Tag Archives: B-1 Lancer

20th Century had B-1s and B-2s, but the B-21 is 21st Century

  Virg Hemphill

The USAF has decided to set aside its hi-tech B-1 Lancer and B-2 Stealth bombers for the new high-altitude, long-range stealth strike bomber, named the B-21 “Raider,” in honor of the famed General Doolittle Tokyo Raiders of WWII fame. This story is once again the result of information supplied by our Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill, at left.

This new advanced bomber clearly embodies some of the unique aerodynamic characteristics and shape of the WWII Northrup Aviation experimental Flying Wing, an airplane whose first versions were actually propeller powered.  But this new Northrup creation embodies features not even the material of dreams, when the first Flying Wings took to the air over California’s high desert.

While still a flying-wing airframe, having no vertical stabilizers or rudder, but rather a sharp squared wing, it does clearly remain true to the old Flying Wing theme, since there is no distinction between its fuselage and wing, they being one and the same overall structure.  Here are some informative videos about this new USAF transition.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announces that the B-21 bomber will be called the B-21 Raider. The name represents the historically important role the new long-range stealth bomber will lead for the next 50 years.

Assisting Secretary James on stage (immediately below) to announce the name, was one of the original Doolittle Raiders, in fact, the last living Doolittle Raider, and Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot, 101-year-old Air Force Lt. Col. (ret.), Richard Cole.

It is suggested that you view all videos below in full-screen, to appreciate the hi-resolution used. All of the clips also have full complete audio tracks.

This first short (1:39 long) video shows the official USAF announcement of the B-21’s new name:

Second, this short (7:29 long) video by “The Infographics Show:

Third, this “New Update Defence” video, 4:08 in length (There is some computerized voice used in this clip, so be prepared for some clumsy English):

 

 

The B-1, B-2, B-52 – – – What Will Be the Next U.S. Bomber?

The above video in only 1:38 long. The above video is thanks to the Northrup-Grumman Corporation.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James recently announced that the B-21 bomber will be called the B-21 Raider. The name represents the historically important role the new long-range stealth bomber will lead for the next 50 years.

The name is a tribute to the sheer bravery and grit displayed by Jimmy Doolittle and the Doolittle Raiders during World War II; and the legacy will now be carried on by future Airmen. Assisting Secretary James on stage to announce the name was one of the original Doolittle Raiders, the last living Doolittle Raider, and Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot, 101-year-old Air Force Lt. Col. (Retired) Richard Cole.

The above video is 9:10 in length and is courtesy of Warthog Defense.

If one accepts the premise that the B-21 will be powered by twin unaugmented F135 engines, one can then assume that the new bomber will be larger than a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle or General Dynamics F-111Aardvark,” but smaller than the B-1 Lancer or B-2 Spirit.

Given the types of threats from low frequency radars that are projected to be out there in the future and the limitations of current low observables materials, B-21’s subsonic flying wing design will be large enough to counter low frequency radars.

A tactical fighter-sized stealth aircraft must be optimized to defeat higher-frequency bands such the C, X and Ku bands as a simple matter of physics, but a strategic bomber like the B-2 or LRS-B can be larger to counter lower frequency radars. There is a “step change” in a stealth aircraft’s signature once the frequency wavelength exceeds a certain threshold and causes a resonant effect. Typically, that resonance occurs when a feature on an aircraft—such as a tail-fin—is less than eight times the size of a particular frequency wavelength. That means a bomber like the B-21 has to have allowances for two feet or more of radar absorbent material coatings on every surface or the designers are forced to make trades as to which frequency bands they optimize the aircraft to operate in. As such, to defeat low frequency radars operating in the L, UHF and potentially the VHF bands (this is easier said than done—and could in fact be impossible), a flying wing design is in effect, mandatory.

The above video is 10:57 long.  The new aircraft will be designed to have global reach, in part by incorporating a large arsenal of long-range weapons. The B-21 is being engineered to carry existing weapons as well as nuclear bombs and emerging and future weapons, Air Force officials explained. It if’s arsenal is anything like the B-2, it will like have an ability to drop a range of nuclear weapons, GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions and possibly even the new Air Force nuclear-armed cruise missile now in development called the LRSO – (Long Range Stand Off) weapon. It is also conceivable, although at this point it is speculation, that one day the B-21 will probably be armed with yet-to-be seen weapons technology. This information is courtesy ofUS Military Technology.”