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S O
S O
November 30, 2014 10:40 am

Necessary, related video:

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
November 30, 2014 10:46 am

With the A400 coming into service, is it possible to divest ourselves of the C17 and have a fleet of A400 and C130 airframes? We could use the C130 as our multi purpose airframe and replace all our surveillance and intelligence/AWAC’s and MPA aircraft with a common platform with excellent expeditionary capabilities with a few airframes for the SF (harvest hawk?).

Maybe look at gifting our C17 and Rivet Joint’s to NATO so we will have some trained personnel and access to them in a major conflict without the full cost of running them?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 30, 2014 11:18 am

What will that single drop weight limit do,if anything, to the vehicle of choice for airdrops? Pinzgauer until now?

wf
wf
November 30, 2014 1:36 pm

: I think the 16 tonne limit is now our bounding point for air drop vehicles, not that anyone was planning on making FRES(SV) the Para’s primary mount. Seems a reasonable limit, so now can get designing :-)

Jeremy M H
November 30, 2014 1:51 pm

@DN

sure it would be possible. Insane but possible. You simply need to come up with a few billion pounds not currently in the equipment budget or accept huge capability cuts.

I have no earthly idea what benefit this would really bring you.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
November 30, 2014 3:35 pm

@JMH

‘I have no earthly idea what benefit this would really bring you’

Ruthless commonality!

The past week all the politicians have been tripping over themselves to pledge more money for the NHS and the deficit has only been reduced by a third, so I don’t think any more money is coming. If we reduce to a two plane air transport fleet with the smaller airframe being used as our surveillance etc platform (most of which are available off the shelf from the US) would this not give a decent capability in the numbers we can afford to run rather than the small numbers we will get otherwise?

Jeremy M H
November 30, 2014 4:36 pm

@DN

But doesn’t your proposal cost more money right now?

I mean if we assume that the current capabilities exist in the numbers they do for a reason then to replace that with A400M’s means the following.

The 22 A400M is a number settled on after the RAF had made the decision to keep the C-17’s around. So basically we should assume those 22 are needed to handle the C-130 replacement.

So if we replace the C-17 on a one for one basis we need to come up with another 8 A400m. If we decide to replace the lift capacity you would need about 16 of them (not accounting for the payload to range differences and what not). So you are looking at anywhere from 960 million to 1.8 billion pounds right here. I think the RAF MX deal with the US runs about $250 million for 3 years on the 8. So you could do basically operate the C-17 fleet for anywhere from 10-20 years on the acquisition cost of the A400m replacements alone. But you are looking to actually save money.

But you actually need a few more airframes. We need 3 to replace Airseeker and I need another 6 to replace AWACS. So now I am up to buying anywhere from from 17 to 25 more (one for one vs capacity replacement plans) total which is 2 to 3 billion pounds.

Then you have to add on top of it the R&D cost to integrate various things. You need to source an AWACS radar. You need to source and make sure you would be allowed to buy the electronics you need. All of this comes on the cost side of the ledger.

Here is basically where it all comes down.

Added Cost
1. Capital cost of acquiring more A400M’s to replace things you already have (a couple billion if you do everything you propose)
2. R&D cost for every variant you create (totally unknown at this stage)

Saved Expense
1. The annual operating difference between operating C-17’s with MX drawn from a large pool, Airseeker with MX and R&D drawn from a large pool and E-3 with development drawn from a large pool. And we can’t even say for sure at this point that the annual operating cost for the A400m would be significantly cheaper than the aircraft it is replacing.

I takes an awful lot of annual savings to pay back billions in capital expenditure. You are taking on unknown R&D expenses when you don’t have to as well. That is why I say I see no upside in this. You are spending money now to replace things that work just fine and have relatively stable and known cost while taking on a few unknowns. The only upside is that over a very long time you might save a few pounds. It will take at least a decade if not two to actually recognize those savings.

Commonality is a means to an end, not an end unto itself.

Mark
Mark
November 30, 2014 4:59 pm

Jeremy mh

You need to re read DNS post he not looking to buy more a400m. He wants to retain the hercules currently in use and convert them as per I assume LM power points. His main cost cost there is how much it would cost to zero life knackered airframes to maintain airworthiness.

However you would need to ask why use a more expensive herc to replace cheaper aircraft already in service in the istar role such as kingair sentinel and reaper. The second question to ask would be if your looking to save money would you retain the awacs fleet at all, would you instead simply make a contribution to NATO fleet which is being updated and save on the cost of ownership of the airframes (that really is one for the budget calculators) The final cost saving being simply not reintroducing mpa. A final option for awac would be integrate it onto the 5 a330 airtanker not in the core aar fleet. As for rivet joint the Germans have looked at putting sigint onto the global express a joint project perhaps.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
November 30, 2014 5:03 pm

@JMH

We could use the surge capacity in the Voyager fleet to help make up for the loss of the C17 and maybe take up our option of two more A400.

The C130 would be the aircraft used for awacs etc 90% of which have all ready been developed and used by the US and are mostly modular.

The days of us airlifting brigades are gone and even the Para’s are going down to a Coy being parachute qualified, so do we need the capacity we are buying anymore?

TAS
TAS
November 30, 2014 5:34 pm

I like the contra rotating props. Pretty…

Hannay
Hannay
November 30, 2014 7:02 pm

@Mark

The UK’s E-3D Sentry fleet _is_ the UK’s contribution to the NATO AWACS fleet. Instead of us paying in money and crews like the other countries, we contribute whole aircraft with crews. This is much more flexible for the UK.

As for cost savings of having an all-Hercules ISTAR fleet, you’ve also got to consider the capability offered. A Hercules-derived ISTAR platform will be nowhere near as good as a bespoke one, and quite possibly ends up costing more; e.g. Sentinel running costs vs. Hercules running costs

Mark
Mark
November 30, 2014 7:25 pm

I am aware of that Hannay. Thought there is more UK a/c than solely required for the NATO tasking. You would not require the infastructure and training at waddington were you to delete the UK a/c. You could save some money hence saying it would really be one for the budget calculators, but lose flexibility.

I do not in anyway believe modular transport aircraft are the answer to the istar problem. However in the budget constrained world all options including shared capabilities will need to be looked at if we wish to retain the capabilities we’ve had in the past.

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 30, 2014 11:05 pm

Surely capabilities are like an insurance policy …… its no good cutting the cost and making it all simple if when the time comes to draw on it it isn’t up to the job.

Furthermore the accounting cost of the proposal as well as the ‘capital cost’ would not be easy to justify. Commonality is currently being overplayed. History often refers to clever ‘unique’ capabilities not just the cheap mass produced common platforms that changed the course.

Personally I would aim for a three tier fleet with the C295M replacing the 146s and Hercs.

Challenger
Challenger
November 30, 2014 11:24 pm

@Opinion3

‘Personally I would aim for a three tier fleet with the C295M replacing the 146s and Hercs’

I agree, a smallish purchase of 8-12 to standardize down to 3 main types makes sense.

Perhaps a couple could be fitted out to a higher spec and replace the BAE 125’s as well.

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 30, 2014 11:32 pm

TD

It does, personally I wouldn’t put further money in the transport fleet at the moment, there are indeed higher priorities but commonality must be a reasonable possibility across the Airbus Military products.

Am I the only one noticing the Russian threat? Putin is hoping to be there until 2024. Now I can’t think of a single leader who hasn’t got more and more dictatorial and dangerous as time goes on……

We need a SDSR that properly assesses the Russian threat and what resources and capabilities are needed to rebuff it.

Economic, Energy Security need to be the first and second considerations followed by Geopolitical and Military strength and security.

mickp
mickp
December 1, 2014 12:50 am

I’d still see if we can squeeze and extra 2 C17s before the line closes to make it a decent sized long term fleet. The C295 option makes sense, of course some could fulfil smaller tactical transport, some SF support possibly and some a coastguard style / EEZ MPA, meaning we can just have a small P8 buy focussed on long range ASW. A balance of high end interoperability with the US (relatively small fleets of C17, P8, Rivet Joint, AWACs, and F35B ultimately)) and EU produced assets to do the bulk of the work (C295, Atlas, Typhoon)

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 1, 2014 1:52 pm

‘The UK’s E-3D Sentry fleet _is_ the UK’s contribution to the NATO AWACS fleet.’

We have 2 sqn of E3, why?

‘His main cost cost there is how much it would cost to zero life knackered airframes to maintain airworthiness’

I would not zero life any airframes, I would replace the current aircraft on a rolling basis with C130 so an initial buy for MPA and then for Sentinal, possibly combining with Shadow etc.

‘Surely capabilities are like an insurance policy …… its no good cutting the cost and making it all simple if when the time comes to draw on it it isn’t up to the job.’

Is it not better to have stuff that you are more likely to use than keeping small fleets of stuff for a rainy day? Do we use the C17 in a way that justifies having them? could the Voyagers not fly the cargo that C17 generally takes?

Are we not just as good an ally bringing to a coalition decent enough capabilities that are still valuable and useful. Do we need high end E3’s for the type of enemies we are going to face on our own, or on regular basis? If we do, then I think we bought the wrong type of carriers.

Is the C27J not a better multi role airframe than the C295? Alenia have a few versions already and it has a better range with a decent cargo load than C295.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
December 1, 2014 2:50 pm

“Do we use the C17 in a way that justifies having them? could the Voyagers not fly the cargo that C17 generally takes?”

Last time I looked, Voyagers could only take palletised cargo. If you want to airlift helicopters, large vehicles and other kit over long distances efficiently, then C17 is the toy of choice. A400 is an adjunct to that capability, in that it allows you to lift more volume driven stuff than the Herky bird.

I simply do not understand why people can’t see the A400 as a more capable version of the C130. Crew numbers the same, powerplant the same, fuel burn will be more, but dramatically so? Op costs should therefore be comparable.

The stuff about commonality with a putative ISTAR fleet is of limited relevance in that other than ABCCC and SAR, all the other C130 variants are largely powerpoint ware.

Kent
Kent
December 1, 2014 2:59 pm

The problem I see with getting rid of the RAF C-130 fleet is that the cost of the A400M might make those in charge of such things loathe to put them in dangerous situations, e.g. Khe Sanh.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 1, 2014 3:01 pm

‘Last time I looked, Voyagers could only take palletised cargo’

And pax, and as the A400 can carry almost everything that the C17 can why do we need to keep the C17, after all we only leased them due to a gap in our air transport fleet that has mostly been or going to be closed by the Voyager and A400.

‘all the other C130 variants are largely powerpoint ware.’

The only C130 that is a power point is the MPA all the other versions are flying or have been flown.

‘I think people would also be surprised at the operating costs as well’

I think it was £42000 per flight hour in 2012 for a C17 and £12000 for a C130.

Kent
Kent
December 1, 2014 4:14 pm

@TD – Hmm. “…65% of all Afghanistan air freight was actually delivered by chartered 747 last year.” I seem to recall a large number of mothballed 747s sitting around in the southwest US. HMG might be able to pick up some for a song for troop transport AND cargo not requiring tactical transport.

US-flagged air carriers are members of the Air Reserve Fleet and can be pressed into service in the event of a national emergency. Don’t know if you have an equivalent system on your side of the Atlantic.

Kent
Kent
December 1, 2014 4:53 pm

@TD – So we’re back to “…we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,…”

WiseApe
December 1, 2014 5:51 pm

@TD – “…we are never going to deploy anywhere ever again” – Next year will mark the 600th anniversary of Agincourt and, as the Russians have just demonstrated, the French northern ports are undefended. Never say never! :D

Kent
Kent
December 1, 2014 5:59 pm

– Think the Queen will press her case to recover lost “Royal” lands in France, d’ye? You’ll have the French in a tizzy!

Mark
Mark
December 1, 2014 6:19 pm

DN I’m not sure if there still is 2 sqns operating e3. But the reason is number of personnel the crew size to operate those aircraft being quite large and ratio of crews to aircraft means sqn designations are for admin purposes only.

If your buying new herc airframes then your cost justification makes no sense at all as there more expensive than what is there already. The herc will be gone in all but SF by 2018 and when SF capability comes on a400 gone for gd.

You would not have been flying 747 s into bastion at the beginning until the runway there was extended. 747 need 7000ft min at light load to land ideally you’d be looking for 10000ft runways for optimal operations. That’s were the likes of c17 comes in for transporting v large items needed for base generation and expansion over long distances exponentially more runways are open to it. You can maximise raf c17 capability by ensuring the raf is funded to fully operate all 8 examples. Yes a400m will negate some of that need but not all outsized loads are covered by it I think there’s enough difference to justify retaining c17 doubly so if you looking at european allied operations.

Kingair 350 civil operating costs are about 1200 dollars per hour military will be higher but you be hard pressed to find something cheaper.

Opinion3
Opinion3
December 1, 2014 6:46 pm

DN

The C17 offers so much more than an A400M and the Voyager / C130 just doesn’t even compare.

The Voyagers carry troops and not a lot else, yes you can carry a certain amount of freight, the weight of which is fairly impressive. When you try oversized or dense equipment the lack of a reinforced floor, cargo door and built in loading method immediately impacts on the capability. The Voyager is no VC10 either, these were designed specifically for the British Empire’s far flung ‘not quite austere’ airports. The engines are high to minimise jet engine debris ingestion. I have a suspicion they would be hangar queens in Afghan. The MOD ordered the wrong A330s and paid for them in the wrong way, no doubt it was a political decision. I cant see how we could revert to a reduced strategic capability. The C17s are a requirement now. Indeed another two would be great.

As pointed out by TD, they have however been used in bizarre ways. The Voyagers should have taken much of the strain of the Iraq and Afghan operations. They weren’t ready in time, and didn’t have the right fit (DAS) nor the right capabilities (as noted above), and even when they were the right asset we seemed to use the C17s as the asset of choice (Medivac). I guess this was because they were empty flights &/or a proven method of Medivac.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 1, 2014 6:58 pm

Mark

‘If your buying new herc airframes then your cost justification makes no sense at all as there more expensive than what is there already.’

The first buy would be an MPA replacement (which is rumoured to be funded in SDSR 15) , and the A400 would start to replace the C17 now, as and when they are delivered. As the C130 is in use the costs of setting up infrastructure etc are minimal as compared to newer types coming into service. Sentinal (if we are replacing) would be the second and when the AWAC’s is due to go then that etc.

We did not fly C17’s into Bastion either until we constructed the second runway which was 2350m (nearly 800ft) long and 28m wide which took a few months to complete. We do not use the C17 in a rough field capacity. If we were sustaining ourselves with the C130 until the second runway, we should be able to do the same with the A400 as it can carry a larger payload.

‘retaining c17 doubly so if you looking at european allied operations’

Thats why I said gift them to NATO so we still have access if required for coalition ops without the burden of full cost. If NATO do not want them then fine we will all do without.

The Other Chris
December 1, 2014 7:25 pm

@Kent

We’re far more subtle than that.

Allow Cornwall to devolve while positioning as a friend to the Celtic League states. Wait for Brittany to pressure for the same and wait for them to request self-determination of sovereignty.

Sympathetically point out to France that we allowed Scotland, Gibraltar and the Falklands to do the same and it all worked out well…

Et voila.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 1, 2014 7:41 pm

Being a bit pedantic, the gifting of AWACS would not work that well as we have not kept up with the upgrades.

With the C17s it could be the other way round:how do the crews of the 3 a/c currently in the pool get trained up on the type?

wf
wf
December 1, 2014 7:56 pm

@TD: I think you are on a hiding to nothing regarding getting rid of the C17. Given how many times over the last 30+ years we have had to hire Heavylift or it’s Russian counterpart to move stuff, it’s something we need to have in house anyway. The A400 cannot carry the likes of FRES or Warrior now. After a few years of weight gain, even Terrier will be out of the question. Why an earth do we want to throw that away?

Given the payload / range ability of the C17 is more than double that of A400 (which has much the same purchase cost), I’m not sure I trust your figures @TD. I’m sure Chinook is far more expensive to operate than Lynx, but I’d prefer 2 of the former than 3 of the latter.

Kent
Kent
December 1, 2014 8:12 pm

@TD, @DavidNiven – How much are the FRES SV Scout and Support Vehicles going to weigh? Will they fit in an A400M? Will an A400M lift them? If it does, how far can it carry them? Can an A400M transport a Challenger II? If the C-17s are “gifted” (I think the correct word is “given.”) to NATO, what makes anyone think that the UK can use them if the “coalition” disagrees with whatever the why the UK wants to use them?

If you aren’t able to protect your possessions without depending on someone else, perhaps you need to give them up.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 1, 2014 8:14 pm

If the E3’s are not up to standard, don’t gift them bin them. The crews would be trained through the NATO (Strategic Airlift Capability Program) I presume.


‘Given how many times over the last 30+ years we have had to hire Heavylift or it’s Russian counterpart to move stuff’

So with C17 in the inventory we still needed to hire heavy lift. Is it because we have too few that we cannot afford to risk a C17 to fly in heavy kit that might require some down time afterwards? If you are worried about the Ferrari’s car insurance you cannot afford the Ferrari.

@Kent

How much are the FRES SV Scout and Support Vehicles going to weigh? Will they fit in an A400M? Will an A400M lift them?

Yes.

We give them to NATO to increase it’s capacity, we are in an alliance. If they do not agree to our use fine we do without and use A400’s.

Kent
Kent
December 1, 2014 8:25 pm

@DavidNiven – Seems to be a disagreement over what the A400M will lift and carry any distance. If you have to do without the C-17, I suppose the RN can put together a fleet and convoy all the stuff you need to transport for a UK-specific task…

I don’t have faith in our current administration to enforce the Monroe Doctrine if your friends the Argentinians decide to provide bases to the Chinese or Russians in exchange for help with their Las Malvinas “problem.” Don’t have a lot of faith in our politicians beyond the next national election either.

Mark
Mark
December 1, 2014 8:30 pm

Sorry wf but a400m can carry fres and warrior. And as far as production costs go c17 is significantly (40% plus) more expensive than a400m if you include development costs for a400m is gets wider still if you don’t.

Don’t disagree TD but I still think the c17 capability is worth retaining.

DN doesn’t need to be rough field to use c17s tactical landing capability it can get into 5000ft runways with full load that opens up lots of places commercial aircraft of 747 size can’t go and there is of course much easier to offload. We’re short of airlift that’s why an124 are used.

Mpa is a definite maybe but as we won’t be retaining c130 in a transport role why introduce it in istar role when the aircraft we currently use such as sentinel and king air are cheaper.

wf
wf
December 1, 2014 8:44 pm

@Mark, @DavidNiven: no, A400 cannot lift FRES(SV) or Warrior TES(H). And they will get ever heavier

http://www.janes.com/article/42735/update-uk-places-gbp3-5-billion-scout-sv-order
http://www.armyrecognition.com/june_2011_news_defense_army_military_industry_uk/british_armoured_vehicles_warrior_are_now_more_protected_more_mobile_with_tes_h_upgrade_kit_2706113.html

I should have mentioned that we haven’t needed to hire heavy lift to carry military vehicles in the same way we did for Corporate and Telic since C17 arrived. Obviously, Afghanistan has required additional lift due to the security problems in Pakistan and the northern route.

Chris
Chris
December 1, 2014 9:11 pm

Not arguing semantics here, but I’m on side with wf – while A400M can carry Scout-SV, it can only do so once the appliqué and other external paraphernalia has been removed. Last I heard was that three Scout-SV require four A400M – the base vehicles each need one aircraft and the removed stuff from the three use all the payload of the fourth aircraft. Obviously on landing these are not vehicles in fighting order and a good deal of heavy metal manipulation is required to rebuild them. Its a bit like saying York Minster is C-130 transportable – of course it would need to be paired down into sections of masonry the right size & weight to fit the aircraft, and would need some reassembly work at its destination, but it could all be transported by C-130.

So. Would we spend all the effort dismantling vehicles to get within A400M limits knowing all the reassembly that waited at the destination, and knowing the number of aircraft required to move a tactically useful number, or would we use C-17 (still one vehicle per, but with 25-30t spare payload capacity), or would we just go hire some flights on An-225 and get the job done efficiently?

Or as many have argued here before, do we forget the idea of flying these anywhere?

Mark
Mark
December 1, 2014 9:17 pm

Wf

I take it you and it would seem janes think you lower the ramp and fres sv or indeed warrior herrick tes just drive straight into combat fully fueled armed up armoured and crewed.

The Other Chris
December 1, 2014 9:17 pm

Is this not why we’re getting VBCI?

Errrr, I mean *cough*Boxer*cough*, errr, I mean *cough*Patria*cough*.

wf
wf
December 1, 2014 9:35 pm

@Mark: FRES is designed to go up to 42 tonnes by design. There is no margin even if we remove all the armour: sooner or later we will bust over the 37 tonnes even with the applique removed.

As says, it’s silly to operate on the basis of flying vehicles like this as a normal deployment option. But the C17’s capacity is so useful, it would be nuts to throw it away: flying double the cargo with the same crew is what we need to consider given that so much of the running costs are aircrew training.

Mark
Mark
December 1, 2014 9:57 pm

Well agree to disagree wf

wf
wf
December 1, 2014 10:03 pm

@Mark: indeed :-)

Kent
Kent
December 1, 2014 10:11 pm

I keep seeing people posting about operating costs per hour for the A400M vs. the C-17 but wouldn’t a true comparison be cost per ton moved per hour at full load? Then you could add in the cost for renting/leasing outsized aircraft to move stuff that the A400M couldn’t. I just don’t see the A400M as an airframe for airframe replacement for the C-17, just like the C-17 isn’t an airframe for airframe replacement for the C-5.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 1, 2014 10:25 pm

, normally i would be the Sancho Pancha riding along the Don Quiote, but here our ways depart:

“https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2014/11/delivery-point-need/comment-page-1/#comment-314835

You are quoting exactly the story the SEP was designed to deliver… Only that it was with the C130 constraints.

And there is nothing wrong with these narratives: you arrive, ready to roll… But if the threat assessment says you need to tool up, you have the option, right then and there. Or fly it in later.

Opinion3
Opinion3
December 1, 2014 10:39 pm

I also rather like the C17 bargain chip for other NATO allies. The other planes on the airfield are really unique enough and unlikely to be in demand in the same way. Don’t forget due to Voyager’s inadequacies were will be needing to access someone’s tankers.

Chris
Chris
December 1, 2014 11:39 pm

ACC – I have to admit I do think air transport deployments should be ready to rock in short order after arrival. Shipping by air has to be wildly expensive and I imagine statistically more risky than sea rail or road deployment; if that’s the case then you’d only move armour by air if there was an urgent need to get armour support engaged. A long queue of vehicles taking weeks to go through workshops to be stripped down for transport, then using all the transport aircraft available to be airlifted to a far off base to be queued at another workshop to be reassembled just doesn’t make sense – send them to Marchwood on day one and let the brine take the strain. Probably little different in terms of duration to get a decent sized force in country.

All quite different if the airlift can deliver reasonable numbers in short order, in my opinion, where valuable effect is possible in days not weeks. Here is a quote from an old Chinese wise man: “Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.”

Chris
Chris
December 2, 2014 12:03 am

TD – please define the term? “Future Rapid Effect” doctrine meaning fast into action to nip enemy expectations in the bud? Or “How On Earth Can We Use Frankentank So It Looks Like Its What We Always Wanted” doctrine?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 2, 2014 7:35 am

I agree with TD and took time to read this recently
https://www.google.fi/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=GWp9VOH9Ksy07gbXoICoBQ&url=http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm%3FpubID%3D1096&ved=0CB0QFjAA&usg=AFQjCNHadvd_I_ijgLO9QtNWNYGN8UKNow

One of the things noted is that those forces have been getting heavier lately. Though they have the appropriate air transport, at unit level the range for deppoyment is still affected.
– 82nd has been designed as a global fire brigàde; not quite sure what 16X is designed for in its current composition, but when taking its aviation rgmnts along, it is not ultra light

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 2, 2014 7:51 am

Chris will enjoy the bit in the linked doc where they airdrop BMPs with driver and commander in their rally harness, ready to roll on touch down
– first job: find the rest of the crew

Chris
Chris
December 2, 2014 8:33 am

ACC – I thought the slightly smaller lots lighter BMD was to be dropped by parachute in full fighting order – fully stowed and crewed. But Wiki tells me that wasn’t the case. That probably would have been worthy of the label ‘rapid effect’?

Interesting to note the BMD parachute system had a rocket-pack triggered feet from touchdown to soften the impact – just the same system the NASA team used for their Mars lander, except they hovered on rocket-stilts and used a skycrane to winch the vehicle to the surface. I wonder if NASA knew the Red Army did it first?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 2, 2014 9:26 am

Chris, no, it was Swiss Family Robinson
(If you had that TV series here)

Chris
Chris
December 2, 2014 9:45 am

ACC – after my time…

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 2, 2014 4:07 pm

Or bfr? 1960s stuff… Nobody noticed R2D2 having been copied from there, too. Too much time lapse in between.

Chris
Chris
December 2, 2014 4:27 pm

ACC – either way I missed it on the box; Wiki said it was mid/late 70s. As for R2D2, a friend at Uni built one (tin dustbin, servo controlled lid with foglights for eyes and airhorns for a voice, mounted on motorized wheels, all radio-controlled) which was let loose on the dancefloor in a noisy disco. It roamed around between the bopping dancers blinding them with foglights, shouting at them with airhorns (as if they could be heard over the disco beat) and for good measure dousing them with water from its electric windscreen washers. It caused a bit of a stir. Then it broke down – you can’t trust technology y’know…

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 2, 2014 7:08 pm

@Mark

‘doesn’t need to be rough field to use c17s tactical landing capability it can get into 5000ft runways with full load that opens up lots of places commercial aircraft of 747 size can’t go’

But not every 5000ft runway is constructed to take the weight of a fully loaded C17 landing on it.

‘we won’t be retaining c130 in a transport role why introduce it in istar role when the aircraft we currently use such as sentinel and king air are cheaper’

I would introduce the MPA version now as we have all the infrastructure and training in place, and phase out AWAC’s etc on a rolling basis (while retiring the C17’s as each A400 gets delivered) the C130 airframe has been proven in all the roles we require at a capability while not world beating is still a lot more than other nations can field against us in a unilateral action and still a credible addition to a coalition. I think if the airframe was used in all the roles I envision the costs would even themselves out overall.

I don’t see any difference in removing appliqué armour to air transport FRES SV to removing rotors etc to transport a helicopter. If vehicles are only going to get heavier then even the utility of the C17 is going to become less advantageous, there’s no point in having a fleet that can only transport a platoon’s worth of Warriors in one lift.

With the Voyager and A400 coming into service I really do not see what the advantage of keeping the C17 and retiring the C130 is,
we cannot AAR the C17 and while it has a longer range than A400 we can match it by AAR the A400,
we can fly in FRES with the A400 fleet in just as many places and nearly as fast.

I do however see a better use and value for money in keeping the C130 and using that airframe multiple roles.

I also have one question regarding load, what was the average cargo load weight of the C17 during Herrick and Telic? and what are we going to use for inter theatre lift once the C130 go?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 2, 2014 7:18 pm

The former is an addition (to basic capability)
” don’t see any difference in removing appliqué armour to air transport FRES SV to removing rotors etc to transport a helicopter.”
The latter is essential (lack of it renders the asset useless)

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 2, 2014 7:22 pm

I was talking in the terms that we do not expect everything, apart from para’s to drive of the ramp of an aircraft and straight into combat.

wf
wf
December 2, 2014 7:34 pm

@DavidNiven: my worry is not the necessity of removing odds and sods. My worry is that the margin for a bare vehicle is already uncomfortably narrow given the A400 maximum load, and is likely to be superseded rapidly.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 2, 2014 8:12 pm

But that has always been the case since the Dakota all the way through to the C130. We probably need to invest in our medium weight capability more.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
December 2, 2014 8:14 pm

The trouble with the Herky bird is that its cargo bay dimensions prevent it carrying multiples of things, which doesn’t apply to the C17 (or A400). That’s where the C17 and A400 score heavily, it isn’t necessarily weight, it could be volume or cargo deck area, depending on what you’re stowing. AAR is also less relevant if you’ve got a big payload (ie fuel) capacity as well.

All the ISTAR variants of the C130 (apart from the USCG SAR and the EC130 ABCCC) have never really been proven. Even the AEW variant only produced one frame that got canned in 2004 – maybe 2006? Not exactly off the shelf. The aircraft performance element (specifically speed to station) will reduce time on station, meaning you need more cabs for a given station.

Intra-theatre transport is perfectly capable of being done by an A400, meaning you can switch from an inter to intra-threatre posture without needing a different cab. How much intra do we actually do anyway compared to helo-lift?

I understand the idea of commonality with the C130, but consider this – you’re swapping Mr Boeing and his stable of relatively mature products (C17, E3, P8?, EC135) etc, most of which are based on commercial airliners and use common major parts, for Mr LockMart, who doesn’t have the equivalent stable. He does have a mature airframe (but not necessarily comparable in the numbers – how many 130J frames are there compared to say B737) but if we are honest, without mature mission systems. You may well also need more frames and therefore more aircrew, groundcrew to provide the same capability. You may also have a knock-on effect on AAR demand as well.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 2, 2014 8:40 pm

‘That’s where the C17 and A400 score heavily’

But what is the advantage over the A400 that the C17 has? in UK service the only advantage it brings to the table is it can carry a bit more weight. And for that we are binning the Hercs.

‘How much intra do we actually do anyway compared to helo-lift?’

A fair amount, that’s why the Hercs are worn out early. And using the A400 in the same way will produce the same problems.

‘All the ISTAR variants of the C130 (apart from the USCG SAR and the EC130 ABCCC) have never really been proven’

How many airframes/systems are ever proven before purchase?

‘Even the AEW variant only produced one frame that got canned in 2004 – maybe 2006?’

I think it was withdrawn for cost reasons within the USCG rather than performance, it had the same esystem as the E2 hawkeye.

Is it about 300 C130J’s built? I might be wrong it is still in production and will be around for a good while yet.

wf
wf
December 2, 2014 8:45 pm

@DavidNiven: we *are* investing in our medium capability. It’s called FRES! And why in God’s name do we want to throw out an aircraft with more than twice the payload range of A400 in order to retain the aircraft the A400 was *expressly* designed to replace!

Chris
Chris
December 2, 2014 9:00 pm

A400M max payload: 29.5t (tactical) 37t (Logistic)
A400M cargo deck 17.7m L x 4m W x 3.85m H
C-17 max payload: 77.5t
C-17 cargo deck: 26.8m L x 5.5m W x 3.75m H

The difference between A400M and C-17 is as marked as between C-130 and A400M – they are not really equivalent. More than twice the payload capability with a deck 37% wider and 50% longer.

I’m not saying one is ‘better’ than the other; there will be many aspects where each is better than the other. But it can be said they are not the same capability.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 2, 2014 9:02 pm

Has FRES UV been anounced? that would be our true medium weight capability as it would be used by all arms FRES SV is just the recce replacement.

‘why in God’s name do we want to throw out an aircraft with more than twice the payload range of A400 in order to retain the aircraft the A400 was *expressly* designed to replace!’

Because we do not have enough A400 on order and the extra payload alone is not really such a massive reason to keep the C17 in times of fiscal demands. the C130 has proven itself to still be usefull and can be used in a multitude of roles other than transport which the C17 cannot.

I’ve never said that they are the same capability, but would we trully miss the C17.

Rocket Banana
December 2, 2014 9:12 pm

Without C17 how are we going to deliver CR2 and AS90 to the middle of Africa or Asia?

Even with only 8 of them (possibly 6 available) we can ship 6 of the “biggies” each day. That’s an entire type 56 regiment in 10 days… much less time than it would take to move them by ship, and then over land.

With 22 x A400M we can supplement each CR2 with a Warrior (or ASCOD) and bring in palettised cargo and troops.

We might even manage to deliver the entire FF2020 Lead Battlegroup within a couple of weeks… but not a chance without C17!

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
December 2, 2014 9:16 pm

DN

C17 vs A400 isn’t just weight, as noted above, it’s volume and deck area too. We’re binning the Hercs because actually they can’t carry that much these days. The comparison is not between C17 and A400, its between A400 and C130 and the Atlas wins hands down.

I suspect the C130J are knackered because they’ve also been flying inter-theatre, Telic, bits of Herrick and elsewhere precisely because there was nothing else.

The thing about “proven” is that you’re suggesting its actually available OTS or near enough. That is true for E3, P8, Wedgetail etc, but not for the C130 variants.

Mark
Mark
December 2, 2014 10:33 pm

DN c17 will operate of a cbr 12 surface quite happily so I can’t see there being an issue on any 5000ft runway to be honest.

almost any report on conflicts we’ve been involved in for decades highlights transport/ aar and istar assets as being either in short supply, or stretched to the limit. So while every area needs to justify itself in spending rounds it would seem sensible to me to say the area of air transport is an area to continue investing in as it operates from humanitarian to high end conflict and everywhere in between and is highly sought after in coalition operations.

Like the c-47 that went before the legend of c-130 is coming to a natural end(even the yanks are looking at its replacement), a400m is the future hopefully it will continue a great tradition.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 3, 2014 12:32 pm

Fair enough everyone, I’m on my own with this one :-)

I do honestly believe that we would not miss the C17 as much as we are going to miss a smaller transport aircraft like the C130, and if we could have kept a few by consolidating other roles into the airframe then it’s a bonus.

Chris
Chris
December 3, 2014 1:11 pm

DN – a bizarre state of affairs really – my designs (that you see no need for) would all be C-130 transportable and yet I find myself supporting retention of C-17 to carry the sort of heavyweight armour you prefer, while you are suggesting there’s little need for the only aircraft that could carry combat ready heavyweights and are championing the aircraft that would only be able to carry Foxhound Jackal LR and slightly stripped down MAN trucks. And my armoured vehicles, obviously.

Strange world…

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 3, 2014 2:36 pm

If the thinking is now that Mastiffs are the next wave to arrive, after the paras, how do they fit (Herc – Atlas – C17)?

I would have thought Foxhounds/ Jackals, but that makes 3 vehicles for the same number of dismounts.

Chris
Chris
December 3, 2014 3:27 pm

ACC – quick assessment says it fits A400M – obviously only one at a time. that’s assuming there aren’t floor load issues. C-17 should carry two, possibly three. Would only get in C-130 with a long run-up and the RAF might not like the subtle reshaping of their aeroplane.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
December 3, 2014 4:36 pm

Right… The A400m rough field capability is supposed to be remarkable. The c17 semi-prepared and 5000 ft as a minimum for heavy loads? Don’t know these things, just picking up fro the conversation… But sure sounds like two different capabilities to me.

The comment on VDV make up (airlanded vs airborne, and what kind of vehicles would come along) on the Sprut thread might be relevant, at least for comparison.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
December 3, 2014 5:12 pm

I don’t believe in flying armour as it’s not really done except after an operation has a foot hold and then in very limited numbers. We cannot sustain larger armoured vehicles by air with our numbers of transport aircraft, which is why i do not think we would miss the C17 as much as the C130. Intra theater lift and milk runs will be required on a much more frequent basis and generaly large amounts of tonnage is not required. It’s one of the reasons we acquired the 146’s under the UOR system. I have nothing against light armour to get somewhere quickly and having the capability to dominate a larger area once there, but you don’t need to airdrop it if you have rough field capability. Thats another reason I think that a Foxhound battlegroup should be the spear head and not the para’s as it has more utility. Light armour cannot sustain an operation indefinately or kick the door in, every major op since the Balkans has shown us that.