Category Archives: Air Force

Atlas is sent to England

While the Ukrainian project of Antonov An-70 is still lacking funding, the European Airbus A400M Atlas is gaining momentum. As UK Ministry of Defence reported, the first of the UK’s A400M Atlas aircraft has been officially unveiled at its new home at Royal Air Force (RAF) Brize Norton.

A400M Flares
A400M Flares

The aircraft will replace the existing fleet of C-130 Hercules (http://usairforc.blogspot.ru/2014/11/c-130j-super-hercules.html). Manufactured by Airbus Defence & Space, A400M Atlas will represent major advances on its predecessor, capable of flying almost twice as fast, twice as far and carrying almost twice as much cargo. With a cargo capacity of 32 tonnes and a hold optimised for carriage of heavy vehicles, helicopters or cargo pallets, the aircraft is capable of supporting a wide range of operational scenarios.

The UK is the third country to operate the aircraft, after France and Turkey and the £2.8 billion programme will see a total of 22 aircraft delivered to the RAF in the coming years, as it was reported by defense-aerospace.com.

The A400M has been rigorously designed to meet the equipment transport needs of modern armed forces. The A400M can perform missions, which previously required two – or more – different types of aircraft, and which even then provided an imperfect solution. Its fuselage external width of 5.64 metres/18 ft 6 in is equal to that of the A330/A340 wide-body. Its cargo hold has an inside usable width of 4 metres/13ft, height of up to 4 metres/13ft, and usable length of 17.71 metres/58 ft.

Extensive use of advanced 3D computational fluid dynamics tools optimised the wing shape, resulting in a low drag design and thus a high speed cruise of Mach 0.72, without compromising low speed performance and handling.

With a maximum payload of up to 37 tonnes (81 600 lb) and a volume of 340 m3 (12 000 ft3), the A400M can carry numerous pieces of outsize cargo including, vehicles and helicopters that are too large or too heavy for previous generation tactical airlifters, for example, an NH90 or a CH-47 Chinook (http://usgroundforces. blogspot.ru/2014/11/ch-47-chinook.html) helicopter, or two heavy armoured vehicles for military purposes. It can also carry a heavy logistic truck, or a rescue boat, or large lifting devices, such as excavators or mobile cranes needed to assist in disaster relief.

The A400M is able to land on, and take-off from, any short, soft and rough unprepared CBR 6 airstrip, no longer than 750 m/2,500 ft, while delivering up to 25 tonnes/55,000 lb of payload, and with enough fuel on board for a 930 km/500 nm return trip. In addition to offering optimised support to deployed military operating bases, these characteristics also allow it to ensure that swift humanitarian aid can be deployed direct to a disaster region.

The A400M can also easily and swiftly be adapted to become a Tanker, if required in a military operation. Air-to-Air Refuelling can be done either through two wing mounted hose and drogue under-wing refuelling pods or through a centre-line fuselage refuelling unit (FRU). Its built-in air-to-air refuelling capability allows it to be rapidly re-configured to become a tanker. With hard points, fuel lines and electrical connections already built into the wings, it takes under two hours to convert the A400M from an airlifter into a two-point tanker aircraft.

The A400M excels in the airdrop role, being able to drop from both high and low altitudes, (as high as 40,000 ft for special forces’ operations, and as low as 15ft for low level load deliveries). With the new A400M, which can carry more paratroopers than other Western-built military transport, Airbus Military is setting new standards in paradropping operations.

Heavy and Outsize Loads
Heavy and Outsize Loads

 

Specifications

 

Dimensions

Overall Length                                                45.10 m                     148 ft

Overall Height                                                14.70 m                     48 ft

Wing Span                                                         42.40 m                     139 ft

Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 17.71 m                      58 ft

Cargo Hold Height                                       3.85-4.00 m            12 ft 7 in-13 ft

Cargo Hold Width                                        4.00 m                        13 ft

Cargo Hold Volume                                     340 m3                       12 000 ft3

 

Weights

Maximum Take Off Weight                      141 000 kg                 310 850 lb

Maximum Landing Weight                        123 000 kg                 271 200 lb

Internal Fuel Weight                                     50 500 kg                   111 300 lb

Maximum Payload                                          37 000 kg                   81 600 lb

 

Engine (x4)

EuroProp International TP400-D6       11 000 shp                  8200 kW

 

Performance

Maximum Operating Altitude                   40 000 ft                     12 200 m

Maximum Cruise Speed (TAS)                   300 kt                           555 km/h

Cruise Speed Range                                         0.68-0.72 M

 

Range

Maximum Payload (37 000 kg – 81 600 lb)       1780 nm          3300 km

Range with 30 000 kg (66 000 lb) Payload         2450 nm          4500 km

Range with 20 000 kg (44 000 lb) Payload         3450 nm          6400 km

Maximum Range (Ferry)                                                4700 nm          8700 km

 

Total orders                                                               174

Total deliveries                                                              6

Total in operation                                                         6

Number of customers-operators                        8

Number of current operators                               2

Number of countries                                                  8

 

France              Orders – 50, Deliveries – 5, In operation – 5

Germany         Orders – 53

Malaysia          Orders –   4

Spain                  Orders – 27

Turkey              Orders – 10, Deliveries – 1, In operation – 1

UK                       Orders – 22, Deliveries – 1

 

The King of the Ocean

The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is an anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare aircraft developed for the United States Navy. Nevertheless, the US Navy is not a unique operator of that powerful aircraft. India renamed P-8 Poseidon into P-8I Neptune.

Jim Anderson, Boeing Photographer
P-8I Indian Navy B1 First Flight Renton WA; Jim Anderson, Boeing Photographer

Ironically, Poseidon (Greek: Ποσειδῶν) was one of the twelve Olympian deities of the pantheon in Greek mythology. His main domain was the ocean, and he was called the «God of the Sea». The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology; both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon. So why in India sailors prefer Roman mythology Greek? I have no idea.

Notwithstanding, Boeing has delivered the sixth P-8I Neptune to the Indian Navy, the company announced in a statement on 25 November, as IHS said.

The aircraft was said to have arrived at Indian Naval Station (INS) Rajali in Arakkonam (southern India) on 24 November. It joins five other P-8Is already being used by the Indian Navy and is scheduled to begin flight trials «in the coming months», according to the statement.

The latest P-8I delivery is part of an eight-aircraft contract worth USD2.1 billion awarded in January 2009 to replace India’s ageing Russian Tupolev Tu-142Ms. The first aircraft was handed over to the Indian Navy in December 2012; the final two are scheduled for delivery in 2015.

The P-8I Neptune is based on Boeing’s 737 commercial aircraft, and can accommodate a crew of nine including five mission system operators. The aircraft has an operating range of more than 2,000 km with a four-hour on-station endurance.

The aircrafts are equipped with Raytheon’s APY-10 surveillance radar that incorporates air-to-air, air-to-sea, and all-weather modes. According to an IHS Jane’s report in May 2013, the aircraft are also armed with Raytheon’s AGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles and Mark-54 torpedoes for submarine prosecution.

Accordingly, India shows its serious ambitions for its military presence in the Indian Ocean.

P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon
P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon

P-8A Poseidon (P-8I Neptune) Technical Specs

Wing Span:                                                   123.6 ft (37.64 m)

Height:                                                            42.1 ft (12.83 m)

Length:                                                            129.5 ft (39.47 m)

Propulsion:                                                    2 CFM56-7B engines, 27,000 lb                                                                                   thrust (12,237 kgf, 120 kN)

Speed:                                                               490 kn (564 mi/h, 908 km/h)

Range:                                                               1,200 nmi with 4 hr on station                                                                                     (2,222 km)

Ceiling:                                                              41,000 ft (12,496 m)

Crew:                                                                  9

Maximum Takeoff Gross Weight:     189,200 lb (85,820 kg)

 

P-8A Poseidon (Anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare)
http://usnavalaircraft.blogspot.ru/2014/11/p-8a-poseidon.html

Rule, Britannia!
Rule the waves!

As defense-aerospace.com reported, the U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin finalized the eighth F-35 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP-8) contract for 43 F-35 Lightning II airframes valued at $4.7 billion, including $0.5 billion of Advance Procurement funding that was announced at the time of award.

F-35A Lightning II
2014 Darin Russell
Lockheed Martin

The 43 F-35 include 29 jets for the United States and 14 for five international countries. This agreement reflects an average airframes unit cost approximately 3.5% lower than the LRIP-7 contract signed in 2013 and a 57% reduction since LRIP-1.

Thus, LRIP-8 per variant airframe unit prices (not including Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine cost!) is as follows:

Furthermore, the LRIP 8 contract provides for the production of the first 2 F-35A for Israel and the first 4 F-35A for Japan, along with 2 F-35A for Norway and 2 F-35A for Italy.

The United Kingdom will receive 4 F-35B (STOVL). The contract also funds manufacturing-support equipment as well as ancillary mission equipment.

Lockheed Martin will begin delivering LRIP 8 units in early spring 2016. Once production of LRIP 8 aircraft is completed, more than 200 F-35s will be in operation by eight nations.

Thus, as a result of American allies will be able to explore new sophisticated stealth machines and test them in real conditions.

I guess the United Kingdom is the most interested operators of all allies to the F-35 contract. By the way, Gareth Jennings (IHS, London) says the UK already has two operational test and evaluation (BK-1 and BK-2) and one training aircraft (BK-3) delivered and flying out of Eglin Air Force Base in Florida (USA).

The order of 4 F-35B marks an initial buy from the MoD’s Main Gate 4 acquisition approval process for 14 jets to equip the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) 617 Squadron, which is scheduled to stand-up as the UK’s first operational F-35B unit in 2016.

In 2018, 617 Sqn will transfer to its future home station at RAF Marham in the UK, and in December of that year the UK will declare initial operating capability – land (IOC – Land) for its F-35B force.

Queen Elizabeth
IHS – Aircraft Carrier Alliance

The second unit – the FAA’s 809 ‘Immortals’ Naval Air Squadron – will be created ahead of the commencement of sea trials aboard the future HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2018, with the full operating capability (land and maritime) being declared in 2023.

The exact numbers of aircraft are yet to be decided, but with the UK having so far committed itself to just 48 F-35 it is likely that the final order will be substantially less than the 138 programme of record.