F-35 and X-47B

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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steve2267

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Unread post12 Jan 2020, 05:29

Last I heard, the B-2 is VLO, not LO. If the B-2 is LO, and NOT VLO, then so is the F-35 only LO. Correct?

I'm still not convinced it's a "good" idea. Trade study might be brief ("It's a really stupid idea, here's why..."), or it might be illuminating. Anyone else want to comment on how you make the aircraft mating dance VLO?

Another non-starter is that even a B-2 may not have enough "give" as a tanker. KC-135's have what, about 100,000lb of gas to give? B-2 max payload is on the order of 60,000lb... so it may not carry enough gas to make it worth while.

But it's fun to talk about.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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count_to_10

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Unread post12 Jan 2020, 18:17

steve2267 wrote:I'm not convinced it is worth a trade study, but it's an idea. That's about all I'll say about it. QS, Gums, and esp. BlindPilot probably have much better reasons (than I) about why it is a dumb idea and would never fly (pun intended).

The engineer in me is doubtful you can just "slap" a refueling package on a bomber headed for scrap, and continue to use it. Then there is the whole RCS thing. Estimates I have read for the Bone's RCS range from about 1 m^2 to 10 m^2. That's HUGE compared to F-35's or F-22's. What's the point? Maybe you could re-fuel closer to the forward edge of battle, but is it worth the $$ of the hours engineers will burn to make such a concept work?

**IF**, hypothetically, you could just slap a refueling package on a B-2 (and somehow it works), then there is the whole RCS of the mating dance... if you've got two stealth aircraft, each -30dB or less, and then you suddenly stick a refuelling boom out in the slipstream that has an RCS by itself of -20dB or -10dB (or whatever it is)... what's the point? You're 1000nm deep behind the IADS line, quietly doing your thing, when your mount needs a drink, but to get it you basically paint a huge HERE I AM sign on enema 'dar scopes?

I'm not convinced 1) it would work, and 2) it is worth the $$. But it might be a fun trade study. (If for no other reason then to stick a fork in a dumb idea.)

Everything else aside, there would still be utility to a tanker than can loiter undetected even if it is much more visible when actually tanking.
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marsavian

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Unread post12 Jan 2020, 19:19

If B-2 is more visible when tanking it will have F-35/F-22 tanked up escorts to care of any issues ;). Don't forget that the B-2 already comes with a lot of internal fuel never mind any payload capacity that could be converted into fuel usage. Obviously the B-21 has to be made in enough quantity to retire it from bomber usage but as a refueler it does not seem a bad way to finish the B-2's service.
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steve2267

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Unread post12 Jan 2020, 19:56

I need to revise what I posted above. KC-135 has a total fuel load of 200,000lb +/-. A B-2 reportedly has 167,000lb fuel capacity. With a bomb payload capacity of 40,000lb officially (50,000lb unofficially), if all that weps payload could be converted to gas, that puts a total fuel load for a B-2 on the order of 200,000lb +/-. So, that would hypothetically be on the same order as a KC-135. I found it interesting that the empty weight of a KC-135/707 is around 98,000lb. A B-2 empty, apparently weights around 167,000lb, so that stealth sh*t is heavy. :P
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post12 Jan 2020, 20:31

Back to the ASDRS for a moment.

I'm wondering if the 'active' is inhibited once full latched contact is achieved, or does the basket still go about its' merry 'actively stabilized' way and tend to impart some forces to the receiver, while for example, the receiver is thrashing around in turbulence with either the pilot or drone operator attempting to make positional adjustments relative to the tanker?

Sounds like it could get out of synch. A basket diameter or more of receiver movement is fairly common in turbulence.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post13 Jan 2020, 03:07

steve2267 wrote:Last I heard, the B-2 is VLO, not LO. If the B-2 is LO, and NOT VLO, then so is the F-35 only LO. Correct?

I'm still not convinced it's a "good" idea. Trade study might be brief ("It's a really stupid idea, here's why..."), or it might be illuminating. Anyone else want to comment on how you make the aircraft mating dance VLO?

Another non-starter is that even a B-2 may not have enough "give" as a tanker. KC-135's have what, about 100,000lb of gas to give? B-2 max payload is on the order of 60,000lb... so it may not carry enough gas to make it worth while.

But it's fun to talk about.


While, the B-2 sounds like a good option for conversion to a Stealth Tanker. I have little doubt it would be very expensive to do so! Plus, being costly to maintain...

Honestly, why not just build a "Tanker Version" of the forthcoming B-21. This would help drive down the cost of both versions. (Bomber and Tanker)

That would seem to be a far better option....
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Unread post13 Jan 2020, 03:35

Corsair1963 wrote:
steve2267 wrote:Last I heard, the B-2 is VLO, not LO. If the B-2 is LO, and NOT VLO, then so is the F-35 only LO. Correct?

I'm still not convinced it's a "good" idea. Trade study might be brief ("It's a really stupid idea, here's why..."), or it might be illuminating. Anyone else want to comment on how you make the aircraft mating dance VLO?

Another non-starter is that even a B-2 may not have enough "give" as a tanker. KC-135's have what, about 100,000lb of gas to give? B-2 max payload is on the order of 60,000lb... so it may not carry enough gas to make it worth while.

But it's fun to talk about.


While, the B-2 sounds like a good option for conversion to a Stealth Tanker. I have little doubt it would be very expensive to do so! Plus, being costly to maintain...

Honestly, why not just build a "Tanker Version" of the forthcoming B-21. This would help drive down the cost of both versions. (Bomber and Tanker)

That would seem to be a far better option....


Do you mean... as I suggested two posts before the one you quoted?

steve2267 wrote:... For that matter, the B-21 is supposed to be optionally manned. Build more B-21's but leave some "goodies" off to save some big $$, but turn them into KQ-21's? Convert the bomb bays to fuel bays... Maybe retain small weps bays for AIM-260's... so you have extra shooters onboard.


But I took it a step further and suggested making it unmanned... save mo money...
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post13 Jan 2020, 03:44

steve2267 wrote:
Do you mean... as I suggested two posts before the one you quoted?

steve2267 wrote:... For that matter, the B-21 is supposed to be optionally manned. Build more B-21's but leave some "goodies" off to save some big $$, but turn them into KQ-21's? Convert the bomb bays to fuel bays... Maybe retain small weps bays for AIM-260's... so you have extra shooters onboard.


But I took it a step further and suggested making it unmanned... save mo money...


Sorry, I missed it but see it now...
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Unread post13 Jan 2020, 23:37

popcorn wrote:One of the reasons cited for the early retirement of the B-2 was it's LO was questionable against advanced IADS threat. Doesn't bode well for it's use as a LO.tanker.

You wouldn't be refueling at the same proximity to IADS threats, as you would be operating in a strike role. Having said that, using B-2s as tankers would be enormously expensive compared to other options.
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Unread post14 Jan 2020, 05:03

popcorn wrote:One of the reasons cited for the early retirement of the B-2 was it's LO was questionable against advanced IADS threat. Doesn't bode well for it's use as a LO.tanker.



The main reason was the very high cost to operate and maintain the type....(same could be said of the B-1 Bone)
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Unread post14 Jan 2020, 08:26

I think full VLO stealth on a tanker would be far too expensive at least for now. There need to be quite a lot of them to fulfill tanking needs. I'd go with supersized MQ-25 or X-47B style aircraft with decent stealth qualities and EW/countermeasures to help them keep out of enemy sight and to make them much more survivable than current tankers.
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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 07:35

SWIMMING WITH STINGRAYS [6 page PDF of article attached below]
Feb 2020 Khalem Chapman

"Boeing is on course to deliver a new unmanned aerial system (UAS) to the US Navy that boasts two world firsts. The MQ-25A Stingray will be the first UAS designed with an air-to-air refuelling capability and the first operational carrier-based fixed-wing unmanned aircraft. Khalem Chapman explores the programme and investigates the industry team that created the MQ-25A....

...The US Navy announced in mid-2017 that the first two CVNs to undergo MQ-25A control station and system integration will be the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69) and the USS George H W Bush (CVN 77)….

...Cobham Aerospace has been associated with the CBARS programme for some time, with NAVAIR’s RFI detailing the requirement for proposed platforms to be able to equip two externally mounted hose and drogue-style air-to-air refuelling pods, with one located underneath each of the aircraft’s wings. Despite the RFI citing a need for two pods, a Boeing official has since confirmed that the Stingray will only have the one. The MQ-25A will either be equipped with Cobham’s 28-300 or 31-301 buddy stores series, both of which are used by US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for aerial ‘buddy-buddy’ refuelling where two of the same aircraft, typically fighters, are equipped with a small pod to refuel each other. This is a system that has been adopted more by naval than generic air forces due to the lack of a tanker aircraft presence, something that will change following the Stingray’s introduction. Cobham's 28-300 and 31-301 buddy stores series both have a fuel capacity of 300 US/gal (1,363.83 lit) capable of pumping fuel to a receiving aircraft at a rate of 220 US/gal (1,000.14 lit) per minute. Both pods are mounted on an aircraft’s ejector rack and, in use, the devices are powered by a ram air turbine which drives a variable displacement hydraulic pump, moving the hose reel and activating the fuel pump motors...." [lots of how de doo dees about what companies supply which components including JPALS of course]

Source: AIR INTERNATIONAL February 2020 Vol 98 No 2
Attachments
STINGRAY AIR International Feb 2020 pp6.pdf
(1.02 MiB) Downloaded 47 times
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steve2267

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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 08:13

All those words and pretty pictures, yet nary a number about total fuel carried, or total give, or how much give it will have at distance X da carrier... Meh... reporting these days...
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 08:57

steve2267 wrote:All those words and pretty pictures, yet nary a number about total fuel carried, or total give, or how much give it will have at distance X da carrier... Meh... reporting these days...


Per the last SAR, current estimate is >= 16,000 pounds of give at 500 nm from the CVN.
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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 09:56

steve2267 wrote:All those words and pretty pictures, yet nary a number about total fuel carried, or total give, or how much give it will have at distance X da carrier... Meh... reporting these days...

AFAIK the STUNGBAY' design is not finalised nor flying so perhaps those details are all UP IN THE AIR?! & still trade secrets?

Besides - I only 'read' aviation artickles for the pitchas.
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