Defensive Carry banner

1 - 20 of 57 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,804 Posts
Interesting concept, I wonder how much fuel it can carry.
The only public figure I was able to find easily is "15,000 lb of fuel"
 
  • Like
Reactions: msgt/ret

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,168 Posts
Great, a remote controlled flying bomb. Hackers jumping with joy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,804 Posts
Perhaps some Naval Aviator has better information but my read says that the US Navy F/A-18 E and F Super Hornet variant of the aircraft has an internal fuel capacity by 14,000lbs. So, one such drone could conceivably refuel a single Super Hornet that is near 0.
 
  • Like
Reactions: msgt/ret

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Perhaps some Naval Aviator has better information but my read says that the US Navy F/A-18 E and F Super Hornet variant of the aircraft has an internal fuel capacity by 14,000lbs. So, one such drone could conceivably refuel a single Super Hornet that is near 0.
That would be nice, if your very low on fuel and your trying to get back on flight deck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,263 Posts
Perhaps some Naval Aviator has better information but my read says that the US Navy F/A-18 E and F Super Hornet variant of the aircraft has an internal fuel capacity by 14,000lbs. So, one such drone could conceivably refuel a single Super Hornet that is near 0.
Having been an aviator in an A-6 squadron, I spent many hours in the carrier based tanker of the day, the KA-6D. It held about 16,000 pounds of deliverable fuel. So this drone tanker is not really much of an improvement. But it is important to understand how tankers are used in carrier aviation. It is different than the Air Force.

The main purpose of a carrier based tanker is to refuel planes that are having trouble getting aboard. A plane can't land full of fuel, it is too heavy. Typically, a plane at landing weight will only have enough "gas" for about three passes before it needs refueling. If not aboard after pass #3, it goes up and hits the tanker for just enough fuel for three more. The secondary, and much more rare, use of the tanker is to top off a plane going on a long mission and meeting up with it again on the way back, just getting it up to enough for three passes.

By contrast, the Air Force KC-135 holds over 200,000 pounds of fuel, and can be used as a full-tank "airborne gas station" for multiple aircraft. It is a whole different mission. I think this drone is a good idea for what carrier tanking is all about. Another thing to be noticed about this drone is that it is only going to work with Navy "basket drogue" refueling, not the Air Force probe type. The KC-135 has an adapter that allows it to do either.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,506 Posts
Having been an aviator in an A-6 squadron, I spent many hours in the carrier based tanker of the day, the KA-6D. It held about 16,000 pounds of deliverable fuel. So this drone tanker is not really much of an improvement. But it is important to understand how tankers are used in carrier aviation. It is different than the Air Force.

The main purpose of a carrier based tanker is to refuel planes that are having trouble getting aboard. A plane can't land full of fuel, it is too heavy. Typically, a plane at landing weight will only have enough "gas" for about three passes before it needs refueling. If not aboard after pass #3, it goes up and hits the tanker for just enough fuel for three more. The secondary, and much more rare, use of the tanker is to top off a plane going on a long mission and meeting up with it again on the way back, just getting it up to enough for three passes.

By contrast, the Air Force KC-135 holds over 200,000 pounds of fuel, and can be used as a full-tank "airborne gas station" for multiple aircraft. It is a whole different mission. I think this drone is a good idea for what carrier tanking is all about. Another thing to be noticed about this drone is that it is only going to work with Navy "basket drogue" refueling, not the Air Force probe type. The KC-135 has an adapter that allows it to do either.
Did plenty of ARs with the C-5, had one mission direct from Davis Monthan to Osan, Korea. Hit two tankers off Elmendorf and another off Yokota, that was one long flight. A drone is a mighty fine idea for carrier especially if someone is low on fuel and needs some to get back to the carrier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,872 Posts
Having been an aviator in an A-6 squadron, I spent many hours in the carrier based tanker of the day, the KA-6D. It held about 16,000 pounds of deliverable fuel. So this drone tanker is not really much of an improvement. But it is important to understand how tankers are used in carrier aviation. It is different than the Air Force.

The main purpose of a carrier based tanker is to refuel planes that are having trouble getting aboard. A plane can't land full of fuel, it is too heavy. Typically, a plane at landing weight will only have enough "gas" for about three passes before it needs refueling. If not aboard after pass #3, it goes up and hits the tanker for just enough fuel for three more. The secondary, and much more rare, use of the tanker is to top off a plane going on a long mission and meeting up with it again on the way back, just getting it up to enough for three passes.

By contrast, the Air Force KC-135 holds over 200,000 pounds of fuel, and can be used as a full-tank "airborne gas station" for multiple aircraft. It is a whole different mission. I think this drone is a good idea for what carrier tanking is all about. Another thing to be noticed about this drone is that it is only going to work with Navy "basket drogue" refueling, not the Air Force probe type. The KC-135 has an adapter that allows it to do either.
Outstanding insight, jmf552. Thank you.

I'd like to add some additional information on aerial refueling capacities:

1957: KC-135 Stratotanker: all available, but 150,000 lb fuel while retaining a 1,500 mile (1,303.5 nm) range
1958: KC-130F/R/T/J Hercules: 24,264 lb fuel
(unk ): HC-130P/N: (I do not know, but it's probably similar to the KC-130 variants)
1981: KC-10 Extender: 356,000 lb fuel
2019: KC-46A Pegasus (Boeing 767 variant): 212,299 lb fuel

The C-130s refuel helos, usually during night missions. We need those, too, more than ever, but our strategic refueling forces are always on the Congressional chopping block, so let's put the others into order, along with how many we have:

KC-10 (59): 356,000 lb fuel and a whole lot of pax and cargo
KC-46 (19): 212,299 lb fuel and a considerable amount of pax and cargo
KC-135 (396): 150,000 lb fuel and some pax and cargo

As this article explains, the U.S. should really keep three strategic tankers online. If we ditch the KC-10 and KC-135, we will require a total of 398 (call it 400) KC-46 Pegasus aircraft to replace the tankering capacity of the current fleet:

356897


(sp: should be "Aircraft")

A little known fact about aerial tankers is that they're all designed to carry a considerable amount of cargo, as well. A single KC-10, for example, can not only ferry an entire squadron of F-16s across the Atlantic, but it can do so while carrying spare engines, parts, tools, and a contingent of deploying squadron personnel. The tanker drags the fighters while the fighters protect the tanker. :)

All of the above information was collected from Wikipedia and public USAF websites.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
19,938 Posts
So when are pilots going to become obsolete?
I love new technology, but there is just something reassuring about an aviator in control
"UCAS" is already under development - Unmanned Combat Air Systems. Don't think drone, think F-35 without all the heavy, voluminous, power-robbing stuff required to keep crew alive and comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42,968 Posts
The "alert" load for a KC-135 was 189,000 pounds of JP-4, granted that cargo and Pax were not a consideration for that mission. I've flown many time on heavy tankers, lots of fuel, cargo and Pax, and you prayed those water-burning J-57s worked as advertised on takeoff. Departing Hickam AFB in HA with its "hard right" turn to avoid disturbing the tourists on Waikiki beach were particularly heart stopping when the water injection stopped early.
 
  • Like
Reactions: msgt/ret
1 - 20 of 57 Posts
Top