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Naval Air Refueling Needs Deferred in Air Force Tanker Plan



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 8th 04, 05:09 AM
Henry J Cobb
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Posts: n/a
Default Naval Air Refueling Needs Deferred in Air Force Tanker Plan

http://www.military.com/NewContent/0...042804,00.html
Will the Air Force fulfill the Navy requirement for simultaneous
refueling capability and, if so, when?


-HJC
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  #2  
Old May 8th 04, 04:26 PM
Kevin Brooks
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
...
http://www.military.com/NewContent/0...042804,00.html
Will the Air Force fulfill the Navy requirement for simultaneous
refueling capability and, if so, when?


-HJC


Henry, you need to be a bit more careful in your citations (nothing new
about that...). Note that the article indicates: "Naval air forces,
including the Marine Corps' 72 F/A-18D fighters, require tankers to refuel
more than one fighter jet at a time with the hose reel system." Hogwash.
"Require"? How many USN tanker aircraft can feed two receivers at once? The
S-3 in tanking mode? Nope. The F/A-18E in tanker mode? Nope.

Your article also tries to gloss over the fact that numerous USAF tankers
are indeed capable of refueling USN aircraft--all of the KC-10's and
whichever KC-135's are fitted with the hose/drogue attachments. The tankers
the USAF needs to buy/lease *now* are needed to replace the older KC-135's;
their introduction into the force without an initial hose/drogue capability
will not be of serious detriment to the USN's capabilities, as the KC-10's
and the KC-135R's with hose/drogue will continue to fly missions.

Maybe you need to address this in a different manner...perhaps asking if it
might be more fair if the USAF agreed to support *all* USN tanking
requirements at such time as the USN agrees to actually support all of the
USAF's airborne jamming requirements (you seem to have missed the fact that
the USN recently cut one of its EA-6 squadrons, despite a continuing
shortage of that joint asset...). But you also are missing another
factor...if the land-based tankers are so ctitical to USN aviation
capabilities, why do you need the CVN's in the first place? If you can get
land based tanker support into the fray to support the USN strikers, you are
also within range of getting the USAF strikers into the fight, especially
the heavies...

Brooks




  #3  
Old May 8th 04, 05:04 PM
Henry J Cobb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Kevin Brooks wrote:
"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
http://www.military.com/NewContent/0...042804,00.html
Will the Air Force fulfill the Navy requirement for simultaneous
refueling capability and, if so, when?


Henry, you need to be a bit more careful in your citations (nothing new
about that...). Note that the article indicates: "Naval air forces,
including the Marine Corps' 72 F/A-18D fighters, require tankers to refuel
more than one fighter jet at a time with the hose reel system." Hogwash.
"Require"? How many USN tanker aircraft can feed two receivers at once? The
S-3 in tanking mode? Nope. The F/A-18E in tanker mode? Nope.


Are the Marines still part of the Navy Department?

And the KC-767 will be able to carry at least a little more fuel than a
Superhornet, or a KC-130J even.

Maybe you need to address this in a different manner...perhaps asking if it
might be more fair if the USAF agreed to support *all* USN tanking
requirements at such time as the USN agrees to actually support all of the
USAF's airborne jamming requirements (you seem to have missed the fact that
the USN recently cut one of its EA-6 squadrons, despite a continuing
shortage of that joint asset...).


I've already noted the Air Force shortage of jammers in another thread.

Perhaps they should start buying Growlers?

But you also are missing another
factor...if the land-based tankers are so ctitical to USN aviation
capabilities, why do you need the CVN's in the first place? If you can get
land based tanker support into the fray to support the USN strikers, you are
also within range of getting the USAF strikers into the fight, especially
the heavies...


Sea basing still needs work on delivering fuel, cargo and people to an
OMFTS force.

-HJC
  #4  
Old May 9th 04, 01:56 AM
C Knowles
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Just some observations.

The article is not clear on the fact that the 767 WILL have a drogue on
every mission, like the KC-10. It will not have multiple wing pods, only a
centerline hose. Hence it does not meet the "simultaneous" capability
required by the USN.

So why doesn't the AF have this desperately needed requirement? Because the
AF uses a boom that can offload fuel 2-3 times a fast, and requires less
cycle time? Maybe the USN should consider putting receptacles next to the
probes on their fighters, ala the F-101 and F-105. Or buy more KC-130s.

The pods on KC-10s are WARPs (Wing Air Refueling Pod) while the KC-135
version is the MPRs (Multi-Point Refueling System). Essentially the same
pod but not interchangeable.

Curt


"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
...
http://www.military.com/NewContent/0...042804,00.html
Will the Air Force fulfill the Navy requirement for simultaneous
refueling capability and, if so, when?


-HJC



  #5  
Old May 9th 04, 04:15 AM
Kevin Brooks
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
...
Kevin Brooks wrote:
"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
http://www.military.com/NewContent/0...042804,00.html
Will the Air Force fulfill the Navy requirement for simultaneous
refueling capability and, if so, when?


Henry, you need to be a bit more careful in your citations (nothing new
about that...). Note that the article indicates: "Naval air forces,
including the Marine Corps' 72 F/A-18D fighters, require tankers to

refuel
more than one fighter jet at a time with the hose reel system." Hogwash.
"Require"? How many USN tanker aircraft can feed two receivers at once?

The
S-3 in tanking mode? Nope. The F/A-18E in tanker mode? Nope.


Are the Marines still part of the Navy Department?


What does *that* matter? If it was freakin' *required*, then why all of the
fuss to get the F/A-18E into the tanking game? Why is it possible for the
USAF to do quite well with single-point tanking, while the USN 9despite its
own loooong history of also using single point tanking) would find it so
distatsteful (if, that is, you take the author's words as true--which they
ain't, in this case)?


And the KC-767 will be able to carry at least a little more fuel than a
Superhornet, or a KC-130J even.


So what? Your "source" says the USN *requires* multi-point tanking
capability--and that plainly is NOT the case.


Maybe you need to address this in a different manner...perhaps asking if

it
might be more fair if the USAF agreed to support *all* USN tanking
requirements at such time as the USN agrees to actually support all of

the
USAF's airborne jamming requirements (you seem to have missed the fact

that
the USN recently cut one of its EA-6 squadrons, despite a continuing
shortage of that joint asset...).


I've already noted the Air Force shortage of jammers in another thread.


And you conveniently missed out on the FACT that the USN was then tasked to
provide jamming support for the joint force, eh? Something they have found
hard to do--even before they dumped that squadron...


Perhaps they should start buying Growlers?


Why would the USAF want to buy an aircraft with a known range shortfall for
this mission?


But you also are missing another
factor...if the land-based tankers are so ctitical to USN aviation
capabilities, why do you need the CVN's in the first place? If you can

get
land based tanker support into the fray to support the USN strikers, you

are
also within range of getting the USAF strikers into the fight,

especially
the heavies...


Sea basing still needs work on delivering fuel, cargo and people to an
OMFTS force.


You are getting more dense every day... Now, if the USN is so dependent upon
land-based tanking, why is the CVN of such tremendous value, given that we
could just as well be deploying B-1's, B-52's, and even F-15E's from the
same base (or other bases in that area) that the tankers are operating from
to perform the missions instead of having a CVN (and attendant resources)
lurching around dependent upon land-based air support?

Brooks


-HJC



  #6  
Old May 9th 04, 04:21 AM
Kevin Brooks
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"C Knowles" wrote in message
om...
Just some observations.

The article is not clear on the fact that the 767 WILL have a drogue on
every mission, like the KC-10. It will not have multiple wing pods, only

a
centerline hose. Hence it does not meet the "simultaneous" capability
required by the USN.


The hang up is the use of the word "required". The USN's own tanking assets
on board their carriers are single-point hose/drogue assets; for them to
"require" that other providers have to perform better is a bit odd, sort of
like looking the gift-horse in the mouth (unless the USN wants to pony up
the additional bucks required to make the 767 a multi-point platform,
something I have not seen them express any desire to do as of yet).

Brooks


So why doesn't the AF have this desperately needed requirement? Because

the
AF uses a boom that can offload fuel 2-3 times a fast, and requires less
cycle time? Maybe the USN should consider putting receptacles next to the
probes on their fighters, ala the F-101 and F-105. Or buy more KC-130s.

The pods on KC-10s are WARPs (Wing Air Refueling Pod) while the KC-135
version is the MPRs (Multi-Point Refueling System). Essentially the same
pod but not interchangeable.

Curt


"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
...
http://www.military.com/NewContent/0...042804,00.html
Will the Air Force fulfill the Navy requirement for simultaneous
refueling capability and, if so, when?


-HJC





  #7  
Old May 9th 04, 05:22 AM
Guy Alcala
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
...
Kevin Brooks wrote:
"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
http://www.military.com/NewContent/0...042804,00.html
Will the Air Force fulfill the Navy requirement for simultaneous
refueling capability and, if so, when?

Henry, you need to be a bit more careful in your citations (nothing new
about that...). Note that the article indicates: "Naval air forces,
including the Marine Corps' 72 F/A-18D fighters, require tankers to

refuel
more than one fighter jet at a time with the hose reel system." Hogwash.
"Require"? How many USN tanker aircraft can feed two receivers at once?

The
S-3 in tanking mode? Nope. The F/A-18E in tanker mode? Nope.


Are the Marines still part of the Navy Department?


What does *that* matter? If it was freakin' *required*, then why all of the
fuss to get the F/A-18E into the tanking game? Why is it possible for the
USAF to do quite well with single-point tanking, while the USN 9despite its
own loooong history of also using single point tanking) would find it so
distatsteful (if, that is, you take the author's words as true--which they
ain't, in this case)?


Kevin, while it's highly unusual for me to support anything that HJC puts
forward, I find the article in question pretty accurately reflects the issues.
A boom typically has double (or more) the transfer rate of a
drogue/fighter-sized probe. That's why the USAF decided to adopt them in the
first place, for SAC's bombers, so that refueling took much less time. Single
point drogues are better than nothing, but just as the article says, they limit
the size of the strike flight (or require far more tankers), because the first
a/c to refuel has used up most of the fuel it has received by the time that the
last guy is done. From DS on the USN has relied increasingly on USAF and
foreign land-based tankers, because their own tankers lack the
numbers/offload/loiter/drogue stations to allow them to go far inland with
large strikes. The USMC has its KC-130s, which are at least dual-point, but
they're limited to perhaps 6 a/c in a flight pre-strike, with four preferred,
before they meet the law of diminishing returns. A single-point boom tanker is
about the same. It's not that the navy can't use their S-3s or F-18E/Fs
exclusively, it's just that they're limited in the size/radius of their strikes
when they do so.

Given our increasing jointness, it does seem odd that the KC-767 isn't planned
to have provision for wing drogues from the get-go. It's clearly an
inter-service budget issue, but single point drogues just don't cut it for big
strikes; if they did, we wouldn't have fit out those KC-10As and KC-135Rs for
wing drogues (Flight Refueling MK.32s IIRC). It's a simple matter of fuel
throughput per unit time. Large, land-based drogue tankers should have at least
two drogue stations, with three preferred (see the Victor K.2; there was even a
USN Convair seaplane with FOUR drogues):

http://www.aviation-history.com/convair/tradewind.html

Less than two drogue stations is not making use of a large a/c's wingspan.
Naturally, they don't all have to be fitted with them all the time, as there is
a weight, drag and maintenance penalty, but they sure as hell should be capable
of fitting them. Hell, Boeing is even talking about a BWB tanker with two
_booms_.

That the RAF Tristars don't have wing pods has been a minor scandal for almost
20 years now. They were supposed to get them, and initial cursory engineering
evaluations indicated that the wing structure could take them, but when it came
time to get serious they found out there were issues that were going to require
very expensive modifications (splitting the ailerons or maybe it was the flaps
was part of it, IIRR), so they've been stuck with a pair of centerline drogues
ever since. That provides redundancy, but doesn't increase the receiver
servicing rate.

And the KC-767 will be able to carry at least a little more fuel than a
Superhornet, or a KC-130J even.


So what? Your "source" says the USN *requires* multi-point tanking
capability--and that plainly is NOT the case.


For most of the deeper missions, including most of the combat missions that have
been flown from DS on, they do. If they aren't going very far, and/or are using
small strike packages at fairly wide intervals, they don't. Neither has been
typical of USN combat ops for the last 14 years.

snip

But you also are missing another
factor...if the land-based tankers are so ctitical to USN aviation
capabilities, why do you need the CVN's in the first place? If you can

get
land based tanker support into the fray to support the USN strikers, you

are
also within range of getting the USAF strikers into the fight,

especially
the heavies...


Sea basing still needs work on delivering fuel, cargo and people to an
OMFTS force.


You are getting more dense every day... Now, if the USN is so dependent upon
land-based tanking, why is the CVN of such tremendous value, given that we
could just as well be deploying B-1's, B-52's, and even F-15E's from the
same base (or other bases in that area) that the tankers are operating from
to perform the missions instead of having a CVN (and attendant resources)
lurching around dependent upon land-based air support?


There are obviously ramp space and arrival time/support issues. Clearly you can
get a force of tankers in theater a lot faster than a force of tankers PLUS a
force of fighters and all their support. The CVWs are already on station with
everything but the tanking (and maybe some E-3s/JSTARS).

Guy

  #8  
Old May 9th 04, 06:34 AM
Kevin Brooks
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Guy Alcala" wrote in message
. ..
Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
...
Kevin Brooks wrote:
"Henry J Cobb" wrote in message
http://www.military.com/NewContent/0...042804,00.html
Will the Air Force fulfill the Navy requirement for simultaneous
refueling capability and, if so, when?

Henry, you need to be a bit more careful in your citations (nothing

new
about that...). Note that the article indicates: "Naval air forces,
including the Marine Corps' 72 F/A-18D fighters, require tankers to

refuel
more than one fighter jet at a time with the hose reel system."

Hogwash.
"Require"? How many USN tanker aircraft can feed two receivers at

once?
The
S-3 in tanking mode? Nope. The F/A-18E in tanker mode? Nope.

Are the Marines still part of the Navy Department?


What does *that* matter? If it was freakin' *required*, then why all of

the
fuss to get the F/A-18E into the tanking game? Why is it possible for

the
USAF to do quite well with single-point tanking, while the USN 9despite

its
own loooong history of also using single point tanking) would find it so
distatsteful (if, that is, you take the author's words as true--which

they
ain't, in this case)?


Kevin, while it's highly unusual for me to support anything that HJC puts
forward, I find the article in question pretty accurately reflects the

issues.
A boom typically has double (or more) the transfer rate of a
drogue/fighter-sized probe.


Yep.

That's why the USAF decided to adopt them in the
first place, for SAC's bombers, so that refueling took much less time.

Single
point drogues are better than nothing, but just as the article says, they

limit
the size of the strike flight (or require far more tankers), because the

first
a/c to refuel has used up most of the fuel it has received by the time

that the
last guy is done.


Yep.

From DS on the USN has relied increasingly on USAF and
foreign land-based tankers, because their own tankers lack the
numbers/offload/loiter/drogue stations to allow them to go far inland

with
large strikes. The USMC has its KC-130s, which are at least dual-point,

but
they're limited to perhaps 6 a/c in a flight pre-strike, with four

preferred,
before they meet the law of diminishing returns. A single-point boom

tanker is
about the same. It's not that the navy can't use their S-3s or F-18E/Fs
exclusively, it's just that they're limited in the size/radius of their

strikes
when they do so.


Which is why the USAF will still have the capability of supporting the USN,
with both single and dual point refueling. The fact that the 767 won't have
that multi-point capability up-front is NOT going to create a critical
situation for the USN.


Given our increasing jointness, it does seem odd that the KC-767 isn't

planned
to have provision for wing drogues from the get-go.


Not necessarily. The USAF is getting to the desperation point in regards to
the 135E's--they are either going to have to poop a lot of money to upgrade
them (not the wisest choice, given their age and condition), or they have to
get a replacement in the air, and rather quickly. That last part (quickly)
seems to merit a sort-of-spiral approach, to me; get them into service ASAP
with the boom and single-point drogue (while still having the 135R's in
service, some with the multi-point hoses), and then worry about bringing
them up to a higher standard later, when the time-crunch is not so critical.

It's clearly an
inter-service budget issue, but single point drogues just don't cut it for

big
strikes; if they did, we wouldn't have fit out those KC-10As and KC-135Rs

for
wing drogues (Flight Refueling MK.32s IIRC). It's a simple matter of fuel
throughput per unit time.


Which KC-10's and KC-135R's will still be serving, you should add. Correct
me if I am wrong, but the aircraft that the 767's are destined to replace,
the 135E's, do not have the multi-point refueling capability, either, do
they?

Large, land-based drogue tankers should have at least
two drogue stations, with three preferred (see the Victor K.2; there was

even a
USN Convair seaplane with FOUR drogues):

http://www.aviation-history.com/convair/tradewind.html

Less than two drogue stations is not making use of a large a/c's wingspan.
Naturally, they don't all have to be fitted with them all the time, as

there is
a weight, drag and maintenance penalty, but they sure as hell should be

capable
of fitting them. Hell, Boeing is even talking about a BWB tanker with two
_booms_.


So what you are saying is that we should delay the program even further than
it already has been, so that all of the new aircraft are capable of
performing a mission that only a certain portion of the joint force (the USN
strikers and whatnot) can receive from them the same level of support...that
they can already get from the other aircraft that will be remaining in
service? I don't necessarily agree with that analysis (and neither does the
USAF, apparently).


That the RAF Tristars don't have wing pods has been a minor scandal for

almost
20 years now. They were supposed to get them, and initial cursory

engineering
evaluations indicated that the wing structure could take them, but when it

came
time to get serious they found out there were issues that were going to

require
very expensive modifications (splitting the ailerons or maybe it was the

flaps
was part of it, IIRR), so they've been stuck with a pair of centerline

drogues
ever since. That provides redundancy, but doesn't increase the receiver
servicing rate.

And the KC-767 will be able to carry at least a little more fuel than

a
Superhornet, or a KC-130J even.


So what? Your "source" says the USN *requires* multi-point tanking
capability--and that plainly is NOT the case.


For most of the deeper missions, including most of the combat missions

that have
been flown from DS on, they do. If they aren't going very far, and/or are

using
small strike packages at fairly wide intervals, they don't. Neither has

been
typical of USN combat ops for the last 14 years.


Then maybe they need to fork over some bucks for some additional multi-point
pods for the KC-135R's... In actuality, that would probably be the best
solution anyway--they would get their improved support capability a lot more
quickly that way (versus waiting for the 767's to come on line). So is the
USN really concerned about the level of tanking support they can count on,
or are they just posturing for the purpose of budget fighting? Another
thought--the USN has been buying C-40's of late--if they are so keenly
worried about their refueling capability, why did they never think about
including a secondary tanker role for that aircraft, or that class of
aircraft, such that they could help themselves out? Probably not, because
that would have required them to spend their own part of the budget
pie...much better to have the USAF spend their money, eh?


snip

But you also are missing another
factor...if the land-based tankers are so ctitical to USN aviation
capabilities, why do you need the CVN's in the first place? If you

can
get
land based tanker support into the fray to support the USN strikers,

you
are
also within range of getting the USAF strikers into the fight,

especially
the heavies...

Sea basing still needs work on delivering fuel, cargo and people to an
OMFTS force.


You are getting more dense every day... Now, if the USN is so dependent

upon
land-based tanking, why is the CVN of such tremendous value, given that

we
could just as well be deploying B-1's, B-52's, and even F-15E's from the
same base (or other bases in that area) that the tankers are operating

from
to perform the missions instead of having a CVN (and attendant

resources)
lurching around dependent upon land-based air support?


There are obviously ramp space and arrival time/support issues.


Sometimes. Believe it or not, I am not in favor of junking the CVN
fleet--but neither is the USN making a great case for the CVN's value when
they whine about the USAF not optimizing *all* of its tankers to support
their needs--especially when at the same time they have proven rather
unwilling to resource their own part of the joint package (the EA-6 jammer
force) to support all of the USAF's needs (note that the USAF is making
serious noises about going back into the jamming business, likely with the
B-52 as the initial platform). The USN might want to be careful how far they
go in pointing fingers in regards to the 'They are not supporting us like
they are supposed to" manner, lest the fickle-finger end up pointing back in
their direction.

Clearly you can
get a force of tankers in theater a lot faster than a force of tankers

PLUS a
force of fighters and all their support.


Can you? I am not sure about that (note how quickly we got the lead
squadrons of the 1st TFW into Saudi Arabia in 1990), especially since
getting all of those tankers into the theater is only going to do you some
good if the fuel for them to haul is also present, or readily available, at
that operating location. How much more trouble is it for the USAF to put a
force that could easily surpass the per-day delivered-tonnage capability of
a CVSG (given your premise that the CVN is having to operate from extended
range itself)? Three or four B-1B's or B-52's alone can acheive that. OEF
demonstrated the use of both F-15E's and F-16's in conducting pretty long
range strike operations (from the PG around Iran, up to Afghanistan and back
again, at greater range than the CVN-based strikers were enduring). Worried
about an enemy air threat? Then you have your standoff attack systems, along
with B-2's. Yes, there are other issues (hauling in the bombs, etc.), but
they are not insurmountable (i.e., we still have a surface transport
capability, augmented by air transport assets).

Should we can the CVN's? No, of course not. But they can continue to operate
a few more years with the support of KC-135R's and KC-10's without HAVING to
have the 767's *optimized* for their very own use.

Brooks

The CVWs are already on station with
everything but the tanking (and maybe some E-3s/JSTARS).

Guy



  #9  
Old May 10th 04, 02:42 AM
Guy Alcala
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Guy Alcala" wrote in message
. ..
Kevin Brooks wrote:


snip


Kevin, while it's highly unusual for me to support anything that HJC puts
forward, I find the article in question pretty accurately reflects the

issues.
A boom typically has double (or more) the transfer rate of a
drogue/fighter-sized probe.


Yep.

That's why the USAF decided to adopt them in the
first place, for SAC's bombers, so that refueling took much less time.

Single
point drogues are better than nothing, but just as the article says, they

limit
the size of the strike flight (or require far more tankers), because the

first
a/c to refuel has used up most of the fuel it has received by the time

that the
last guy is done.


Yep.

From DS on the USN has relied increasingly on USAF and
foreign land-based tankers, because their own tankers lack the
numbers/offload/loiter/drogue stations to allow them to go far inland

with
large strikes. The USMC has its KC-130s, which are at least dual-point,

but
they're limited to perhaps 6 a/c in a flight pre-strike, with four

preferred,
before they meet the law of diminishing returns. A single-point boom

tanker is
about the same. It's not that the navy can't use their S-3s or F-18E/Fs
exclusively, it's just that they're limited in the size/radius of their

strikes
when they do so.


Which is why the USAF will still have the capability of supporting the USN,
with both single and dual point refueling. The fact that the 767 won't have
that multi-point capability up-front is NOT going to create a critical
situation for the USN.


But it may be critical for bed-down and other operational issues, and it's
definitely inefficient. Besides,who says we're only supporting the USN? In
various conflicts we've had help from Canadian and Spanish Hornets, plus the
RAF, AMI, KDF, RNAF, Luftwaffe etc. They've helped us with _their_ multi-point
tankers on occasion.

Given our increasing jointness, it does seem odd that the KC-767 isn't

planned
to have provision for wing drogues from the get-go.


Not necessarily. The USAF is getting to the desperation point in regards to
the 135E's--they are either going to have to poop a lot of money to upgrade
them (not the wisest choice, given their age and condition), or they have to
get a replacement in the air, and rather quickly.


The justification for that has always been somewhat questionable. Only a few
years ago they were projecting the 135E's fatigue life out 30 or 40 years,
although the engines were probably going to need replacement. Let's face it,
the 767 deal has more than a little to do with keeping Boeing's 767 line open
and people employed. Would it be a good thing to get some newer tankers?
Sure. Do we need them right now, because the 135Es are falling apart? That's
arguable.

That last part (quickly)
seems to merit a sort-of-spiral approach, to me; get them into service ASAP
with the boom and single-point drogue (while still having the 135R's in
service, some with the multi-point hoses), and then worry about bringing
them up to a higher standard later, when the time-crunch is not so critical.


I see it as entirely budget-driven, with the huge bow-wave they've already got
going restricting them. Indeed, that was the primary reason for the KC-767
lease rather than buy in the first place.

It's clearly an
inter-service budget issue, but single point drogues just don't cut it for

big
strikes; if they did, we wouldn't have fit out those KC-10As and KC-135Rs

for
wing drogues (Flight Refueling MK.32s IIRC). It's a simple matter of fuel
throughput per unit time.


Which KC-10's and KC-135R's will still be serving, you should add. Correct
me if I am wrong, but the aircraft that the 767's are destined to replace,
the 135E's, do not have the multi-point refueling capability, either, do
they?


No, they don't, and the 767's will at least be able to refuel both types of
refueling systems on the same sortie, and they'll have a proper drogue rather
than that ******* afterthought on the end of the boom. OTOH, we're also buying
fewer of them than the 135Es they're supposed to replace (differing MC rates
obviously play a part). But in big strikes, it's the number of refueling
drogues/booms in the air that determine the service rate, and it's silly to have
to use (and bed-down) double the number of a/c if we don't need to.

Large, land-based drogue tankers should have at least
two drogue stations, with three preferred (see the Victor K.2; there was

even a
USN Convair seaplane with FOUR drogues):

http://www.aviation-history.com/convair/tradewind.html

Less than two drogue stations is not making use of a large a/c's wingspan.
Naturally, they don't all have to be fitted with them all the time, as

there is
a weight, drag and maintenance penalty, but they sure as hell should be

capable
of fitting them. Hell, Boeing is even talking about a BWB tanker with two
_booms_.


So what you are saying is that we should delay the program even further than
it already has been, so that all of the new aircraft are capable of
performing a mission that only a certain portion of the joint force (the USN
strikers and whatnot) can receive from them the same level of support...that
they can already get from the other aircraft that will be remaining in
service? I don't necessarily agree with that analysis (and neither does the
USAF, apparently).


I'm saying that it makes far more sense now to buy the capability up front that
we know we'll be adding down the road, especially since the R&D work is largely
being paid for by Italy and Japan, than to add it years from now when we know
it's going to be more expensive to do so. If that means we buy a/c at a slower
rate (and more refueling pods), good. We plan to be operating from more austere
bases, which tend to be somewhat limited in ramp space, so anything we can do
that limits that is a plus. That was indeed one of the USAF's arguments against
the A330 -- that it took up too much ramp space while providing no more
refueling stations than the 767. They considered the A330's somewhat greater
offload irrelevant for the tactical refueling mission; they were concerned with
the number of booms/drogues on station while minimizing the ground footprint. If
that logic is valid, then buying dual rather than single-point capability is
even more valuable as a way of minimizing the ground footprint. See below.

snip

So what? Your "source" says the USN *requires* multi-point tanking
capability--and that plainly is NOT the case.


For most of the deeper missions, including most of the combat missions

that have
been flown from DS on, they do. If they aren't going very far, and/or are

using
small strike packages at fairly wide intervals, they don't. Neither has

been
typical of USN combat ops for the last 14 years.


Then maybe they need to fork over some bucks for some additional multi-point
pods for the KC-135R's... In actuality, that would probably be the best
solution anyway--they would get their improved support capability a lot more
quickly that way (versus waiting for the 767's to come on line).


I completely agree.

So is the
USN really concerned about the level of tanking support they can count on,
or are they just posturing for the purpose of budget fighting?


As I said, there's a question of interservice budgeting, and who pays for what.

Another
thought--the USN has been buying C-40's of late--if they are so keenly
worried about their refueling capability, why did they never think about
including a secondary tanker role for that aircraft, or that class of
aircraft, such that they could help themselves out? Probably not, because
that would have required them to spend their own part of the budget
pie...much better to have the USAF spend their money, eh?


I'm sure they think so. OTOH, FAIK the USAF would have fought against any such
proposal with tooth and nail. The navy has in the past considered buying their
own land-based tanker fleet, but ISTR that SAC (at the time) in effect said
"over our dead body." IIRR the Tradewind was an attempt to get around that;
after all, the USAF could hardly complain about seaplanes.

I imagine AMC would act similarly proprietarily today, but the point (to me, at
least) isn't which service provides the capability, but that it be provided.

snip area of general agreement

Clearly you can
get a force of tankers in theater a lot faster than a force of tankers

PLUS a
force of fighters and all their support.


Can you? I am not sure about that (note how quickly we got the lead
squadrons of the 1st TFW into Saudi Arabia in 1990), especially since
getting all of those tankers into the theater is only going to do you some
good if the fuel for them to haul is also present, or readily available, at
that operating location.


The 1st TFW had an A/A role, IIRR deployed with a full loadout of missiles on
thea/c and could fairly easily bring an adequate number of reloads with them, or
fly them in later. A/G ordnance can be a very different matter, although PGMs
help that aspect. I can't remember if it was the A-10s or F-15Es, but in one of
Smallwood's books (I think), aircrews described just how limited their A/G
ordnance options were right after they deployed. Fuel, OTOH, is relatively
available anywhere a commercial airliner is able to operate from. Maybe you
need to haul in JP-5/8 for the tactical a/c, but the tankers themselves should
be able to operate on Jet A/A-1.

How much more trouble is it for the USAF to put a
force that could easily surpass the per-day delivered-tonnage capability of
a CVSG (given your premise that the CVN is having to operate from extended
range itself)?


If they've got sufficient time to get set up in advance, fine, but crises often
don't provide that kind of time. We've been lucky that most of our wars in the
past decade and a half (OAF somewhat excepted) have given us some lead time to
get ready.

Three or four B-1B's or B-52's alone can acheive that.


And provided you're willing to send them in without any SEAD at the start of the
war, and multi-hour cycle times are no problem, great.

OEF
demonstrated the use of both F-15E's and F-16's in conducting pretty long
range strike operations (from the PG around Iran, up to Afghanistan and back
again, at greater range than the CVN-based strikers were enduring).


Sure did. Using those USAF tankers with booms to maximise the transfer rate.
And it helped that we were already set up in the area flying Southern Watch
sorties. But we're not there now, although we do still have some presence in
the 'Stans, IIRC.

Worried
about an enemy air threat? Then you have your standoff attack systems, along
with B-2's. Yes, there are other issues (hauling in the bombs, etc.), but
they are not insurmountable (i.e., we still have a surface transport
capability, augmented by air transport assets).

Should we can the CVN's? No, of course not. But they can continue to operate
a few more years with the support of KC-135R's and KC-10's without HAVING to
have the 767's *optimized* for their very own use.


Provided we have sufficient space for all those tanker a/c in theater, fine, but
it's still wasteful to use two a/c and crews to do the job of one. Of course,
if you're cycling flights of two constantly through the tankers, no big deal,
but gorilla packages are another matter. And we may well need to help tank our
allies (assuming we have any). Many of them are buying their own multi-point
drogue tankers now, which helps both of us if they're along for the ride.

Guy




  #10  
Old May 10th 04, 05:25 AM
Kevin Brooks
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Guy Alcala" wrote in message
. ..
Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Guy Alcala" wrote in message
. ..
Kevin Brooks wrote:


snip


Kevin, while it's highly unusual for me to support anything that HJC

puts
forward, I find the article in question pretty accurately reflects the

issues.
A boom typically has double (or more) the transfer rate of a
drogue/fighter-sized probe.


Yep.

That's why the USAF decided to adopt them in the
first place, for SAC's bombers, so that refueling took much less time.

Single
point drogues are better than nothing, but just as the article says,

they
limit
the size of the strike flight (or require far more tankers), because

the
first
a/c to refuel has used up most of the fuel it has received by the time

that the
last guy is done.


Yep.

From DS on the USN has relied increasingly on USAF and
foreign land-based tankers, because their own tankers lack the
numbers/offload/loiter/drogue stations to allow them to go far inland

with
large strikes. The USMC has its KC-130s, which are at least

dual-point,
but
they're limited to perhaps 6 a/c in a flight pre-strike, with four

preferred,
before they meet the law of diminishing returns. A single-point boom

tanker is
about the same. It's not that the navy can't use their S-3s or

F-18E/Fs
exclusively, it's just that they're limited in the size/radius of

their
strikes
when they do so.


Which is why the USAF will still have the capability of supporting the

USN,
with both single and dual point refueling. The fact that the 767 won't

have
that multi-point capability up-front is NOT going to create a critical
situation for the USN.


But it may be critical for bed-down and other operational issues, and it's
definitely inefficient. Besides,who says we're only supporting the USN?

In
various conflicts we've had help from Canadian and Spanish Hornets, plus

the
RAF, AMI, KDF, RNAF, Luftwaffe etc. They've helped us with _their_

multi-point
tankers on occasion.


And that help has been appreciated. But that does not really imply that we
have to optimize *all* of our aircraft to perform multi-point refueling
right *now*.


Given our increasing jointness, it does seem odd that the KC-767 isn't

planned
to have provision for wing drogues from the get-go.


Not necessarily. The USAF is getting to the desperation point in regards

to
the 135E's--they are either going to have to poop a lot of money to

upgrade
them (not the wisest choice, given their age and condition), or they

have to
get a replacement in the air, and rather quickly.


The justification for that has always been somewhat questionable. Only a

few
years ago they were projecting the 135E's fatigue life out 30 or 40 years,
although the engines were probably going to need replacement. Let's face

it,
the 767 deal has more than a little to do with keeping Boeing's 767 line

open
and people employed. Would it be a good thing to get some newer tankers?
Sure. Do we need them right now, because the 135Es are falling apart?

That's
arguable.


Firstly, "only a few years ago" was before we (again) had to surge tanker
support for two recent operations--that eats into remaining lifespan
(operating hours for the tanker force being about a third higher than they
were pre-9/11). Second, if you are going to replace the engines (and
associated controls), you are talking about a sizeable investment (witness
the never-ending debate over the wisdom of reengining the B-52's, C-5's,
etc.) right there. Then you have to remember that the E models have also not
undergone other avionics updates due to their age/limited lifespan
remaining, so if you want to keep them around you are going to have to do
the whole PACER CRAIG thing, etc. In other words, turn them all into R
models--which does not sound like a real wise investment.

It is beyond argument that the E models are the anchormen when it comes to
MC rate (about 78% for the E models, versus 82% for the R models, based upon
GAO figures for May 2003). Without reengining, and taking them up to the R
standard, this MC rate difference will only grow--it drops below 75% and I'd
think the USAF leadership will really start to howl. Corrosion maintenace is
another (growing) concern, and it will eat up more and more money as we try
to stretch out the E model's lifespan. Oddly, even the GAO noted that they
recommended that the USAF start paying serious attention to replacing the
KC-135 fleet as early as 1996 (of course, in typical GAO style, they have
managed to cover their bases in all eventualities, so they can always say,
"Told ya so!" regardless of how we proceed...).


That last part (quickly)
seems to merit a sort-of-spiral approach, to me; get them into service

ASAP
with the boom and single-point drogue (while still having the 135R's in
service, some with the multi-point hoses), and then worry about bringing
them up to a higher standard later, when the time-crunch is not so

critical.

I see it as entirely budget-driven, with the huge bow-wave they've already

got
going restricting them. Indeed, that was the primary reason for the

KC-767
lease rather than buy in the first place.


The lease came about because it (a) allowed the USAF to recapitalize the
oldest portion of the tanker fleet in the most rapid fashion, and (b)
because it was also beneficial to Boeing in terms of keeping the 767 line
open. Don't act as if the latter is a "bad" thing--we have paced procurement
programs to keep assembly operations going for decades, be it the C-130 or
the M-1 tank. Consider how much MORE it would cost to *buy* the 767's if we
drag this out through the usual (overly long) procurement cycle, and the
line has in the meanwhile shut down; restarting a line is not going to be
cheap. Some folks cry that this is a "help out Boeing" deal--I don't agree,
at least completely, as it also helps out the USAF in getting timely
replacements for the aging KC-135 fleet; and to be honest, even if it *were*
more of a "help out Boeing" deal it would not concern me greatly, as I see a
necessity in our keeping alive the kind of combined commercial/military
transport production capability that we NEED to have, unless you are willing
to be 100% reliant upon a foreign provider for our future tanking and heavy
transport needs (I for one would hate to see the French government in a
position to slow down or stop delivery of such a critical asset merely
because they would want to show us they could do it).


It's clearly an
inter-service budget issue, but single point drogues just don't cut it

for
big
strikes; if they did, we wouldn't have fit out those KC-10As and

KC-135Rs
for
wing drogues (Flight Refueling MK.32s IIRC). It's a simple matter of

fuel
throughput per unit time.


Which KC-10's and KC-135R's will still be serving, you should add.

Correct
me if I am wrong, but the aircraft that the 767's are destined to

replace,
the 135E's, do not have the multi-point refueling capability, either, do
they?


No, they don't, and the 767's will at least be able to refuel both types

of
refueling systems on the same sortie, and they'll have a proper drogue

rather
than that ******* afterthought on the end of the boom. OTOH, we're also

buying
fewer of them than the 135Es they're supposed to replace (differing MC

rates
obviously play a part). But in big strikes, it's the number of refueling
drogues/booms in the air that determine the service rate, and it's silly

to have
to use (and bed-down) double the number of a/c if we don't need to.


That does not necessarily hold true. If the requirement to provide
hose/drogue capability in-theater is 8that* important in a given case, you
send the KC-10's and multi-point 135R's forward, and use the other aircraft
(i.e., these pre-improvement 767's) to handle the usual airbridge su[pport
operations into the theater. So what you really seem to be saying is that
the 767's, even without initial multi-point capability, offer an improvement
to the current level of support that can be afforded to the USN?


Large, land-based drogue tankers should have at least
two drogue stations, with three preferred (see the Victor K.2; there

was
even a
USN Convair seaplane with FOUR drogues):

http://www.aviation-history.com/convair/tradewind.html

Less than two drogue stations is not making use of a large a/c's

wingspan.
Naturally, they don't all have to be fitted with them all the time, as

there is
a weight, drag and maintenance penalty, but they sure as hell should

be
capable
of fitting them. Hell, Boeing is even talking about a BWB tanker with

two
_booms_.


So what you are saying is that we should delay the program even further

than
it already has been, so that all of the new aircraft are capable of
performing a mission that only a certain portion of the joint force (the

USN
strikers and whatnot) can receive from them the same level of

support...that
they can already get from the other aircraft that will be remaining in
service? I don't necessarily agree with that analysis (and neither does

the
USAF, apparently).


I'm saying that it makes far more sense now to buy the capability up front

that
we know we'll be adding down the road, especially since the R&D work is

largely
being paid for by Italy and Japan, than to add it years from now when we

know
it's going to be more expensive to do so.



Whoah there, hoss. If the R&D is being picked up elsewhere (by virtue of
those foreign sales you mention), that advantage does not go away because we
dicide not to implement the multi-point system up-front. That R&D effort is
still applicable. And you are avoiding the fact that it will slow the
delivery timeline if we have to go with this optimization up-front.

If that means we buy a/c at a slower
rate (and more refueling pods), good.


Good? I disagree. So does the USAF, from what I have read.

We plan to be operating from more austere
bases, which tend to be somewhat limited in ramp space, so anything we can

do
that limits that is a plus. That was indeed one of the USAF's arguments

against
the A330 -- that it took up too much ramp space while providing no more
refueling stations than the 767. They considered the A330's somewhat

greater
offload irrelevant for the tactical refueling mission; they were concerned

with
the number of booms/drogues on station while minimizing the ground

footprint. If
that logic is valid, then buying dual rather than single-point capability

is
even more valuable as a way of minimizing the ground footprint. See

below.

In the long run, yes. But is it worth slowing delivery up-front even further
than it already has been slowed?


snip

So what? Your "source" says the USN *requires* multi-point tanking
capability--and that plainly is NOT the case.

For most of the deeper missions, including most of the combat missions

that have
been flown from DS on, they do. If they aren't going very far, and/or

are
using
small strike packages at fairly wide intervals, they don't. Neither

has
been
typical of USN combat ops for the last 14 years.


Then maybe they need to fork over some bucks for some additional

multi-point
pods for the KC-135R's... In actuality, that would probably be the best
solution anyway--they would get their improved support capability a lot

more
quickly that way (versus waiting for the 767's to come on line).


I completely agree.

So is the
USN really concerned about the level of tanking support they can count

on,
or are they just posturing for the purpose of budget fighting?


As I said, there's a question of interservice budgeting, and who pays for

what.

Another
thought--the USN has been buying C-40's of late--if they are so keenly
worried about their refueling capability, why did they never think about
including a secondary tanker role for that aircraft, or that class of
aircraft, such that they could help themselves out? Probably not,

because
that would have required them to spend their own part of the budget
pie...much better to have the USAF spend their money, eh?


I'm sure they think so. OTOH, FAIK the USAF would have fought against any

such
proposal with tooth and nail. The navy has in the past considered buying

their
own land-based tanker fleet, but ISTR that SAC (at the time) in effect

said
"over our dead body." IIRR the Tradewind was an attempt to get around

that;
after all, the USAF could hardly complain about seaplanes.

I imagine AMC would act similarly proprietarily today, but the point (to

me, at
least) isn't which service provides the capability, but that it be

provided.

But they oddly don't have a problem with the USMC buying C-130J's to augment
their current tanker fleet. Personally, I doubt the USAF would have put up a
fight if the USN had said they wanted to incorporate a secondary refueling
capability in their C-40B's; just as the USN has been strangely silent over
the USAF talking about recreating an in-house stand-off jamming capability.


snip area of general agreement

Clearly you can
get a force of tankers in theater a lot faster than a force of

tankers
PLUS a
force of fighters and all their support.


Can you? I am not sure about that (note how quickly we got the lead
squadrons of the 1st TFW into Saudi Arabia in 1990), especially since
getting all of those tankers into the theater is only going to do you

some
good if the fuel for them to haul is also present, or readily available,

at
that operating location.


The 1st TFW had an A/A role, IIRR deployed with a full loadout of missiles

on
thea/c and could fairly easily bring an adequate number of reloads with

them, or
fly them in later. A/G ordnance can be a very different matter, although

PGMs
help that aspect. I can't remember if it was the A-10s or F-15Es, but in

one of
Smallwood's books (I think), aircrews described just how limited their A/G
ordnance options were right after they deployed. Fuel, OTOH, is

relatively
available anywhere a commercial airliner is able to operate from. Maybe

you
need to haul in JP-5/8 for the tactical a/c, but the tankers themselves

should
be able to operate on Jet A/A-1.


As to fuel availability, I was referring to the ready availability of the
JP-8 in bulk form--and it won't necessarily be there (always) in the
quantity you want at those "remote" bases you refer to unless we haul it in
ourselves. Usually meaning by ship. A second ship can haul quite a few
pieces of ordnance, right? If you are tied to getting basic resources into
the TO, you might as well be "in for a penny, in for a pound". And yes, the
use of PGM's has resulted in a drastic reduction in the volume of ordnance
that has to be transported into the TO (ISTR Franks noting that during OEF
we were effectively engaging as many targets per day as we did during ODS,
with about 10% of the average daily sortie rate compared to the earlier
conflict). As we move towards use of the 500 pound JDAM, and even moreso the
SDB, the need for ordnance (in terms of volume/weight) will shrivel even
further.


How much more trouble is it for the USAF to put a
force that could easily surpass the per-day delivered-tonnage capability

of
a CVSG (given your premise that the CVN is having to operate from

extended
range itself)?


If they've got sufficient time to get set up in advance, fine, but crises

often
don't provide that kind of time. We've been lucky that most of our wars

in the
past decade and a half (OAF somewhat excepted) have given us some lead

time to
get ready.


I'd posit that using the basing options we already have in-hand (Guam, Diego
Garcia, Fairford, and CONUS), the B-1, B-52, and B-2 can acheive this pretty
much anywhere in the world *now*.


Three or four B-1B's or B-52's alone can acheive that.


And provided you're willing to send them in without any SEAD at the start

of the
war, and multi-hour cycle times are no problem, great.


I was playing devils advocate a bit here, but if you areally want to get
down to details, yeah, they could still provide a reasonable option. Use of
ALCM's to target IADS nodes/assets during the initial phase, with the
pending "electric" B-52 providing standoff jamming support, B-2's doing
their thing, and then as we start taking down the defenses, we can move a
bit closer and start using the other standoff systems (i.e., JASSM). Given
the range we saw the F-16's operate at during OEF, it would not be beyond
the realm of possibility for the F-15C's and E's to get into the ballgame at
long range, either (if they had to). As I have said a couple of times, I do
see a use for the CVN's--but barking that they just *have* to have every
tanker in the USAF at their beck-and-call does not do much to support the
argument that they are such a critical resource, does it?


OEF
demonstrated the use of both F-15E's and F-16's in conducting pretty

long
range strike operations (from the PG around Iran, up to Afghanistan and

back
again, at greater range than the CVN-based strikers were enduring).


Sure did. Using those USAF tankers with booms to maximise the transfer

rate.
And it helped that we were already set up in the area flying Southern

Watch
sorties. But we're not there now, although we do still have some presence

in
the 'Stans, IIRC.


And are getting ready to relocate our NATO-assigned assets further east,
too, to places like maybe Hungary and Rumania, etc. In the Pacific we have
Guam, the ROK bases, Okinawa. Diego Garcia in the IO is the one that is
truly the most limited in terms of ramp space, but the bases in the -stans
you mention make it a bit less critical than has been the case in the past.


Worried
about an enemy air threat? Then you have your standoff attack systems,

along
with B-2's. Yes, there are other issues (hauling in the bombs, etc.),

but
they are not insurmountable (i.e., we still have a surface transport
capability, augmented by air transport assets).

Should we can the CVN's? No, of course not. But they can continue to

operate
a few more years with the support of KC-135R's and KC-10's without

HAVING to
have the 767's *optimized* for their very own use.


Provided we have sufficient space for all those tanker a/c in theater,

fine, but
it's still wasteful to use two a/c and crews to do the job of one. Of

course,
if you're cycling flights of two constantly through the tankers, no big

deal,
but gorilla packages are another matter. And we may well need to help

tank our
allies (assuming we have any). Many of them are buying their own

multi-point
drogue tankers now, which helps both of us if they're along for the ride.


That last bit is true. But I think you may be forgetting that during
contingency operations we tend to have to operate a number of tanker tracks
a long way from the TO (i.e., the Atlantic air-bridge, or a Pacific version,
depending upon where the TO is), so those 767's could be a major contributor
without even having to enter the local airspace. The real issue is how long
we can drag out the 135E fleet; there are 131 of them remaining in service
now, with engines that were stripped from old commercial transports some
fifteen or twenty years ago as an "interim" fix, corrosion concerns, and
obscelescent avionics. Their MC rate can only really continue to drop, which
is why yes, we can replace 131 aircraft with 100 newer aircraft and come out
in pretty good shape. Do we have the time available to dally around with
optimizing the 767 in all manners before we order them (and run the very
real risk of seeing the line shut down in the meantime), or do we take the
money we have now and order the first 40 (which is the number the USAF has
tossed about as the first firm order volume) with the lesser hose/drogue
capability, and then implement the multi-point system on the following
aircraft, with the originals being upgraded at a later date? I see the
latter as an option that makes as much, if not more, sense than the former.

Brooks


Guy






 




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