You have already noticed that the armaments have become heavier and bulky over time. This is not so serious for the reality of the US military which has other rather heavier transport aircraft. For operators where the Hercules is the greatest equipment this can be a rather serious problem.
This has little to do with the specific use case we are discussing with NZ. NZ does not have a requirement to transport large heavy vehicles, they do that work around the pacific today with sea based assets. NZ does not have a desire to deploy military vehicles globally. In the time they have operated the LAV, which replaced the C-130 air transportable M113, only eleven have left NZ, eleven… Clearly it isn’t a major requirement based on their current and historical use case. That could well change in the future but the likelihood of NZ operating and deploying a larger heavier IFV/AFV is very very low. For those niche requirements, they have allies and contract cargo that can be called up to air transport goods.
Nean1 wrote:You also know that the air refueling mission is crucial to US's miltary the doctrine, a mature solution with a perfectly acceptable level of risk, to the point where fully autonomous solutions are discussed (eg, MQ-25).
Don’t you think the risk of an unmanned platform refuelling from another unmanned platform would be less than when humans, and their passengers are involved? In the hose and drogue context, the platform just flies straight anyway and waits for the receiver.
That aside, we aren’t talking about the US here, we are talking about the RNZAF who have never operated an AAR platform. The RNZAF has no fighter aircraft, no maritime patrol aircraft (and won’t with the P-8 given it is boom), no helicopters, no transports and no training aircraft that can refuel in the air.
Nean1 wrote:The KC-390 will be at a level above any other aircraft in discussion since its FBY predicts this as a priority function, hence the great care in the development of models and simulators. It is generally known that the degree of difficulty in aerial refuelling increases the less similar the pair of aircraft involved.
Nean1, the issue is not about whether the KC-390 will be able to do it, it has never been about that. The issue is the risk. You don’t introduce more risk, and subsequent dependencies, to the process than you need to.
Nean1 wrote:Comparison with the F-18's adopting FBY seems particularly out of the question, not worth commenting on, I'm guessing it was a problem with your keyboard.
It is a FBW aircraft that is used both to refuel and be refuelled by the hose and drogue method. The flight software on the F-18 is not static, it is continually modified and updated to not only increase the flight envelope but improve controllability across the flight envelope.
Nean1 wrote:And finally, if a country defines as a priority the use of aerial transport to support Antarctica operations, the risk is an inherent part of the solution. I am absolutely certain that the weather and on-site operations risks will be vastly greater than that incurred in AAR. If an expensive vector such as the C2 or A400 is chosen, it will be difficult to explain how a single sinister in the icy continent permanently disabled 1/2 or 1/3 of its entire fleet of transport aircraft!
While the risk of AAR may be less than operating in the Antarctic the risk remains and that solution introduces additional risk and dependency on the AAR process, risk and dependency that isn’t necessary.
Nean1 wrote:You seem to know little about Embraer. Even in less ambitious projects, the company always offers much more than the initially announced performance. I think you should pay attention when definitive specifications are announced. The company comes very strong and confident against competitors who have serious shortcomings.
What does Embraer have to do with this? I have no issue with the company or the aircraft. I have issue with your proposal based on its risk profile to a small operator that has no experience with the proposed solution, no other use case that needs that solution. Today they fly C-130H aircraft down to McMurdo and accept a point of no return but they want to move away from that.
Interestingly enough I would go as far to suggest that if the RNZAF ordered the KC-390 they potentially wouldn’t acquire the AAR pods anyway, given the niche use case. Australia won’t care if NZ gets KC-390s with AAR capability or not, they already have their own fleet of tankers, and NZ has little interest in refuelling RAAF fighter jets just because they are neighbours.
Note I haven’t seen one proposal from everyone else here that the RNZAF acquire the C-130J and include a KC-130J variant. It would serve the same function as your proposal but they don’t need it and wouldn’t operate it to the capabilities required. For a small operator they have better things to spend their limited acquisition and operating budgets on.