USAF News and Discussion

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
I agree, a MRTT/LMXT is a contender. WRT Boeing, I can’t see any advantage for them to offer 767 again which is why perhaps their bigger models should be considered for the extra cargo capability/fuel load. I suspect a large cargo door in the composite 787 wouldn’t be desirable.
Damn, I meant to address this, but failed to get to it in my original reply, and am to late to add an edit.
There are actually tremendous advantages to re-offer the KC-46. Life-cycle sustainment commonality..
But, a split type fleet does offer tremendous redundancy should you encounter a type-grounding situation..
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
One factor that could make a larger jet more attractive is the real possibility that commercial air travel won’t recover any time soon. This might result in Boeing being more aggressive wrt a 777X bid so some return can be realized on the jet’s development.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
One factor that could make a larger jet more attractive is the real possibility that commercial air travel won’t recover any time soon. This might result in Boeing being more aggressive wrt a 777X bid so some return can be realized on the jet’s development.
I am not sure about Boeing delivering on time, again.
Imagine an A330 MRTT, but with 28% more gas (with a 271,000 lb fuel capacity). Not sure if the 60,000 lb figure is correct. Lockheed Martin’s LMXT doesn't have a main deck cargo door limiting the tanker to 6 463L-size pallets versus 18 pallets in the KC-46.
  • Based on the strategic tanking choice for 13 nations around the world
  • Currently supports fighter, transport and maritime patrol aircraft for the U.S. and allied partners
  • Current receiver air refueling certifications for tanker airframe: F-35A, F-22, F-16, A-10, B1-B, C-17, E-3, E-7, F-15, P-8A
In June 2021, the USAF launched a market research for the KC-Y program as it looks for companies that could deliver commercial derivative aircraft at a rate of 12 to 15 units per year to supplement the service’s tanker fleet at the end of the production of the KC-46A aerial refueling aircraft (with a fuel capacity of 212,299 lbs). The USAF is emphasizing that vendors should provide non-developmental aircraft, as such, a ‘celebrity death match’ supply contest between Boeing and Airbus is all but ensured. Mike Hafer, who leads Boeing’s global sales and marketing of the KC-46, said that the company looks forward to proposing the KC-46 for the KC-Y program.

Meanwhile, Boeing has more ideas — this may be related to the USAF looking to integrate a new "outsize … air-to-air" missile onto its forthcoming F-15EX Eagle II aircraft. Though no further details were provided about this weapon, it seemed highly unlikely that this was a reference to the AIM-260, which is expected to have a general form factor similar, if not identical, to the existing AIM-120.
 
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Terran

Active Member
So E7 is back in the news. Apparently General Brown USAF has been chatting up the RAF and the RAAF on the Wedgetail. Yet has not reportedly been talking with Boeing.
Brown was looking at it as a possible interim til space based tracking becomes available. How that works ??
It always seemed to me that if you want to maintain superiority in the coming age you need both a conventional AEW and some kind of low observable system. The former to the rear area to support ops the latter to the front kind like the teaming of F15 and F35.
E7 is younger than the antique 707. More fuel and maintenance efficient. Could take the defense side support the F16 and F15 ops.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Imagine an A330 MRTT, but with 28% more gas (with a 271,000 lb fuel capacity). Not sure if the 60,000 lb figure is correct. Lockheed Martin’s LMXT doesn't have a main deck cargo door limiting the tanker to 6 463L-size pallets versus 18 pallets in the KC-46.
  • Based on the strategic tanking choice for 13 nations around the world
  • Currently supports fighter, transport and maritime patrol aircraft for the U.S. and allied partners
  • Current receiver air refueling certifications for tanker airframe: F-35A, F-22, F-16, A-10, B1-B, C-17, E-3, E-7, F-15, P-8A
A330 MRTT has always had the ability to increase the fuel load relatively easily, because Airbus deliberately didn't sacrifice cargo space to maximise the fuel capacity. Apparently, that's what the customers want. From what I've read, the option of adding fuel tanks in the cargo hold was there if a customer wanted it (& presumably, was willing to pay for modification), but none of them did.

So E7 is back in the news. Apparently General Brown USAF has been chatting up the RAF and the RAAF on the Wedgetail. ...
E7 is younger than the antique 707. More fuel and maintenance efficient. Could take the defense side support the F16 and F15 ops.
KC-135 isn't quite a 707. The USAF wanted something with a wider (by 12"/30.5 cm) fuselage than the prototype, & committed to that before the commercial 707 went into production - slightly wider again, but only by 4", & a few metres longer.

The RAF's E-3s had become maintenance hogs, & because of government penny-pinching had skipped upgrades, so needed a lot of work to keep them useful, both electronically & physically. IIRC the RAF argued that buying E-7 was cheaper per flying hour than refurbishing & updating the E-3s. It's believable.
 
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FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
Word just coming out via twitter, no articles seen yet, Rolls-Royce North America has been awarded the contract to re-engine the B-52 fleet.
I believe they've offered a variant of their BR700/F130 turbofan family.
Projected to be a $2.6 Billion contract. Engines to be manufactured in their Indianapolis plant
 
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swerve

Super Moderator
That's interesting. I remember thinking a while ago that it was close enough in size & thrust to be a possible replacement, but I was thinking hypothetically, not really expecting it. Then it actually got offered, but I still wasn't sure the USAF would buy it.

Bloody hell! It's on Wikipedia already! 608 engines, it says.

So . . . B-52s will get German engines. ;)

RR said a few days ago that tests confirmed "the engine design and performance are a perfect fit for the B-52".

Aha! since you posted that Aviation Week has reported it -
Rolls-Royce Wins B-52 Re-engining Contract | Aviation Week Network
A usually reliable source, eh?
 

Terran

Active Member
KC-135 isn't quite a 707. The USAF wanted something with a wider (by 12"/30.5 cm) fuselage than the prototype, & committed to that before the commercial 707 went into production - slightly wider again, but only by 4", & a few metres longer.
Since I was talking about the E7 my statement is accurate as the E3 is not based on KC 135 but 707-320 the 707 family was type classified for USAF use as the C137 and VC137. Critical here is they all are retaining the old engines. As such they are maintenance hogs.
 
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FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
That's interesting. I remember thinking a while ago that it was close enough in size & thrust to be a possible replacement, but I was thinking hypothetically, not really expecting it. Then it actually got offered, but I still wasn't sure the USAF would buy it.

Bloody hell! It's on Wikipedia already! 608 engines, it says.

So . . . B-52s will get German engines. ;)

RR said a few days ago that tests confirmed "the engine design and performance are a perfect fit for the B-52".

Aha! since you posted that Aviation Week has reported it -
Rolls-Royce Wins B-52 Re-engining Contract | Aviation Week Network
A usually reliable source, eh?
Statement from the USAF. So, semi-reliable source I would say /s/
The competitive single award contract provides for 608 military derivative commercial engines, plus spare engines, associated support equipment and commercial engineering data, to include sustainment activities, to be used on the B-52H bomber fleet.
Personally, I'm not buying into the program actually getting executed until at least one plane has eight new engines installed, and has been test flown.;)

 

Terran

Active Member
If they launch this start it combined with if Boeing is able to get its KC46 issues straight that is 2 of the 3 TF33 engine users off that engine. That would just leave E3. Combine in talk of a possible E7 that would be a stake in the heart of the old TF33.
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
If they launch this start it combined with if Boeing is able to get its KC46 issues straight that is 2 of the 3 TF33 engine users off that engine. That would just leave E3. Combine in talk of a possible E7 that would be a stake in the heart of the old TF33.
Not sure how the KC-46 plays into retirement of TF33 engines as all KC-135E aircraft equipped with the engines have been retired for over a decade. As far as I can tell the USAF use of the TF33 is on the B-52s, E-3s, E-8s and an assorted collection of C-135 based surveillance planes
Edit:
I would add that all the discussion I've seen in fielding the E-7 as an "interim" replacement for E-3s in the Pacific theater, not service wide. So, chances are the venerable TF33 will be powering USAF planes for decades to come.
 
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Terran

Active Member
Not sure how the KC-46 plays into retirement of TF33 engines as all KC-135E aircraft equipped with the engines have been retired for over a decade. As far as I can tell the USAF use of the TF33 is on the B-52s, E-3s, E-8s and an assorted collection of C-135 based surveillance planes
Edit:
I would add that all the discussion I've seen in fielding the E-7 as an "interim" replacement for E-3s in the Pacific theater, not service wide. So, chances are the venerable TF33 will be powering USAF planes for decades to come.
First the re-engine if the KC135 had slipped my mind. Next C135 series are all slated in some form or another for replacement. Due to parts or age.
I am posting now as a Oped was posted in Breaking defense pushing for E7 again.
It’s not just the engines but the whole system. E3 is finishing a overhaul but it’s still old. It should have been replaced years ago. As an Interim it wouldn’t be limited to the paccom but system wide due to the increasing obsolescence in the system vs the immaturity of the projected space based platform. Focusing only on the push which began in PACCOM but isn’t limited to it. The main advantage of the E7 is existing production and support of the 737-700 platform from engine to airframe to radar.
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
Delivery to the USAF of the first EC-37B (Gulfstream G550) is still anticipated to be over a year away, but a nice step forward.
11 aircraft programed, 10 combat-coded and one trainer, to replace the 14 plane fleet of EC-130Hs.
 
Delivery to the USAF of the first EC-37B (Gulfstream G550) is still anticipated to be over a year away, but a nice step forward.
11 aircraft programed, 10 combat-coded and one trainer, to replace the 14 plane fleet of EC-130Hs.
The electronic warfare system that is already used on the EC-130H will probably be transferred to the EC-37B.
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
The electronic warfare system that is already used on the EC-130H will probably be transferred to the EC-37B.
The article specifically states that the first 5 aircraft will receive systems from the EC-130H along with new technology. The 6th aircraft on will receive open architecture systems to simplify adding new EW payloads in the future.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
First the re-engine if the KC135 had slipped my mind. Next C135 series are all slated in some form or another for replacement. Due to parts or age.
I am posting now as a Oped was posted in Breaking defense pushing for E7 again.
It’s not just the engines but the whole system. E3 is finishing a overhaul but it’s still old. It should have been replaced years ago. As an Interim it wouldn’t be limited to the paccom but system wide due to the increasing obsolescence in the system vs the immaturity of the projected space based platform. Focusing only on the push which began in PACCOM but isn’t limited to it. The main advantage of the E7 is existing production and support of the 737-700 platform from engine to airframe to radar.
The UK decided not to overhaul & update its E-3s because it was estimated to cost more, per year of remaining life, than buying E-7s - which would be cheaper to operate & more capable.

Part of that cost was because the UK hadn't updated its E-3s when others had, so had a backlog of updates, but the cost of keeping E-3s operating relative to the cost of replacement is also looking increasingly poor for other users.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
The USAF replacing the E-3 with E-7s seems to be gaining momentum with reports they have kicked of a study looking at buying the E-7
 
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