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RC135U
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RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:46 pm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3296568.ece

Those RAF recon types really know their stuff and the RAF and USAF have always had their unique contributions to the intelligence/COMINT/SIGINT puzzle. I know of the RB-45s with British roundels, but an RC-135? I didn't know the Nimrod fleet was in such peril after that loss a year or two ago over Afghanistan.
 
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keesje
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:04 am

I think the Nimrod upgrade story shows lack of ratio and realism. Just buying a standard aircraft & customizing it would have been so much cheaper, faster & better.

Still the RAF / Industry lobbyist managed to make a business case that made upgrading the geriatic Nimrodslook like a good idea.. They should have known better after the AWACS dramas..
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
RC135U
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:45 am



Quoting Keesje (Reply 1):
Just buying a standard aircraft & customizing it would have been so much cheaper, faster & better.

What airframe were the RAF planning to use to replace the R1 before budget woes caused then to abandon that approach? What off-the-shelf airframe would be suited for this mission? You'd need something able to lift a recon suite that is generally on the heavy side, plus the mission operators ("back enders" in the RC-135s) and their gear, then some decent range is a good idea so you don't necessarily have to depend on too many refuelings. I don't think the P8 is the answer, but for fun a 757 pops into my head, maybe because it stands tall off the ground with lots of clearance for antennae and radomes and such, and it's not short on power. Too bad 757s are in demand these days.
 
dl021
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:19 am



Quoting RC135U (Thread starter):
I didn't know the Nimrod fleet was in such peril after that loss a year or two ago over Afghanistan.

The NImrod recently had an incident where during an aerial refuelling they noticed fuel dumping into the bomb bay. They emergencied into Kandahar and then cycled home, but there's no aerial refuelling for awhile until they fix it.

They have requested more Reapers and the RCs to fill gaps on long missions. They're missing the capability offered by the PR9s right about now.

I say we give them whatever they ask for, and fill them with gas before sending them.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
GDB
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:57 pm

The Nimrod MRA.4 is a great idea, that was for years, very badly executed.
They'd be in service now had all new airframes been brought - possible since only the original fuselage pressure shell is left from MR.2 Nimrods, everything else is new, the conversions even get new serials.
But try getting that past the Treasury back in 1996, 'conversions' imply quicker and cheaper. The MoD can say 'look, we are not asking for new aircraft here'.

My own view, is that R.1 should be run on until some extra conversions after the maritime fleet are done, right now rapidly procured UAV's are doing ops in Iraq and Afghanistan to take some of the load off the Nimrods.
The Nimrod R.1's were not due to get the full MRA type conversion (hence the 2025 out of service date), I think now there is a strong case for rebuilding them too.
That's not to exclude joint ops with USAF Rivet Joints though, a good idea with it's own merits, but not a R.1 replacement solution.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:27 am

Hmmm, I wonder if this has anything to do with the USAF now wanting their B-767-400ER built?
 
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Revelation
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:58 am



Quoting GDB (Reply 4):
The Nimrod MRA.4 is a great idea, that was for years, very badly executed.
They'd be in service now had all new airframes been brought - possible since only the original fuselage pressure shell is left from MR.2 Nimrods, everything else is new, the conversions even get new serials.
But try getting that past the Treasury back in 1996, 'conversions' imply quicker and cheaper. The MoD can say 'look, we are not asking for new aircraft here'.

I guess you pick your poison. Not sure what the end result will be, but to loose a high tech capability to a bunch of relatively low tech issues is really sad.

Quoting RC135U (Reply 2):
I don't think the P8 is the answer, but for fun a 757 pops into my head, maybe because it stands tall off the ground with lots of clearance for antennae and radomes and such, and it's not short on power. Too bad 757s are in demand these days.

In 1996 the 757 line was open, and in essence, the 757 is a two-engine follow-on to the 707. It can even come with British engines... Oh well, that's water under the bridge.
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rc135x
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:30 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
Hmmm, I wonder if this has anything to do with the USAF now wanting their B-767-400ER built?

Yes. I can't imagine the USAF lending any RJs given their current tasking (not to mention training RAF crews, etc.). I realize this might open a real can of worms, but I think there is a stronger and more compelling reason to buy RC-135/E-3/E-6/E-8 replacements than additional F-22s.


 stirthepot 
KC-135A, A(RT), D, E, E(RT), Q, R, EC-135A, C, G, L, RC-135S, U, V, W, X, TC-135S, W
 
md90fan
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:20 am

Wow, RAF seems to be short on just everything,from the bewitched C-130s, to picking up Saffie Pumas and Danish EH-101s, now this?

Poor guys.
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kc135topboom
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:28 am



Quoting RC135X (Reply 7):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
Hmmm, I wonder if this has anything to do with the USAF now wanting their B-767-400ER built?


Yes. I can't imagine the USAF lending any RJs given their current tasking (not to mention training RAF crews, etc.). I realize this might open a real can of worms, but I think there is a stronger and more compelling reason to buy RC-135/E-3/E-6/E-8 replacements than additional F-22s.

 checkmark 

Quoting MD90fan (Reply 8):
Wow, RAF seems to be short on just everything,from the bewitched C-130s, to picking up Saffie Pumas and Danish EH-101s, now this?

The RN is in even worse condition.
 
Venus6971
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:42 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 9):
The RN is in even worse condition.


There are alot of low time KC-135A's in AMARC that are slotted for FMS, since the engineering has been already done to convert -135's to the RC configuration and the formerly known" E systems"(Greenville Texas) is now owned by BAE I can see the blocks fall into place . The Brits have always been trying to stuff a elint/signit/AEW suite into a Nimrod with mixed results, never been a fan of the engines in the wing root arrangment of that acft.I guess that eng arrangement has a drawback for ease of mx but also the size of generator plus KVA you can hang on the gearbox, I'm guessing they burned up plenty of low kva generators trying to power an AEW suite and could not get around it with ease. Probable squence is a selection of certain intact airframes out of the desert then flown to OC/ALC for a PDM with other customer requirements such as a removal of the boom and all the related plumbing plus upper deck tank. PDM complete sent to Boeing Wichita for conversion from A model to R then flown to Greenville Texas BAE E systems for Rivet Joint conversion. The RAF would save alot of Pounds sterling on engineering if they go this route.
I would help you but it is not in the contract
 
scouseflyer
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:11 pm



Quoting MD90fan (Reply 8):
Wow, RAF seems to be short on just everything,from the bewitched C-130s, to picking up Saffie Pumas and Danish EH-101s, now this?

Don't forget the comical Chinook HC3 programme........ ( have a look at the HC3 section http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Chinook)
 
GDB
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:21 pm

Yep the RAF are strained, no doubt.
Maybe some of our European NATO allies do not have these strains, since they are not operating at the same tempo-or sending troops/assetts to fight in Southern Afghanistan.
 
RC135U
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:17 am



Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 10):
The Brits have always been trying to stuff a elint/signit/AEW suite into a Nimrod with mixed results,

I guess it's hard to cram all these different intel targets into one platform - that's the reason for the Rivet Joint, Combat Sent, and Cobra Ball projects. The RJ mission is more COMINT focused, while the Combat Sent is SIGINT. It's been a while since I flew on them, but I always found the Combat Sent ops more interesting and the recon suite had some absolutely amazing equipment. Maybe the RAF would really like an RC-135U Combat Sent platform, and I'm intrigued by the suggestion of going to AMARC for a 135 frame or two. Too bad there's no Rolls counterpart to the CFM56.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:31 am



Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 10):
There are alot of low time KC-135A's in AMARC that are slotted for FMS, since the engineering has been already done to convert -135's to the RC configuration and the formerly known" E systems"(Greenville Texas) is now owned by BAE I can see the blocks fall into place .

I'm not convinced the RAF can afford that option, but it is a great suggestion. For years, it has been rumored the different RC-135 configuerations were the world's most expensive airplanes.

Quoting RC135U (Reply 13):
Maybe the RAF would really like an RC-135U Combat Sent platform, and I'm intrigued by the suggestion of going to AMARC for a 135 frame or two. Too bad there's no Rolls counterpart to the CFM56.

The Brits don't need an RR equivelent to the CFM-56, since half of it is built in France. Also, the RAF already flys the CFM-56 in their inventory, aboard their E-3K AWACS

Quoting GDB (Reply 12):
Yep the RAF are strained, no doubt.
Maybe some of our European NATO allies do not have these strains, since they are not operating at the same tempo-or sending troops/assetts to fight in Southern Afghanistan.

You are not going to be popular with some German and French people, even though you are correct.
 
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Spacepope
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:08 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
The Brits don't need an RR equivelent to the CFM-56, since half of it is built in France. Also, the RAF already flys the CFM-56 in their inventory, aboard their E-3K AWACS

E3-D. The -K is the Saudi version, with boom.
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kc135topboom
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:39 am



Quoting Spacepope (Reply 15):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
The Brits don't need an RR equivelent to the CFM-56, since half of it is built in France. Also, the RAF already flys the CFM-56 in their inventory, aboard their E-3K AWACS

E3-D. The -K is the Saudi version, with boom.

Opps, me bad.  ashamed 

But, the CFM-56 is still half bult in France for the RAF's birds, just like the RN's CVE.
 
rc135x
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:08 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
For years, it has been rumored the different RC-135 configuerations were the world's most expensive airplanes.

When finally delivered in 1989, the RC-135X was supposedly the single most expensive aircraft in the world at $1.4 billion. Naturally this included all the development costs rolled up into one airframe, but we were told tongue-in-cheek that if we screwed up and buried the airplane it would be best if we went with it.....

The RC-135S and RC-135U are also very expensive given their sensor suite and the small number of airframes.

Based on open sources, I have a hard time believing that the MR1 is that much more capable than the current Bloc of the RIVET JOINT in terms of ELINT collection. The AEELS is the "industry standard" and has been for years, serving as the basis for the Israeli and South African suites, as well as some alleged installations on other airframes for other nations. The RIVET JOINT Raven crews were well qualified to deal with radar and ELINT.
KC-135A, A(RT), D, E, E(RT), Q, R, EC-135A, C, G, L, RC-135S, U, V, W, X, TC-135S, W
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:29 am



Quoting RC135X (Reply 17):
RC-135X was supposedly the single most expensive aircraft in the world at $1.4 billion

Considering the original price of the C/KC-135 airframe was about $2.5M-$4M, depending on which year and original configueration it was built in, that is a big mark up.
 
columba
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:55 am



Quoting RC135U (Reply 2):
What airframe were the RAF planning to use to replace the R1 before budget woes caused then to abandon that approach? What off-the-shelf airframe would be suited for this mission? You'd need something able to lift a recon suite that is generally on the heavy side, plus the mission operators ("back enders" in the RC-135s) and their gear, then some decent range is a good idea so you don't necessarily have to depend on too many refuelings. I don't think the P8 is the answer, but for fun a 757 pops into my head, maybe because it stands tall off the ground with lots of clearance for antennae and radomes and such, and it's not short on power. Too bad 757s are in demand these days.

Well Nato will get Ground Surveillance aircraft based on the A321 maybe the RAF could buy some for their own:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/a321-ags.htm
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RC135U
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:56 pm



Quoting RC135X (Reply 17):
Based on open sources, I have a hard time believing that the MR1 is that much more capable than the current Bloc of the RIVET JOINT in terms of ELINT collection. The AEELS is the "industry standard" and has been for years, serving as the basis for the Israeli and South African suites, as well as some alleged installations on other airframes for other nations. The RIVET JOINT Raven crews were well qualified to deal with radar and ELINT.

I had a similar reaction to hearing the supposed reluctance of RAF crew to go along with using RC-135V/W aircraft for their mission. The article gives the impression that the RAF types look upon the USAF recon collection ops with a certain disdain. I personally know how capable the Ravens and enlisted "back enders" on the RCs are, and I have high regard for the RAF as well. I would hope someone "in the know" from the UK can enlighten me.
 
bennett123
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:47 pm

RC135X

Do you mean MR1 or R1.

The former is the initial standard of what is now MR2 and will soon be MR4.

The R1 is the ELINT bird.
 
rc135x
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:55 am



Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 21):
Do you mean MR1 or R1.

The former is the initial standard of what is now MR2 and will soon be MR4.

The R1 is the ELINT bird.

I was thinking about the R1 GIFT HORSE ELINT bird. We had a great comraderie with them.
KC-135A, A(RT), D, E, E(RT), Q, R, EC-135A, C, G, L, RC-135S, U, V, W, X, TC-135S, W
 
Jackonicko
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:14 pm

Gift Horse? Never heard that one, please explain.
 
GDB
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:36 pm

For the ground surveillance role, the RAF are getting (delayed), a bunch of Global Express biz jets suitably outfitted for that role.
But a NATO force, like the AWACS arrangement, as proposed for ground surveillance, on A321 or any suitable airframe, would be a very useful asset for European AF's.
 
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Devilfish
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:24 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
But a NATO force, like the AWACS arrangement, as proposed for ground surveillance, on A321 or any suitable airframe, would be a very useful asset for European AF's.

It seems a decision was made in favor of a UAV-only solution due to budget constraints as the reduced A321-based system came in at 3.3B Euros as of last estimate.....

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/AIR_NATO_AGS_lg.jpg
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/AIR_NATO_AGS_lg.jpg

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...-battlefield-eye-in-the-sky-02727/

Quote:
"In November 2007, Europe's declining defense budgets resulted in a program change. NATO chose to move forward with a UAV-only solution based on an off the shelf RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk. In early 2008, Alliance member nations are expected to agree to a Program Memorandum of Understanding governing the program, and an RFP is expected to be issued soon thereafter."

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/AIR_UAV_RQ-4_Global_Hawk_Runway_Tow_lg.jpg
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...RQ-4_Global_Hawk_Runway_Tow_lg.jpg

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/PUB_AGS_Poster_lg.jpg
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/PUB_AGS_Poster_lg.jpg
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
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Devilfish
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:43 am

"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:44 am



Quoting Columba (Reply 19):
Well Nato will get Ground Surveillance aircraft based on the A321 maybe the RAF could buy some for their own:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...s.htm

I doubt it, since the A-321AGS does a totally different job from the RC-RJ. The A-321AGS was planned to be the NATO equivelent to the USAF E-8C, J-STARS.

The only programs I know of to replace any RC-135 model, is the E-10A (possibly) or the USN EP-X program.
 
Venus6971
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RE: RAF Considers Borrowing RC-135 Rivetjoints

Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:08 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 27):
The only programs I know of to replace any RC-135 model, is the E-10A (possibly) or the USN EP-X program.

With all the money spent on constant updates and re-engining the RC-135 I think will around longer than the last KC-135R. That was the arguement of reengining the E-3, not cost effective for the expected life span of the acft.
I would help you but it is not in the contract

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