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Slater

Uk Wedgetail?

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With the Sentry’s getting long in the tooh and parts increasingly hard to acquire this is hardly a surprise. Not sure why Airbus are getting upset though, it’s not like they have a rival option ready to go is it?

Edited by charlie_c67

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USAF's E-3's are pretty much antiques also. Wonder if Wedgetail would be a viable replacement?

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If it does the job then we should have it. The airframe is still in production and spares are global,relatively speaking. It would not suprise me to see America replace it's E3's with a KC767 derivative given the time scale available to them.  I understand it is a different beast to the Japanese 767's. Too late and expensive for us but as has been seen over the years , once you have a platform it can be upgraded regularly. 

 

Keith. 

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According to a piece in the latest edition of "Air International" magazine a small number of RAF personnel have begun training on the Wedgetail with the RAAF. 

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1 hour ago, Britman said:

Too late and expensive for us but as has been seen over the years , once you have a platform it can be upgraded regularly. 

 

Keith. 

The UK E-3 fleet has been broken for a long time in both engineering and capability terms, and in the sentence above we have the answer.  The UK Goverment (of all colours) idea that you can constantly delay upgrades/replacements or have capability hoidays because there is no will to fund Defence to an appropriate level is slowly coming home to roost. 

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The sorry truth plc. When we recieved them I was pleasantly surprised we had taken the trouble to get the latest engine fit. However, as you suggest, if updates and maintenance are neglected it might as well be a Nimrod 4! 

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Wedgetail + Poseidon = Commonality x More Effiecent Logistics x Front End Crew Crossover. 

 

It’s a no-brainer regardless of the noise that Airbus makes. Moreover, why spend millions on running a competition on which anyone with sense and logic knows the answer?

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10 hours ago, Sundowner14 said:

why spend millions on running a competition on which anyone with sense and logic knows the answer?

 

Because we're British and that is the long-standing and traditional manner of doing things?

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10 hours ago, XV107 said:

 

Because we're British and that is the long-standing and traditional manner of doing things?

You mean a long-standing tradition of wasting money on promised home team-developed capability and then eventually buying an off-the-shelf product so that the overall exercise proves far more costly than it should have been? That worked out really well with the Nimrod AEW and MRA4, so I guess that tradition is the best way forward.

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On 10/3/2018 at 11:25 AM, Latinbear said:

According to a piece in the latest edition of "Air International" magazine a small number of RAF personnel have begun training on the Wedgetail with the RAAF. 

I would guess that these would be personnel on Exchange, which is a long-standing arrangement that the U.K. has had with a number of armed forces around the world. Whilst there’s no harming in understanding the E-7’s capability, it’s a bit of lazy journalism in my view as the fact that we have RAF pilots flying the F-22 doesn’t mean that we’re about to buy a couple of squadrons. 

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E7 is currently the best platform of that type in the world. .

 

It's MOTS and available.  Whats the other realistic option?

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3 hours ago, Sundowner14 said:

You mean a long-standing tradition of wasting money on promised home team-developed capability and then eventually buying an off-the-shelf product so that the overall exercise proves far more costly than it should have been? That worked out really well with the Nimrod AEW and MRA4, so I guess that tradition is the best way forward.

That's the one!

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I can see the economics of having commonality with the P8,crew training /spares etc.

What I can't understand is why Boeing has got into the MOD so deeply, why has this been allowed this to happen?

The benefit to industry MAY take place, speaking to a member of BAE,s staff at the Keighley show he remarked the some of the F35 parts manufacture had been taken back to the US.

What benefit is this to us as a country or is it just leading us up another garden path.

Boeing has a reputation for killing off competition A330 sales to the US Air Force the spat with Canada over what is now the A220.

I do agree that Airbus/Saab has nothing to offer so throwing their dummy out of the pram seems a bit sour grapes especially as they threaten to reduce wing spar production then the unavoidable event takes place next year.

What this does show is a total lack of commitment to UK manufacturers by successive sets of leaders?in planning correctly for future research and development in the aviation industry.

One other point in the statement I noticed was Marshalls carrying out the conversion does this indicate that second hand airframes might be purchased?

 

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3 hours ago, camper1 said:

I can see the economics of having commonality with the P8,crew training /spares etc.

What I can't understand is why Boeing has got into the MOD so deeply, why has this been allowed this to happen?

The benefit to industry MAY take place, speaking to a member of BAE,s staff at the Keighley show he remarked the some of the F35 parts manufacture had been taken back to the US.

What benefit is this to us as a country or is it just leading us up another garden path.

Boeing has a reputation for killing off competition A330 sales to the US Air Force the spat with Canada over what is now the A220.

I do agree that Airbus/Saab has nothing to offer so throwing their dummy out of the pram seems a bit sour grapes especially as they threaten to reduce wing spar production then the unavoidable event takes place next year.

What this does show is a total lack of commitment to UK manufacturers by successive sets of leaders?in planning correctly for future research and development in the aviation industry.

One other point in the statement I noticed was Marshalls carrying out the conversion does this indicate that second hand airframes might be purchased?

 

I’d put the question another way; how have Airbus BAE et al allowed this to happen? I go back to the Nimrods; BAE demonstrated a complete inability to deliver a capable product and anything like a reasonable costs within anything like a reasonable timescale. They were allowed down that path because of the desire and I’m willing to be corrected, to protect the U.K. defence industry. I would add Tucano into that mix.

 

In an an ideal world, yup, the home team should field equipment built by the home team. But this should only be the case if it is the best, able to counter known and perceived threats and represents value for money overall. Gone are the days I think when the U.K. defence industry alone can deliver the capability that the U.K. armed forces needs. 

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1 minute ago, Sundowner14 said:

I’d put the question another way; how have Airbus BAE et al allowed this to happen? I go back to the Nimrods; BAE demonstrated a complete inability to deliver a capable product and anything like a reasonable costs within anything like a reasonable timescale. They were allowed down that path because of the desire and I’m willing to be corrected, to protect the U.K. defence industry. I would add Tucano into that mix.

 

In an an ideal world, yup, the home team should field equipment built by the home team. But this should only be the case if it is the best, able to counter known and perceived threats and represents value for money overall. Gone are the days I think when the U.K. defence industry alone can deliver the capability that the U.K. armed forces needs. 

I believe the main Nimrod problem was the fact that the aircraft were practically hand built, so when the wings arrived they would not fit and had to be modified.

The Tucano problem was the RAF would not accept the engine used by most other users so had to go their own way thus the problems started.Just incompetence by the leaders.

I agree that cooperation is probably the only way to go but why does one company with a less than reliable reputation for fair play take such precedence at the MOD.

The Airbus question is easily answered it's owned mainly by the French and Germans,they spend less on defence than a lot of countries so probably don't have the inclination to stop the money making airliners to develop a military version of whatever airliner they would select, simply put the small quantity produced would not be enough to make a profit

BAE sold off their interest in Airbus some years ago, probably to boost the shareholders dividend, it has to be one off the worst decisions ever made by a board of directors, with orders of over 10,000 aircraft the profits could have been used to develop the military hardware we need.

The lack of good management and stupidity by various leaders continuous to blight our armed forces, no wonder young people don't see it as a career any longer.

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In the category of "what if" - What if the Wedgetail was adopted by the UK? Would any UK-specific modifications add a substantial amount to the overall cost, or would  very little modification be required?

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2 hours ago, camper1 said:

I believe the main Nimrod problem was the fact that the aircraft were practically hand built, so when the wings arrived they would not fit and had to be modified.

The Tucano problem was the RAF would not accept the engine used by most other users so had to go their own way thus the problems started.Just incompetence by the leaders.

I agree that cooperation is probably the only way to go but why does one company with a less than reliable reputation for fair play take such precedence at the MOD.

......

The lack of good management and stupidity by various leaders continuous to blight our armed forces, no wonder young people don't see it as a career any longer.

Your first point answers MRA.4, for sure, though anyone with a bit of brains at BAE, who were the Design Authority, should have seen that coming. That they didn’t was not down to bad luck but greed, arrogance and incompetence (and I have an exceptionally informed source on this). As for the Tucano, PC-9 was arguably a better aeroplane and was so without changing the engine, however, it didn’t come with jobs in Belfast....

 

Nimrod AEW.3 though is the killer for me and exceptionally pertinent to this conversation.

  • Exhibit A; tried, trusted and tested Boeing E-3, used by US, French and NATO.
  • Exhibit B; Nimrod AEW.3, the thing could just about take off (watched it at Waddo) and the boffins at BAE convinced the government and the air staffs that they could produce the computing power to fuse the 2 radar pictures.

Nimrod AEW.3 not only looked a joke, it was a full standup comedy routine. The U.K. cannot and must not ever go down that home team can do it better route again as the overriding procurement choice, so IMHO if Wedgetail is the answer, so be it. 

 

As for your your last point, can’t agree on that as a general view. There will always want to be bright young men and women who want to fly, blow stuff up or sail and the drive that the armed forces puts in to back STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in education is notable and will I think provide the right sort of encouragement to the young and switched on. However, just as policing, teaching and the NHS finds these days, there’s a lot of competition to get the right folk with the right calling and the right stuff in the numbers needed.

 

Good debate; thanks.

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On 10/5/2018 at 1:32 PM, camper1 said:

One other point in the statement I noticed was Marshalls carrying out the conversion does this indicate that second hand airframes might be purchased?

 

No, it means Marshall’s will carry out work contracted to Boeing on the new airframes. It would be more expensive and problematic to convert existing airframes (and from where?) than to manufacture new.

 

...for example, Marshall’s are already producing component parts for the new build P8

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On 10/5/2018 at 6:40 PM, Sundowner14 said:

As for the Tucano, PC-9 was arguably a better aeroplane

I've worked on both. You are correct there.

At the time, the pilots wanted the PC-9, IIRC Pilatus wouldn't change the canopy to include a separate birdproof windscreen.

And of course, there was that factory in Belfast. Every time a Tucano left the runway on it's ferry flight to the UK,

a nice man from the MOD wrote out a cheque that paid the workers wages.

And, is it still the Beech Harvard 2 that will be a new trainer for the RAF? Hmm, based on the PC-9.

I enjoyed my time in the RAF. I'm way too old to re-enlist, and, having recently seen the state that Scampton

(for instance) has been allowed to get into, I may be glad that I am. Times have changed and not for the better.

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There are indeed already a number of PC-9`s sorry i mean T-6`s at Valley with more on the way as the Tuc replacement readying for taking over training next year.

 

Interesting to see if Wedgetail is indeed purchased and what token number we do indeed buy, we bought 7 E-3`s and i think currently have 5 (?) still operational due to one thing and another so will that be the precident for a purchase of 5 or will they go for 7 again or even dare i say as low as 3??

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Oh just round up all the Shackletons from museums and get them back in service, have a proper aircraft flying around again 😂😂😂

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A few thoughts.

 

The Tucano was seen at the time as a quid pro quo for Brazilian ‘help’ in the South Atlantic business in ‘82. Maybe PC-9’s would have been built in the U.K.? For a truly British answer there was the NDN Firecracker.

 

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Wedgetail - from a spares point of view it makes sense following the Poseidon buy. As for Marshall’s being involved, that doesn’t necessarily mean modding a used airframe. KC330’s for example are all built as ‘green’ airframes and modded at Getafe. The Sentinels likewise were modded from stock at  However, if there are some low time preloved charter charabancs gathering dust, why not, after all the second hand VC-10 and Tridents didn’t fare too badly did they? 

 

The Poseidons on order are basically off the shelf with minimal changes. I’d assume Wedgetail (can we start a naming competition now please?) would be the same with the ‘British’ content coming down to assemblage and maybe the MK.2 upgrade in about 10 years time. 

 

Trevor

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