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An extensive general platform——is it possible for USA?

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posted on Apr, 6 2008 @ 06:46 AM
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Since US air force became a stratagic air force not only a tactical air force, each sort of aeroplane was needed. But to seperately design a new aeroplane as a combat or support platform is too expensive and will be more unacceptable cost to any air force even US.
I wondered, why US don't require a general platform which based on one stracture like Boeing 777 or something others. The design to adopt to be each platform should be considered from beginning, which is not too difficult to US dsigners I think.
This possible platform could be taken as tanker, AWACS, Long-range land-based anti-sub patrol, gun-ship, Electronic-combat aeroplane, transporter, etc. with inner refit and/or add pylons. This achieve will reduce cost enormously so that US airfroce can purchase more advanced fighters like F-22.

[edit on 6-4-2008 by emile]




posted on Apr, 6 2008 @ 07:05 AM
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Because commercial platforms are not designed to do those missions and have to be modified. And it doesn't make sense to have a huge platform like a 777 for an ASW mission, or ESPECIALLY a gunship, etc. You have to look at the mission and find the best design for it. A huge slow design isn't going to make a good EW platform. You want something smaller, that could fly low and fast.



posted on Apr, 6 2008 @ 11:31 AM
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I'm not sure the 777 was the emphasis of the argument here. I suspect that the idea that was emile was trying to get across was that of modular systems to allow one platform to be converted to a whole range of functions between missions.

To respond to the OP, however, I think it's possible but it carries with it the same sacrifices you get with a multirole fighter such as the F-35: It sacrifices specialized performance for a cheaper price tag. It is, really, a compromise. So you won't get the same quality of performance as you would with a specialized airframe. Also of difficulty is getting the modules you need out into the field. In order to make use of these funky modules, you need to have access to them out in the field so that you can switch aircraft around out there (where they're needed) rather than at some home base far away (which takes a long freakin' time if you need the resources now). This means that, somehow, you're going to have to either be able to rig the aircraft to carry them all itself, or have them shipped there some other way.

And, as Zaphod said, for some missions the structure just might not allow for some things. Try taking a cargo'd-up 777-esque airframe on and off a carrier
.

Just some things to consider.



posted on Apr, 6 2008 @ 03:07 PM
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Well Emile, that would be a good plan but you shouldnt use a passenger airplane as the basic structure for the capabillity`s that you want to let the plane doing.

Instead it would be wiser to follow the path off the Russians.

The Russians have the Il-76 Cargo plane as their basic structure that is used to fullfil the AWACS/Cargo and Refueling capabillity`s.

So the USA needs to design a new freighter with massive range and lots off tonnage with high subsonic/transsonic speeds.

A freighter is a more better solution then a passenger aircraft because a freighter is designed for heavy duty punishment, ideal for the millitary.



posted on Apr, 6 2008 @ 03:45 PM
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The C-135 Stratolifter is the best example Id say of this type of a/cwith more variants and missions than you can shake a stick at.

As Zaphod points out too the nature of the mission would dictate a/c design. A good example is long hual LCA versus short hual. Each are optimised for a particular flight pattern. So a long range freighter even if shortened may not be the best choice for in theatre transport etc. Also there is the cost issue. Also to meet the needs of many, you force design compromised that hurt overall performence etc.

The problem with dedicated freighters is that thier rugged structure come with other penalties most notably weight.



[edit on 4/6/08 by FredT]



posted on Apr, 6 2008 @ 11:38 PM
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Thanks for all your replies.
Something need I to clarify are
1) I've still been not understanding why US navy chose Boeing737 such an original civil plane as landing based anti-sub patrol.
2) What I wanna said was US should select a new platform (that new flying wing ex-plane for example) to be cargo, electronic-combat, AWACs, etc. I was not saying all kind of cargos US needed are use same platform, as US may need huge Cargo even larger than An-225 but which does't adapt to be an AWAC.
3)Also to be a Gunship, the platform shouldn't be too large, and such gunship may need heavy armor to protect itself from land shoot. These things should be considered carefully before what structure would be designed and what platform would be chosen.

Some suggestions to US:

a) US navy nowadys need a new AWAC because E-2's propeller will reflect a big RCS to enemy. I didn't see why Viging isn't a good plaform

b) Low set wing as almost of civil planes are not appropriate to be any militry use, the structure of wing cross through the airframe also debase the strength of airframe. Such design are only good for use ground effectiveness while landing emergency.

c) The demand of new tank out of USAF is also urgent. Even use hard piper, one tanker only give one point to refuel single fighter. The refueling rate of hard piper is nuch faster than soft piper, but only single on one tanker must be not enough for drastic conflict with some powerful enemies.



posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 12:27 AM
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TextThe C-135 Stratolifter is the best example Id say of this type of a/cwith more variants and missions than you can shake a stick at.


The Boeing 707/C-135 series has been the biggest successful attempt at a common large airframe among the major air forces to date. Tanking....AWACS....Elint....general transport.....VIP......USAF.....USN......etc.

In the 1970s Rockwell pitched a series of aircraft performing tanking, maritime patrol, fast-jet cargo, AEW, ECM, etc. jobs based upon the B-1 in order to improve its chances of a contract and lower it's overall unit cost via volume. It really didn't fly due to the inheherent flaws in the airframe when it comes to moving economical amounts of avgas or cargo versus it's physical size.

The 747 was tossed around for a number of jobs in the -80's ranging from mass ALCM carrying, to ICBM bearing, to aerial refuelling, to heavily modified bomb trucking, and AEW. Too big and too pricey for most jobs pitched.

As noted above, there really isn't "one" airframe available today that can do all jobs a military might have for a large, multi-engined platform. There are those off-the-shelf aircraft that can do a good number of things.......Boeing 767/Airbus A310 as common platform for tanking, AEW, general transport.....Boeing 737/Airbus A319 as AEW, patrol, ASW....and they are very viable. But none of these make a good bomb-hauler or penetrator while making very good starts for tankers or AWACS or long-haul cargo.


Designing a purpose-built outsized cargo/tanker/AWACS/maritime aircraft from the outset to be produced in the hundreds or thousands today is pretty much unlikely especially for the USAF.

#1-The USAF relies entirely upon boom refuelling.....perfect for an "airliner" type airplane. Ask Boeing to create a tanking version of the C-17 and watch the scramble to begin to redesign the rear half of the airplane eliminating the cargo doors and changing the aircraft's structure to accomodate a flying boom. Note, that as much as Boeing would like to the KC-45 contract, they didn't even attempt to offer a tanker version of the C-17 preferring instead to modify their 767. Too many differences.

#2-The differences between a high-flying general lifter and a low-flying combination tactical/strategic airlifter are big. If an A310/330 can do the same job as a C-17 or A-300...........why do they look so different??? One could conceivably build a CLA aircraft to do all but it would be a compromise airplane that did none of the prescribed jobs very well while performing them all with a lacking.

Today, the USAF is nodding toward NG/EADS KC-30 as a tanking/transport plane and I can see it inheriting some of the 707's other military roles such as AWACS or Elint in the same fashion. It's too much airplane for ASW/maritime patrol for the USN and that's why the 737-derived option is underway. The 767 would be as well.



posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 12:55 AM
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Emile, you posted while I was doing so, so, I do so here.

Text1) I've still been not understanding why US navy chose Boeing737 such an original civil plane as landing based anti-sub patrol.


The P-3 Orion, which the P-8 is replacing, is based entirely upon a civilian platform...........the L-188 Electra. ASW/MP per the USN's view is a mission comprised of long hours at medium altitude with minimal maneuvers and only slight changes in speed or altitude. Pretty much what the Orion does today. The time spent at low speed/altitude are minimal for an airframe designed for operation at altitude and thus the damage to stucture life is minimal.

Text2) What I wanna said was US should select a new platform (that new flying wing ex-plane for example) to be cargo, electronic-combat, AWACs, etc. I was not saying all kind of cargos US needed are use same platform, as US may need huge Cargo even larger than An-225 but which does't adapt to be an AWAC.

I assume you mean the Boeing BWB (blended wing body) here. The BWB is unsuitable for passenger transport due to the arrangement of passengers and the changes in CoG it predicts. It's a wonderful aerodynamic arrangement, but not one practical for commercial service.

Text3)Also to be a Gunship, the platform shouldn't be too large, and such gunship may need heavy armor to protect itself from land shoot. These things should be considered carefully before what structure would be designed and what platform would be chosen.

None of the aircraft mentioned here are suitable for the gunship role. All are too big or too high flying to do that. The C-130/C-27/C-295/maybe A-300 are more accurate for this job........but none of these are high-flying bomb haulers or tankers.

Text) The demand of new tank out of USAF is also urgent. Even use hard piper, one tanker only give one point to refuel single fighter. The refueling rate of hard piper is nuch faster than soft piper, but only single on one tanker must be not enough for drastic conflict with some powerful enemies.

The language issue may be in effect here, but, the USAF is beholden to the flying boom as a quick transport mechanism to off-load fuel. The hose-and-drogue is seen as a less certain and limiting per contact depending upon the conditions. While the USN/USMC and most countries have adopted the drogue it is a less efficient, albeit easier and more adaptable system. Neither good nor bad, just obervation.



posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 01:37 AM
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Originally posted by emile
a) US navy nowadys need a new AWAC because E-2's propeller will reflect a big RCS to enemy. I didn't see why Viging isn't a good plaformenemies.


The only problem with that is 1) It has to be able to get on and off a carrier and 2) No matter how stealthy the Airframe is an AWACS plane's signals would be detectable by thier very nature.



posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 04:37 PM
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i wonder what happened to this concept:

CESTOL (NASA)



looks like it could easily fit into the AWACS, ASW, tanker and cargo roles if need be. comments and opinions anyone? and yeah, while i'm at it.. does anyone have addtional info about this platform?



posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:28 PM
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Interesting looking concept. But, in what reading I've done the CESTOL is a NASA project to design a more efficient regional liner to replace the likes of the 737/A319/MD-82, etc.

#1-no major producer is showing any interest in producing the aircraft commerically. It's purely a government test study which might reach some sort of flying stage on tax dollars at this time.

#2-a 737/A319 sized airplane is not a prime candidate for any serious tanking/transport for a military service. It might fill a niche somewhere in between KC-130s and 707/A310 sized aircraft but I don't know of any real demand for something like that today. As for AEW or maritime patrol, yeah, many services are using similar sized airplanes for that today already or planning to do so in the future.


Blow it up, make it bigger, give it more power and payload..............and you have something similar to Boeing's existing BWB aircraft concept which no one is seriously clammoring for right now.



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