Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Stealth tankers?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Stealth tankers?

    I apologize if this has already been addressed, but have any provisions been made to provide stealth fighters and bombers with stealth tankers?

  • #2
    There has been some talk over the years into developping low observable transport aircraft (the mommies and daddies of tankers), but nothing serious has come out of it.

    There are 2 problems with a stealth tanker, IMHO:

    1) Cost. Stealth Aircraft by and large cost more to build, operate, service, and support than conventional designs. A second cost factor is that conventional transport aircraft use the 2nd most geometrically efficient design availible, the cylinder, which is decidedly unstealthy without serious modification. The modifications to basic designs (high wing cylindrical monoplane) needed to make a stealth tanker would result in much decreased cargo (read fuel) capacity, rendering it useless for anything other than supporting stealth aircraft on deep strikes over enemy territory.

    2) Operational use. Most tankers operate within the 'controlled airspace', with aircraft picking up fuel before entering contested airspace, and after leaving the contested airspace. There just isn't that much of an operational need for stealth tankers because tankers just don't operate within the enemy's capability to efficiently take them out. They normally have cover from incoming and outgoing flights, plus the CAP, and operate at altitudes too high for MANPADS, over territory that has already been sterilized of large ADS's or overrun by ground forces.

    If a stealth tanker system was actually deemed necessary for a mission, I would go about it by rigging a single drogue system to a B-2 bomber, and putting fuel bladders in the bomb bay to give it the additional fuel necessary. Have the drogue be retractable into the B-2s bay, and the bay doors open to deploy the refueling system. A workable solution with minimal risk to the aircraft, except during the actual refueling process. Pre and post refuelling would be a low observable entry and exit.
    Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

    Comment


    • #3
      How would the stealth attack planes and bombers find a stealth tanker if the AWACS could not find it on radar? An IFF beacon would preclude the stealth technology.

      Pruitt
      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

      Comment


      • #4
        Have a designated meet location/time.

        Tanker runs a racetrack pattern waiting for the other aircraft to meet it.

        Detection is made by visual, maybe by a luminescent strip on top of the tanker at night, which can be activated at a designated time to bring in the bird.

        Sat-uplink could also be used with the tanker updating location information every 5 minutes or so, and the other aircraft being able to access this and determine an intercept point.

        However, like I said, not really that viable. I forsee the next tanker revolution being in long-duration high altitude UAV platforms, like airships, being able to station above friendly airspace and duck down from 75k feet or more to refuel aircraft at angels 30, then returning to a high altitude loitering pattern. If designed right, they could have the fuel capacity to relegate conventional tankers to emergencies and short-duration operations, and could use electric props and solar cells for much of their maneuvering, opening up nearly their full fuel capacity for tanker duties.
        Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

        Comment


        • #5
          We also already use MC/HC-130s for low level/special operations refueling.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
            Have a designated meet location/time.

            Tanker runs a racetrack pattern waiting for the other aircraft to meet it.

            Detection is made by visual, maybe by a luminescent strip on top of the tanker at night, which can be activated at a designated time to bring in the bird.

            Sat-uplink could also be used with the tanker updating location information every 5 minutes or so, and the other aircraft being able to access this and determine an intercept point.

            However, like I said, not really that viable. I forsee the next tanker revolution being in long-duration high altitude UAV platforms, like airships, being able to station above friendly airspace and duck down from 75k feet or more to refuel aircraft at angels 30, then returning to a high altitude loitering pattern. If designed right, they could have the fuel capacity to relegate conventional tankers to emergencies and short-duration operations, and could use electric props and solar cells for much of their maneuvering, opening up nearly their full fuel capacity for tanker duties.
            I must say, this plan is nothing short of ingenious.
            Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
            But who's to judge the right from wrong.
            When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
            That violence breeds violence.
            But in the end it has to be this way.

            Comment


            • #7
              It's a rather simple progression czin. Dirigibles are generally derided (or would that be dirided ) for using helium and hydrogen as lift sources, because of the flammable nature of the substances. Tanker aircraft are accepted because of the need for them, but they also suffer from the exact same problem, They burn pretty quickly when hit.

              Tanking aircraft is reaching a point where it can be near-totally automated, and flying a tanker has to be one of the most mind-numbing flying jobs in any airforce, with the added caveat of moments of sheer terror when anything approaching action occurs, because you're flying an underengineered fuel air explosive device.

              Therefore, combine both the long-duration capabilities of a dirigible with the mind-numbingly boring UAV operation, and you get a tanker that can operate essentially an airborne gas station 24/7, being replaced on a scheduled basis by a sister ship, and flying back home.
              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                It's a rather simple progression czin. Dirigibles are generally derided (or would that be dirided ) for using helium and hydrogen as lift sources, because of the flammable nature of the substances. Tanker aircraft are accepted because of the need for them, but they also suffer from the exact same problem, They burn pretty quickly when hit.

                Tanking aircraft is reaching a point where it can be near-totally automated, and flying a tanker has to be one of the most mind-numbing flying jobs in any airforce, with the added caveat of moments of sheer terror when anything approaching action occurs, because you're flying an underengineered fuel air explosive device.

                Therefore, combine both the long-duration capabilities of a dirigible with the mind-numbingly boring UAV operation, and you get a tanker that can operate essentially an airborne gas station 24/7, being replaced on a scheduled basis by a sister ship, and flying back home.
                Umm, Helium is chemically inert and can only form two or so compounds, both of which are purely hypothetical. The problem is that the material is extremely rare on Earth, though getting it from Jupiter could be a solution in the future.

                Though there is the problem that Dirigibles are very slow compared to fixed wing aircraft which makes refueling very difficult. Perhaps more usage of V/STOL aircraft could help this, as for our bombers, we could build some with enough range to go around the planet once or twice, they would just need to be big, but then we could have a bomber that can finally carry the MOAB unaided.
                Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
                But who's to judge the right from wrong.
                When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
                That violence breeds violence.
                But in the end it has to be this way.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Designed properly, you can get a dirigible up to approx 250kts, which if flying into the wind is plenty to refuel aircraft. Refueling helos would be easier, because they have to normally fly closer to their top speed in order to refuel.

                  Use electric props to drive the dirigible during normal operating times and in transit, but keep 2 turboprops or turbofans mounted as 'sprint' engines, which could be run up just prior to a bird coming in for fuel to bring the dirigible up to a suitable velocity.
                  Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                    Designed properly, you can get a dirigible up to approx 250kts, which if flying into the wind is plenty to refuel aircraft. Refueling helos would be easier, because they have to normally fly closer to their top speed in order to refuel.

                    Use electric props to drive the dirigible during normal operating times and in transit, but keep 2 turboprops or turbofans mounted as 'sprint' engines, which could be run up just prior to a bird coming in for fuel to bring the dirigible up to a suitable velocity.
                    I would still like a gargantuan stealth bomber capable of dropping one or more moabs internally without adjustments. Like the B-2, only bigger and capable of reaching anywhere on earth with fuel to spare, maybe able to break the sound barrier as well. It would strike fear into our enemies and very, very few things can withstand a MOAB.
                    Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
                    But who's to judge the right from wrong.
                    When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
                    That violence breeds violence.
                    But in the end it has to be this way.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Czin View Post
                      I would still like a gargantuan stealth bomber capable of dropping one or more moabs internally without adjustments. Like the B-2, only bigger and capable of reaching anywhere on earth with fuel to spare, maybe able to break the sound barrier as well. It would strike fear into our enemies and very, very few things can withstand a MOAB.
                      MOABs are really only good at taking out large targets that are relatively above ground. They're also probably the worst things on earth if you're trying to avoid civilian casualties. Heck, in some cases you'd be better with a low-yield nuclear device and a deep penetrating warhead.

                      Impressive, yes, effective, not so much.

                      If I were going for an extreme duration UCAV for 'bomb truck' purposes, I'd rather have one capable of carrying 6-10 JDAMs in the 1Klbs range, and another 10-20 smaller weapons in the 100-250lb range.

                      And if you're going to be hitting targets with precision ordinance in the first place, especially precision ordinance that is GPS guided, you can drop it from virtually any height, including Angels 80k. With that in mind, for all but the most modern opponents, a dirigible is still a viable option (no we're not going there, it's been done to death with the airship star destroyer thread), as are several other high-altitude non-stealth designs.

                      *End off topic conversation*
                      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

                      Comment

                      Latest Topics

                      Collapse

                      Working...
                      X