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747classic
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:04 pm

Does somebody know what the present flight hours / cycles count is for each of the four E-4B aircraft ?
And what is the average usage /year, or is this secret (confidential) info ?

With the KC-10's still operational there is no shortage of engine(parts) in the near future, both aircraft are powered by the same basic engine (GE-CF6-50E2 and GE CF6-50C2).
Only the accessory gearbox is specially adapted (2 generators for E-4B and double hydraulic pumps- for KC-10)
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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Stitch
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:55 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
This E-4B would be a good time to introduce the 764F with the GEnX engines.


In the early 2000s, the USAF tried to replace the E-3, E-4, E-8 and RC-135 with the Northrop Grumman E-10 MC2A, which was based on the 767-400ER airframe. One airframe was built, but the program was cancelled before outfitting ever began so it was resold as a 767BBJ.

I don't see the USAF going back to that well.
 
texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Tue Jul 21, 2020 4:29 pm

747classic wrote:
Does somebody know what the present flight hours / cycles count is for each of the four E-4B aircraft ?
And what is the average usage /year, or is this secret (confidential) info ?

With the KC-10's still operational there is no shortage of engine(parts) in the near future, both aircraft are powered by the same basic engine (GE-CF6-50E2 and GE CF6-50C2).
Only the accessory gearbox is specially adapted (2 generators for E-4B and double hydraulic pumps- for KC-10)


KC-10’s are being retired starting this month. CF6 will have a home at USAF for quite some time though thanks to C-5M’s, and VC-25B...

The E-4B’s are pretty tired/worn out (and outdated), regardless.
 
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747classic
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:30 pm

texl1649 wrote:
747classic wrote:
Does somebody know what the present flight hours / cycles count is for each of the four E-4B aircraft ?
And what is the average usage /year, or is this secret (confidential) info ?

With the KC-10's still operational there is no shortage of engine(parts) in the near future, both aircraft are powered by the same basic engine (GE-CF6-50E2 and GE CF6-50C2).
Only the accessory gearbox is specially adapted (2 generators for E-4B and double hydraulic pumps- for KC-10)


KC-10’s are being retired starting this month. CF6 will have a home at USAF for quite some time though thanks to C-5M’s, and VC-25B...

The E-4B’s are pretty tired/worn out (and outdated), regardless.


To be correct :
C-5M's are powered by CF6-80C2L1F engines.
VC-25B are powered by GEnx-2B67/P engines
Both have (very) remote family ties with the GE CF6-50 series installed at the E-4B aircraft, but hardly any identical parts.

Tired and worn (and outdated) is your perception, not based on facts, IMHO these aircraft are well maintained legacy aircraft
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:03 pm

747classic wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
747classic wrote:
Does somebody know what the present flight hours / cycles count is for each of the four E-4B aircraft ?
And what is the average usage /year, or is this secret (confidential) info ?

With the KC-10's still operational there is no shortage of engine(parts) in the near future, both aircraft are powered by the same basic engine (GE-CF6-50E2 and GE CF6-50C2).
Only the accessory gearbox is specially adapted (2 generators for E-4B and double hydraulic pumps- for KC-10)


KC-10’s are being retired starting this month. CF6 will have a home at USAF for quite some time though thanks to C-5M’s, and VC-25B...

The E-4B’s are pretty tired/worn out (and outdated), regardless.


To be correct :
C-5M's are powered by CF6-80C2L1F engines.
VC-25B are powered by GEnx-2B67/P engines
Both have (very) remote family ties with the GE CF6-50 series installed at the E-4B aircraft, but hardly any identical parts.

Tired and worn (and outdated) is your perception, not based on facts, IMHO these aircraft are well maintained legacy aircraft


I was fortunate to see first hand maintenance on the E-4 when they had to temporarily move due to Offut's flooding, and though it's expensive to operate, they have a first class maintenance operation. This chart seems to get posted about twice a year on social media, and highlights why a replacement is needed, even if it's NMC time it relatively low.


Image
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:05 pm

That chart can be deceiving.

One thing you can take from it is that the fewer the frame in inventory, the more expensive it is to maintain and operate.

The other thing that is not as obvious is the nature of the maintenance cost. For electronic heavy aircrafts like the E-4 and J-STARs, AWACs much of the failures that will scrub the mission and drive the cost are the unique electronic equipment.

I'm surprised the AWACs are not listed. Perhaps they recently got a major upgrade, and the new equipment is more reliable .

bt
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texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:16 pm

The electronics are just outdated. The frame is outdated, and used for hours for AF1 pilots. The engines are outdated/not in use much on the civilian side. Almost no part of a 747-200 is common in the world today. What other C3I radios/electronics from the early 70's are still current elsewhere today? What other aircraft, beside the 737 (LOL) are being produced today, similarly?

I stand by my assertion that it is a costly, worn small fleet that needs to be retired and there is no similar need for a VLA replacement.
 
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par13del
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:21 pm

It may also depend on the chart audience, example, when they say cost per hour of flight, are they talking about the cost of fuel and crew, or the maintenance cost that has to be done on the aircraft AFTER flight?
 
texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:51 pm

I don’t think many posters appreciate the timeline/delay for major upgrades to military systems. These systems were again developed in the 70’s. I’d ask how many folks know the voltage/power requirements per transistor/calculation today vs. even 2006 or so when the IPhone came out. It’s tiny. We also have technology available/coming online providing global connectivity (spaceX) via 40,000 LEO satellites for even TV coverage.

The E-4B is expensive to operate, and will be increasingly so, period. It will also be increasingly irrelevant.

The needs for a C4I platform are dramatically different moving forward.
 
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:49 pm

Is a twin engine C-46/B-767 able to generate enough electrical power, even with GEnx engines? The power requirements for an E-4B is enormous. I can't see any twin engine jet being able to run such huge generators except for maybe a GE-90 equipped B-777 derivative.

That is why I believe a B-747-8 is the only airplane capable of replacing the E-4Bs.

For future growth, only the B-748 and B-77W/-9 would provide enough space, if it is needed.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:39 am

If a twin engine can support the massive power consumption of an Airborne Radar, it should be capable of handing all the electrical needs of an E-4B.

You do this by putting on two more powerful generators for each engines, like what they did for the E-7.

Not sure, but there may have been a concept of attaching generators to the APU to generate additional power as well

bt
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Slug71
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:28 am

texl1649 wrote:
The USAF doesn’t seem particularly serious about replacing the E-3/E-8, etc.

https://warontherocks.com/2019/06/is-th ... naissance/

“ The so-called iron triad of big-wing, manned ISR platforms (E-3 Sentry, E-8 Joint Stars, and various OC/RC/WC-135s, totaling about 80 aircraft) use airframes first developed in the 1950s that are rapidly approaching flight hour limits. Less visible, but vitally important, are the airmen and networks that receive, process, exploit, and disseminate the intelligence information collected by the aircraft. Air Force ISR investments increased dramatically since 2001, but can or should these investment levels be sustained as the new National Security Strategy refocuses on peer competitors? What are the current Air Force plans for its ISR enterprise?”

I don’t know what transitioning to “Publicly Available Information” really means, are they just going to scour the internet for intelligence?


The WC/OC/RC-135s could probably be merged into a single platform with today's technology. Combined there is probably less than 30 aircraft in service today.
The NC-135 can probably be downsized to a 737 sized framed.

Stitch wrote:
JayinKitsap wrote:
This E-4B would be a good time to introduce the 764F with the GEnX engines.


In the early 2000s, the USAF tried to replace the E-3, E-4, E-8 and RC-135 with the Northrop Grumman E-10 MC2A, which was based on the 767-400ER airframe. One airframe was built, but the program was cancelled before outfitting ever began so it was resold as a 767BBJ.

I don't see the USAF going back to that well.


I don't see them going back to that, but I definitely think there could be consolidation. Like I mentioned above, I could see the WC/RC/OC-135s being merged. The E-6 & E-4 based off each other, and the E-3 & E-8 being merged.
 
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:30 am

Sorry for getting this flurry of discussion going, but it is quite interesting. My point about using the 767-2C or doing the jump to the 764X with the GEnX is that all of the older frames adapted from the 747-200, and the C-135 as well as similar do need either disappear in the next decade and/or have their role replaced into a new air frame that is current.

It would also be an opportunity for a cargo plane or transport that can be refueled in flight. It would take demand off of the C-17, and reduce cost per hour. The GEnX engine generators produce a huge amount of power, I recall the 787 has 3x or 4x the power of the 767 due to its all electric architecture. Having that in a plane, along with a similar APU (needs the bleed air and hydraulics load for the 767) could provide power for AWACS, and possibly future laser weapon test platforms.

With today's electronics being much smaller, using a P-8A frame for these missions seems to be a good choice.

At a time when commercial aviation is in the dumps, getting modern frames with in production parts would be good. For the best pricing, this could be competitively bid, possibly including the 2nd tanker batch the KC-Y, but I would prefer it to just be add on's to the KC-46 contract, but that has limits.
 
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:28 am

bikerthai wrote:
Definitely most cost effective in-production aircraft as all the EMI hardening and provision for defensive countermeasures comes with the new aircraft.

bt


Just an observation. I don't think the -2Cs are hardened. The VC-25A is and the VC-25B will be, the E-4As were not hardened and were upgraded to B specs when the B was introduced.

The KC-46 is EMI resistant but that is accomplished with EMI hardened chips built on insulating substrates, such as silicon or sapphire, rather than the typical semiconductor chip wafers and a different type of RAM being used.

https://defensesystems.com/articles/201 ... rfare.aspx
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:47 pm

The article is not conclusive. Hardening for EMI occurs at different levels. The chip can be hardened, but other systems, such as wiring must be protected as well.

Remember the wiring fiasco? They had to re-design it to Mil spec? I would guess that the MIL spec may include additional EMI protection.

New systems may be able to use the hardened chip, but any commercial flight system may not neccesarily use the new chip.

And even if you harden the air frame, it only provide part of the EMI protection requirement, which includes the equipment chassis, and any rack or cabinet the equipment is enclosed.

Finally, air frame hardening is also meant to protect the humans as well.

bt
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747classic
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:54 pm

bikerthai wrote:
The article is not conclusive. Hardening for EMI occurs at different levels. The chip can be hardened, but other systems, such as wiring must be protected as well.

Remember the wiring fiasco? They had to re-design it to Mil spec? I would guess that the MIL spec may include additional EMI protection.

New systems may be able to use the hardened chip, but any commercial flight system may not neccesarily use the new chip.

And even if you harden the air frame, it only provide part of the EMI protection requirement, which includes the equipment chassis, and any rack or cabinet the equipment is enclosed.

Finally, air frame hardening is also meant to protect the humans as well.

bt


AFAIK the KC-46 wiring issues were that Boeing was forced to redesign some KC-46 wire bundles so that redundant wiring was not grouped together.
Full EMI hardening is another ballgame.
See : https://www.defensenews.com/air/2017/01 ... 46-tanker/
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:41 pm

Thanks for the clarification. Full EMI hardening of wiring would including shielding of wire bundle with electrically conductive braid sock. Not sure if that is done with commercial wiring.

I know that for the P-8A total shielding of the airplane is allocated/portioned to different system - Airframe, Cabinet/Rack & LRU levels.

How much allocation for each system or for EMI/EMP vs signal interference is a black art beyond my comprehention.

bt
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mmo
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:05 pm

The problem with hardening the KC-46 to the same level as the E-4B or VC-25A or B is it would have a tremendous impact on the OEW of the aircraft. The current VC-25A is almost 100,000 lbs heavier than a standard 747-200B. And it suffers from a lack of range when compared to the commercial version. While the entire increase is not due to the hardening, there are things such as two APUs, a walk-in freezer setup in the AFT Cargo compartment, Airstairs for door 1L and other conveniences but the sharing added a significant amount of the total additional weight.
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:42 pm

Another issue overlooked by many fans of new all digital aircraft :
Digital aircraft are far more susceptable to Electromagnatic Interference, than legacy aircraft with mechanical engine fuel controls and analogue aircraft systems.

Example : The E4B's are powered by CF6-50E2 engines with cable controlled fuel controls, the GE CF6-80C2B1 engines of the VC-25A's have also cable controlled fuel controls, supervised by digital electronics, named Power Management Control (PMC), but can be controlled (with some limitations) without the PMC.

For the future VC-25B's, powered by FADEC controlled GE GEnx-2B67/P engines, extensive EMI testing has already been (partly) performed. AFAIK no mechanical back-up system has been installed.
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texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:36 pm

Why is it so hard for this board to accept the fact that modern electronics don’t have anywhere near the same computational power requirements, and that Boeing has bought the last set of 748 fuselage assemblies from triumph already. Any E-4 replacement, if there is one, will not be a quad.
 
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:58 am

texl1649 wrote:
Why is it so hard for this board to accept the fact that modern electronics don’t have anywhere near the same computational power requirements, and that Boeing has bought the last set of 748 fuselage assemblies from triumph already. Any E-4 replacement, if there is one, will not be a quad.


Well, because:
a) EMP-hardened electronics are expected to be somewhat less "up-to-date"? Like presumably "ancient" radar of MiG-25, that turned out to be EMP-grade material. Plus these kind of systems (and platforms) are expected to contain a lot of redundancy?
b) Boeing has apparently bought the last set of 747-8 fuselage assemblies indeed. The questions remain: how many of those shipsets? just enough to deliver the backlog, as it was on Jan 1, 2020, or with some spares? And yes, the backlog of Jan 1, 2020, still contained 4 orders from Volga-Dnepr. One of those is officially canceled, and the other three don't look too promising.

Enough material for this board to be kept guessing.
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texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:43 pm

Phosphorus wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
Why is it so hard for this board to accept the fact that modern electronics don’t have anywhere near the same computational power requirements, and that Boeing has bought the last set of 748 fuselage assemblies from triumph already. Any E-4 replacement, if there is one, will not be a quad.


Well, because:
a) EMP-hardened electronics are expected to be somewhat less "up-to-date"? Like presumably "ancient" radar of MiG-25, that turned out to be EMP-grade material. Plus these kind of systems (and platforms) are expected to contain a lot of redundancy?
b) Boeing has apparently bought the last set of 747-8 fuselage assemblies indeed. The questions remain: how many of those shipsets? just enough to deliver the backlog, as it was on Jan 1, 2020, or with some spares? And yes, the backlog of Jan 1, 2020, still contained 4 orders from Volga-Dnepr. One of those is officially canceled, and the other three don't look too promising.

Enough material for this board to be kept guessing.


A. There's no indication that a future C4I platform shouldn't be 'up to date.' I fail to see the corollary to the Mig-25 radar, as certainly the USAF is not going to be buying anything remotely similar for a replacement platform, nor does the fact that it is resistant to EMP's mean the Russians are procuring anything remotely based on it moving forward.
B. Boeing has had no trouble re-selling the Volga aircraft order, to Volga's disappointment, obviously, with cargo spiking dramatically post-covid. There's also very little to zero reason to think they are trying to sell more frames or bought excess fuselage sections to sell more 747's; it's a money loser for them at the current rate and will just be wound down. They just can't afford to sustain it now as a 'prestige' VLA cargo plane.

https://www.flightglobal.com/airframers ... 80.article

Finally, there's been evidence/reporting for years that the USAF is looking for a common basic replacement type for the E-4, C-32, and E-6.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/1 ... e-new-type

As mentioned, militarizing the 787 might be an option, but after the billions in losses Boeing took on the KC-46, I pretty heavily discount that is likely to happen. Sure, AF1 will remain as a 748 now obviously, but the other 3 look to a common type, which all but completely eliminates the 747/quads from the picture, as does this description from 7 months ago;

The four jets also ensure the Defense Secretary stays connected to forces during international travel. E-4s are based at Offutt AFB, Neb., home to US Strategic Command.

They will be replaced by a “new, cost-effective, commercial derivative aircraft” with modern communications, networking, and C2 equipment, according to the notice. Program officials want to get a head start on advanced manufacturing work to ensure that phase of the acquisition process goes smoothly.


https://www.airforcemag.com/e-4b-replac ... try-input/
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:09 pm

texl1649 wrote:
As mentioned, militarizing the 787 might be an option, but after the billions in losses Boeing took on the KC-46, I pretty heavily discount that is likely to happen.


The 787 may not be militarized, but the reason would not be because Boeing lost a boat load on the initial KC-46 contract.

For the E-4B replacement, there are not hundreds of frames to be delivered, so all bidders will be cautious.

Heck, the USAF may just decide the size frame they want and then let the bidder fight over who would do the mod .

And yes, the 747 line is shutting down. The profit margin is not there and they need the floor space as a potential FAI for the future 797 line.

bt
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Phosphorus
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:49 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Phosphorus wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
Why is it so hard for this board to accept the fact that modern electronics don’t have anywhere near the same computational power requirements, and that Boeing has bought the last set of 748 fuselage assemblies from triumph already. Any E-4 replacement, if there is one, will not be a quad.


Well, because:
a) EMP-hardened electronics are expected to be somewhat less "up-to-date"? Like presumably "ancient" radar of MiG-25, that turned out to be EMP-grade material. Plus these kind of systems (and platforms) are expected to contain a lot of redundancy?
b) Boeing has apparently bought the last set of 747-8 fuselage assemblies indeed. The questions remain: how many of those shipsets? just enough to deliver the backlog, as it was on Jan 1, 2020, or with some spares? And yes, the backlog of Jan 1, 2020, still contained 4 orders from Volga-Dnepr. One of those is officially canceled, and the other three don't look too promising.

Enough material for this board to be kept guessing.


A. There's no indication that a future C4I platform shouldn't be 'up to date.' I fail to see the corollary to the Mig-25 radar, as certainly the USAF is not going to be buying anything remotely similar for a replacement platform, nor does the fact that it is resistant to EMP's mean the Russians are procuring anything remotely based on it moving forward.
B. Boeing has had no trouble re-selling the Volga aircraft order, to Volga's disappointment, obviously, with cargo spiking dramatically post-covid. There's also very little to zero reason to think they are trying to sell more frames or bought excess fuselage sections to sell more 747's; it's a money loser for them at the current rate and will just be wound down. They just can't afford to sustain it now as a 'prestige' VLA cargo plane.

https://www.flightglobal.com/airframers ... 80.article

Finally, there's been evidence/reporting for years that the USAF is looking for a common basic replacement type for the E-4, C-32, and E-6.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/1 ... e-new-type

As mentioned, militarizing the 787 might be an option, but after the billions in losses Boeing took on the KC-46, I pretty heavily discount that is likely to happen. Sure, AF1 will remain as a 748 now obviously, but the other 3 look to a common type, which all but completely eliminates the 747/quads from the picture, as does this description from 7 months ago;

The four jets also ensure the Defense Secretary stays connected to forces during international travel. E-4s are based at Offutt AFB, Neb., home to US Strategic Command.

They will be replaced by a “new, cost-effective, commercial derivative aircraft” with modern communications, networking, and C2 equipment, according to the notice. Program officials want to get a head start on advanced manufacturing work to ensure that phase of the acquisition process goes smoothly.


https://www.airforcemag.com/e-4b-replac ... try-input/


All your points are great, and I'm unfortunately under pressure for time, so will keep it brief.
B. Boeing has had no trouble re-selling the Volga aircraft order, to Volga's disappointment,

Yes, they resold this aircraft (one for now) to UPS. UPS backlog shrank by one frame, as a result. In reality, all things considered (yeah, there were orders/order cancellations involved), outside of accounting, UPS got one frame faster.
Backlog shrank. This frees up a shipset of pre-ordered components -- if they exist. And they should, unless Boeing was prescient that Volga-Dnepr orders are dead.

They will be replaced by a “new, cost-effective, commercial derivative aircraft” with modern communications, networking, and C2 equipment, according to the notice. Program officials want to get a head start on advanced manufacturing work to ensure that phase of the acquisition process goes smoothly.

Please, show us, where exactly 747-8 off the assembly line are not meeting these definitions.

Again. I'm not saying E-4 will be replaced by a 747-8 derivative. We don't know.
But. The information at hand is insufficient to reliably kill this option. Yet.
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:37 am

747 line is shutting down. I think you see the E-4 and multitude of -135 aircraft get replaced by either 767, 737 or G-550 business jets or a mixture of them over time. Already started to a certain degree with CompassCall going from C-130 to G-550.
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txjim
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:01 pm

texl1649 wrote:
The electronics are just outdated. The frame is outdated, and used for hours for AF1 pilots. The engines are outdated/not in use much on the civilian side. Almost no part of a 747-200 is common in the world today. What other C3I radios/electronics from the early 70's are still current elsewhere today? What other aircraft, beside the 737 (LOL) are being produced today, similarly?

I stand by my assertion that it is a costly, worn small fleet that needs to be retired and there is no similar need for a VLA replacement.

I think you would be surprised at some of the electronics updates that have occured
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:36 pm

txjim wrote:
I think you would be surprised at some of the electronics updates that have occured


Concur.

Even with the relatively new P-8A fleet, electronics are constantly being updated.

bt
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Stitch
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:35 pm

The USAF has been running the E-4Bs through the shop for upgrades over the past two years.
 
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:04 pm

How about surplus 777-300ERs as a replacement? Or even a few 777-9Xs?
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744SPX
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:20 am

Aside from the 748 which if available should be the first choice, the 777-200LR would be the best replacement IMO. Its been flying long enough to be considered reliable by the AF and it can satisfy any possible power and space requirements, plus its got endurance to spare and room for OEW growth that the 767 or 787 may not have.
 
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ssteve
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:15 am

^ USAF should but all the 200LRs it can and make a tanker / whatever fleet. :D
 
aristoenigma
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:15 am

744SPX wrote:
Aside from the 748 which if available should be the first choice, the 777-200LR would be the best replacement IMO. Its been flying long enough to be considered reliable by the AF and it can satisfy any possible power and space requirements, plus its got endurance to spare and room for OEW growth that the 767 or 787 may not have.

In the hypothetical (even if unlikely) event the USAF elects to go with the 748 would they likely target acquisitions: from newer freighters or newer pax aircraft currently out there? eg Saudia selling two fairly young 748Fs and one of the pax operators reportedly selling a 2016 pax airliner with only test miles on it.Are the costs to build an E-4B from a 748i substantially higher than from a 748F?
 
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:43 am

aristoenigma wrote:
744SPX wrote:
Aside from the 748 which if available should be the first choice, the 777-200LR would be the best replacement IMO. Its been flying long enough to be considered reliable by the AF and it can satisfy any possible power and space requirements, plus its got endurance to spare and room for OEW growth that the 767 or 787 may not have.

In the hypothetical (even if unlikely) event the USAF elects to go with the 748 would they likely target acquisitions: from newer freighters or newer pax aircraft currently out there? eg Saudia selling two fairly young 748Fs and one of the pax operators reportedly selling a 2016 pax airliner with only test miles on it.Are the costs to build an E-4B from a 748i substantially higher than from a 748F?



The most cost effective option would be a purchase of (four ?) identical planes, to have a common starting point for the modification to a future E-4C.

However four identical 747-8F aircraft are not easy to purchase and will be no bargain (if available).

In the present circumstances, with many passenger VLA's stored, it would be easy to strike a deal with Boeing (L/N1435 - 747-830, LH configuration) and Lufthansa for some late build stored 747-830 aircraft

Or, more easy, just purchase the last built four 747-830's from Lufthansa, because L/N1435 was rejected by Lufthansa for "too much differences".
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:25 pm

747classic wrote:
However four identical 747-8F aircraft are not easy to purchase and will be no bargain (if available).


-8F would not be a bargain, true. But would you need an F? If you are installing mission consoles, operator seats and equipment racks, then the I's with the seat tracks would be a better option.

From the aircraft variability stand point, since the -8 production run is small, have there been that much changes to the configuration? Even if there were changes, the -8 being a digital aircraft would be easier for the enginers the do the design with the digital pre assembly already available.


bt
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747classic
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:28 pm

bikerthai wrote:
747classic wrote:
However four identical 747-8F aircraft are not easy to purchase and will be no bargain (if available).


-8F would not be a bargain, true. But would you need an F? If you are installing mission consoles, operator seats and equipment racks, then the I's with the seat tracks would be a better option.

From the aircraft variability stand point, since the -8 production run is small, have there been that much changes to the configuration? Even if there were changes, the -8 being a digital aircraft would be easier for the enginers the do the design with the digital pre assembly already available.


bt


Late production 747-8I's have multiple small structural changes and 8000 lbs less OEW than the early produced aircraft (eg. L/N1435)
So the most preffered aircraft are the last produced Lufthansa, Korean or Air China 747-8I aircaft.

In the present political climate the Air China 747-8I aircraft will not be on top of the preffered list :lol:

IMHO, seen the still standing Lufthansa B779 order, the preffered option is for some, late built, perfect maintained Lufthansa 747-8I aircraft with a low flight hour/cycle count.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:07 pm

Since the USAF/USN will more than likely buy ~30 twin engine aircraft, and the RFPs were due last winter, does anyone know if Airbus submitted a design? Obviously the 767 is probably in the lead right now, but is an A330 a possibility? I haven’t heard anything about that scenario yet.
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:27 am

Buckeyetech wrote:
Airbus submitted a design?


Technically Airbus wouldn't submit the design. It would be NG or another US company submitting a design with an Airbus aircraft.

If they do decide to get something larger than 767, what will they use to replace the current 757?

The 767 is the smallest aircraft to fit the compromise. While an A320 Neo may approach the performance of the 757, its too small to perform the other functions. If the Air Force wan one frame to do all those functions, there's not much of a choice.

bt
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Phosphorus
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:18 am

bikerthai wrote:
Buckeyetech wrote:
Airbus submitted a design?


Technically Airbus wouldn't submit the design. It would be NG or another US company submitting a design with an Airbus aircraft.

If they do decide to get something larger than 767, what will they use to replace the current 757?

The 767 is the smallest aircraft to fit the compromise. While an A320 Neo may approach the performance of the 757, its too small to perform the other functions. If the Air Force wan one frame to do all those functions, there's not much of a choice.

bt


As a thought experiment, they could pitch A380 :)
They still have some in assembly; airlines would relish the possibility of not taking some frames. And it has all the space USAF might want. Boy it has space!
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texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:41 pm

As a thought experiment, there are literally hundreds of under-10-year-old A380’S parked in deserts around the world with possibly eager sellers. Heck, to go a little further it’s probably big enough to even incorporate a refueling receptacle somewhere on that glaring forehead and still grow usable space around 40 percent vs. the 747-100’s.

But again, the spec/information so far indicates a common type to also replace C-32’s, and I don’t think Nancy Pelosi needs an A380 for her weekend return trips to California. A hydrogen powered ‘green’ A380 for her does make me chuckle a bit though, at the possibilities.

Realistically a P-8 or KC-46 based derivative are still most likely.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:25 pm

texl1649 wrote:
I don’t think Nancy Pelosi needs an A380 for her weekend return trips to California.



Only if Biden gets elected and she becomes part of the Cabinet. She have been flying commercial since 2011.

If they want to replace the C-32, wouldn't the 767 be closer in terms of rating? I know the new 767 has a bunch of upgrades, but wasn't the old 767 and 757 have similar cockpit?

The P-8 may be good for sigint, but is is based on the 737 NG platform which will be fazed out in under 5 years.

Boeing will only pitch the (formerly) MAX configuration for future military derivative platform. Having the NG configuration in their production line screws up their work flow and efficiency. Even though the P-8 is saving their bacon during the current crisis, BCA will be happy when that line finally shut down.


bt
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texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:40 pm

That's not entirely true. Her profligacy includes for example $185K for codels to Italy and Ukraine in 2015. If an A380 were an option I think it's impossible to conclude it wouldn't be requested by Air Pelosi.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tom-fit ... -your-dime

In response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?… [T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”

One DOD official complained about the “hidden costs” associated with the speaker’s last-minute changes and cancellations. “We have … folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc.”

The documents include a discussion of House Ethics rules and Defense Department policies as they apply to the speaker’s requests for staff, spouses and extended family to accompany her on military aircraft. In May 2008, for example, Pelosi requested that her husband join her on a CODEL into Iraq. The DOD explained to Pelosi that the agency has a written policy prohibiting spouses from joining CODEL’s into combat zones.

We reported in 2010 that Pelosi’s jet travel cost the Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. Some details:

The average cost of an international CODEL was $228,563.33. Of the 103 Pelosi-led CODELs, 31 trips included members of the House Speaker’s family.
 
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Stitch
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:12 pm

bikerthai wrote:
The P-8 may be good for sigint, but is is based on the 737 NG platform which will be fazed out in under 5 years.

Boeing will only pitch the (formerly) MAX configuration for future military derivative platform. Having the NG configuration in their production line screws up their work flow and efficiency. Even though the P-8 is saving their bacon during the current crisis, BCA will be happy when that line finally shut down.


The P-8 is on it's own line in a separate building (4-20/21) so I would think it would not have any impact on the three MAX lines in 4-80/81.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:59 pm

Stitch wrote:
The P-8 is on it's own line in a separate building (4-20/21)


The P-8 is on one line at Renton. However, at about one every three weeks, they can not afford to dedicate to the whole line to the P-8. Unless things changed since the program began, they would run the MAX through the same line. Because of the P-8, that line runs a little slower than the others.

Either way, before the pandemic, BCA was looking at moving the P-8 commercial line out of Renton all together to make room for the MAX ramp up. That plan was scrapped for various reasons.

bt
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Stitch
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:40 pm

bikerthai wrote:
The P-8 is on one line at Renton. However, at about one every three weeks, they can not afford to dedicate to the whole line to the P-8. Unless things changed since the program began, they would run the MAX through the same line. Because of the P-8, that line runs a little slower than the others.


The last I heard the plan was to remodel Renton to support a total of three MAX lines in Building 4-80/81:

The pre-existing Assembly Line #1 (with seven positions?)
The pre-existing Assembly Line #2 (which was being extended to add an additional position at a right-angle to the main line for a total of seven positions?).
A new Assembly Line #3 placed between #2 and #1 (with seven positions?). This required the Fuselage Systems Installation fixture to be relocated

Boeing also added a second full MAX wing assembly line to allow six wings to be assembled at a time. Both wing lines are in 4-40/41 adjacent to the P-8 Assembly Line.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:48 pm

Then we agree that there are three lines. Anyhow we are off-topic other than I do not believe the NG/P-8 configuration will be in any future Military derivatives plans after the P-8A line closes.
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texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:59 pm

Stitch wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
The P-8 is on one line at Renton. However, at about one every three weeks, they can not afford to dedicate to the whole line to the P-8. Unless things changed since the program began, they would run the MAX through the same line. Because of the P-8, that line runs a little slower than the others.


The last I heard the plan was to remodel Renton to support a total of three MAX lines in Building 4-80/81:

The pre-existing Assembly Line #1 (with seven positions?)
The pre-existing Assembly Line #2 (which was being extended to add an additional position at a right-angle to the main line for a total of seven positions?).
A new Assembly Line #3 placed between #2 and #1 (with seven positions?). This required the Fuselage Systems Installation fixture to be relocated

Boeing also added a second full MAX wing assembly line to allow six wings to be assembled at a time. Both wing lines are in 4-40/41 adjacent to the P-8 Assembly Line.


I'm suspicious that when you heard that, it was pre-Covid. There's no push to get Max production up to 60-70 a month at this point, and it's unlikely it will ever happen, let alone before P-8 orders are delivered/finished.

Right now, the goal for Boeing is to maintain the labor/facilities/know how to ramp back up to something like 30 Max's a month in a few years. The P-8, for various reasons (including security), really has to be a separate line.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:34 pm

texl1649 wrote:
The P-8, for various reasons (including security), really has to be a separate line.


With export control reform, security at Renton is less of an issue. For the most part, ITAR items are installed at Boeing Field. The thing about ITAR items is that in order to be cleared to work it, you have to he a US citizen or a US person (which may include resident aliens who hold green cards). I'm pretty sure the vast majority of Boeing Machinists fall under that category. It is easy enough to establish an secure zone around each P-8 as it moves through the line. You do not need secured fencing. Often times clearly marked ropes/tape and signage and cameras are sufficient.

Even with the Covid slow down, they are still building more MAX than P-8. Although with the slowdown, there is less pressure and they can temporarily dedicate a line for the P-8.

Even with the most optimistic estimate however, they expect the P-8A line will shut down in 5-6 years. The Air Force need a frame with a production life far longer than that.

bt
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texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:45 pm

Even with the most optimistic estimate however, they expect the P-8A line will shut down in 5-6 years. The Air Force need a frame with a production life far longer than that.


Ok, even accepting that arguendo, that really only leaves the 787. The 767 is basically on a military-only procurement line for new orders now, the 747 is dead, and the 777x is not guaranteed a long production run. Meanwhile, the Max is...not a sure thing for more than 8 years certainly.

It’s a small set of product to choose from, is all I’m asserting.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:54 pm

texl1649 wrote:
It’s a small set of product to choose from, is all I’m asserting.


Agreed. Not much of a choice. If that is the case, they should select the platform best fit their needs and avoid the silly attempt to competatively bid the airframe.

bt
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texl1649
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Re: USAF looking for an E-4B replacement

Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:42 am

Ok, I’m sure there’s an AF1 thread somewhere, but I don’t want to dig up an ancient one, yet this made me laugh;

“ Hermeus – a company named for Hermes, the Greek god of transport, and the country of the US – was founded in 2018 and is developing an engine for a Mach 5 commercial passenger aircraft. The startup says it has successfully tested an engine prototype in a windtunnel simulating flight at M3.3 at 65,000ft.

That subscale prototype engine was built using an off-the-shelf turbojet used on various target drones and small personal aircraft. Hermeus declines to name the original engine or its thrust rating, but says it is capable of operating at around 533kt (988km/h) at maximum altitude of about 25,000ft.

The off-the-shelf engine is modified to power hypersonic flight, says AJ Piplica, chief executive and co-founder of Hermeus.

“We have a pre-cooler technology that we integrate to the to the front of the engine,” he says. “We have a ramjet that we put on the back end. And the ramjet is what we used to get all the way up to M5, once we get to the M3 range.””

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 62.article

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