|Quoting VirginFlyer (Reply 11):|
How much chance does the Lockheed box-wing aircraft stand? Could the USAF go for such a radical all new platform? Is the concept even being seriously pursued by Lockheed, or is it just there as a concept for the sake of a concept?
There actually is a tactical need for a stealth tanker, but that doesn't mean one will ever be bought.
|Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 14):|
Thats where you are wrong. A while back, in the 80s if I'm not mistaken, when they were converted to E models, all the 135s had thier hours zeroed out during the mod, due to the extensive-ness of the mod. Alot of the 135s had 45-50K hours on them before the mod. So the 32K hours you state is more like 82K...and the AF knows this..which is why they are in such a big hurry to find a replacement!
I see you are a Crew Chief on the C-5. The next time you see a KC
-135, check out the form 781 (or what ever the current form number is today, 781 goes back to my day). It will show the current hours on the airframe. Check as many 781s as you can for the type, and you will get a good feel for where the fleet is. Your C-5s have more hours on them than the KC
Boeing offered, but USAF
never accepted to "zero out the flying hours", as the number of cycles on the fuselarge would remain the same. I believe you are talking about the underwing skin replacement project completed on all -135s, in the late 1980s. It took some 12-13 years to complete all of the airframes, and that modification increased the time the airplane could fly from something around 50,000 hours to something around 80,000 hours. The reskin had to be completed before any of the -135s counld be reengined, with either engine.
You are correct, there were some -135s with 45,000-50,000 hours on them in the late '80s. But, none of them were KC
-135s. They were EC
-135Cs (Looking Glass airplanes) and RC
-135s (ELINT but not the RC
-135S Cobra Ball). The KC
-135 fleet averaged just over 15,000-18,000 hours, with a few designated "lead the fleet airplanes" (for continued testing of the airframe life) that had over 25,000 hours, then. Today they are around 32,000 hours, mostly because the KC
-135s were used to fill in for the C-141s when they had problems (a KC
-135 is not a good replacement airplane for the C-141), and they no longer stand alert, like they did in SAC
. The utilization rate today is a lot higher than when I was in.
|Quoting 747400sp (Reply 15):|
In my opinion this would be a disadvantage to a KC-135E pilot if they re-engine the E airframes with the same CFM-56 that the R model has. I would think the lack of thrust reverser, would be a pain in the neck to E pilot.
Not, really. There is difference training given to all crews who transistion from one model to another. There have been several units that have given up their KC
-135Es for KC
-135Rs, like the NHANG, TNANG, and NJANG.
|Quoting VirginFlyer (Reply 17):|
Quoting 747400sp (Reply 15):
A tanker should a large plane.
Is that really the case? KC135TopBoom said he thought a KC-737 would make a good component of a mixed-type tanker fleet in another thread.
I still think that a B-737-700ER would make a good tanker. If the USAF
would ever consider a true "tactical tanker", the KC
-737 would be a very good choice. But USAF
tankers have to be used in a stratigic role, too. The KC
-737 could not fill that role. So medimum sized airplanes, like the KC
-30, and KC
-767 are the real choices. If the USAF
could afford a true mixed tanker force of small, medimum, and large tankers (lie they do with cargo and bomber aircraft), then the KC
-737 would easily fit into that mix, as the small tanker.
The large tankers (B-777-200LRF, B-747-800F, and possibly an A-340-500) have a very good chance of entering the USAF
tanker mix, much better than a KC
-737 has. So I am being a realist here, by suggesting it will not be considered. My opinion for the medimum sized tanker, has always been the KC
-135E reengined to the KC