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cannibalz3
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Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:57 pm

These things have been discussed, but despite searching I cannot find an answer to my specific questions:
Can conformal fuel tanks be removed? Do any other aircraft other than late-model F-15s and F-16s have them? If not, why not?
 
dispatchguy
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:37 pm

We had them on the F15C/D at Keflavik, when I was there 1991/1992.

And yes, they can be removed. If I recall, a post at the top to fit into a fitting on the aircraft, plus some bolts up top, some wiring and fuel feed lines, and some bolts at the bottom. However, I dont think we ever flew without them...

I wasnt fuel shop, so I dont know the particulars, but I remember seeing them on support stands (off the aircraft) in some of our hardened shelters.

[Edited 2006-03-30 12:40:51]
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kc135topboom
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:24 am

In addition to the F-15C/D, the F-15E also has them. The program started with the Mud Eagle. The F-16C/D is the only other airplane, I can think of, that has conformal fuel tanks, but I could be wrong. They almost double the fuel capacity of the aircraft without a great increase in drag.
 
TaromA380
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:30 am

Are the conformal fuel tanks able to be jettisoned ? If not, there is no great increase in drag, but great decrease in close combat abilities.
 
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vzlet
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 5:15 am

Per a Lockheed press release:

"Addition of large conformal tanks to the F-16 without impacting its superb aerodynamics and handling qualities was a major technical achievement. The CFTs are designed for the full F-16 flight envelope - up to 9 g's, maximum angle of attack and sideslip and maximum roll rate. These points were demonstrated repeatedly during the flight test program."

"The CFTs have very little adverse effect on the F-16's renowned performance," said Maj. Timothy S. McDonald, U.S. Air Force project pilot for CFT testing at Eglin. "You could hardly tell they were there. A set of CFTs carries 50 percent more fuel than the centerline external fuel tank, but has only 12 percent of the drag."

"The tanks are attached in a manner that keeps them independent of aircraft bending loads, and they do not have to support external stores, allowing the CFTs to be of lightweight construction. The CFTs do not interfere with daily inspections and servicing and can be removed or installed in approximately two hours. "
"That's so stupid! If they're so secret, why are they out where everyone can see them?" - my kid
 
Oroka
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:15 pm

Quoting TaromA380 (Reply 3):
Are the conformal fuel tanks able to be jettisoned ? If not, there is no great increase in drag, but great decrease in close combat abilities.

No, CFTs can not be jettisoned, they have to be bolted down. The CFTs on the F-15c/d/e also include additional sensor systems, and have to be wired to the fighter.

The CFT on the F-16 is on its 'back' and other than a inverted manuver, or something stupid, you couldnt get the CFTs off even if it was designed to.

IIRC, CFTs are in development for the Eurofighter and the Gripen.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 8:36 pm

Quoting Oroka (Reply 5):
CFTs are in development for the Eurofighter and the Gripen.

I didn't know that. Thanks for the info.
 
GDB
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:45 am

As well as the Rafale too.....
 
checksixx
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:35 am

No way on the F-15 C/D. If I'm wrong, please provide one single source of proof. Photo...documetation...etc. Our C's were regularly rotated through iceland and never had conformal's on them. I don't even think they're plumbed for them. Don't get me wrong, I want you to prove me wrong as I'd really like a pic of a C/D with them on.

-Check
 
JakeOrion
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:53 am

Quoting Checksixx (Reply 8):
Don't get me wrong, I want you to prove me wrong as I'd really like a pic of a C/D with them on.

Text:
http://www.fighter-planes.com/info/f15.htm

Quote:
Low-drag, conformal fuel tanks were especially developed for the F-15C and D models. Conformal fuel tanks can be attached to the sides of the engine air intake trunks under each wing and are designed to the same load factors and airspeed limits as the basic aircraft. Each conformal fuel tank contains about 114 cubic feet of usable space. These tanks reduce the need for in-flight refueling on global missions and increase time in the combat area. All external stations for munitions remain available with the tanks in use. AIM-7F/M Sparrow and AIM-120 missiles, moreover, can be attached to the corners of the conformal fuel tanks.

Only pic I could find after long search:
http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/fighter/f15c-3.jpg

Very VERY rare on the C/D models, but E's wear them regularly.

[Edited 2006-03-31 23:53:41]
Every problem has a simple solution; finding the simple solution is the difficult problem.
 
checksixx
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:49 am

Sweet! Thanks for the photo!

-Check
 
dispatchguy
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:43 pm

Quoting Checksixx (Reply 8):
No way on the F-15 C/D. If I'm wrong, please provide one single source of proof. Photo...documetation...etc. Our C's were regularly rotated through iceland and never had conformal's on them. I don't even think they're plumbed for them. Don't get me wrong, I want you to prove me wrong as I'd really like a pic of a C/D with them on.

My year at Keflavik with the 57 FIS - FEB 91 - FEB 92; unfortunately I hated that place and didnt take even the first picture; however, a local has a page dedicated to the aircraft flown by the Black Knights.

The only memorable events were when a friend of mine, part of the Mildenhall Tanker Task force, TDYed up there for a few weeks late in my year, the 2 times I went on leave, and seeing the northern lights.

http://www.verslo.is/Baldur/Blackknigths.htm
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f4wso
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:01 am

Baldur has several F-15s with conformal tanks flying out of Keflavik. I wonder if they implemented them to reduce the tanker commitments?
Gary
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dispatchguy
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:27 am

No

The thought when I was there (91-92) was that if they had to chase a flight of Bears transiting the G-I-UK gap; that they wanted the gas to be able to do it without having to wait for a Tanker to launch for post takeoff support. From my -15 ride I got when I was there, the CFT gave them several hundred miles of additional range; and allowed them to trail a Bear flight much longer than a standard internal fuel only loadout.

What was nuts was the Norwegians flying single seat F16s to Kef back in 91-92; all that distance, over very cold water, single seat; no thanks  Smile

We never launched a F15 without CFTs on the side...
Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
 
khenleydia
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:50 pm

I had often wondered about these. Thanks for all the info! I went ahead and found a few pictures. By the way, I think the F-16 with CFTs looks absolutely awesome! Actually, I think some of the shots make it look pretty badass!

F-16:
http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/1600/f16cft3qm.jpg
http://www.defense-update.com/images/F-16CFT-hellenic.jpg
http://www.defense-update.com/images/cft-front.jpg
http://www.habu2.net/vipers/viperblocks/f16-cft.jpg
http://www.airsceneuk.org.uk/airshow01/paris/F-16CFT.jpg

F-15:
Long URL
http://f15.hp.infoseek.co.jp/pic/cft.jpg
http://afwing.com/images/f15/cft/f15d.jpg

KhenleyDIA
Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
 
jwenting
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RE: Conformal Fuel Tanks?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:14 pm

The conformals were originally designed specifically for the Iceland based aircraft to give them the range needed to intercept Soviet longrange bombers over the Atlantic and northern Ocean without tanker support (as well as for improved loiter time).

They were never very common elsewhere AFAIK.

I'm not sure the ones on the F-15E can be removed, I believe I read somewhere they're integral to that aircraft's structure.
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