FSTA A330 is now a CAP aircraft?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by tekirdag, May 1, 2011.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. ACM Sir Stephen Dalton says that "FSTA is much more than a tanker. It now has the ability to stay airborne and provide coms relay for much longer than our current aircraft types".

    Come come, Sir Dalton, do you really need an lumping great A330 to provide something as simple as comms relay?? A Global Hawk could do that for 10% of the cost. I would suggest you and a few Bae boffins add a few long-range AAMs to the A330 (perhaps the MBDA Meteor) and then you have a CAP aircraft that can stay aloft for 24 hours or more.

    I think I suggested this many years ago, not that you listen. Anyway, here is your chance to catch up with all the latest 21st century developments in air defence, and release all those very expensive Typhoons so that they can do what they were designed to do - getting stuck in at the sharp end of the conflict. :)

  2. Its typical crab spin to try and justify yet another **** up. I would like to know how it would stay up for 24 hours plus seeing how it hasnt got an AAR capability.

    He knows its a **** up, we know its a **** up but he cant admit that so pretends its the new messiah. It isn't. Its a very crap aircraft

  3. Indeed it is. Not only is it markedly inferior to the basic OTS AIRBUS MRRT, it's vastly inferior to the KC-45 version that AIRBUS developed for the USAF tanker programme. That would be the version with a comprehensive comms/DASS suite, could carry more palleted cargo than a C-17 AND could do both boom and drogue refuelling.

    Meanwhile, our can carry bugger all pallets, can't do boom refuelling, and the austre comms gear fit, (No DASS IIRC), comes in the form of quick remove boxes so we can fly newspapers and sausages to the costas in between doing the day job.
  4. >>Its typical crab spin to try and justify yet another **** up. I would
    >>like to know how it would stay up for 24 hours plus seeing how it
    >>hasnt got an AAR capability.

    Not sure if the FSTA is another RAF f***-up, as the aircraft itself is very good (but too big for the RAF ??). But the notion of using a 230 tonne A330 costing £6 billion as a radio relay station is pretty stupid, and to say so in Flight International is doubly stupid. You could get a Goodyear airship to do this for 1/20th the cost, or a Global Hawk (if you want greater radio range) for 1/10th the cost.

    As to the A330s endurance.
    The A330-200 has a range of about 7,000nm, which at mach 0.78 equates to about 15 hours endurance. But if the aircraft is flying nearly empty, ie:when it is only carrying comms equipment and a few AAMs, and flying at slower holding speeds, you can increase that endurance by over 50%, or about 26 hours.

    But don't forget that this is a tanker and can carry another 70 tonnes of fuel, which if plumbed in to the aircraft tanks would boost the endurance to about 36 hours, at a guess. A CAP aircraft that can stay on station for 36 hours and have 360 degree radar coverage might be more useful than a simple comms relay station.

  5. Didn't the late lamented Nimrod MR2 have AAMs fitted for the Falklands?
  6. In addition to the technical problems, the RAF do not own the aircraft and can only use them within the terms of the PFI contract. I have not read the contract, but I rather doubt if it includes communications relay, ISTAR or any of the other secondary roles that half witted RAF officers are suggesting.
  7. I'm not entirely sure that Dalton was suggesting that the FSTA should be used as a simple comms relay platform, to be honest...

    He was speaking not to Flight, but to the RAES conference which was talking about innovation, particularly in an age of austerity (which is apparently the official term for what we're in now). He was suggesting - using the A330 as an example - that looking at how you might maximise the capabilities on each aircraft (other than ensuring that you buy them from anyone but Westlands or BAES...) in the inventory. Let's not forget that the Nimrod did comms relay on occasion, and that the VC10 with Link 16 combo proved more useful than people might have expected (IIRC, the USAF thought quite highly of the idea of there being a tanker which could contribute to the RAP rather than simply delivering fuel).

    That's what Dalton was driving at, using the FSTA as an example (BTW the chief crustacean didn't say anything about 24 hours, that was tek, M'lud).
  8. So, the RAF have spunked another couple of mill up the wall then?
  9. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer

    From what I recall, the aircraft donates fuel from the wetwing tanks and does not carry the luggage panier bladders used by Tristar.

    Therefore it has the same range as any other A330.

    36 hours? My rectum!
  10. Your short a few Billion.

    £13 Billion for 13 aircraft we don't even own and can be politely described as 'austere'.
  11. Nimrod was gash at datalink and simulcast. Had to prioritise who needed to see what and keep others in the dark.
  12. >>From what I recall, the aircraft donates fuel from the wetwing tanks and does not
    >>carry the luggage panier bladders used by Tristar.

    It seems you are right there. The A330 is an unusual aircraft, in that if you fuel it to capacity, you cannot take any passengers (120t ZFW + 111t fuel = 231t, or normal MTOW) !! Strange machine. That is probably why it has such a long endurance.

    But my original calculation was correct. Total wing fuel load is 111t, and the holding fuel burn at mid weights of 4.8t/hr, giving about 23 hour endurance at low speeds and approx 25,000 ft altitude (any higher means faster, so more fuel burn).

    This site gives the green dot holding speed fuel burn for a mid-weight of 150 to 190 tonnes at 25,000ft (page 36), and shows a max holding endurance of 23.5hrs (at holding speed). And that still allows 7 tonnes of payload, if you use the beefed up MTOW of 238 tonnes.

  13. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    You are quite wrong - PFI doesn't work like that! The Contractors will be VERY happy to allow the Crabs to do anything outwith the contract. but the price- ah, the price...............
  14. Not quite, they don't do things outwith the contract, but rather change the contract to include them... for another 13 billion or so. So much for the “age of austerity.”
  15. It is the 'age of austerity'…

    …for the RAF tanker fleet.

    But I'm sure the PFI wallahs are laughing into their Krug as they waft along in their newly bought Maybachs.

    Never in the field of MOD procurement, was so much paid by so many for so few.