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RAAF looking to increase MRTT capabilities

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posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 06:36 PM
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The RAAF is looking at ways to improve the capabilities of the KC-30A MRTT. The program, known as Smart Tanker will look at potential mission expansion to include C3, ISR, or a communications node. They will also look at increasing the automation of the refueling system. Currently the ARO uses a double control stick system to refuel other aircraft. The envisioned system would require little intervention by the ARO.


The Royal Australian Air Force and Airbus Defence & Space will launch a joint study into how to add capability to the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

The aim of the work will be to better use the presence of such a large airborne asset operating near a combat zone, says Fernando Alonso, chief executive of Airbus Military.

The project, called Smart Tanker, will explore the possibility of using the MRTT, which the RAAF designates the KC-30A, as a communications node or a command and control centre.

www.flightglobal.com...




posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 07:09 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

With our population, Australia can only field a relatively small force and as such, we need to get the most from the assets we can afford.

Sounds like a great idea, if it is flying it can do other things as well.

Will be interesting to see what they can do.

Why not a big radar on top of the aircraft.


We need lasers ...



Lol

P



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 07:12 PM
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a reply to: pheonix358

They already have the Wedgetail. There's no need for two AWACS.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 07:18 PM
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a reply to: pheonix358




With our population, Australia can only field a relatively small force and as such, we need to get the most from the assets we can afford.


I agree totally . if the plane is not compromised we should get what what we can out of it .



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 07:21 PM
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a reply to: hutch622

Tankers are fun to modify to do some missions. I think C3 is probably going to be the best bet for a secondary mission, beyond just about anything else. You have to be really careful modifying a tanker, due to the airflow around the boom and drogue pods.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 07:53 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I am also assuming (correctly ?) that any major addition of weight or mass, would eat in to the fuel load available for the primary refueling mission.

I was thinking of adding a missile bay for our upcoming F35s to pull ordinance from the larger craft but would be concerned for the added weight. I wonder if they could add weapons to the wings without interrupting the airflow too much.

Interesting developments.

P



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 07:56 PM
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a reply to: pheonix358

That's where the fun really starts. If you add in a camera under the nose, it creates more weight and parasite drag, which burns more fuel, which means less to offload. In that case, it's a tiny amount, because a camera is light and small. But if you start adding weapons racks, and sensors all over the fuselage, it adds up. Even the recent change the made to the Mercury, as relatively small as it was, took months of testing in the windtunnel and flying circles in the sky, to make sure it wasn't going to affect anything. Even something as simple as paint has to be carefully checked because of the drag it causes.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 09:16 PM
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How about modular internal packages for various missions.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 09:18 PM
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a reply to: Blackfinger

They'll have to make some changes externally, if for nothing else, than to get the modular packages the ability to communicate with the outside world. But that's most likely the route they'll go. They may do something like the new E-6 SATCOM/MR-TCDL antennas.



By covering them like that, you limit the drag from them. You get some from the fairing itself, but not as much as you would from the antenna.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 09:22 PM
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On a related note, the KC-30A just reached FOC.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 09:51 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58




Advanced mission systems are also fitted. They include the Link 16 real-time data-link, military communications and navigation suites, and an electronic warfare self-protection system for protection against threats from surface-to-air missiles.


This appears to cover a fair bit already plus it is adaptable to e certain extent .




the KC-30A is capable of carrying 270 passengers, comes with under-floor cargo compartments and will be able to accommodate 34,000 kgs of military and civilian cargo pallets and containers.


Pretty impressive plane when you take a good look at it . Quick calculation it can refuel 4 F35s 1.5 times at 1800 ks from home .




The KC-30A MRTT has a fuel capacity of more than 100 tonnes, and can remain 1800km from its home base with 50 tonnes of fuel available to offload for up to four hours.


Oh , and this .




and an electronic warfare self-protection system for protection against threats from surface-to-air missiles.


edit on 1-3-2017 by hutch622 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 09:54 PM
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a reply to: hutch622

The first is pretty much standard military equipment. It's not a bad aircraft, it just had a lot of early development problems, especially with the boom.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 10:06 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Looking through wiki it appears that Australia and England were the first to bite the bullet with this plane and others have followed in more recent times .



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 10:09 PM
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a reply to: hutch622

They took a pretty hard hit when the boom problems cropped up. They were only able to certify the boom in the last few years.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 10:14 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Its so unlike Australia to buy an untested design . Sarc off .



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 10:17 PM
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a reply to: hutch622

It was an interesting development. Heh. A Portuguese F-16 landed with extra parts, and the MRTT it was refueling from landing missing a major part in 2011. Then in 2013, it just fell off one MRTT that was testing the boom. I don't think it was even hooked up to anything, it just fell off.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 10:23 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I guess all new designs have their development problems but its the end product that counts in the long run .



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 10:24 PM
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a reply to: hutch622

Sorry, but building a boom system isn't that hard. They've been building them for decades. Even with a fly by wire system, there's no excuse for them just falling off.



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 10:25 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Was thinking along those lines myself , was there a reason found for the failure .





Sources say preliminary reports suggest the boom’s probe snapped off near the F-16’s receptacle, causing the boom to spring up and strike the underside of the KC-30, possibly snapping off one of its two guiding fins and causing it to oscillate wildly until it snapped off at the pivot point

edit on 1-3-2017 by hutch622 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 10:44 PM
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The USAF with all of its tanker aircraft are in pretty steady use. Are RAAF's tankers that underutilized that they can . off and perform other missions?

I can almost see the communication node but if you want real C3I (as Zaphod stated) gonna start eating into your offload which then defeats the utility of a dedicated tanker aircraft.



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