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Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 15 Nov 2018, 07:18

Lord Jim wrote:All this arguing aside, I am just glad that for once the MoD actually made a firm decision and is moving ahead with a programme.

+
ArmChairCivvy wrote:A very good reason to get something else. I.e the biz case was fully costed, and turned out not to be VFM.


To back up that rather brief comment (above), it was noted up-thread, by others, that we have skipped two upgrades. Getting to the "starting line" in the first place obviously bears on the Biz Case. For those that did not have to start from behind the start line, it has still been a long and winding road when you are trying to apply patch on a patch... on a base solution that is old (and spare parts often not coming from production batches anymore). After initial testing in 2010, here is a summary as at 2017:
"E-3 AWACS Block 40/45 Pushed Back Two Years
(Source: Forecast International; issued March 01, 2017)
By C. Zachary Hofer
Production of the E-3 AWACS Block 40/45 aircraft, also known as the E-3G, will be delayed by another two years. The delay was announced in the U.S. Director, Operational Test and Evaluation report for FY16. The E-3G completed initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) in 2010.

The E-3G began its follow-on operational test and evaluation (FOT&E) in 4Q FY15, in accordance with the Test and Evaluation Master Plan as approved by the DOT&E. Cold weather operational testing began in 2Q FY16, and a cybersecurity Cooperative Vulnerability and Penetration Assessment began in 3Q FY16.

The report says that the testing revealed “deficiencies related to multi-source track integration, maritime tracking, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and software reliability.”

According to the report, the E-3G “has difficulty in combining various on- and off-board sensor data into a coherent single track on a consistent basis.” It adds that “the E-3G version 3.0 and supporting Block 40/45 ground systems are highly vulnerable to cyber threats and not survivable.”

Adding to these problems is that the DOT&E could not collect E-3G mission computing start time and operating capability performance statistics because of aircraft mission cancellations."
- the earlier problem - that the old airframe could not be modified to provide enough cooling for the new kit - presumably has been solved as there is no mention of it

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby shark bait » 15 Nov 2018, 07:58

downsizer wrote:Spoke to an E3 operator today. Their choice and preference is clear. For good reason.

Of course it is, they want a drop in replacement for E-3 and there is only one option for that.

It would be perfect the RAF could afford it.

Lord Jim wrote:They get repeatedly criticized for not making decision and constantly changing their mind, but when then do actually make one they still get it in the neck!

Good, any single source contract has to be scrutinized, even more when its the third massive single source order to Boeing in 2 years.

Trouble is the reasoning does not hold up well to scrutiny, they flat out refused to consider other options and forged ahead with what took their fancy. Under questioning the MOD have the perfect diversion by saying "look how absurd the AEW Voyager is", and with that conveniently ignore other options.
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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby Lord Jim » 15 Nov 2018, 11:14

They DID consider other options, it is a case that they didn't hold an open competition that has upset some people. Of course SAAB are also upset, having the RAF operate a platform using their system would be the biggest feather in their cap to date, but the RAF did not want a platform based on a business jet as they were deemed too small and also wanted a platform that already had the required systems integrated to minimise risk and ensure a rapid delivery. SAAB could not propose any solution that would meet these criteria and so the RAF went with Boeing. If SAAB and Airbus had got their act together a few years back and were able to show off a demonstrator based on the A320 Neu for example that has SAABs radar installed then things might have been different. So to sum up the RAF needed a platform that met their performance specifications, involved the minimum amount of risk, could be delivered within a very short time frame and was based on the size of airframe they assessed was the most appropriate. SAAB could meet only one of those four criteria, the first.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby shark bait » 15 Nov 2018, 11:18

If they refused to accept technical data, they did not thoroughly investigate other options.
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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby Lord Jim » 15 Nov 2018, 15:40

Is was accepted that the SAAB proposal would meet the RAF's technical and performance requirements. But SAAB could not deliver at platform within the timeframe on the required type and size of donor airframe and without an unacceptably high level of risk. The SAAB proposal was scrutinised in depth, but as already mentioned it didn't meet the RAF's requirements which did not mean just the performance. SAAB and Airbus needed to have a flying, fully integrated demonstrator on a A320 or A330 to have a real chance at this contract, they didn't so Boeing got it, so no conspiracies or bias for or against said company.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby SW1 » 15 Nov 2018, 19:12

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/11 ... wedgetail/

The British are expected to purchase five Wedgetail aircraft. The RAF already has aircrew in Australia training on its close allies E-7s.

Australia, Turkey and South Korea have purchased the Wedgetail, although it is not in service with the U.S. military. The defense committee recently quizzed top MoD officials over the intended purchase.
In his letter Andrew said the MoD had made up its mind to pursue the Wedgetail option at the start of the year but had spent the last few months reviewing the proposal and obtaining the approval of MoD and Treasury ministers before announcing the decision to Parliament.

Andrew said there were “fundamental issues with the Airbus/Saab solution that, in our view, make it incompatible with the pressing need,” to purchase a new platform. The procurement minister detailed cost and integration issues that prompted the decision in favour of the US aircraft.

It was the surge capacity aircraft the Europeans proposed to adapt for AEW duties, possibly replacing them later with new aircraft fitted a boom refueling capability. The current British A330s only have a probe and drogue capability. Andrew said the AEW role is not compatible with refuelling and transport roles. The procurement minister said additional aircraft would have to be obtained incurring high procurement and operating costs higher than the 737.

Andrew’s letter said the MoD had no endorsed requirement for a boom and reopening the private finance initiative deal with Airbus would not be in the MoD or the taxpayers interest.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 15 Nov 2018, 19:52

SW1 wrote:The British are expected to purchase five Wedgetail aircraft


A nasty tribe, those "British"... aren't they? Let's go and kill them off [ some of the comments here are that way inclined :o ]?

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby jimthelad » 15 Nov 2018, 22:41

It has been tried on several occasions, unfortunately for those who did we have chalked up a series of away wins!

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby Little J » 15 Nov 2018, 22:50

One question that I keep forgetting to ask, If SAAB/Airbus wanted to use the surge fleet, how was that going to work with the PFI contract? Surely that is going to need an (expensive) rewrite...

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby tomuk » 15 Nov 2018, 23:28

It would be easier to get the booms fitted to the A330s. We could then refuel our C17s and RC135s and any other US/NATO/Allied receptacle equipped aircraft.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby Lord Jim » 16 Nov 2018, 05:29

Fitting probes to the RC-135, E-7 and E-8 would be a low risk exercise but as always it comes down to available funding.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby tomuk » 16 Nov 2018, 19:32

Not sure it would be low risk today with the MAA or inexpensive. Also would make the aircraft non standard with other users, US, AUS etc. Why spend money on fitting probes to RC-135, E-7, E-8 when they come as standard with a receptacle?
Retrofit uk A330 to the same standard as the other countries ie with boom and receptacle.
Retrofit C130 and A400 with a receptacle (is an option on both).
Going forward small aircraft probe and drogue
Large aircraft boom and receptacle (and possibly F35A for RAF)

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby R686 » 17 Nov 2018, 06:24

tomuk wrote:Not sure it would be low risk today with the MAA or inexpensive. Also would make the aircraft non standard with other users, US, AUS etc. Why spend money on fitting probes to RC-135, E-7, E-8 when they come as standard with a receptacle?
Retrofit uk A330 to the same standard as the other countries ie with boom and receptacle.
Retrofit C130 and A400 with a receptacle (is an option on both).
Going forward small aircraft probe and drogue
Large aircraft boom and receptacle (and possibly F35A for RAF)


What is the cost for putting booms on the AAR fleet meaning a new PPP compared to putting probes on E7/P8 C17 that is the question

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby downsizer » 17 Nov 2018, 07:54

We won't be fitting probes to anything. Period.

Absolutely zero appetite to modify those frames away from standard.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby seaspear » 17 Nov 2018, 18:30

I can recall some of the assessment at Fishermans Bend DSTO for the Wedgetail project in about 1999 , I can recall some of the different contenders for this project it took some time and expense to consider the different offers ,the view then after this was the winning bidder would be taken up by other nations like South Korea and Turkey who would not need to reinvent the wheel and start the whole process over again with their own time and expense.
If SAAB have any advantage in performance with their offer they need to show it .

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby Lord Jim » 17 Nov 2018, 23:09

downsizer wrote:We won't be fitting probes to anything. Period.

Absolutely zero appetite to modify those frames away from standard.


Operational needs will dictate this. Given the MoD has been bitten hard by the installation of AAR Probes through UORs in the past which led to tragic results, and that the engineering work has basically been done regarding the 707/737 airframes, I would not say there is zero chance. If range and endurance need to be extended providing an AAR capability to the respective fleets, be it through the installation of AAR probe on the actual platforms or the renegotiation of the Air Tanker contract to have booms fitted to the "Core", fleet would be looked at. If the need was deemed a high priority and given the complexity of the Air Tanker contract the fitting of probes by the Manufacture would be most likely, to those platforms with the greatest need.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby tomuk » 18 Nov 2018, 01:06

Lord Jim wrote:given the complexity of the Air Tanker contract the fitting of probes by the Manufacture would be most likely, to those platforms with the greatest need


What nonsense. The cost to design/fit/validate probes on P8 and E7 (737) based on the 30 year old design from the E3D (707) would be astronomical. Just because they share the same fuselage section doesn't mean you could just transpose the design. Who's to say what is fitted in the top of the fuselage on the P8 and E7 compared to E3D not to mention the different aerodynmic effect. Rivet Joint isn't even a 707 the KC135 is narrower.

Both the RAF and AirTanker have said they want booms fitted to some of the A330s anyway.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby Lord Jim » 18 Nov 2018, 02:29

I never said transpose, the exact rig from the E-3 to the other platforms. There are great similarities between 707 and 737 based platforms and yes some design work would be involved, but very few nations actually use the boom system, the vast majority of nations who have a AAR capability use the hose and drogue system so Boeing would probably be interested in such a programme and there is a good chance they have done some of the work already. There is a reason that Air Tanker have not fitted booms to the A330s and that is cost and the RAF is both unwilling and cannot afford to do so. By fitting probes is far more cost effective and unless the RAF introduces the F-35A is by far the most likely option if the RAF needs to develop said capability. There is a difference between what is wanted and what is needed.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby downsizer » 18 Nov 2018, 08:43

I say again. No probes.

If anything changes it will be a boom to the tanker.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby topman » 18 Nov 2018, 09:44

Lord Jim wrote: but very few nations actually use the boom system, the vast majority of nations who have a AAR capability use the hose and drogue system.


True but the sentry normally uses the boom anyway on ops, simply down to the shear number of them.

It wouldn't surprise me if the usaf had more tankers than the rest of the world combined.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby whitelancer » 18 Nov 2018, 10:24

Booms will be expensive to fit , expensive to operate and expensive to maintain. Fitting probes to the aircraft that need them should be much easier and cheaper with much lower operating and maintenance costs and money talks. Neither option appears very likely to me.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby abc123 » 18 Nov 2018, 10:47

topman wrote:
It wouldn't surprise me if the usaf had more tankers than the rest of the world combined.


It does. Multiple times.
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What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby tomuk » 18 Nov 2018, 16:30

Lord Jim wrote: but very few nations actually use the boom system


Well apart from our 14 A330 all the other A330MRTT, that's 49, have booms. All the KC-135 have booms, there are about 400 of them in service. The KC-10 has a boom, 60 of those. Not to mention the KC46 (767) tankers.

The USA, France, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Saudia Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Australia either currently have or are ordering tankers with booms.

So with the majority of the worlds air refuelling tankers having booms, with both the current in production tankers coming with booms as standard, the large aircraft we may want to refuel coming with receptacles as standard, the logical option is to fit non-standard probes to our 15 odd 737. :roll:

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby Lord Jim » 19 Nov 2018, 12:43

Well the best solution then is to keep our Voyagers to refuel our Typhoons, F-35Bs and A400s and borrow somebody else's boom equipped tankers for out RC-135s, E-7s and E-8s. Problem solved and very cheaply.

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Re: Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (AWACS) (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 19 Nov 2018, 13:02

Lord Jim wrote: borrow somebody else's boom equipped tankers for out RC-135s, E-7s and E-8s. Problem solved and very cheaply.


I think you are right; when those assets are needed, there will be other allies on the scene, too


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