Monday, April 16, 2012

The B-52 Turns 60: What IF? (Part 2)

(Part 1: 1946-47 Here)

B-52D at Edwards AFB Museum, Source: SMSgt Mac


It has been written that “What If?” is historian’s “favorite secret question”. Would the B-52 have become the venerable icon of airpower that it is ‘then’, if American communications and norms had been different?

What if’ 1946-1952 was anything like 2006-2012?
(All persons and institutions are fictional, Any resemblance of characters cited within to persons living or dead is pure serendipity ).

Boeing Model 464-39, Source: Mandeles

The year 1948 began under a dark cloud for AMC’s B-52 program managers. Air Staff officers succeeded in canceling, not simply Boeing Model 464-29, but the entire Boeing heavy bomber program due to doubts about the B-52’s ability to achieve the required range and speed….
…Rapid progress on an acceptable heavy bomber design then was stalled in the early months of 1948 while Boeing president William M. Allen and AMC officers lobbied Air Force Secretary Symington and headquarters officers to reinstate Boeing’s contract. During this period, despite the cancellation, Boeing and AMC engineers continued their discussions and research on heavy bomber design. This activity led to the Boeing proposal for Model 464-35 after Symington and, Air Force Undersecretary Arthur S. Barrows reestablished the Boeing contract. While several compromises in military characteristics were made to give Model 464-35 a better chance of meeting Air Force needs (e.g., reduced required range), technical shortcomings in the fire control system, landing gear, engine nacelle design, and aircraft configuration still made achievement of military characteristics dubious. (Mandeles, Pg 49**)
Early 1948…

Brochure at Peacenik Objectors Gone Overboard (POGO) fundraising event for donors
“POGO’s investigations into the new troubled bomber program played key role in successfully bringing scrutiny that resulted in the program’s termination.”
Wheels’ Wincelow: Centre of Defense Disinformation (CDI) Press Release
‘Military Contractors Brazenly Lobby For Your Tax Dollars to Continue Failed Program. Bomber contractor Boeing Doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. That is why we find top Pentagon officials bombarded with inappropriate pressure from Boeing and ‘collaborators’ in the Air Material Command to reinstate Boeing’s failed bomber program.
Phil Sweetham (Aviation Leaks)
“Bomber program cancelled. See, I told you so. I saw this coming. I was right.  ”
Dave Axiom of Stranger Room
Controversial Bomber Cancelled Amid Controversy

Later in 1948…

Peacenik Objectors Gone Overboard (POGO) Brochure at Fundraising Event for Donors
Reinstated Bomber program highlights Collusion of Military and Industry. The two entities form an interwoven ‘complex’ that is no harmless cliché’. No, really! That's why your contributions to POGO are more important than ever! 
Wheels’ Wincelow: Centre of Defense Disinformation (CDI) Writing in ‘Babbleland’ column of Thyme Magazine
“Cozy Relationship Between Boeing and Air Force Revives Failed Bomber Program and Will Cost Taxpayers Dearly.
Phil Sweetham (Aviation Leaks)
Bomber program was cancelled. I told you so. I was right. I did see it coming. So what if it wasn’t the final decision, I was right on that one point. It WAS cancelled. I was right.
Dave Axiom of Stranger Room
Controversial Un-Cancelling of Controversial Bomber: Controversy Continues


Boeing Model 464-35, Source: Mandeles
Within the Air Force, secrecy concerning the stockpile and technical characteristics of the weapons complicated the design of a nuclear-capable force. The Air Force wanted light weapons, but the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) did not release specific information about weight. Hence, the B-52 bomb bay design remained open throughout 1948 to provide for the possibility of a 15,000-pound bomb instead of a 10,000-pound bomb. The design bomb weight was not reduced to 10,000 pounds officially until mid-January 1949. In the meantime, the additional 5,000 pounds reduced the B-52’s projected range and raised the possibility of costly changes in bomb bay configuration. (Mandeles, Pg 37-38**)

Dave Axiom, Stranger Room columnist, ‘Mired’ magazine 'Controversial Bomber Cheats: Meets Controversial Specifications'.
Sure, the revived new bomber can carry the payload it needs to carry, but it can’t carry what it WAS expected to carry, before the Air Force knew what it was going to HAVE to carry – which it turns out to be what it CAN carry. Bummer. I still think that’s cheating.
Peacenik Objectors Gone Overboard (POGO) Press Release
Department of Defense fudges requirements numbers to get new Bomber to meet specifications so they can reinstate a failed program. This over-the-top development only represents tip of the iceberg that reaches down into the depths of depraved corruption that runs throughout the Department. We will have many other mixed metaphors to be revealed from POGO’s ongoing investigation, as soon as we can find someone depressed enough to be willing to talk to us.
‘Wheels’ Wincelow: Centre of Defense Disinformation (CDI) 1949 Press Release
Payload ‘Death Spiral’ Only by Making the Payload Smaller can Air Force Get Its New Bomber Over the Target. CDI believes the Air Force should pause their design effort until their bomber can carry 5000 more pounds of dead weight to meet original specifications. It’s a Death Spiral we say!You know things are bad because we capitalized ‘Death Spiral’.
Phil Sweetham (Aviation Leaks)
You know, everyone is talking about this current weight/payload weight thing, and I know that is has been the standard measure by which weight has been traditionally been viewed while systems are in development, but that's a ruse to keep the public off the scent of the real issue: mature system weight, I want to highlight that at the current rate of weight growth this bomber will weigh a gazillion pounds by 1952 if the current trend continues. I'm sure that is a bad thing. So bad that it will dog the program until it's cancelled...again. Soon I bet.
Boeing Model 464-40, Source: Mandeles
Boeing Model 464-49, Created Oct 1948, Adopted 1949, Source: Mandeles


Part 3 

No comments: