Welcome to DefenceTalk.com Forum!

By registering with us, you'll be able to discuss, share and private message with other members of our community.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Royal Air Force [RAF] discussions and updates

Discussion in 'Air Force & Aviation' started by neil, Oct 14, 2007.

Share This Page

  1. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    6,774
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Reading, Berkshire
    The JASDF has some Boeing 767s with the E-3C radar & associated systems, so in theory it'd be possible to migrate everything to an airframe that's in production (for a while) & with which the system's already integrated, but I don't expect anyone will actually do that.

    I agree with those who think that for the UK the most likely choice to replace the E-3 is the B737 AEW&C, in the absence of a US national project to join. A SAAB system, whether on a Global 6000 or an Airbus platform, is definitely an outsider.
     
  2. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    6,774
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Reading, Berkshire
    AFAIK we've not fully followed that track, failing to implement recent upgrades & improvements.
     
  3. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,369
    Likes Received:
    247
    Location:
    not in New England anymore...
    That does not match up with the programme timelines for either the E-10, or what is now known as the KC-46A Pegasus.

    By the time the October, 2007 online edition of the Air Force Magazine was published, the E-10. What became the KC-46 did not get selected until Feb. 2011 following a particularly convoluted and torturous procurement programme that had witnessed several different aircraft designs entered by the competitors, investigations which led to criminal convictions and prison sentences, contracts being awarded and then challenged and re-bid, and so on...

    At the time the E-10 was cancelled, the NG/EADS KC-30 was competing with Boeing's KC-767 for the competition, and in February 2008 the KC-30 was selected and given a USAF designation of KC-45. As a result of a GAO investigation following the Boeing challenge, which IIRC found that the selection of the KC-30 was made due to a higher fuel capacity which had not been a part of the RFP. Part of the rationale behind the challenge that I recall was that Boeing stated if it had known that a higher fuel capacity was advantageous for a design, it would have submitted a tanker based off one of their other airliners like the B777, and it seemed that the GAO agreed since it recommended re-bidding the KC-X contract. Bidding on the tanker contract ended up being re-opened July 2008, or 9+ months after the final plug was pulled on the E-10 programme.

    I could certainly see how Boeing might have incorporated some of the lessons learned and developmental work into what became the KC-46A Pegasus, but there is nothing that I see which would suggest that at the time the USAF saw the KC-X tanker replacement programme as being able to fulfill even part of the role which the E-10 was intended to fill.
     
  4. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,369
    Likes Received:
    247
    Location:
    not in New England anymore...
    I do not see migrating the RAF E-3 to a B767 airframe as being a prime issue. I am certain of course that if such a path was taken, it could be done albeit not cheaply, since parts would need to be inspected with some almost certainly requiring either refurbishment or replacement.

    What would be questionable IMO is whether or not transferring the radars and associated systems would be worth the costs involved and the capabilities they would maintain.

    From that same USAF magazine online article from October 2007, it was felt that with a programme of upgrades, the E-3 Sentry radar systems could be kept relevant for another 20 years, provided those upgrades were incorporated over that two decade period. At this point, we are now about nine years before the end of that deadline, and I do not honestly foresee much value in relying upon a large mechanically scanned array into the 2030's, certainly not when compared with what computing power linked with electronically scanned arrays can achieve now.

    From my POV the RAF needs to start looking at replacing the E-3 due not only the costs associated with operating and supporting an older platform, but also because E-3 sensor capability will no longer provide the same degree of SA that it used to. And absent the US running an AEW replacement programme, I suspect the E-7 Wedgetail would provide the greatest AEW capability to the RAF and at a reasonable cost to acquire, operate and sustain.
     
  5. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Messages:
    2,184
    Likes Received:
    261
    Location:
    Behind a Desk
    Boeing even with their early iteration of their 767 based tanker project were right from the start factoring additional capabilities out of the platform. This is early 2000's prior to the E-10 and the KC-767. Well before the timeline you are contemplating.
     
  6. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,369
    Likes Received:
    247
    Location:
    not in New England anymore...
    I would need to check and see what I can find regarding both the initial KC-X competition, as well as the first and 2nd Boeing submissions and the KC-30 submission. At present I do not recall the initial programme being intended to replicate some of the RC-135 or E-8 capabilities, and if such capabilities were not in the RFP, I do not see why a defence contractor would expend funds to add such capabilities since the unasked for capabilities would be excluded from providing an advantage at contract award decisions get made. In point of fact, this was the argument Boeing made and the GAO agreed with which led to the contract award for KC-30 to be overturned and a new KC-X competition being held.
     
  7. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Messages:
    2,184
    Likes Received:
    261
    Location:
    Behind a Desk
    Good grief I am not talking specifically about the KC-X competition in and of itself. I was mentioning the development considerations that were conducted by Boeing in the lead up to all this nearly 20 years ago. Their quite obvious commercial consideration that the 76 platform had potential for other capabilities that Boeing had delivered through the 135 family and the legitimate commercial expectation that the aging 135 platform was going to be eventually replaced. That is no way assuming that they were attempting a frankenstein tanker, transport, AEW&C, flying command post, joint stars all in one boondoggle.
     
    Cadredave likes this.
  8. the concerned

    the concerned Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    1
    Doesn't the radar capabilities of the globaleye offer not just a replacement for the E-3 but also the sentinel
     
  9. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,369
    Likes Received:
    247
    Location:
    not in New England anymore...
    Perhaps, though the Sentinel R1 AFAIK has sensors that are optimized for ground scanning/surveillance. It appears that some versions of the Globaleye can be fitted with a ground-scanning radar with GMTI Realistically though, we do not know how well the sensor performance of that would compare with the AESA aboard the Sentinel.

    For that matter, I suspect a properly kitted out P-8 Poseidon (especially if fitted with the radar derived from the AN/APS-149 AESA) would possess a greater ground surveillance capability.

    If/when the RAF replaces their E-3 Sentries, I believe they will opt for US-sourced AEW systems, as I believe they will be easier to integrate in the overall US/NATO battlesystem, if the systems selected are not already integrated.
     
  10. StobieWan

    StobieWan Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Messages:
    2,998
    Likes Received:
    41
    That's why the current suggested cost for E3 upgrades is so high - the RAF is looking at 2bn to get the cabs back on track and Australia's Wedgetail buy was a bit less than that so adjusting the cost forward from their purchase, it's close as far as I can see, which is possibly why the RAF/MOD are thinking in terms of "well, we've had our money's worth.."

    I'm leaning towards "shut up and take my money" and grabbing Wedgetail.
     
    Jezza, robsta83 and John Fedup like this.
  11. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    6,774
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Reading, Berkshire
    The original Erieye was integrated into NATO systems when Greece bought it, & I think the Israeli EL/W-2085 AEW&C system has been integrated for Italy, since it bought the G550 CAEW. AFAIK updating Erieye to Erieye ER is unlikely to cause any integration issues.

    I have doubts about putting everything on one aircraft. The (optional, I think) maritime surveillance/surface search radar on Globaleye is a version of the Leonardo Seaspray, & while it seems to be agreed that the Seaspray family are good radars, the largest is physically much smaller than the Raytheon radar on the Sentinel. That could be just because it's newer technology, but I suspect that's probably not the whole reason, & the bigger radar is more capable. Having a radar equivalent to that of the Sentinel as well as the AEW radar looks to me like a bit much to ask from an aircraft the size of the Global 6000.

    They could put all the kit on a bigger aircraft of course, e.g. an A320neo, but the RAF's got very wary of custom-built solutions when there's an OTS alternative since Nimrod.
     
  12. StobieWan

    StobieWan Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Messages:
    2,998
    Likes Received:
    41
    I think there's a bit of a case to be made for using one airframe as well - P8/E7 - type qualifications to fly it would be common (the missions are very different but the only thing different on a P8 from the civilian model in terms of the cockpit, is a small panel of switches to one side that controls the master arm and some other military stuff - I suspect Wedgetail is very much the same - and the maintenance requirements would be common in the main. Very common spares chain, common pilot qualifications, I'm seeing some savings there.

    SAAB would have to have a very compelling case...
     
  13. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    6,774
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Reading, Berkshire
    Yeah, now we've ordered the P-8 the logistics argument is very much in favour of the E-7. I cannot judge the relative merits of the different radars (& no doubt both will be upgraded - I'm not sure if there's much left of the original Erieye), but all else being equal something on the same platform has to be the favourite.
     
  14. hauritz

    hauritz Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Messages:
    783
    Likes Received:
    31
    UK unveils new next generation fighter jet called Tempest

    The Brits look like they are starting work on their next generation fighter.

    There seems to be a long list of countries currently falling over themselves to build the next generation fighter. The Japanese, Germans and French, Koreans and Turks have all announced their intentions so it isn't surprising that Britain is throwing their hat into the ring.

    It will be interesting to see who partners up with them. I have a feeling the Swedes might be interested.

    Who knows ... post Britex there might even be a push for a commonwealth fighter.
     
  15. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    2,970
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    Vancouver and Toronto
    Like I posted on the the Military Aviation thread, these jets are just too expensive for solo nation efforts. As for a Commonwealth effort, a frightening thought for the RCAF. Junior might say "hey guys, no F-35s because I am going to buy 6th fighters designed in the U.K. and built by my friends at Bombardier".:eek:
     
  16. hauritz

    hauritz Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Messages:
    783
    Likes Received:
    31
    True ... but if you combine the GDP of the UK, Canada and Australia you suddenly have an economy ranked just behind The US and China. It makes sense for those three countries to work together on these sorts of projects.
     
  17. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,369
    Likes Received:
    247
    Location:
    not in New England anymore...
    The problem with such an idea (of the three nations working together on a project like this) IMO is that while the economies of the nations might be comparable to the US or PRC, one also needs to look at the defence industrial capacity, and especially the sectors of defence industry which would be needed for a fighter aircraft product.

    I personally doubt that the Australian, Canadian, and UK-based divisions of the various multi-national defence conglomerates would have the resources required to develop 6th gen fighter systems on their own, without receiving assistance from outside of the the ABC nations.