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118th AES Retired

R.I.P. C-130 and Lockheed?

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As many folks know, I follow both the military and commercial aviation industry very closely.

It is with sadness that I report my belief that as of today, with the first flight of the Airbus A400-M, Lockheed and the C-130 are now in the latter stages of their terminal illness of failure in innovation. This is of course, my personal opinion based on my own observations.

The United States has a great history in the invention and the historical development of great aircraft since the Wright Brothers took that first flight. We've built the world's best general aviation aircraft, bombers, fighters, commercial airliners, etc. Through the years, we've seen great companies come and go, some merging into other companies, and some only faded memories.

We've remember great names such as Douglas, Northrop, General Dynamics, Convair, Martin, Hughes, Rockwell, Fairchild, North American, and on and on the list goes disappear into oblivion or consolidation. Today, it takes considerable research to trace the 'family trees' of America's aviation history.

Today, there is only one manufacturer of great commercial airliners which remains in America (Boeing) which is in stiff competition with Europe's Airbus.

Today, the once great Lockheed corporation which at one time produced the C-130, C-5, and C-141 all at the same time is down to the production of only one military cargo airplane. Lockheed is out of the business of developing and producing fighters and commercial airplanes.

As I have said many times before, I sincerely believe that Lockheed's days are numbered and that within the next 20 years, Lockheed is likely to fade into memory as a once great manufacturer of both military and civilian aircraft.

When our military wanted a smaller transport to meet changing military needs, all Lockheed could come up with was the C-130J. In the end, the United States selected the Alenia (Italian) C-27J to fill that need, and today, the U.S. is buying a foreign cargo transport.

In my opinion, Lockheed has failed miserably in the area of research and development of new military designs in the past quarter century. The C-130 is a wonderful airframe, and no doubt one of the best aircraft ever built. But Lockheed has selected to "rest on its laurels" with the C-130 and I believe that the days of the C-130 are coming to an end.

Whilst Airbus has been troubled with the development of the A-400M, today they finally got the bird off the ground. The world is watching.

The A-400M, if successful will meet the changing needs of militaries around the world. Already, allies who have relied on Lockheed and the C-130 are poised to replace aging C-130s with the A-400M.

I'm no fan of the idea that the U.S. military would someday be a major "importer" of commercial and military aircraft. I'm especially not a fan of the idea that the U.S. military fleet might someday consist of mostly "foreign" aircraft. Yet the lack of innovation in the U.S. has lead to the eventual pathway of our military consisting of "foreign" aircraft.

Congratulations to Airbus on their success today in history.

Rest in Peace Lockheed.

Rest in Peace C-130, and Thank You for your service for so many years. The men and women associated with this wonderful aircraft will remember the C-130 as a "Once Great Airplane" and Lockheed as a "Once Great Leader in Aviation".

I predict that the Airbus A-400M is the "C-130 of the future".

118th AES Retired

A400M first flight

The beleaguered airlifter A400M has successfully taken off from San Pablo Airport near Seville, Spain at 10:15 local time for its 1st flight, amid talks between ministers of nations which have ordered the A400M to resolve the surging cost.

The A400M's 1st flight was delayed by 10 minutes due to "some glicthes with the instrumentation", Airbus' head of flight test Fernando Alonso said.

"For the time being everything is going fine, and the crew is comfortable with the aeroplane," Alonso said.

The first A400M, MSN001, is scheduled to land from 12:30 local time onwards.

Source: http://www.airwaysaviationnews.com/

Airbus’ A400 military transport takes to the air for the first time

Posted: December 11th, 2009 | By Paul Ash

It flies!

At 10:15 local time this morning in Seville in Spain, the Airbus A400M military transport prototype took to the air for the first time.

For the sake of prosterity, the test pilots were Chief Test Pilot Military, Edward “Ed†Strongman, 60, as captain and Experimental Test Pilot Ignacio “Nacho†Lombo, 43, in the co-pilot’s seat. There were also four engineers on board – Jean-Philippe Cottet, Eric Isorce, Didier Ronceray and Gerard Leskerpit – who will among them look after the powerplants, aircraft systems and handling qualities of the aircraft during the test program.

According to the Airbus press release, the crew have logged more than 31 000 hours of flight time between them.

Well, the upshot is that the aircraft has made that leap from something that had only ever flown on paper to actual flight.

Too late for the South African Air Force, though, who, having seen their much-anticipated replacement for the ageing C-130s snatched from under their noses just a few weeks ago, will now have to content themselves by watching the world’s newest military freighter go through its paces. C’est la vie.

Source: http://blogs.timeslive.co.za/wanderer/2009/12/11/airbus-a400-military-transport-takes-to-the-air-for-the-first-time/

New military Airbus A400-M takes inaugural flight

After years of delay Airbus's A400-M military transport plane has finally taken to the skies for its inaugural flight.

Chris Bockman reports.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8407641.stm

For the latest from Airbus on the A400-M see: http://www.airbusmilitary.com/

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Pretty impressive looking aircraft, has a lot of features of jets but on a short field prop aircraft.

In the end it may very well be the death knell of lackheed, it will all depend on cost and I would bet that the A400M wont cost 80 million a pop.

It will be a death due to greed, our whole society in this country has become a "how much is in it for me" corrupt land.

Dan

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I really doubt if the A-400 will encroach very much on the C-130 market. The time that it has taken the A-400 to finally leave the ground and the many cost over runs, delays and customers backing out from orders, it is a thorn in EADS side.

As far as innovation, a bigger threat would be from down south.

Embraer is producing a C-130 replacement for the Brazilian Air Force, it is something outside Embraer's normal operations but with the success of their commuter aircraft I think they could do very well with this program.

I was even contacted by a recruiter to head to Sao Paulo to work on the project, didn't get much info from them and it didn't pan out but would have been nice to see it from the ground up. I doubt they have the delays that EADS had with the A-400 as well.

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Embraer-Launches-KC-390-Tactical-Air-Transport-Program-05380/

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Herkyload1 brought up an excellent point with regard to yet another 'threat' to Lockheed and the C-130 program which is that of the KC-390 Program by Embrarer.

I had already been doing some research for this for a 'white paper' that I've been working on titled "Future Threats to the U.S. Aviation Manufacturing Industry".

The KC-390 may well serve as a competitor to the C-130 program for a number of reasons.

One cannot overlook that in addition to research and development costs, the costs of labor have a major impact upon the cost of the final product. That having been said, the unions actually are a key factor in the potential success or failure of a manufacturer.

Just look at the impact that unions have had on Boeing and the delays in Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8 series. Even the Europeans have these kinds of problems.

Likewise, the effects of the Euro vs. the Dollar have had an adverse effect on Airbus thus also contributing to cost overruns of the A-400M.

The KC-390 is a new area of innovation for Embrarer which has taken the vast share of the world market for regional airliners. Yet, the key is "innovation".

My point is that, in my opinion, Lockheed has lacked "innovation" in seeking new research and development and designs for the past quarter decade or so. The same can be said of other U.S. manufacturers as well.

We've seen the rise and fall of Detroit and the "Big Three" automakers and the impact of imported autos in the U.S. The "Big Three" will never produce the quality of product that the Germans have produced in the Mercedes. It is my belief that just as the "Big Three" have risen and fallen, the same appears to be true with regard to the U.S. Aviation Manufacturing Sector (perhaps excluding Boeing).

My belief is that in the next 25 years, Lockheed's role will be relegated to that of being a "project manager" (just as Boeing is with the 787) and Lockheed will simply be in the business of manufacturing oversized remote control airplanes (UAVs), some space products, and maintaining what used to be their bread and butter (C-130, C-5, C-141).

We haven't even begun to think about developing nations such as Indonesia and China and their future impact on competition for U.S. Aircraft Manufacturers.

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As many folks know, I follow both the military and commercial aviation industry very closely.

It is with sadness that I report my belief that as of today, with the first flight of the Airbus A400-M, Lockheed and the C-130 are now in the latter stages of their terminal illness of failure in innovation. This is of course, my personal opinion based on my own observations.

The United States has a great history in the invention and the historical development of great aircraft since the Wright Brothers took that first flight. We've built the world's best general aviation aircraft, bombers, fighters, commercial airliners, etc. Through the years, we've seen great companies come and go, some merging into other companies, and some only faded memories.

We've remember great names such as Douglas, Northrop, General Dynamics, Convair, Martin, Hughes, Rockwell, Fairchild, North American, and on and on the list goes disappear into oblivion or consolidation. Today, it takes considerable research to trace the 'family trees' of America's aviation history.

Today, there is only one manufacturer of great commercial airliners which remains in America (Boeing) which is in stiff competition with Europe's Airbus.

Today, the once great Lockheed corporation which at one time produced the C-130, C-5, and C-141 all at the same time is down to the production of only one military cargo airplane. Lockheed is out of the business of developing and producing fighters and commercial airplanes.

As I have said many times before, I sincerely believe that Lockheed's days are numbered and that within the next 20 years, Lockheed is likely to fade into memory as a once great manufacturer of both military and civilian aircraft.

When our military wanted a smaller transport to meet changing military needs, all Lockheed could come up with was the C-130J. In the end, the United States selected the Alenia (Italian) C-27J to fill that need, and today, the U.S. is buying a foreign cargo transport.

In my opinion, Lockheed has failed miserably in the area of research and development of new military designs in the past quarter century. The C-130 is a wonderful airframe, and no doubt one of the best aircraft ever built. But Lockheed has selected to "rest on its laurels" with the C-130 and I believe that the days of the C-130 are coming to an end.

Whilst Airbus has been troubled with the development of the A-400M, today they finally got the bird off the ground. The world is watching.

The A-400M, if successful will meet the changing needs of militaries around the world. Already, allies who have relied on Lockheed and the C-130 are poised to replace aging C-130s with the A-400M.

I'm no fan of the idea that the U.S. military would someday be a major "importer" of commercial and military aircraft. I'm especially not a fan of the idea that the U.S. military fleet might someday consist of mostly "foreign" aircraft. Yet the lack of innovation in the U.S. has lead to the eventual pathway of our military consisting of "foreign" aircraft.

Congratulations to Airbus on their success today in history.

Rest in Peace Lockheed.

Rest in Peace C-130, and Thank You for your service for so many years. The men and women associated with this wonderful aircraft will remember the C-130 as a "Once Great Airplane" and Lockheed as a "Once Great Leader in Aviation".

I predict that the Airbus A-400M is the "C-130 of the future".

118th AES Retired

A400M first flight

The beleaguered airlifter A400M has successfully taken off from San Pablo Airport near Seville, Spain at 10:15 local time for its 1st flight, amid talks between ministers of nations which have ordered the A400M to resolve the surging cost.

The A400M's 1st flight was delayed by 10 minutes due to "some glicthes with the instrumentation", Airbus' head of flight test Fernando Alonso said.

"For the time being everything is going fine, and the crew is comfortable with the aeroplane," Alonso said.

The first A400M, MSN001, is scheduled to land from 12:30 local time onwards.

Source: http://www.airwaysaviationnews.com/

Airbus’ A400 military transport takes to the air for the first time

Posted: December 11th, 2009 | By Paul Ash

It flies!

At 10:15 local time this morning in Seville in Spain, the Airbus A400M military transport prototype took to the air for the first time.

For the sake of prosterity, the test pilots were Chief Test Pilot Military, Edward “Ed†Strongman, 60, as captain and Experimental Test Pilot Ignacio “Nacho†Lombo, 43, in the co-pilot’s seat. There were also four engineers on board – Jean-Philippe Cottet, Eric Isorce, Didier Ronceray and Gerard Leskerpit – who will among them look after the powerplants, aircraft systems and handling qualities of the aircraft during the test program.

According to the Airbus press release, the crew have logged more than 31 000 hours of flight time between them.

Well, the upshot is that the aircraft has made that leap from something that had only ever flown on paper to actual flight.

Too late for the South African Air Force, though, who, having seen their much-anticipated replacement for the ageing C-130s snatched from under their noses just a few weeks ago, will now have to content themselves by watching the world’s newest military freighter go through its paces. C’est la vie.

Source: http://blogs.timeslive.co.za/wanderer/2009/12/11/airbus-a400-military-transport-takes-to-the-air-for-the-first-time/

New military Airbus A400-M takes inaugural flight

After years of delay Airbus's A400-M military transport plane has finally taken to the skies for its inaugural flight.

Chris Bockman reports.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8407641.stm

For the latest from Airbus on the A400-M see: http://www.airbusmilitary.com/

Well, so what? They finally flew their airplane. Boeing will finally fly their airplane soon. A C-5 ain't a C-141 ain't a C-130 ain't a C-123 ain't a C-7. They each got their niche. The record of multi-role airlifters ain't so hot. So a C-5 can theoretically land on dirt. So a C-17 can theoretically reverse taxi. Sure. Develop from scratch a price-competitive competitor to a re-engined G-222 a.k.a C-27? Hmmm

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Well, so what? They finally flew their airplane. Boeing will finally fly their airplane soon. A C-5 ain't a C-141 ain't a C-130 ain't a C-123 ain't a C-7. They each got their niche. The record of multi-role airlifters ain't so hot. So a C-5 can theoretically land on dirt. So a C-17 can theoretically reverse taxi. Sure. Develop from scratch a price-competitive competitor to a re-engined G-222 a.k.a C-27? Hmmm

I have done many a reverse taxi on a C-17. Now I'm on Herks. I can tell you from experience that the Herc needs to retire permanently. The weight carrying capabilities/practicality of this AC are stuck in Vietnam times. There are better ways of doing things out there on the market. Things have changed and technological advancements have made the Herk obsolete including the C-130J.

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I have done many a reverse taxi on a C-17. Now I'm on Herks. I can tell you from experience that the Herc needs to retire permanently. The weight carrying capabilities/practicality of this AC are stuck in Vietnam times. There are better ways of doing things out there on the market. Things have changed and technological advancements have made the Herk obsolete including the C-130J.

what Herks are you talking about? If you are flying on E's then I agree with your statement. What better ways do you suggest? The mission of the C-130 isn't the same as the C-17, it's like comparing apples and oranges.

What is your experience with the J model and how did you come to the conclusion that it is obsolete?

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There are a bunch of folks who think that the Herk is obsolete. Those same folks never deal with the small airfields, small cargo areas at those airfields, or those dirt runways. The C-17 can haul the freight, but you had better provide the large area for it to work in. In the area that it takes a C-17 to taxi in, turn around, unload, and taxi back out, you can do three Herks.

They don't have the same capability. They don't require the same amount of fuel and handling.

We probably should not mix apples and oranges in the argument.

OH, before it sounds like I am a Lockheed cheerleader, I still think Lockheed made a big error in closing down the H-model line. They put all their eggs in the J-model basket, and THAT was a mistake.

Edited by Steve1300
OOps.

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"In the end it may very well be the death knell of lackheed, it will all depend on cost and I would bet that the A400M wont cost 80 million a pop."

BBC reports the cost at 150 million a copy. Maybe that's in Euros.

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They can do all the testing they want and it'll come out smelling like a rose. What matters is how it performs when the airplane operates in Afghanistan with REGULAR troops, not the special tech reps as crew chiefs and a test pilot at the controls. If it fits into budgets and tight spots, up high in the mountains and on the short strips then Lockheed may have something to worry about.

Personally, I prefer the tried and true, old school, manual, crew of six, Herk. Lots of parts, idiosyncrasies, eyes, the human element and manual labor for which there is no substitute.

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I agree that the C-130 program has been one of the most successful in the world up until currently. I've flown the A,B,E,H, & J models, as well as a couple of Romanian C-130s. It's a great airplane.

I also agree that Lockheed should have kept the 'H' line open until they at least had the bugs worked out of the 'J' model and they put all their eggs in one basket.

The military has been required to 'dumb down' specifications and capabilities to keep the 'J' model going and to justify keeping Lockheed on.

My point is that the military role has changed and equipment has changed. The mission of the C-130 is still basically the same, but the equipment such as the newer armored vehicles require that the C-130 do more weightlifting, which it cannot. Therein lies the problem.

Lockheed should have begun a program years ago to use the existing airframe model, but to convert it to a composite airframe as opposed to a metal airframe in an effort to lighten the gross weight and to make the C-130 more efficient and to be able to handle the heavier loads. Lockheed failed to take the initiative to do that.

In the big scheme of things, it's not just Lockheed's failure to re-develop the C-130, but its failure in innovation of replacements for the C-141 and C-5. They haven't built a commercial bird since the L-1011. How long has it been since they build a trainer or fighter?

Lockheed cannot, and will not survive as an aircraft manufacturer (other than it's remote control airplanes) without innovation and new products. They will be a "component supplier" and "maintainer" for their previous products.

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If I were CEO of Boeing, here's what I would do.....

I'd recognize that America has fallen behind in the last 25 years in the innovation of new military aircraft. I'd learn from Lockheed and build on Boeing's success with the C-17.

I'd also look at the changing needs of not only our military, but the needs of our allies and current users of "American" military aircraft, especially in the cargo area.

The U.S. military needs a "smaller" version of the C-130. So, they are using the C-27J for that purpose, but in limited numbers so far. Okay, what say we take the C-17, and "dwarf" it to the size of the C-27 and make it a composite?

The Airbus A400-M is bigger than the C-130, but the C-130 size is still just right for some roles. The problem with the C-130 is the inability to haul the increased weight of today's armored vehicles. So, why not "dwarf" the C-17 to the size of the C-130 and make a composite C-17 the same size of the C-130?

Then, the C-17 is "just right" for its current role. Leave it as is, except maybe look at the next generation C-17 being a composite.

Now, about that C-5. Yes, eventually, those C-5's are gonna need replaced. The current AMP will carry them for sometime. However, why not "super size" the C-17, again into a composite airframe as a replacement for the C-5 eventually?

This is the kind of "thinking outside the box" that Lockheed has failed to do. In my opinion, this the kind of "thinking outside of the box" that Boeing needs to be doing right now to survive in the future! (25 years down the road)

By using the C-17 basic design and "dwarfing" or "super sizing" it, many of the components can remain interchangable, thus saving in design costs and maintenance. It is possible!

Just look at the evolution of computers and capabilities over the years. The C-130 is an old Tandy TRS-80 and the newer computers are the latest "off the shelf" models with super capability packed into a smaller package. That's the way that the airplane manufacturers have to think in regard to the research and development of new airplanes.

That's where Lockheed has failed in my opinion.

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If we ever have another war that requires the type of air resupply and the forward area's air field evironments that was a big part of SEA, I think that, for fixed wing aircraft at least, the 130 will still be carrying the water (at least that transport movement that hasn't been taken over by Rotary Wing and a version of the V22). Sure, I think it was Pleiku that 133's brought in the 101st & 124's brought in heavy equipment directly into some of the forward fields in SVN and did a great job; and no small feat for the 133's! The 141's had some missions that flew directly from the States into some of the more forward fields too. I know that was also the intent of the C5's, but landing gear issues amongst other issues nixed that. I think that even -30's would have been a little too long for some of the SVN operations. The E model had enough weight capacity (+35K) while operating incountry ops (you are limited by how much weight/cargo most forward locations can handle at one time anyways...); Though, it would have been handy if the E could have handled something wider than an APC... Of course that was what the YC-14 & 15 was all about...What other airframe, besides the 130 could land on 3000' of psp just wide enough for the landing gear with red clay dust blowing all over the place or mud just waiting to suck you in during monsoons on both sides of you. Then back all the back to the threshold and speed off load the pallets with no damage (or. back up to a tree, chain the end of a multiple married pallet full of helicopter blades or a gun barrel and have the plane pull out from under it resting the married pallets on a series of drums...). Then 2 hours later when you come back into the same airstrip with 5 more pallets, the 5 pallets of ammo (or ice cream or milk...) from your first off load were still sitting exactly where you speed off loaded them! I can't count the number of times that I brought in ice cream or milk into Quang Tri or Dong Ha at 3AM and when we came back at 7AM with ammo the ice cream and milk pallets were right where we left them (they usually secured the ammo faster, I will say...)...You sure weren't going to hang around like a sitting duck while the Army or Marines made room for you (nor did the guys on the ground want you to hang out on their airstrip either!) What about buddy starts, or the FE "hot wiring" the starter, or cutting off a shreded main tire, three engined take offs, or red clay dust that kicked up like a monsoon when reversing the props to stop. We certainly have other aircraft that can handle the long hauls better than even the -30 J, to say nothing of the E's & H's. However, what aircraft (besides rotary wing...) do we have today that could have handled the air/land resupply within the forward areas of SVN better than the 130 A, B & H or J's? Maybe we will find out in Afghanistan...

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The project began as the Future International Military Airlifter (FIMA) group, set up in 1982 by Aerospatiale, British Aerospace, Lockheed, and MBB to develop a replacement for the C-130 Hercules and Transall C-160.[2] Varying requirements and the complications of international politics caused slow progress. In 1989 Lockheed left the grouping and went on to develop an upgraded Hercules, the C-130J Super Hercules. With the addition of Alenia and CASA the FIMA group became Euroflag.

Originally the SNECMA M138 turboprop (based on the M88 core) was selected to power the A400M. Airbus Military issued a new Request for Proposal in April 2002 which Pratt & Whitney Canada with the PW180 and Europrop International answered; the latter was a new design. Airbus Military preferred the Pratt and Whitney engine, but political interference resulted in the selection of the Europrop TP400-D6 in May 2003.[6]

The partner nations, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Belgium, and Luxembourg, signed an agreement in May 2003 to buy 212 aircraft. These nations decided to charge OCCAR with the management of the acquisition of the A400M.

Following the withdrawal of Italy and revision of procurement totals the revised requirement was for 180 aircraft, with first flight in 2008 and first delivery in 2009. On 28 April 2005, South Africa joined the partnership programme with the state owned Denel Aerospace Systems receiving a contract for fuselage components.

The Airbus A400M will increase the airlift capacity and range compared with the aircraft it was originally set to replace, the older versions of the Hercules and Transall. Cargo capacity is expected to double over existing aircraft, both in payload and volume, and range is increased substantially as well. The cargo box dimensions are: Length, excluding ramp 17.71 m; ramp length 5.40 m; width 4.00 m; height 3.85 m; height, aft of wing 4.00 m.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A400M

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Source: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/ajacs-load-us-begins-another-nextgen-tactical-transport-project-03230/#more-3230

AJACS Load: US Begins (Another) Next-Gen Tactical Transport Effort

22-Oct-2009 14:04 EDT

The AJACS Program: Intent and Issues

The USA has been here before, however, with the 1980s Advanced Medium STOL Transport competition that produced the Boeing YC-14 and McDonnell Douglas YC-15. Both planes were produced, both made extensive use of new technologies, both met all tests. The program ended up canceled.

ACAA lays the foundation for a second go-round, if the USAF wishes. Airbus’ new A400M medium-heavy transport will make extensive use of composite structures, and so will Embraer’s KC-390 medium tactical transport. If any future American military airlifter expects to offer competitive performance and costs, the ability to use similar technologies effectively will make a big difference to project risk, project timelines, and aircraft performance.

Ultimately, however, the Advanced Joint Air Combat System (AJACS, formerly AMC-X) requirements are likely to be considerably more ambitious than ACAA’s. A 2004 Air Force Magazine piece had this to say:

“Afghanistan and Iraq have underscored the need for a new tactical transport that would fulfill a variety of airlift and special operations roles, Air Force officials reported. The new aircraft – dubbed Advanced Mobility Concept, or AMC-X – would have about the same cargo capacity as a C-130 but be able to fly higher and faster, while operating from 2,000-foot runways. Moreover, the AMC-X would be stealthy.

“We’re talking about … airliner speed,†close to Mach 1, said Col. Marshall K. Sabol, Air Mobility Command’s deputy director of plans and programs. The C-130’s average speed is 345 mph.

AMC also wants an airplane that can fly at the altitudes used by airliners, with greater range and greater survivability, he said. Paramount for the new transport will be its ability to operate at austere locations and carry outsize cargo, said Sabol.

Moreover, the next tactical airlifter will have to be able to operate in blackout conditions at low level, perform paratrooper and equipment airdrop, operate in all weather, and be capable of accomplishing “autoland†– automatic, virtually hands-off landing, guided only by the runway and onboard navigation systems.

Such requirements are “not the future,†said Sabol, adding, “it’s where we operate†today.

AMC is also working with Air Force Research Labs and the Army to make sure that the tactical transport is compatible with the Army’s new Stryker vehicle. The Stryker was designed to be transportable on C-130s, but the vehicle’s weight has continued to grow.â€

X-48B in wind tunnel

(click to view full)According to Jane’s, potential competitors for the AJACS program could include Lockheed Martin’s MACK concept sketched out in response to Special Forces requirements, a modified Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, or a Boeing concept based on the company’s experimental X-48B blended wing body (BWB) design that offers higher lift, higher capacity in a given footprint, and even noise reduction.

Whatever the eventual platform looks like, in order to accommodate a Stryker vehicle in combat condition, as well as currently contemplated US and foreign armored personnel carrier designs with enough armor to be survivable on modern battlefields, a cargo capacity increase of at least 50% over the current C-130J (21.7 tons – 30-35 tons) would almost certainly be required.

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What will happen is Congress will make the USAF/USN/USMC buy C-130s. How else did we get saddled with the J model. The AF didn't want it. They wanted more H2s. Lockheed went up on the hill and got their way with J models. The AF wanted a FE in the cockpit. They didn't get one. It will be the new tanker fiasco redux.

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All the aircraft mentioned have a unique nitch that the other aircraft cannot perform. Also remember that the A400M is a national airplane. Europe does not want to buy U.S. made aircraft and support the U.S. aircraft industry. They want to keep things in house. The same as us. We do not want to buy European made military aircraft.

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True, we don't.

My point is though, that with the lack of innovation at Lockheed and other U.S. companies, we may end up having no choice.

Let's see, we're importing the C-27J now.

The Army's latest helicopter is European.

The new presidential helicopter is European.

There was a time with the U.S. was the undisputed world leader in commercial and civilian aviation manufacturing.

The tide is changing.

Let's just hope that the pentagon has enough sense to stick with Boeing's proven tanker.

It's time that Lockheed either get with the program or go ahead and sell out to someone else.

Thank goodness we still have Boeing in Research and Development and production.

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HMMM okay, let me start by saying that if the 400M is 150 mil a copy then Lockheed doesn't face serious competition yet, other than the partner country's that are bound by their socialist governments (as opposed to our socialist/communist government) to purchase the 400M

As to roles,

The C-17 is not a replacement for the Herk, and has never even been seen as a replacement for the Herk - it was and is to replace the 141.

You have four classes of airlift that our military has built into our doctrine and they work really well, they are:

1) Heavy strat airlift, to move jumbo bits of stuff and lots of other stuff into the main bases of the theater, all at once but at a heavy cost as well.

2) Medium strat airlift, to move lesser amounts of stuff, into the main theater bases and a few smaller bases, a lower overall gross and at a reduced cost. Thats the C-141/C-17

3)You have your Tactical airlifter that will move moderate amounts of weight/cargo/troops FROM Your primary and secondary theaters bases to forward bases and airdrops and

4) your tiny airlifter with traditionally has belonged to the Army and it pretty much duplicates the Herk's mission (like the Sherpa's) but much cheaper to run and can get into pretty small areas.

This works really well, you have always had some overlap of these mission but overall the doctrine works really well and supports most needs.

Another thing to consider is the MOG (maximum on ground), you will have some small forward fields with a MOG of 1 when looking at the Herk, that excludes anything larger than a Herk. It also means that if you have several flights delivering from several different bases you will have planes holding/waiting till that other plane is off before they can land. Thats where the C-27 comes in, fields with a MOG of 1 on Herks can probably hold two or three C-27's. That really comes into play if you are going into someplace really hot and you cant afford to have planes droning waiting for their chance to land, its really too bad the Army dropped the requirement for LAPES!

As for composites, I would really really hate to fly an aircraft made fully of composites for one reason. Have you ever had a lightning strike while flying? Composites don't handle lightning strikes very well at all (or static discharges for that matter).

If you have seen or experienced aircraft lightning strikes (got about a dozen in my career) I can give you examples, a lighting strike on the airframe itself (other than the electrical havoc it causes) you will usually see from one to a bazillion tiny pinholes where it discharges at BUT if you get a hit on the radome (same reaction as on composites) you will usually end up with a large hole blown into the surface itself. You have to have a path to ground when you get a lightning strike or it pretty much explodes the surface it hits and as far as I know they haven't really figured the way around that one yet.

Remember most jet liners fly well above the altitude for lightning for like 99 percent of their flight time but a Herk will rarely ever get above the altitude you expect lighting at.

Now you also need to figure in corruption into the matter as well, look at the C-27 contract for example. The Army sets the need for a light tactical airlifter that can get into places that the Herk cant get into, and gets on as program directors, Locksneed sues over the contract saying they can give them the equivalent aircraft, its called the C-130J!!! AND THEY SERIOUSLY LOOKED AT LOCKHEEDS COMPLIANT FOR CRIPES SAKE!

Or look at the current bend over on the new SAR helicopter, Rescue needs something that will operate at the altitudes we are working at in Afghanistan. Like when we parked 213 on the side of a mountain, MH-47's had no problem landing and doing the rescue but a H-60 would have been marginal AT BEST if at all able to do the like rescue. So rescue gets the airframe they contracted for, the H-47, so what does Sikorsky do? They file a suit complaining unfair contract practices saying they can provide a helicopter that can preform better at altitude than the H-60, their entry? A NEW H-60 that still cant do the friggin job and the result is our troops are forced to operate with marginal performance airframes while greedy mother******* line their pockets and get richer and the troops suffer because of crap like this.

Lets not even mention the tanker fiasco.

How many of our general officers, who ran these programs that have retired and are now "paid consultants" working for Boeing, Lockheed, Sikorsky et al who's job it is, is to sit on their butts and collect their thirty pieces of silver for pushing the contract the right way.

Dan

Edited by Dan Wilson

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Dan:

Thanks. Some good points you mention.

But still, Lockheed (and other U.S. manufacturers) have lagged behind in R&D and will eventually obselete themselves out of business should the trend continue.

Just go back and look at Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation and look at all of the "has been" manufacturers of aircraft in America, and then look at what we have now. Look at the competition around the world and the R&D going on elsewhere.

Yes, America will someday be a "has been" in aviation manufacture, and I personally believe Lockheed will be the next "has been" to go.

And to those who say Lockheed should have kept the H-2 line open....I agree 100%

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what Herks are you talking about? If you are flying on E's then I agree with your statement. What better ways do you suggest? The mission of the C-130 isn't the same as the C-17, it's like comparing apples and oranges.

What is your experience with the J model and how did you come to the conclusion that it is obsolete?

17's are doing the same thing the Hercs are doing. Dirt strips, most of the airdrop. The J's have most of the same cargo limits the E's-H's do. Floor limits, roller limits etc..

There seems to be some rumor that Hercs are doing all the Tac stuff. It's far from the truth. Yes I know a 3000 ft runway which a C-17 needs is more than what a Herc needs but a C-17 crew did take 87000 lbs into Panama and landed in 1850 ft.

If you look a the cargo carrying capabilities of the A400 it's pretty good. If it works as advertised I think a lot of countries will convert. It cost more initially but should pay off latter.

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I don't think there will be anybody here that says the Herk is doing all the TAC work in theater, but I think you will find that is more of a necessity than preplan.

I will bet you find that request for the Herks far outstrips the available airframes. So in cases like that they have to start using what they need to fill in the gap, it was done in the past with the 141 where possible and will be done with the C17 in the present and future. Lets face it, the C17 is a pricey beasty to beat up with dirt strips if you don't need to (not that the J model is a "blue light special" either).

it would help if the Air Farce would stop scraping Herks for nothing, you know, parking airplanes because of a five million dollar wingbox to replace them with an 80 million dollar airplane because "its cheaper"?!?!?!?

Not saying cancel all the J models (even though I would love to say that) but at a time when we need these planes the most they start giving more and more the death sentence, they need to be adding to the fleet right now, not jut replacing. Same crap with the MC-P, we could not even come close to filling the requests for tanker support but what does AFSOC do? gives four of them to a Guard rescue unit.

As for the aviation industry in this country being doomed, through corruption and inability to innovate, sorry to say I understand, and believe that to be true as well.

Dan

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The way I see it. at least in Lockheed's case, the company Lockheed Martin has evolved into such a hugh diversified conglomerate that actual aircraft manufacturing became no more than a small piece of many competing pieces. Developing, designing, innovating, and building aircraft, once the primary purpose, the "be all-end all" of the company, now is just one of the departments so to speak. And as such, the "design and build or not" decisions are purely financial and what is best for the stockholders.

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