Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Contains threads on Royal Air Force equipment of the past, present and future.
Jdam
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by Jdam »

Part of me thinks if it provides a significant schedule and cost benefit to the program, why are we not getting more second-hand air frames for the program.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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RichardIC wrote: Boeing notes that UK personnel have been training with launch Wedgetail operator the Royal Australian Air Force since 2018 in support of the E-7 programme
Totally contradicts the reports where the Wedgetail proc decision has been painted as a sudden, knee-jerk decision
... the open question is, though: why was there no budget line for it. And as opposed to Seedcorn, where (if at all) was this training prgrm published. E.g. did the Defence Committee have the information, in their oversight role?
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Lord Jim
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by Lord Jim »

Or was it a simple exchange programme between RAF E-3 Squadrons and the RAAF Wedgetail force, now dressed up as a forward thinking "Seed corn" programme to support the procurement decision.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

Probably using 2nd hand airframes because Boeing hasn’t sent a 737-700 down a production line in donkeys.

But the problem with second hand aircraft is they will arrive with different mod standards on the airframe.
Something the RAF is not fond off and in programs past has result in delays and increased cost as they have required all airframes to be at a common standard even if that meant de-moding some prior to conversion starting.

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Jensy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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SW1 wrote:Probably using 2nd hand airframes because Boeing hasn’t sent a 737-700 down a production line in donkeys.

But the problem with second hand aircraft is they will arrive with different mod standards on the airframe.
Something the RAF is not fond off and in programs past has result in delays and increased cost as they have required all airframes to be at a common standard even if that meant de-moding some prior to conversion starting.
Quite right about 737-700s. However they were still knocking out commercial 738s until last spring, and the P-8 is taking those fuselages straight off the production line (albeit mating them with 739 wings).

Would be curious why, considering no one had built an E-7 in a decade, we didn't chose to enjoy commonality with our fairly modest fleets of both? Perhaps even for a VVIP BAE 146 replacement down the line.

The marignal decreases in range would have been mostly met by the 739 wing's greater fuel storage, and I'm sure 6m of extra interior space could have provided useful space for future upgrades, additional capabilities or crew rest areas. Not sure how many 737-700s are fitted with the P-8's more powerful CFM56-7B27s either,

Of course the simple answer is, we wanted the cheapest possible solution, with the least number of changes (the reinforcement of the P-8's airframe coming to mind) and no one is selling 738/9 hybrids....

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by tomuk »

Jensy wrote:
SW1 wrote:Probably using 2nd hand airframes because Boeing hasn’t sent a 737-700 down a production line in donkeys.

But the problem with second hand aircraft is they will arrive with different mod standards on the airframe.
Something the RAF is not fond off and in programs past has result in delays and increased cost as they have required all airframes to be at a common standard even if that meant de-moding some prior to conversion starting.
Quite right about 737-700s. However they were still knocking out commercial 738s until last spring, and the P-8 is taking those fuselages straight off the production line (albeit mating them with 739 wings).

Would be curious why, considering no one had built an E-7 in a decade, we didn't chose to enjoy commonality with our fairly modest fleets of both? Perhaps even for a VVIP BAE 146 replacement down the line.

The marignal decreases in range would have been mostly met by the 739 wing's greater fuel storage, and I'm sure 6m of extra interior space could have provided useful space for future upgrades, additional capabilities or crew rest areas. Not sure how many 737-700s are fitted with the P-8's more powerful CFM56-7B27s either,

Of course the simple answer is, we wanted the cheapest possible solution, with the least number of changes (the reinforcement of the P-8's airframe coming to mind) and no one is selling 738/9 hybrids....
The E7s aren't standard 737-700s they have 737-800 wings and undercarriage an extra hold fuel tanks. 737 BBJs are the same combination.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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Jensy wrote:the P-8 is taking those fuselages straight off the production line (albeit mating them with 739 wings)
That parallel (more like off-shoot) production line closing has been used as a sales argument ('must order now') for a decade. hen is it actually due to close?
Jensy wrote:we wanted the cheapest possible solution, with the least number of changes
Yep, not just cheapest but also quickest. Considering the 'gapping' we have - once again - decided to do.
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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Jensy wrote:Would be curious why, considering no one had built an E-7 in a decade, we didn't chose to enjoy commonality with our fairly modest fleets of both? Perhaps even for a VVIP BAE 146 replacement down the line.
I wouldn’t be buying Boeing period and certainly not for the 146 vip replacement.

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Tempest414
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by Tempest414 »

Why not 3 737-800-QC's in place of the 4 146's might work well of course you would lose the short rough strip capability but they could be good for VVIP - troop and fright movement plus Medi vac

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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If Boeing wishes to open a design and manufacturing facility for wing or fuselages U.K. in the U.K. it can compete for VIP aircraft purchases if it doesn’t we can put a 300% tariff on any price they give. Don’t know why we would prop up aligning foreign manufacturers that actively attempt to destroy our own domestic industry.

The a220-100 or global express are perfectly adequate replacement for 146 which are more modern and efficient than an old 737 if indeed they are replaced.

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Tempest414
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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SW1 wrote:If Boeing wishes to open a design and manufacturing facility for wing or fuselages U.K. in the U.K. it can compete for VIP aircraft purchases if it doesn’t we can put a 300% tariff on any price they give. Don’t know why we would prop up aligning foreign manufacturers that actively attempt to destroy our own domestic industry.

The a220-100 or global express are perfectly adequate replacement for 146 which are more modern and efficient than an old 737 if indeed they are replaced.
Both good options as long Airbus keep making wings in the UK however it is a all new training and logistics program

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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Tempest414 wrote:
SW1 wrote:If Boeing wishes to open a design and manufacturing facility for wing or fuselages U.K. in the U.K. it can compete for VIP aircraft purchases if it doesn’t we can put a 300% tariff on any price they give. Don’t know why we would prop up aligning foreign manufacturers that actively attempt to destroy our own domestic industry.

The a220-100 or global express are perfectly adequate replacement for 146 which are more modern and efficient than an old 737 if indeed they are replaced.
Both good options as long Airbus keep making wings in the UK however it is a all new training and logistics program
The patent for the advanced composite technology used on the a220 wing is written in such a way that it has to remain in country.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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Tempest414 wrote: would lose the short rough strip capability but they could be good for VVIP - troop and fright movement plus Medi vac
Would say losing that capability not good for
- the intra-theatre workhorse role they have met, anything from cargo to HQs
-plusMedivac... with a light load,they can go a long way, from a rough airstrip
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)

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Jensy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Tempest414 wrote: would lose the short rough strip capability but they could be good for VVIP - troop and fright movement plus Medi vac
Would say losing that capability not good for
- the intra-theatre workhorse role they have met, anything from cargo to HQs
-plusMedivac... with a light load,they can go a long way, from a rough airstrip
Surely im terms of role it's merely an accident of history (and the Afghan war) that the 146 has ended up as both the "intra-theatre workhorse" and a (supposedly unloved) and ageing VVIP transport.

The former role, is somewhat limited by the lack of a proper cargo door, much less a ramp. The later doesn't have a great deal of emphasis for short field performance.
SW1 wrote: I wouldn’t be buying Boeing period and certainly not for the 146 vip replacement.
For a mixture of industrial reasons, platform numbers and a more pragmatic approach towards always "buying the best", I would have been far more happy with a common Global Express solution to AEW/MPA/VVIP, adding to the existing infrastructure for the Sentinel fleet. C-Series/A220 was probably too new to consider but considering Bombardier's recent fortunes, it might have been an option.

However the lack of an open competition for either of the first two RAF requirements kept that from happening. No doubt most would consider what we've ended up with to be superior in capability. At this point, buying a handful of additional pre-owned 737NG/BBJs isn't going to make a massive difference.

It's no equivalent to Airbus or Bombardier but Boeing source various subsystems and components from UK suppliers (GKN, Dowty in particular for the 787). A few year's back the UK was their second largest supply chain after the US.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Jensy wrote:The former role, is somewhat limited by the lack of a proper cargo door
I thought that part of the fleet was bought off an Ozzie courier company, with those wide side doors (no ramp)?
- may have been one of those "what we should have bought" articles
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)

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Jensy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by Jensy »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Jensy wrote:The former role, is somewhat limited by the lack of a proper cargo door
I thought that part of the fleet was bought off an Ozzie courier company, with those wide side doors (no ramp)?
- may have been one of those "what we should have bought" articles
Should have specified above, by "proper cargo door", I was alluding to the (still fairly compromised) BAE-146 STA concept:

Image

Indeed the Mk3s have a more modest cargo door.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

That photo must have been inspired by the 60's promotional photo of the Belveders (once the RAF had disposed of them) having a Mini (or two :D ) driven into them at the Lydd airport, for a nice lunch outing in the French "Riviera" in Le Touquet... and back in time, to drive home 'safely'.
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)

Little J
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by Little J »

Slightly confused... The STA had a cargo door the same size as the QT/MK.3

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Jensy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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Little J wrote:Slightly confused... The STA had a cargo door the same size as the QT/MK.3
I thought the Mk.3s were based on the QC not the QT? However upon checking, you're quite right the dimensions of the door were the same, 1.93m x 3.33m. Confusion all my fault, I've always assumed the STA door was much larger.

I still feel that a side loading transport, that requires ground based equipment, is not an ideal configuration for the role, versus the C-295 or C-27.

Conversely there's a number of RAF roles the 146 seemed ideally suited for that were never developed or taken advantage of, even when in production. Finally there's the lack of foresight to further compete in an airline sector which saw massive growth, almost immediately after BAE exited it completely:

Image

Apologies for going so far away from the E-7.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Jensy wrote:a side loading transport, that requires ground based equipment, is not an ideal configuration for the role, versus the C-295 or C-27.
You are absolutely right, but then we come to range and what 'intra-theatre' means. We were able to have a fast, point-to-point shuttle from Cyprus to anywhere that related to Iraq. Or conversely, from the bigger a/c, on landing, pick up the urgent stuff and fly it out to even short/ semi-prepared airfields.

While going for Boeing P-8s/ E-7s is a good thing simply for the global support and spares availability, not everything 100% internalised, we need to ask ourselves what other 'common' airframe, if any, can fill the 'niche' roles and be configurable at speed/ with ease to step from one niche to another.
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)

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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ArmChairCivvy wrote:we need to ask ourselves what other 'common' airframe, if any, can fill the 'niche' roles and be configurable at speed/ with ease to step from one niche to another.
this is why I said something like a 737-800-QC which can carry 130 pax's or 10 pallets or a mix of both what would be looking at here for 3 aircraft 1 x VIP seating , 2 x standard seating with weapons pallet , 30 x cargo pallets and 3 x Medi vac pallets

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

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opportunities...


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RichardIC
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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by RichardIC »

I think we're all agreed that the cut in the the cut in the E-7 force can only be filed under "penny pinching". There is no lateral thinking going on here. There is no super-charging of anything.

But I was thinking this was the case but wasn't certain.
The MoD last year ordered a trio of 737NGs for conversion into the surveillance type, plus two secondhand airframes sourced via Boeing for modification by STS Aviation Services. The first of these arrived at the company’s facility at Birmingham airport in early January.
https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/ty ... 90.article

We know at least one of the second-hand aircraft has already been delivered. So does this mean the MoD is contractually tied into paying for five airframes but only putting three into service as E-7s?

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by Clive F »

Joined up thinking would have ordered 737 to replace 146'S not A321 giving common fleet. It strikes me as no planning and make it up as you go along.

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Re: Boeing E-7 Wedgetail (RAF)

Post by SKB »

Airbus' A320 family sales have now overtaken Boeing's 737 sales.

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