General, Research, Technology

Why did the Americans turn a regular transport plane into a bomber?

For firing at ground targets for a long timespecial aircraft (bombers) were used, as well as fighters and, in modern times, drones. However, 4 years ago in the United States, they thought about developing a plane that could not only carry a large number of weapons, but also knew how to interact with other military aircraft (receive information about targets from them automatically) and even receive missile launch commands from a fighter pilot. Previously, such decisions were made directly by the pilots of the aircraft or, in the case of a drone, by the operator of a military facility. The concept was called the “flying arsenal” and the other day they have already successfully tested it in action.

B-52 bomber converted for the program "flying arsenal"

The tests were conducted by specialists of the US Air Force,who converted a conventional military transport aircraft into a bomber. During the test flight, two models of cruise missiles were dropped, while the launch took place from a fighter, which was located nearby and carried a minimum of weapons. The test flight was considered successful, and now experts plan to conduct test flights with real weapons.

New U.S. military aircraft

Because the fighter needs to staymaneuverable, due to its mass, it cannot carry a lot of heavy weapons. Whether it is a multi-ton military transport aircraft, where you can load a lot of missiles and aerial bombs. However, such an aircraft cannot perform reconnaissance functions and is much slower than a fighter. Therefore, in accordance with the “flying arsenal” project, a fighter performs the role of a “scout”, and then, noticing the enemy, provides remotely target data and signals to launch missiles through secure communication channels.

As part of the test flight, the models of cruise missiles were dropped

In the future, such planes are plannedinstall video processing systems so that they receive data from drones and sensors of other combat aircraft. Already existing B-1B Lancer and B-52H bombers, as well as C-130 or Lockheed Martin MC-130J Commando II bombers plan to remake such aircraft. From the last, a test launch of missiles at the end of May was just made.

Flight of the Valkyries

And even earlier SpaceX first launched into spacea top-secret experimental U.S. Air Force drone called the X-37B. Not only did he set a record of being in orbit, having spent 678 days there without a break, but still no one really knows (except the American government, of course) what he did there all these days. Now that SpaceX has successfully launched astronauts into space, it may receive additional military contracts.

Russian bombers vs American

Advanced technology for bombersare being developed not only in the USA, but also in Russia. So, in 2016, Russian scientists developed an engine for a space bomber! They plan to combine an airplane and a rocket engine. In parallel, the development of a new hypersonic strategic bomber, which will have wide capabilities, for example, will be able to strike from space. It is assumed that the aircraft will take off from conventional airfields, but will be able to reach anywhere on the planet in a couple of hours thanks to its spacewalk. The aircraft will weigh about 25 tons - usually attack bombers weigh so much. It was planned to make a test sample already in 2020, but so far nothing has been heard about this project.

I wonder how the USA and Russia have chosen completelydifferent ways to arm the future. If the Americans want to slightly improve conventional military transport aircraft and “help” them with the help of fighters, drones and other faster and more maneuverable aircraft, then in Russia they decided to immediately develop a fast bomber. Thus, the aircraft will not have to work in conjunction with other aircraft, it will be fast, maneuverable and will be able to bear the striking stock of firepower.