Lockheed Proposes 40% F-35A fuel increase with EFTs

F-35 Armament, fuel tanks, internal and external hardpoints, loadouts, and other stores.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post26 Apr 2021, 00:00

Sounds like Israel needs a stealthy drone tanker.......... :wink:
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hornetfinn

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Unread post26 Apr 2021, 09:03

Corsair1963 wrote:Sounds like Israel needs a stealthy drone tanker.......... :wink:


Yep. I really wonder if Israel has expressed any interest in MQ-25 for example... :wink:

Actually when I think of this, maybe a larger twin-engined MQ-25 style tanker could be interesting for land-based use as a stealthy tanker... It could carry quite significant amount of fuel for long range strike missions.
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Unread post26 Apr 2021, 09:29

What tanker style? At moment only hose de drogue with auto boom tanking not yet proven AFAIK especially drone-wize.
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Unread post26 Apr 2021, 12:15

I was thinking about larger twin-engined MQ-25 looking aerial refueling drone to supplement manned tankers on some (more dangerous) missions. I know it's not a quick solution for anything and definitely not going to be easy. However I think aerial refueling is among things that are first going to be autonomous at least partially. But it will take several year before MQ-25 becomes operational and at least a decade before a new larger tanker drone could become operational. So EFTs and even CFTs would be far quicker solution for increased range needs for really long distance penetration attacks over hostile environments (like Israel to Iran).
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Unread post26 Apr 2021, 15:14

alloycowboy wrote:Here is a question. The article brought the issue of conformal fuel tanks for the F-35. Assuming the two conformal tanks are about the same size as those for the F-16 the two CFTs will hold approximately 450 US gallons (3050lbs) of fuel.

Doing the Math:

F-35A Fuel Load (lbs)= Internal Fuel+ 2*600 Gallon Drop Tanks+ CFT's

F-35A Fuel Load (lbs)= 18300 lbs + 2*4002 lbs +3050= 29354 lbs

Disregarding Aerodynamic drag of the conformal tanks and drop tanks gives us a Maximum Combat Radius of:

Maximum Combat Radius= (29354 lbs/18300 lbs)* 1239 km = 1987 km

Just for the record google says that distance from Jureslem Isreal to Natanz Iran by road is 2,043.7 km.


The question around CFT's for me has always been where and how will they be mounted. AFAIK F-35's built to date have no mounting points for CFT's. As every new F-35 is built without them the market for them shrinks and shrinks...Even if the CFT's were designed right now you wouldn't see an F-35 coming off the production line with mounting points until 2025/6. How many nations will still be receiving deliveries then? A lot of the countries that would really benefit from the additional range will have concluded/almost concluded deliveries by then.
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Unread post26 Apr 2021, 16:18

alloycowboy wrote:Here is a question. The article brought the issue of conformal fuel tanks for the F-35. Assuming the two conformal tanks are about the same size as those for the F-16 the two CFTs will hold approximately 450 US gallons (3050lbs) of fuel.

Doing the Math:

F-35A Fuel Load (lbs)= Internal Fuel+ 2*600 Gallon Drop Tanks+ CFT's

F-35A Fuel Load (lbs)= 18300 lbs + 2*4002 lbs +3050= 29354 lbs

Disregarding Aerodynamic drag of the conformal tanks and drop tanks gives us a Maximum Combat Radius of:

Maximum Combat Radius= (29354 lbs/18300 lbs)* 1239 km = 1987 km

Just for the record google says that distance from Jureslem Isreal to Natanz Iran by road is 2,043.7 km.

The unclassified (and demonstrated) combat radius in a strike configuration is currently ~1241km. It has been suggested that by adding 2 600 gallon EFTs, the range could be extended 40%. That would put it at ~1736km. CFTs would add another ~6k lbs of fuel, which would likely provide more than another 250km of range (especially if the EFTs are jettisoned.)
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Unread post26 Apr 2021, 17:09

You can bet Israel will find a solution, if they already haven't.

The world won't know it until the strike on Iran happens. Or it may never know it/the details at all. Doubtful whatever solution they come up with will be made available to other F-35 operators, possibly including the US/USAF. CFT's/EFT's are more likely than a stealthy tanker IMO, although other solutions might present themselves. An abandoned air base in Iraq, tankers/other US assets in Syria...
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Unread post26 Apr 2021, 18:53

mixelflick wrote:You can bet Israel will find a solution, if they already haven't.

The world won't know it until the strike on Iran happens. Or it may never know it/the details at all. Doubtful whatever solution they come up with will be made available to other F-35 operators, possibly including the US/USAF. CFT's/EFT's are more likely than a stealthy tanker IMO, although other solutions might present themselves. An abandoned air base in Iraq, tankers/other US assets in Syria...


Most likely they will not use F-35 at all.

Squadron of F-15E modifed RAM missile for bunker buster role launch them from Persian gulf. Lot easier to be done and lot more efficient, then using F-35A which would need to fly over target and even then its bunker buster capability is lackluster.
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Unread post26 Apr 2021, 23:59

If you are flying at 50,000 feet (max ceiling) and mach 0.8 and your F-35A flames out from fuel starvation how far can it glide?

Lets do some simple math.

50000 feet in Kilometers is 15.24 km.

Well assume a conservative glide ratio of 10-1. I believe a clean F-35 should at least get 12:1 but we will go with 10:1 for easy figuring.

15.24 km * 10= 152.4 km.

So that basicly gives you about 150 km and 15 minutes to say your prayers before landing or ejecting.
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wrightwing

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Unread post27 Apr 2021, 04:33

alloycowboy wrote:If you are flying at 50,000 feet (max ceiling) and mach 0.8 and your F-35A flames out from fuel starvation how far can it glide?

Lets do some simple math.

50000 feet in Kilometers is 15.24 km.

Well assume a conservative glide ratio of 10-1. I believe a clean F-35 should at least get 12:1 but we will go with 10:1 for easy figuring.

15.24 km * 10= 152.4 km.

So that basicly gives you about 150 km and 15 minutes to say your prayers before landing or ejecting.

What's this in response to?
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Unread post27 Apr 2021, 04:49

Probably a glide to an engine out landing requires the F-35A to be overhead the airfield at anywhere between 10 to 7.5k feet for a descending circle circuit for landing on a 10K foot runway. Just guesswork but a realistic scenario for buffer. A straight in engine out approach might be doable with all the computer aids in the aircraft working - this I do not know.
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Unread post27 Apr 2021, 16:55

@Wrightwing, because the fuel margins are so tight for the IAF to bomb the nuclear facility in Natanz Iran, that got me thinking about flight profiles to get the maxium range out of the aircraft, including the posibility of actually running out of gas on the way home. So if a F-35 did run out of gas at maximum service altitude how far could it reasonably expect to glide?
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Unread post27 Apr 2021, 17:04

alloycowboy wrote:So if a F-35 did run out of gas at maximum service altitude how far could it reasonably expect to glide?

All the way to the scene of the crash.
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alloycowboy

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Unread post27 Apr 2021, 19:42

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
alloycowboy wrote:So if a F-35 did run out of gas at maximum service altitude how far could it reasonably expect to glide?

All the way to the scene of the crash.


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Unread post27 Apr 2021, 22:56

hornetfinn wrote:I was thinking about larger twin-engined MQ-25 looking aerial refueling drone to supplement manned tankers on some (more dangerous) missions. I know it's not a quick solution for anything and definitely not going to be easy. However I think aerial refueling is among things that are first going to be autonomous at least partially. But it will take several year before MQ-25 becomes operational and at least a decade before a new larger tanker drone could become operational. So EFTs and even CFTs would be far quicker solution for increased range needs for really long distance penetration attacks over hostile environments (like Israel to Iran).



I think they should develop a tanker based on the new B-21 Stealth Bomber. This would greatly increase the numbers produced and help drive down the unit price of each. Maybe to the point we could sell some to out Allies!
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