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Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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indeid
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby indeid » 23 Mar 2019, 06:25

ArmChairCivvy wrote:I fully agree with that, but:
- the question I asked stands (btw: I don't know the answer, so this is not a trick question)


I can't see how picking E7 over an E3 upgrade is a bad idea, but with our ability to save pennies now and cost pounds in the future, who knows! Also depends how much UK specific kit is going on.

SW1 wrote:Does this mean we will be taking part in the billion dollar + mid life upgrade that Australia has been been mulling to begin this year to see there a/c to the 2035 OSD.


Its a staged upgrade, some complete already, and the talk of partnerships suggests we will end up with the same build, but see above.....

Anyway, there are more important considerations. 8 Sqns named the shacks after Magic Roundabout characters and the Sentry after the 7 Dwarfs, what for the E7? Wedgetail is an Australian bird of prey, is that suitable? Is the galley up to RAF standards?

Priorities and all.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby SW1 » 23 Mar 2019, 08:12

t will be entertaining to watch this develop especially as the full costs appear. Both the head of DE&S as mod are on record of this being low risk off the shelf procurement so 1.98b dollars and in service by 2023...

The less well covered part of this announcement is the E3 fleet is now reduced to 4 a/c the others scrapped for parts.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 23 Mar 2019, 09:10

Howabout the usual headache, namely keeping enough a/c on station, in enough locations (which could be the whole continent apart)?

The obvious solution, enough a/c, is elusive. Not only because of high unit cost, but v specialist crews (more of them). Tanker availability will be a major constraint when things get 'busy', and the fact that the 3D can take fuel from a boom tanker vs. now - going forward - also a drogue tanker having to be tasked in addition
- how's this going to play out?
- considering that the UK planes have been an integral part (i.e. tasked interchangeably with the rest of) the NATO force

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby Tempest414 » 23 Mar 2019, 09:47

do we know how many common parts are shared between P-8 and E-7. also was there talk of a 737 based sentinel replacement

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby SW1 » 23 Mar 2019, 10:08

Tempest414 wrote:do we know how many common parts are shared between P-8 and E-7. also was there talk of a 737 based sentinel replacement


Structurally there chalk and cheese, e7 is in simple terms a 737bbj1 ,p8 a completely new a/c structurally with donks that have extra capacity generators. Day to day and communication with the OEM your unlikely to see any difference.

No there was talk of adding a sensor to the p8 fleet.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby Tempest414 » 23 Mar 2019, 10:21

My very very limited understanding of the 737 BBJ ( from a jump seat ride with Ford -air ) is that you can up-rate and de-rate the engines from the cockpit which was demonstrated to me when we did a 28 degree deck angle take off out of Valencia on a hot day maybe not relevant but it was a lot of fun

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby RichardIC » 23 Mar 2019, 11:26

Tempest414 wrote:also was there talk of a 737 based sentinel replacement


Image

This? With the Advanced Airborne Sensor

Image

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby RetroSicotte » 23 Mar 2019, 11:27

Tinman wrote:
RetroSicotte wrote:Hardly like for like when it's going from 6 to 5...and 6 (even without the maintenance issues) was still below what was needed.

Considering two were grounded and hanger queens it seems an improvement.

5 will generate one on station, two at a push 24 hours every day if the U.K. requires it.

Also Boeing have invested heavily in the support infrastructure, P8 maintenance hub etc.

I see it as a win win for the RAF and a massive capability improvement on the E3.

As said above, I believe that intended capability should be the yardstick.

Comparing only against failures is just looking for cheap praise. The intention was 6-7 aircraft in service. Now it's only 5. It's a cut.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby RichardIC » 23 Mar 2019, 11:53

RetroSicotte wrote:Comparing only against failures is just looking for cheap praise. The intention was 6-7 aircraft in service. Now it's only 5. It's a cut.


Sorry, but it’s nonsense.

I hate to quote Mark “I was in the army” Francois, but he recently told the Defence Select Committee that when he was Defence Minister they had daily updates on E-3 availability and the figure was frequently zero.

Sentry is knackered. There was an option to spend £2bn to drag its carcass into the 2030s, probably with a fleet of four. This is far better use of the money available.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby abc123 » 23 Mar 2019, 12:27

OK, I know this is over-simplifying, but why didn' the UK also bought Boeing 737 ( or Airbus A330 ) and put there all the electronics from Airseeker? Yes, I know, it would cost more, but I don't think that maintenance of just 3 aircrafts ( 50 years old ) can be cheap either?
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
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-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 23 Mar 2019, 12:50

abc123 wrote:don't think that maintenance of just 3 aircrafts ( 50 years old ) can be cheap either


The deeper stuff is done where those of USAF are also supported from
- as a curiosity, the first one -a long time ago, so double the figure - cost a cool $2 bn (as they did not separate prgrm costs and unit costs yet, back then)

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby Lord Jim » 23 Mar 2019, 13:04

abc123 wrote:OK, I know this is over-simplifying, but why didn' the UK also bought Boeing 737 ( or Airbus A330 ) and put there all the electronics from Airseeker? Yes, I know, it would cost more, but I don't think that maintenance of just 3 aircrafts ( 50 years old ) can be cheap either?


No pun intended but I am pretty sure it is on the DE&S radar as a future programme, but as long as the USAF keep flying the EC-135s we will probably be the same as ours are linked into their support package and all.

As for replacing the Sentinel, once thing calm down in Syria etc we will have to see if the platform finally bites the dust. It will probably be in the crosshair of the efficiency savings bureau with a jam tomorrow solution being the additional sensor fit for the P-8 at some pint in the future.

Regarding commonality, this isn't going to be a major factor as Boeing will be providing contractor support at both forward and deep maintenance, supplementing RAF personnel at the former and taking the lead at the latter. They will guarantee a set number of flying hours and provide the spares etc. required to meet this. DE&S will not be buying the actual spares as a result.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby abc123 » 23 Mar 2019, 17:04

Lord Jim wrote:
As for replacing the Sentinel, once thing calm down in Syria etc we will have to see if the platform finally bites the dust. It will probably be in the crosshair of the efficiency savings bureau with a jam tomorrow solution being the additional sensor fit for the P-8 at some pint in the future.



But, what about big evol Russia and tank battles in Eastern Ukraine?
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
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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RichardIC
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby RichardIC » 23 Mar 2019, 17:21

Gabriele has Tweeted a link to this RAAF PowerPoint on Wedgetail.

http://airpower.airforce.gov.au/APDC/me ... rpoint.pdf

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 23 Mar 2019, 17:54

RichardIC wrote:RAAF PowerPoint on Wedgetail.

ScanEagle 'wingman' control since 2009
- and there is nothing saying that it couldn't be for several (partly overlapping) circuits

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby RetroSicotte » 24 Mar 2019, 02:11

RichardIC wrote:
RetroSicotte wrote:Comparing only against failures is just looking for cheap praise. The intention was 6-7 aircraft in service. Now it's only 5. It's a cut.


Sorry, but it’s nonsense.

I hate to quote Mark “I was in the army” Francois, but he recently told the Defence Select Committee that when he was Defence Minister they had daily updates on E-3 availability and the figure was frequently zero.

Sentry is knackered. There was an option to spend £2bn to drag its carcass into the 2030s, probably with a fleet of four. This is far better use of the money available.

None of the above actually addressed my point at all. All you've done was state Sentry was knackered, that is true.

But Sentry having such poor availability was not the original plan. They didn't plan to have a crap availability.

They intended to have 6-7 AWACs. They had 6-7 AWACS. Then they crapped out on keeping them flying. That was a failure on their part. Now they're only buying 5, even with perfect availability...that is still not the 6-7 that was intended. Thus, this is a cut vs the intended functionality of the fleet. That the previous fleet fell short of that via availability losses does not change the intention.

Trying to spin "feel good" things is exactly what they want, to try and sneak this sort of long term reduction of platforms in to cut cut cut.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 24 Mar 2019, 07:02

RetroSicotte wrote:poor availability was not the original plan. They didn't plan to have a crap availability.

They intended to have 6-7 AWACs. They had 6-7 AWACS.


That was then. What has emerged during the full life (cycle) of those assets did not exist then, and is bound to have an impact within our internal priority setting:
"The NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control (NAEW&C) Programme is often cited as one of the most successful collaborative ventures ever undertaken by the Alliance. The fleet of 16 NE-3A aircraft represents the world’s first multi-national, fully integrated Air Force, and is one of the few military assets that is actually owned and operated by NATO. "

ArmChairCivvy wrote:considering that the UK planes have been an integral part (i.e. tasked interchangeably with the rest of) the NATO force

- when not stood down from that force for unilateral taskings (like Syria; though they support an effort of a coalition of 25 nations there, NATO is not one of those "countries" and hence withdrawal from normal taskings has had to be declared)
- with 16 plus (soon to be 5) all I would worry about is interoperability
- and that's what standards are for, so for that reason I only raised the tanker (method) question as there will be a down-the-line effect on how many of those are required for the same output (AWACS time on station). If boom and drogue events can be segregated (this is bound to be a purely theoretical case?) to totally different areas, then that effect will be neutralised.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby indeid » 24 Mar 2019, 08:23

E-3D numbers were decided in what, 1986? Has the equation really not changed?

A driver for the original number was the UK contribution to the NATO AEW Force (with a UK sovereign frame added on top...), a force which has seen new members join and aircraft numbers drop. With the reduction in the training needed on a more modern platform (operators have to type lines of code into the current system) and you can easily account for the reduction of one aircraft from 6 E3 to 5 E7.

I imagine the 5 is worked out on a deployed 24/7 orbit for a set period, with depth and training/work up in the UK. If you were arguing that we need 6 to better sustain a UK only AWACS orbit I would agree, but saying that this is a cut for a fleet that currently struggles to get a forward fleet of 2 because of the size of the original order in 1986, I can't see the logic.

They were trawling scrap yards to get ZH106 back in the air after it was damaged on the ground and 105 is counted in the 7 even though it will never fly again. If availability was better the fleet likely would have been reduced to 4 or 5 over the years, in line with fleet reductions across the board.

Although the devil will be in the detail, I fail to see how this can be considered as anything but excellent news.

The smartie is dead, long live the top hat.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby RichardIC » 24 Mar 2019, 09:16

RetroSicotte wrote:None of the above actually addressed my point at all. All you've done was state Sentry was knackered, that is true.

But Sentry having such poor availability was not the original plan. They didn't plan to have a crap availability.

They intended to have 6-7 AWACs. They had 6-7 AWACS. Then they crapped out on keeping them flying. That was a failure on their part. Now they're only buying 5, even with perfect availability...that is still not the 6-7 that was intended. Thus, this is a cut vs the intended functionality of the fleet. That the previous fleet fell short of that via availability losses does not change the intention.

Trying to spin "feel good" things is exactly what they want, to try and sneak this sort of long term reduction of platforms in to cut cut cut.


You can count to seven. You’ve shown that beyond any reasonable doubt.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby Aethulwulf » 24 Mar 2019, 09:27

Of the current 6 E3s, it appears it is a struggle to keep one flying. So availability is 16% or less.

When the 7 E3 aircraft were bought in the 80's, they would not have assumed 100% availability. These aircraft are based on 707 airliner, which first entered commercial service in 1958. So the airframe was already an old design in the 80's. When bought, the requirement could have been for 4 operating aircraft for which they judged they needed a total of 7 (around 60% availability).

The E7 has much better availability. I have seen some reports claiming >99%. So a fleet of 5 might not be a cut in the number of operating aircraft, even when compared to the 80's requirement.

In the 80's the standard rule of thumb for military aircraft fleets was 60% operational, 25% for training and reserve stocks, and 15% in deep maintenance.

With the big increases in efficiency in commercial aircraft, together with advances in simulator training, it could easily be the equation for E7 is now 80% operational, 15% for training and reserve stocks, and 5% in deep maintenance.

60% of 7 aircraft is about the same as 80% of 5 aircraft.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby Old RN » 24 Mar 2019, 10:07

Given the RAF has now both RC135 and E7 are we expecting a boom on a Voyager?

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby RichardIC » 24 Mar 2019, 10:13

Old RN wrote:Given the RAF has now both RC135 and E7 are we expecting a boom on a Voyager?


Oh Lord, the eternal question.

What I like about the whole Wedgetail “thing” is that the RAF/MoD have seen a problem and just solved it in the simplest and most logical way possible. Hallelujah.

I worry about how it’s being paid for. But the whole AAR issue can’t be kicked into the long grass anymore surely.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby Lord Jim » 24 Mar 2019, 10:21

Whether or not we buy the Wedgetail, we need to learn the lessons for the E-3 fleet and ensure its replacement is properly maintained and it kept up to date. There needs to be a planned developmental path, ideally tied into what the RAAF does. And most importantly skimping on the above to save a few pennies here and there should be a capital offence.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby SW1 » 24 Mar 2019, 10:46

The only way your gonna get booms on voyager across the line is if F35a becomes the manned element of the tempest program and as buy American is the mod default many suspect that is how it will end up when the bills appear. C17 doesn’t need aar, usaf rarely use it and they cross an ocean to get to where we are. As for the others nimrod only got aar because it was going to the south Atlantic and for the rest they will be deployed in coalitions were a boom will be around somewhere but do you really want crews up there for more than 8-10 hours because your gonna need a great many to sustain operations if you do, until the fastjets require it, it will stay in the nice to have if we had some money category.


LJ

Haha yeah leopards and spots!!

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RichardIC
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Postby RichardIC » 24 Mar 2019, 10:48

Lord Jim wrote:Whether or not we buy the Wedgetail, we need to learn the lessons for the E-3 fleet and ensure its replacement is properly maintained and it kept up to date. There needs to be a planned developmental path, ideally tied into what the RAAF does. And most importantly skimping on the above to save a few pennies here and there should be a capital offence.


Absolutely. And possibly what is being alluded to by the Aus Defence Minister.

https://www.pyneonline.com.au/media-centre/media-releases/uk-wedgetail-acquisition-to-create-australian-jobs

This looks like a quick-win for Boeing, but Australia seems to have really pushed hard on this. Hopefully it means there is an agreement in place over ongoing updates and software development.


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