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Airbus Militairy MRTT, A400M Next A320 AEW?  
User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (5 years 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 14210 times:

Flightglobal reports IAI and EADS are discussing adapting A320 for airborne early warning.
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...20-for-airborne-early-warning.html

It doesn't seem revolutionairy, just IAI puttting their systems on another airframe..

Some time ago the A321 AGS platform was shelved.
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/PUB_AGS_Poster_lg.jpg

[Edited 2009-11-30 14:55:00 by keesje]

27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3851 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (5 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 14037 times:

The IAI system has already been integrated on the G550. Competing systems are offered on the ERJ, and Saab turboprops.

If an airframe the size of the G550 can carry the system, what would be the advantage of mounting it on an A320? Could a heavier system offer more performance?

The A320 flies slower and lower than a G550, would that not be a point against it, operationally?

The 737 is also being offered with a comparable system, which, along with the other platforms, makes for an already pretty crowded market, does it not?



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12185 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 14038 times:



Quoting Keesje (Thread starter):
Flightglobal reports IAI and EADS are discussing adapting A320 for airborne early warning.
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...20-for-airborne-early-warning.html

It doesn't seem revolutionairy, just IAI puttting their systems on another airframe..

It doesn't seem to be a good business decision to me. The AEW market is already flooded with Wedgetail, E-2D, the IAI Gulfstream, Saab-340/-2000, EMB-145, B-707, and IL-76/-78. An AEW A-320 would make 10 airplanes in this small field. How would EADS expect to capture 30%-40% of the market share in a $10B market with 10 different choices? The radar system IAI is planning for an AEW-A-320 is the same one they install on B-707s, Il-76/-78s, and the G-V. That is five different types with the same radar. The two Saabs and EMB also share a common radar. Only the Wedgetail and E-2D have unique radars. Wedgetail has about 14 airplanes ordered/delivered and the E-2D is entering production for the USN and will also have international sales.


User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (5 years 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 13948 times:



Quoting Francoflier (Reply 1):
The 737 is also being offered with a comparable system, which, along with the other platforms, makes for an already pretty crowded market, does it not?

Agree. I wonder if the IAI system is different from the 737's AEW systems.It look different. A bigger more powerfull aircraft can carry bigger antenna's / systems / crew.

If IAI went to Boeing for a 737 platform, it would be an odd situation, because Boeing would partner 2 competitors..

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
and will also have international sales.

But likely only to friends of the US. I remember the Korean competition. Boeing beat IAI via the highest levels, after Korea selected the cheaper Phalcon.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
It doesn't seem to be a good business decision to me.

I thought so too. But then this is possiblyt all very political motivated. Specially with these types of startegic aircraft.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
The radar system IAI is planning for an AEW-A-320 is the same one they install on B-707s, Il-76/-78s, and the G-V.

Could be. I'm not sure, probably newer. Maybe bigger antenna's, more range, crew and black boxes..


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6491 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (5 years 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 13913 times:



Quoting Keesje (Reply 3):
If IAI went to Boeing for a 737 platform, it would be an odd situation, because Boeing would partner 2 competitors..

It can just be regarded as a civil aircraft sale.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 3):
But likely only to friends of the US. I remember the Korean competition. Boeing beat IAI via the highest levels, after Korea selected the cheaper Phalcon.

Right...because this has never happened in sales contests...



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12185 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (5 years 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 13848 times:

I still think that with up to 10 different small AEW platforms (well the B-707s and IL-76/-78s are not small) it will be a crowded market. I'm not even counting the really big kids on the blockm the E-3 and the E-767. Didn't China produce an AEW radar frisby atop a Tu-4 (B-29)?

User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (5 years 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 13832 times:

I guess an A320 would have a wider cabin then a E-3. If the cargo deck is filled with the extra fuel tanks of the A319C, the new winglets are added and possibly new GTF / LEAPX engines, an air refueling entry, 10 person crew, you end up with something more potent then a Gulfstream, Saab or Embraer I think.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
Didn't China produce an AEW radar frisby atop a Tu-4 (B-29)?

Yes, they did. But that's a long time ago. They didn't sit on their hands and started several projects.

http://i988.photobucket.com/albums/a...otos/PRC/Air/KJ-2000/KJ2000_26.jpg
http://img462.imageshack.us/img462/8356/y8balancebeam6lgwu0.jpg
http://cnair.top81.cn/gallery/Y-8AWACS7.jpg


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12185 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 13634 times:



Quoting Keesje (Reply 6):
I guess an A320 would have a wider cabin then a E-3. If the cargo deck is filled with the extra fuel tanks of the A319C, the new winglets are added and possibly new GTF / LEAPX engines, an air refueling entry, 10 person crew, you end up with something more potent then a Gulfstream, Saab or Embraer I think.

But, the cabin lenght of the E-3 is nearly twice as long.

The additional fuel is a seperate problem, as how much more weight would you want to add? An A-320-AEW would be a lot heavier than its airliner sister.

Winglets on an AEW usually make blind areas, that is why AEWs don't have them. Raked wingtips would work if you don't need sensors on the wingtips.

Air refueling receiver capability is needed.

The crew size would be deictaed by the type of the AEW equipment. You would need a flight deck crew of 3 or 4 for long endurance missions, as well as airborne maintenance people to fix whatever breaks during the mission, if possible. The number of system operators would depend on what systems you have.

It is not that I am against a possible A-320-AEW, I just see that market as already flooded, unless the A-320-AEW brings something new and unique to the market that cannot be put on other AEW types.


User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 13555 times:



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
It is not that I am against a possible A-320-AEW, I just see that market as already flooded, unless the A-320-AEW brings something new and unique to the market that cannot be put on other AEW types.

That were my innitial considerations too. The 737 AEW is obviously the standard right now for new AEW's. But you are then limitted to an advanced / export restricted US provided avionics systems suite. That doesn't work for everyone. Maybe the Phalcon system is very different from the NG system. I think most of the revenues and risks would be for Phalcon. Airbus would provide the airframe..


User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4728 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 13512 times:



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
But, the cabin lenght of the E-3 is nearly twice as long.

While I don't have exact specs right now, that seems a little off. Both the 707 and A320 have a 6-abreast layout in Y. Now consider the maximum passenger capacities: 180 (A320) and ~200 (707). True, the pitch might vary, but the difference in cabin length can't be more than 20%.



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineSpeedyGonzales From Norway, joined Sep 2007, 745 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 13494 times:



Quoting A342 (Reply 9):

While I don't have exact specs right now, that seems a little off. Both the 707 and A320 have a 6-abreast layout in Y. Now consider the maximum passenger capacities: 180 (A320) and ~200 (707). True, the pitch might vary, but the difference in cabin length can't be more than 20%.

Length from center of front door to center of rear door is 24,6m for A320 and 31,2m for 707-300 (27% longer).
http://www.airbus.com/fileadmin/medi...ery/files/tech_data/AC/AC_A320.pdf
http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/acaps/707.pdf



Las Malvinas son Argentinas
User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7735 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 13488 times:

How many E3's are operated by NATO and other EU countries, these have to be replaced eventually. The US has yet to select an a/c replacement for their E3's, they have shelved their program to purchase more 767's for SIGINT a/c, which some had suggested would then evolve into a E3 frame, if the EU wants a jump start going to an A320 frame woul dmake business sense. The a/c is produced locally, numerous frames are available if parts etc. if rebuilt frames are suggested versus new build, engineers to maintain and maintenance sites are numerous, etc. etc. or they could go for the larger A330.
Eventually the 707 base frame will go and replacement must be found.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4952 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 13472 times:



Quoting Keesje (Reply 8):
But you are then limitted to an advanced / export restricted US provided avionics systems suite. That doesn't work for everyone.

It's surprising that IAI made the overture to EADS. One couldn't expect a more "natural" company than Thales to make that move. Perhaps Thales see the venture as just a little bit better than a "one-off" deal - which might have reminded them of the stillborn AGS project?



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 13304 times:



Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 12):
It's surprising that IAI made the overture to EADS. One couldn't expect a more "natural" company than Thales to make that move. Perhaps Thales see the venture as just a little bit better than a "one-off" deal - which might have reminded them of the stillborn AGS project?

Maybe not so surprising. If the 737 is not option for poltical reasons, next is the A320 (CSeries far away) and IAI have a lot of of experience and even market share, contrary to Thales..

I wonder what it will look like, what type of antenna IAI has in mind.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12185 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 13263 times:



Quoting Keesje (Reply 8):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
It is not that I am against a possible A-320-AEW, I just see that market as already flooded, unless the A-320-AEW brings something new and unique to the market that cannot be put on other AEW types.

That were my innitial considerations too. The 737 AEW is obviously the standard right now for new AEW's. But you are then limitted to an advanced / export restricted US provided avionics systems suite. That doesn't work for everyone. Maybe the Phalcon system is very different from the NG system. I think most of the revenues and risks would be for Phalcon. Airbus would provide the airframe..

True, the B-737-AEW will not work for everyone. Boeing has sold the B-737-AEW to Austraila, South Korea, and Turkey. But, between all of them, it is only a hand full of airplanes, about 12-14. You are right, the major delay problem with the B-737-AEW (Wedgetail version) is the NG radar system. How it compares to the IAI Phalcon system, I don't know. It may be as advanced, more advanced, or less advanced in capabilities.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 11):
How many E3's are operated by NATO and other EU countries, these have to be replaced eventually. The US has yet to select an a/c replacement for their E3's, they have shelved their program to purchase more 767's for SIGINT a/c, which some had suggested would then evolve into a E3 frame, if the EU wants a jump start going to an A320 frame woul dmake business sense. The a/c is produced locally, numerous frames are available if parts etc. if rebuilt frames are suggested versus new build, engineers to maintain and maintenance sites are numerous, etc. etc. or they could go for the larger A330.
Eventually the 707 base frame will go and replacement must be found.

The NATO E-3s are about 30 years old now, while the French and British E-3s are about 15, or so. NATO would be a good candidate for a new, home built AEW platform based on the A-320, but only if it brings more capability than the E-3s of NATO, France and the UK. That is a tall hill to climb. Additionally, EADS/IAI would have next to zero chance of selling aan AEW platform to replace the 20+ year old RSAF E-3s, or any other Arab country, because of the IAI partisipation.

IIRC, didn't the UAE (Or another Arab country) just order a few Saab-340 AEWs recently? Also, as I understand it, there are additional Arab countries looking at ordering the B-737-AEW.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4952 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (4 years 7 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 11480 times:

Quoting Keesje (Reply 13):
Maybe not so surprising. If the 737 is not option for poltical reasons, next is the A320
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
NATO would be a good candidate for a new, home built AEW platform based on the A-320,

It appears that the A320's next special role may be SIGINT.....

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...y-reveals-work-on-sigint-a320.html

Quote:
"Airbus Military has begun bench testing systems for a signals intelligence variant of the A320, as part of a drive to expand its offering of military derivatives of Airbus commercial platforms.

Equipment is being tested at one of the company's facilities near Madrid under a self-funded feasibility study, says Miguel-Angel Morell, senior vice-president engineering and technology. He confirms that applications being tested 'are electronic, communications and signals intelligence'.

Senior vice-president commercial Antonio Rodriguez-Barberán says: 'We have initiated preliminary conversations with some potential customers with regard to an application of this type. We will do this with the same philosophy as our other platforms: we are there to win'."


That last highlighted part sounds like a subtle hint that they're intending to enter this A320 variant in some foreseen US competition --- for there's no other bigger potential market to justify the huge development costs.



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6491 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (4 years 7 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 11476 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 15):
It appears that the A320's next special role may be SIGINT.....

This must be due to the recent success of American SIGINT vendors in the UK and Finnish campaigns, though the Finnish system uses US equipment on an EADS airframe.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4952 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (4 years 7 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 11453 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 16):
though the Finnish system uses US equipment on an EADS airframe.

Strange bedfellows LockMart and EADS - marriage of convenience? Just goes to show that in politics and business, there are no permanent enemies - only permanent interests. Wonder if EADS would go after the Japanese SIGINT requirement with Thales, LM or IAI?



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineShmertspionem From India, joined Aug 2006, 453 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (4 years 7 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 11322 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
Winglets on an AEW usually make blind areas, that is why AEWs don't have them

And yet the Israeli gulfstream nachshon/eitam variants retain their winglets

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
I still think that with up to 10 different small AEW platforms (well the B-707s and IL-76/-78s are not small) it will be a crowded market.

But that's still low risk for Phalcon - which has proven itself a remarkably adaptable/scalable system. It now exists in 2 conformal variants (Chilean 707 and Israeli G550) and in a saucer variant (India Il-76) and was peddled around on an A-310 for the Turkish requirement . What's the harm in integrating it with an A-320?

Me thinks this is aimed at an affordable-ish Anglo-French E-3 replacement plus for any other European country interested. Plus it fills an important gap in the EADS product line that is completely devoid of AEW's

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
It may be as advanced, more advanced, or less advanced in capabilities.

Israeli AESA technology is right up there with the best in the business BUT the system i suppose can be up or downgraded to suit the export customer's reliability/trust

1) The Wedgetails sidewards array is bigger than the IL-76 saucer
2) The Phalcon is weak in the front and back hemisphere - at least when the array is conformal
3) On a narrowbody like the A-320 the array WILL be conformal IE phalcon will lack good front and rear coverage
3) The top hat has an advantage with its end firing array to look back and front



Vi veri universum vivus vici
User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4728 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (4 years 7 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 11160 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 16):
though the Finnish system uses US equipment on an EADS airframe.

What system are you referring to?



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6491 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (4 years 7 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 11063 times:

Quoting A342 (Reply 19):
What system are you referring to?
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/news/press_releases/2010/05-24-finnish-air-force.html

It's undefined as to what "airborne surveillance system" means, but it's AEW, ELINT/SIGINT, or some combination thereof.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4728 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (4 years 7 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 10789 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 20):
It's undefined as to what "airborne surveillance system" means, but it's AEW, ELINT/SIGINT, or some combination thereof.

Thanks, didn't know about that program. IIRC the Finnish Air Force had a few Fokker F27s operating in the ELINT/SIGINT role, maybe that's their replacement.



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12185 posts, RR: 51
Reply 22, posted (4 years 7 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 10185 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 15):
we are there to win'."

That last highlighted part sounds like a subtle hint that they're intending to enter this A320 variant in some foreseen US competition --- for there's no other bigger potential market to justify the huge development costs.

I don't know if the US is yet looking for a replacement for the RC-135s and EP-3Es. The RCs are getting reengined and the EP-3s are being upgraded. The RAF bought 3 KC-135Rs for conversion to the RC-135 for SIGNET/ELINT missions.

Quoting Shmertspionem (Reply 18):
What's the harm in integrating it with an A-320?

Me thinks this is aimed at an affordable-ish Anglo-French E-3 replacement plus for any other European country interested. Plus it fills an important gap in the EADS product line that is completely devoid of AEW's

There is no harm in offering an A-320 AEW product. It is just that there are lots of current choices, including "modern" AEW platforms like the E-767J, G-550, and B-737-AEW&C platforms.

Quoting Shmertspionem (Reply 18):
1) The Wedgetails sidewards array is bigger than the IL-76 saucer
2) The Phalcon is weak in the front and back hemisphere - at least when the array is conformal
3) On a narrowbody like the A-320 the array WILL be conformal IE phalcon will lack good front and rear coverage
3) The top hat has an advantage with its end firing array to look back and front

I don't think we know what AEW package would be offered on an A-320 AEW aircraft, it could just as easily be several different packages all offered as options. The Wedgetails offer very good front and aft coverage without the need to turn the aircraft, much like the E-3/E-767 platforms.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4952 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (4 years 7 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 10183 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 22):
I don't know if the US is yet looking for a replacement for the RC-135s and EP-3Es. The RCs are getting reengined and the EP-3s are being upgraded. The RAF bought 3 KC-135Rs for conversion to the RC-135 for SIGNET/ELINT missions.

See here.....

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/art...could-replace-e_8-joint-stars.html

Quote:
"But if the Pentagon is going to spend billions of dollars developing next-generation surveillance planes for the Navy, why would it want to re-invent the wheel by starting over in finding a successor to Air Force surveillance planes? With the Air Force short of money and Secretary Gates determined to cut wasteful spending, leveraging the $5.5 billion investment in the Poseidon to find a solution for Air Force needs seems like a no-brainer. Navy insiders say the P-8 is performing well in tests, and its future mission profiles are quite similar to those of Air Force planes engaged in surveillance of remote targets.

One obvious area where money could be saved is in sustaining the mission of the 17 Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System planes that the Air Force uses mainly to support Army warfighters. J-STARS planes use a sideway-gazing radar mounted on the belly of rebuilt Boeing 707s to track and image moving ground targets. They are a remarkably sensitive and versatile system, but the planes and their engines were bought second-hand, so they have to be modernized soon to remain safe.

The Air Force isn't eager to spend $10 billion or more re-engining and upgrading a handful of decrepit airframes, so buying a variant of the new P-8 looks like an attractive alternative. Not only would it be much cheaper to operate, but the new plane would deliver a host of technology enhancements leveraged off the Navy's P-8 investment that no legacy plane could offer."



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12185 posts, RR: 51
Reply 24, posted (4 years 7 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 10150 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 23):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 22):
I don't know if the US is yet looking for a replacement for the RC-135s and EP-3Es. The RCs are getting reengined and the EP-3s are being upgraded. The RAF bought 3 KC-135Rs for conversion to the RC-135 for SIGNET/ELINT missions.

See here.....

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/art....html

The P-8A would be a good airframe for a replacement for the E-3, E-8, and RC-135, if it has the floor space required for the needed equipment, etc. There is already the B-737-AEW&C Wedgetail, but that is based on the B-737-700ER airframe, not the B-737-800 frame the P-8A/I is based on.

There is the E-767J based on the B-767-200ER airframe that offers more floor space.

The USAF could be waiting on the selection of the KC-X to decide on an airframe, both the KC-767NG and A-330MRTT would provide that additional floorspace.


25 Post contains links and images DEVILFISH : AFAICT from their press releases, they're going to base it off the 737-800..... http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...ages/AIR_737_SIGINT_Cutaway_lg
26 Post contains links and images rheinwaldner : B.t.w. in my opinion this must be the most handsome aircraft nose:
27 KC135TopBoom : There is no doubt the B-737, B-767, A-320, or A-330 would do very well as an AEW&C/ELINT/AGS/ABCCP/SIGNT platform.
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