Author Topic: Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box"... - The Drive  (Read 742 times)

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Offline Dimsum

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Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box"... - The Drive
« on: April 22, 2020, 18:29:14 »
Pretty awesome idea, although I can see some envy from the bomber folks when transport pilots start launching stand-off weapons   :nod:

Quote
Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box" To Rapidly Turn Airlifters Into Flying Weapon Trucks

A palletized munition system would allow the Air Force to turn its cargo aircraft into low-cost strike platforms.
BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK
APRIL 17, 2020

he U.S. Air Force is looking into conducting experiments involving palletized dispensers for stand-off munitions that could rapidly turn airlifters, such as the C-130 Hercules or the C-17 Globemaster III, into heavily armed weapons trucks. This could offer a relatively low-cost and low-risk path toward increasing the service's capacity to launch large scale strikes across a broad area during a major conflict.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) first announced it was interested in gathering information on existing palletized munition concepts or proposed for new designs in February 2020. AFRL's Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office, or SDPE, said it was looking for information on "potential availability ... [of] systems suitable to support prototype experimentation" in both "ground and flight tests."

"The ability to mass firepower in future conflicts increases the range of OPLAN execution options against peer adversaries. Delivering standoff type weapons in mass, from non-traditional delivery platforms, is one potential option to deliver mass firepower and could prove pivotal in future conflicts," SPDE's February request for information explained. "The concept of 'a bomb bay in a box,' where mobility aircraft air drop multiple, independent munitions from outside of a threat area could augment traditional delivery methods."

The contracting notice does not specify a particular type of aircraft, but does say the "concept seeks to capitalize on current airlift capability to increase delivery of massed firepower." Proposed designs also have to employ a "roll-on-roll-off deployment design (i.e. palletized options)" and use "use conventional airdrop infrastructure/techniques" indicating that munitions would exit the aircraft via a rear ramp. The Air Force's primarily airlifters at present are the C-130 and the C-17, both of which have a rear ramp and would ideal candidates to carry such a system. Any system that works on both of those aircraft would also be able to be utilized in conjunction with the larger C-5 Galaxy, if desired, as well.

[More at link]

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/33049/air-force-looks-to-turn-its-cargo-planes-into-bombers?fbclid=IwAR0BoHN-jcUhLvxfnuGHBZI3R_y3U2gjNOkpwugQqaiisiB44EueWqqF3s8
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box"... - The Drive
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2020, 23:30:28 »
So your going to risk your irreplaceable airlift to drop bombs and likley in a hostile environment? Yea! Now to have a airliner based bomb truck with long loiter time to support COIN ops, then yes.

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box"... - The Drive
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2020, 06:50:14 »
When I was very, very young, in the post-Second World War period, I read an article in an old magazine, maybe Popular Science or Popular Mechanics - proposing that the USAAF use transports to supplement its heavy bomber fleet. The transports would be included in the bomber formations, and drop when the bombers began to release their loads. According to the author, the defensive firepower on the bombers would prevent the Luftwaffe fighters from attacking the transports.

Events proved this was a wildly fanciful concept.

Offline Brihard

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Re: Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box"... - The Drive
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2020, 07:48:04 »
So your going to risk your irreplaceable airlift to drop bombs and likley in a hostile environment? Yea! Now to have a airliner based bomb truck with long loiter time to support COIN ops, then yes.

It's referencing standoff wepaons. So presumably something they can punt out the back ramp that will then launch off a pallet or something and cruise to a target. Not sure what's in the inventory that would be amenable to that.
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Offline FSTO

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Re: Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box"... - The Drive
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2020, 08:09:12 »
Events proved this was a wildly fanciful concept.

Like many Air Force concepts. (sarcasm......somewhat)

Offline Dimsum

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Re: Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box"... - The Drive
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2020, 10:54:18 »
So your going to risk your irreplaceable airlift to drop bombs and likley in a hostile environment? Yea! Now to have a airliner based bomb truck with long loiter time to support COIN ops, then yes.

My guess is as Brihard said, to roll off stand-off weapons (not precision guided bombs) so the transports aren't anywhere near the hostile area.  Current weapons like the JASSM-ER have an unclas range of almost 1000km, so the launch platform can be safely within protected airspace. 

They won't have any means of targeting anyway so they're relying on third-party targeting; RPAs/satellites/other manned aircraft being the sensor, and the transport being the shooter. 
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box"... - The Drive
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2020, 14:25:19 »
What no barrel bombs?