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Slug71
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E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:55 am

I did a search but did not find a discussion on this.
Apologies if it has been discussed.

I just stumbled across this article from March about the US Navy looking for a replacement for the E-6 Mercury. Seems they will be working with the Airforce on this project as the Airforce needs a replacement for the RC/OC-135, E-3 Sentry, and E-8 JSTARS.

Think it could be the first 787 sale to the military? The 787-8 should be able to fill the role. Or do you guys think it will likely also be based off the 767?
I'm thinking the 737/A321(Mobile, AB) would probably be too small and the 787-9, too big.

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/nav ... eplacement
 
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Slug71
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:03 am

Basically seems like the USAF is wanting the E-10 MC2A again.
 
Max Q
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:35 am

Just read in Av Week the proposal is a common airframe for the ES and E4B platform replacement.
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bikerthai
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:33 pm

Slug71 wrote:
Or do you guys think it will likely also be based off the 767?


Slug71 wrote:
http://www.defensenews.com/articles/nav ... eplacement

"At the same time, Moran acknowledged there might be benefits that can be shared from the recapitalization efforts currently underway for JSTARS. "

The 767 would be on the upper end in terms of size needed and the 737 would be on the lower end. The 787 would be larger than need and would not be common with the current fleet. And while the lightning strike protection scheme used on the 787 may be good enough to dissipate lighting energy, not sure if the Carbon Fuselage would be sufficient to protect against EMI and EMP (this is critical for C3 aircrafts).

The quote above about JSTARS is curious as currently the Air Frce is looking for a smaller aircraft to replace the JSTARS (737 or smaller). But if they want to look in to the future and push toward a common platform with the E3 (which needs a larger floor plan than a business jet), then a 737, or 737 Max 10 would be a strong candidate. The P-8A is base on the 737 NG platform, but that is closing down after the P-8 production run. I believe Boeing is pitching the Max configuration for the next generation of military derivatives.

bt
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LightningZ71
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:53 pm

A recent article and discussion at www.thedrive.com/thewarzone had a couple of people chiming in that seemed to have a bit of insight into this project. It definitely looks like the USAF and the USN want to go with frames that are as common as possible. The original RFP is basically tailor written to the 767 based KC-47 platform to be used for the E4 replacements, as well as most any other current types that need a lot of floor space (seems to include the C-32 executive transport as well). For the smaller birds, they are looking at the 737-MAX (basically, just waiting on Boeing to evolve the mil-spec P-8 setup into a Max derived form). I can hazard a guess to say that, given the common cross section between the 707 derived products and the modern 737, that anything based on the 707 could rather easily be replaced with a MAX derivative. Most of the electronics have shrunk in size since all of the 707 derivatives were purchased, reducing weight and volume enough that they should all fit in a -8 just fine.
 
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Stitch
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:45 pm

I could see the E-4B replacement being based on the 767-2C due to the need for large floor space for the Battle Planning Staff.

E-6 Mercury, E-8 JSTARS and E-3 Sentry should be replaceable with the 737-800ERX (P-8) or even the Boeing 737-700ER (737 AEW&C) platforms. Australia, Turkey and South Korea are all 737 AEW&C customers, Qatar has said they want some, and Boeing is pitching the same to Italy and the UAE.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:20 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
The original RFP is basically tailor written to the 767 based KC-47 platform to be used for the E4 replacements, as well as most any other current types that need a lot of floor space (seems to include the C-32 executive transport as well). For the smaller birds, they are looking at the 737-MAX (basically, just waiting on Boeing to evolve the mil-spec P-8 setup into a Max derived form).

Thanks for the insight.

Stitch wrote:
E-6 Mercury, E-8 JSTARS and E-3 Sentry should be replaceable with the 737-800ERX (P-8) or even the Boeing 737-700ER (737 AEW&C)


For future re-cap Boeing will be pitching the MAX as per LightningZ71. This is because Boeing Commercial does not want an "old NG configuration" gumming up their production. Going to a MAX military derivative will allow the factory to flow more smoothly.

bt
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Stitch
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:51 pm

bikerthai wrote:
For future re-cap Boeing will be pitching the MAX as per LightningZ71. This is because Boeing Commercial does not want an "old NG configuration" gumming up their production. Going to a MAX military derivative will allow the factory to flow more smoothly.


So they're going to convert the current P-8 line in Building 4-20 to a MAX line? I assume it's going to be ITAR-compliant, as well?
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:09 am

Why would the E-6 need to be replaced anytime soon? They aren't that old nor have that many hours on them. They were the last 707's off the line at the end of the Cold War. They have been updated with modern 737 NG derived cockpits. There are lots of other tankers and support aircraft to replace before replacing the E-6 fleet.
 
tjh8402
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:20 pm

flyingclrs727 wrote:
Why would the E-6 need to be replaced anytime soon? They aren't that old nor have that many hours on them. They were the last 707's off the line at the end of the Cold War. They have been updated with modern 737 NG derived cockpits. There are lots of other tankers and support aircraft to replace before replacing the E-6 fleet.

The article referenced above says that while their would be a common type that would replace the three different planes (767 being the lead option), it would not all happen at once. The relative youth of the E-6s is noted, and their replacement is expected to be after the E-4s and VC-32s.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/11 ... e-new-type
 
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:28 pm

If they were contemplating a business jet before, then the MAX7 must be acceptable too - including the power requirements? Only question is if the scimitar winglets would also need to be changed to raked wingtips. The MAX7 (200?) could even replace the C-32 given its small extension and projected range (if more space is desired, the MAX10's arrival is timely). These derivatives should add a few more valuable frames to this smallest version's rather 'sparse' MAX7 order book...and as such wouldn't cause much disruption in having a dedicated ITAR line.
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
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bikerthai
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:14 pm

Stitch wrote:
So they're going to convert the current P-8 line in Building 4-20 to a MAX line? I assume it's going to be ITAR-compliant, as well?

If you are BCA, you'd say current line in building 4-20 is a 737 line that handles the P-8 :)
But to answer your question . . . not sure:)

With export control reform, many items that was ITAR before are no longer ITAR. Unlike the P-8 which have many military components built into the frames, these electronic warfare aircrafts not as much. Much of the ITAR electronic components can be installed latter on. The only item I am un-sure of would be the arial refueling receptacle. Export control reform has de-caterorized may types of systems and technology. I would not be surprised of areal refueling is one of them. Note that there is still export control requirements on these systems, but they would be controlled by the Department of Commerce as oppose to the Department of State.

bt
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bikerthai
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:28 pm

Devilfish wrote:
If they were contemplating a business jet before, then the MAX7 must be acceptable too - including the power requirements? Only question is if the scimitar winglets would also need to be changed to raked wingtips.


This relates to what LightningZ71 mentioned about waiting for Boeing to flesh out the spec. The power requirement would involved a mod to engines to add larger or dual generators or both.

The winglets would only need to be swapped on on the AEW&C aircraft.

bt
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Stitch
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:37 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Stitch wrote:
So they're going to convert the current P-8 line in Building 4-20 to a MAX line? I assume it's going to be ITAR-compliant, as well?

If you are BCA, you'd say current line in building 4-20 is a 737 line that handles the P-8 :)


As I recall, Boeing can build commercial 737s on that line if they need to, correct?

And the 767 line is ITAR-compliant for the KC-46A, is it not? Or is the military equipment added on the FAL not subject to ITAR? And if so, are the ITAR-controlled materials added at the EMC post-assembly?
 
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Devilfish
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:58 pm

bikerthai wrote:
This relates to what LightningZ71 mentioned about waiting for Boeing to flesh out the spec.

Much like what Bombardier's VP for special mission aircraft was saying.....

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/bom ... ties-in-us

Quote:
"Bombardier’s wait-and-see approach contrasts sharply with Boeing, which will almost certainly be angling to replace legacy special mission aircraft with militarized variants of its own planes. Last year, Boeing officials said the company is banking on a modified version of its 737 airliner — which it has proposed for the JSTARS competition — for upcoming competitions to replace the Rivet Joint and E-3 airborne warning and control system.

In contrast, Villeneuve said Bombardier has many different aircrafts — from the smaller Challenger series business jets and midsize Global 6000 to its new C series airliners — which may be good options for the U.S. Air Force, and the company will not make a decision on which to offer until it sees the service’s requirements. 'For the programs that you mention in the U.S., surely the Global 6000 [is a good option], but I’m going to limit myself to that. If the U.S. Air Force tells us they need something bigger; we’ll bring in the C series,' he explained."



Image
http://aviationweek.com/site-files/avia ... rpromo.jpg


BBD may be seen as a dark horse here....but they have a lot of other things on their plate to worry about right now. :headache:
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
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kc135topboom
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:38 pm

The E-3B/Cs and the E-4Bs have been rode hard and put away wet to many times. They both have high hours, but relatively low cycles, considering they were built in the 1970s. While the E-3 can be replaced by a Wedgetail type E-737, the E-4 cannot. I doubt the E-6 could be replaced by anything smaller than a B-767-2C. Remember the Mercury carries both a USAF and a USN Battle Staff, one for the ICBM force, and one for the SLBM force. The E-8 can be replaced by a Challenger or a B-737 sized airplane.

Why do we need to replace the VC-32A/Bs? They have so little time on them and parts are still available.

So we are not really looking at one platform, but two, unless the USAF and USN decide they need the bigger platform for future expansions. We could use the B-767-2C/KC-46A airframe to replace the E-6, C-32, RC/OC/WC/KC-135, and use the bigger B-767-300ERF airframe for the E-4. We could use the E/B-737NG/MAX or Challenger airframe to replace the E-3 and E-8 (which could also be done with the E-767-200ER airframe).

The USAF has already paid the R&D on the KC-46 airframe, the RAAF on the E-737 AWACS, the JSDAF on the E-767 AWACS, and the USN on the P-8 airframes they seem like the best choices.
 
Max Q
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:16 am

On a side note, i've read the E4B can stay airborne for 72 hours with in flight refueling, has
this ever been done ? as an exercise perhaps.


Curious to know the longest it has stayed airborne.
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bikerthai
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:02 pm

Stitch wrote:
As I recall, Boeing can build commercial 737s on that line if they need to, correct?


Not only are they building your commercial 737 on the Renton third line, the number of standard 737 on that line dwarfs the number of P-8 at any one time.

The math is pretty simple . . . 45-60 737 frames a months of which maybe 1 or 2 are P-8 frames. You are looking at a minimum of 10 commercial frames for every 1 P-8 on that third line.

The P-8 frame slows that third line a little, so the output is not as high as the other two lines. When Renton switch over to the MAX, the third line will probably be last to switch over, as the P-8 frame will slow the MAX line even more. That is why Boeing will be eager to close out the P-8 line and move all future military derivatives to a MAX variant.

bt
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Stitch
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:23 pm

bikerthai wrote:
The P-8 frame slows that third line a little, so the output is not as high as the other two lines. When Renton switch over to the MAX, the third line will probably be last to switch over, as the P-8 frame will slow the MAX line even more. That is why Boeing will be eager to close out the P-8 line and move all future military derivatives to a MAX variant.


So Boeing is planning four MAX lines? (2 in 4-82, 1 in 4-81 and the mixed P-8/Commercial line in 4-20)

Has Boeing completed conversion of the fuselage systems integration area in 4-82 to a parallel production line to the existing one?
 
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bikerthai
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:25 pm

Stitch wrote:
So Boeing is planning four MAX lines?


Not sure about the 4 lines. All I know is that the P-8 line is not a dedicated line and handles more commercial frames than P-8's.

bt.
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bunumuring
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:03 pm

Hey guys,
It was my understanding that Boeing was NOT going to offer a P-8 style MAX as the US military would not fork out the R&D funds needed to develop some of the more 'intrusive' air frame modifications required (eg. internal weapons bay). Is this correct? I am not sure where the E-7 Wedgetail fits into all of this however. Surely it would be easier/cheaper to develop E-7 style MAXs than P-8 ones? Just my suggestion.
Cheers,
Bunumuring
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bunumuring
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:14 pm

Hey guys,
It was my understanding that Boeing was NOT going to offer a P-8 style MAX as the US military would not fork out the R&D funds needed to develop some of the more 'intrusive' air frame modifications required (eg. internal weapons bay). Is this correct? I am not sure where the E-7 Wedgetail fits into all of this however. Surely it would be easier/cheaper to develop E-7 style MAXs than P-8 ones? Just my suggestion.
Cheers,
Bunumuring
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
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bikerthai
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:39 pm

bunumuring wrote:
Hey guys,
It was my understanding that Boeing was NOT going to offer a P-8 style MAX as the US military would not fork out the R&D funds needed to develop some of the more 'intrusive' air frame modifications required (eg. internal weapons bay). Is this correct? . . . . Surely it would be easier/cheaper to develop E-7 style MAXs than P-8 ones? Just my suggestion.
Cheers,
Bunumuring


Correct. The Navy requirement for a bomb bay is unique. All future Air Force recapitalization requirement do not include a bomb bay as it is heavier and reduce the cargo bay aft (for more fuel tanks). If the navy need a few extra P-8 frames, they can probably tack on a few at the end of the P-8 line. This also put pressure on foreign customer to get their order in. Unlike the C-17 with it's dedicated line, the P-8A line will not stay open for orders of one's and two's.

Yes, a 737 AEW&C based on a MAX configuration is part of Boeing's overall plan for 737 military derivatives.

bt
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Slug71
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:52 am

Stitch wrote:
I could see the E-4B replacement being based on the 767-2C due to the need for large floor space for the Battle Planning Staff.

E-6 Mercury, E-8 JSTARS and E-3 Sentry should be replaceable with the 737-800ERX (P-8) or even the Boeing 737-700ER (737 AEW&C) platforms. Australia, Turkey and South Korea are all 737 AEW&C customers, Qatar has said they want some, and Boeing is pitching the same to Italy and the UAE.


Good point and I think this is the most likely solution.
Thought I've also read somewhere on the forum, that the E-4B capabilities could be merged into the new AF1 birds because of the advancement of technology and much smaller components. So that could even eliminate the 767.
Do you think the advancements could be good enough to allow the E-8, E-3, and RC/OC-135 to all operate from the same platform now? In that case i'd imagine a 787 sized aircraft would be sufficient.
And suit the E-6. Especially since the article makes it sound like they want a common sized aircraft.
 
fsnuffer
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:39 pm

Slug71 wrote:
Stitch wrote:

Thought I've also read somewhere on the forum, that the E-4B capabilities could be merged into the new AF1 birds because of the advancement of technology
.


While the smaller electronics might be able to be placed on a new AF1, there would be the issue of where to place the battle staff of the armed services that are assigned to the E-4B. There would also be the issue of the 30,000 ft trailing ELF antenna wire.
 
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Slug71
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:31 pm

Good point. Keep in mind, the 747-8i is almost 6m (+/- 20ft) longer than the 747-200B and has a upper deck that is roughly twice as long too.
Maybe a split battle staff across the two aircraft since they travel together anyway?
Or start having the E-6 replacement tag along with additional duties.
 
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Slug71
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:13 pm

Then theres this recent article which suggests the C-32, E-4, and E-6 replacements could share a common frame.

http://amp.timeinc.net/thedrive/the-war ... source=dam
 
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Slug71
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:36 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
A recent article and discussion at http://www.thedrive.com/thewarzone had a couple of people chiming in that seemed to have a bit of insight into this project. It definitely looks like the USAF and the USN want to go with frames that are as common as possible. The original RFP is basically tailor written to the 767 based KC-47 platform to be used for the E4 replacements, as well as most any other current types that need a lot of floor space (seems to include the C-32 executive transport as well). For the smaller birds, they are looking at the 737-MAX (basically, just waiting on Boeing to evolve the mil-spec P-8 setup into a Max derived form). I can hazard a guess to say that, given the common cross section between the 707 derived products and the modern 737, that anything based on the 707 could rather easily be replaced with a MAX derivative. Most of the electronics have shrunk in size since all of the 707 derivatives were purchased, reducing weight and volume enough that they should all fit in a -8 just fine.


Makes sense since the EMP hardening, fuel recepticle and plumbing, among other things I'm sure, has already had the leg work done for the KC-46.
Same with the P-8 to the 737 as you mentioned. Probably even earlier with the E-7 AEW&C.

Would have been nice to see a mil 787 though. :)
 
LightningZ71
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:01 am

At some point, you just might see a mil-spec 787, but, it likely won't be for a long time. The military seems to like "traditional" build techniques for the heavy haulers right now. When the military gets around to looking at replacing the KC-10s in 10-15 years, you might see them take a peak at the 787-F. However, there is also a lot of requirement work going into reduced observability cargo and refueling platforms, which may completely fill the void left by the KC-10.
 
Buckeyetech
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:14 am

LightningZ71 wrote:
At some point, you just might see a mil-spec 787, but, it likely won't be for a long time. The military seems to like "traditional" build techniques for the heavy haulers right now. When the military gets around to looking at replacing the KC-10s in 10-15 years, you might see them take a peak at the 787-F. However, there is also a lot of requirement work going into reduced observability cargo and refueling platforms, which may completely fill the void left by the KC-10.


Looks like the KC-10's will be retired even sooner than that. Cheers

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Slug71
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Re: E-6 Mercury replacement?

Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:48 am

Yeh I think the KC-46 will end up replacing both the KC-10s and KC-135s.

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