rc135x From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 161 posts, RR: 2 Posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 8744 times:
Today's Washington Post carried an article which cited "former senator Charles S. Robb (D-Va.) and retired Air Force Gen. Charles F. Wald suggest[ing] that the United States provide Israel with three KC-135 refueling tankers." This would enable Israeli F-16s and F-15s to reach targets in Iran.
What has happened to Israel's 707 tankers? I believe they were used during the Israeli attack on PLO targets in Algiers, so why not use them in an attack on Iran? USAF assets participating in an Israel-only attack would be idiotic to the degree that it would mean total and premeditated US complicity at a time when it needs plausible deniability.
n.b. I am not advocating such an attack or any strategy relating to the matter, just wondering what has become of this aerial asset and why "informed" personnel would make an offer of USAF KC-135s.
KC-135A, A(RT), D, E, E(RT), Q, R, EC-135A, C, G, L, RC-135S, U, V, W, X, TC-135S, W
Spacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2736 posts, RR: 1 Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8475 times:
Perhaps the current IDF tanker fleet is too small to bring an effective strike force to Iran. 3 KC-135 (E or R?) should be enough for another 6-9 F-15I int he strike package. This could just be a supplement.
rc135x From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 161 posts, RR: 2 Reply 5, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 8118 times:
I appreciate that 3 KC-135s could be a supplement to the 707 tankers in the IAF. Who would operate these airplanes, US or Israeli crews? (I presume that if Israeli then there would be a "crash" checkout process for the crew). The US would not be prepared to lose a crew in combat or due to attrition. I also presume any "loaners" would be active service KC-135Rs and not airplanes withdrawn from the "Boneyard."
The US will still be blamed for premeditated participation---as they did during the 1973 war. Ex-USAFE F-4Es were flown directly to Israel by USAFE crews. The planes entered combat in USAF colors but with IAF roundels. This contributed to the Arab belief that US crews were fighting on behalf of Israel (Anwar Sadat complained about this publicly after the war started to go badly for the Egyptians).
Incidentally, after a quick check of references I find 5 IAF 707 Re'em: 260, 264, 272, 275, and 290. They certainly aren't enough to sustain an aerial campaign, but are they enough to support, say, 3 packages out-and-back from Israel to Iran?
iceberg210 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 142 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 8063 times:
Hmmm Israel is short on tankers? They might just want to buy some KC767's me thinks, :p
In all honesty though, while on a moral/ally level, seems like a fine move, one does have to wonder the PR implications of having US metal supporting operations of a different nation. It'll be awfully interesting to see how it all pans out...
Spacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2736 posts, RR: 1 Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 8012 times:
Isn't IAI converting 767 tankers for Colombia?
3 KC-135s could be used for friendly areas (filling strike packages between takeoff and over Saudi Arabia), returning to base, refueling and launching to meet the returning aircraft. You'd get 6 sorties out that, effectively doubling the IDF tanker force.
KC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 11705 posts, RR: 52 Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 7802 times:
The KC-135Rs have about twice the off-load capability of the KC-707. Each KC-135 can combat refuel (pre-strike and post-strike) 6 attacking aircraft, making the total of 18, for bombing and CAP. The Israelis have about 4 operational KC-707s, which would also be used and provide an additional 12 strike/CAP aircraft. This force is not enough to take out enough of the Iranian nuclear weapons program, but will set it back several years. My guess is since the KC-135 is the more capable tanker, they would be used for the strike aircraft while the KC-707s would be used for the CAP aircraft, since the strike aircraft would require a lot more fuel. Israel has about 25 F-15Is, as well as more than 100 GBU-28 bunker busters capable of penetrating about 30m (100') of dirt/rocks, or up to 8m (25') of steel rebar reinforced concrete, and has a glide range of more than 9 km (5 nm) and weigh in at about 5000 lbs (2268 kg). Each F-15I can carry 2 GBU-28s (these things are 25' long), and like all F-15s has the M-61 Vulcan cannon, which would most likely be loaded with M-56A3/A4 rounds (anti personnel and anti aircraft) for a mission like this.
But, if the USAF were to use KC-135s to help the IDF strike force, they might as well join the strike and CAP packages, too. The USAF has more aircraft, and could supplement the Israeli CAP with F-15Cs and F-16Es (additional CAP could also be provided by USN F/A-18E/Fs from CVNs in the gulf, if needed), maybe even F-22s, and supplement the strike package with B-2As ( carrying GBU-57 or GBU-28s), B-1Bs, and F-15Es, as well as more KC-135s and perhaps E-3s, E-8s, and RC-135s.
But the US will have to weigh any participation against what Iran's response would be. Clearly they will try to close the Strits of Hormoz, at a minimum.
cargotanker From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 118 posts, RR: 1 Reply 10, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 7752 times:
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8): But, if the USAF were to use KC-135s to help the IDF strike force, they might as well join the strike and CAP packages, too
I don't think a combined US/Israeli strike is politically feasible. It won't happen.
I like the KC-135 idea, but instead we should SELL the Isaelis 10 of them for $1 each. That would send a strong message to Iran and instantly give Israel the strategic reach to strike Iran repeatedly. I'm sure Israeli aircrews could figure them out pretty quickly.
Spacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2736 posts, RR: 1 Reply 11, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 7513 times:
A while back, there was a program to modify the port underwing drop tank with a probe for refueling for the F-16. There was also a modification to install a probe into the port CFT on the F-16 as well. In both cases these were retractable.
Suppose either of these solutions were available. How far could, say, an F-15I with max gas drag an F-16I being its buddy tanker?
KC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 11705 posts, RR: 52 Reply 12, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 7265 times:
Quoting Spacepope (Reply 11): How far could, say, an F-15I with max gas drag an F-16I being its buddy tanker?
Fighters use as buddy tankers are not very useful in long range missions, they simply don't carry enough fuel. With FAST Pak CFTs (750 gallons each) and 3 X 300 gallon external fuel tanks, plus internal fuel a F-15 can carry a maximum of 51,775 lbs of fuel. Of course as a buddy tanker it would be less than that as the centerline external fuel tank would have to be the buddy refueling pod, so the total fuel on board drops to 49,735 lbs. In this configueration the "F-15 Tanker" would be burning a lot of gas for itself. My rough numbers say it can fly out as far as 500 nm while refueling the F-16I, with an EAR point at the 500nm point, then return to base, after off-loading about 10,000 lbs of fuel. That would be enough to get the heavy F-16Is to strike their targets, and get out of Iran air spaces, as long as they did not have to use AB to much. The airplanes would probibly run out of fuel over the gulf. then the crews punch out and picked up ('rescued") by USCG or USN warships.
Spacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2736 posts, RR: 1 Reply 13, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7231 times:
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12): My rough numbers say it can fly out as far as 500 nm while refueling the F-16I, with an EAR point at the 500nm point, then return to base, after off-loading about 10,000 lbs of fuel. That would be enough to get the heavy F-16Is to strike their targets, and get out of Iran air spaces, as long as they did not have to use AB to much. The airplanes would probibly run out of fuel over the gulf. then the crews punch out and picked up ('rescued") by USCG or USN warships.
Thanks for the estimates. Looks like we're mixing strategy with a bit of logistics. 500nm based on the GlobalSecurity images would provide for fully tanked F-16s to mid-iraq or SA. What I'm considering is that this may save 2-3 KC-135s worth of tanking while "in the neighborhood" of Israel. The probes could also be used for WARp refuelling, cutting the problem of number of booms available.
What kind of offensive could we therefore put together using these considerations:
F-16I strike package, perhaps 3-6 F-15I hauling bunker busters too
F-16s refueled via buddy tankers inbound and outbound in 500NM nearest Israel (eliminating need for KC-135s and KC 707 early and late.)
CAP gets 3 dedicated KC-135s, they'll need the booms.
5 remaining KC-707s orbit at 1000nm from Israel to top off on ingress, refuel on egress to get strike package back to buddy tankers.
KC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 11705 posts, RR: 52 Reply 14, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 7162 times:
Don't forget when you install the probe refueling pods on the F-16Is, you loose a hard point and the weapons it can carry. I doubt the F-16I can carry a GBU-28. The weapon is just to big, it is 25' long. The F-15E/I/K/S can carry 2 of them, the B-2A can carry several.
So in my professional opinion, buddy refueling is not the way to plan this mission, use real tankers like the KC-707 and KC-135 and keep it simple s... (KISS theory)
Cargotanker had the best idea yet, sell some KC-135Rs to the IDF for about $1 each, give the Israeli a quicky difference training course to transistion from the KC-707 to the KC-135.
But, no matter what happens the Iranians will blame the US and Israel. They may also blame the French and British. At the very least they will place mines in the Strait of Hormuz to try to stop the flow of oil to the rest of the world. That brings in the USN and RN into the mix.
cmb56 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 206 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 7116 times:
A real quick and dirty line on the map shows that about 3/4 of Iran is north of a line from Israel to the southern border of Kuwait. So most of the nuclear sites are probably in the area that would require flying through Jordanian and Iraqi airspace. Since Iraqi currently has Cessna Caravans as it's air force that leaves Jordan with any ability to intercept. What happens to the plan if the tankers orbit over Iraq? Whose is going to shoot them down?
That avoids any interaction with the Saudis. Would Jordan want a nuclear Iran in the neighborhood?
How much deniability would the US have to 10-15 135s that were on a training mission over Iraq when Iran got bombed?
ryu2 From Taiwan, joined Aug 2002, 460 posts, RR: 0 Reply 18, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 7071 times:
Quoting cmb56 (Reply 15): Since Iraqi currently has Cessna Caravans as it's air force that leaves Jordan with any ability to intercept. What happens to the plan if the tankers orbit over Iraq? Whose is going to shoot them down?
Even if they couldn't, if Israeli jets were passing eastbound through their airspace, Iraq would certainly give early warning to Iran.
ThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1063 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 7054 times:
I will point out to everyone that you are assuming best case scenario's for maximum range and weapons payload... and anytime you strap on bombs and missiles, you take a hit in maximum range due to parasitic drag.
canoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2657 posts, RR: 12 Reply 22, posted (1 year 3 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6723 times:
Quoting Spacepope (Reply 20): I doubt that. Iraq still isn't the greatest fan of Iran. There would need to be some severe jamming, since Iran's radar coverage does not end at its border.
Not at all. Iraq has almost no capability to keep Israel from using their airspace as a point of transit to Iran. Israel has far bigger problems if they want to attack Iran. Most importantly an attack like that is at the edge of the range of their F-15s and F-16s. Hence the discussion about tankers. Iran learned from the Iraq strike and scattered their nuclear facilities around the country rather than putting them in a convenient, lone, above ground location.
Powerslide From Canada, joined Oct 2010, 481 posts, RR: 1 Reply 23, posted (1 year 3 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6722 times:
Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 21): War & Oil prices will hit the roof.....The World cannot afford that.
Iran will be quickly put down much like Iraq was. I don't think the Iranian people are opposed to regime change, the ignorant fools running the country need to go. Cut throat. Iran has everything to be a leading middle-east power economically, but the morons in charge are holding them back, threatening Israel and the US into a suicidal war. Anyone who openly threatens another country with extinction through nuclear or other means needs to be removed. Permanently.