sidishus
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Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm



http://www.afrl.af.mil/articles/040306_StrikeTanker.asp

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio— The Air Force Research Laboratory and Lockheed Martin partnered to complete approximately 200 hours of wind tunnel tests on a next-generation tanker concept model. During two weeks of testing at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Ga. facilities, engineers collected aerodynamic data showing the effects of placing tanker equipment in various positions on the model. The team tested this data to obtain a better idea of how changing the equipment’s placement such as on the model’s centerline or in a pod on the wing tip, might affect a future tanker’s lift and drag as well as its compatibility with advanced platforms.

In addition, the engineers conducted several tests in which a receiver model was placed in refueling positions behind the tanker. Data collected from these tests showed how the aerodynamic flow generated by the tanker affected the receiver. Engineers will use this information to evaluate design options for the future tanker concept.

These tests were part of a continuing effort to develop options for the Air Force’s next-generation tanker. AFRL is conducting in-house work in conjunction with contract support by Lockheed Martin and Boeing to develop a highly versatile tanker of the future. The team is exploring existing technology, as well as “outside of the box” thinking to create a tanker that retains its high-lift characteristics while producing a very stable wake. These capabilities will help the tanker to refuel everything from fighter aircraft to unmanned air vehicles and helicopters.
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kc135topboom
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:59 pm

A stealth tanker makes good sense. During refueling, the current tankers compromise the stealth qualities of both the B-2 and the F-117.
 
RichardPrice
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:20 am

The forward section looks so much like a Handly Page Victor its unbelievable.
 
AirRyan
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:38 am

Doesn't sound likes it's worth the costs. Fighter patrols/escorts are going to prevent tankers from being shot down and so their location even if known is usually not one that the enemy is going to be able to take advantage of. So if a stealth bomber pulls up next to one big deal, they already knew a tanker was there and the question then becomes - well where did that stealth bomber go?

In a time when defensive spending is at new highs and all services are looking at what programs they could live without, there is no need to waste money on this chimerical tanker when we haven't even decided what tanker is going to propel the USAF into the next generation (their going to buy KC-767 or KC-330's, but nothing stealth.)

Very low priority IMO at this point.
 
Spacepope
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:56 am

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 2):
The forward section looks so much like a Handly Page Victor its unbelievable.

I was thinking the exact same thing.
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Oroka
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:16 pm

Sounds like a small tatical tanker, designed to work in high threat arenas, kinda the size of a 737. It would be a good suppliment to a large 777 size tanker/transport.
 
dl021
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:27 pm

Tankers are a vulnerable point to operations that force us to divert aircraft to protect it by providing cover and taking them from hostile zones to safer areas for the refuelling. We'd save money just by reducing the number of required escorts from mission planning.

That said....it's probably not the top priority unless they can make it a tactical transport as well. The good thing is that they aren't developing technology from scratch for the thing.
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jwenting
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:55 pm

Good idea for a tanker that can escort strike aircraft into enemy airspace and loiter there to refuel the strike force on the way out.
Means the strike force doesn't have to be loaded with lots of fuel (and thus less agile than the could be to avoid AA, SAMs and fighters) while over the target area.
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grandtheftaero
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:06 pm

Quoting DL021 (Reply 6):
We'd save money just by reducing the number of required escorts from mission planning.

Perhaps... but the RAND Corp wasn't so enthusiastic about stealthy tankers in their latest tanker replacement study:

"Stealthy tankers are significantly more expensive than non-stealthy tankers, although they offer some effectiveness benefits... It is a military judgment whether the expense of penetrating tankers is justified by the additional military advantage."

This is a surprisingly wishy-washy statement as their other points seem to be very cut and dry. Read for yourself: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/2006/03/us-debating-aerial-tanker-types-mix/index.php

--Shane
 
dl021
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Sat Apr 15, 2006 1:30 am

I believe that the real point is that no one will have air superiority over us, or even be able to challenge our dominance of the air. That said there is still the question of potential enemies and the ability of our long range air reach countered by the emergence of BVR capabilities over the last 10 years in our potential set of adversaries.

I'd say that the question is this.... is it worth the expense to be able to refuel our stealthy assets over enemy territory so they can stay on station...do we need to adopt the Israeli approach of 'it costs what it costs to defend ourselves'
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art
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:43 am

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 2):
The forward section looks so much like a Handly Page Victor its unbelievable.

A shame that the rest of the Victor wasn't invisible to radar - a stealthy nuclear bomber would have saved the UK billions between the sixties and now!
 
sidishus
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Sat Apr 15, 2006 8:11 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
I believe that the real point is that no one will have air superiority over us, or even be able to challenge our dominance of the air.

Last yer's COPE India suggests that unrivaled leadership is beginning to unravel. Also the Indians and other militaries already are looking at the countervalue adavantages of blowing away HVAA's and a developing operational doctrine-and developing weapons systems-are coming on line to do just that.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
I'd say that the question is this.... is it worth the expense to be able to refuel our stealthy assets over enemy territory so they can stay on station...do we need to adopt the Israeli approach of 'it costs what it costs to defend ourselves'

The days of the "Arsenal Of Democracy" are long over. We will not be able to replenish and rebuild after taking early losses, which is the we have historically done things in past wars.
No, we will be like the Japanese and Germans in WWII. Either we get it right from the get go or lose because we will have to finish with what we start with..
SO yeah, we'd better spend waht it costs...
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dl021
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:37 pm

Quoting Sidishus (Reply 11):
Last yer's COPE India suggests that unrivaled leadership is beginning to unravel. Also the Indians and other militaries already are looking at the countervalue adavantages of blowing away HVAA's and a developing operational doctrine-and developing weapons systems-are coming on line to do just that.

Well, there's some reason to consider the stealth tanker/transport seriously.

Quoting Sidishus (Reply 11):
No, we will be like the Japanese and Germans in WWII. Either we get it right from the get go or lose because we will have to finish with what we start with..

We won't be like them, because we outgun pretty much everyone and most conflicts that involve heavy fighting will be over rather quickly, it's the LIC that lasts a while, but that's fairly low tech and manpower intensive.

Quoting Sidishus (Reply 11):
SO yeah, we'd better spend waht it costs...

I agree with that. What programs do you want to cut to pay for this?
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LMP737
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Sat Apr 15, 2006 11:32 pm

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 3):
Doesn't sound likes it's worth the costs. Fighter patrols/escorts are going to prevent tankers from being shot down and so their location even if known is usually not one that the enemy is going to be able to take advantage of. So if a stealth bomber pulls up next to one big deal, they already knew a tanker was there and the question then becomes - well where did that stealth bomber go?

In a time when defensive spending is at new highs and all services are looking at what programs they could live without, there is no need to waste money on this chimerical tanker when we haven't even decided what tanker is going to propel the USAF into the next generation (their going to buy KC-767 or KC-330's, but nothing stealth.)

Very low priority IMO at this point.

Have to agree with you on this one. With the number of zero's being added to the national debt as we speak this country simply cannot afford it. Along with the fact that the military is stretched thin just trying to keep current equipment up and running and new programs funded.
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sidishus
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:32 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
We won't be like them, because we outgun pretty much everyone and most conflicts that involve heavy fighting will be over rather quickly, it's the LIC that lasts a while, but that's fairly low tech and manpower intensive.

Kinda sounds like the attitudes both the Germans and Japanese had..in 1939
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CTR
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:48 am

The "Artist's rendition" of a stealth tanker appears grossly out of proportion. Not to mention ugly.

If stealth tanker were ever to be built I imagine it would look a lot like a B-2 flying wing. For that matter, if an F-18 can double as a tanker, why not a B-2 for limited special missions?

Have fun,

CTR
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dl021
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Mon Apr 17, 2006 2:40 am

Quoting Sidishus (Reply 14):
Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
We won't be like them, because we outgun pretty much everyone and most conflicts that involve heavy fighting will be over rather quickly, it's the LIC that lasts a while, but that's fairly low tech and manpower intensive.

Kinda sounds like the attitudes both the Germans and Japanese had..in 1939

I see your point, but I believe the finer points of todays strategic situation are different.
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Stitch
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RE: Afrl Starts Work On Stealthy Tanker Design

Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:07 am

What's the point of having stealthy tankers when all the enemy has to do is deny us our airfields?

Iraq could have had stealthy tankers, bombers, and fighters in both Gulf Wars, but once we totalled their airfields in the first few days, fat lot of good it would have done them, eh?  Smile

Modern sensors are getting to the point that "stealth" as we currently know it is becomming less and less effective. If you have a pattern of aircraft flying in a circle near or inside hostile territory, that just increases the chances you will be detected.

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