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RAF C-17s - Refueling Conversion?  
User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2581 times:

Now that the 4 examples the RAF has on lease are being purchased, does anyone know of a timeline for converting these aircraft to probe and drogue refueling equipment?

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2572 times:

Quoting RichardPrice (Thread starter):
Now that the 4 examples the RAF has on lease are being purchased, does anyone know of a timeline for converting these aircraft to probe and drogue refueling equipment?

At least while they're on lease, they have to keep them at USAF standards. This requirement was originally in case of lease-return to USAF. I don't know that RAF has ever stated that they would make any modifications. In fact, the mantra of the C-17 production process seems to be "standardization" except in areas of obvious improvement (eg. C-17 -> C-17ER.)



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2568 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 1):
At least while they're on lease, they have to keep them at USAF standards. This requirement was originally in case of lease-return to USAF.

Yes, I understand that.

Quoting N328KF (Reply 1):
I don't know that RAF has ever stated that they would make any modifications. In fact, the mantra of the C-17 production process seems to be "standardization" except in areas of obvious improvement (eg. C-17 -> C-17ER.)

However, the RAF is currently converting the C-130J fleet to probe and drogue, so I see no reason why the C-17 wont get the same treatment once they are fully owned by the RAF. This would not have an impact on C-17 production standards either, because the conversion would be carried out by Marshall Aerospace, which is currently doing the C-130J and has previously converted the L-1011 tankers, the VC-10s, the E-3D Sentries and other RAF aircraft.

The RAF has a mandate to be able to operate independantly of any other country, so having no native refueling ability on the C-17s would be backing away from that mandate.


User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3504 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2558 times:
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It would seem to be a fairly simple modification what with most of the plumbing already in place. Is the location of the probe on the nose a factor? Can it go left, right, or center? How long would it take to refuel a C-17 via the probe and drogue - I bet she takes a loooonnnngggg drink.


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User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2498 times:

The probes were removed from the TriStars because it was determined that they had sufficient range and that they would seldom be used. I see the same scenario for the C-17's. The number of times they actually require in-flight refueling would not justify the expense of adding the probes.

User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2493 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 4):
The probes were removed from the TriStars because it was determined that they had sufficient range and that they would seldom be used

The Tristars range is nearly double that of the C-17's unrefuelled range, which in turn is only slightly greater than the C-130J-30's range, which the RAF are converting at the moment.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7075 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2396 times:

Also need to compare range with and without loads(weight), a max loaded C-17 ain't going nowhere far without a tanker.

I'm also not sure how simple it will be, the plumbing in place from the top of the fuselage to the tanks will have to change, as the probe will probably go left or right side of the cockpit, hopefully, the structure can take it, hopefully, it was a "thought" in Boeings original design.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2393 times:

Would they keep the refueling recepticals, like the RAF E-3s have? The RAF AWACS do refuel from both VC-10 and KC-135 tankers., The RAF C-17s could do the same, it only takes a little pilot training.

User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2375 times:

Quoting Par13del (Reply 6):
hopefully, it was a "thought" in Boeings original design.

Boeing did not do the original design the C-17. It is a McDonnell Douglas product that Boeing inherited.


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2343 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 8):
Boeing did not do the original design the C-17. It is a McDonnell Douglas product that Boeing inherited.

You say that like the C-17 designers, workers, and facilities vanished and somehow the product appeared at a Boeing plant worked on by Boeing people. It's mostly the same people, just a different name.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13170 posts, RR: 77
Reply 10, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2307 times:

The RAF are to buy the now 5 C-17's, it also seems they are considering 3 more too, this is unrelated to any other RAF transport procurement, present or planned.
So once owned, the RAF/MoD can modify to their hearts content.

In the 1990's, MDD proposed to the RAF, the C-17K, RB211-535E4 engines, and a probe refuelling system alongside the boom receptacle, like the refuelling system fitted to the RAF E-3D's.
(I always wished they'd taken this up, buying around 12-15 of these, passing on the C-130J's, re-furbing around 40 of the original C-130K's, replacing them in time with what is now the A400M).

Today, we are past all that, but yes, once owned, a modification for probes seems sensible.
Consider in 1982, before the Falklands war, the C-130's, the Nimrods, did not have refuelling probes, the ones on the Vulcans had been deactivated for 20 years too.
Yet within weeks, the 'Black Buck' assigned Vulcans, some C-130's and Nimrods, had all been modded-the latter two by using surpus Vulcan probes, not that reactivating the Vulcan's ones was easy.

Much better to do the C-17's before an urgent need suddenly arises.


User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2242 times:

I don't see as to why the RAF cannot simply bump off of USAF tankers and just have the bill sent to London! Besides, the whole reason the USAF went with the boom was because the drogue system could not transfer fuel fast enough for larger aircraft such as bombers.

User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2229 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 9):
You say that like the C-17 designers, workers, and facilities vanished and somehow the product appeared at a Boeing plant worked on by Boeing people. It's mostly the same people, just a different name.

I say that because it is true. Those McDonnell Douglas people that designed the C-17 may be Boeing employees now but at the time the C-17 was being designed Boeing had nothing to do with it. Lockheed had more to do with the original C-17 design than Boeing as they built the first five (5) sets of wings.


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2229 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 12):
Lockheed had more to do with the original C-17 design than Boeing as they built the first five (5) sets of wings.

Who built the rest of them?



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, 12128 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2093 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 13):
Who built the rest of them?

MD, then Boeing built the remaining C-17 wing sets. The initial wings were built by Lockheed because of lack of MD production capability at the time.


User currently offlinePADSpot From Germany, joined Jan 2005, 1676 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1987 times:

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 11):
I don't see as to why the RAF cannot simply bump off of USAF tankers and just have the bill sent to London!

because

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 2):
The RAF has a mandate to be able to operate independantly of any other country, so having no native refueling ability on the C-17s would be backing away from that mandate.


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