Military Aviation News and Discussion

Terran

Member
A short article discussing the US army options for a UH-60 replacement. Each design has merits but the Valor 280 seems to be progressing at a faster rate. IMO, the outcome might be similar to the USN’s LCS program, select both designs. Unlike the naval decision, a split buy might be correct although more expensive.Beyond The Black Hawk: Defiant Vs. Valor
I doubt is will be a joint buy more likely to me is that Bell will take the FLARA role with V280. Well Lockheed Sikorsky take the Scout FARA role with Raider X. The Range and speed requiments asked for by the Marines and SOCOM favor V280.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Moved reply here from German Navy thread as I feel it less OT and more appropriate here.

A320neo M3A MPA was/is an Airbus marketing balloon flanking the current phase in which both sides are trying to develop a capability requirement set for MAWS.
Airbus in this attempts to push for something that integrates a more complicated, non-MPA, capability set in order to shift the possible solution sought towards a product only they can offer, with M3A basically offering to be a solution for:
  • MPA roles in replacement of P-3C and Atlantique II
  • SIGINT and overland surveillance roles of the Atlantique (and Gabriel) in former German and active French use
  • mentioning the keyword AEW&C knowing that the French will be looking for an E-3F replacement in the same timeframe
  • positioning multi-role use as reconfigurable MRT aircraft as a possible low-end replacement for A310 in both countries, including PAX versions

Re the A319 MPA, it's basically the same aircraft. The A319 is an A320 with seven fuselage frames removed (was called A320M-7 in design even...), the neo variants simply are equipped with the current engine generation.

Internally Airbus supposedly is studying an alternative integration of MPA components into the A220, the former CSeries design bought from Bombardier.


Germany is seeking an interim solution until MAWS due to the failure of the P-3C update programme. The formal information from the ministry to parliament included as possible off-the-shelf options P-8 Poseiden, C-295MPA and ATR-72-derived variants (specifically the RAS-72, a MPA version built by a small German company for Pakistan). These are all options that could be available for introduction by 2025. Obviously the selection would influence the future chances of MAWS being realized.
One thing I would be wary of, if Airbus is attempting to offer a multi-role ISR asset that integrates MP, SIGINT and AEW/AEW&C roles, is that such a developmental programme could very easily fail. The joint Northrup Grumman/Boeing/Raytheon E-10 MC2A comes to mind as an unfortunate and IMO quite likely example. The intention had been for the E-10 to be based off the B767-400ER aircraft and provide a replacement for the E-3 Sentry, E-8 JSTARS and RC-135 Joint Rivet aircraft. One of the early things found was interference between the ground surveillance radar and the AESA, which IIRC was to be based upon the MESA used in the RAAF's E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft plus problems in providing sufficient power for both radars and other onboard systems.

I could easily see Airbus running into a similar issue of interference between a sea search radar and broad area air search radar. Such issues could potentially be resolved, but if encountered I could easily see such efforts taking significant time and money. If Airbus does not already have an aircraft which it is trying to integrate and test such systems on, then it likely would not be able to roll out such an aircraft within the timeframe needed to meet German requirements. It might be able to do so for French requirements due in ~2035.

Of course another possible route to follow would be for Airbus to use an A320neo as the base platform, but use less powerful sensors which might be able to be fitted aboard smaller prop aircraft like the C-295. Not sure that would provide much of an improvement though.
 

kato

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
If Airbus does not already have an aircraft which it is trying to integrate and test such systems on, then it likely would not be able to roll out such an aircraft within the timeframe needed to meet German requirements. It might be able to do so for French requirements due in ~2035.
MAWS is entirely focused on a possible 2035 implementation. Germany does not have an earlier requirement, it will look for a bridging interim solution.

if Airbus is attempting to offer a multi-role ISR asset that integrates MP, SIGINT and AEW/AEW&C roles
Don't forget they also propose using the "M3A" for MRT, Medevac and PAX transport roles to complicate the layout. ;)

Not sure whether they plan for it to actually carry an air search radar in the AEW&C role or whether it would merely be a forward aggregator node and airborne control platform for other assets, i.e. more along the lines of E-8. The advertising video points towards the latter. Realistically though this is entirely aimed at just providing that "keyword". The French E-3F are due to be replaced around 2035 too.
 

Terran

Member
Historically We know that you can use a common platform as the basis of new Aircraft types. The Boeing 707 family in the past was the basis of Tanker/transport, AEW, JSTARS, Open Skies, Air Force one, And Intel gathering. Tout clearly not all at the same time. The Boeing 767 has been an AEW and a Tanker Transport again not the same bird but variants. We see the same with the Boeing 737. AEW E7A. MPA P8 but that latter type has been modified to serve as potential JSTARS. The Old EP3 Ares was built from the P3 MPA to act as ELINT aircraft it’s likely that the P8 will to. Or Embrare’s 99 series where in . What E10 was supposed to become later in its cycle.
The most logical approach it seems to me would be if they did something like this for Airbus. So A320neo AEW as one Variant. MPA 320 as a second that could be configured like the P8 JSTARS if wanted. A320 ELINT/SIGNT.
Generally though I think A320 is a little small for a MRTT.
This said. End of the day large transport based platforms are fine for peace time missions but in the event of modern war they have the clear issue that long range air to air missile and low observable launch platforms can knock them from the sky if they wander to far from the safety of home airspace.

The US JSTARS recap was cancelled because of this fact. In fact early in development JSTARS was a Stealth version. Tacit able was because the people behind JSTARS saw the writing on the wall,
Fifth Gen fighters are sometime claimed to be mini AEW for the same reason. As they are to be deployed beyond the safety net of the AEW.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #347
Historically We know that you can use a common platform as the basis of new Aircraft types. The Boeing 707 family in the past was the basis of Tanker/transport, AEW, JSTARS, Open Skies, Air Force one, And Intel gathering. Tout clearly not all at the same time. The Boeing 767 has been an AEW and a Tanker Transport again not the same bird but variants. We see the same with the Boeing 737. AEW E7A. MPA P8 but that latter type has been modified to serve as potential JSTARS. The Old EP3 Ares was built from the P3 MPA to act as ELINT aircraft it’s likely that the P8 will to. Or Embrare’s 99 series where in . What E10 was supposed to become later in its cycle.
The most logical approach it seems to me would be if they did something like this for Airbus. So A320neo AEW as one Variant. MPA 320 as a second that could be configured like the P8 JSTARS if wanted. A320 ELINT/SIGNT.
Generally though I think A320 is a little small for a MRTT.
This said. End of the day large transport based platforms are fine for peace time missions but in the event of modern war they have the clear issue that long range air to air missile and low observable launch platforms can knock them from the sky if they wander to far from the safety of home airspace.

The US JSTARS recap was cancelled because of this fact. In fact early in development JSTARS was a Stealth version. Tacit able was because the people behind JSTARS saw the writing on the wall,
Fifth Gen fighters are sometime claimed to be mini AEW for the same reason. As they are to be deployed beyond the safety net of the AEW.
There is no reason why the A320 cannot be the base aircraft for an AEW&C. I know that Airbus have flown a C295 with a blank radar disc attached to the top of the fuselage for aerodynamics test purposes. Also as you say as a MPA / MMA and they already have the CMS software, FITS. It can also be used for other purposes and I suggest that it would work as a MRTT too, because not all nations want, or can afford, something the size of the A330MRTT.
 

kato

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Airbus' proposal is for MRT, not MRTT. No refueling.

I suggest that it would work as a MRTT too, because not all nations want, or can afford, something the size of the A330MRTT.
The A330 MRTT is rather restricted due to its size, more than some may realize. There's only about three air bases in France where runways are long enough for it to take off at MTOW.
The A320 (civilian version) as opposed to that can operate from most air bases in Germany and France, and for moving a 20-ton payload covers about twice the range of an A400M.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #349
Airbus' proposal is for MRT, not MRTT. No refueling.


The A330 MRTT is rather restricted due to its size, more than some may realize. There's only about three air bases in France where runways are long enough for it to take off at MTOW.
The A320 (civilian version) as opposed to that can operate from most air bases in Germany and France, and for moving a 20-ton payload covers about twice the range of an A400M.
The Luftwaffe and the RCAF have been operating A310 tankers and from what I understand have not been having any problems with them.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
The A310 is significantly smaller. I don't know what difference that makes to runway length, if any, but I think it should affect the need for handling space on the ground..

MTOW L W
tonnes metres metres

A310 MRTT 164 47.4 43.9
A330 MRTT 233 58.8 60.3
 

swerve

Super Moderator
...
The A320 (civilian version) as opposed to that can operate from most air bases in Germany and France, and for moving a 20-ton payload covers about twice the range of an A400M.
Are you sure?
A320 OEW 42.6 t, MTOW 78 t, max payload 20 t. That leaves weight for maybe 19,000 litres of fuel at MTOW & max payload, or about 70% fuel.

According to the published figures I've found, that should give it rather less range than an A400M with 20 tons.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
This link suggests a closer look at investigating the suitability of new seaplanes. A modern seaplane would be be multirole. They can be dispersed to a variety of locations making them much more survivable compared to aircraft at bases easily targeted by modern missiles. As long range air to air refueling aircraft, they could be valuable assets for limited range USN jets. They had their uses in the Pacific theatre during WW2, maybe a new design could prove useful again.

 

MickB

Active Member
This link suggests a closer look at investigating the suitability of new seaplanes. A modern seaplane would be be multirole. They can be dispersed to a variety of locations making them much more survivable compared to aircraft at bases easily targeted by modern missiles. As long range air to air refueling aircraft, they could be valuable assets for limited range USN jets. They had their uses in the Pacific theatre during WW2, maybe a new design could prove useful again.

Most of the tasks listed here (not tanker) sound like a description of the cold war era Ekranoplan.
Perhaps this too is another example of older tech that could be looked at anew in light of modern developments.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
An innovative approach for drone defence by Israel using AI which goes after the drone operator. Hopefully it can be perfected well beyond its current 78% success rate.

 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Both Israel and Germany urgently need to renew their heavy lift helicopter fleets. Sikorsky-LM is offering their new CH-53K and Boeing is offering their CH-47F. Although the former has the ability to lift more, the CH-47 has a lot going for it. It is a proven performer, costs less to operate, and Boeing has a good record for customizing Chinooks to meet user requirements. The attached link doesn’t mention the possible enhanced engine option for the Chinook. Several nations have had disappointing helicopter procurements recently. All I know is had Canada gone with proven performance, tax payers and the RCAF/RCN would be better off!Why Boeing Believes It Will Win The Competition To Supply Heavy-Lift Helicopters To Germany And Israel
 

Terran

Member
The price point of the CH53K is a killer issue. Although the Flying greyhound bus that is the CH47 is smaller it’s cheaper yet still capable. The CH53K is very nitched in terms of features and design for a LHA/LHD and the Marines doctrine driving the price point up to the realm of a modern fighter jet. Well the CH47F isn’t cheap the UAE ordered 10 wheerly birds for about 870 million for the package but the Marines are Shelling out over 131 million a bird. That’s a Major sticker price jump.
 

kato

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Both Israel and Germany urgently need to renew their heavy lift helicopter fleets.
The German contract has pretty hefty and detailed lifecycle support requirements - including on-site maintenance bases as early life support for 3 years, lifecycle support for 42 years, and construction of hangars! - for the simple reason that this is an issue that has popped up again and again with the CH-53G in the last couple decades. And it's not even Sikorsky that was blamed there, it's a general thing about ordering spare parts and such from US supply chains.

"Urgent" is relative. The German contract is for first delivery in 2024 and FOC of the full contracted number in 2032.

Although the Flying greyhound bus that is the CH47 is smaller it’s cheaper yet still capable.
CH-47F just barely fulfills German requirements with zero growth potential, which may actually be an issue in fine print.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
The German contract has pretty hefty and detailed lifecycle support requirements - including on-site maintenance bases as early life support for 3 years, lifecycle support for 42 years, and construction of hangars! - for the simple reason that this is an issue that has popped up again and again with the CH-53G in the last couple decades. And it's not even Sikorsky that was blamed there, it's a general thing about ordering spare parts and such from US supply chains.

"Urgent" is relative. The German contract is for first delivery in 2024 and FOC of the full contracted number in 2032.


CH-47F just barely fulfills German requirements with zero growth potential, which may actually be an issue in fine print.
Wouldn’t say zero growth, an engine upgrade may happen which should enhance its capability. Bottom line, a reasonably priced and proven platform with a small growth potential versus an unproven extremely expensive platform albeit with some significant advantages. Basically the same con job Sikorsky used to fool the Liberal government of the day with the Cyclones (not that it took much effort to fool Canadian Liberals).:p
 

Terran

Member
The German contract has pretty hefty and detailed lifecycle support requirements - including on-site maintenance bases as early life support for 3 years, lifecycle support for 42 years, and construction of hangars! - for the simple reason that this is an issue that has popped up again and again with the CH-53G in the last couple decades. And it's not even Sikorsky that was blamed there, it's a general thing about ordering spare parts and such from US supply chains.

"Urgent" is relative. The German contract is for first delivery in 2024 and FOC of the full contracted number in 2032.


CH-47F just barely fulfills German requirements with zero growth potential, which may actually be an issue in fine print.
To the first part yes common on any import buy. Heck even domestic buy. 2024 is a fast acquisition.
wouldn’t say zero. Although more mature Chinook has a lot of potential.

As is Chinook generally is the fast Chopper in the world. Updated with more powerful engines it could be faster, has the best hot and High performance of any type, it’s tandem configuration gives it advantages not found in other choppers. It’s a design that I am amazed isn’t more common for heavy lift class. Many a year ago it looked like Boeing and Airbus Eurocopter were willing to partner for a Super Chinook to meet just this requirement. That was 2008-2010.
BC6151B2-7308-4983-AEC6-84A9738F40FA.png
Nothing came of it but it shows some of the potential For the design.
Current work has dropped some weight well increasing lift. Concepts have been floated increasing speed more or better lift.
 
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