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Vickers McFunbus

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About Vickers McFunbus

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    Oxfordshire
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    Aeroplanes

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  1. A similar glossy shade to the Sentinel and most recently painted Sentry too. I suppose the Wedgetail will follow suit.
  2. Yep,but not a factor in my point though; all round the A330 is arguably a more versatile tanking platform... ...Hence chosen by the impartial experts of the world’s biggest AAR user!
  3. Much as PFIs are a ridiculous idea in general, it can't be ignored that had we not gone for a PFI, the A330 MRTTs would probably be under a rubbish servicing contract, have servicing performed at great cost by and external contractor, the aircrew would still be operating in the 20th century out of the back of a crumbling C-type hangar and I could go on. At the end we'd have been left with a dozen or so second hand A330 or B767 which would have been sold off for scrap and even more dilapidated infrastructure. What we have got in return for the PFI is a very very swept up and modern operation in modern - brand new - buildings, run to civilian standards of operating efficiency compared to many corners of the military. And of all those listed using the KC-767/KC46 or whatever they're calling it these days, they have a far inferior tanker. The US DOD got the correct answer the first time, but it helps when the President is from Boeing's home city.
  4. Which air forces are those? We have a very limited budget and the strain on flying ours to cover normal training is very limited over most, if not all, front line fleets. And to be honest, other than maybe in the Falklands, we don't need it. That said, having the tanker (VC10/Tristar/A330) and Herc/A400M in theatre has worked very well for over 25 years and offers decent versatility of tasking. But what do the MOD know?
  5. It might have been, but the reality is that much as the Voyager might seem overkill for day to day life, it offers versatility - which is sometimes needed - that a smaller type would struggle with on the Islands. You probably lose all utility of the 146 as you’d in all likelihood need to fit extra tanks in the fuselage as it has a fairly limited fuel capacity too. As for the “exclusivity clause”, which is often commented on, it’s one of those things. It loses a bit of flexibility, but ultimately the MoD has only operated large strategic tankers since the mid 90s anyway, and people forget the conversion, training and financial burden of introducing another type (with limited utility).
  6. I’m not entirely sure how much truth there was in that rumour. With a little knowledge of “how stuff works” down south in the FI, I’m not sure how suitable a 146 based airframe would be for any of the roles. The RAF has been well aware of the clause from the outset.
  7. The stage when the realised the aerodynamic handling characteristics were changing enough to require a complete re-certification and additional pilots’ Type Rating (which, coincidentally, isn’t required for the A320neo). not very attractive to current 737 operators if they’d needed to get all their 737 pilots Type Rated on a separate one for the Max.
  8. We all know the Americans wanted KC-30 (KC-45 back then) in the first place. I wouldn’t want to use the Turkish Wedgetail as a comparison as there are lots of other issues in play. 737Max comparison is irrelevant, unless we used it as leverage to get a discount and give Boeing a “good news” story.
  9. I think in this case the numbers may have been tailored to meet the size of the available cheque from the Treasury.
  10. It all rather depends on what we plan to do with them!
  11. The KC-135 and RC-135 are not 707 based airframes. They are C-135 based products, not 707-320s (which is what the Sentry began life as). Although visually similar in configuration they are very different. Yes, they were young (nearly 30), but that doesn't stop them having old, expensive, obsolete (often regulatorarily obsolete) systems. Yes, the mission system was not upgraded in line with the other E-3 users, and it's the combination of these factors that make it sensible to replace the whole platform. Why spend billions upgrading a very small fleet of elderly airframes (at greater commercial risk) when there is a system available which can replace them, probably for less of a financial outlay.
  12. Lack of investment in maintaining an old aircraft which is has no commonality with its civilian counterparts as they've all been retired? It becomes expensive for a small fleet doesn't it, therefore the age and status of the fleet as a (very) legacy aircraft play a huge part. As you've said they haven't had the mission or avionics/cockpit upgrades that NATO, France and the US have invested in either. From a modern safety point of view it's an aeroplane with potential for very nasty handling characteristics in some scenarios. Ultimately it's an airframe designed in the 50s. It probably needs far more money than an E-7 purchase to get anywhere near the potential longevity of other fleets.
  13. The good news though is we've bought a piece of kit that is proven, "off the shelf" and has commonality with the most popular airframe/engine combination of the past 40 years. The E-3 was proven when we bought it BUT was always going to suffer as the basic 707 airframe had been obsolete for 10-15 years by then. Put in a decent maintenance contract and there's nothing to say they'll not have 4 of 5 on the line at any one time.
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