AFSOC's Aircraft way-ahead.

DA SWO

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This is from the AF Association's daily e-mail:

Recapitalizing Special-Mission Aircraft: Efforts to recapitalize and modernize US Special Operations Command's rotary- and fixed-wing fleets are progressing well, said Adm. William McRaven, SOCOM commander. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, McRaven said Air Force Special Operations Command has fielded 23 of its 50 planned CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. The Osprey "continues to deliver unmatched speed and range to SOF battlefield commanders," he said. AFSOC also has completed modifying 12 MC-130Ws with a precision strike package, "which continues to perform superbly in combat," said McRaven. It has also started efforts to field AC-130J gunships to replace legacy AC-130 platforms, "using the MC-130W PSP as a key risk-reducing capability," he noted. Further, AFSOC's MC-130J successfully completed developmental testing in June and is on track to replace aging MC-130E and MC-130P special-mission aircraft, he said.

Anyone here use an Osprey yet?

I also think it's funny how many J-model 130's we are buying. Funny, because big blue tried to kill the program and is now the biggest customer.
 

Vat_69

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Ugh...i dont want to get started on the fraud, waste and abuse of the J model program and how Lockgreed forced the AF to buy into it.

But in a nutshell, the c130 had evolved to its apex form in the H3 model and H3.5s were even making their way into production. The AF and the Herc community were happy as hogs in shit with the H3 series but Lockheed wanted to make more money per aircraft, so under the guise of performance, efficiency, and crew reduction cancelled the H3 "legacy" series without any input from the DOD and said if you want hercs you have to fund the J program. Yes the J performs a little better but not enough to justify the price tag of the program or cost per plane. The herc is a pick up truck, i dont want an automatic with leather seats and 20 inch rims or a carbon fiber hood for a freakin pick up truck. To me thats just what the J is.
 

talonlm

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Like it or not, the J is the way ahead. It's not like we have a lot of choice--even the 'new' gunships and talon-2s are approach twenty years old. The H-model gunpigs are closing rapidly on 45 and the Combat Talon is just this side of 50(!). Well maintained or not, airframes only hold up so long. Much as I hate to see these old birds retired, it's definitely time to replace them. Had AFSOC not sold their soul for that whirling Cuisinart of death in the 90s, we might have something newer sooner, but that's all politics and short-sightedness under the bridge now.

I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see the C-27Js turn up in the AFSOC inventory--small footprint, lots of parts-commonality with the J-model, damned capable airframe and, oddly enough, Big Blue just decided to throw away twenty or so of them in the name of budgetary expediency (None with more than 500 flight hours, and nine still on the assembly line!). Seems to me to be a simple decision to pick those up but a pretty difficult budget fight; justifying another new airframe with money like it is could be pretty tough.
Don’t see a long future for the rest of the smaller assets AFSOC has been picking up lately, though. They seem to me to be something of a mission-specific purchase, ‘niche-flyers,’ if you will. Not flexible enough to hang onto long term if the budget gets further constrained.
 

Vat_69

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I get it the J is the future. Its just a constant freaking reminder of grossly expensive "geez whiz" spending IMO.
 

talonlm

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I get it the J is the future. Its just a constant freaking reminder of grossly expensive "geez whiz" spending IMO.

I have to disagree, at least with regard to the -J models. The AC-130Hs, MC-130Es and MC-130Ps are all at least 40 years old. That's pretty long for something that flies in the regime they do. Even with serious maintenance work, they only last so long before you start having continuous maintenance problems or worse. Those birds are tired, and they need a replacement. Even the "new" gunships and Talon 2s are in their early twenties, with some older than that. The time for the introduction of the J-model into AFSOC has come.

And the best example I can think of regarding AFSOC's preference for shiny new baubles would be the CV-22. I don't know how the Marines feel about it, but I don't know very many folks around who feel the Osprey is a fine repalcement for a Pave Low.
 

Vat_69

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Dont mistake my general dislike for the J as me not feeling the legacy gunpigs and talon/shadow needs to be recaped. Its should have begun yrs ago with H3.5s. Ask any pilot that flew the H 3. Its perfect.
 

Dead Last

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I know I'm a little late to the conversation but yes the H3 was the pinnacle! But if someone told me to go fly the J I wouldn't say no... Just sayin

cheers
 

talonlm

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Nothing wrong with H3s. The problem is, Lockheed isn't building them anymore. As is often the case, it's not a question of what's best, but one of what's available.
 

talonlm

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Can't say from the driver's end, but they're interesting to watch from the loadmaster's point of view. Just flat out different. The accordian effect--when the tanker pilot speeds up and the reciever pilot slows down--will really get your attention. A bit more comfortable (from the aircraft performance perspective) for the tankers, as well. Better than hanging on the edge of a stall while in formation, at any rate.
 

AWP

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Can't say from the driver's end, but they're interesting to watch from the loadmaster's point of view. Just flat out different. The accordian effect--when the tanker pilot speeds up and the reciever pilot slows down--will really get your attention. A bit more comfortable (from the aircraft performance perspective) for the tankers, as well. Better than hanging on the edge of a stall while in formation, at any rate.

I was mainly picking at amlove...he or one of the other J's have a serious dislike for riding in a helo when it refuels, so I threw in his "love" of the Osprey for comparison.
 

amlove21

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I was mainly picking at amlove...he or one of the other J's have a serious dislike for riding in a helo when it refuels, so I threw in his "love" of the Osprey for comparison.
Oh it was me. Least favorite thing to do in a helo.

And I haven't refueled in a 22 yet, I have a couple jumps out of them, and that's about it. A lot of the reports of AIE's from friends aren't favorable.
 

USAFReshef

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I know I'm not a pilot or SOF guy, but I have a serious question about the Osprey that makes me wonder about it's real utility in a hostile environment: what happens if you take a shot in the engine? You can't autorotate down like a chopper, and I VERY much doubt it has the glide characteristics of anything other than a brick.
 

Ranger Psych

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Each engine doesn't just power a single rotor. Both powerplants feed a driveshaft to a gearbox that has a cross-shaft linking both rotors.

You lose a ton of performance, but it will still fly with a degraded performance envelope.... just like any multi-engine aircraft.
 

USAFReshef

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Each engine doesn't just power a single rotor. Both powerplants feed a driveshaft to a gearbox that has a cross-shaft linking both rotors.

You lose a ton of performance, but it will still fly with a degraded performance envelope.... just like any multi-engine aircraft.
Ah. Thank you for clearing that up.
 

Hella-Copters

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I know I'm not a pilot or SOF guy, but I have a serious question about the Osprey that makes me wonder about it's real utility in a hostile environment: what happens if you take a shot in the engine? You can't autorotate down like a chopper, and I VERY much doubt it has the glide characteristics of anything other than a brick.

Without getting into FOUO, in short, Ranger Psych is correct. The Osprey has an interconnecting driveshaft that allows one engine to drive both proprotors. After the Osprey's notorious mishaps in the early 2000s, is was completely redesigned. Part of that redesign was added redundancy and redistribution of critical controls throughout the airframe to reduce the risk of losing critical systems.

You are correct that the Osprey cannot autorotate. In a dual-engine failure scenario - which is incredibly rare - the crew is trained convert to airplane mode and glide like an airplane. The glide ratio is not great, so you're not gliding home, but - when performed correctly to an unobstructed area - the crew and passengers will walk away from the aircraft. The proprotors will strike the ground and are designed to "broomstraw" away from the fuselage.
 
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