Have Bombers become obsolete in Modern warfare?

Discussion in 'Military Aviation' started by A.V., May 4, 2009.

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Have bombers become obsolete in modern warfare?

  1. Bombers are still needed

    78 vote(s)
    66.1%
  2. Dedicated bombers not needed

    34 vote(s)
    28.8%
  3. Can't say

    6 vote(s)
    5.1%
  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    With the advent of multiple role fighter aircrafts and advanced missile system has the fighter-bombers become unnecessary in present day warfare?

     
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  3. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    It's a tricky question, need for dedicated bombers arise depending upon individual military ORBAT. If the military in question have global ambitions then it bombers do serve the purpose to some extent otherwise they are hanger queens :)
     
  4. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

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    IMO bombers are still needed as bombers can neutralize enemy's ground forces and defence system in a way no multi-role or CAS a/c can do. Just think what terror a B-52 or B-2 can cause in enemy ground forces! Because actual war is never over with air-dominance only.
     
  5. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    JP if you don't have air dominance then how can you go ahead with bombing? Don't you think a bomber will be a sitting duck in a hostile air space?
     
  6. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    i feel when there is a war between more or less equal capabilities bombers have a minor role with the advanced air -defence systems its only mighty capable when one force has an air -dominance over the other the best option to neutralize ground assets would be cruise missiles with gps navigated guidance system for accurate missions
     
  7. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

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    Nitesh, i didn't mean it that way. What I meant is AFTER one gets complete air-dominance, which I think is the priority of every armed forces in a war, the bombers could play the vital role of smashing enemy ground troops.
     
  8. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

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    Invi, cruise missiles are expensive and are feasible only for high-value targets, when bombers could use dumb-bombs to shatter dug-in enemy or enemy defence line. But it is alao true true that in a battle between more or less equal forces, where complete air-dominance is not likely to happen for either side, using bombers are not feasible.
     
  9. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Why would you be bothered about SAMS when you are not going to be picked up on RADAR? Yes one F-117 was shot down, but give me an instance of the B-2 being shot down.
    Bombers have their own place. Missiles were around 50 years back as well, but still that did not prevent the US and the USSR from coming up with bombers. Why would the US spend $2billion each on something that it does not find useful?
     
  10. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    JP it all comes down to the cost, you can use a multi role fighter both for obtaining air dominance and then one it is achieved to bomb the $hit out of enemy. Take an example of our MKI. What would you prefer for IAF 2 more squadron of MKI or 7-8 dedicated bombers? Hope this clarifies.
     
  11. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Missiles of today are way ahead missiles of 50 years back now they are smarter and assisted by GPS so they can hit accurately moreover they can be made in numbers and no human life is invovled. The mass up of bombers was precisely due to inaccuracy of missiles. Any competent air force which can put planes in air will be able to shoot down the bomber agreed they are stealth but it is not impossible to detect them. Once detected it is game over.
     
  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Its horses for courses. All boils down to you doctrine and amount of money you have. The only country maintaining dedicated bombers in large numbers is the US as it sees the need for it and also has the money to make,operate and maintain. It can afford to keep all options open.
     
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  13. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Though I am in favour of the Bombers and love to see them , I think in the advent of the modern fighters and especially 5th Gen Fighters being developed , the Bomber's role becoming quiet less important, i.e. only required when total Air Superiority achieved. I think that the 5th Gen . Fighters can target the Bombers effectively.

    Regards
     
  14. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Bombers are effective city busters. The bombing raids of London by the Luftwaffe during WWII and that of Berlin near the end of the war come to mind. Such bombing runs in today's world, are neither looked upon favourably by the international community, nor are required for strategic purposes. Imagine if the USAF had used B-52s to carpet bomb Iraqi cities in Gulf War 2, the world community would have been up in arms. In an India-Pak scenario though, more than the B-52, the A-10 would be an excellent addition to the Indian forces. The A-10 (escorted by fighter aircraft) could be used to provide close combat support to advancing Indian tank columns against Pakistani armour columns.
     
  15. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Stealth Bombers are needed, the Starofortress is a dead duck if it enters the airspace of an enemy with advanced SAMs etc. We have seen the Russian bombers being shot down in Georgia by the S300s. I wouldnt trust a conventional bomber, but a Stealthy one, I am all for.
     
  16. Su-47

    Su-47 Regular Member

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    Bombers are more of a prestige weapon with demoralising capability these days. The F-16 can deliver most munitions the B-1 Lancer can, and can also engage aerial targets. If you put cost into the perspective, one B-1 Lancer costs nearly as much as 4 F-16 Block 60s. 4 F-16s can carry the same bomb load as 1 B-1 Lancer, AND dominate the skies.

    The bomber is useful only when a fighter can't perform a certain function. Eg, carrying long range air-launched cruise missiles that are too heavy for the fighters.

    I don't think the bomber is obsolete. Just that its importance has reduced. Much like the rail network in USA that lost most of its importance with the advent of cars and aircraft.
     
  17. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    I agree with you Su - 47 , a Bomber is a costly to maintain, and also I think as City basters surface to surface missiles can do the job.

    Regards
     
  18. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    I think the distinction between modern fighter-bombers, dedicated bombers and dedicated strike aircraft has all but become obfuscated. The reason being that most modern fighter aircraft are configured and optimised to bomb, despite their primary function as aerial combat aircraft. It became apparent as early as the 1960's that altitudes of 50,000+ feet previously considered 'safe' were fairly easily targetable by surface-to-air missiles. In response, bombers- that were heretofore designed to fly at higher altitudes than strike aircraft, which, alongwith their range, was their one singular advantage over strike aircraft- were reconfigured to fly at lower altitudes, compensating instead through the advantages of aerodynamic, propulsion, radar and electronic advances of the Cold War period. But it is also true that low-level attack and bomber aircraft make for vulnerable air superiority fighter targets. Therefore one solution has compounded itself into another problem- as it usually does in the never-ceasing quest for technological superiority. The only pertinent distinction I think one can make is on the subject of range- where strike aircraft are usually limited to theater missions in the immediate vicinity of combat, bombers typically have a longer range capable of deep penetration and target strikes further within the interior of enemy territory- but even that disctinction becomes obnubilated with developments like mid-air refuelling and drop tanks.


    Ofcourse, stealth technologies including pyramid-shaped fuselages, carbon-fibre composites, 'hidden' ordnance and fuselages, non-emitting navigational techniques like inertial guidance, heavily swept wings and flush instakes and exhausts change the equation somewhat. But these have led to problems of their own- in the form of significantly lower payloads as a result of internal ordnance, aerodynamic and operational non-optimization because of mitigating structures and surfaces as compared to their conventional counterparts, and the removal of after-burner engines (to minimize detection in the infrared spectrum) that render the aircraft incapable of supersonic flight. Stealth technologies for bomber aircraft are still in their infancy however, and if anything is to redeem them from their obsolescence it will be advances in these.
     
  19. Su-47

    Su-47 Regular Member

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    Making and maintaining a stealth bomber is much more expensive than making and maintaining half a squadron of top of the line stealth fighters. lets take the F-22 and the B-2. The former costs around $339m or so a piece whereas the B-2 costs around $2.1 billion (Research and development costs taken into account) . The F-22 is supposed to be easy to maintain and can fly 2-3 sorties a day, whereas the B-2 is expensive and can fly only once a day, tops. Thanks to Mid-air refuelling, the F-22 can go nearly anywhere the B-2 can.

    One B-2 costs as much as around 6 F-22s. B-2 can carry around 50 000 lbs of ordnance to a distance of about 11,100 kms. F-22 can carry around 2000lbs of ordnance internally, and around 5000 lbs externally (stealth is compromised when carrying external ordnance) and go up to 2,960 kms on two external fuel tanks. B-2 is subsonic and has no air to air capabilities, whereas the F-22 can supercruise at Mach 1.82 and achieve a top speed of mach 2.25, and is almost invincible in the air-to-air role.

    So basically, 6 F-22s can rule the sky, and deliver up to 42 000 lbs of ordnance at a faster speed than a B-2. They can also fly much more frequently than B-2. However, the B-2 is more useful than 6 F-22s when a lot of ordnance has to be delivered on targets that have to be approached stealthily, and when targets are far away and mid-air refueling is not possible.

    But when it comes to delivering a few bombs on targets as soon as possible, the F-22 completely outshines the B-2. Since most of today's combat is very dynamic, this CAS role is becoming more important, making strike fighters more useful than bombers.

    F-22 Raptor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    B-2 Spirit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  20. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well analysed, mostly agree. But how on earth did you arrive at the figure of 42,000 lbs of ordnance for six F-22's?

    Also, the B-2 is a first-generation stealth bomber, and since then there have been significant improvements in stealth technology: for instance on the F-22 which is capable of supersonic speeds without afterburning (removed on first-generation bombers to minimize infra-red detection). And it is not inconceivable that these will be applied to bombers in future as well. Infact, there is already evidence of synthetic fuel blends and petroleum gases being used to power bombers like the B1b Lancer to supersonic speeds. See for instance: http://www.armedforces-int.com/news...-bomber-in-supersonic-synthetic-fuel-test.asp

    The 50,000 lbs of ordnance on the B-2 is also concomitant of internal ordnance and fuselage, and the single most important advantage of the B-2 over the F-22 remains range, as your own analysis would suggest. (Besides, a B-2 is also capable of aerial refueling to enable intercontinental sorties).
     
  21. Su-47

    Su-47 Regular Member

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    2000 lb internal storage + 5000lb external storage (Total of 7000 lbs) per F-22. 7000 X 6 =42,000 lbs.

    A future stealth bomber is not in the charts right now. Most nations today are trying to build stealthy 5th gen fighters and stealth UCAVs. Even supersonic stealth bombers are still not capable of multirole, and thats their biggest weakness. They have low sortie rates and are plagued by the same weaknesses of most bombers, the inability to clear the skies of enemy aircraft.

    Intercontinental strikes are losing their importance with the advent of ballistic missiles, and more importantly, long-range cruise missiles. An Ohio-class SSBN armed with Tomohawk missiles can deliver precision strikes with much less risk and higher chance of success.
     

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