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RAF looks to buy more C-17s

#1
From Janes

Not on order yet but not binned so may be good news

UK Royal Air Force (RAF) commanders are looking to buy at least two additional Boeing C-17 Globemaster aircraft to boost their strategic airlift fleet.

A third aircraft could also be purchased as an attrition replacement for a Lockheed Martin C-130J aircraft lost to enemy action in Iraq last year, according to the Chief of the UK Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy.

The purchase of the additional C-17s has yet to be approved by the UK government but the RAF sees the aircraft as part of its long-term airlift force.

"We want a robust fleet of 25 C-130Js, 25 A400Ms and ideally eight C-17s," ACM Torpy told Jane's . "The extra two C-17s would give us a particularly robust strategic airlift capability."

The RAF has lost four C-130s in combat incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past three years, including one of its recently purchased C-130Js. "We need to take a judgement as whether to replace the lost C-130J or buy another C-17," said ACM Torpy.

He described the programme of retiring the RAF's 1960s-vintage C-130Ks and replacing them with the new Airbus Military A400M from 2011 as "very tight" because of delays to the new European airlifter.

"There is a six-month delay [on the A400M] and a six-month risk window," he said. "We would like to see delivery [of A400Ms] as close as possible to the planned in-service date. We don't want an unmanageable gap emerging [between the retirement of the C-130K and the arrival of the A400M]."
Nuts
 
#4
It's being looked at.

But "2 x C17", whilst it may be CAS' answer is not necessarily what we want - more DAS equipped pax movers anyone? Remember, this a Defence requirement, not an AIR requirement.

We are looking in detail at what we require over the next 5 years - could be commercial support, could be C17, could be more Tristar - could be anything, but we're trying not to situate the appreciation.

And before anyone says it - C17 is a strategic outsize freighter, not a passenger aircraft. And, of note, even 8 x C17 (the original requirement), doesn't buy out the total airlift risk against planning assumptions, even for outsize lift.
 
#5
VarSity said:
box-of-frogs said:
Another 2 or 3 would be gladly welcomed by everyone IMHO!
Indeed, and if they get another half dozen might even make FRES worth while.
You're right. But there is a view that whilst airlift is important, is it so important that it should be resourced more than all the other 'important' things out there?

I haven't even seen FRES yet. Perhaps the deployment timelines need to have their expectations 'managed'?
 
#7
Any bets that the A400M programme 'extends' again? because of not wishing to cause ''offence'' to our European allies,we seem to be stuck with these.I wonder if there are any late delivery penalities in that contract? Why not just bin the A400M,at some cost,and get some more Hercs(which are after all proven,which the A400M is not)
 
#8
Because the C-130 even the J model can't lift a lot of the vehicles and equipment in service or coming in, I'd do it the other way sell off the Herk's and buy more A400's
 
#9
Bubbles_Barker said:
...But "2 x C17", whilst it may be CAS' answer is not necessarily what we want - more DAS equipped pax movers anyone? Remember, this a Defence requirement, not an AIR requirement.
The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) contract was finally awarded several months ago to provide the RAF with a fleet of A330s for the AAR and strategic transport role. This requirement includes DAS.

Whilst it wasn’t what the RAF wanted, particularly the fact it is being done on a PFI arrangement, the Airbus will significantly enhance our strategic capacity.

Bubbles_Barker said:
But there is a view that whilst airlift is important, is it so important that it should be resourced more than all the other 'important' things out there?
Christ, the RAF can't win!!!!! Normally we get a slagging for being too fast jet centric, now we get people questioning the need for C-17!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unbelievable!!!

muhandis89 said:
Why not just bin the A400M,at some cost,and get some more Hercs(which are after all proven,which the A400M is not)
There are many in the RAF who advocate that. The A400M is arguably too large for use in the sort of tactical ops being conducted by the C-130 fleet. The C-130J is a mature and reliable asset with plenty of potential for avionics upgrades. Canning A400M could allow additional C-130Js and C-17s to be procured and savings to be made in logistics and training support.

The A400M will in due course be a very capable aircraft, but imho its procurement was primarily political.

Regards,
MM
 
#10
Magic_Mushroom said:
Bubbles_Barker said:
...But "2 x C17", whilst it may be CAS' answer is not necessarily what we want - more DAS equipped pax movers anyone? Remember, this a Defence requirement, not an AIR requirement.
The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) contract was finally awarded several months ago to provide the RAF with a fleet of A330s for the AAR and strategic transport role. This requirement includes DAS.

Whilst it wasn’t what the RAF wanted, particularly the fact it is being done on a PFI arrangement, the Airbus will significantly enhance our strategic capacity.

Bubbles_Barker said:
But there is a view that whilst airlift is important, is it so important that it should be resourced more than all the other 'important' things out there?
Christ, the RAF can't win!!!!! Normally we get a slagging for being too fast jet centric, now we get people questioning the need for C-17!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unbelievable!!!

muhandis89 said:
Why not just bin the A400M,at some cost,and get some more Hercs(which are after all proven,which the A400M is not)
There are many in the RAF who advocate that. The A400M is arguably too large for use in the sort of tactical ops being conducted by the C-130 fleet. The C-130J is a mature and reliable asset with plenty of potential for avionics upgrades. Canning A400M could allow additional C-130Js and C-17s to be procured and savings to be made in logistics and training support.

The A400M will in due course be a very capable aircraft, but imho its procurement was primarily political.

Regards,
MM
Calm down. FSTA won't be in service for years and our problems are in the present not just the future. As for 'questioning the need for C17' - I never said anything of the sort. However, the answer to our problems is not just a default '2 x C17' it may be something else.
 
#12
The first A330 provided by AirTanker Ltd under the FSTA contract should be in service by mid/late 2011 ie 3 years from now. The AAR capability is set to be introduced by 2014 with the full service operating by 2016.

I don't know what the intention is during those first 3 years before AAR starts, but would guess that the priority would be to get the DAS working and take over the airbridge, to Herrick at least.

An interim boosting of the DAS equipped pax-fleet by traditional procurement strategies is probably unachievable within the timescale that would make it a practical proposition. The TriStar-500 has all but disappeared from civilian service and it would be very expensive to aquire and refit a few to boost the current fleet. The MoD could decide to remove the air-refuelling equipment and extra fuel tanks from a couple of it's aircraft, turning them back into passenger carriers, but that would seriously denude the AAR fleet.

The C-17 must rate as one the success stories of recent years. From announcing the contract to receiving the first aircraft was 1 year, and it has proved itself to be an invaluable asset that does exactly what it was intended of it. In simple terms, the A400M was supposed to about half the capability of a C-17 for less than half the price. Sadly, the price has risen and it now appears to represent poor value compared to the C-17. A desire to increase the numbers of C-17s is good news for everyone.
 
#14
AlfieNoakes said:
The first A330 provided by AirTanker Ltd under the FSTA contract should be in service by mid/late 2011 ie 3 years from now. The AAR capability is set to be introduced by 2014 with the full service operating by 2016.

I don't know what the intention is during those first 3 years before AAR starts, but would guess that the priority would be to get the DAS working and take over the airbridge, to Herrick at least.

An interim boosting of the DAS equipped pax-fleet by traditional procurement strategies is probably unachievable within the timescale that would make it a practical proposition. The TriStar-500 has all but disappeared from civilian service and it would be very expensive to aquire and refit a few to boost the current fleet. The MoD could decide to remove the air-refuelling equipment and extra fuel tanks from a couple of it's aircraft, turning them back into passenger carriers, but that would seriously denude the AAR fleet.

The C-17 must rate as one the success stories of recent years. From announcing the contract to receiving the first aircraft was 1 year, and it has proved itself to be an invaluable asset that does exactly what it was intended of it. In simple terms, the A400M was supposed to about half the capability of a C-17 for less than half the price. Sadly, the price has risen and it now appears to represent poor value compared to the C-17. A desire to increase the numbers of C-17s is good news for everyone.
Sorry Alfie - your dates are wrong. AAR comes first, followed by civilan AT certification, then AT capability. We're looking at bringing the latter forward. And there are TRI* C2s sitting in the US just waiting to be bought at a snip.....................
 
#16
Recruiting_Office_reject said:
Weren't they looking at the C-27J for a while, to do some of the stuff the C-130K's were good at ?
C-27J has never been in the frame for a UK order. It's a good aircraft but there's not enough difference in payload from the C-130J to be viable for the sort of purchase we'd need.
 
#17
US Army wants C27J to take the load off its CH47s. Not sure what USAF wants it for, maybe a cheaper replacement for legacy Herks than C130J? Also SOCOM is looking at it as a mini-gunship.

Agree with MM re A400M, could be great but it was a political order and will increase logistics costs for the RAF in the long run, having to run 3 airlifter types.
 
#18
The C27 would fit quite nicely in a lot of the intra theatre tasking we currently do. The Hercs are being misused in a bunch of roles at the moment. As a current C130J operator I can see a few roles where the C27J would be much better suited, freeing up the Hercs to do other stuff. In fact, can we buy some please because I'd like to fly it. Thanks.

The A400M will be a pretty nice bit of kit but I don't see it being used in many tactical roles; anything with payload and range is going to be sucked into the strat airlift piece.
 
#19
Bubbles - Have a look at this link

AirTanker Timeline

It shows quite clearly that the first aircraft is introduced to service 3 years before the AAR service commences. As I said, I don't know what is planned to happen during that period, maybe it will be 3 years of development work. However, I can see the MoD and RAF coming in for some heavy criticism if the expensive new PFI is not servicing the airbridge as quickly as possible.

There are categorically no TriStar C2s or C2As for sale. The designation only applies to TriStar-500 after it has been turned into an RAF aircraft by Marshall of Cambridge. One can find a few old TriStars on the markets like this:

globalplanesearch

However, only a small number of them are -500s. The other variants are actually quite different to the RAF's current types. Yes , the basic frame can be picked up cheaply but Marshall's need £ms to convert them to C2 spec. And then what have you got? - another 25 year airliner, with more hours than your present fleet, that was previously owned,maintained(?) and disposed of by a third-world airline. More TriStars may have been just viable just after Delta retired their fleet in 2001, but it would represent very poor value for money right now with the 1st A330 only 3 years from service.
 
#20
Bubbles_Barker said:
It's being looked at.

<snip>

And before anyone says it - C17 is a strategic outsize freighter, not a passenger aircraft. And, of note, even 8 x C17 (the original requirement), doesn't buy out the total airlift risk against planning assumptions, even for outsize lift.
And the Americans don't use the C17 as a pax aircraft do they?

Oh, hold on a minute, they do...

Jeeves
 

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