member
Mon May 14 15:50:38
"Can you name any operational laser weapon on any platform be it air/land/sea based, anywhere in the world?"

What does that have to do with anything?
Seb
Member
Mon May 14 16:19:20
murder:

In 1943, could you name an operational nuclear weapon anywhere in the world?
Seb
Member
Mon May 14 16:20:30
You have LaWS on the Ponce I suppose, which is operational.
murder
Member
Mon May 14 16:32:08

"What does that have to do with anything?"

It has to do with feasibility. The jerkoffs love dreaming of laser weapons, but pretty much any target a laser could destroy can already be destroyed more inexpensively and frankly more effectively.

There will never be laser weapons mounted on AC-130s or fighter jets or bombers or stupid 747s meant to shoot down ballistic missiles or any other such nonsense.

murder
Member
Mon May 14 16:33:52

"In 1943, could you name an operational nuclear weapon anywhere in the world?"

No, but I could name a use for them. Lasers not so much. Even less on an aircraft.

Hrothgar
Member
Mon May 14 17:29:33
http://www...-drone-laser-weapon/index.html

Hrothgar
Member
Mon May 14 17:34:32
And as far as the B1-B gunship goes, the main point of having something like that is that it could get on station much faster than the modified cargo plane version.

Is that really worth the costs involved? I'll leave that to the military vs budget people.
Wrath of Orion
Member
Mon May 14 18:08:41
"It has to do with feasibility."

No, it doesn't. You're more intelligent than this.
obaminated
Member
Mon May 14 21:56:31
"Can you name any operational laser weapon on any platform be it air/land/sea based, anywhere in the world? "

that's incredibly closed minded thinking.
jergul
large member
Tue May 15 03:20:25
Hrothgar
Could it? Where are the B-1s based? The patent is of course mostly to own the rights for future updates.

Improved loiter time (primarily due to crew facilities and refueling priorities) and stealth features would be the selling points of a b-1 ahead of a cargo plane.

Murder and Seb
Hybrid of your two views. airborn lasers (thermal weapon type) are likely possible, but not practical - ever.

But since when has the military been into being practical?

We will see it deployed because of Sammy and his millions of real life clones.

Waah lasers USA rocks!
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 03:33:39
Murder:

Use of lasers = point defence against missiles.

Cheap temote destruction of IEDs.

Experimental platform was used operationally in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 03:42:00
Jergul:

Why do you think impractical?

In many ways planes are best platform.

Longer line of sight so power requirements to destroy targets are less. And the missiles targeting planes are thin skinned.

It's a bottomless magazine for anti drone or protecting AWACS or arsenal planes.
jergul
large member
Tue May 15 04:09:50
Seb
Impractical because I know how turbines and psus work. The bottomless magazine is defined by onboard battery capacity (that can of course recharge, but not within a reasonable loitering window).

Practical use would be against small diameter munitions (including swarm drones) and ground based CIWS.

Not missiles and ieds.

Chemical energy storage is very hard to compete against.


Seb
Member
Tue May 15 06:22:28
jergul:

"The bottomless magazine is defined by on-board battery capacity"

1. Yup, and that's viable if you look at current energy/mass/volume ratios.

2. You can use super capacitors instead. If you design the plane specifically, you can use the fuselage.

There's enough surplus power when cruising. N.B. not fighter jets here!. Also you can mount another turbine if you are designing from scratch.

"Practical use would be against small diameter munitions (including swarm drones)"

Yup.

"Not missiles"

SAM's are thin skinned, same logic as small diameter. Also, biggest threat to close air support is RPGs and manpads.

Not going to be effective (from a plane at least) for bigger missiles, but SAMs and air to air missiles, yes.

As for IEDs and mine clearance, that's actually been an operational use of experimental weapon platform. IED's don't move, you can zap them from 50 meters without having to creep up and put a demo charge on them. Takes a couple of minutes, but it works.

jergul
large member
Tue May 15 07:09:35
Seb
Re ied clearance. I know it has been tested operationally, but it remains a silly venture. Anything a laser can do, chemical explosives to better (the ancient greeks solved the "how to place something into something 50 m away" problem). Cutting edge in that arena are robotic vehicles.

Same goes for SAMs and air-to-air missiles. Chemical kinetic weapons are best.

I cannot envision lasers being on close air support aircraft (and those are slowly being phased out in favour of affordable stand-off munitions).

I was not arguing that lack of energy was the problem, but rather that the conversion from chemical energy (kerosene) to electrical energy cannot be efficient enough to match traditional anti missile systems (More bang for buck not going by way of electification).

Capacitors do not change the equation (and are probably not a good idea other than a supplement to battery power anyway).

Loiter-engagement-extraction. Not loiter-engagement-loiter-engagement.
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 08:22:07
jergul:

"Anything a laser can do, chemical explosives to better (the ancient greeks solved the "how to place something into something 50 m away" problem)."

The greeks will run out of explosive tipped arrows before I will run out of petrol.

"Same goes for SAMs and air-to-air missiles."

Your migs will run our of air to air missiles before I run out of turbine power, and will spend far more money than I will doing so. Also, there is no viable defence against a drone swarm.

"Chemical kinetic weapons are best."

In many situations, yes, but not always.
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 08:34:04
Super caps are pretty good - v high energy density, particularly if you can build it into the structural fuselage.

"Loiter-engagement-extraction. Not loiter-engagement-loiter-engagement."

I think this is more about maintaining the viability of standoff support elements: Awacs, arsenal planes, tankers

Beats long range SAMs, drone swarms, or a surge of third generation fighters with lots of missiles.

Also for reducing threat from manpads and RPGs for close in support.

Sam Adams
Member
Tue May 15 10:22:00
"Can you name any operational laser weapon on any platform be it air/land/sea based, anywhere in the world? "

There are several. The israelis may even have used theirs in action.

"Anything a laser can do, chemical explosives to better"

Definetly false. Laser fuel is essentially free and unlimitted by comparison.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue May 15 10:24:19
Did jergul just say a plane with 50Mw of engines needs batteries to fire a 100kw laser?

Lulz
Sam Adams
Member
Tue May 15 10:32:04
The backup generator on the a400m is 90kw by itself. Lol. And most of the time it just sits there, dead weight.
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 10:46:28
Sam:

In fairness, the electrical output available from the engines is way below the power in the thrust.

Batteries or capacitors are needed for various, detailed reasons to do with how diode pumping works etc. but it's no big deal.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue May 15 10:55:09
"In fairness, the electrical output available from the engines is way below the power in the thrust. "

True, but theres still more than enough electrical generation. Bottom line is that the planes have power to spare, especially in cruise.


"Batteries or capacitors are needed for various, detailed reasons to do with how diode pumping works etc. but it's no big deal."

I assume thats for some temporary flow control thing and you dont need to store anywhere near the total energy for the entire laser shot at once?
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 11:51:36
Sam:

Yes, flow control etc.

You probably need to store more than the energy of the shot to be honest. Solid state lasers are efficient but not 100%. So there's electrical to diode pumps to beam.

You might need say 3x the energy in the beam to fire that beam. So a 150kw laser with a duty cycle of say 5 seconds with 2.5s recharge would need 300kw electrical power and a battery capacity of 1.5kj plus margins.
Forwyn
Member
Tue May 15 11:53:50
The GAU-8 Avenger, a pretty incredible anti-tank autocannon, is becoming increasingly obsolete against modern armor.

There are only so many ways to fling projectiles, and there's an upper limit on projectile size and density.

Maybe we go railgun route, instead? It's all conjecture at this point, but it's pretty short-sighted to say that lasers have no use.
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 11:54:33
N.b. those parameters are made up from my ass. No idea what a military useful set up would look like off the top of my head.

Sam Adams
Member
Tue May 15 12:00:40
"300kw electrical power"

Anything larger than a 787 has that much electrical power to spare without trying. A smaller plane like a c130 might need slightly upgraded generators.
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 12:10:43
Lasers are no good vs armour.
jergul
large member
Tue May 15 12:13:26
Sammy
Hush. The adults are talking.

Seb
I already covered that.

combat platforms will run out of the inclination to continue combat operations before their payload is expended.

"Loiter-engagement-extraction. Not loiter-engagement-loiter-engagement."

The logic you are employing works for say surface combatants where ships would remain on station after an engagement. But that ain't aerial warfare.

Its the same problem electric cars have. It is really hard to compete with chemical reactions.

I repeat. Lasers will be deployed. Because:

"We will see it deployed because of Sammy and his millions of real life clones.

Waah lasers USA rocks!"

(150kw:0.4:0.9:0.8:0.7:0.33)*120s gives battery capacity requirement in joules for the example you presented. Assuming a loiter-engagement-extraction scenario.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue May 15 14:34:50
Lol jergul on electricity. Batteries for the entire laser blast. Wahahaha.
Forwyn
Member
Tue May 15 14:48:17
Best of both worlds; plasma cannons!
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 14:54:57
Jergul:

Awacs, tankers loiter, and the entire concept of drone and missile carrying arsenal planes are based on loiter.

The threat to that model is f22s etc not being able to overcome squillions of drones, or superior numbers of 3rd gen aircraft with loads of missiles. By by awacs and fuelers, f22s end up in the drink.

Your not thinking in terms of doctrines that might be enabled by this kind of capability.

Seb
Member
Tue May 15 15:01:19
Care to spell out those factors?

Electricity to diode is about 90%, diode pump to laser output about 50% to 70%.

Your figure come out at 1200j, so not wildly different.
murder
Member
Tue May 15 15:47:13

"No, it doesn't. You're more intelligent than this."

WoO: See now that's just flat out wrong. :o)

murder
Member
Tue May 15 15:54:26

"You have LaWS on the Ponce I suppose, which is operational."

Seb: No it's not. That thing is along for the ride. It's there to prove that marine conditions won't wreck it and to perform stunts for journalists. If any threat approached that ship, that laser is the last thing they'd think of using.

Think about it, if it was a proven weapon, and you only had one, is that the ship you'd be protecting with it?

That ship was launched in 1970. It was decommissioned this past October.

If the US Navy had any confidence in that thing it would be protecting our carriers.

The range on that laser is I think 1 mile, and it's only meant for target practice in ideal conditions.

Seb
Member
Tue May 15 15:58:57
murder:

I think you asked if there was a laser weapon system in operations.

An experimental weapon in an operational setting is a valid response to that.

What you appear to be asking me now is "do we have a mature, rolled out laser weapon system".

Well, no. But that's true of every weapon system before it is rolled out.

So I'm not sure what your point is really. It's like saying hypersonic weapons are impossible because they aren't deployed yet.
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 15:59:35
You can bet the first phallanx CIWS wasn't deployed on an aircraft carrier. It was almost certainly stuck on some shitty vessel first too.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue May 15 17:18:08
Yup, you dont use fleet carriers for alpha testing
jergul
large member
Tue May 15 21:26:54
Sammy
I said hush.

Seb
I was actually calculating energy loss.

turbine - electric generator - battery(in) - battery(out) - laser.

The doctrine that can be enabled is loiter - engage - loiter - engage. So I was thinking of it as I mentioned it earlier.

Think of it this way. Lasers are critical to many things and are used universally on aircraft.

But they are not used specifically to destroy things. Chemical weapons do that better. They simply contain way more energy than an equivalent battery weight payload could.

I do not actually doubt lasers will be deployed, but it would not be for technical reasons.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue May 15 23:15:18
Lol batteries. Jergul is about as good at science as russian missiles are at working.
jergul
large member
Tue May 15 23:35:55
Sammy
Hush.

Seb
An alternative could be to just have a large generator onboard (as most, but obvously not all of us know, mechanical energy from a jet turbine must be converted to electricity before it can power a laser).

From your numbers, that would be a 500 kw generator.

Better I think to stick with batteries that would be fully charged on take-off. An existing aircraft psu could provide the needed theoretical recharge capability.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue May 15 23:43:01
Lol batteries fully charged at takeoff.
jergul
large member
Wed May 16 00:03:47
Sammy
Hush.
Seb
Member
Wed May 16 02:52:07
Jergul:

300kw generator requires 500kw turbine power, yes. But the turbo props are rated at 10s of MW. It's really not that much of an issue.

Worst case, mount another turbine with no props.

Far more effective as chemical energy storage is much better than batteries.
jergul
large member
Wed May 16 02:59:45
Seb
150kw laser output needs a 500 kw generator according to your numbers.

You need to ask yourself if power on demand from an electric generator (driven in turn by the turbine) is better than just having the same weight as the generator in batteries.

The answer to that is of course how long you think the engagement window will be.

Chemical energy is better than batteries is my speil btw. I have been repeating it in every post.
Sam Adams
Member
Wed May 16 06:57:54

"Chemical energy is better than batteries is my speil btw."

And yet you are suggesting batteries be used. Lol. Confused.
jergul
large member
Wed May 16 10:03:17
Sammy
Hush.

Seb
35kg per kw for the laser and something similar for the generator. Specs running towards 1mj

http://fox...t-it-will-look-very-1724892313

Ideally, the DoD wants the platform to be unmanned with close to indefinate loitering capability (abeit with a 5kg per kw requirement)

Solid state lasers max out at 75 kw now
Weight 35kg per kw excluding the power source.

Conclusion
Solar panels, batteries, and lasers need to improve capacities significantly (by a factor of 5-10) before unmanned drones can potentially use a loiter-engagement-loiter-engagement doctrine.

For other uses - see chemically powered, chemical explosives.

*Drops mic*
Seb
Member
Wed May 16 11:28:03
"You need to ask yourself if power on demand from an electric generator (driven in turn by the turbine) is better than just having the same weight as the generator in batteries."

Yes. Because I want this weapon to defend loitering platforms from saturation attacks.

Close air support from RPGs and manpads, AWACS and Tankers from drone swarms or superior numbers of 3rd gen fighters with lots of BVRMS that exceed the number my F22's can engage.

And I may also want it for arsenal planes if we go with that concept (B1, B2, or B52's armed with a fuck ton of air to air missiles, standoff weapons and small drones) that are hanging around at the edge of the enemy envelope providing support functions to my far more limited high end fighters or strike.

Batteries are only needed for managing the duty cycle. I don't want them to be the magazine. The whole benefit is a very large magazine depth.

Plus, the logistical footprint this adds is silly. I'll need to be separately charging my plane on the tarmac from a generator, I'll need to worry much more about spares and repairs for the batterys etc.

I already have a mature logistics and supply chain for getting fuel and turbine spares to the FOBs, and a means to refuel planes in flight.

And finally weight, space and heat management. Big banks of battery increases heat management issues, take up way more space, and after a point are heavier.

Now, you've used a 35kg per kw figure from 2015. 3.5 Tonnes for 100kw (which is fine for defending a B1B - about 10% of the payload!).

Now do you want these on drones so we can continue to wank off the idea we can shoot down ICBMS? Well, maybe, it would be lovely but a fair way off and probably not the way forward.

The way forward is active and passive stealth aircraft like the F22 that try to avoid direct engagement, managing a network of drones and or arsenal planes - either the B52 model loitering at stand off range with big fast missile or B1Bs loitering with shorter missiles that can charge in.

F22's etc. do the planning, drones do the lighting up and targeting/guidance.

The lasers are to defend all that support operation - planes that are too big to be stealthy and agile and are vulnerable to longer range missiles, saturation attacks and swarms.

Now I can maybe win my air war over the Taiwan straights RAND tells me I'm going to lose.

Maybe one day I have my lovely 5kg/kw 150kw laser tucked into my F35A/B empty fan cavity that can provide me with point defence against air to air missiles and clear drones from the sky. Or on an external pod.

But it's not really for now.

As for the 35kg figure - it isn't quite right - if this is 2015 HELLADs that's a figure for liquid lasers. Solid state lasers don't scale linearly that way (i.e. it might be 35kg per kw in the 10kw range, for the 100kw range it will be significantly less.

The requirements for air to air and surface to air missiles are less than for ICBM boost phase.

70-100kw is militarily useful here.

The US really does need to consolidate it's laser programmes though. So much duplicated turret and optics development!
jergul
large member
Wed May 16 12:07:22
Seb
Saturation attacks are usually defined as many missiles in a short window.

So your reasoning is off. Batteries would actually function better in a weight to effect ratio given that the window is small.

The article cited 35 kw for solid state. Liquid is higher.

150 kw seems low. 70-100 does not seem to have military applications of the type you are describing. Not even under optimal conditions.

The way forward is expendible drones (or maneuverable missiles. Which for all purposes can simply be considered expendible drones)

Which brings us to the cost and weight effective variant - chemical propulsion and chemical explosive countermeasures.

The f-22 does not contribute to combat effeciency in a manner that justifies the logistical tail it creates in the role you suggest.

An unmanned drone would do the job better than a b-1. See dropped mic.

You cannot win an airwar over taiwan if you cannot deal with hypersonic payloads. Airbases in all their variants would be the first to go. There is simply no defense in depth option there.

(And I have been telling you Taiwan was hopeless longer than RAND has:).
murder
Member
Wed May 16 12:19:44

Taiwan is hopeless ... and independent. ;o)

Sam Adams
Member
Wed May 16 12:28:04
"35kg per kw for the laser and something similar for the generator."

Actually for an aircraft accessory generator its about 0.5 kg per kw. Way to be off by 2 orders of magnitude. No wonder you want me to hush... id hate to have someone pointing all my mistakes if i was dumb enough to make such obvious ones.
Seb
Member
Wed May 16 13:36:51
jergul:

I think the article is a bit ropy and old. the 35kg/kw is associated with HELLADS in other sources, which was liquid based in 2015, so I think your articles author may be in error (or an odd coincidence)

"150 kw seems low."
Not in upper atmosphere - much long line of sight, much lower dispersion - and far lower mechanical tolerances and thinner skinned missiles. Which means longer engagement time, lower intensity, and thus lower power requirements.

150kw is the low end at surface level, on a ship. 70-100kw is workable from the air.

"An unmanned drone would do the job better than a b-1. See dropped mic."

The problem with the unmanned drones is ECM, direction etc. and low survivability.

You have those unmanned drones up front, but after a while (well, pretty quickly with their stealthy profiles limiting weapons payload) they run out of missiles.

More drones you say... well I think you note later that there's a dearth of runways, and keeping lots of drones all tanked up is hard.

The arsenal plane concept is valid. It's a big force multiplier and solves a bunch of problems. Putting them on drones is all well and good but drones need to be stealthy to operate in that environment, which means they have the same limitations: low payload, lose stealth when they fire. A B1 zooming in at Mach 2.2, launching a swarm of air to air missiles and buggering off, that are guided in by your front line stealthy fighters is a good compromise.

And also good when it comes to deploying swarms of saturating stand off weapons.

In any case, AWACS and Tankers are the other loitering capability that needs protection.

The point is, if you are putting a lot of eggs into a single basket, you don't want it shot out of the air by one of those long range russian SAMS or chinese clones thereof before your fighters and drone fighters are even in a position to start lighting up targets for all those missiles it's carrying.

"Airbases in all their variants would be the first to go."

Indeed. An assumption in RANDS wargame IIRC, Hence, tankers. Only, oh noes, China has more shitty 3g planes with lots of missiles than the US can field survivable fighters with missiles. So the tankers cannot be defended, which means the fighters cannot be deployed.

Hence, need to protect tankers which are big, visible easy targets for long range SAMS or saturation of American fighters by lots of Chinese ones with more BVRM missiles.

The Rand report was from 2008 mate. I think 2008 was about when you were outlining your s400s in spaaaace idea! Or maybe that was 2004.





jergul
large member
Wed May 16 15:33:41
Seb
The altitude wins is still true. Ultimately, whoever has the last satelittes in deep space reserve, wins.

"Air defenses for dummies" is from 2004.

Fighters deployed from where do you imagine the airbases (in any form) are secure? There is no defense in depth for Taiwan.

Chemically powered chemical explosives are better and will remain better.

"A B1 zooming in at Mach 2.2, launching a swarm of air to air missiles and buggering off, that are guided in by your front line stealthy fighters is a good compromise."

Loiter - engage - extract. As I have said. The "guide in" concept is flawed. Nothing is gained by transferring control to f-35s or whatever.

The arsenal plane is invalid, solves no problems and creates a rediculous logistical footprint in your engagement scenario (how many times does a b-1 have to refuel by tanker for missions over the ME? 4 excluding loitering? Which cannot be long due to crew fatigue anyway).

The drone I was suggesting as "better" would have an operational envelope comparable to how you wanted to use the B-1s. Over the horizon stuff at high altitude and unlimited loitering.

I fail to see why you find human input without latency to be a magic game changer.

A missile is for all practical purposes an expendable drone. Factory sealed and good for 20 years.

In sum
I think you are trying to shoehorn in functionality that has no real applications as it cannot effectively compete with good old chemical energy used directly to propel and explode.

I trust I have made that clear.
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 04:02:08
Jergul:

Bases, Japan.

I think you are assuming the B1 gets much closer to the targets than I suggest.

're logistical footprint - how many drones could carry the number of air to air missiles a b1 could?

Where are those drones operating from?

jergul
large member
Thu May 17 04:19:49
Seb
To the ME? Anyways, the B1s are based in the US. I am not sure rebasing to Japan is politically feasible due to Japanese sensibilities.

B1s@"over the horizon stuff at high altitude"

24-48 I imagine. They are operating from factory sealed cylinders on the ground.
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 04:32:31
jergul:

Taiwan is the scenario. Not really sure why we are talking ME. You asked where the fighters are deploying from - the B1 in an arsenal concept isn't a fighter. It deploys from where AWACS and Tankers are deploying fromv - or from the US. Doesn't really matter hugely. And potentially, doesn't need to be manned either. BIG drone.



"24-48 I imagine. They are operating from factory sealed cylinders on the ground."

They'd be smaller if converted for air launch. But in context that's one B1 = 6 F22s or 24 F35s. Drones are probably going to carry something like 6 missiles too.

And the missiles a B1 carries are likely to be bigger, faster, longer range, carry better sensor packages and be more manoeuvrable.

The arsenal concept has legs.



jergul
large member
Thu May 17 05:16:39
Seb
It is really hard to compete with the simplicity of factory sealed missiles deployed on a surface combatants.

Yes, I said big drone when I dropped the mic. But that is laser and battery stuff (to take full advantage of unlimited loitering, you need unlimited power supplies to give both loitering and weapons).

But surface combatants can potentially have it all (13000 ton surface combatant):

1x laser
2x4xshort SAM (48 reloads)
2x2xshort surface (12 reloads)
2xgatling system
24xmedium SAM (0 reloads)
24xlong (terminal ABM) SAM (0 reloads)
64xlong surface (0 reloads)

Multiple powerful electronic suits
Stealth features
Decoy systems
28 day loitering capability
800 million unit cost

Or something like that. Within reach (see pantsyr-M, Type 055 destroyer, and imagine laser reverse engineering/patent theft).

Twice the unit cost of a B1 and far, far superior.

The fundamental problem is force projection without defense in depth.
jergul
large member
Thu May 17 05:17:59
Remembering that missiles = expendible drones.
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 07:08:27
Looks like fodder for diesel electric subs to me!

Where does it get situational awareness from if no maratime patrol or awacs?
Am not convinced - I think planes will be needed to create the space for these things to operate.
jergul
large member
Thu May 17 07:27:54
Seb
The Babel class was decommissioned in 1990. You could use plural as Taiwan has exactly 2 30 year old diesel submarines. China is blocking fleet renewal politically.

So you would mean nuclear attack submarines. At a 2.6 billion cost per unit. For expendible surface and submarine assets countering the nuclear attack submarines, see: Chinese Navy.

Battle groups of that type would have the usual support. Its the advantage of defence in depth. China can push the operational envelope and the US cannot. Not over Taiwan.
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 10:35:22
jergul:

ER, I thought you were suggesting blue team surface ships as an alternative to aircraft, which I think will be destroyed by red teams considerably larger fleet of diesel electric subs.
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 10:45:23
If you are merely introducing these surface combatants as another layer of anti access/area denial, well the whole point of having this fighter battle is to secure enough access to be using air to surface weaponry on the targets.

Standoff ranges from which our bomb trucks, awacs etc. are operating a few hundred km away from the platforms with long range air defence missiles.

And as pointed out, it's asymmetric. Planes have longer effective laser engagement ranges than ships.

So 300 km away or so from your picket line is where my bombers and strike fighters will be launching anti ship missiles that drop rapidly to sea level as they approach targets.

Between your picket line and me is your fighter screens. So in practice what happens is my AWACS and tankers and arsenal planes aproach the edge of your air defence envelope - my stealth fighters and drones move in to target your fighter screens. I am using my arsenal planes to give me extra punch, and if you are making a suicide dash, drone swarm or saturation attack against my assets at the edge of your surface based air defence envelope, I am likely to defeat you and my big slow lumbering assets have lasers to help defend themselves.

Having dispatched your fighters my maritime patrol and surface attack move in to stand off range against the ships.

I am again imagining something like arsenal planes to launch *lots* of simultaneous anti ship missiles or swarms (see the gremlin concept) at your 15000 ton destroyers to overwhelm air defences.



Seb
Member
Thu May 17 10:48:00
Only once I've taken out your surface combatants can I think about mounting a second wave of attacks aimed at doing the same to land based defences.

What's the point of the stealth fighters?

Providing situational awareness and directing the battle in an environment where we should assume a very hostile electronic environment.
jergul
large member
Thu May 17 10:51:59
Seb
Right.

Lets see.

Attack submarine pickets protecting an Aegis flotilla (mutual support) to create a secure area of operation for US aircraft to the north-east of Taiwan and extending to Okinawa by default. So a carrier group between Oki and the Aegis flotilla (mutual support again).

Yah, that would work. The Chinese would secure the crossing.

So a hit-and-run scirmishing. 1% attrition per day - mostly through mission kills in the case of vessels at least (ships damaged, but not sunk).

It would boil down to a moral fiber thing. Who would be willing to sustain losses the longest.
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 11:02:07
jergul:

"The Chinese would secure the crossing."

I'm not sure they would.

If you've got stealthy assets that can see and target the ships, and the ability to deploy lots of anti-ship missiles from stand off ranges, it would be quite easy to kill lots of transport ships even if the overall airspace is highly contested.

I assume China wouldn't consider crossing until it has secured air superiority, not least because once they've crossed over, if they later lose control of the straight that is ... very problematic for them. And I think the US could have a credible threat of doing that while only exposing only the arsenal planes to significant levels of risk.

But all of this rather depends on being able to protect AWACS, Tankers, maratime patrol and arsenal ships at a standoff range.

Hence, I think, the role of lasers.
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 11:03:18
BTW, read some more about the C130 laser cannon, and it looks to be as an air to ground weapon (not entirely clear, press reports are often wrong), in which case I concur that's deeply stupid.
jergul
large member
Thu May 17 11:21:03
Seb
I just meant securing the waters between Taiwan and China with pickets and access denial weapons so they have a nice surface area on which to deploy surface combatants.

Access denial is a better term than supremacy/superiority. Aircraft of any kind will have to shoot and scoot as there would be a profound overlap of air defense zones between the parties.

But the key would be Aegis flotilla backed up by a carrier group and Okinawa proper.

Its the only way to keep the Chinese from pushing the engagement envelope to Okinawa itself.

Its a medium intensity conflict scenario. I don't really see too many missiles getting through rabidly strong air defenses.
jergul
large member
Thu May 17 11:22:25
Does the US even send out air defence groups without a carrier attached?

It should probably updates its naval doctrines.
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 14:34:19
Jergul:

Thing is access denial can be mutual.

It's never really perfect - and the beauty of a 10 B1s launching 20-40 or so near simultaneous ascms at mach 2 at the edge of the envelope and bugging out is there is a very high probability that those things targeted will be destroyed.

What this tends to lead to is as you say attritional warfare.

It becomes quite hard for China to quickly grab the island, which means it's probably not going to be able to at all.
jergul
large member
Thu May 17 15:04:53
Seb
It was mutual in the scenario I was describing:

"Access denial is a better term than supremacy/superiority. Aircraft of any kind will have to shoot and scoot as there would be a profound overlap of air defense zones between the parties."

Sorry if I expressed it in a clumsy way.

It would lead to attrition warfare.

I find Taiwan's defensive posture credible in sense that it could probably hold off an invasion for several weeks to a month before its potential was degraded to allow for safe passage.

Chinese procurement is not geared to blitzing Taiwan.

I think they figure China can bear attrition better than its counterparts and whatever policy that triggered the conflict would be reversed under threat of invasion and thus remove the actual need for boots on the ground.

I think China figures right, but would be able to invade eventually in any event short of serious escalation that would render the matter moot.

Seb
Member
Fri May 18 04:05:23
In that case we broadly agree, but I hope you see the utility now in the capabilities I'm talking about which make it viable for the US to deter a Chinese invasion in the near future, whereas it will be far harder to do so without them given China's trends.

Basically there aren't enough F22s and places to base them, and even at standoff range, key enablers like tankers, EW, AWACS etc are too vulnerable.
jergul
large member
Fri May 18 04:25:31
Seb
I envision naval power creating the space key enablers need in that scenario. Ships are far better platforms. I can imagine laser armed drones being part of that space protection force, but in a supplemental way.

Our disagreement rested mostly on the b1s suitability.

China is mostly concerned with deterring Taiwan from making poor policy choices anyway. Attacking the island would be incredibly disruptive (key electronic components cannot be easily replaced at volume if Taiwanese production stops for any reason).
show deleted posts

Your Name:
Your Password:
Your Message:
Bookmark and Share