747400sp
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How Do Usaf Fighter Get Overseas

Sun Feb 26, 2006 2:46 am

Hello Everybody

I know this looks dumb question but read it clearly. Other than the F-15 no fighter has unfuel range to fly across the Atlantic ocean,and constant air-to-air refueling can be costly and a pain in the neck for the pilots. I seen photos of a F-15 being striped and loaded in the cargo bay of a C-5, but a C-5 can only carry so many fighter may be two at most. I know USN fighters can go anywhere that a CV/CVN aircraft carrier go, but how are large groups of USAF fighter transported over seas.
 
okelleynyc
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RE: How Do Usaf Fighter Get Overseas

Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:13 am

I think you're right about it being expensive, and I think it's done by KC-10 Extenders. There was a program on the military channel where they showed what looked like a group of 4 F-18 hornets being dragged across the Atlantic for excersizes in Germany. They actually used two tankers. One tanker was dedicated to top off the other tanker and one to refuel the hornets. I don't know if this is SOP; seems kinda wasteful. On the other hand, if you have to get there in a hurry...

The only other way that I've seen happen is to transport aircraft by sea.....

Will be interested to hear from the experts.
Just give me my Vario, my Ozone Mojo and a gorgeous day of soaring.
 
ha763
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RE: How Do Usaf Fighter Get Overseas

Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:57 am

The USAF either stations tankers at certain points along the route to refuel fighters or have the tankers fly along side the fighters to refuel when necessary. This happens all the time over the Pacific, where the Hawaii ANG perform these missions daily.
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: How Do Usaf Fighter Get Overseas

Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:49 am

There's really no other choice other than flying it over there..disassemby and shipment works well for helos, but not for jets, especially considerable numbers. Sure, the ferry ride sucks, and oftentimes you have to wear a poopysuit (drysuit) under your flightgear as your flight path sometimes takes you over some pretty cold water. Oftentimes the tanker will go with you the entire way, as your groundcrew/equipment/luggage is loaded inside the tanker and you'll probably need it wherever you're going.

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
Woodreau
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RE: How Do Usaf Fighter Get Overseas

Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:57 am

They fly themselves over with tanker support, of course  Smile

It's very wasteful of a C-5/C-141/C-17 to disassemble an aircraft for ferry across the ocean, when it can be flown across. There's much more important stuff a military cargo aircraft can carry across the ocean.

If you ever need to move an armored brigade across the ocean you'll need about 5000 C-141 sorties to move the TOE of the brigade over.

Most of the OPLANs and CONPLANs that exist are actually dedicated to figuring out how to get the forces you need to fight the war from the US and other theaters to the affected theater where you need them and by when they'll be there to do the whole RSOI process. Unfortunately we just use RSOI to describe the whole process, I can't remember what it stands for - Reconstitution, Staging, Onward movement and Integration? or something like that.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
f4wso
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RE: How Do Usaf Fighter Get Overseas

Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:03 pm

I've been drug across the Atlantic a few times by KC-135s when I was in the back seat of the F-4. Refuelings were scheduled to keep enough gas in the tanks to make a divert base if the tanker broke, we broke, or destination weather dropped below minimums. Divert bases were usually Lajes, Azores, Keflavik, Iceland, and Kingsley, Bermuda. At times it was almost a constant cycling on the boom to keep the externals topped off.

On one trip, the boom broke. Immediately, all six Phantoms turned towards Lajes. On another trip, the plane I was in ruptured the right external. We were 400 miles out over the Atlantic and had enough gas to make Shearwater, New Foundland. I have never seen a tanker put so much distance between them and us so quickly. At Shearwater, we downloaded our externals but were unable to depart due to a snow storm.

Another plus about being drug by a tanker, they do all the navigation. It isn't so bad now with GPS and ring laser gyro inertial navigation units. Prior to those systems, the F-4's INS would drift five miles an hour under good conditions.


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Gary
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Moose135
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RE: How Do Usaf Fighter Get Overseas

Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:43 am

Quoting F4wso (Reply 5):
I've been drug across the Atlantic a few times by KC-135s when I was in the back seat of the F-4. Refuelings were scheduled to keep enough gas in the tanks to make a divert base if the tanker broke, we broke, or destination weather dropped below minimums. Divert bases were usually Lajes, Azores, Keflavik, Iceland, and Kingsley, Bermuda. At times it was almost a constant cycling on the boom to keep the externals topped off.

Back in my KC-135 days (20 years ago now...damn, I'm getting old!) I got to drag some F-4s across the Atlantic. We staged out of Pease AFB (I forget where the F-4s were coming from). It took us almost a week for the weather to be good at all the various divert bases before we got to cross.
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
BigFish
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RE: How Do Usaf Fighter Get Overseas

Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:39 pm

If I'm not mistaken, they are using a lot of half trip type sorties. A tanker will drag them half way across the pond, and another flight will come out from Europe somewhere, and meet them, and drag them the remainder of the distance. I could be wrong, but that's what I remember reading somewhere recently. Thank God for piddle packs  WinkIt would suck to run out of those. And man.... who wants to sit on an ejection seat for 20+ hours? Ouch! Airline seats are bad enough.
 
f4wso
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RE: How Do Usaf Fighter Get Overseas

Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:49 am

On one of my trips the pilot started a general rant. The cause was a piddle pack that had dry rotted along one of the seams. I was glad he had to go first since I had a few bad ones myself.

Not sure of the percentage that go part way vs all the way across. I have followed some that were rotating overseas for a tour out of Mildenhall. On the trip from Southwest Asia, our first KC-10 came from Lajes and met us over the Red Sea. That one was later relieved by another Lajes tanker that refueled the original KC-10 and then took us on to Torrejon. When we entered the descent, it headed back to Lajes. I was glad to be designated to take unit historical photos on that trip. I had never seen a KC-10 refuel another KC-10 before. I will post some when my scanning of negatives improves.

Ejection seats are hard for a reason. The crewmember needs to start up at the same time as the seat. Cushioning gives the seat a headstart building up G forces which is literally a spine damaging kick in the seat. Using the manual G suit inflation valve helps circulate some blood in the lower extremities. I always thought if my civilian employer knew I had the ability to stay put for hours on end, I would have never gotten a break  Smile

Gary
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