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Luftfahrt - Neue LRS-B Bomber Generation mit B-21 für USAF

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3.02.2015

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Northrop neckt mit Werbung für Neue Bomber Generation

The ad shows the company's legacy of building flying wings, first with the YB-35 prototype from the 1940s, then the B-2 Spirit bomber developed in the 1980s and finally the X-47B unmanned system being developed for the Navy. And then ... another flying wing shape, covered in a sheet.
Text wise, it's a simple ad with almost no voice over. "Building aircraft, the likes of which the world has never seen before," the narrator intones. "This is what we do."
But for anyone tangentially aware of the LRS-B program, the implications are clear: we're Northrop, and we know how to make a new bomber. 
It's not the first time Northrop has teased a TV audience with a new design. This ad has been running in the DC area for several months, and follows a similar pattern: showing the history of the company before ending with a hint of its future.
Keep an eye out for the ad and let us know when you see it.
Quelle: DefenseNews
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Update: 8.05.2015
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Fixed price for LRS-B
The boss of USAF acquisition William LaPlante spoke at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 19 and indicated that the forthcoming Long Range Strike - Bomber (LRS-B) will be structured for a fixed-price production phase. Fixed-price contracts have tended to be associated with mature programs where cost implications are well understood thorough knowledge of development phases. While the competitors Lockheed Martin/Boeing and Northrop Grumman will have spent a considerable amount of time and money on their respective bids, and with a development phase planned to start following contract award, it suggests that the respective bids will be based on fairly mature technology and research. In an interview with Air Force Magazine last year, Mr LaPlante said the LRS-B would not be chosen based on drawings alone but by evaluating 'variants ... of technical articles; ... prototypes, if you want to call it.' This indicates that both parties may well have technology demonstrators that are already flying...
USAF has said it plans to decide the winner of the LRS-B competition in June.
Quelle: COMBAT AIRCRAFT
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Update: 7.04.2016
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New B-21 Stealth Bomber Revealed
An artist rendering unveiled by the US Air Force.
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The US Air Force has unveiled a rendering of the new Long Range Strike Bomber and revealed its official designation, B-21.
Secretary Deborah Lee James revealed an image of how the B-21 could look, as well as its designation, at the Air Warfare Symposium.
The Secretary shared a concept design of the next-generation bomber, which will be built by Northrop Grumman. She also announced the aircrafts long-awaited designation, calling it the B-21.
It is understood that service members will be given an opportunity to help name the bomber in the near future.
Secretary Deborah Lee James said:
“So we have an image, we have a designation, but what we don’t yet have, we don’t yet have a name and this is where I’m challenging and I’m calling on every airman today, to give us your best suggestions for a name for the B-21, America’s newest bomber.”
The USAF first revealed last year that the LRS-B’s development was much further along than had been publicly acknowledged and more than usual before a contract award. Final requirements had been finalised since May 2013.
The USAF plans to purchase 80 to 100 aircraft at a cost of $550 million each. The aircraft will be a long-range strategic bomber, intended to be a large-payload stealth aircraft capable of carrying thermonuclear weapons.
Quelle: UK Defense
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Update: 21.12.2017
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Northrop-Orbital: A Sound Merger In Law And Policy

Wall Street investors and Wall Street analysts, along with the Department of Justice, are pondering Disney’s massive acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox, a consolidation that may reshape the entertainment industry landscape.

While defense mergers rarely involve anyone’s favorite movies and are financial dwarves compared to ones like 21st Century Fox and Disney, they remain crucial because of their importance to national security. The recent announcement by Northrop Grumman that it intends to acquire Orbital ATK, a proposal currently going through the formal government approval process, is a case in point.

Recent acquisition history suggests that a merger bringing together the right partners can generate innovative products and field them faster — an outcome presently being emphasized within the Pentagon. The right match — irrespective of the size of the companies — can bring together advanced technologies, concepts, and capabilities to meet future demands in new ways, and successfully get them to market. Smaller companies often struggle to meet the scale of the military customers’ needs and the customer’s operational urgency.

In this light, the pending Northrop Grumman-Orbital deal appears to make enormous sense to defense customers. Their product lines are complementary and, the proposed combination of the two companies’ competencies brings the potential to accelerate the development and fielding of new innovative capabilities in critical global security domains.  This agility generates new competitiveness, and offers more affordable options in the defense marketplace. The combination of Northrop Grumman and Orbital will enhance competition in many areas, including space, missile defense, and tactical/precision-guided missiles.

Today’s national defense industrial base is quite different from the one that existed just twenty-five years ago when then Deputy Defense Secretary William Perry convened a group of defense industry CEOs at the Pentagon for an event widely known as “the last supper.” With the Cold War over, Perry – an unusual combination of scientist, visionary, and defense intellectual – told his dinner guests that the Pentagon’s modernization accounts would be greatly reduced in the coming years.  As a result, the industry would have to significantly consolidate.

What followed was a five-year frenzy of consolidations that according to noted industry analyst Pierre Chao compressed 107 companies into five.  In later years, Perry would suggest that he was not seeking a smaller industrial base, but one that was leaner and more efficient, capable of stimulating innovative capabilities and quickly and economically delivering them to the warfighter.

In the case of the acquisition by Northrop Grumman of Orbital ATK, such innovation and economic efficiency is exactly what he had in mind.

Orbital ATK is itself the result of a recent merger. It was formed in February 2015 from the combination of Orbital Sciences Corporation with portions of Alliant Techsystems.  The combined company produces a product array including launch vehicles, solid-fuel boosters, small and medium satellites performing numerous missions, and various types of munitions including sophisticated precision weapons.

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B-21 Raider artist rendering

Northrop Grumman is now hard at work on the B-21, a successor aircraft to the B-2, and the company now boasts a major presence in defense electronics, large satellites, advanced sensors, cyber expertise, and command and control capabilities. In other words, the personalities of the two companies are identical and their product lines complementary.

The post-Cold War consolidation of the defense industrial base occurred both vertically and horizontally, with the strategic goals of synergy, increased investment capital, more market influence, and greater economies of scale. Northrop Grumman emerged from those consolidations as one of the remaining major defense companies. While those past consolidations made good business sense in a monopsonistic market wrestling with declining resources, and it remains clear that the government will not allow mergers that threaten to create monopolies in any critical defense sector, fully securing the promise of lean manufacturing and management demands further consolidation.

Why? Because smaller companies that are known for innovation often find it difficult to navigate the complex demands of government acquisition and congressional appropriations, and staffing themselves to do so often sacrifices the desired leanness that leads to the cost-efficiency the government needs in an era of constrained modernization accounts.

The Northrop Grumman-Orbital combination should provide the government with a company that can accelerate the fielding of new products and mission capabilities and compete in new markets, thus driving down cost and increasing capability. This smart approach to consolidation in the defense industry is a win for American taxpayers as well as our military forces.  It is also fully consistent with the vision Secretary Perry unveiled at that “last supper” a quarter century ago.

M. Thomas Davis is senior fellow at the National Defense Industrial Association and the Forrestal-Richardson Defense Industry Chair at the Defense Acquisition University.  A former General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman employee he is not engaged in any consulting work for the companies involved. The views expressed here are his alone and do not reflect any institutional views.

Quelle: BREAKING DEFENSE

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Update: 10.03.2018

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Now We Know Where the B-21 Secret Stealth Bomber Will Be Tested

Edwards AFB in California is gearing up to host the clandestine project.

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Thanks to some new reporting by The Drive, we know that the long testing and development program for the B-21 stealth fighter will happen at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Brigadier General Carl Schaefer of 412th Test Wing at Edwards quietly snuck in the announcement over the weekend.

The project to build a successor to the B-2 Spirit was originally called just the Long Range Striker Bomber. Then Northrop Grumman won the contract and announced in 2016 it would be called the B-21 Raider. Since then we've been waiting for more concrete news about the plane's development schedule, and hearing rumors circulating that the clandestine project was flight testing at Area 51.

Tyler Rogoway at The Drive says:

The last time I was at Edwards, roughly five years ago, it was clear that the South Base installation was undergoing a major transition. The USAF's B-52 and B-1 bomber test units had relocated to the expansive primary apron and South Base had been vacated, aside from the B-2 test unit, so that it could be prepared for a shadowy new program.

Edwards makes sense for this project, as the B-2 was also tested here and Northrop just added a million square feet of space to its Plant 42 factory, which is located just 20 miles away. The B-21 still has years of testing ahead of it, both on the ground and in the air. But this bit of news means we're that much closer to an official rollout of the Raider.

Quelle: PM

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B-21 Raider Officially Heading To Edwards Air Force Base For Testing

The commander of the 412th Test Wing made the official proclamation at a local business conference, and teased that testing would begin soon.

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There has been endless speculation over the past five years as to where America's next stealth bomber would be tested and when. That conjecture was officially put to rest during a fairly obscure regional business conference attended by Brigadier General Carl Schaefer, the boss of the expansive 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base. During his remarks he made it clear that B-21's testing home would be Edwards Air Force Base, and that the stealth bomber will be heading there sooner than some may have speculated.

In his address made on March 3rd, 2018 at the Antelope Valley Board of Trade and Business Outlook Conference, which was covered closely by the Antelope Valley Press, General Schaefer made the B-21's future basing crystal clear once and for all:

"For the first time ever, I would like to publicly announce that the B-21 will be tested at Edwards Air Force Base... Edwards has been the home of bomber test and now we also can publicly release that the B-21 is coming to Edwards and we will be testing it here in the near future."

Shaefer went on to say that team Edwards will ramp up its push to ready infrastructure and personnel needed to support the B-21 test initiative, both on the ground and in the air.

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The last time I was at Edwards, roughly five years ago, it was clear that the South Base installation was undergoing a major transition. The USAF's B-52 and B-1 bomber test units had relocated to the expansive primary apron and South Base had been vacated, aside from the B-2 test unit, so that it could be prepared for a shadowy new program. 

Not long after my visit similar rumors began to permeate throughout military aviation community—something big was coming to South Base, and it was probably the yet to be named B-21 Raider, previously referred to as the Long-Range Strike Bomber, or LRS-B. It was possible that it could eventually be accompanied by a "family" of new systems that were supposedly in the works clandestinely to gain an upper hand on peer state competitors that had been closing the qualitative gap with the U.S. in recent years. 

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Fast forward half a decade and that bomber, now fully named but still highly classified, is moving toward a grand unveiling and the beginning of a formal flight test program. And there is no place on earth with more experience or the unique capabilities needed to support such an endeavor than Edwards AFB. 

Still, some pundits have tried to align virtually anything going on at Area 51with the new bomber, even though there is no indication that the highly secretive locale is its intended primary flight test destination. We have a good idea that past technology demonstrators and other assets associated with the bomber program's genesis likely flew out of there, but for the B-21, "The Ranch"is only likely to be a temporary destination for some testing purposes, just as it was for the B-2 Spirit. 

Such a testing effort will not be transient in nature, either. Beyond primary flight testing and eventually moving the new bomber into an operational test and evaluation phase, with a minimum requirement of 100 Raiders, and considering that the aircraft will be far more capable and flexible than a traditional bomber, and will feature entirely new weapons as well, testing is likely to continue at the base for decades following the jet's initial entry into service. 

b-2-edwardsafb

The B-21's planned trials at Edwards Air Force Base is in addition to Northrop Grumman's expansion of its facilities by a million square feet and its workforce by nearly 2,000 people at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California—located just 20 miles to the southwest of Edwards AFB. With the program likely to cost nearly $100B, and possibly much more if the USAF's ends up buying additional units, the B-21 enterprise will be a massive boon for the local "flight test valley" economy. 

But the big takeaway here is not just that the B-21 will indeed execute its test program out of Edwards AFB, but that it will be rolling out of the shadows to do so soon, at least according to the 412th Test Wing's boss. And this would make some sense timeline-wise as initial testing of pre-production airframes will likely take nearly half a decade before production can begin. This vibes with the basic timeline as we understand it, in which the B-21 will replace both the B-1B and B-2A in active service, an initiative that will start in the mid 2020s and roll through the middle part of the 2030s.

Rollout of the new bomber, or visual disclosure in some meaningful manner beyond a very basic and detail-lacking piece of concept art, will be one of the biggest aviation and military technology stories of the decade. It's exciting to think that we may be finally on the precipice of such an event.

It's worth noting that the 30th anniversary of the B-2 Spirit's rollout will occur on November 22nd, 2018. That date surely presents an opportune time to do the same for the B-2's successor and Northrop Grumman's second shot at constructing a flying-wing stealth bomber.

 

Considering how much the company and the USAF know now as compared to in 1988, I don't think anyone will be disappointed when the B-21 finally breaks its cover and takes up its throne as the world's most advanced combat aircraft. 

Quelle: TheDrive

 

 


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