83

As commented by Anilv, they are examining a factory production layout/plan. They most likely are attempting to resolve a production or supply problem, though as Anilv suggests, they may also be planning the factory layout. Listed below is an example of the B-17 Flying Fortress Factory Production Layout used by Boeing in WWII. Note the arrows which show the ...


56

This is a B-1B Lancer. It is a 4 engine (afterburning engines mind you, very rare for a bomber) variable sweep wing bomber, designed during the Cold War to use its terrain-following radar to stay low and fast, weaving between the mountains of Russia to stay below radar to deliver nuclear warheads. It carries more bombs than the B-52 as well. Essentially, ...


38

Three reasons: The B-52 stayed useful by taking on "easier" roles as it aged. It actually started life as a high-performance penetrator, relying on speed and altitude to stay safe. Think Early Cold War, shortly after WWII. When ground-launched missiles improved, the B-52 was forced into flying low-altitude penetration underneath radars (a role for which it ...


32

The simple answer is that it is optimized for being low observable/stealthy, and long range, rather than for maximum payload. When you design an aircraft, you make a variety of trade offs depending upon which features are most important for that design. The design of the B-2, which reaches back into the 1980's1, put a premium on the ability to avoid being ...


29

Mostly, no. The number one factor protecting the aircraft from the effects of the explosion is distance. The aircraft is traveling at a sufficient speed to be very, very far away from the bomb before it detonates. All effects of the explosion can be multiplied by the fraction: 1 / r, where r is the distance between the bomb and the bomber at donation (...


28

It's worth digging into the details. The B-52H, which is the model in service today, was not built in the 1950s but the early 1960s (which, I admit, is not a significant difference). The key, however, lies in the upgrade programs that have happened constantly since the design first hit front lines. It's had airframe life extensions, avionics upgrades, and ...


28

Just to confirm, one of the sites you mentioned says: Планирование производства бомбардировщиков B–47 на заводе ВВС США №6. Завод ВВС США №6, был построен в 1942–1943 годах в небольшом городке Мариетта, штат Джорджия, для Bell corporation, и предназначался для выпуска бомбардировщиков B–29. Завод до сих пор остается одним из крупнейших зданий в ...


27

The B-52 is nothing more than a massive bomb-truck, so it doesn't need a whole lot of improvements. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's not pretty, fast, stealthy, or smart. It's a vehicle to get a whole lot of bombs from point A to point Boom. Did you know the USA military still uses the M2 Browning machine gun from WWII? B-52s are great when you want ...


24

(wikimedia.org) Most of the Tu-160 in service are named, much like the B-2 bombers are. The one in the image is S/N: 7-02 "Василий Решетников / Vasily Reshetnikov" named after a WW2 pilot. You can find the names of the other ones on the Russian Wikipedia.


20

I've heard numerous reasons cited - perhaps due to the secrecy around all things nuclear - but from what I know, there are a few reasons: Speed of deployment Of the three designs, the Valiant was simplest, and could therefore be built and deployed the soonest. The initial Valiant prototype didn't actually meet the requirements that had been set forth for a ...


17

Most Tu-160's are named after notable Soviet military pilots. English Wikipedia doesn't have a complete list; here's a link to the Russian version. Out of 16 currently active Tu-160's, 9 are named after military or test pilots and 4 after aircraft designers (including famous helicopter designer Igor Sikorsky). The rest, for some reason, bear the names of a ...


16

After the end of WWII there was an awareness at the British air ministry that a new type of bomber would be needed for nuclear warfare against the USSR. The specification that the government put forward required radical designs and the government was concerned they might fail, so they decided to go forward with 3 of them to ensure they had a nuclear ...


14

The reason that small aircraft are used in the bombing role is flexibility and cost. If you load up a B-52, it can only be in one place at one time, travel at subsonic speeds, and be expensive to operate, risking more crew and equipment. Using smaller attack jets allows reaching targets across a wider geographical area faster. And while past conflicts saw ...


13

There are very few mission profiles in modern (post-WWII) combat that call for "carpet-bombing" of the type that the WWII-era medium and heavy bombers were used for. The primary target of a strategic bombing campaign is typically a city or other highly-populated area. During WWII it was considered a necessary evil, as high-value military-industrial targets ...


13

The B-52 is essentially nothing more than a cargo truck today. It's still useful in that role, although it's obsolete by most reasonable standards. It does help that the B-52 has its engines in nacelles, which simplified engine upgrades. To its cargo truck role, the engine performance matters more than anything. And as an old and simple plane, there's ...


10

Yep. That's a B-1B Lancer: B-1 on the Wikipedia I'm surprised to see it over Iraq, I thought they were using smaller attack aircraft, F-15E's for example. The B-1 is a substantial (and, I can report, extremely loud) bomber with a big load. They US have been flying them since the mid-80's.


9

Both messages are Russian names: Vasily Reshetnikov (flew 307 missions in WWII mainly as a pilot for a long-range bomber, Hero of the Soviet Union) in this picture and Alexander Novikov (Chief marshal of the aviation for the Soviet Air Force, involved in nearly all exploits of the air force during WWII, twice a Hero of the Soviet Union) in Wikipedia. ...


9

The B-1 and B-52 were introduced at a time when most bombs were not guided. Thus, the mission for these older bombers required larger payloads to deliver large quantities of "dumb" bombs to blanket the target area. The B-2 was introduced in 1997, at a time when guided smart bombs were being used more frequently. The B-2 carries fewer, but much more accurate (...


9

The main problem with the B-2 Spirit (or any flying wing aircraft, for that matter) is that they are statically unstable. Source If the lift vector of the wing acts before the center of gravity (as is the usual case when only wings are considered), any perturbation which results in an increase in angle of attack results in a positive moment about the ...


9

Fighter aircraft have steadily grown in size and mass over the last century, as performance requirements and their armament load spiraled upwards. This has reached a point where a single seater today will carry more ordnance and fly farther than a strategic bomber from 70 years ago. With their size and performance, the price of a single aircraft went ...


6

Usually by releasing it from a high altitude or at a high speed. Either one allows some time for the aircraft to depart the immediate vicinity prior to detonation. The weapon itself can have some control. It can have parachutes that increase the time to reach the target or slow it down, or the weapon can have a time delay even after reaching the ground. ...


4

There have been cases of aircraft being damaged when dropping nuclear weapons during testing, but AFAIK none have been destroyed as a result. And those incidents were most likely caused by a test device having a higher than anticipated yield, thus causing the blast effects to have a longer than expected range. None of the aircraft involved in the Hiroshima ...


4

The platform dropping the bombs becomes less and less important every year. GPS guided bombs can strike a target with the same precision employed from any aircraft flying at 30,000 feet or above. So the type of aircraft doesn't matter much, and it matters less and less as time passes. The aircraft has simply become a mule to get the bombs to the airspace ...


4

They appear to be pitot tubes, part of the air data system.


4

Last year (!), at least per Wikipedia: On 17 November 2015, Tu-95s had their combat debut, being employed for the first time in long range airstrikes as part of the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War. This seems to have been using the Tu-95 as a missile platform: The aircraft launched a total of 34 airborne cruise missiles ...


3

If you’re talking about flying wings, which is what a B-2 Spirit is, they offer the following advantages and disadvantages: ADVANTAGES Extremely clean design. The absence of a fuselage, empennage, Engine pylons, etc. eliminates virtually all parasite drag from form and skin fraction drag associated with these structures. Elimination of all OML structural ...


3

I believe this is buckling of the fuselage, due to heavy compression loading. Buckling is the process of out-of-stress-plane movement which happens under compression. The below image shows it well. Source More info on buckling here. Here's another picture, possibly of the same (type of) aircraft, with the description saying: It appears that the ...


3

The size of the bomber formations (bombers streams) varied significantly depending on the number of bombers , the time , location and other things. The most common figure quoted figure is around 70 miles long and 5-6 miles wide (for ~500-600 bombers). However, the formation's footprint depended on a number of factors ranging from the navigator's skill to ...


2

For several reasons: Philosophy of Use: the B-2 was designed from the drawing board upward to be a nuclear bomber to specifically used for penetration of dense Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS) to strike specific high value Command, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) and nuclear forces, primarily the threat posed by Soviet mobile ICBMs. This left ...


2

By Anynobody [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Combat box of a 12-plane B-17 squadron developed in October 1943. Three such boxes completed a 36-plane group box. The formation is called a combat box. The Combat Box was a tactical formation used by heavy (strategic) bombers of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. The combat box was ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible