Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Big Air Force Bomber News
Just read this morning that the Department of Defense has given the Air Force the green light to back out of the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS). The Navy will continue R&D on their half of the J-UCAS, the X-47A UCAV-N. The Air Force on the other hand will cut their losses and focus on the next generation strategic bomber, which will of course remain unmanned.
The Navy's X-47A: A cross between a Yugo and an F/A-18
The biggest problem with the Air Force X-45A UCAV was that it was so small. Everything in our current inventory could meet and exceed the same weapons package that this new, insanely expensive remote control toy could carry. There was really no use for something so small.
The Air Force X-45A, up on blocks and left on the street for taggers to enjoy.
It looks as though some forward thinking folks up at the Pentagon agreed with that assessment and are going to allow the Air Force to build something much more expensive, yet capable of carrying more weapons and having intercontinental range.
I still disagree with the idea that these things need to be unmanned. I'm certain that after this next generation of large unmanned combat systems comes to fruition, the decision makers are going to realize that having pilots (or monkeys as we like to call them) along for the ride is the way to go.
Stay tuned over the next few years. Things should get pretty exciting when the Air Force unveils the newest strategic bomber design to replace the B-52 fleet, which is almost due to appear on the Antiques Road Show any day now. The new design will probably look like a cross between the F-22 and the B-2. Something that would make Billy Mitchell, Curtis LeMay, and Batman proud.
posted by El Capitan at 11:10 AM
EC I disagree, some of the toys on the horizon pull so many G's that no human could survive... Tomorrows hotshot air ace will do so from thousands of klicks away in a airconned mobile home. :-)3:51 PM
Please wash your mouth out with soap. Making disparaging remarks about my favorite airframe is just plain wrong. The B-52 is the backbone of the bomber fleet. It’s still the most beautiful airplane to watch fly. Love the size, the noise, the whole package. Watched them do touch and goes at Edwards and in Guam. Brought tears to my eyes every time. After 9/11, I had this fantasy of the Buff, with the B-1 and B-2 and of course, the C-130 gunship in formation, flying low and slow across the middle east. The ultimate show of force. Before you fly types tell me that would be impossible, please remember it was a fantasy based on grief and incredible rage, not realism. Anyway, watch how you talk about the old Lady. She is awesome.
Theresa, MSgt, USAF (ret)
You're 100% right. The Buff is beautiful, and is a great baby to have. She's like a '57 Chevy Bel Air... perfect in every way, just not great to drive across the country in. Too fragile and expensive. I hope we keep her around in reserve for along time, but only if things hit the fan. She's just not up to being a front line mama.
I'm one of those dumb guys who likes having new toys.
I'll wash my mouth out, but I'm going to use Jagermeister instead of a bar of soap. I'll give a toast to the old Buff for you.
Oh, and I'm no fly type. I have opposable thumbs ;o)