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boacvc10
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Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:16 pm

I had an opportunity last year to step into the yawning cavern of a C-17 at an airshow, paid attention to the massive mechanical structures. Has a off-loadable fuel tanker role been considered for this aircraft platform, or are the wing structures not suited for that ? Well, if not the Wings, the tail door could house a boom structure?

Why? Well, perhaps to keep the C-17 production line open, while retiring the KC-10 etc. Or are the two airframe capacities widely different?

Frankly, a portable, self-moving fuel tanker container should not be that difficult to whip up by any aerospace company...
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Stitch
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:18 pm

I think at best you might be able to do a drogue-and-chute system out the back drawing from internal fuel bladders loaded in the cargo bay.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:10 pm

Quoting boacvc10 (Thread starter):
Why? Well, perhaps to keep the C-17 production line open, while retiring the KC-10 etc.

Nice try, but the last C-17 is in production now and there's no way a tanker program could be spun up in time to avoid closure. Besides Boeing presumably would prefer more 767 tanker orders instead of having to develop a C-17 tanker and keeping the costly C-17 factory up and running in order to do so.

Let's hope USAF stops dreaming of retiring the KC-10s. They are already paid for and do their job quite well.
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INFINITI329
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:36 pm

The USAF has tankers upon tankers upon tankers. Roughly 450+ in the inventory, with another 179 on order. A tankerized C-17 is not needed.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:57 pm

It might be possible, as Stitch suggested. It would by like the KC/HC-130 tankers, with WARPs mounted on the wings. But I don't know if the wings are strong enough to add more weight near the wing tips. The wings already carry four heavy engines, and winglets, plus most of the fuel is stored in the wings.
 
bunumuring
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:38 pm

A KC-17 may be useful to some of the air forces that operate it, as a retrofit 'buddy tanker' but I agree with the other posters above that it is highly unlikely. Australia, for example, can use the more efficient KC-30s, whereas Kuwait and Qatar could possibly use refueling as a secondary C-17 role in light of their lack of tankers (though the latter, I believe, is close to ordering A-330s for this role).
On a tangent... Perhaps in the decades to come water bombing C-17s may be developed, for their possible post-military life, especially if any are declared surplus to USAF requirements?
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ThePointblank
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:14 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):
It might be possible, as Stitch suggested. It would by like the KC/HC-130 tankers, with WARPs mounted on the wings. But I don't know if the wings are strong enough to add more weight near the wing tips. The wings already carry four heavy engines, and winglets, plus most of the fuel is stored in the wings.

The issue is that with the KC/HC-130 tankers, the location of the WARPs is in the exact same location the external wing mounted fuel tank is present. The wing was modified and strengthened as a result of the installation of the external fuel tanks and adjustments were made to the controls as well.
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:25 pm

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 5):
Perhaps in the decades to come water bombing C-17s may be developed, for their possible post-military life, especially if any are declared surplus to USAF requirements?

You'll more likely see more P-3 converted as those frame are beginning to come off line as the P-8 replace them.

The P-3 would probably be a better fire fighter plane and the conversion design is already done.

bt
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studedave
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:49 pm

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 7):
The P-3 would probably be a better fire fighter plane and the conversion design is already done.

It is.
Or rather it was.
Then Aero Union had a management change.
And then they closed their doors.
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DeltaMD90
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:49 am

As others have said, I don't see a KC-17 because of the 767 replacement. I don't think there is a need for one

The economics might be bad as well... being good at the crazy things the C-17 is good at might not translate into a good tanker
 
hercppmx
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:43 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 6):
The issue is that with the KC/HC-130 tankers, the location of the WARPs is in the exact same location the external wing mounted fuel tank is present. The wing was modified and strengthened as a result of the installation of the external fuel tanks and adjustments were made to the controls as well.

On the KC-130, the wing mounted external fuel tanks are mounted between the engines on each side of the aircraft. The IFR Pods are mounted outboard of engines 1 and 4.
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thegman
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:34 pm

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 9):
The economics might be bad as well... being good at the crazy things the C-17 is good at might not translate into a good tanker

Exactly. There is no need for a tanker to operate on un-paved runways, or unload cargo with a ramp. Those capes alone add a ton of weight to the C-17 that would make it a very inefficient tanker.
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:38 pm

Quoting thegman (Reply 11):
There is no need for a tanker to operate on un-paved runways, or unload cargo with a ramp

And even if there is, the C130 would probably be a better tanker than a C17 in all aspect except capacity.

If you need capacity, they already have the 747 Tanker.

bt
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cobra27
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:12 pm

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 3):
The USAF has tankers upon tankers upon tankers. Roughly 450+ in the inventory, with another 179 on order. A tankerized C-17 is not needed.

Well said, they have more tankers than many other air forces have aircraft. I always wondered why do you need to have 500 tankers? How many hours do they fly a year?
 
Kiwirob
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:53 pm

Quoting cobra27 (Reply 13):
I always wondered why do you need to have 500 tankers? How many hours do they fly a year?

I've also wondered this, it appear excessive IMO.
 
sovietjet
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RE: Can The C-17 Be Converted Into A Fuel Tanker

Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:52 pm

Quoting cobra27 (Reply 13):
Well said, they have more tankers than many other air forces have aircraft. I always wondered why do you need to have 500 tankers? How many hours do they fly a year?

Without those tankers it'll be a lot harder for the USA to conduct their "police the world" operations or to project power. Just look at Russia or China. They have a lot of aircraft but few tankers. Therefore they are only strong inside their own borders.

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