http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...etire-b-2-and-b-1-bombers-early-is-a-good-one TYLER ROGOWAY USAF's Controversial New Plan To Retire B-2 And B-1 Bombers Early Is A Good One
Автор (широко известный в узких кругах) обсуждает планы ВВС США снять с вооружения бомбардировщики B-2 и B-1B к середине 2030-х годов - сразу же, как только в войсках будет сколько-нибудь освоен B-21. При этом старикан B-52 должен остаться на какое-то время в строю.
...this plan will open up funds for the B-52H to get some serious upgrades, most important of which are brand new engines that will not only make the jet more reliable and economical to fly, but will also unlock new payload, range, and airfield performance potential. Paired with a new AESA radar and the upcoming long-range standoff (LRSO) stealthy cruise missile that will probably end up having a conventional capability as well as a nuclear one, the BUFF will remain an incredibly flexible weapons truck for decades to come.
According to the Air Force Magazine, the maintenance hours per flying hour for the three current bombers in the fleet are:
74 hours for the B-1B,
45 hours for the B-2A, but that doesn't count the time it takes to keep up its low-observable skin, so it is much higher in reality.
62 hours for the B-52H
But what's most telling are the availability (aircraft can fly) and mission capable rates (aircraft can fly with all combat systems functional) of each platform, with the oldest of the lot far outperforming its peers:
B-52H averaged an availability rate of 80 percent over the last five years.
B-1B and B-2A averaged about 50 percent availability.
B-1B averaged about 40 percent mission capable rate.
B-2A averaged about 35 percent mission capable rate.
B-52H averaged 60 percent mission capable rate.
Cost per flying hour for each type are:
B-1B and B-52H averaged around $70k per hour
B-2 averaged between $110k-150k per hour and is one of the USAF's most expensive aircraft to operate
The choice between the B-52H and the B-1B based just on these basic metrics alone is fairly clear, not to mention the B-52's potential for bettering its numbers significantly with new engines and other smaller upgrades. It is hard to fault the B-2 for its low numbers because it is such a small community airframe-wise and the jets were so cutting edge at the time of production—nobody had ever built a stealth bomber before. But still, the numbers are the numbers, and the B-2 is poor performer based on these critical metrics.