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Prepare to meet the F-18 Stingray

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posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 10:01 AM
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It appears that the reason Northrop dropped out of the MQ-25 may be because the Navy is looking to convert the F-18 into an unmanned tanker platform. This would leave Northrop competing with itself, since they build a large part of the aircraft with Boeing. There are a number of indications that point to an F-18 variant being selected. The big one though is time, and commonality with existing maintenance and existing aircraft.


Timeline: CNO Richardson wants Stingray operational by ’19, This, to me, suggests the Stingray can’t stray too far from an operational platform–all the maintenance, operational envelope work and training has got to be largely already in place TODAY. And then there’s the perennial fear of having a large defense production line closing out just before a Presidential election–an F-18 Stingray variant would remove that canker quite quickly. And if you look at this report from USNI, let’s also note that the Ford Class’s launch and recovery software takes years to accommodate new weight profiles, and, as it is, USS Ford won’t be throwing F-18s with large Cobham buddy tanks off the flight deck until, oh, gosh, ’19 (oh, hey that’s interesting timing, no?). If we want the Stingray to work by ’19, then it must align with the Ford’s existing launch and recovery programming.


The Stingray is also an interim platform to help develop future carrier based UAVs. That would make an F-18 variant make a lot more sense as well.

nextnavy.com...




posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 10:12 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So I'm guessing they're going to build something new based off that wrapped design in the dessert we all debated about years ago? Makes sense honestly. You can carry a lot of fuel with that much power and deletion of pilot and their systems. It will also keep things simple because the Navy already has excellent maintenance personnel for those engines and systems. We will see, hopefully it won't be a cluster like everything Navy lately.



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 10:18 AM
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Ok. Do you still have to salute when that thing goes off the cat?



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 10:31 AM
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a reply to: JIMC5499

Damn right. You better salute your robot overlords.



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 10:50 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Wait... what?

An F-18, into a tanker?

That is rather like re-purposing a Mini Cooper (an old one, not those massive, newfangled ones), into a recreational vehicle, in that, there is no way you are getting enough fuel on board even an unmanned version of the F-18, to refuel more than one fighter at a time... or at least, if there is a way, I hope they never try and land one of those tankers within a hundred miles of a city, because to pack all that fuel into such a tiny aircraft is... well its ridiculous. Current tanker aircraft are HUGE, and one assumes there is a reason for that, beyond "thats what we had lying around idle last time we wanted a tanker".

I find this article extremely difficult to swallow, and its nothing to do with the brand of copier paper in my printer.



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 10:56 AM
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i foresee that in my lifetime driverless cars will become the norm. Zaphod, do you think the pilot will eventually be replaced by automatic systems in most, if not all aircaft?



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 10:57 AM
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originally posted by: JIMC5499
Ok. Do you still have to salute when that thing goes off the cat?


Of course, and be careful with your coffee when they do their flybys!



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 11:06 AM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: Zaphod58

Wait... what?

An F-18, into a tanker?
Well yes, been done for years. The last dedicated tanker aircraft, the S-3B was retired about a decade ago and the F-18s were used to fill the gap ever since.
Its not perfect, fuel load is rather low but it works.


Using an unmanned 'QK-18H' for this mission wouldnt be the worst solution in the world, at the very least another F-18 variant is easier to support on a carrier than an entirely new navalized aircraft like the Avenger.

And who knows, a couple of years down the road?

bispro.deviantart.com...



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 11:09 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Not while I have a toolbox. It is going to need maintenance sometime.



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 11:13 AM
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The F-18 currently sucks as a tanker. Full load gets you 28,000 lbs of fuel, most of which you could use as a recovery tanker, BUT as an mission tanker (at range) the useful offload is only 5,000 lbs.

They just changed the requirements for CBARs or whatever they are calling the program now a few months ago to 15,000 lbs at range. That's a big problem for an F-18 derivative if they're looking at tanking...




As the requirements have trickled out, the Stingray has started to look very much like an unmanned F-18 variant... . Barring some crazy surprise in the RFP requirements, the Next-Gen Flight III F-18 Boeing has been shopping looks awfully, awfully capable of meeting base Stingray requirements.

Tells me the link is bull#, because the requirements don't look anything like that.
edit on 7-11-2017 by RadioRobert because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 11:15 AM
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originally posted by: mightmight

Using an unmanned 'QK-18H' for this mission wouldnt be the worst solution in the world, at the very least another F-18 variant is easier to support on a carrier than an entirely new navalized aircraft like the Avenger.


and it doesn't hurt McBoeing's stock prices either.



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 12:05 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

It's not a tanker in the sense of a KC-135 or something along those lines. It would be exactly the same as when they transit through heading to or from the US. They will carry their normal fuel load, plus external fuel tanks, and a centerline drogue pod in the place of the third external. They'll actually have slightly less fuel than they carry on ferry flights.

They don't have a dedicated refueling system, they will use a buddy pod system. They've only ever been able to refuel one at a time with that. But it can be yanked and moved from aircraft to aircraft quickly.
edit on 11/7/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 12:06 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 12:06 PM
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a reply to: RoScoLaz5

No. In mission specific aircraft, yes. In most aircraft, no. They might use autonomous systems to augment the crew, but they won't get rid of crew on even most aircraft for a long time to come.



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 12:09 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Once life support and associated human requirements are yanked, they'll be able to add another tank and add fuel. It isn't the best solution in the world, but it meets the timeline. There is no way in hell that a clean sheet design is operational a year after being awarded.



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 12:14 PM
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Called it!



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 12:17 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

With you on the Mini thing.
As Students managed 6 home from Uni one eve.
This is on a whole more enjoyable level however.

m.youtube.com...

Published on 20 May 2014Mini London to Brighton 2014: World record attempt to cram as many girls into a classic mini as possible.
Good work to all the girls (The Mini Skirts), Dani and Big Jason for cramming them in!



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 12:20 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

Oh shut up. Haha. I still say they'll be able to offload 5,000 pounds at 5 nm.



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 12:32 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I have a forehead shaped like a Neanderthal now. And a big dent in my desk.



posted on Nov, 7 2017 @ 12:33 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
its not so bad really they can add the CFTs from the Block III upgrade and all will be well

But seriously, why dont they try to develop a carrier capable 600 gal EFT?




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