Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby boff180 on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 6:47 am

The UKDJ is reporting that despite the major runway works at RAF Waddington the runway is still too short for RC-135 operations at full fuel and that the RAF require a KC-135/KC-10 meet up on departure for every mission undertaken

As a result the RAF have entered direct talks with the USAF about setting up a joint operations base for European RC-135 operations once the USAF operation moves from Mildenhall to an airfield with a longer runway (Fairford).

How much money was spent on Waddingtons runway to supposedly make it suitable for operations? What an utter waste of time and money the Airseeker project has been!

Andy
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boff180
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby Tommy on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 7:53 am

Link to the report?
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby Adamwilliams132 on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 8:11 am

Waddington is only about 200m shorter than Fairford surely that can't make much of a difference. Also who is tanking them every mission ? Must be the USAF as the RAF don't have the capability to refuel it.
Adamwilliams132

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby Berf on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 8:48 am

Adamwilliams132 wrote:Waddington is only about 200m shorter than Fairford surely that can't make much of a difference. Also who is tanking them every mission ? Must be the USAF as the RAF don't have the capability to refuel it.


Yes it can and it's not just the runway length it the safety areas past the physical runway - this issue was known before the runway works
Berf

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby cg_341 on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 8:54 am

The runway wasn't just lengthened, the primary change was that the hump was flattened out.

I'm not to too sure what the issue is, USAF RC-135s invariably go up with a tanker for any mission other than local training flights; whether they're based in the UK, Japan, or anywhere else.

Also, as a footnote, don't think I've ever seen a KC-10 used to fuel an RC!
cg_341


Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby cg_341 on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 9:31 am

Well there we go then! :grin:

Good job I said "I've never seen..."
cg_341

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby GertrudetheMerciless on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 10:37 am

Adamwilliams132 wrote:Waddington is only about 200m shorter than Fairford surely that can't make much of a difference. Also who is tanking them every mission ? Must be the USAF as the RAF don't have the capability to refuel it.


It's not that simple.

Both Sentry and Rivet Joint are based around the 707 and C-135 family. What's the relevance of that? Well, they have four (not horrendously powerful) engines of which the outer pair are quite far along the wing and quite a small vertical stabiliser (fin) and rudder. This is great if your runways is 13000ft long, aligned perfectly to the prevailing wind etc.

The problem with the engine layout is that in the event of an engine failure (or worse, a double failure) you have a serious asymmetric problem. The extent of this varies depends on the runway length, whether it is wet, the wind etc and can limit the all up weight of the aircraft.
GertrudetheMerciless

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby bigcrow on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 11:02 am

Great news for Fairford, also hearing the 352nd SOG may well end up there as well not Germany now due to CV-22 noise issues.
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby capercaillie on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 2:59 pm

GertrudetheMerciless wrote:
Adamwilliams132 wrote:Waddington is only about 200m shorter than Fairford surely that can't make much of a difference. Also who is tanking them every mission ? Must be the USAF as the RAF don't have the capability to refuel it.


It's not that simple.

Both Sentry and Rivet Joint are based around the 707 and C-135 family. What's the relevance of that? Well, they have four (not horrendously powerful) engines of which the outer pair are quite far along the wing and quite a small vertical stabiliser (fin) and rudder. This is great if your runways is 13000ft long, aligned perfectly to the prevailing wind etc.

The problem with the engine layout is that in the event of an engine failure (or worse, a double failure) you have a serious asymmetric problem. The extent of this varies depends on the runway length, whether it is wet, the wind etc and can limit the all up weight of the aircraft.


I don't think any of that explanation answers Adam's question of why only 600 feet makes a difference if they moved to Fairford? The wind direction isn't fixed at Fairford which is surely the only other variable here other than the 600 feet of difference. Their fins and engines remain the same, as does the chance of a single or double engine failure.

And I'm pretty certain there is a Boeing 707 family to which the E-3 belongs and a Boeing C-135 family to which the RJ belongs, different aircraft. :dunno:
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby Berf on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 3:23 pm

As I understood it the runway safety area is not long enough at the A15 end in the event of a a full load rejected take off.
Berf

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby FarnboroJohn on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 3:59 pm

Then perhaps its time we bit the bullet and bought some tankers that CAN refuel not only Rivet Joint but also the F35B, P8 and anything else our government is planning to buy from the USA without competition.

John
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby boff180 on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 4:49 pm

The Voyager can refuel the F-35B....and C
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby Wes_Howes on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 5:44 pm

bigcrow wrote:Great news for Fairford, also hearing the 352nd SOG may well end up there as well not Germany now due to CV-22 noise issues.

I spoke to some of the SOG crew at RIAT and they pretty much said that Fairford appears to be the most likely cadidate. Germany had tightened the noise regs only weeks before the Ospreys were to undergo testing.
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby Berf on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 5:57 pm

boff180 wrote:The Voyager can refuel the F-35B....and C



and carry passengers on holiday at the same time....
Berf

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby Joe Spares on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 9:44 pm

Wes_Howes wrote:
bigcrow wrote:Great news for Fairford, also hearing the 352nd SOG may well end up there as well not Germany now due to CV-22 noise issues.

I spoke to some of the SOG crew at RIAT and they pretty much said that Fairford appears to be the most likely cadidate. Germany had tightened the noise regs only weeks before the Ospreys were to undergo testing.


Is it not just easier/cheaper to keep mildenhall open then.....if construction is required at Ffd for RC ops, plus more will be required to accomodate the 352nd personnel at least, surely keeping the base they are already at, with sqn infrastructure in place open makes more sense.....oh yes, l forgot, making sense doesnt apply to base rationalization!

Plus i would reckon if joint RC ops and USAF sf assets are based permanently at ffd, RIAT will be seeking a new home.....?
Joe Spares

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby vulcan558 on Wed 22 Nov 2017, 11:36 pm

Would better and cost effective to keep the Hall open,
My understanding its a life line for the Heath also. Is the Hall still not used for base cargo and passenger hub.
For the Heath.

Good to see another major cockup with Waddington. Have the runway work take 2 years and still not fit for purpose. At a massive cost.
vulcan558

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby Marathon Milkshake on Thu 23 Nov 2017, 12:47 am

Seems to me we have paid hmmmm 600 million? plus for 3 aircraft that the Americans dont really seem very keen on us having, sure we own them but they seem to spend more time working with the septics than anything else. Joint opps etc etc. Our own AWACS have been used out of Waddington from the get go, so presumably they are also going to move? Nope didnt think so.......

Or is it just 51 Sqn trying to drop out of sight?

Just as an after thought Mildenhall's runway is shorter than Waddington and we all know how long RC's have used the hall for.

As for the A15 excuses? utter clap trap or horse "Kris Kris Tofferson!", whichever, anything can over run that end of the runway at anytime, if they were that worried about it the traffic lights would be used for all depatures over the A15

No theres more to this than meets the eye, but whatever the real reason, I doubt we will ever know
Marathon Milkshake

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby boff180 on Thu 23 Nov 2017, 4:02 am

Marathon Milkshake wrote:As for the A15 excuses? utter clap trap or horse "Kris Kris Tofferson!", whichever, anything can over run that end of the runway at anytime, if they were that worried about it the traffic lights would be used for all depatures over the A15


Erm, not really.

The length of overrun/remaining runway length for a take-off abort is type-specific and dictated by the overall weight at take-off and the length of runway required for take-off (dictating remaining length needed to stop in an abort).

If the article is correct the limitations of the overrun at the A15 end means the maximum safe take off weight for a RC-135 at Waddington is less than the actual maximum permitted take off weight of the aircraft type.

There is no need to put the lights on at the runway end because the weight the aircraft is being operated at currently does not represent that risk as it’s being operated within the safe limits of its specifications. The issue being those limits are then restricting the aircrafts capabilities/endurance for its allotted mission - without having to meet a boom equipped tanker en-route.

To operate at the maximum permitted weight from Waddington which would necessitate the lights to be used because of the risk of an aborted take off leaving the runway/airfield boundaries would be extremely reckless; putting the airframe, crew and the A15 all in quite significant unnecessary danger.
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby flashman8 on Thu 23 Nov 2017, 6:42 am

The runway is fine for the E3 sentry, but not the RC 135?

surely there cant be that much difference in weight, as I would have thought the E3 was much heavier with that dish on top...........
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby boff180 on Thu 23 Nov 2017, 7:33 am

The E-3D has a heavier MTOW than the RC-135 from what I can tell, the E-3D being 3,000lb heavier in this state.

However they use different variants of the CFM-56, the RC has in total 8,000lb less thrust than the E-3D which - together with aerodynamic differences - would account for the longer runway requirements at MTOW as the thrust to weight ratio is a fair bit lower on the RC.

E-3D CFM56-2a-3 = 24,000lb thrust each, 96,000lb total.
RC-135W CFM56-2b1 = 22,000lb thrust each, 88,000lb total.

Another factor also being the RAF can refuel the E-3D and doesn’t have to rely on USAF tanker support...
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby minnie the moocher on Thu 23 Nov 2017, 7:44 am

Marathon Milkshake wrote:
Or is it just 51 Sqn trying to drop out of sight?


you aren't alone with that thought
minnie the moocher

Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby boff180 on Thu 23 Nov 2017, 7:55 am

Just to add to my previous point... in a little bit of a simplistic way...

It’s fair reasoning that the Waddington runway is/was fine for an E-3D at MTOW as they’ve never had any reported issues.

Ignoring aerodynamic differences, in order to match the thrust/weight ratio of an MTOW E-3D and therefore - by assumption - to match the take off performance of the E-3D in order to be safe to take-off from Waddington, an RC-135W needs to be approx 24,000lb below it’s MTOW - which based on the article is achieved via carrying less fuel.

An RC has an internal fuel capacity of 130,000lb so it needs to take off at 82% fuel capacity.
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Re: Airseekers leaving Waddington?

Postby The Baron on Thu 23 Nov 2017, 8:58 am

Surely this sort of research should have been done before the order for the aircraft was placed?
I'd love to know the reason behind the runway works if Waddington is now unsuitable.
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