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Julien

UK purchases five Boeing E-7 early warning aircraft

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Welsh Models will be rubbing their hands. Poseidon and Wedgetail.

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Could this be a cue for one of the injection kit model manufacturers to start making a P-7/E-7 kit?

 

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Whilst the E7 is an impressive piece of kit - 5 airframes is not enough. 

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Well according to the press release we only have 4 E-3's

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17 minutes ago, wamwig said:

Well according to the press release we only have 4 E-3's

We brought 7 I believe, at least two have been canabalised beyond redemption.  You can see at least one with no tail or dome from the A15.

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We did buy seven although initial number was 8.....presumably one was axed. The fact that we need to replace the E3D is bad enough. A complete lack of investment in the fleet now leads to a bill for an inadequate number of replacements - out of five we'll be lucky to have two operational at any one time - appalling!!

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I fear the lesson either never learned or learned but ignored is that this is not the 1930’s. Equipment now has an inordinately long lead time between order being placed and delivery. You can’t just crank up the production line and bang out 200 airframes by the year end. 

The next serious bunfight will almost certainly see countries go with what they have in the stores. Now look at UK inventory once long term maintenance is allowed for. doesn't look fabulous anywhere really though at least some new kit is being acquired and hopefully may be added to in time

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The UK Government never learns - Defence is not seen as a priority except for cuts. We are now buying more high end kit off the shelf - RC135, P8 and now E7 but in shockingly small numbers resulting in an ever diminishing capability....

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Don’t knock the UK Government!  Didn’t someone there recently suggest the future for the RAF was to flood a war zone with hundreds (or was it thousands?) of drones?  I don’t recall any details being proposed about who might operate the drones, but no doubt some time around the beginning of April we might see announcements to the effect Primary school children will have the skills and ability to operate them.

 

Half joking.  BUT ONLY HALF.

 

Jonny

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1 hour ago, Stealthman said:

The UK Government never learns - Defence is not seen as a priority except for cuts. We are now buying more high end kit off the shelf - RC135, P8 and now E7 but in shockingly small numbers resulting in an ever diminishing capability....

The main problem is always the lack of money and wasting a lot of what they do have, I'm afraid they have max'ed out the credit card and new equipment dribbles in so it falls into the next financial year, or worse, delayed until after they have retired so they do not have to find the money for it.  I'm not sure how much MoD has overspent that they do not have!

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On 3/22/2019 at 6:19 PM, JohnT said:

I fear the lesson either never learned or learned but ignored is that this is not the 1930’s. Equipment now has an inordinately long lead time between order being placed and delivery. You can’t just crank up the production line and bang out 200 airframes by the year end. 

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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8 hours ago, Vickers McFunbus said:

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. 

The age of the 707 air frame has nothing to do with the E3D being replaced. Lack of investment in maintaining the aircraft and upgrading the mission systems has led to the current scenario. The RAF has been robbing Peter to pay Paul. The E3 will continue to fly for many years yet with NATO & USAF. To ensure we actually maintain the E7's we need a minimum of 7, preferably 8 - even Turkey is buying 6! 

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There’s no money. They’ll have to rob other parts of the budget to pay for these 5 as it is.

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Maybe, maybe not. I do wonder if the new facilities being built to maintain the P8 fleet will also be used to maintain the E7, a lot of commonality there. Facilities at Waddington will be scaled back to support just the 3 RC135's which will have all their mission updates carried out in the USA as part of the RC135 'Fleet' as it were.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/22/2019 at 5:42 PM, Stealthman said:

We did buy seven although initial number was 8.....presumably one was axed.

We originally ordered six with an option for a further two. Ultimately only one of those was taken up.

 

We do seem to have purchased an off the shelf product which has already been through its growing pains and by all accounts the Australians are immensely happy with it. It has also impressed the Americans when it has deployed to the Middle East. More then five would be better, but realism has to kick in somewhere. Like the P-8A the E-7 will benefit from the worldwide logistics chain for the 737, and I suspect daily availability will be higher than the Sentry fleet. It is worth mentioning that the French have managed with only four E-3Fs in service, however.

 

I would have preferred a European option, but there wasn't one and I certainly would not have advocated paying the development and evaluation of one for such a small number of airframes. For once, well done MoD(Air). Now keep it updated and relevant.

Edited by Truro Model Builder

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2 hours ago, Truro Model Builder said:

We originally ordered six with an option for a further two. Ultimately only one of those was taken up.

 

We do seem to have purchased an off the shelf product which has already been through its growing pains and by all accounts the Australians are immensely happy with it. It has also impressed the Americans when it has deployed to the Middle East. More then five would be better, but realism has to kick in somewhere. Like the P-8A the E-7 will benefit from the worldwide logistics chain for the 737, and I suspect daily availability will be higher than the Sentry fleet. It is worth mentioning that the French have managed with only four E-3Fs in service, however.

 

I would have preferred a European option, but there wasn't one and I certainly would not have advocated paying the development and evaluation of one for such a small number of airframes. For once, well done MoD(Air). Now keep it updated and relevant.

With its AESA Radar the E7 is certainly very capable and a very good buy. Like you say, just keep it maintained and updated!

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15 hours ago, Stealthman said:

The age of the 707 air frame has nothing to do with the E3D being replaced. Lack of investment in maintaining the aircraft 

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.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Vickers McFunbus said:

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.

 

 

The UK had the youngest E3's in service, complete with CFM56 engines. Because of the numbers of 707 airframes in Military service obtaining spares wasn't a problem. (Kc135, RC135 etc).

The UK simply didn't bother to carry out the upgrades required to keep these current in line with US and NATO counterparts - presumably due to lack of money. 

The E7 is a great aircraft but will quickly end up like the E3 if we don't bother maintaining and upgrading them. 

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7 hours ago, Stealthman said:

The UK had the youngest E3's in service, complete with CFM56 engines. Because of the numbers of 707 airframes in Military service obtaining spares wasn't a problem. (Kc135, RC135 etc).

 

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.

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1 minute ago, junglierating said:

That many😂

We have seven E3's, one was sidelined very quickly, followed by two others leaving only four operational.

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On 3/24/2019 at 12:38 AM, Vickers McFunbus said:

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. 

Aye and theres the rub...75% spare = 50 % serviceability or 2 with another with limitations 😂

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