Slcpilot
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E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:28 pm

I always read Wikipedia with one eyebrow raised, but other sources seem to back up the suggestion all four E-4B aircraft will be retired at one per year from 2009-2012. This raises some interesting questions....

What will happen to the airframes?

Are they "high time"?

Could they serve any other purpose after being stripped out?

Thanks in advance,

SLCPilot
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BladeLWS
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Sun Sep 17, 2006 1:03 pm

My guess is that they'll be used as parts for the two VC-25's of the presidential airlift wing, either that or scapped. Pretty sure they don't have much time on them, probably comparable to the VC-25's. Maybe they could also take two of them, strip them down, and redesign the interior into a whole new Air Force 1, called the VC-25B, its a possibility.

Either that or they could possibly be converted into ABL's?

But when it comes down to the nitty gritty I'm pretty sure they'll keep 1 or 2 of them in flyable storage just incase something happens where we'll need them again.

[Edited 2006-09-17 06:07:12]
 
Devilfish
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Sun Sep 17, 2006 3:48 pm

Quoting BladeLWS (Reply 1):
they'll keep 1 or 2 of them in flyable storage just incase something happens where we'll need them again.

Even with the end of the Cold War, not all countries have given up their nuclear programs. The E-4Bs with their nuclear shielding and 72 hour endurance, could have future uses as control and communications stations in other future external conflicts and natural calamities - although they might prove too big and too expensive for such a purpose. The E-10 project doesn't seem too definite yet.
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GDB
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Sun Sep 17, 2006 7:18 pm

I thought that post Cold War, much of their task had been assumed by AF1?
Also, the E-6A fleet perhaps?
Constant nuclear alerts are not a feature of life now after all.
 
ebj1248650
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:04 pm

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 2):
The E-10 project doesn't seem too definite yet.

Hadn't heard about this one. Do you have some details, please?
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Spacepope
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:51 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 3):
I thought that post Cold War, much of their task had been assumed by AF1?
Also, the E-6A fleet perhaps?
Constant nuclear alerts are not a feature of life now after all.

What roles of the E-4 are taken up by the VC-25s?

E-4s are used extensively as mobile command posts during conflict. They saw much use during the first gulf war, and during the crisis about 5 years ago.

Wikipedia tends to be a fairly unreliable source, as it can be edited by anyone. Garbage in, garbage out... I'd like to see independent confirmation of this retirement date...
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Slcpilot
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:09 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 5):
Wikipedia tends to be a fairly unreliable source, as it can be edited by anyone. Garbage in, garbage out... I'd like to see independent confirmation of this retirement date...

In my original post I expressed the SAME skepticism, but here's another source just for you!

From a DOD Source

and an excerpt from the link...

U) Significant Program Changes:DoD decided to retire the E-4B fleet at the rate of one per year beginning during FY09 and completing during FY12. Additionally, the last two (2 of 4) Mod Blk 1 installations will be terminated as well as future programmed but non-essential modifications, such as C3 UHF Digitization and CNS/ATM I (fka GATM Phase III). The DoD is committed to keeping the E-4B fleet mission capable until it is removed from service.

Any other ideas on what might become of the planes? They would make quite an exibit in Dayton, will one fit in the museum?

SLCPilot
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Spacepope
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Mon Sep 18, 2006 4:11 am

You could put it on a pedestal at Offutt.. Tuck that F-105 under the wing to get it out of the weather.
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Lt-AWACS
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:01 am

Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 4):
Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 2):
The E-10 project doesn't seem too definite yet.

Hadn't heard about this one. Do you have some details, please?

The designator for the spiral production forthe Rivet Joint, AWACS and J-STARS replacement. Funding cut much and on hold at the moment.

The 707 "Paul Revere" was also used in testing for the 767 aimed project.

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GDB
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:24 am

I meant that while AF1 is not of course, a dedicated airborne command post, have upgrades in the comms/C3 fit moved it closer to the E-4 role?
Accepting that US strategic forces are not on anything like the alert status as during the Cold War.

However, while of course AF1 was vital on Sept 11th 2001, I've seen footage taken that day of an E-4B getting airborne.
 
dw747400
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:44 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 9):
I meant that while AF1 is not of course, a dedicated airborne command post, have upgrades in the comms/C3 fit moved it closer to the E-4 role?

The VC-25A is now as capable or more capable than the E-4B in most aspects of the C3 mission. I imagine the E-4B is still a useful platform for coordinating operations, but were a crisis to occur today chances are POTUS will use the VC-25A.
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Jaxs170
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:24 pm

The E-6 is slated to begin taking over the NAOC (national airborne operations center) role that the E-4 is currently doing. A couple E-6s will get a prototype retrofit adding significant communications equipment and capabilities in the coming months. This will act a demo for fully taking over the mission starting in about 3 years time. At some point they will begin to pull planes into another mod (where the planes will be out of service for several months) which will hardwire all these new capabilities. The stated end goal is full operational command and control, as well as Presidential and SECDEF/JCS support capability.

This all came about as the E-4 was being moded to give them extended life. Apparently the first plane was way way over budget and took twice as long to get it out of mod as expected. Then, apparently, they discovered this mod wasn't working as advertised, with some people calling it an abysmal failure. This failure/budget disaster coupled with the age of the airframe caused STRATCOM to cancel their mod and led to the E-6 getting tapped to take over. There was even the possibility that had the E-4 not had these problems that the E-6 might have been done away with (supposedly the decision to do away with the E-6 Looking Glass mission had already been signed off just before the E-4 news broke, but this was never confirmed).
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kc135topboom
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Sun Oct 01, 2006 4:35 pm

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 2):
The E-10 project doesn't seem too definite yet.

The E-10 project is a B-767-400, it is on indefinet hold, and will probibly be canceled next year.

Quoting BladeLWS (Reply 1):
My guess is that they'll be used as parts for the two VC-25's of the presidential airlift wing, either that or scapped. Pretty sure they don't have much time on them, probably comparable to the VC-25's. Maybe they could also take two of them, strip them down, and redesign the interior into a whole new Air Force 1, called the VC-25B, its a possibility.

Most airframe parts for the E-4B will not work on the VC-25A. My guess is, since there are only 4 E-4Bs, all will become static displays, including one to the USAF Muesum at Wright Pat.

Quoting GDB (Reply 3):
Also, the E-6A fleet perhaps?

The E-4Bs, E-6Bs (all have been converted from the E-6A to pick up the EC-135C Looking Glass missions), and EC-135C/G/L were the only airplanes that can remotely launch the US ICBM Force, the VC-25A never had that capability, and apparently cannot get it due to space required by the launch crews and the equipment.

Quoting Lt-AWACS (Reply 8):
The designator for the spiral production forthe Rivet Joint, AWACS and J-STARS replacement. Funding cut much and on hold at the moment.

The 707 "Paul Revere" was also used in testing for the 767 aimed project.

That is true, but if the USAF does not buy the KC-767A, then we will never see any other version of the B-767 in USAF service.

Quoting GDB (Reply 9):
However, while of course AF1 was vital on Sept 11th 2001, I've seen footage taken that day of an E-4B getting airborne.

Actually all 3 available E-4Bs were launched, one airplane was being modified at the time and not available to fly.

Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 10):
The VC-25A is now as capable or more capable than the E-4B in most aspects of the C3 mission. I imagine the E-4B is still a useful platform for coordinating operations, but were a crisis to occur today chances are POTUS will use the VC-25A.

The VC-25A and E-4B have different capabilities, one cannot currently replace the other.
 
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:29 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12):
The VC-25A and E-4B have different capabilities, one cannot currently replace the other.

That was correct a few years ago. This is no longer the case. I have that from two seperate, well-placed sources. I'd offer more insight, but I always worry about OPSEC.
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Venus6971
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Mon Oct 02, 2006 12:16 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12):
Most airframe parts for the E-4B will not work on the VC-25A. My guess is, since there are only 4 E-4Bs, all will become static displays, including one to the USAF Muesum at Wright Pat.

That is actually wrong, they are both 747-200's, both have air refueling capability, 89th pilots log time on E-4's to keep AR qualified. The only differance airframe wise is one has a better paint job.
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bhill
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:25 am

Hmmm...why manned aircraft at all. With all the smarts (lethal even); why not UCAVS? They can loiter ALOT longer...Currently, once a target is aquired, time is spent getting something tasked to the target. Why not just have both aquisition, threat or otherwise, identified, and prosecuted in one handy package..and if it can refuel from one of our spiffy Boeing products  Wink who knows...

Cheers
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prebennorholm
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:43 am

Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 14):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12):
Most airframe parts for the E-4B will not work on the VC-25A. My guess is, since there are only 4 E-4Bs, all will become static displays, including one to the USAF Muesum at Wright Pat.

That is actually wrong, they are both 747-200's

I have seen quoted that the VC-25A is mostly a 747-300, only with the short fuselage hump inherited from the 747-200.

Wing structure, landing gear, engines etc. are mostly off the shelf 743 hardware, while the E-4 is based on the 742.

KC135TopBoom, can you confirm that?
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kc135topboom
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:03 am

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 16):
Wing structure, landing gear, engines etc. are mostly off the shelf 743 hardware, while the E-4 is based on the 742.

KC135TopBoom, can you confirm that?

That is true, and the VC-25As have a higher max gross weight than the E-4Bs do.

Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 13):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12):
The VC-25A and E-4B have different capabilities, one cannot currently replace the other.

That was correct a few years ago. This is no longer the case. I have that from two seperate, well-placed sources. I'd offer more insight, but I always worry about OPSEC.

Except the VC-25 still cannot remotely launch the ICBM Force. The President (aboard the VC-25) will give the order, but will never become an actual war fighter, or combatent. He/She is still a cilivan, and not in the military. Only the EC-135C/G/Ls (now all in the bone yard), E-4A/Bs, and the USN E-6B can do that (when in the E-6A TACAMO configuration, they could not launch the ICBMs).
 
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:00 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12):
My guess is, since there are only 4 E-4Bs

- Were there only four built initially?


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- What is the dome for on top of the airframe aft of the hump?

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BladeLWS
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:46 am

The dome is used for satellite communications.
 
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:48 am

Sorry if this question sounds like I just fell off the turnip truck, but would installing winglets on the VC-25's and E-4B's have an advantage at all? It could increase their sortie time and/or save fuel.
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kc135topboom
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Nov 21, 2006 4:53 pm

Quoting Tiger119 (Reply 18):
- Were there only four built initially?

Yes, there were only 4 ordered. The first 3 were ordered as the E-4A, the last ordered as the E-4B, then the first 3 "A"s were modified to the "B" configueration.

Quoting Boeing nut (Reply 20):
Sorry if this question sounds like I just fell off the turnip truck, but would installing winglets on the VC-25's and E-4B's have an advantage at all? It could increase their sortie time and/or save fuel.

Not really, since all 6 of the USAF B-747s are air refuelable, and winglets have some effect on some communications systems and sensors (that is why the Wedgetail doesn't have them and the P-8A deleted them).
 
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:30 am

Quoting Boeing nut (Reply 20):
Not really, since all 6 of the USAF B-747s are air refuelable, and winglets have some effect on some communications systems and sensors (that is why the Wedgetail doesn't have them and the P-8A deleted them).

Ah, OK. Interesting, thats an angle I never thought of.
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N1641
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:38 am

I couldnt imagine a VC-25 doing any of the E4's job, for startes the pres has his own business to take care of secondly have you ever seen how many people get out of a E4 when it lands? I dont think they want to remodel AF1 to fit all those extra people and equipment, dumb idea.
 
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:40 am

Quoting N1641 (Reply 23):
I dont think they want to remodel AF1 to fit all those extra people and equipment, dumb idea.

Keep in mind though that the equipment is now smaller and less people are needed. That's why I think that if the 748i platform is used for the next "AF1" you will see the attic crown space used along with the upper deck to hold the people and equipment that is used on the E4-B's. Pure speculation on my part but it kinda makes sense to me.

Regards.
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N1641
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:05 pm

I suppose there is a good chance that all the crap packed onto a E4 could now fit onto a couple laptops
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:44 am

Quoting Boeing Nut (Reply 24):
That's why I think that if the 748i platform is used for the next "AF1"

Unless there is another reason, I doubt the current VC-25s will be replaced anytime soon, by the B-747-800I, or anything else. The VC-25As are only about 16 years old, and don't have anywhere near the flying time, or cycles of other 16 year old airplanes.
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:32 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 26):
Quoting Boeing Nut (Reply 24):
That's why I think that if the 748i platform is used for the next "AF1"

Unless there is another reason, I doubt the current VC-25s will be replaced anytime soon, by the B-747-800I, or anything else. The VC-25As are only about 16 years old, and don't have anywhere near the flying time, or cycles of other 16 year old airplanes.

Please note sir, I did say if. In all probability, the 748 will still be in production a decade from now. By then, a replacement will probably be "considered".

Regards
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bingo
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:42 am

Maybe the frames will go to the ABL Program's Project Office...God knows they could use the extra frames....
http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/program/abl.htm
I doubt they will be recycled into VC-25 fleet. As Borat would say, "In America, President dont recycle craft for make benefit of all glorious tax payers...."
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:02 am

Quoting Bingo (Reply 28):
Maybe the frames will go to the ABL Program's Project Office

Not according to this thread.

http://www1.airliners.net/discussion.../?searchid=55958&s=748+ABL#ID55958
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bingo
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:23 am

So long as Boeing doesnt follow the tanker business model on this project...hopefully the ABLs will see the 748 as their frame of choice. Hopefully the E-4s will find some after life that doesnt include a DRMO scrap auction :-/ Im still pretty confident that they wont ever see the hangars of VC-25 unless its in parts.
 
Devilfish
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:44 am

Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 4):
Do you have some details, please?

Came across this Overview on Boeing's site, for the moribund project.....

http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/ic/e-10a/index.html
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bingo
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:36 pm

I think Boeing could make a better case if would push a T7F frame for the E-10 and the tanker instead of the 767. It could kill the need for all these other legacy SIGINT/C4ISR type birds and put it all into one neat new package. That way we dont have another case of the "JSTARS".... Big grin


(If they wanted to take it one step further and throw in the ABL and upgrade it to a 748, I would harvest all the ore possible to buy a few of those in Command and Conquer)  crossfingers 
 
cancidas
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:36 pm

if wingelets are out of the question, how cool would it be to install the raked wingtips on the the E-4s and VC-25s...  Smile back to reality. i could see two of the airplanes being parked for spares while the other 2 remain operations for crew training, especially since it's the same type as the VC-25.
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Venus6971
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Thu Dec 28, 2006 4:14 pm

Quoting Cancidas (Reply 33):
if wingelets are out of the question, how cool would it be to install the raked wingtips on the the E-4s and VC-25s... back to reality. i could see two of the airplanes being parked for spares while the other 2 remain operations for crew training, especially since it's the same type as the VC-25.


It would have been nice to have a old beater 707 when I was with the 89th so the pilots could have done there transition training, 58-6970 had more cycles than flt hours but they insisted on their flight training even right before a DV trip when the jet had to be immaculate.
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bingo
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:53 am

Quote:
how cool would it be to install the raked wingtips on the the E-4s and VC-25s...

That would be awesome...I'd love to see that or even an E-3 with tips or rakes...I wonder if it would interfere with the signal on the E-3...
 
Devilfish
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:17 pm

A minor glimmer of hope came the E-10A's way when funding was received by Northrop Grumman for design and analysis of the E-10A Technology Development Program.....

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...256m-to-ng-for-e10a/index.php#more

Quote:
"Northrop Grumman Corporation recently received a $256 million contract for the E-10A Multi-Sensor Command and Control aircraft (MC2) from USAir Force Material Command's Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA. The contract covers design and analysis of the E-10A Technology Development Program (TDP) through Initial Design Review, which is scheduled for May 2007. See Northrop Grumman release."


http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...mages/AIR_E-10_MC2A_Concept_lg.jpg
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N328KF
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:46 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 5):
Wikipedia tends to be a fairly unreliable source, as it can be edited by anyone. Garbage in, garbage out... I'd like to see independent confirmation of this retirement date...

I take exception to your statement. Many Wikipedia articles (especially the aviation-related ones) have sources, or at least try to have as much in the way of them as possible. A blanket statement such as yours simply illustrates that you do not understand the current state of the project.
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Devilfish
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RE: E-4B Retirement..what Will Happen To Them?

Fri Jan 19, 2007 2:00 pm

Update:

The glimmer of hope just vanished - apparently, the latest contract award was merely to wrap up the E-10A project and zero out the funding.....

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...throp-to-end-e-10-development.html

Quote:
"Northrop Grumman has been funded to take the E-10A Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft (MC2A) through to initial design review in May, but work is expected to end soon after as the surveillance and battle management platform has been cut from the US Air Force's budget.

Awarded to Northrop in its role as E-10A weapon system integrator, the latest $256 million contract covers design and analysis work under a scaled-back technology demonstration programme. But zeroing of the budget for 2008 means work on a new platform - previously expected to use the Boeing 767 - is unlikely to continue beyond the initial design review."
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