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Catfry
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:53 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
Does anyone know what oversized items Europe is transporting by air?

If it is only a range issue and not a cargo bay size issue then an extended range A400M could be an option here. It is much easier to add range than making the entire fuselage wider. The A400M at MTOW has an incredibly short takeoff run of less than 1,000m. The C-17 at MTOW requires 2,500m!

Now if Airbus removed the austere, tactical and short runway requirements it could significantly increase range. Fit some higher speed rated tyres and the A400M has enough excess thrust that it could easily takeoff at 160t MTOW in a shorter distance than a C-17 at MTOW. Weight saved from removing the austere runway requirement could be spent on increasing the MTOW. Bringing the G limit from the 3G tactical rating down to 2.5G strategic rating would reduce the peak load allowing the MTOW to increase.

The A400M has a very heavy empty weight as a proportion of the MTOW compared to other airlifters so I think it has headroom. With a 160t MTOW it can now carry max payload and max fuel at the same time. Range has been increased by approximately 50% with any given payload. Add some big winglets as they usually work well on longer flight lengths. Now the operating cost comparison with the C-17 has been reversed. Three A400ER flights would be cheaper than two C-17 flights.

With 90+% commonality with the existing A400M fleet developing an A400ER could be an option.

In theory the A400M could evolve all the way up to a 200t MTOW. The landing gear is very strong and has a low pavement loading so this is not a limiting factor. Thrust is also not a limiting factor. The wing would simply need to be made longer. All of the extra span could be added in the tip section of the wing with adding strengthening through the wing and central wingbox. The better fuel efficiency of a turboprop should allow a 200t MTOW A400M to get mighty close to the range of a 265t C-17ER. The C-17ER can carry the A400M max payload approximately 5,000nm while the A400M can carry it only 1,800nm. A 200t MTOW A400M could carry it 4,000+nm. Commonality might still be 80+% and development cost would be low enough that they would only need 50 frames to cover the cost.


I think you could take any plane, whether the 767 or the c-141 or any other in the size class, and make the necessary changes to make it into a strategic lifter and it would cost about the same as what you suggest to do to the a400m.
It was designed to be a tactical plane, that is why it has such a high empty weight to MTOW ratio, and why it's range to MTOW is similarly low. those short stubby wings and very heavy structure don't come cheap. They are fundamental design choices that cannot simply be undone by raising the MTOW, you'd end up with a very heavy design that would be bad at everything, when you could have spent the same on a new design.
 
texl1649
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:30 pm

Noray wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
Obviously Airbus can’t wait to be finished with the A400 production/write offs. A firm commitment to the specs, and number of frames, as well as the production years is needed for this next transport as soon as possible so it doesn’t just marsh-mellow around for 3 decades before becoming a boondoggle.

The usual wishful thinking ... I haven't seen any clear evidence that Airbus is involved here yet. SATOC may even just result in putting SALIS on a more sound base.
The A400M programme has now got a sound base with the latest contract amendments, the UK may order some more ...

texl1649 wrote:
Outside of the C-130 (did someone mention eternally in production?), military airlifters tend to wind up taking longer/being a lot more expensive than hoped/originally planned.

Outside of the C-130?


A 2004 critique of the J model is perhaps not the best net/big picture view in 2022 of the C-130. The Embraer is if anything better than the ‘Super Herc’ but sales are what they are.

I fully expect the SATOC process to work toward a definition in the next 5 years, however. Hopefully the work share/participation can as such be defined as well.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 10:07 pm

mxaxai wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
Does anyone know what oversized items Europe is transporting by air?

  • Helicopters (NH-90, Tiger, CH-53)
  • Large vehicles and AFVs (Canada used them to bring some Leopard 2 tanks to Afghanistan, probably the heaviest piece of cargo these aircraft saw)
  • Food, supplies and small arms
  • Face masks (for COVID)
  • Memorial stones (at least 1)
  • Shipping and medical containers

I don't think Europe has ever moved a tank before. The only thing left on the list that can't physically fit the A400M is the CH-53. But Germany is about to replace it and the easy answer is to buy Chinook that can fit the A400M despite being more capable.

Catfry wrote:
It was designed to be a tactical plane, that is why it has such a high empty weight to MTOW ratio, and why it's range to MTOW is similarly low. those short stubby wings and very heavy structure don't come cheap. They are fundamental design choices that cannot simply be undone by raising the MTOW, you'd end up with a very heavy design that would be bad at everything, when you could have spent the same on a new design.

This is completely wrong. The fundamental design choices that make a tactical airlifter are the exact things that are needed to allow an increase in MTOW for the strategic role. I will break down every part of the aircraft.

1) Wing - Tactical aircraft are designed to provide high lift for low landing and takeoff speeds to reduce the runway requirement. Giving it a longer runway and a higher takeoff speed allows the wing to produce additional lift without changing the wing at all.

2) Landing gear - Tactical airlifters are designed to withstand the shock of landing on rough runways. So operating from smooth runways they have considerable headroom and could easily support a higher takeoff and landing weight.

3) Engine thrust - Tactical airlifters need to accelerate quickly to operate from short runways. On a longer runway in the strategic role it will be able to accelerate to higher speeds that the higher takeoff weight requires.

4) Wing strength - Tactical airlifters are designed for 3G maneuverability. The wing needs to be able to handle this load without breaking. Strategic airlifters are limited at 2.5G maximum. Some strategic airlifters give a 2.25G rating where they can fly at higher weights. So this proves that a lower G limit allows for higher flying weights. A 2.5G max G limit and a 2.25G overload limit would allow the A400M MTOW to increase with no changes.

5) Cargo bay weight loading - Multiple aircraft give different payload weight maximums depending on G limits. The payload weight needs to be multiplied by the G load to provide the weight the floor sees. Strategic missions don't see high G loads so the cargo weights can be at maximum or even higher than the current maximum limit.

I am confident the A400M could take off at 160t MTOW as it sits right now but with overload flight restrictions. Airbus is expert at increasing MTOW of their designs by analysing the wing box loads and adding very minor weight to add strength. As the MTOW increased on the A321 and A350 they became more dominant. Their payload range curves improved making them more cost effecticely in terms of payload weight over distance. The C-27J
NG added wingtips and a MTOW bump for less than $100 million.

Obviously the higher the MTOW is increased the more it costs and it would no doubt be an exponential increase in cost. A 160t MTOW A400ER would be incredibly low cost with very minor changes. A 200t MTOW would cost billions but it would still be better value than a cleansheet design. Anything over 200t and the changes would become too great with bigger engines, landing gear etc.
 
johns624
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:30 am

The Netherlands and Belgium got rid of their tanks (Yeah, I know about the leased Dutch company). The UK is down to 2 battalions. Germany doesn't do out-of-area heavy deployments, as well as Italy and Spain. That leaves the French (maybe). There's not a lot of stuff that requires a heavy transport.
 
mxaxai
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 7:57 am

RJMAZ wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
Does anyone know what oversized items Europe is transporting by air?

  • Helicopters (NH-90, Tiger, CH-53)
  • Large vehicles and AFVs (Canada used them to bring some Leopard 2 tanks to Afghanistan, probably the heaviest piece of cargo these aircraft saw)
  • Food, supplies and small arms
  • Face masks (for COVID)
  • Memorial stones (at least 1)
  • Shipping and medical containers

I don't think Europe has ever moved a tank before. The only thing left on the list that can't physically fit the A400M is the CH-53. But Germany is about to replace it and the easy answer is to buy Chinook that can fit the A400M despite being more capable.

Germany flew the PzH 2000 to Afghanistan, too heavy for the A400M. (Also, how did the Danish Leopards get to Afghanistan? Via Pakistani roads?)

For some of the larger helicopters, the An-124 (or the C-17) is advantageous because less disassembly is required to fit the cargo hold.
 
Schroinx
Topic Author
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 8:49 am

Some of the requirements for strategic airlift may not be aimed at a specific type of vehicle, but having the option to ship in the heavy stuff is important and the A4000 don't do that.
The ability to lift a larger amount of troops and gear to a faraway place, than is possible with individual A400 flights. 50 An-124s can lift a lot more a lot faster than 50 A400s. In such a scenario the An-124 and likely MRTTs would ferry the gear and troops to the theater and then the A400 and the medium transport would do the in-theater relocation to austere airstrips, as an An-124-like plane would be too heavy for most airstrips. In Denmark, we still have a few tanks. They did come in handy in the Balkans and the ability to ship a few of them overseas fast is nice, as it can save the day, as they did in the Balkans. We had already deployed them, but that may not always be the case, so having to option to do so increases the range of options in a conflict.
So the SATOC program is likely also to give EU the capability to deploy say a brigade to a faraway place and do it fast. Like if there was a repeat of Crimea or the evacuation of Kabul. It provides more options.
50-80 planes in the An-124 size would change how the EU airlift is done, as it would free the smaller and more rugged planes from the long haul task to in-theater stuff. Troops and some equipment can be transported with the MRTTs, so its likely a question of getting vehicles and larger gear such as helicopters, GBAD, wheeled armoured personnel carriers, artillery and a few tanks in-theater and doing it in ready to fight configuration. This is about increasing the quantity of moving the larger pieces over long distances. 100 A400 ER would not provide the same capacity or capability as 30 An-124s. On this is also the 100 or 150 A400 can choke the receiving airports due to the lack of stand-off space and landing slots.
This is also why a long-range version of the A400 is not sufficient - it's about capacity. 120 ton is hard to beat. Thats about four Strykers if they could fit.
 
Schroinx
Topic Author
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 9:25 am

"Stryker can be transported on the ground using trucks or by air on C-17, C-5 and C-130 aircraft. The C-5 and C-17 aircraft can carry seven and four Strykers respectively.

The C-130H can fly safely carrying a maximum 38,000lb load for up to 1,000nm. The Stryker’s weight, 36,240lb and size are within the payload limit of the C-130H. The C-130 can operate from smaller airfields in more remote locations. All configurations of the Stryker can disembark from the C-130 in combat-ready status."

https://www.army-technology.com/project ... t-vehicle/
 
Catfry
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 9:51 am

RJMAZ wrote:

This is completely wrong. The fundamental design choices that make a tactical airlifter are the exact things that are needed to allow an increase in MTOW for the strategic role. I will break down every part of the aircraft.

1) Wing - Tactical aircraft are designed to provide high lift for low landing and takeoff speeds to reduce the runway requirement. Giving it a longer runway and a higher takeoff speed allows the wing to produce additional lift without changing the wing at all.

2) Landing gear - Tactical airlifters are designed to withstand the shock of landing on rough runways. So operating from smooth runways they have considerable headroom and could easily support a higher takeoff and landing weight.

3) Engine thrust - Tactical airlifters need to accelerate quickly to operate from short runways. On a longer runway in the strategic role it will be able to accelerate to higher speeds that the higher takeoff weight requires.

4) Wing strength - Tactical airlifters are designed for 3G maneuverability. The wing needs to be able to handle this load without breaking. Strategic airlifters are limited at 2.5G maximum. Some strategic airlifters give a 2.25G rating where they can fly at higher weights. So this proves that a lower G limit allows for higher flying weights. A 2.5G max G limit and a 2.25G overload limit would allow the A400M MTOW to increase with no changes.

5) Cargo bay weight loading - Multiple aircraft give different payload weight maximums depending on G limits. The payload weight needs to be multiplied by the G load to provide the weight the floor sees. Strategic missions don't see high G loads so the cargo weights can be at maximum or even higher than the current maximum limit.

I am confident the A400M could take off at 160t MTOW as it sits right now but with overload flight restrictions. Airbus is expert at increasing MTOW of their designs by analysing the wing box loads and adding very minor weight to add strength. As the MTOW increased on the A321 and A350 they became more dominant. Their payload range curves improved making them more cost effecticely in terms of payload weight over distance. The C-27J
NG added wingtips and a MTOW bump for less than $100 million.

Obviously the higher the MTOW is increased the more it costs and it would no doubt be an exponential increase in cost. A 160t MTOW A400ER would be incredibly low cost with very minor changes. A 200t MTOW would cost billions but it would still be better value than a cleansheet design. Anything over 200t and the changes would become too great with bigger engines, landing gear etc.


You are showing that you can make the a400m better as a strategic lifter, not that you can make it good. You can make it take off but you you will run into problems at cruise if you don't make substantial wing changes. The a400m as it is, cruises max 1 800 nmi at full load. Compare a similar OEW plane like the 767-200 that does 3 900 nmi. This is almost entirely down to the wing and engines. If you put more fuel into the design through MTOW increase, you get further, but you also take longer to reach cruise altitude, which will impact speed and hurt distance. And so you must increase the wing, as you yourself agreed earlier. And this will not be cheap. The 767 has a 25% greater wing area.
 
GDB
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:56 pm

Since things turned nasty to put it mildly, between Russia and Ukraine, there have been (renewed) efforts to westernise the AN-124, most recently with GE engines and Western Avionics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonov_An-124_Ruslan

Which reminds me of a poster our RR rep had in his office around the turn of the century, including plans to fit RR RB211-524's to the AN-124, as well as an earlier MDD pitch to the UK for a C-17K, with RR RB211-535's and a probe alongside the standard refueling receptacle.

So, could a Western AN-124 still be possible? Provides the airlift and boost to Ukraine, the latter would admittedly piss off Russia, not that they need reasons to get themselves pissed off in their paranoia.

As for the usual assumption that the European NATO nations don't do anything, as stated, the Germans got heavy SP out to Afghanistan, others MBT's, the usual assumption based on a lack of even a cursory search.
And some call us freeloaders when it seems there is little to no knowledge to what they have actually done, for an ungrateful, between 2017-2020 unstable ally with a head of state openly pro Putin, (note how the rest of NATO with people in the country were excluded from the mass Taliban prisoner release and effective hand over agreed in 2020 by the then administration, if another nation had done that to the US we'd hear and be berated for it for the rest of this century).
Who are the unreliable ones really?
What hardware you got counts for little then, does it?
Last edited by GDB on Fri Jan 07, 2022 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
johns624
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 2:11 pm

GDB wrote:

As for the usual assumption that the European NATO nations don't do anything, as stated, the Germans got heavy SP out to Afghanistan, others MBT's, the usual assumption based on a lack of even a cursory search.
And they call us the freeloaders when it seems there is little to no knowledge to what they have actually done, for an ungrateful and between 2017-2020, unstable ally.
The question is, for the few times it is done, would having an in-house capability be worth it or should they just "hire" US or other assets?
 
johns624
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 3:04 pm

I couldn't edit my last post, so here's some clarification (I hope)... I think, and I think it's widespread, that it's more important for small/midsize NATO nations to have a good range of tactical assets, with the strategic assets supplied by the larger countries. For instance, in air force terms, it's good to have fighters and attack aircraft, along with tactical airlift, while the tankers and strategic airlift are supplied by a larger country. In army terms, you don't need airborne forces, but a good, deployable infantry/light armor unit. For the navy, destroyers and frigates are a must, but you don't need aviation assets or a full replenishment train. It's better if you have any of these units, but not necessary.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 9:00 pm

Catfry wrote:
You can make it take off but you you will run into problems at cruise if you don't make substantial wing changes. The a400m as it is, cruises max 1 800 nmi at full load. Compare a similar OEW plane like the 767-200 that does 3 900 nmi. This is almost entirely down to the wing and engines. If you put more fuel into the design through MTOW increase, you get further, but you also take longer to reach cruise altitude, which will impact speed and hurt distance. And so you must increase the wing, as you yourself agreed earlier. And this will not be cheap. The 767 has a 25% greater wing area.

You are 100% wrong. I also see that you just cherry picked the 767-200 with the lowest wing loading of all Boeing/Airbus airliners to try and suggest the A400M wing is not big enough. That same 767-200 wing was flying 43% heavier on the 767-400ER.

Airbus would not even need to touch the wing until exceeding 160t MTOW.

The A321XLR has a 122m2 wing with a 101t MTOW. Do the math with the 225m2 A400M wing and that is a 186t MTOW. The A321XLR has a range of 4,700nm. The A400M would have absolutely no problem cruising at 160t.

Even the world's longest range airliner in history the 777LR with its 436m2 wing and 347t MTOW would mean the A400M could go up to 179t MTOW with the same wing loading.

The C-130J has 13,832 kw of engine power with a 70,307 kg MTOW. The A400M has 32,800 kw. To make them the same power to weight the A400M would have to go up to 166,719 kg MTOW.

So the thrust and wing area of the current A400M is fine for 160t MTOW. Like the A321 and C-5B when taking off at MTOW they wont be able to climb above 30,000 ft initially. As fuel burns and they become lighter they climb above 30,000 ft. This is fairly normally.

Blended wing tips like the C-27J NG had installed is all I would suggest as it is cheap. It adds a couple percentage points of efficiency on long flights which this extended range A400M would be doing regularly.

It is easy to estimate runway performance as weights increase as we have airliner ACAP documents that show consistent exponential relationship between weight and runway length. We can accurately estimate the runway performance of a 160t MTOW A400M and it is still below a C-17 or C-5M.

Now at a 180t MTOW a A400ER with the current size wing would need runway lengths that would probably become too long and limit it to major airports. So only at this point do I say it would need increased span much bigger than just C-27J style wingtips.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A400M_Atlas
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A321
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_777
 
GDB
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 9:37 pm

johns624 wrote:
I couldn't edit my last post, so here's some clarification (I hope)... I think, and I think it's widespread, that it's more important for small/midsize NATO nations to have a good range of tactical assets, with the strategic assets supplied by the larger countries. For instance, in air force terms, it's good to have fighters and attack aircraft, along with tactical airlift, while the tankers and strategic airlift are supplied by a larger country. In army terms, you don't need airborne forces, but a good, deployable infantry/light armor unit. For the navy, destroyers and frigates are a must, but you don't need aviation assets or a full replenishment train. It's better if you have any of these units, but not necessary.


This is where I think the NATO joint buy of C-17’s is a small start but also the way forward, that image I mentioned on the RR reps wall, of a Westernized AN-124, was proposed due to an actual idea, going around, likely in relation to the very recent action in Kosovo.
Along with the pooled tanker/transport buy, it’s a long overdue idea.

It would have been easier all those years ago, or a bit later, to get Westernized AN-124’s, could it be possible to do it now? A question of will and money I suspect.
 
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SeamanBeaumont
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 07, 2022 10:17 pm

GDB wrote:
johns624 wrote:
I couldn't edit my last post, so here's some clarification (I hope)... I think, and I think it's widespread, that it's more important for small/midsize NATO nations to have a good range of tactical assets, with the strategic assets supplied by the larger countries. For instance, in air force terms, it's good to have fighters and attack aircraft, along with tactical airlift, while the tankers and strategic airlift are supplied by a larger country. In army terms, you don't need airborne forces, but a good, deployable infantry/light armor unit. For the navy, destroyers and frigates are a must, but you don't need aviation assets or a full replenishment train. It's better if you have any of these units, but not necessary.


This is where I think the NATO joint buy of C-17’s is a small start but also the way forward, that image I mentioned on the RR reps wall, of a Westernized AN-124, was proposed due to an actual idea, going around, likely in relation to the very recent action in Kosovo.
Along with the pooled tanker/transport buy, it’s a long overdue idea.

It would have been easier all those years ago, or a bit later, to get Westernized AN-124’s, could it be possible to do it now? A question of will and money I suspect.

To much government forethought required but why not restart prod with an updated AN-124 airframe but run similar to the UK tanker contract. Use the aircraft 20% of the time for military partner tasking. Lease the aircraft out for 80% of their time on contingent that if a crisis happens the partners get the aircraft.

There is clearly ongoing commercial demand for this size and this type of operating concept would amortise dev costs across a primarily commercial operation over the next 30 years and still provide the lift capability required.
 
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Mortyman
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sat Jan 08, 2022 1:03 am

I'm guessing the Bell 412Sp helikopters of the Royal Norwegian Air force and CV90 vehicle of the army was transported to Afghanistan onboard C-17's ? I don't think the helikopter fits into the Super Hercules ....
 
petertenthije
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sat Jan 08, 2022 9:49 pm

Are there still C-5s in storage that could be returned to service? It would be expensive to reengine them, and maybe even zero-hour the airframe, but it might still be cheaper then a new design.
 
cpd
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:11 pm

GDB wrote:
johns624 wrote:
I couldn't edit my last post, so here's some clarification (I hope)... I think, and I think it's widespread, that it's more important for small/midsize NATO nations to have a good range of tactical assets, with the strategic assets supplied by the larger countries. For instance, in air force terms, it's good to have fighters and attack aircraft, along with tactical airlift, while the tankers and strategic airlift are supplied by a larger country. In army terms, you don't need airborne forces, but a good, deployable infantry/light armor unit. For the navy, destroyers and frigates are a must, but you don't need aviation assets or a full replenishment train. It's better if you have any of these units, but not necessary.


This is where I think the NATO joint buy of C-17’s is a small start but also the way forward, that image I mentioned on the RR reps wall, of a Westernized AN-124, was proposed due to an actual idea, going around, likely in relation to the very recent action in Kosovo.
Along with the pooled tanker/transport buy, it’s a long overdue idea.

It would have been easier all those years ago, or a bit later, to get Westernized AN-124’s, could it be possible to do it now? A question of will and money I suspect.



I suspect modern and westernised version of the AN124 would be a good option because you can then open up to commercial use when the planes aren’t needed for military purposes. Those big planes are always needed to move some sort of bulky oversized cargo and the existing ones are getting older.
 
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Taxi645
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Mon Jan 10, 2022 6:16 am

Say C-17 production could be restarted, what if a deal along the following lines was closed:

- EU (along with a separate US order) order ~70 C-17's.
- In turn the US order ~140 A400M

Advantages being:

- Both the EU and US strengthening their combined strategic and tactical airlift capability.
- Very little development cost.
- Increased NATO streamlining.
- Politically feasible (both sides get their industrial pay off, just on different programs).

If restarting C17 production is not possible than the US/EU should look at a combined new design for strategic airlift, produced in the US under a similar deal.

Would seem insane for the EU to develop their own strategic airlift considering the limited numbers probably purchased when the US strategic airlift fleet will sooner or later need replacement.

Perhaps the EU no longer thrusts the long term stability of the US political system to engage in such a deal.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 12, 2022 6:01 am

Taxi645 wrote:
Say C-17 production could be restarted, what if a deal along the following lines was closed:


It would be easier to restart the 757 line, at least the buildings still exist and it is somewhat similar to the 737. I recall he government didn't pay Boeing to store the tooling, all that is gone, the buildings are gone, everyone that worked on it are spread here and far. All the contracts are long expired, and most of the subcontractors no longer make airplane parts in Southern California.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... tion-line/

https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA557694
 
Flying-Tiger
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 12, 2022 8:18 am

GDB wrote:
Along with the pooled tanker/transport buy, it’s a long overdue idea.


There are quite a number of pooling agreements operating within the NATO sphere already. One of the more visible ones is the A330 MRTT tanker pool with its nine frames and the option to go even higher. Denmark & Germany have a joint arrangement for RoRo vessel hire from a Danish owner (DFDS). These vessel ply commercial trades but can be called in if needed. And from my understanding general air cargo within NATO is flown by whichever NATO member has available equipment, not necessarily the "home air force".
 
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Taxi645
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 12, 2022 9:05 am

JayinKitsap wrote:
Taxi645 wrote:
Say C-17 production could be restarted, what if a deal along the following lines was closed:


It would be easier to restart the 757 line, at least the buildings still exist and it is somewhat similar to the 737. I recall he government didn't pay Boeing to store the tooling, all that is gone, the buildings are gone, everyone that worked on it are spread here and far. All the contracts are long expired, and most of the subcontractors no longer make airplane parts in Southern California.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... tion-line/

https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA557694


The main point was not so much the C-17, but the unlikeliness of the EU's ability to sufficiently transform the way they organise their defences procurement practices and numbers in order to develop a strategic transport with a somewhat sane pricetag. It's still too much "these members one to do this", "these members want to join", "these members leave the program". Combined with the limited numbers the EU as a whole tend to buy, the price of a dedicatedly designed military strategic transport would go through the roof. So unless they somehow want to use a commercial freighter to fulfil part of that role I don't see it work if the EU goes alone on this one.

It's all bit of a symptom of the EU members continuing there navel gazing, in a wider world that does not allow that much longer. They used to be sufficiently protected by the US, but with the US becoming more politically unstable and now China as an additional superpower, the time to mess around is starting to end. The fact that the US is negotiating with Russia about the latter's demand that NATO should not be present on the EU's eastern territories without the EU actually being part of the negotiation is equally bizarre but at the same time the logical consequence of it's own political and military weakness.

Unless EU politicians can convince their citizens that playtime is over and some parts of autonomy needs to be relinquished in order to not be endless be toyed around with and to protect the EU's borders and interests, I don't expect this to change.

In that setting I don't expect a EU dedicated strategic transport to be successfully developed. As I don't expect the political situation in the EU and the procurement practices to change quickly enough, I think the better option would be to go together with the US on this one and together with the US provide the numbers to keep the per aircraft cost sane. Mix in the A400M to keep it balanced and both sides strengthen their transport capability at a reasonable price.
 
FlapOperator
Posts: 858
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:11 am

Flying-Tiger wrote:
And from my understanding general air cargo within NATO is flown by whichever NATO member has available equipment, not necessarily the "home air force".


Yes and no. Yes in that there are a number of generalized and specific airlift agreements (along with all sorts of other agreements.) These exist in forms ranging from basically a cash reimbursable charter to prepaid available hours to specific agreements to support specific operations.

No in the sense that the Belgians can just call Ottawa and have a -130 show up, or its easy just to throw a couple of extra pallets on a USAFE C-17 going somewhere.
 
FlapOperator
Posts: 858
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2021 4:07 pm

Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:14 am

This will be fascinating program to watch. My personal opinion is that its going to wallow in development hell until the French can shoe-horn the requirements into looking like some Jet powered A400M, and then it will be another 15 years for designs, work shares, and other requirements made. Then another 15 years of testing, by which time the only export customer will be the Turkish and Russian Air Forces.
 
JayinKitsap
Posts: 2885
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:59 am

Taxi645 wrote:
JayinKitsap wrote:
Taxi645 wrote:
Say C-17 production could be restarted, what if a deal along the following lines was closed:


It would be easier to restart the 757 line, at least the buildings still exist and it is somewhat similar to the 737. I recall he government didn't pay Boeing to store the tooling, all that is gone, the buildings are gone, everyone that worked on it are spread here and far. All the contracts are long expired, and most of the subcontractors no longer make airplane parts in Southern California.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... tion-line/

https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA557694


The main point was not so much the C-17, but the unlikeliness of the EU's ability to sufficiently transform the way they organise their defences procurement practices and numbers in order to develop a strategic transport with a somewhat sane pricetag. It's still too much "these members one to do this", "these members want to join", "these members leave the program". Combined with the limited numbers the EU as a whole tend to buy, the price of a dedicatedly designed military strategic transport would go through the roof. So unless they somehow want to use a commercial freighter to fulfil part of that role I don't see it work if the EU goes alone on this one.

It's all bit of a symptom of the EU members continuing there navel gazing, in a wider world that does not allow that much longer. They used to be sufficiently protected by the US, but with the US becoming more politically unstable and now China as an additional superpower, the time to mess around is starting to end. The fact that the US is negotiating with Russia about the latter's demand that NATO should not be present on the EU's eastern territories without the EU actually being part of the negotiation is equally bizarre but at the same time the logical consequence of it's own political and military weakness.

Unless EU politicians can convince their citizens that playtime is over and some parts of autonomy needs to be relinquished in order to not be endless be toyed around with and to protect the EU's borders and interests, I don't expect this to change.

In that setting I don't expect a EU dedicated strategic transport to be successfully developed. As I don't expect the political situation in the EU and the procurement practices to change quickly enough, I think the better option would be to go together with the US on this one and together with the US provide the numbers to keep the per aircraft cost sane. Mix in the A400M to keep it balanced and both sides strengthen their transport capability at a reasonable price.


I agree, it seems implausible at this time for the EU to do a strategic transport, it would be quite expensive and a distraction from the higher priorities facing the EU members.

20 years down the road the US will go for a new strategic transport, hopefully they stay quite practical when they do. Then it could be a program for many countries, but then it will be designed for the US needs, and a compromise for the other countries.
 
ItnStln
Posts: 339
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:47 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
Flying-Tiger wrote:
And from my understanding general air cargo within NATO is flown by whichever NATO member has available equipment, not necessarily the "home air force".


Yes and no. Yes in that there are a number of generalized and specific airlift agreements (along with all sorts of other agreements.) These exist in forms ranging from basically a cash reimbursable charter to prepaid available hours to specific agreements to support specific operations.

No in the sense that the Belgians can just call Ottawa and have a -130 show up, or its easy just to throw a couple of extra pallets on a USAFE C-17 going somewhere.

Who in USAFE has C-17s?
 
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Taxi645
Posts: 600
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:17 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
Taxi645 wrote:
JayinKitsap wrote:

It would be easier to restart the 757 line, at least the buildings still exist and it is somewhat similar to the 737. I recall he government didn't pay Boeing to store the tooling, all that is gone, the buildings are gone, everyone that worked on it are spread here and far. All the contracts are long expired, and most of the subcontractors no longer make airplane parts in Southern California.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... tion-line/

https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA557694


The main point was not so much the C-17, but the unlikeliness of the EU's ability to sufficiently transform the way they organise their defences procurement practices and numbers in order to develop a strategic transport with a somewhat sane pricetag. It's still too much "these members one to do this", "these members want to join", "these members leave the program". Combined with the limited numbers the EU as a whole tend to buy, the price of a dedicatedly designed military strategic transport would go through the roof. So unless they somehow want to use a commercial freighter to fulfil part of that role I don't see it work if the EU goes alone on this one.

It's all bit of a symptom of the EU members continuing there navel gazing, in a wider world that does not allow that much longer. They used to be sufficiently protected by the US, but with the US becoming more politically unstable and now China as an additional superpower, the time to mess around is starting to end. The fact that the US is negotiating with Russia about the latter's demand that NATO should not be present on the EU's eastern territories without the EU actually being part of the negotiation is equally bizarre but at the same time the logical consequence of it's own political and military weakness.

Unless EU politicians can convince their citizens that playtime is over and some parts of autonomy needs to be relinquished in order to not be endless be toyed around with and to protect the EU's borders and interests, I don't expect this to change.

In that setting I don't expect a EU dedicated strategic transport to be successfully developed. As I don't expect the political situation in the EU and the procurement practices to change quickly enough, I think the better option would be to go together with the US on this one and together with the US provide the numbers to keep the per aircraft cost sane. Mix in the A400M to keep it balanced and both sides strengthen their transport capability at a reasonable price.


I agree, it seems implausible at this time for the EU to do a strategic transport, it would be quite expensive and a distraction from the higher priorities facing the EU members.

20 years down the road the US will go for a new strategic transport, hopefully they stay quite practical when they do. Then it could be a program for many countries, but then it will be designed for the US needs, and a compromise for the other countries.


Sometimes, an acceptable comprise is better if 350 are produced, than something optimal (which it never is anyway) with only 60 built and a incredible per aircraft pricetag. If the EU wants be onboard for 100 planes, they might even have some limited say in definition. Perhaps then there would be some flexibility to come to a 2035-42 launch window.

As part of that deal the time to that point could perhaps be bridged with say 40 C17's from US inventory and in return say 80 A400M's to compensate and cover part of the C17 capability then missing at the USAF.
 
johns624
Posts: 5155
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:12 pm

Taxi645 wrote:
As part of that deal the time to that point could perhaps be bridged with say 40 C17's from US inventory and in return say 80 A400M's to compensate and cover part of the C17 capability then missing at the USAF.
Why would the USAF want to buy 80 A400s? That's almost as many as the major Airbus partner countries have had delivered so far.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:16 pm

ItnStln wrote:
FlapOperator wrote:
Flying-Tiger wrote:
And from my understanding general air cargo within NATO is flown by whichever NATO member has available equipment, not necessarily the "home air force".


Yes and no. Yes in that there are a number of generalized and specific airlift agreements (along with all sorts of other agreements.) These exist in forms ranging from basically a cash reimbursable charter to prepaid available hours to specific agreements to support specific operations.

No in the sense that the Belgians can just call Ottawa and have a -130 show up, or its easy just to throw a couple of extra pallets on a USAFE C-17 going somewhere.

Who in USAFE has C-17s?


There are -17 going through Ramstein all the time. Point was, just because its a NATO asset doesn't mean that all and sundry have access to it.
 
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Taxi645
Posts: 600
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:45 pm

johns624 wrote:
Taxi645 wrote:
As part of that deal the time to that point could perhaps be bridged with say 40 C17's from US inventory and in return say 80 A400M's to compensate and cover part of the C17 capability then missing at the USAF.
Why would the USAF want to buy 80 A400s? That's almost as many as the major Airbus partner countries have had delivered so far.


1 The narrow answer would be to cover part of the capability of losing 40 C17 to the EU or EU NATO nation's. 80 is not a very impressive number in USAF terms.
2 The broader answer is that this not only about what the USAF wants:

- It's in the US and EU interest that the EU has a significant strategic airlift capability. Waiting till the EU has one is a liability and if the EU eventually goes alone on it, the numbers of planes would be low due to per unit cost.
- The US and EU would need newly designed strategic airlift models in approximately the same 2035-2045 window.
- The US inventory C17's could quickly expand the EU's strategic airlift capability, the A400M could quickly fill part of the C17 capability for the USAF and fill a niche between the C130J and the C17.
- Long term the newly designed strategic airlift could be produced in the US (also for the EU), the A400M would still be produced in the EU (also for US stock). So you have two efficient production lines and a balanced industrial pay-off.
 
LightningZ71
Posts: 639
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 7:44 pm

How useless would a conversion program for low hour retired A380 aircraft be for this need? Wasn't there a plan for the A380 to have a freight version originally? Is it possible to do some sort of "super duper beluga" conversion for it?
 
FlapOperator
Posts: 858
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 8:26 pm

The problem with Beluga-like conversions is you're really talking the 100000 boxes of feathers use case and then you're just moving stuff from prepared airfield with extensive ground support to other prepared airfield with extensive ground support.

While I know the soft field capability of the C-5 is nearly never used, its pretty useful to go to any number of places (in Africa, for one example) where plenty of asphalt exists but ground support is likely minimal. Now, in the 1960s, someone could come along and say "Lets just flip the A380 upside down and make an aft ramp" and that's a pretty good start. This isn't the case anymore.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 8:41 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
Now, in the 1960s, someone could come along and say "Lets just flip the A380 upside down and make an aft ramp" and that's a pretty good start. This isn't the case anymore.


I blame the decreasing use of LSD for this lack of creativity in the aerospace world. Win some/lose some.
 
johns624
Posts: 5155
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 8:48 pm

Taxi645 wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Taxi645 wrote:
As part of that deal the time to that point could perhaps be bridged with say 40 C17's from US inventory and in return say 80 A400M's to compensate and cover part of the C17 capability then missing at the USAF.
Why would the USAF want to buy 80 A400s? That's almost as many as the major Airbus partner countries have had delivered so far.


1 The narrow answer would be to cover part of the capability of losing 40 C17 to the EU or EU NATO nation's. 80 is not a very impressive number in USAF terms.
2 The broader answer is that this not only about what the USAF wants:

- It's in the US and EU interest that the EU has a significant strategic airlift capability. Waiting till the EU has one is a liability and if the EU eventually goes alone on it, the numbers of planes would be low due to per unit cost.
- The US and EU would need newly designed strategic airlift models in approximately the same 2035-2045 window.
- The US inventory C17's could quickly expand the EU's strategic airlift capability, the A400M could quickly fill part of the C17 capability for the USAF and fill a niche between the C130J and the C17.
- Long term the newly designed strategic airlift could be produced in the US (also for the EU), the A400M would still be produced in the EU (also for US stock). So you have two efficient production lines and a balanced industrial pay-off.
So basically, you want us to bail out the EU because they didn't have the foresight to buy hardly any C17s during all the years that they were in production? In the meantime, for the next 15-25 years, we're short of strategic airlift, something that we use more than anyone else.
In the real world, very few EU countries are going to confront China and you don't need it to constrain Russia.
 
mxaxai
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:10 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
How useless would a conversion program for low hour retired A380 aircraft be for this need? Wasn't there a plan for the A380 to have a freight version originally? Is it possible to do some sort of "super duper beluga" conversion for it?

It would be pretty expensive. The two floors inside the A380 are load-bearing structures. You can't just take them out without massively strengthening the outer hull. The A380F would've had 3 levels of cargo.

The other problem is unloading. Not only does the A380 sit pretty high off the ground, which means long ramps, but the large cargo doors you find on military airlifters would likely interfere with the rear pressure bulkhead. If you want to fly with an open ramp - for airdrops and such - the hull around the cargo door also needs massive strengthening to transfer the loads from the empennage to the forwards fuselage. Not impossible, but at that point you could probably do a clean sheet design at similar costs.
 
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Taxi645
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:01 am

johns624 wrote:
So basically, you want us to bail out the EU because they didn't have the foresight to buy hardly any C17s during all the years that they were in production? In the meantime, for the next 15-25 years, we're short of strategic airlift, something that we use more than anyone else.


It indeed it would've been better if more C17's were bought in that period by the EU. A400M countries didn't want to compromise the A400M sales and there was no industrial pay off.


johns624 wrote:
In the real world, very few EU countries are going to confront China and you don't need it to constrain Russia.


Yes that is absolutely true, but can the West/US afford the EU to remain this weak 20 years from now? What if the US political system continuos to become increasingly ineffective, if there will be an unstable or isolationist administration? A still weak EU will then mean opportunities for others not in the interest of the west. I think a stronger EU will be more in the interest of the US than it was in the past. A strategic airlift capability is part of that. It would not be much use without EU political reform, but it is one of the building blocks for the EU to be able to project power.

As said, I don't see the EU developing a strategic airlift program in sufficient numbers and at an acceptable price to the tax payer on their own. I think it would be in the EU and US interest to go together on this one.
 
johns624
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:34 pm

Taxi645 wrote:
It would not be much use without EU political reform, but it is one of the building blocks for the EU to be able to project power.

As said, I don't see the EU developing a strategic airlift program in sufficient numbers and at an acceptable price to the tax payer on their own. I think it would be in the EU and US interest to go together on this one.
I agree but you'd have to have the political reform now. Belgium and Netherlands have gotten rid of their MBTs because they "don't need them". Yet, Russia still has thousands. Even the UK is down to two tank battalions and is closing their BATUS in Canada because they have so few tanks that they want the training area closer to home so that they can use them in confrontations. I don't have a problem with the European countries piggybacking on our next generation airlifter. The thing is, since the vast majority will have USAF painted on the side, it'll be designed mainly for our needs. Also, although it's been done in limited ways so far, how many countries in Europe are going to chip in on an expensive plane that they don't have full control over? France and Germany will have de facto control of any EU/NATO branded planes.
 
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Taxi645
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:29 pm

johns624 wrote:
I agree but you'd have to have the political reform now. Belgium and Netherlands have gotten rid of their MBTs because they "don't need them". Yet, Russia still has thousands.


There has indeed been a lot of naivety in the post cold war period and even now national politicians don't dare to address the need for EU reform in fear of losing voters. I fear it will take a mayor event to wake the public up to reality.

BTW, interesting to mention MBT's, the MBT-70 originated from the same line of thinking. Although of course it was cancelled.

I don't have a problem with the European countries piggybacking on our next generation airlifter. The thing is, since the vast majority will have USAF painted on the side, it'll be designed mainly for our needs. Also, although it's been done in limited ways so far, how many countries in Europe are going to chip in on an expensive plane that they don't have full control over? France and Germany will have de facto control of any EU/NATO branded planes.


Personally I feel (national) military requirements are often used as an excuse because the work split is not satisfactory. If the trade off is significant numbers of A400M's for the USAF and the plane sufficiently addresses EU requirements, why not. I think you are right though, that this scenario is not likely, but it would provide more capability for the buck, larger number of planes and more NATO streamlining.
 
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SQ22
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:09 am

Please remember to provide a link to yaour source when stating facts or make it clear you are stating your opinion. Thanks.
 
ItnStln
Posts: 339
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:12 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
ItnStln wrote:
FlapOperator wrote:

Yes and no. Yes in that there are a number of generalized and specific airlift agreements (along with all sorts of other agreements.) These exist in forms ranging from basically a cash reimbursable charter to prepaid available hours to specific agreements to support specific operations.

No in the sense that the Belgians can just call Ottawa and have a -130 show up, or its easy just to throw a couple of extra pallets on a USAFE C-17 going somewhere.

Who in USAFE has C-17s?


There are -17 going through Ramstein all the time. Point was, just because its a NATO asset doesn't mean that all and sundry have access to it.

Thanks!

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