Wednesday Highlights

Wednesday already. Imagine that.

  1. Situation or tribe?
  2. Missing the threat part, i.e., “because if you don’t people might get hurt.”
  3. Raising kids and threats to their safety.
  4. Added Vitamin D?
  5. To fixie or not fixie.
  6. Almost vegan wine.
  7. Ironic, eh?
  8. Fortunately use has more than one meaning.
  9. Moving on to the substance instead of the hand-wringing phase regarding Mr Romney’s remarks.
  10. Now here’s something to work with, I’m going to try write a bit on that tonight and come up with a series of my questions.
  11. Probability and number theory.
  12. Mr Obama continues the “its unfair when you do it” ignoring the we do it to part.
  13. Of free speech and speech codes and … actions.
  14. Caption this, err, these.
  15. Someone forgets in 1945 we were producing a major carrier every 6 weeks and a small one once per week. How long would it take to ramp up to that or could we even approach that again?

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28 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    15.Someone forgets in 1945 we were producing a major carrier every 6 weeks and a small one once per week. How long would it take to ramp up to that or could we even approach that again?

    You seem to be assuming what counted as a major carrier in 1945 = a major carrier today. Raw size alone I think the modern carrier would trump the 1945 one. In terms of actual tech, of course, you are nowhere near the two. Could we today produce huge steel ships with giant boilers for disel fuel and sufficient landing space to launch and land 1945 style fighter planes? Sure. I wouldn’t be surprised if a run of the mill large container ship uses more material than that. Would we have any useful reason to want to do that? Probably not.

  2. Boonton says:

    12.Mr Obama continues the “its unfair when you do it” ignoring the we do it to part.

    Well actually we don’t directly subsidize US auto parts or auto exports.

    It is interesting that Romney now says Obama is doing too little too late against Chinese trade….yet a few years ago in his book he bashed Obama for filing a WTO complaint against China subsidizing tire exports saying it was protectionism. This means:

    1. Romney is lying now when he claims Obama came late to the China bashing game.

    2. Romney has flip flopped going from anti-WTO complainer to pro-WTO complainer.

  3. Boonton says:

    9.Moving on to the substance instead of the hand-wringing phase regarding Mr Romney’s remarks.

    The substance IMO is that Romney is out of touch and we see a bit of explanation for the GOP’s massive incoherence. The GOP is split between elites and rubes and the elites have contempt for the rubes and are delusional about themselves.

    Romney didn’t just bash 47% of Americans not paying income tax. He classified 47% of Americans as contemptable free loaders who define themselves as victims and feel they are entitled to just about everything for free. Now he is attempting to say he just feels bad for the poor chap who doesn’t pay income tax ’cause he only makes $30K a year and has 5 kids or whatnot but the substance of his more honest words were that the ‘poor chap’ isn’t just down on his luck but is a shiftless freeloader.

    The irony is, though, that this is hardly the Democratic party anymore if it ever was. The narrative from the Democratic side is one of partnership (i.e. today you take a subsidized student loan, tomorrow you pay a slightly higher tax if you’re very successful). Hardly one of victimization (you go to college for free cause ‘the man’ kept you down!).

    The Republican Party, though, is one of entitlement seeking. How else do you evaluate ‘keep the gov’t out of my medicare!’? Like most hypocrites, they are shrill about accusing other people of their own flaws. Hence the party that gave us a massive unfunded entitlement (Medicare D) and demands even the most modest of Medicare slowdowns be returned accuses others of moral decay from entitlements. The elite of the party have nothing but contempt for the rubes who make up the rank and file hence care nothing for the truth value of their public statements and promises but themselves are totally deluded about their own value and contributions to the economy (Hermain Cain was never IMO a ‘job creator’ and notice how quickly Romney’s status as such fell apart as soon as people started to actually pick apart exactly how many jobs Bain supposedly created).

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I’m, oddly enough, aware that an Essex class (CV-9 according to wiki) of which we were producing one every 6 weeks at the end of the war is smaller and simpler than those we use today. Yet one would suspect our manufacturing expertise has improved in the last 70 years. We were producing a light escort carrier one per week. I’ll bet we still have smaller carriers or could build them if we had need.

  5. Boonton says:

    I’m sure we could eventually ramp up a production line of one such class per week, although what would our navy do with it? Could it handle launching and landing modern fighters? Would it’s non-nuclear power plant be sufficient to operate all the electronics you’d want a modern carrier to be running?

  6. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Why would it have to be non-nuclear?

  7. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Hence the party that gave us a massive unfunded entitlement (Medicare D) and demands even the most modest of Medicare slowdowns be returned accuses others of moral decay from entitlements.

    If you weren’t of the party that wasn’t even more feckless that would be interesting. However, your part is the one that has a President who pretends to criticize Mr Ryan for his budget suggestions. The same President who didn’t manage do get a single Democrat to vote for his budget proposal.

    He classified 47% of Americans as contemptable free loaders who define themselves as victims and feel they are entitled to just about everything for free.

    Hermenuetics fail.

  8. Boonton says:

    Why would it have to be non-nuclear?

    Apples to apples, you’re asking could we produce carriers at the 1945 rate today. Producing one full size modern nuclear carrier a week is not at all like producing your 1945 carrier per week.

    If you weren’t of the party that wasn’t even more feckless that would be interesting.

    Sorry funded entitlement trumps unfunded entitlement.

  9. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I’m confused why you think the complexity of the size power plant (diesel) is so much less than a nuclear one. It’s just manufacturing not magic.

    Sorry funded entitlement trumps unfunded entitlement.

    Ah, but fantasy funding is trumped by everything.

  10. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    You do realize that the modern super-carrier takes 7 years to produce? From 6 weeks to 7 years. Much of this is the difference between war time and peace time economy. The question was, in the light of mention that supersonic anti-ship weaponry might make the carrier lifetime limited … how close to 6 weeks do you expect a 21st century war time economy to cut that production time? 2 months? 4? 3 years?

  11. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Producing one full size modern nuclear carrier a week is not at all like producing your 1945 carrier per week.

    6 weeks. The 1 week time was for escort carriers which were much smaller. The big carriers were coming off the line one every 6 weeks (which is why the notion that the battle of Midway had so much impact is wrong … because the loss of 2 carriers either way wouldn’t have made much difference at the end of the war when the full US production was on line and concentrating on the Pacific war.)

  12. Boonton says:

    You’re assuming that a modern super-carrier = a WWII one. In terms of raw size alone I don’t think this is true. Just say, for the sake of argument, that in terms of mass alone a super-carrier is 3 times as large as a WWII one. Then your comparision should be not 6 weeks but 18 weeks. And then we have to add in complexity since a modern carrier is not simply 3 or 4 WWII carriers welded together.

    I’m sure we could greatly accelerate carrier construction but I wonder if a full war economy is even possible anymore? It’s difficult to see a WWII size war not getting resolved pretty quickly but nukes at some point. (I’ll leave aside the Battlestar Galactica type economy which is pretty much our tech but with mass space travel added).

    I’m thinking supersonic anti-ship weapons would not eclipse the carrier as the flagship of navies unless they cause the entire eclipse of navies themselves. How would one project force over oceans via a different ship than a carrier?

    Three possibilities I can think of off the top of my head:

    A submerged carrier with a heavy hull. Supersonic missiles get stopped by having enter the water and the heavy duty hull prevents an easy kill via depth charges. When it’s safe the craft can surface to launch air missions.

    An orbital carrier. It takes less energy for it to ‘drop’ aircraft and weapons into a battlefield than it does for a missile to rise out of the atmosphere and hit it in orbit.

    Both of these ideas, of course, work better if you have more disposable aircraft. If drones get to the point where human pilots are almost entirely phased out the size of a carrier can be dramatically changed…and taking humans out leads me too…

    Third idea, the modular ship. A huge number of dispersed pieces of a ship are spread out over the ocean. As needed they can combine on the fly into multiple different types of ships depending on need. Try to imagine a hundred aircraft taking off from the mainland US and arriving off the coast of Iran to land at an air base that just assembled itself an hour ago. After a mission is launched from there the base disperses into the ocean making it pointless to try to ‘sink’ it with a super-sonic missile. Since the modular components usually stay far apart, there’s not mucy point in trying to destroy them beforehand unless you have the resources to cover the whole region of the ocean with your forces.

  13. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Then your comparision should be not 6 weeks but 18 weeks (and 18 weeks is a far cry from 364 weeks). And then we have to add in complexity since a modern carrier is not simply 3 or 4 WWII carriers welded together.

    Right. 18 weeks … if our fabrication and assembly practices have not improved in 70 years. And complexity is a two way street. Some things are simpler, CAN (and variants) and Ethernet replace a lot of individual control wirings (consider modern plans going just recently to fly by network from individual controls wired separately to each point).

    How about scaling up 3-d printing? It’s also not clear why a drone needs a smaller landing strip … the limits of landing and airstrip sizes are not human but aerodynamics and jet engine efficiency/speed relationships.

    The problem with a submersible carrier is that typically carrier operations on today’s carriers are basically continuous. The carrier maintains a defense cap at all times.

  14. Boonton says:

    I think what’s interesting about drones is we haven’t seen what Terminator 2 predicted, a stealth bomber flown by computer rather than person. While it may still get here some day, it seems a lot easier to make drones disposable so instead of one bomber with a hundred bombs, send 50 drones with two rocket/bombs each.

    That means smaller runways and you can get very creative with how things work. The ‘carrier’ may be submerged most of the time, rise up to shoot drones into the air from a cannon like device, and then submerge while other recycling ships will have small runways to bring in returning drones and recondition them for future launches.

    The problem with a submersible carrier is that typically carrier operations on today’s carriers are basically continuous. The carrier maintains a defense cap at all times.

    What type of defensive cap? If you’re trying to control the airspace over a country (say enforce a no-fly zone), it seems like you can do it with drones and a submerging carrier. Is the ‘defensive cap’ due to the actual mission or the need to protect the expensive men and equipment on the carrier?

  15. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I know of no drones currently being used to establish air superiority. Drones operate were we *have* air superiority.

    Drones currently in use are not disposable and crashing drones all over gives part and intelligence to the enemy. When a submersible is under it has very low bandwidth communications with the surface. This may be an issue.

    Your idea of a drone carrier sounds more in line with an escort carrier of WWII.

    More drones with less payload per airframe just makes you less efficient, regarding how much ordnance you can put on target quickly.

  16. Mark says:

    Mark
    On the other hand, I wonder if a war time economy might be able to boost the size and materiel efficiency of 3-d printing technology. “Print” sections of your ship and slap ’em together robot weld and voila … question is how fast can you drive your printer and is faster than assembly for fabrication.

  17. Boonton says:

    1. There’s no special reason to think that the next step is to obtain and hold air superiority with drones.

    2. Crashing drones are an intelligence problem, but no more so than crashing planes. Since planes are usually packed with a lot more tech and a human pilot they represent a greater intelligence risk. Drones can be scaled back and set to self destruct. Their coding systems can be highly encripted to make it nearly impossible to crack even if an enemy acquires a fully functional drone.

    3. Going with the modular concept, a submerged carrier can increase bandwidth by ‘floating’ pieces on the surface. In fact, you could even make an entire runway detachable so it could float to the surface to handle take offs and landings of larger planes before returning underneath to the ‘mothership’.

    3.1 Bandwidth might become less important. If supersonic missiles make it impossible to safely use warships on the ocean surface the submerged carrier does not have to contend with an enemy navy…only other submerged ships who likewise have to contend with decreased bandwidth as well.

    4. The airframe of a manned craft is not very efficient. Take your flying fortress. For every pound of bombs it drops, how many pounds of fuel and material are required for the crew, the defensive weapons, the trip home, life support, emergancy equipment, etc.?

    On the other hand, I wonder if a war time economy might be able to boost the size and materiel efficiency of 3-d printing technology. “Print” sections of your ship and slap ‘em together robot weld and voila … question is how fast can you drive your printer and is faster than assembly for fabrication.

    Why weld together? Just make them connectable and interchangeable and you can assemble what you need on the fly.

  18. Boonton says:

    errr #1 should read that there’s no reason *not* to think the next step will be to use drones for air superiority.

    I’m thinking about big corporate headquarters circa 1960/70. You have Mega corporation holding a 100 floor skyscrapper in some city. The entire corporation is centered in the building. You have floors devoted to sending out invoices, collecting payments, marketing, legal, everything and a mail room keeping them all connected with pneumatic tubes.

    Flash forward a bit and you now have cheap telephone, internet, email and intranets. Now all in the sudden it’s possible to have customer service outsourced to a support company in India. Billing can be done out of a low cost company in Nebraska. The company now only has 5 floors of the skyscrapper and it is wondering why it is operating out of the most expensive real estate possible….

    Once you begin with the assumption that an aircraft must hold even a single human you limit possible design options dramatically. No matter what the aircraft must be a certain size to accomodate a sitting man. If it is intended to be airborn for many hours you will need to add more space for him to be able to move around. Design tolerances are likewise limited. There’s so many g-forces a human body can handle, for example. If the plane is going to fly very high you need to accomodate a pressure system…maybe even a spacesuit. You have to go down the path of something big.

    Of course that has other implications. Even in WWII where men were killed in mass, human life is expensive and pilots are harder to acquire than foot soldiers. So barring suicide missions that Japan and Germany tried, you’re going to have to design the plane to not only accomodate the pilot but provide a reasonable chance he won’t get killed. That pushes you towards designs that have to be even bigger.

    If you ‘lock in’ big as the only design option. The optimial choices are going to push your towards size. Since a bomber requires a crew of so many men, it’s more ‘efficient’ to make the bomber a bit bigger so the same crew can drop a larger number of bombs.

    What hasn’t been optimized is small because it’s always been off the table due to the need to accomodate humans. Even single man fighters have gotten bigger over time.

    So what I think is going to happen when drones really come of age is weapons are going to veer towards the small because that’s the one place that’s been radically overlooked and I think that will generate a radical change (Note that the same thing has happened with computers….when you needed vacuum tubes they were for a building…then maybe a few rooms, then a desktop, then laptop and now a phone sized tablet).

    When that happens the need for a unified massive carrier ship is going to be radically rethought. Lots of tiny ships has the advantage of being highly spread out and highly unable to take out with a single kill shot. No one particular ship will be all that important to the whole system the way no particular web server is all that important to the internet.

    Whose going to drive this change, though, is unclear. Since the US has a larger military budget than all the other nations of the world combined, there’s no candidate to have a real war with. Even China is, at most, a regional player. Without a war to actually drive the need to find better weapons, the intertia will be to stick with the previous age of weapons just like the aircraft carrier didn’t really get all that popular with navies until WWII demonstrate how superior they were to battleships.

  19. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I guess I was thinking about whether, right now, what it would take to ramp up ship construction … not with technology that’s 10-20 years out (like dog fighting drones that take on current generation fighter planes).

    China as “at most a regional player” and many other players apparently has what it takes to knock out aircraft carriers. So … either we need to make ’em fast or we need alternatives (like “unsinkable carriers” also known as air bases situated on islands).

    Right now a 7-year production cycle of a thing that can be knocked out is untenable. That’s the situation Japan found herself in in WW-II, with carrier assets she could not replace in the duration of the fight whereas the US was in a situation where carriers were replaceable assets.

    What hasn’t been optimized is small because it’s always been off the table due to the need to accomodate humans. Even single man fighters have gotten bigger over time.

    That’s also because ordnance isn’t miniturazeable, besides canon an F-22 can carry 2 1,000 lbs guided bombs. A “miniature” drone cannot carry such. A big drone can. But a big drone needs air superiority to operate, ’cause it’s vulnerable.

  20. Boonton says:

    China as “at most a regional player” and many other players apparently has what it takes to knock out aircraft carriers. So … either we need to make ‘em fast or we need alternatives (like “unsinkable carriers” also known as air bases situated on islands).

    Carriers have never been unsinkable. Torpedos and bombs and suicide pilots sunk quite a few in WWII. I’m unclear why a ‘supersonic missile’ would be any different. Doesn’t supersonic simply mean breaking the sound barrier? Plenty of fighter jets do that, that’s hardly a red carpet to easily take out a super-carrier. Keep in mind carriers these days are escorted by a whole group of ships, including ones that have anti-missile capacity.

    That’s also because ordnance isn’t miniturazeable, besides canon an F-22 can carry 2 1,000 lbs guided bombs. A “miniature” drone cannot carry such.

    You’re just talking about a larger drone. The fact that the F-22 carries humans adds probably at least a few thousand pounds in extra gear and equipment. That alone means you could probably do 4 or 5 bombs if you had an unmanned version of the F-22 and it still might be lighter and smaller than the current version!

    What drones open up, though, is the possibility of doing ten planes carrying single 100 lb bombs that can coordinate their dropping to all land on the target at exactly the same time (or staggered in a scientifically defined manner to maximize the impact). And unlike the single F-22, if two or three of them get shot down before reaching the target you still can get a decent amount of firepower onto the target.

  21. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    You’re just talking about a larger drone. The fact that the F-22 carries humans adds probably at least a few thousand pounds in extra gear and equipment. That alone means you could probably do 4 or 5 bombs if you had an unmanned version of the F-22 and it still might be lighter and smaller than the current version!

    The carrying capacity of an F-22 is 80,000 lbs. Adding a few thousand for the human isn’t such a big burden for flight time as you think.

    “Unsinkable carrier” as I tried to allude is a term that refers to a small Island. Islands are unsinkable. No Islands were sunk in WW-II or later … although perhaps some of the Bikini atoll testing sunk one.

    The point is that supersonic cruise missiles are a weapon which renders the normal screening AA fire ineffective. That’s the point. A screen of fighter jets may be able to jink in and take out a missle, but cruise missiles fly close enough to the deck as to avoid detection. That’s the point of their design.

    Plenty of fighter jets do that, that’s hardly a red carpet to easily take out a super-carrier. Keep in mind carriers these days are escorted by a whole group of ships, including ones that have anti-missile capacity.

    I’m unconvinced that smaller drones means greater airframe + fuel weight to ordnance ratios.

    How is a small drone fleet going to carry a MOB or bunker buster?

  22. Boonton says:

    The carrying capacity of an F-22 is 80,000 lbs. Adding a few thousand for the human isn’t such a big burden for flight time as you think.

    Because of ‘design lock in’. Once you have to go heavy to accomodate a person the design path shifts towards maximizing that feature. If you got one pilot and a plane with 40,000 lbs capacity, why not go to 80,000 lbs?

    You have an interesting metric here for efficiency. Two thousand lb bombs carried by an 80,000 lb plane? Out of the whole plane that takes off, how many pounds represent stuff that will get dropped or shot at an enemy and how many of those pounds will be returning home after a successful mission?

    If you look carefully at the F-22 or any plane like it, I think you’ll find a lot of its weight is due to the problem of a human pilot. Once you have a human pilot, you not only have his direct weight but you add weight to make it easier for him to defend himself, add weight to make it so the plane can perform without harming the pilot, add weight to provide an escape and rescue system for the pilot and so on.

    Why, for example, do you have the F-22’s cannon and the F-22’s bombs on one plane? why not have one plane with the cannon and another with the bombs? Becuase then the pilot wouldn’t be able to fly and control the cannon to defend himself. And if the ‘cannon plane’ was to be flown by another human you now have two people at risk and you cannot optimize the 2nd plane to just be a ‘flying cannon’. You have a limit on how small you can go with the cannon plane. Maybe it could be 30,000 lbs but that wouldn’t accomplish as much for you.

    The point is that supersonic cruise missiles are a weapon which renders the normal screening AA fire ineffective. That’s the point. A screen of fighter jets may be able to jink in and take out a missle, but cruise missiles fly close enough to the deck as to avoid detection. That’s the point of their design.

    This still seems to be a detection issue. If you can detect an incoming missile you simply have to get something in its way to stop it. I’m skeptical that cruise missiles are a ‘killer ap’ that can make the carrier useless. If they are, though, then production time for carriers becomes moot. No matter how much you ramp up production efficiencies, an enemy will still be able to make new cruise missiles faster than we can make new carriers.

    I’m unconvinced that smaller drones means greater airframe + fuel weight to ordnance ratios.

    How is a small drone fleet going to carry a MOB or bunker buster?

    Maybe it won’t, you could deliever a very heavy bomb with a ballistic missile (note you can view ICBM’s as our first type of drone. Before ICBM’s the vision of nuclear war consisted of fleets of bombers flying over the north pole).

    As for the ratio, consider first of all that just eliminating the human saves on weight and design limitations. Eliminating the human also opens up the option to have one way missions where it isn’t necessary that the plane make it back home again. Nothing says you couldn’t have drones the size of B-17 bombers.

  23. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    First a few thousand pounds of 80k were due to pilot. Now it’s stretching more and more. And you might note more than half the weight allowance is for fuel. Which is kinda in the category “stuff that gets dropped”. So more than half of the weight is disposable.

    The cannon and the bombs are one one plane for ground attack. The cannon isn’t for defense (air to air is missile first … if you’ve got bombs you have minimal air-air capability). Cannon is for strafing.

    Nothing says you couldn’t have drones the size of B-17 bombers.

    Single use drones the size of a B-17 isn’t going to be cheap. The reason you use planes instead of cruise missiles is a bomb is inexpensive (adding guidance is almost free) and you have a reusable delivery vehicle.

  24. Boonton says:

    First a few thousand pounds of 80k were due to pilot. Now it’s stretching more and more. And you might note more than half the weight allowance is for fuel. Which is kinda in the category “stuff that gets dropped”. So more than half of the weight is disposable.

    Strictly speaking the only stuff that gets dropped is the bomb. The only fuel that is doing that work for me is the fuel burned to get the bomb to the point it is dropped. Everything else is waste of one kind or another. Out of 80K lbs the bombs are 2k. So 2.5% of the fuel is going to the actual work of dropping. Everything else that is flown there and then flown back again is waste which is up for possible elimination if we could.

    The cannon and the bombs are one one plane for ground attack. The cannon isn’t for defense (air to air is missile first … if you’ve got bombs you have minimal air-air capability). Cannon is for strafing.

    This would seem to be pretty inefficient. It’s highly unlikely that the point where the bomb is dropped is also an excellent strafing point. It seems more efficient to have stafing done by another plane designed for that while the bombing plane can concentrate on its job. The only reason that hasn’t happened is that it’s such a big deal to get a single pilot in the air that the most efficient thing to do now is to have one pilot do two air jobs, bomb and staf. Since pilot skill can be specialized in a particular plane we try to give him a plane that does both rather than ask him to use one plane for one type of mission and another for a different mission.

    Returning to how many pounds of the 80K are due to the human pilot, keep in mind you have to remember part of the answer is strictly due to the pilot and his needs himself, and the other part is due to design limitations that are imposed by the human pilot. Think of a Swiss Army knife. A certain portion of its mass is due to the various knife elements it contains but another portion comes from the fact that it is trying to be a single thing that contains multiple tools. A Swiss Army knife makes sense when you need to carry the tool and space is at a premium, but it doesn’t make sense in your kitchen where you have the freedom to buy specialized tools.

    Single use drones the size of a B-17 isn’t going to be cheap. The reason you use planes instead of cruise missiles is a bomb is inexpensive (adding guidance is almost free) and you have a reusable delivery vehicle.

    I disagree. A disposable B-17 would almost certainly be cheaper than a reusable one. Even if you insisted on reuse, a drone operated B-17 would still trump a manned on in terms of cost.

  25. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    I disagree. A disposable B-17 would almost certainly be cheaper than a reusable one. Even if you insisted on reuse, a drone operated B-17 would still trump a manned on in terms of cost.

    Say your Drone-17 (B-17 as drone) is 10 times cheaper than a manned one. Let’s see the B-17G via wiki had a payload of 8k lbs for missions under 400 miles away and 4.5k for missions over 800 miles away (2k miles was range). After 10 missions the B-17 is cheaper than the drone.

    Even if you insisted on reuse, a drone operated B-17 would still trump a manned on in terms of cost.

    Why?

    Think of a Swiss Army knife. A certain portion of its mass is due to the various knife elements it contains but another portion comes from the fact that it is trying to be a single thing that contains multiple tools.

    And plane is useful because that same F-22 can be reconfigured in many many ways for different missions. It’s flexible. Remember your plan only lasts until you contact the enemy. At least this way you can continue to support your troops when the plan moves on.

    Out of 80K lbs the bombs are 2k. So 2.5% of the fuel is going to the actual work of dropping

    Check your maths. 40k is fuel of the 80k. 2k is bombs. Whence comes 2.5%? You do need fuel to get from point A to B. It’s not a bomber, bomber fuel/airframe to bomb ratios are going to be better, but a bomber can’t do mach 2.2. Missions are different.

  26. Boonton says:

    Say your Drone-17 (B-17 as drone) is 10 times cheaper than a manned one. Let’s see the B-17G via wiki had a payload of 8k lbs for missions under 400 miles away and 4.5k for missions over 800 miles away (2k miles was range)

    In WWII didn’t bombers go out with a 1/10th chance of being shot down? In that case you would expect to loose your ‘reusable’ B-17 after ten missions. In which case the it becomes a tossup. Also I doubt your ‘ten times cheaper’ assumption is just talking about the plane itself, not the risk to the human life of the pilot.

    Why?

    Empty space that would be needed for the crew could be repurposed. Any and all equipment and support systems for the crew itself could be stripped out and repurposed to either carry more bombs, burn less fuel, etc.

    And plane is useful because that same F-22 can be reconfigured in many many ways for different missions. It’s flexible. Remember your plan only lasts until you contact the enemy. At least this way you can continue to support your troops when the plan moves on.

    In theory you can make the same flexible type of plane a drone plane It might end up making sense but I don’t think that’s what will turn out to be optimal. After being freed from having to accomodate a pilot, designers will find the optimal spot would be to design planes to death for highly dedicated tasks and then mass produce the hell out of them.

    Check your maths. 40k is fuel of the 80k. 2k is bombs. Whence comes 2.5%? You do need fuel to get from point A to B. It’s not a bomber, bomber fuel/airframe to bomb ratios are going to be better, but a bomber can’t do mach 2.2. Missions are different.

    Fair point, so the bomb is 2K and the non-fuel portion of the plane is 38K. 5.26% of the fuel is being burned to get the bomb where you want it to be, everything else is a type of waste.

    Imagine instead you had a wormhole machine that could open a temporary wormhole at the spot you want to drop the bomb. What would you throw in that machine? Just the bomb itself. All the other stuff you’re doing, you’re doing because right now that’s the only way to get the bomb there. Since you already have to do that stuff, you can put your waste to a little bit of use by adding on some mission elements. So you add a staffing gun for targets of opportunity, cameras for intelligence and so on. But that’s like saying the Swiss Army knife has an empty space so toss a corkscrew there. It’s not all that important to have a corkscrew, but since you have to carry around the rest of the contracption adding it adds a tiny bit of utility.

  27. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Fair point, so the bomb is 2K and the non-fuel portion of the plane is 38K. 5.26% of the fuel is being burned to get the bomb where you want it to be, everything else is a type of waste.

    So, what you’ve got is 2k lbs of fuel in a plastic bag sitting on the tarmac next to a 2k of bomb. How exactly is that fuel + bomb going to get there? Oh, it needs an airframe … which is weight .. which will increase your fuel. Calling 6% of the fuel the “non-waste” implies that you could do without it. You can’t, so the fuel that is waste … isn’t.

    But that’s like saying the Swiss Army knife has an empty space so toss a corkscrew there. It’s not all that important to have a corkscrew, but since you have to carry around the rest of the contracption adding it adds a tiny bit of utility.

    And what you are arguing is that the only part of the knife that “does anything” is the edge, so discard everything except the edge … and what do you have? A sliver of metal that you can’t use.

    In WWII didn’t bombers go out with a 1/10th chance of being shot down?

    Well, the conversation started by talking about the Pacific war and aircraft carriers. Losses of planes (bombers especially) were not that high by any means.

  28. Boonton says:

    So, what you’ve got is 2k lbs of fuel in a plastic bag sitting on the tarmac next to a 2k of bomb. How exactly is that fuel + bomb going to get there? Oh, it needs an airframe … which is weight .. which will increase your fuel. Calling 6% of the fuel the “non-waste” implies that you could do without it. You can’t, so the fuel that is waste … isn’t

    It’s waste in the sense that you have no particular desire to get the airframe over the target, just the bomb. Granted it’s unavoidable waste. But we have to remember it’s still waste otherwise we get confused and start thinking the airframe itself is part of our goal, it isn’t. When the technology opens up to get rid of the airframe…or drastically reduce it, it will be leaped on.

    I think you have a comparable story with battleships v carriers. Battleships ruled in WWI as the goal was to get a lot of bombs on a target from the sea. The battleship’s solution was to put bigger and bigger guns on a ship that could propel a shell for miles. The carrier, though, trumped that because it could send shells out for hundreds of miles by putting them on little planes (and targetting was better as pilots could adjust the aim when they came upon sight of the target). To get that out of a battleship you’d need to have mega-guns. So a carrier is in fact a type of ‘going small’. Rather than coninuing to make the guns bigger and bigger, you just put the shell on a tiny plane and send it off.

    What I think is very interesting is that real life war drove that innovation. Pearl Harbour demonstrated the value of carriers since the attack was launched by carriers (not battleships) and the eventual counter-attack that sunk Japan’s carrier force was done by carriers as well. If we didn’t have a world war, would carriers have advanced or would the military establishment had insisted on battleships remaining?

    If we aren’t going to be in a major war because frankly there’s no one to have a major war with (and the few possible candidates have a high danger of going nuclear), are we going to see a slowdown in military innovation that may delay the next phase away from heavy carriers towards a dispersed drone force?

    And what you are arguing is that the only part of the knife that “does anything” is the edge, so discard everything except the edge … and what do you have? A sliver of metal that you can’t use.

    What is a light saber other than essentially reducing a sword to just a handle and the edge? If you can pull it off you would do it. If you can’t then you won’t.

    Well, the conversation started by talking about the Pacific war and aircraft carriers. Losses of planes (bombers especially) were not that high by any means.

    I wonder whose mortality metric you’re looking at? What were the odds that a German or Japanese pilot would make it out of WWII successfully? The rates for the US were artifically low by being able to win the battle for the air first thereby making it easier for bombers to fly missions with little opposition. I would consider the stats for daytime bombing in Europe by British and American bombers before the Luftwaft was grounded.