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Air Force planning aggressive schedule for KC-Z

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posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 01:28 PM
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As the Air Force is delaying the retirement of 28 KC-135s they are also beginning the year long process of identifying the requirements for the KC-Z program. One requirement it appears that we won't see is an LO capability. According to the AMC commander, Gen Maryanne Miller while they can build an LO tanker, once the boom is extended any stealth characteristics go away.

The goal is to build a tanker that can support NGAD, but what kind of support is what's being worked out. Another idea that probably won't be seen is the mothership concept put forward by the Navy, where a large tanker refuels smaller aircraft that then go forward to refuel strike aircraft.

www.airforcemag.com...




posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 01:34 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So is this going to to be a clean-slate design? Or are we about to see a "KC-787", "KC-777" or something similar?



posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 01:42 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
As the Air Force is delaying the retirement of 28 KC-135s they are also beginning the year long process of identifying the requirements for the KC-Z program. One requirement it appears that we won't see is an LO capability. According to the AMC commander, Gen Maryanne Miller while they can build an LO tanker, once the boom is extended any stealth characteristics go away.

The goal is to build a tanker that can support NGAD, but what kind of support is what's being worked out. Another idea that probably won't be seen is the mothership concept put forward by the Navy, where a large tanker refuels smaller aircraft that then go forward to refuel strike aircraft.

www.airforcemag.com...


Interesting Zaphod! If they are not pursuing low observability, why not just order more KC-46s and continue to refine, enhance and expand that design?



posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 02:04 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby

That will be decided with the requirements, but I'd be willing to bet that it will be something new.



posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 02:06 PM
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a reply to: TheHans

Because you can build a new airframe that isn't necessarily LO, but has a reduced RCS. It might not be reduced when fueling, but if it fuels then moves out of the area it can get closer than a -46 would.



posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 02:39 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So something like a BWB with similar RCS to a B-1?



posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 02:40 PM
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once the boom is extended any stealth characteristics go away.


I don't by that argument. Wrap it in RAM and/or build it using low reflectivity materials.

My guess would be that the actual hindrance are the costs of running a stealthy tanker fleet.



posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 02:51 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby

Exactly.



posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 02:53 PM
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a reply to: moebius

There are internal components of the boom that extend. Some of those are metal that is going to be reflective and increase the RCS. It's not as simple as it sounds.



posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 03:03 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58

The goal is to build a tanker that can support NGAD, but what kind of support is what's being worked out.


Just give NGAD legs and it wont need a stealthy tanker.

Another thinly veiled attempt to keep tacair relevant. How do the plan to pay for it?



posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 06:38 PM
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originally posted by: moebius

once the boom is extended any stealth characteristics go away.


I don't by that argument. Wrap it in RAM and/or build it using low reflectivity materials.


Uhm, sure...



posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 01:36 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

The same way they pay for everything else, print the money. It's simple really.



posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 08:54 AM
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Forgive me if I am being a bit thick here but instead of having the boom method of refuelling would it not be better to work on the drogue refuelling method and reduce the RCS on its components...I know it’s a lot more difficult to refuel a large aircraft with the drogue method but it has been done before and with the current state of autonomous flight software/controls surely it can me made easier..?!? a reply to: Zaphod58




posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 09:44 AM
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a reply to: Silentvulcan

It could be, but refueling a B-52 taking on over 100,000 pounds, at 1200 pounds a minute or less would not be a fun time.



posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 10:29 AM
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True...but once they have the automonus refuel perfected (I know they have had some recent successes) it’s coffee time in the cockpit...not reall y but you k ow what I mean...😂a reply to: Zaphod58



posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 10:29 AM
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edit on 9-3-2019 by Silentvulcan because: Multipost



posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 10:29 AM
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edit on 9-3-2019 by Silentvulcan because: Multipost



posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 10:29 AM
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edit on 9-3-2019 by Silentvulcan because: Multipost



posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 10:29 AM
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edit on 9-3-2019 by Silentvulcan because: Multi post



posted on Mar, 9 2019 @ 01:55 PM
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a reply to: Silentvulcan

You won't see autonomous refueling on manned aircraft. And you're already talking about up to 45 minutes or more to fully refuel a B-52 with a boom hookup. You'd be looking at more than double that with a drogue.



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