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Topic: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: Bureaucromancer
Posted 2011-02-07 14:53:22 and read 4710 times.

So I have been thinking about the Canadian arctic patrol requirements quite a bit lately and the thing that came to mind is that some sort of long range radar based air-to-air missiles on P-8s could be a decent supplement to the fighter fleet (which is shrinking with conversion to F-35s and has very limited access to air to air refueling). Anyway, the question I really have is what the prospects of actually integrating the system effectively would be? Presumably such a platform would have to carry quite a few missiles for there to be much point, and I wonder what kind of impact this could be expected to have on the range and conventional patrol capability?

I'm less interested in the actual usefulness of the concept at this point, but am open to the discussion. Given that no one has seriously proposed it though, I'm more interested in whether the idea could be made to work technically. For the record though, my idea is that ultimately arctic patrol is more about range than speed, and that the naval patrol platform will be up there anyway. Yes, it fundamentally has the performance of an airliner, but for the most part we don't really need high speed interceptors for the kind of airspace penetrations that are realistic (I'm also not proposing to eliminate the F-35, but supplement it with a high loiter time platform that can be on station for much longer periods than any fighter and still carry a (hopefully) respectable weapons platform). My own impression is that the idea is out there, but not completely insane and just might be worth looking into, especially if the F-35 order were to fall apart (not entirely unrealistic right now).

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: Oroka
Posted 2011-02-07 15:31:18 and read 4681 times.

There is the proposed B-1R, which would be a converted B-1B, with F119 engines, air to air missiles, and a big radar. It would hang behind a flight of F-22s, which would relay radar data back to the B-1R, and the Bone would launch 10-15 missiles as a incoming squad, and anything that survives gets mopped up by the F-22s.


The concept is sound, and maybe a cost effective solution for somewhere like the Canadian north, but you could probably do this same mission with a long endurance UAV based out of a northern airport. There is really no reason to have a crew on board for endless hours of patrols these days. A single operator could be monitoring 4-5 UAVs, and if there is something interesting detected, it can let the operator decide what it is, and if it is a threat. The same platform could be used to replace the CP-140 Aurora for maritime patrol.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: Bureaucromancer
Posted 2011-02-07 16:32:02 and read 4643 times.

If anybodies wondering, yes, it was sort of inspired by the B-1R. As far as why a P-8 and not UAVs, my thinking was that this could be piggybacked on otherwise conventional maritime patrol P-8s, which are IMO more or less a necessity. In the real world these aircraft would be primarily a direct P-3/CP-140 replacement. Hence the question about how realistic it would be - I imagine such a project could very quickly have to start compromising the basic mission, and at that point other options would, IMO start looking a lot better.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: kl671
Posted 2011-02-07 17:37:58 and read 4602 times.

RAF Nimrods were armed with sidwinders during the Falklands war. The issue of arming patrol aircraft was discussed in a thread several years ago.

B E3 Sentry Awacs With Sidewinders? (by Mortyman Oct 31 2008 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)

[Edited 2011-02-07 17:42:16]

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: connies4ever
Posted 2011-02-07 17:42:08 and read 4594 times.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 1):
There is the proposed B-1R, which would be a converted B-1B, with F119 engines, air to air missiles, and a big radar. It would hang behind a flight of F-22s, which would relay radar data back to the B-1R, and the Bone would launch 10-15 missiles as a incoming squad, and anything that survives gets mopped up by the F-22s.


The concept is sound, and maybe a cost effective solution for somewhere like the Canadian north, but you could probably do this same mission with a long endurance UAV based out of a northern airport. There is really no reason to have a crew on board for endless hours of patrols these days. A single operator could be monitoring 4-5 UAVs, and if there is something interesting detected, it can let the operator decide what it is, and if it is a threat. The same platform could be used to replace the CP-140 Aurora for maritime patrol.

I think arming a P-8 could probably be made to work, perhaps two per wing. Or an armed UAV (and UAVs are being looked at for sovereingty patrols to replace the CP-140s). But I think the real question to ask is: is there ever going to be an over-the-pole aerial assault ? Probably not. UAVs would give us trip-line warning in the extremely unlikely event that this was occurring, and in that event F-35s (hopefully not) or some other a/c would scramble from either/both Cold Lake and Bagotville to intercept at a more southerly latitude.

I can't take this seriously, actually. The "Bear", you can hear it before it shows up on radar - reputedly detectable by USN subs while submerged. They're also getting somewhat long in the tooth, except for some relatively recent maritime patrol versions. As for "Blackjack" not very many and not flown much, even with Russia's revived economic fortunes.

As for 'stock' P-8s for Canada, maybe, but BBD has a proposal built around the GX with anti-ship missiles underwing. Would suffer in the drag area for sure. For patrol it would be a capable manned a/c, if we insist on one. In fact, the RAF R.1 Sentinels will be available shortly....

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: Spacepope
Posted 2011-02-08 08:37:06 and read 4371 times.

The new "Silent Hornet" concept uses a centerline weapons pod with room for 4 AMRAAMs. It would be feasable to hang one off the wing station of the P-8 for patrols. Keeps the missiles out of the weather and is somewhat aerodynamic. And of course you could always swap out 2 of the missiles int he pod for 2 500lb jdams or 4 SDBs... It's kinda like the ultimate evolution of the B-17 then.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: Oroka
Posted 2011-02-08 09:08:27 and read 4350 times.

The P-8 and CP-140 (admittly, I have never seen it) have external hard points for missiles, wouldnt it be a matter of software and rating the airframe to carry the AIM-120s? Im not sure what radar capacity the P-8 has though, but I am sure that could be fixed.


I don't think the point of sovereignty patrols are to detect and intercept an attack coming over the pole, but to show that we do indeed claim that land, have a hold on it, and can fend off intruders.


I think we should go with large UAVs for these patrols, it will save on sticking crews on long crappy patrols, and these UAVs could probably stay in the area for a day or more. All you need is a handling and maintenance crew in say... Fort Good Hope NWT (I had to check google maps for that!), and have the controllers in Cold Lake. If there is anywhere in the world that would benefit from UAVs, it is Canada with our LOOOOOONG costline and endless northern territories. With the way global warming is going, the north will become increasingly important to our economy, and our coasts really need better surveillance, especially with the Northwest passage becoming a real possibility.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: bikerthai
Posted 2011-02-08 09:45:50 and read 4325 times.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 5):
It would be feasable to hang one off the wing station of the P-8 for patrols.

The P-8 also have center-line weapons station for potential use (to further keep the missiles from environment).

Quoting Oroka (Reply 6):
wouldnt it be a matter of software and rating the airframe to carry the AIM-120s?

The stores (weapons) management computer is programmable. You'll have to verify weapon separation do not adversely impact the airframe.

bikerthai

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: kanban
Posted 2011-02-08 10:16:12 and read 4296 times.

realistically, if there was this invasion over the pole, would one or two P-8's or any similar plane make a bit of difference?

Nobody is going to invade with one or two planes, and trying to land troops for a cross tundra invasion would be seen before they left port. If they come they use missiles fist and so far the P-8 isn't very good at shooting down ICBMs.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: connies4ever
Posted 2011-02-08 10:26:31 and read 4287 times.

Quoting kanban (Reply 8):
realistically, if there was this invasion over the pole, would one or two P-8's or any similar plane make a bit of difference?

Nobody is going to invade with one or two planes, and trying to land troops for a cross tundra invasion would be seen before they left port. If they come they use missiles fist and so far the P-8 isn't very good at shooting down ICBMs.

I agree, which is why I think if we want to 'show the flag' we should be looking at UAVs like Global Hawk.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: Spacepope
Posted 2011-02-08 11:00:59 and read 4272 times.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 7):
The P-8 also have center-line weapons station for potential use (to further keep the missiles from environment).

They're still hanging out in the breeze there, though you could potentially hang another pod there. Potential wartime load of 10 AMRAAMS, 20 SDBs (or 10X MK 82s, 5 MK 83s or 5 Mk 84s) and whtever else you can cram into the bomb bay. Not too shabby.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: bikerthai
Posted 2011-02-08 11:52:21 and read 4233 times.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 9):

I agree, which is why I think if we want to 'show the flag' we should be looking at UAVs like Global Hawk.

This bring us to the real potential of arming the P-8 with Air to Air missiles.

For the most part, the P-8 is meant for long lonely patrols in isolated area where encounter with enemy fighters are highly unlikely. And if there is an encounter, the best bet is to turn tail and get a head start (and hope your countermeasures are enough).

However, if there is a chance encounter with a hostile UAV and there is a need to destroy it, then on board air to air capability is a bonus. In such a case, you will not need the long range missiles. Short/Medium variety would probably do the trick.

Now, you may counter with "wouldn't an UAV be able to take out another UAV?" Perhaps, but consider the current development of UAV and potential payloads, it would not be beneficial to arm a smaller "patrol type" UAV with extra weight of a missile when that payload can be more powerful sensors. In case of the P-8, the extra weight would not adversely impact the airframe performance.

bikerthai

[Edited 2011-02-08 11:56:01]

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: connies4ever
Posted 2011-02-08 13:03:04 and read 4165 times.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 11):

Now, you may counter with "wouldn't an UAV be able to take out another UAV?" Perhaps, but consider the current development of UAV and potential payloads, it would not be beneficial to arm a smaller "patrol type" UAV with extra weight of a missile when that payload can be more powerful sensors. In case of the P-8, the extra weight would not adversely impact the airframe performance.

But if you're hanging the AMRAAMs off the wing, the drag would be a big performance penalty in terms of range. There might also be buffet issues.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: Bureaucromancer
Posted 2011-02-08 14:16:55 and read 4129 times.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 6):
I don't think the point of sovereignty patrols are to detect and intercept an attack coming over the pole, but to show that we do indeed claim that land, have a hold on it, and can fend off intruders.

At the end of the day I really do agree with that statement. My other personal problem with UAVs is that the only one that seems to be remotely suitable is the Global Hawk, and A) it's reliability is, to say the least questionable and B) the P-8 has a respectable anti shipping and submarine capability in it's base configuration, which IS neccessary for the sovereignty protection role in reference to the Northwest Passage. A UAV that could actually do what the P-8 does makes a lot of sense I grant, but none exists, and I can't even begin to imagine either the US Navy changing direction now with the P-8 as far along as it is or Canada building it's own platform.

As far as implementation, I like the sound of hanging one of those Silent Hornet pods off each wing, although I agree there is real potential for performance and buffeting problems.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: bikerthai
Posted 2011-02-08 14:25:17 and read 4128 times.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 12):

But if you're hanging the AMRAAMs off the wing, the drag would be a big performance penalty in terms of range

There are center-line pod option. And if you are really worried about drag, then keep everything in the bomb bay.

Besides, a couple of AMRAAM's would not be much different than a Harpoons or SLAMERs on the wing.

My point is the drag penalty (and I would agree that there is a drag penalty) of the AMRAAM's or Harpoons has a smaller impact to the P-8 with its larger payload/fuel load capability. The same weight on a smaller UAV will have greater impact on range.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 12):
There might also be buffet issues.

That is why they would have to verify through flight test. Although, the wing hard point on the P-8 may be much more stout than the one you may find on the F-18. And the wing cross section at the hard point is much thicker too. Finally, the P-8 probably won't hit Mach 1+ (and all the problems associated with that environment) like the F-18.

bikerthai

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: Spacepope
Posted 2011-02-08 16:25:17 and read 4068 times.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 14):
There are center-line pod option. And if you are really worried about drag, then keep everything in the bomb bay.

No way. Tucking AAMs into the bomb bay mean s you either need to come up with an ejection mechanism for the missile (see F-4, F-14, F-15 and F-18) or a trapeeze type cradle like on F-102/106. Not worth the extra cost and complexity.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: connies4ever
Posted 2011-02-08 16:27:59 and read 4065 times.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 14):
My point is the drag penalty (and I would agree that there is a drag penalty) of the AMRAAM's or Harpoons has a smaller impact to the P-8 with its larger payload/fuel load capability. The same weight on a smaller UAV will have greater impact on range.

Agreed on that, and the same for the concept BBD Global Express ASW idea. For mere surveillance, the GX probably would be fine, using the Sentinel config as a baseline.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 14):
That is why they would have to verify through flight test. Although, the wing hard point on the P-8 may be much more stout than the one you may find on the F-18. And the wing cross section at the hard point is much thicker too. Finally, the P-8 probably won't hit Mach 1+ (and all the problems associated with that environment) like the F-18.

Yes, again agreed that it is probably a more robust attachment.

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: bikerthai
Posted 2011-02-09 06:30:57 and read 3858 times.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 15):
Not worth the extra cost and complexity.

Boeing is already developing a rack system to be used with the F-15SE conformal bomb bay.

I would think they can come up something that would work with the P-8.

There would be some extra cost though    . More work for the Engineers  

bikerthai

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: Oroka
Posted 2011-02-09 09:14:51 and read 3795 times.

We could always have a peek at the weapon pack that was designed for the CF-105  



Yeah, a UAV cost wise would be unrealistic... just dreaming on that one  

Topic: RE: P-8 Air To Air Capability
Username: spudh
Posted 2011-02-10 10:31:05 and read 3491 times.

The concept is not that far out there, but there were pitfalls in the past.

Remember the Douglas F6D Missileer originally proposed for USN before the F111B and Tomcat programs. Basically a long loiter, sub sonic carrier of long range missiles with a big radar. It was shelved since even with the range of the Phoenix predecessor (the Eagle I think) it was considered that it would be over run and shot down before it got back to the carrier by any attacking force after it had expended its missilies . And that was before the actual abysmal hit rate for missiles had been established.

I think the best chance the P8 would have, would be with a powerful rear facing AESA radar and rear firing missiles so that it can provide mid course guidance while on the run. If it had to face the attackers during the guided phase of the missile flight it would be toast. IIRC when they test fired 6 phoenix from a Tomcat against 6 targets the last target was within 20 miles before the last phoenix went active. Fine for the Tomcat which could dive for the deck and get out of there faster than any chaser but a P8 wouldn't stand a chance at that range.

You've also got to take into account that you would be putting a lot of crew on one platform directly in harms way once you make an A-A threat out of the P8. I think a UAV would be a better bet in the role but as others have said, I can't see it happening and even if it did They'd be coming with more than enough force and intent to deal with the P8.


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