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

Contains threads on Royal Air Force equipment of the past, present and future.
Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 6209
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
United Kingdom

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

Post by Lord Jim »

I suppose the type of circuit the E-7 flies on station would determine which if any blind spots exist.

SW1
Senior Member
Posts: 2674
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
United Kingdom

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

Post by SW1 »

Acc

Blind spots are an issue with all radars on planes and a known integration issue.

Which one in which band is a trade off everything from size, power requirements to environmental condition to resistance to EW attack, to detection in clutter to pulse repetition rate. Those in L and S bands have pluses and minuses. For tracking LO objects it’s really getting down to how smart the algorithms are in the battle management system to interpret and predict intermittent tracks. LO aircraft don’t have good LO in all bands certainly not fighter sized ones so that’s the catch 22 and then trade it off against price.

There’s 3/4 options out there from Boeing, Saab (possibly 2 from Saab) and IAI there is time and there should be a fair competition with a proper consideration for budget.

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 6209
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
United Kingdom

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

Post by Lord Jim »

In the end the RAF has the choice of a number of good platforms to replace the E-3D. I just hope the programme management team doesn't screw things up.

Ron5
Donator
Posts: 6286
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:42
United States of America

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

Post by Ron5 »

Pretty sure the RAF has already chosen.

indeid
Member
Posts: 271
Joined: 21 May 2015, 20:46

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

Post by indeid »

There have been studies galore into Air C2 in the last few years, UK ASCACS, DASACS and even Sky Sabre have looked at what you need in terms of comms, links and operators, and also the possibility of distributed functions. Add that with the experience of recent AWACS operations and the 5/6/7 operator positions offered by the Biz Jet solution may already have been discarded. Might be why SAAB only look at the A330 as the host platform and not any of their previous offerings.

The Aus E-7 have an upgrade package taking them through to 2022, so if we could jump on that it could solve some concerns, as well as opening up to sharing future upgrade work with a 5 eyes partner, which was our failing with the E-3D.

I certainly can't criticise an A330 based AWACs for a lack of space, you could fit a CAOC in there let alone a Tac C2 unit!

Little J
Member
Posts: 675
Joined: 02 May 2015, 14:35
United Kingdom

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

Post by Little J »

SAAB aren't happy (unsurprisingly)...
Rival producers of airborne early warning and control/battle management aircraft are stepping up their efforts to halt a non-competitive acquisition of the Boeing/Northrop Grumman E-7 Wedgetail system by the UK
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... uy-452945/

RetroSicotte
Retired Site Admin
Posts: 2657
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:10
United Kingdom

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

Post by RetroSicotte »

What a bunch of whiners at Saab.

Their idea is horrendous.

If they want to be regarded seriously, actually present an concept to the UK that isn't going to destroy its refueling capacity, represent a whole fleet being effectively cut without direct replacement, and completely screw the entire training and crew skillset rotation of the RAF in the process. Don't just throw up some half baked crap and then start complaining about the "lack of process" when your potential client rightfully tells you to get stuffed for even considering it.

At least IAI have a legitimate concept they're putting forward to replace the fleet to make a complaint about there not being a competition, and not just mess up existing RAF planes that already have a very important job that they are already too few for.

User avatar
shark bait
Senior Member
Posts: 6106
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:18
Pitcairn Island

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

Post by shark bait »

SAAB could come in with an offer with the GlobalExpress that totally spanks Boeing on price. I can't understand why they're buggering around with the A330 idea.

Half the Global Express is built in the UK, and the systems could be integrated in the UK. The whole product is in production, unlike the E7, but instead they're chasing unicorns.
@LandSharkUK

indeid
Member
Posts: 271
Joined: 21 May 2015, 20:46

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

Post by indeid »

shark bait wrote:SAAB could come in with an offer with the GlobalExpress that totally spanks Boeing on price. I can't understand why they're buggering around with the A330 idea.

Half the Global Express is built in the UK, and the systems could be integrated in the UK. The whole product is in production, unlike the E7, but instead they're chasing unicorns.
Because they must know that they just can't offer the number of positions needed to conduct the mission on the smaller platform. The E-3D already has less than the other E-3 variants and has suffered with that in the past, dropping down to 6 or 7 is a large reduction in capability from the 10 offered by the E7.

The UK A330 can't receive fuel at all, which will also be a big negative, despite the range it has by being the larger platform.

User avatar
shark bait
Senior Member
Posts: 6106
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:18
Pitcairn Island

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

Post by shark bait »

Why so scared of a novel solution?

If they RAF can operate a Reaper in Iraq from Waddington, they can monitor a radar and operate a radio from Waddington.

Or come in cheap enough to put 2 SAAB systems in the air for the price of one Boeing, another way of getting round the console issue.

Both are better solutions than putting it on the tanker.
@LandSharkUK

indeid
Member
Posts: 271
Joined: 21 May 2015, 20:46

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

Post by indeid »

shark bait wrote:Why so scared of a novel solution? If they RAF can operate a reaper in Iraq from Waddington, they can monitor a radar and operate a radio from Waddington.
Whats novel about it and why do you think people are scared of it? I have sat in one country and controlled over another, and the issues with those fixed systems still show that there is some way to go to getting that method airborne and deployable. Reapers also show the issues of mixing BLOS and LOS routed comms on one channel, especially if they are doing multiple SATCOM skips.

RetroSicotte
Retired Site Admin
Posts: 2657
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:10
United Kingdom

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

Post by RetroSicotte »

shark bait wrote:If they RAF can operate a Reaper in Iraq from Waddington, they can monitor a radar and operate a radio from Waddington.
Not discounting Saab offering an actual airframe, but there really is a grand canyon of difference. A simple RPA has a vastly different operating procedure and environment to a complex, multi-ended command operation. Introducing additional lines of control alone would be a nightmare. It'd be like trying to remotely manage a team who are already trying to remotely manage a company.

I'm not completely against the idea of a "smaller" offering, but it would be a harsh reduction in capability on a very unseen level that "number of AWACs in the fleet" doesn't show. Especially as the UK is a lead nation in national alliance coordination.
Both are better solutions than putting it on the tanker.
Agreed.

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 6209
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
United Kingdom

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

Post by Lord Jim »

The recent grilling the head of DE&S received in front of the Defence Select Committee, covered the single source contract proposals with Boeing in great detail. The Committees position was that the SAAB deal was not looked into enough, that it was a "Plug and play" system easily dropped into the A330 and was a state of the art system. Boeing's offer on the other hand was for an out of date system that had not been built for five years and that it had historically missed delivery targets for its existing customers. The Head of DE&S (my old boss when he was a Group Captain in the RAF) robustly defended he MoD's position refuting the majority of these assumption and stated that it was the technical risk of integrating the SAAB system onto a new platform that was one of the biggest deciders. One of the MPs also mentioned that Airbus had offered to convert four of the RAF Voyagers to include a boom AAR systems as part of their proposal. This appeared to be new to the MoD. I have included a link below, and I recommend people watch all the way through it covers many things we have discussed here.

https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Ind ... 697530556c

SW1
Senior Member
Posts: 2674
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
United Kingdom

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

Post by SW1 »

LJ

Most entertaining less robustly defending more creating a very very large rod for his back. I see many parallels with wedgetail and what happened with nimrod leading up to the decision to halt and then the decision taken to go with p8. Significant cheaper than the Saab offering and less than 5 years from go to in service with a full modernised and working radar mission system if not on your head.

R686
Senior Member
Posts: 1975
Joined: 28 May 2015, 02:43
Australia

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

Post by R686 »

Its always makes for interesting reading when you read these things,
http://data.parliament.uk/writteneviden ... 91840.html
Q29 Ruth Smeeth: Are you aware that Wedgetail is 15 years old and parts of it are already obsolete?

Gavin Williamson: From work that the Royal Air Force has done, it is very clear that it is not actually an obsolete platform; in fact, it’s—

Q30 Ruth Smeeth: Parts of it are obsolete.

Gavin Williamson: Which parts?

Q31 Ruth Smeeth: Parts of the radar are already obsolete. We will be buying technology that is not future-proofed. The other part of this that I find extraordinary is: are you aware that there has been no new build of this production line for five years? So when you are doing the risk assessment on this process, versus buying anything, say by Airbus-Saab, that is already or currently in production, you are actively seeking to go single-source contract—no competition—on something that is currently not being built and has not been built for five years. So where is the risk assessment, unless you are planning on buying old aircraft?

Gavin Williamson: My understanding is that there has not been a situation where the Saab radar and the Airbus plane have been put together in terms of a platform. If Richard—

Q32 Ruth Smeeth: I’m sorry, but my understanding is that the Saab radar has been integrated into five different aircraft models to date, that the integration is not a challenge and would save, potentially, £2.5 billion over the lifecycle of the contract. So I am somewhat confused, given where we are in terms of begging—as you know, we have all been supporting you in getting more money from the Treasury—that we are going through this with no open competition.

Air Vice-Marshal Knighton: Can I make a couple points? The risk associated with the Saab-Airbus idea—I won’t call it a product because it does not exist.

Q33 Chair: I’m sorry—you won’t call it a product because it does not exist?

Air Vice-Marshal Knighton: It doesn’t exist.

Q34 Chair: This is a system that is up and running on five different platforms. Are you saying that it does not exist because it has not yet been put on the A330?

Air Vice-Marshal Knighton: If I might finish, Chair, that is exactly my point. It has not been put on the A330.

Q35 Chair: So what you are saying is that this combination of the Saab radar and this particular well-known aircraft that is already in service has not yet been done?

Air Vice-Marshal Knighton: Yes, and if you look at the history of the challenges in these kinds of projects, it is not in the manufacture, but in the systems integration. For example, if you look at the Saab-Airbus proposal, because of the size of the wing on the A330, it is going to require two radar antennae on top of the aircraft. It is going to require complex integration to ensure that you can unmask the radar from the wings. None of that has been done before.


User avatar
ArmChairCivvy
Senior Member
Posts: 15912
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:34
United Kingdom

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

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

R686 wrote: if you look at the Saab-Airbus proposal, because of the size of the wing on the A330, it is going to require two radar antennae on top of the aircraft. It is going to require complex integration to ensure that you can unmask the radar from the wings. None of that has been done before.
It's good to have at least one in the room with a little bit more than snippets from here and there
- nothing, though, beats the 20 minute video clip in which the ozzie admiral tried to answer the pros and cons bearing on the choice of the propulsion system. Which ever way he formulated the answer, the red-haired lady posing the question, whoever it was, went back to her fixed idea
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

R686
Senior Member
Posts: 1975
Joined: 28 May 2015, 02:43
Australia

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

Post by R686 »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
R686 wrote: if you look at the Saab-Airbus proposal, because of the size of the wing on the A330, it is going to require two radar antennae on top of the aircraft. It is going to require complex integration to ensure that you can unmask the radar from the wings. None of that has been done before.
It's good to have at least one in the room with a little bit more than snippets from here and there
- nothing, though, beats the 20 minute video clip in which the ozzie admiral tried to answer the pros and cons bearing on the choice of the propulsion system. Which ever way he formulated the answer, the red-haired lady posing the question, whoever it was, went back to her fixed idea

Ahh yes Pauline Hanson...…… the fish and chip shop owner turned politician who morphed into defence specialist about submarines :lol:

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 6209
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
United Kingdom

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

Post by Lord Jim »

Not very impressed but the performance of either side in this meeting.

SW1
Senior Member
Posts: 2674
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
United Kingdom

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

Post by SW1 »

You don’t need to be a subject matter expert to ask questions that are inconvenient to defences argument. Remember those expert brought us such successes as chinook mk3, nimrod and watchkeeper to name but a few!

More interesting questions to ask would of been in if everyone tells us that the most demanding missions going fwd will require nothing less than the capabilities associated with a low observable aircraft f35/ucav ect. Then to operate in or near contested airspace in near peer conflict why is flying round in a 737 a gd idea?

The AWAC was purchased originally to primarily plug radar gaps around the Uk air defence region. It’s role has evolved over the years because it could. Perhaps a different aircraft and operating idea can be used for the uk and up to the most demanding mission.

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 6209
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
United Kingdom

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

Post by Lord Jim »

I can see where you are coming from, but the Sentry needs replacement (or major upgrade/rebuild) now. As technology advances what comes next will probably be more in tune with your way of thinking.

jimthelad
Member
Posts: 450
Joined: 14 May 2015, 20:16
United Kingdom

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

Post by jimthelad »

Do we learn nothing in procurement. Instead of an established product (some would say the state of the art) we get persuaded by heavily lobbied/ possibly indentured MP's to buy a bespoke as yet inbuilt vanity project. If they thought there was a market then let them prototype it and then sell it. Instead we are asked to foot the bill for another MRA4, AEW3, TRACER.

User avatar
shark bait
Senior Member
Posts: 6106
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:18
Pitcairn Island

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

Post by shark bait »

R686 wrote:if you look at the Saab-Airbus proposal, because of the size of the wing on the A330, it is going to require two radar antennae on top of the aircraft.
Are they mad? Saab have a pre-engineered and in production solution on a UK built aircraft, and instead they're proposing a novel solution on an over sided aircraft with 2 two antennae.

They could be smashing this out the park, instead they're chasing a fantasy. The RAF are correct, stay well away.
@LandSharkUK

Little J
Member
Posts: 675
Joined: 02 May 2015, 14:35
United Kingdom

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

Post by Little J »

Thought it was SAAB-Airbus that suggested/wanted to use the A330?

A daft idea to me (whoever came up with it), when everyone is going smaller.

abc123
Senior Member
Posts: 2785
Joined: 10 May 2015, 18:15

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

Post by abc123 »

shark bait wrote:
R686 wrote:if you look at the Saab-Airbus proposal, because of the size of the wing on the A330, it is going to require two radar antennae on top of the aircraft.
Are they mad? Saab have a pre-engineered and in production solution on a UK built aircraft, and instead they're proposing a novel solution on an over sided aircraft with 2 two antennae.

They could be smashing this out the park, instead they're chasing a fantasy. The RAF are correct, stay well away.

Maybe they ( Saab ) have seen that MoD likes to throw the money away anyway, so they said: Why the hell not, we can give it a try... :lol: If it goes, fine, if not, fine again... :think:
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…

SW1
Senior Member
Posts: 2674
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
United Kingdom

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

Post by SW1 »

Well if they’d run a competition all would of been clear

Airbus Saab offer was around not have to buy any aircraft and was one offer. If they wanted to buy aircraft both Saab and IAI had options of in production aircraft.

What we intend to use these aircraft when they airrive and what we will be able to use them for maybe different to what we’ve done in the past. We’ve run off down this course shouting loudly were right everyone else is wrong. No problem with that, but 10 years down the line if we end with committe hearings which happened with the carriers those that shouted loudest cant use lords west defence nothing to do with me we all knew it would cost more it was the system that done it.

Post Reply