New(46 year old) RAF spy planes

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tropper66, Apr 9, 2010.

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  1. The secretary of State for defence Bob Ainsworth confirmed on March 22 that the RAF are getting three new "Rivet Joint " spyplanes KC-135Rs 64-14835, 64-14836, 64-14840 al built in fiscal year 1964 which are older than the Nimrod R1s they replace
  2. Amazing what you can find on Ebay. :lol:
  3. More here for the determined insomniac.
  4. The "R" model KC-135s are ones that were extensively rebuilt in the late 70s/early 80s- new engines (the same CFM56s that the RAFs E-3Ds have) and practically new wings too.
  5. Of the 5 RAF E-3Ds only 4 are in forward fleet and 2 in Active service( FOI act January 10)
  6. Of the 5 RAF E-3Ds only 4 are in forward fleet (FF) and 2 in Active service( FOI act January 10)

    Right am either dense or pishpoor at maths

    5 = 5
    4 FF= 1 missing
    2AS = 3 where

    Or is it 5-1= 4FF of which 4-2 = 2AS

    Waits for Magic Mushroom to explain.
  7. Gentlemen,

    Trust me when I state that the RJ procurement is an all time good deal for the UK.

    In a perfect world, we’d have procured (as opposed to leased) new build A330 for strat AT, AAR and SIGINT. Common airframe, common engines, common trg and logs etc. Sadly, we don’t live in that world and the cost of designing, trialling and installing a bespoke SIGINT kit on a small fleet of aircraft unique to the RAF would have been prohibitive.

    BAeS attempted to sell the 3 development Nimrod MRA4s to us as ‘flatbeds’ for conversion to ‘R5’ standard. Thankfully, that option was killed off as all 3 airframes are in a fairly poor state after several years of trials, testing and test equipment added and removed; they’ve got patches all over them and would have required significant work. Moreover, we’d have still been faced with the technical challenge of installing and calibrating the SIGINT mission system.

    RJ is tried and trusted with a very capable mission system. The airframes have effectively been ‘zero houred’ in a similar way to MR2 fuselages converted to MRA4 standard.

    My only concern is that we now face a over 3 years where we’ll essentially lack a sovereign manned SIGINT asset once the Nimrod R1 leaves service next year. Not an issue for Afghanistan, but it is if we want to do anything else with them.

    However, I reiterate, RJ is a VERY good deal and we owe the US a lot for letting us jump on board when the alternative was losing the capability altogether.


    PS…The RAF has 7 E-3Ds although 6 have only ever been ‘supported’. Some are now in reserve, but they’re all available at Waddo as a spares pool or reactivation which is why the engine choice is relevant. To be precise, the engines are a diferent variant of the CFM-56 as they lack the E-3D's thrust reversers. However, there's still plenty of logs commonality to be had.

    PPS...and before some bright spark suggests it, no, UAVs couldn't have filled the SIGINT role!
  8. Cheers MM, if in doubt ask MM he speaks for the RAF
  10. OK MM, you sold it to me, I'm more than happy to accept your expert opinion, not that my agreement matters!!!

    (Good luck getting Tropper to agree, though!)
  11. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Come come, Flamingo. You know Tropper has unimpeachable sources that allow him to correct the poor misinformed on the site.

    Listen and learn! :D
  12. I do agree, Rivet Joint is a great bit of kit but you might have thought that the MOD could have seen this coming at the moment we dont have any Elint/sigint/SAR/Maritime/ fixed wing aircraft and in the FOI request put in by AFmonthly we really are in the crap, of the C130Js only 12 were active and only 5 of the 130Ks, 4 C17s,6 VC10s,3 Tristars. How they manage to keep the airbridge going beggers beliefe. they must be working their arrse off to keep them all in the air, but for how long can this f**k up go on.

    another point that came to light is that every time a C17 lands at Lynham they shut the base down for about four hours,for the repatriation service, and without wishing to sound heartless this is causing massive disruption to the servicing of the C130 fleet as these events are now happening almost twice a week
  13. Nimrod R1 is in service for another 12 months so we do have SIGINT for a bit longer.

    Regrettably the MR2 and MRA4 is not involved in Afghanistan so HMT aren’t interested in it, despite the implications for our strategic deterrent.

    Similarly, the AT fleet is being thrashed yet attrition replacements for C-130s have not been forthcoming.

    In short, everyone’s seen this issue coming for a long time. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, HMT has not fronted up the cash to resolve them in a timely manner.

  14. Just noticed your edit tropper,

    Come to Waddo and I'll show you all 7! Seven were procured (ZH101-107), one was never formally funded in terms of support costs and was classed as an 'in-use reserve'. This effectively meant that whilst all 7 were employed for ops, only 6 were ever available at any one time.

    Not sure about what has been officially stated so I won't give current numbers. However, suffice to say that more than 2 are in an 'active' condition.

  15. Come on MM, try not to let facts get in the way of a rumour!!!!!