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(Daily Mail)   Protip: If you are going to spend £10billion on refuelling planes make sure they will work on your fighter jets   (dailymail.co.uk ) divider line
    More: Asinine, Airbus A330, RAF, value for money, fighter aircrafts, Oxfordshire  
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23408 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:49 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-05 09:11:21 PM  

Fish in a Barrel: akula: akula: I'm saying that there's no damn way a 767 variant aircraft should cost nearly $300 million each.

OK, just checked, a 767-400ER runs about $190m (that's over double what I expected), but still, another $80m or so just to install huge gas tanks and a refueling boom?

They have to bring everything up to mil-spec (paint it grey and put "M" in front of the model number).

But seriously, there probably is a lot of expensive development work going into avionics upgrades, especially the radio links. There are probably structural mods beyond just sticking in a fuel bladder that have to be designed and implemented. In my experience, though, the real killer is performance and support requirements for a hand-ful of low volume parts. Plus, they have to completely segregate this 767 line from the main 767 line for security reasons.


There is indeed a lot of new hi-tech going into those birds.

I've seen some of what they're doing with the synthetic vision for the boom operator. Pretty un-be-farkin-levable. The entire avionics package will be state of the art.

I'd imagine an expensive, high-value force multiplier like that might have ECM on too.

/Getting a kick
 
2012-04-05 09:11:22 PM  

ha-ha-guy: 10 billion for 14 planes. Some defense contractor is laughing all the way to the bank. A KC-130 runs 37 million. Even figuring you have to eat some R&D costs with the new model, someone got screwed.

/although I bet Lockheed is trying to bend us over for at least that much with their air tanker


Wasn't the US at one point very close to buying airbus tankers (they were going to be built in alabama or some other southern state to get the "pork-barrel" support). I know we eventually ended up with the 767 contract, but there was lots of biatching about that if I remember right (they had to extend deadlines/change contract terms to allow boeing to qualify). Then again, I might just be remembering everything wrong. I'm sure a farker will set me straight.
 
2012-04-05 09:17:50 PM  

kokomo61: When I worked @ the Pentagon, we'd get notices whenever there would be a flyover at Arlington National Cemetery.
...
One time I saw 4 V-22 Osprey's flying in formation.


At least they didn't have far to go.
 
2012-04-05 09:19:32 PM  

Beowoolfie: WelldeadLink: ... with helpful pictures of submarines and tanks which also cannot be refueled by this aircraft.

I dunno. Our modern tanks use turbine engines, so presumably run on something close to jet fuel. I have a mental picture of a group of tanks are in a cargo plane being refueled by the tanker, and then fuel is siphoned from the cargo plane's tanks into the tanks' tanks.

//Yes, I went to all that trouble just to say "tanks' tanks".


And I'm here to play Buzz Killington by pointing out the M1 runs on straight diesel even with a turbine engine. (It's also the only modern tank with one- the Leopard 2, Challenger, LeClerc and the rest are all piston engines)

That said, it can run on Jet-A, or just about anything liquid that will burn. We were told performance will suffer and it will need maintenance afterwards but in a pinch you can pull one up to a gas station and dump unleaded into them.

/Had to tank the idea about the tank's tanks.
 
2012-04-05 09:31:45 PM  

i1156.photobucket.com
"I have the weirdest boner right now"

 
2012-04-05 10:08:48 PM  

Oldiron_79: NightOwl2255: Hell, how much have we wasted on the useless B-2?

When the Last B-2 is retired the crew will be picked up in a B-52


Buffs Get Boned
(new window)

"U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers have recently flown their 10,000th mission. Not bad for a hundred aircraft that entered service in 1985. There are only 66 of the "Bones" (from B-One) left, and none are doing what they were designed for (flying low and fast into heavily defended enemy territory to deliver nuclear weapons). But because the B-1Bs are twenty years younger than the B-52s, they were available for duty as much as the B-52s and became particularly popular over Afghanistan, where higher speed (compared to the B-52) enabled one B-1B to cover the entire country. On a slow day, the single B-1B could hustle from one part of the country to deliver a smart bomb or two and then be off to another tense situation on the ground. This is the first sustained use of the B-1B and, by and large, the bomber has performed quite well. "
 
2012-04-05 10:29:42 PM  

Fish in a Barrel: When I started working for Boeing on the F/A-18 program


I know a crap ton of Boeing people... we probably are only a couple degrees of separation apart.

/Hard to live in the STL area (especially out here in St. Charles) without knowing a crap ton of Boeing people.
 
2012-04-05 10:31:44 PM  

ISO15693: MythDragon: [www.hitechweb.genezis.eu image 640x384]
Well their jets probably didn't have the access codes, forcing them to shoot the nozzles off the refueling hoses, which would, of course, cause a fuel leak.
And a rather awesome explosion when the engines hit the fuel vapor cloud.

WHAT is THAT?


A moderately crappy movie.
 
2012-04-05 10:52:50 PM  

taliesinwi: ISO15693: MythDragon: [www.hitechweb.genezis.eu image 640x384]
Well their jets probably didn't have the access codes, forcing them to shoot the nozzles off the refueling hoses, which would, of course, cause a fuel leak.
And a rather awesome explosion when the engines hit the fuel vapor cloud.

WHAT is THAT?

A moderately crappy movie.


Wasnt so bad. Jessica Biel looked decent in a flight suit. Worth a rental.
 
2012-04-05 11:50:12 PM  
One reason the Argentinians lost the Falklands War despite having more planes than the Brits was that they had exactly two refueling planes, so their planes could only spend 2-10 minutes over the Falklands.

So, comparing how many fighters you could buy for X number of tankers is sort of dumb.
 
2012-04-06 12:00:16 AM  

The_Homeless_Guy: ha-ha-guy: 10 billion for 14 planes. Some defense contractor is laughing all the way to the bank. A KC-130 runs 37 million. Even figuring you have to eat some R&D costs with the new model, someone got screwed.

/although I bet Lockheed is trying to bend us over for at least that much with their air tanker

Wasn't the US at one point very close to buying airbus tankers (they were going to be built in alabama or some other southern state to get the "pork-barrel" support). I know we eventually ended up with the 767 contract, but there was lots of biatching about that if I remember right (they had to extend deadlines/change contract terms to allow boeing to qualify). Then again, I might just be remembering everything wrong. I'm sure a farker will set me straight.


Boeing won the original contract but some idiot bribed some people so the whole procurement process had to be re-run and it was setup so to basically screw Boeing. Boeing cried foul and threw money and threats at senators who called another mulligan and finally in a mostly fair bid process Boeing won although by this point the contract is probably over 2x what the original bid was (so figure 4x with cost overruns). It's been a real saga and it's possible I've got a few of the details wrong but that's the jist of it.

Oh, and the YB70 is without a doubt the sexiest plane ever, too bad Wright Patt doesn't have an indoor space large enough to do it justice, it was majestic when it was outside.
 
2012-04-06 12:14:14 AM  
Whitworth, meet Sellers. Sellers, meet Whitworth.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.01/standards.html

A long, four page article, but well worth the read.

I give you a highly summarised version of the article, as it is quite long and we need to focus on the relevant matters:

By the 19th century, Britain had developed a system for making screws, nuts and bolts called the Whitworth system. Meanwhile American manufacturing had adopted another method of making fasteners after William Sellers invented it just before the end of the Civil War.

The history of screw manufacturing seems a very uninteresting topic, until you come to a situation such as the British had in World War Two where when British equipment broke down in their fight against Rommel in Africa, and they asked the Americans for spare parts to fix them, it was found that American made screws, nuts and bolts could not fasten these parts to the British equipment. Many battles were lost because of this factor. For the rest of World War Two, America had to have two sets of factories- one producing Whitworth-compatible machinery, and one producing Sellers-compatible machinery. Without this a lot of British war equipment would have broken down for lack of compatible spare parts.

After the war, Britain finally adopted the American Sellers fastening method.

It seems that with this air refueling problem, Britain has not learnt any lessons from their previous Whitworth/Sellers problem.
 
2012-04-06 12:18:27 AM  

sporkme: [i1156.photobucket.com image 640x457]
"I have the weirdest boner right now"


You know, people like to make jokes about weapons and military gear being phallic, and normally it's an embarrassing projection. This is one of the few times when it's justified. That jet totally has a wang.

akula: /Hard to live in the STL area (especially out here in St. Charles) without knowing a crap ton of Boeing people.


Yep, we're all over. I had a lot of fun, learned an incredible amount, and got to fulfill some dreams, but I'm glad I work for a small company now. All that structure gets stifling after a while.
 
2012-04-06 01:00:53 AM  

Mztlplx: ha-ha-guy: 10 billion for 14 planes. Some defense contractor is laughing all the way to the bank. A KC-130 runs 37 million. Even figuring you have to eat some R&D costs with the new model, someone got screwed.

/although I bet Lockheed is trying to bend us over for at least that much with their air tanker

The KC-130 is a refurbished 707 airframe (none younger than 30 years old and most 40 years old - very near their effective end of service life). And it's Boeing that's bending us over for KC-767.

/Northrop-Airbus was cheaper by far and already works
//yeah I'm bitter, I got laid off after Northrop lost that contract


HAHAHA!! You are so wrong there is no way to bring you to "right".

KC_130 is a C-130 with refueling equipment installed and used by the USMC. A KC-135 is the 707 like tanker. That's your first mistake.

Second mistake: The KC-46 (the 767 tanker) won the bid because it was far cheaper than the A330 when things like, oh I don't know....EVERYTHING is taken into account. Just because you buy a tanker doesn't mean you can immediately get to use it. Things like

Mil-con (you gotta build or upgrade infrastructure to support the A330 and its larger footprint)
training (A whole new program has to be designed and tested since there are NO AIRBUS aircraft in the US military inventory)
Support (Airbus has to start from ZERO, while Boeing already has that in place)
Life cycle costs (A330 won't be cheap to run for years...bigger plane bigger costs)
Fuel burn (the 767 burns WAY LESS GAS than the A330....don't even think about arguing that point)

And on and on. And, oh, Boeing underbid Airbus, which when you are talking BILLIONS of dollars means something.

And that little point that the USAF screwed up the contest to basically hand Airbus the contract didn't help either

Link (new window)

And perhaps, just perhaps, Airbus can find their refueling boom from the bottom of the ocean, then they can properly compete for an American contract

Link (new window)

You were saying?
 
2012-04-06 03:44:52 AM  

IanMoone: Before the article : Please be Airbus Please be Airbus

FTA: "A militarised version of the Airbus A330-200 passenger plane, the Voyager can transport 400 soldiers."


I think they may have just justified Boeing for decades to come....

'Remember when we kept trying to rig the refueling contract so we could win? Well, look at what happened to the United Kingdom...."


You do realise the article said the plane works fine for American jets, right? Even so, you guys aren't the one to talk, between your different air arms you have yet to agree to a common refueling system. Booms and draghoses.

Anyway, enjoy the rigged competitions. I'm sure they're in the taxpayers and military's best interest.
 
2012-04-06 08:52:04 AM  

fredbox: kokomo61: When I worked @ the Pentagon, we'd get notices whenever there would be a flyover at Arlington National Cemetery.
...
One time I saw 4 V-22 Osprey's flying in formation.

At least they didn't have far to go.


I was going to change "flying" to "crashing", but yours is a subtler and better response. Kudos.
 
2012-04-06 09:32:35 AM  

Cobataiwan: One reason the Argentinians lost the Falklands War despite having more planes than the Brits was that they had exactly two refueling planes, so their planes could only spend 2-10 minutes over the Falklands.

So, comparing how many fighters you could buy for X number of tankers is sort of dumb.


"amateurs study tactics, armchair generals study strategy, and professionals study logistics"
Omar Bradley
 
2012-04-06 09:39:14 AM  

hasty ambush: Cobataiwan: One reason the Argentinians lost the Falklands War despite having more planes than the Brits was that they had exactly two refueling planes, so their planes could only spend 2-10 minutes over the Falklands.

So, comparing how many fighters you could buy for X number of tankers is sort of dumb.

"amateurs study tactics, armchair generals study strategy, and professionals study logistics"
Omar Bradley


Technically, the number of fighters you have does fall under the heading of 'logistics'...

/amateur
 
2012-04-06 10:14:09 AM  

Zafler: MurphyMurphy: For the record the SR71 wasn't decommissioned.

It was upgraded and is currently handing aliens their own asses somewhere off the shoulder of Orion.

No dogfighting involved I take it? The SR71 wasn't exactly nimble. Excuse me, isn't.


It's very nimble since they've installed the reactionless drive.
 
2012-04-06 10:23:13 AM  

Zembla: IanMoone: Before the article : Please be Airbus Please be Airbus

FTA: "A militarised version of the Airbus A330-200 passenger plane, the Voyager can transport 400 soldiers."


I think they may have just justified Boeing for decades to come....

'Remember when we kept trying to rig the refueling contract so we could win? Well, look at what happened to the United Kingdom...."

You do realise the article said the plane works fine for American jets, right? Even so, you guys aren't the one to talk, between your different air arms you have yet to agree to a common refueling system. Booms and draghoses.

Anyway, enjoy the rigged competitions. I'm sure they're in the taxpayers and military's best interest.


The different refueling systems serve a purpose. The Airforce uses the recepticle and boom method because it allows them to rapidly pass a large quantity of fuel to a big bomber. The Navy uses the probe and drogue system because it allows them to slap a buddy store onto any jet sitting around on the flight deck of the carrier and make it a "tanker". Different problems require different solutions.
 
2012-04-06 12:06:12 PM  

Mishno: Zembla: IanMoone: Before the article : Please be Airbus Please be Airbus

FTA: "A militarised version of the Airbus A330-200 passenger plane, the Voyager can transport 400 soldiers."


I think they may have just justified Boeing for decades to come....

'Remember when we kept trying to rig the refueling contract so we could win? Well, look at what happened to the United Kingdom...."

You do realise the article said the plane works fine for American jets, right? Even so, you guys aren't the one to talk, between your different air arms you have yet to agree to a common refueling system. Booms and draghoses.

Anyway, enjoy the rigged competitions. I'm sure they're in the taxpayers and military's best interest.

The different refueling systems serve a purpose. The Airforce uses the recepticle and boom method because it allows them to rapidly pass a large quantity of fuel to a big bomber. The Navy uses the probe and drogue system because it allows them to slap a buddy store onto any jet sitting around on the flight deck of the carrier and make it a "tanker". Different problems require different solutions.



www.ausairpower.net
 
2012-04-06 12:33:12 PM  

Mishno: The different refueling systems serve a purpose. The Airforce uses the recepticle and boom method because it allows them to rapidly pass a large quantity of fuel to a big bomber. The Navy uses the probe and drogue system because it allows them to slap a buddy store onto any jet sitting around on the flight deck of the carrier and make it a "tanker". Different problems require different solutions.


I prefer the explanation proffered by a naval aviator I met: Naval aviators prefer to plug, while Air Force pilots prefers getting plugged. ;-)
 
2012-04-06 05:00:59 PM  

Enemabag Jones: Flint Ironstag,
Since the Brits invented the jet engine and gave the tech to the US I can't see that being the case....

Technically speaking, wasn't that that Nazi Germans late WWII that 'invented' the jet..
The British could have tweaked the technology, I don't know the path of the technology from the Germans to the US.

Feel free to correct me.


No, Whittle patented the jet engine in 1929, well before the Nazi's came to power. They read his published patent and copied him. Whittle couldn't afford to renew the patent, and so lost it.

Can you imagine what owning the patent on the jet engine would have been worth?
 
2012-04-06 08:28:27 PM  

Cobataiwan: One reason the Argentinians lost the Falklands War despite having more planes than the Brits was that they had exactly two refueling planes, so their planes could only spend 2-10 minutes over the Falklands.

So, comparing how many fighters you could buy for X number of tankers is sort of dumb.


The main reason that the Argenitnians lost the Falklands war is that they didn't expect a fight. But Thatcher needed to show that she had balls. Peru supported Argentina, but at the same time, we have Chile supporting Britain. Not sure how Pinochet figures into all of that, but Thatcher did have a boner for him..

Given that it's the 30th anniversary round about now, I've been browsing teh wikipedia about the conflict. I quite enjoyed this quote:

Admiral Sandy Woodward, the British Task Force commander said: "[t]he Argentine Air Force fought extremely well and we felt a great admiration for what they did."

How very British.

Do you know the way to Mordor: Whitworth, meet Sellers. Sellers, meet Whitworth.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.01/standards.html

A long, four page article, but well worth the read.

I give you a highly summarised version of the article, as it is quite long and we need to focus on the relevant matters:

By the 19th century, Britain had developed a system for making screws, nuts and bolts called the Whitworth system. Meanwhile American manufacturing had adopted another method of making fasteners after William Sellers invented it just before the end of the Civil War.

The history of screw manufacturing seems a very uninteresting topic, until you come to a situation such as the British had in World War Two where when British equipment broke down in their fight against Rommel in Africa, and they asked the Americans for spare parts to fix them, it was found that American made screws, nuts and bolts could not fasten these parts to the British equipment. Many battles were lost because of this factor. For the rest of World War Two, America had to have two sets of factories- one producing Whitworth-compatible machinery, and one producing Sellers-compatible machinery. Without this a lot of British war equipment would have broken down for lack of compatible spare parts.

After the war, Britain finally adopted the American Sellers fastening method.

It seems that with this air refueling problem, Britain has not learnt any lessons from their previous Whitworth/Sellers problem.


Excuse me? You're being arsey towards Britain? Britain, that specced out the P51? Britain, that provided the engines for it, until Packard's knock-off shop could take up the slack?

Britain that provides the US military with retro-fitted Chinooks that don't deliberately kill their occupants? (This sentence was sponsored by Qinetiq.)

And it's still not as bad as America's failure to live with metric units.

Specifically, the flight system software on the Mars Climate Orbiter was written to calculate thruster performance using the metric unit Newtons (N), while the ground crew was entering course correction and thruster data using the Imperial measure Pound-force (lbf). This error has since been known as the metric mixup and has been carefully avoided in all missions since by NASA. (new window)
 
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