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2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:23 pm
by chuchoteur
http://www.fagers.fr/rafale-en-action-avec-le-2erpima/

2x Rafale from 01.091 Gascoigne squadron and a C135 FR have deployed to La Reunion island in the southern Indian Ocean. The mission maintains the operational projection capabilities of the French Air Force, the non-stop flight lasting over 10h with 5 in-flight refuelling operations.

The fighter aircraft have also conducted Forward Air Controller training with the local parachute regiment (2e RPIMA), as well as practice "show of force" passes. They will return to their airbase non-stop, departing friday.

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:24 pm
by bthebest
Impressive staminar from the Rafale pilots. Whats the advice regarding DVT etc for pilots in this situation?

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:55 am
by Pyrex
Quoting chuchoteur (Thread starter):
the non-stop flight lasting over 10h with 5 in-flight refuelling operations.

Wow, that is not a lot of flight autonomy. I would have imagined a modern fighter jet, particularly in ferry configuration, would have a longer autonomy than roughly 2 hours, I guess not.

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:11 am
by bthebest
Quoting Bthebest (Reply 1):
Wow, that is not a lot of flight autonomy. I would have imagined a modern fighter jet, particularly in ferry configuration, would have a longer autonomy than roughly 2 hours, I guess not.

It's actually less than that. 5 refuelling ops gives six sectors across 10h of about 1h40m each.

You're right though that the numbers don't appear to add up.

Reunion is roughly 9370km from Paris. 10h gives an average speed of 937 km/h.

Range is listed at 3700km+ on Wikipedia. That gives nearly 4h endurance. 937km/h probably isn't best cruise speed so extra fuel consumption could bring it down to 3h endurance.

However, there may be rules for diversion fuel, in case the refuelling can't be done. Another possibility is they load them light with fuel to reduce weight, and therefore improve fuel burn, topping them up frequently instead.

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:14 am
by seahawk
You must always be able to reach the next suitable diversion airfield with your current fuel state. It is not the best idea to ditch a Rafale (or any other expensive fighter) because you could not take fuel from the tanker.

[Edited 2014-04-24 04:15:38]

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:27 am
by kc135topboom
Quoting Bthebest (Reply 1):
Impressive staminar from the Rafale pilots.

USAF fighter pilots have been doing 10-12 hour deployments for decades.

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 2):
Wow, that is not a lot of flight autonomy. I would have imagined a modern fighter jet, particularly in ferry configuration, would have a longer autonomy than roughly 2 hours, I guess not.
Quoting Bthebest (Reply 3):
It's actually less than that. 5 refuelling ops gives six sectors across 10h of about 1h40m each.

You're right though that the numbers don't appear to add up.

Reunion is roughly 9370km from Paris. 10h gives an average speed of 937 km/h.

Range is listed at 3700km+ on Wikipedia. That gives nearly 4h endurance. 937km/h probably isn't best cruise speed so extra fuel consumption could bring it down to 3h endurance.

However, there may be rules for diversion fuel, in case the refuelling can't be done. Another possibility is they load them light with fuel to reduce weight, and therefore improve fuel burn, topping them up frequently instead.
Quoting seahawk (Reply 4):
You must always be able to reach the next suitable diversion airfield with your current fuel state. It is not the best idea to ditch a Rafale (or any other expensive fighter) because you could not take fuel from the tanker.

Correct. The tanker keeps the chicks fueled to above their divert fuel requirements, which will be different for each sector of the mission. The tanker begins refueling the chicks when they hit their divert fuel and fills them back to full tanks. Sometimes this is as little as 500 lbs. of fuel.

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:24 pm
by Pyrex
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
Correct. The tanker keeps the chicks fueled to above their divert fuel requirements, which will be different for each sector of the mission. The tanker begins refueling the chicks when they hit their divert fuel and fills them back to full tanks. Sometimes this is as little as 500 lbs. of fuel.

That makes perfect sense, thanks. That's the great thing about A.Net, you learn something new every day!

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
USAF fighter pilots have been doing 10-12 hour deployments for decades.

A bit off-topic, but do they specifically pick for these missions the pilots with the... hmmm... largest bladders? I for one would not be able to sit down in a cramped environment for 10-12 hours, probably hydrating to replenish the fluids you lost through sweating and not have to go to the bath-room. Or do they just dry-clean the flight suits afterwards? 

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:50 pm
by chuchoteur
Quoting Pyrex (Reply 6):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
USAF fighter pilots have been doing 10-12 hour deployments for decades.

A bit off-topic, but do they specifically pick for these missions the pilots with the... hmmm... largest bladders? I for one would not be able to sit down in a cramped environment for 10-12 hours, probably hydrating to replenish the fluids you lost through sweating and not have to go to the bath-room. Or do they just dry-clean the flight suits afterwards?

...back in the old days, you took some pills to cater for number two cases, and for number one you either went with a nappy (as routinely used by NASA astronauts, btw) or a soft bladder... the second option involving some fairly complex manoeuvering in a tight space... *kind of takes the shine out of the whole fighter pilot thing lol!

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:39 am
by Pyrex
Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 7):
...back in the old days, you took some pills to cater for number two cases

Wow... didn't even know those things existed. Did the pilots need to take some TurboLax immediately upon landing to prevent some concrete build-up on their digestive tract? 
Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 7):
for number one you either went with a nappy (as routinely used by NASA astronauts, btw) or a soft bladder... the second option involving some fairly complex manoeuvering in a tight space... *kind of takes the shine out of the whole fighter pilot thing lol!

Wow, I guess it isn't as glamorous as I thought.

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:34 pm
by GDB
By any standards, that was a feat of planning, logistics, airmanship.
The Rafale is not in the same size or fuel capacity as say, a F-15E with the Fastpacs and other external fuel stores, let alone the internal fuel, so for an aircraft in the Rafale's class, a challenging deployment.

Somewhat related, here is a doc about last year's intervention in Mali, not brilliant quality but with English subtitles, it contains much previously unseen footage.
Not a wholly aviation related film, however there is much footage of French Amy chopper operations, including in combat, as well as fast air and transports, the latter featuring some pretty hairy assault landings;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAFnuVGYNcY

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:49 pm
by kc135topboom
Quoting GDB (Reply 9):
The Rafale is not in the same size or fuel capacity as say, a F-15E with the Fastpacs and other external fuel stores, let alone the internal fuel, so for an aircraft in the Rafale's class, a challenging deployment.

Fastpacs, etc. make like a little easier. But the Rafale should have no problem deploying anywhere, with tankers. Back in the early and mid 1960s the F-100, F-101, F-102 and F-105 all deployed to Vietnam from the 'States using KC-135s. None of those century series were designed for comfort, yet had sector legs as long as 10 hours.

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:57 am
by knoxibus
Just as an info, one of the bird happened to go tech on Friday morning when both were supposed to fly back. The other did fly back on Saturday with the KC-135.

The one tech is still there and is waiting for another KC-135 to arrive with some replacement parts so that it can be fixed and fly back. I guess the pilots are enjoying some nice beach time forced vacations.

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:34 am
by Cross757
Quoting Pyrex (Reply 2):
Wow, that is not a lot of flight autonomy. I would have imagined a modern fighter jet, particularly in ferry configuration, would have a longer autonomy than roughly 2 hours, I guess not.

Frequent inflight refueling by fighters when crossing the ocean are not usually because the plane lacks range, but to keep the tanks topped off such that if there were a problem with the tanker or the aircrafts' own in-flight refueling system (or an emergency), the aircraft has enough fuel onboard to make it to a divert base. With full internal and external tanks, I'm sure the Rafale is capable of more than 2 hours, but topping off the tanks frequently is just a precaution.

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 6):
A bit off-topic, but do they specifically pick for these missions the pilots with the... hmmm... largest bladders?

The pilots carry "piddle packs". They are essentially a heavy-duty plastic "bag" that nowadays contains a powder that when it comes into contact with liquid, it turns to a gel to prevent spills. They have a twist-tie type top that seals them after use. I carried about 4-5 of them in my G-suit pockets when crossing the ocean. Pity the guy who forgot to pack them, as could happen when wearing the "poopy-suit" anti-exposure suit when flying over cold water. Most pilots didn't wear the G-suit over top of it (it wasn't needed anyway), and stuffed their G-suit in the travel pod. Only after takeoff would they realize their mistake...oops! That was rare though. For the "other" (i.e. #2), most would either be very careful about what they ate before the flight and/or would take a few Imodium AD caplets...they do the trick nicely.

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 11:18 pm
by kc135topboom
Quoting Cross757 (Reply 12):
The pilots carry "piddle packs". They are essentially a heavy-duty plastic "bag" that nowadays contains a powder that when it comes into contact with liquid, it turns to a gel to prevent spills. They have a twist-tie type top that seals them after use. I carried about 4-5 of them in my G-suit pockets when crossing the ocean. Pity the guy who forgot to pack them, as could happen when wearing the "poopy-suit" anti-exposure suit when flying over cold water. Most pilots didn't wear the G-suit over top of it (it wasn't needed anyway), and stuffed their G-suit in the travel pod. Only after takeoff would they realize their mistake...oops! That was rare though. For the "other" (i.e. #2), most would either be very careful about what they ate before the flight and/or would take a few Imodium AD caplets...they do the trick nicely.

I never had that problem during long fighter deployments. I'd just get up and walk to the latrine, then wash my hands, go to the galley and grab a cup of coffee, and maybe heat up a meal for myself.               

RE: 2x Rafale And C135FR Deploy To Indian Ocean

Posted: Fri May 02, 2014 12:08 am
by Cross757
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
I never had that problem during long fighter deployments. I'd just get up and walk to the latrine, then wash my hands, go to the galley and grab a cup of coffee, and maybe heat up a meal for myself.

  
Yep, certainly a lot more comfortable!

The boomer on one of our crossings had a stack of trivial pursuit cards and the board...played on VHF