bunumuring
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Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:37 pm

Hey guys,
The US military has used all most types of Boeing jet, new (707, 737, 747, 757, 767 upcoming) or secondhand (727) with the obvious exception of the 717.
Can anyone see a need for the 777 or 787 in US military service? And if so, what roles?
I can see the C-32s (757s) being replaced by VIP-configured 767-2Cs or perhaps 787-8s
I can see the KC-10s being replaced by a tanker version of the 777-200LR/-F or the 777-8 (less likely), but believe that the KC-46 will probably just end up as the de facto KC-10 replacement.
Opinions?
Cheers,
Bunumuring
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:33 pm

Like you said, I can see no use for them at the moment, perhaps in 15 years or so when the 76 is out of production.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
angad84
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:36 pm

Too big and not mature enough. Of the two, the 787 is the likelier to see service (but in the distant future) simply by virtue of being the only game in town.

Of course, if all this blended-wing military airlift stuff really takes off (heh), then who knows? The MRTT/KC-46 might be the last airliner-derived military aircraft.

Cheers
A
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:41 am

Current military standards for EW and lightning strike resistance are not really compatible with the heavily composite construction of the 787 and the wings of the 777x. (This is specific to the transports, tankers, and Elint types) Perhaps things will change in the future. I think the 777-8 freighter would be a useful addition for the military in the future; the C-5s and C-17s aren't getting any younger and the 777-8 has to be more efficient for anything that it can fit.
 
jupiter2
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:39 am

LightningZ71 wrote:
Current military standards for EW and lightning strike resistance are not really compatible with the heavily composite construction of the 787 and the wings of the 777x. (This is specific to the transports, tankers, and Elint types) Perhaps things will change in the future. I think the 777-8 freighter would be a useful addition for the military in the future; the C-5s and C-17s aren't getting any younger and the 777-8 has to be more efficient for anything that it can fit.


Unless they develop a way of getting large, very heavy military vehicles onto the main deck of civilian transports, then there will always be a need for C-5, C-17 type military transports with ramps for easy loading. Unless of course the U.S.A wants to pick up a fleet of AN-124's, something new will be developed in 15-20 years.
 
Oykie
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:06 pm

I believe that there is a high probability, that the 787 will eventually be used as a VIP transport for the US. Military. And when the next tanker program gets going in like 20 years, I do hope that the 787 or 777 will be considered. Since we are an aviation enthusiast forum, we can dream a bit. How about using the 777 as a platform for a future bomber airplane? Just imagine the capability. Of course it will lack stealth and other good stuff. But ever since Boeing armed the 737 in form of the P-8 Poseidon, I have dreamed of a 777 bomber airplane.
Dream no small dream; it lacks magic. Dream large, then go make that dream real - Donald Douglas
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:29 pm

I do not propose that the 777 be used for lifting tanks and IFVs all over the world. However, there are a multitude of other things that the military hauls around on those transports that can easily fit inside of a 777F. After all, their existing tanker fleet is also used for supplemental cargo lift and none of those can currently hold a large IFV.
 
johns624
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:02 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
I do not propose that the 777 be used for lifting tanks and IFVs all over the world. However, there are a multitude of other things that the military hauls around on those transports that can easily fit inside of a 777F. After all, their existing tanker fleet is also used for supplemental cargo lift and none of those can currently hold a large IFV.
But why have a whole new aircraft that can only lift some things when you can have transport aircraft that can lift everything?
 
Andre3K
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:13 pm

I could see the 777-8 as a new E-4 perhaps. No need for extra 4 engine redundancy and it can fly MUCH longer without need to refuel. Plus with only a handful being ordered it might actually be a bargain (though if I had to guess a 1.2 billion per aircraft bargain).
 
bunumuring
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:29 pm

Andre3K wrote:
I could see the 777-8 as a new E-4 perhaps.


Hey mate,
I believe that the US is/was looking at possibly combining the E-4 replacement with the new Air Force One replacement (ie. 747-8s).
Does anybody have the latest info on that?
787-8s to replace VIP/special mission 757s I can see in the medium term. Probably a small fleet of three or four new and maybe the same number second hand for the special missions requirements.
I think that the only hope the 777 has of entering military service is as a KC-10 replacement, and even then I think that the KC-46 Pegasus will get that job instead.
If the AF1 replacement is delayed however, and Boeing has to shut the 747-8 production line... hello, AF1 777! Highly highly unlikely thought, I reckon.
As for a 777 bomber, I remember reading a novel at least a decade ago where 747s were used as flying battleships... full of missiles and bombs and AAR equipment... might have been a Dale Brown novel but I can't remember.
Cheers,
Bunumuring
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
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Tugger
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:19 am

bunumuring wrote:
As for a 777 bomber, I remember reading a novel at least a decade ago where 747s were used as flying battleships... full of missiles and bombs and AAR equipment... might have been a Dale Brown novel but I can't remember.

That would be the "EB-52 Megafortress" from Flight of the Old Dog:
Image

Gaze at it's awesomeness and marvel! :bouncy:

Image
(PS, not real! ;-) )

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
Ozair
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:45 am

Tugger wrote:
bunumuring wrote:
As for a 777 bomber, I remember reading a novel at least a decade ago where 747s were used as flying battleships... full of missiles and bombs and AAR equipment... might have been a Dale Brown novel but I can't remember.

That would be the "EB-52 Megafortress" from Flight of the Old Dog:
Tugg

I always laugh at the idea of stealthing a B-52 and then chucking a host of ordnance on the external pylons...

johns624 wrote:
But why have a whole new aircraft that can only lift some things when you can have transport aircraft that can lift everything?

And more to the point why have a dedicated container freighter when you can contract that work out for cheaper. Let AMC focus on the real cargo hauling and maintain skills to carry and land cargo where it needs to go in contested environments.
bunumuring wrote:
Hey guys,
The US military has used all most types of Boeing jet, new (707, 737, 747, 757, 767 upcoming) or secondhand (727) with the obvious exception of the 717.
Can anyone see a need for the 777 or 787 in US military service? And if so, what roles?
I can see the C-32s (757s) being replaced by VIP-configured 767-2Cs or perhaps 787-8s
I can see the KC-10s being replaced by a tanker version of the 777-200LR/-F or the 777-8 (less likely), but believe that the KC-46 will probably just end up as the de facto KC-10 replacement.
Opinions?
Cheers,
Bunumuring

I doubt we will see a 777 in USAF colours, the size of the airframe doesn't lend itself to current infrastructure. There is also no need to use it for AAR, the KC-46 will have sufficient offload for all current and future tanking needs, especially as future aircraft increase internal fuel carriage and become more efficient.
As for the 787, I'm also not confident it will get a gig except perhaps as a VIP jet. The USAF would probably prefer to continue production of the KC-46 and modify that airframe for other needs than introduce another jet to maintain, especially given the KC-46 will likely be around for the next 50+ years.
 
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caoimhin
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:00 am

LightningZ71 wrote:
Current military standards for EW and lightning strike resistance are not really compatible with the heavily composite construction of the 787 and the wings of the 777x.


Interesting discussion all around. What is it about the composites that interferes with lightning strike resistance? Why would this be an issue on military but not civilian craft? Sensitivity of the equipment?
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:55 am

You can't just cut holes in a CFRP fuselage. That's a big reason why the 767 was promoted as a military platform rather than the 787.
 
bunumuring
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:50 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
You can't just cut holes in a CFRP fuselage. That's a big reason why the 767 was promoted as a military platform rather than the 787.


Hey mate,
Not doubting you as I am no engineer but isn't that exactly what Boeing had to do to repair that Ethiopian 787 a few years ago that had the battery (?) fire in London (I think it was)? I remember seeing photos of the plane under tarpaulins being repaired and 'before' and 'after' photos of the affected rear fuselage. I seem to recall that Boeing had to cut away the damage and replace a whole section.
Cheers
Bunumuring
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
bunumuring
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:06 pm

Ozair wrote:
I doubt we will see a 777 in USAF colours, the size of the airframe doesn't lend itself to current infrastructure. There is also no need to use it for AAR, the KC-46 will have sufficient offload for all current and future tanking needs, especially as future aircraft increase internal fuel carriage and become more efficient.
As for the 787, I'm also not confident it will get a gig except perhaps as a VIP jet. The USAF would probably prefer to continue production of the KC-46 and modify that airframe for other needs than introduce another jet to maintain, especially given the KC-46 will likely be around for the next 50+ years.


Hey mate,
On your first point, I am pretty sure I have read that the next tanker 'competition' some time off in the future (was it code named KC-X or something?) was to replace the KC-10 and that Boeing had pretty much decided to submit the 777 as well as the KC-46 when the competition was launched. If I remember correctly, the KC-10 replacement competition was to focus on the secondary mission of cargo-carrying more so than the KC-135 replacement that the KC-46 won and that was why Boeing was preparing the 777 submission as a larger cargo carrier than the 767/KC-46. I may have remembered wrongly ... it was a few years ago. I fully agree with you that the KC-46 will probably 'grow' in capabilities over the years - wonder if the -300 fuselage length could be used to create a 'KC-46B' to expand those capabilities further? I agree that the KC-46 could evolve into a VIP/757 replacement and all manner of electronic/ISR variants although the E-10 has 'been and gone'...
On your second point, see above. I agree that the KC-46 could evolve into a 757 replacement, especially considering that it already has been 'militarised'. I guess the amount of work needed to turn a KC-46 AAR tanker into a VIP jet versus the amount of work needed to 'militarise' the 787 into a USAF jet would be a major factor in the eventual decision on replacing the 757s.
An observation: I don't think I have ever seen a reference in the print or online media to the possibility of the 787 being offered as/developed as an AAR tanker. I have however seen the possibility raised in online forums like this one.
Cheers,
Bunumuring
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:42 pm

caoimhin wrote:
What is it about the composites that interferes with lightning strike resistance? Why would this be an issue on military but not civilian craft? Sensitivity of the equipment?


Lightning strike protection and EMI protection are not necessarily the same. On a metal frame, the metal performs both function. On a composite frame it is more tricky.

Composite itself does not interferes with lightning strike resistance. It does not have any. The 787 uses metal mesh to protect against lightning strike. But the metal mesh will not shield against higher frequency EMI.

Carbon fiber do have some shielding capabilities but the fiber used for structural composite do not have enough conductivity and the mechanism for conducting electrical energy from one fiber to another is not there to offer consistent EMI protection.

The technology for protecting a composite frame for EMI is there, just look at the JSF and F-22. However that technology needs to be incorporate as part the initial design and would be too expensive (for now) to be designed into the 787 frame. If you start with a dedicated BWB frame and have the EMI protection built in, then you can probably make a go at it.

So my guess would be that the USAF will max out the use of the 767 line as much as possible and then switch over to a BWB design for future heavy lift and E3 functions in the distance future.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:20 pm

In reference to lightning strike protection and resistance of CFRP airplane materials, one of the issues with managing lightning strike damage issues is that, unlike the traditional metal skin structures that have been in use up until now, lightning damage is often not visually identifiable. You will definitely see some surface charing and even some pitting, but, unlike the metal skins that have high conductivity, CFRP tends to have a higher degree of inherent conductivity resistance, especially between individual layers. Lightning tends to cause most of its damage when it encounters resistance as it will rapidly superheat any material it attempts to drain current through that presents resistance to the flow. During testing, it was discovered that pure CFRP has a tendency to delaminate (individual layers would separate) when struck by lightning, which is definitely not a desired behavior. This has been mitigated by integrating other materials into the CFRP (wire mesh, etc) that offers increased conductivity to reduce this behavior. However, it is still suggested that any evidence of a lightning strike should be investigated for degradation of the CFRP material in a more rigorous fashion than the previously used metal skins, which would show their problems more readily. Most of my information on this was from the development days of the 787, so I don't know if extensive usage, testing, and operational learning has proven that the net effect is no more time and resource intensive than the older skins. However, I have heard that the military is still not operationally convinced of the durability of CFRP with respect to lightning strike resistance (though they have long been willing to put up with it when its employed in highly weight sensitive applications like fighters, etc) when its employed in large aircraft.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:28 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
However, I have heard that the military is still not operationally convinced of the durability of CFRP with respect to lightning strike resistance (though they have long been willing to put up with it when its employed in highly weight sensitive applications like fighters, etc) when its employed in large aircraft.


With the introduction of the B-21. I'm pretty sure they have come around. They have no choice.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
Ozair
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:26 pm

bunumuring wrote:
Hey mate,
On your first point, I am pretty sure I have read that the next tanker 'competition' some time off in the future (was it code named KC-X or something?) was to replace the KC-10 and that Boeing had pretty much decided to submit the 777 as well as the KC-46 when the competition was launched. If I remember correctly, the KC-10 replacement competition was to focus on the secondary mission of cargo-carrying more so than the KC-135 replacement that the KC-46 won and that was why Boeing was preparing the 777 submission as a larger cargo carrier than the 767/KC-46. I may have remembered wrongly ... it was a few years ago. I fully agree with you that the KC-46 will probably 'grow' in capabilities over the years - wonder if the -300 fuselage length could be used to create a 'KC-46B' to expand those capabilities further? I agree that the KC-46 could evolve into a VIP/757 replacement and all manner of electronic/ISR variants although the E-10 has 'been and gone'...

The KC-10s will be gone long before KC-Y is ever tendered. I doubt the KC-10s have more than 5 years left in the USAF fleet. They are low hanging fruit to be pruned away in a future where acquisition budgets will get ever tighter.

A good article on future tanker acquisition is here, http://www.defensenews.com/articles/kc-y-competition-still-under-consideration-as-air-force-works-to-define-future-tanker-fleet
Some key points below
The Air Force initially planned on making three buys of aerial refueling tankers to replace its aging fleet: a 179-aircraft procurement of the KC-X, which later became the KC-46A, followed by KC-Y and KC-Z. Should the Air Force decide to skip a KC-Y competition and purchase a modified version of the KC-46 instead, it would be a huge victory for Boeing, which fought a bloody, difficult battle against Airbus to land the KC-X contract and has been hit with cost overruns throughout the KC-46 program.

“All options will be on the table. It depends on what the budget is at the time, and it also will depend on the capabilities-based study,” Everhart said. “The capabilities-based study may say: 'We’re not going to do an extension buy.' It may come back and say: 'Start a new [program].' It may say: 'Buy more of them.' Or it may say: 'Do nothing, buy the 179 and keep the fleet as it is.'

“Could there be a KC-Y? Absolutely. Could there be a KC-Z? Absolutely.”

But Everhart added that, in his estimation, it wouldn’t make sense from a cost or logistics standpoint to have “four or five” different airframes. Having “one or two” mainstays would be more palatable.

“It’s kind of analogous to having three cars when you’ve got a two-person family. Why would I do that?” he asked. He also suggested that he would be amenable to a larger buy of KC-46s that would include some upgraded aircraft, adding that such a plan “has some very favorable outcomes to it.”

Hence I don't see a 777 ever being a viable tanker platform for the USAF.I don't think we'll see a different length KC-46 either, just enhanced capabilities and defensive systems.
 
Max Q
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:58 am

Putting a boom on the 767-300 airframe is problematic with respect to tail clearance on rotation, it doesn't have the
most generous clearance without it, don't think you'll see that.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
Oykie
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:06 am

Ozair wrote:
The KC-10s will be gone long before KC-Y is ever tendered. I doubt the KC-10s have more than 5 years left in the USAF fleet. They are low hanging fruit to be pruned away in a future where acquisition budgets will get ever tighter.


Several people have claimed that the KC-10 will be withdrawn from service early on. But the US Air Force have 59 KC-10. How can that be a low hanging fruit? They also have 397 KC-135, that from what I understand is in more urgent need of being replaced. Not sure if they plan to replace the tanker fleet 1 to 1? If they will be replaced 1 to 1, and they purchase 24 every year, it will take 19 years to replace the whole tanker fleet including the KC-10. If they buy 48 or year, it will still take 9,5 years to replace all tankers in the US Air Force. I am just trying to understand how they can squeeze in an extra 59 tankers, so that the KC-10 can be retired.
Dream no small dream; it lacks magic. Dream large, then go make that dream real - Donald Douglas
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:46 am

Oykie wrote:
Ozair wrote:
The KC-10s will be gone long before KC-Y is ever tendered. I doubt the KC-10s have more than 5 years left in the USAF fleet. They are low hanging fruit to be pruned away in a future where acquisition budgets will get ever tighter.


Several people have claimed that the KC-10 will be withdrawn from service early on. But the US Air Force have 59 KC-10. How can that be a low hanging fruit? They also have 397 KC-135, that from what I understand is in more urgent need of being replaced. Not sure if they plan to replace the tanker fleet 1 to 1? If they will be replaced 1 to 1, and they purchase 24 every year, it will take 19 years to replace the whole tanker fleet including the KC-10. If they buy 48 or year, it will still take 9,5 years to replace all tankers in the US Air Force. I am just trying to understand how they can squeeze in an extra 59 tankers, so that the KC-10 can be retired.

The KC-10 has a whole logistics and training tail behind it, that if the KC-10 fleet was retired, could also be removed. The budget and personnel reassigned to other airframes.

It's similar to the USAF's reasoning for wanting to retire the A-10; cutting a small, unique fleet creates bigger savings compared to cutting the same number of aircraft elsewhere.
 
tjh8402
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:05 am

Tugger wrote:
bunumuring wrote:
As for a 777 bomber, I remember reading a novel at least a decade ago where 747s were used as flying battleships... full of missiles and bombs and AAR equipment... might have been a Dale Brown novel but I can't remember.

That would be the "EB-52 Megafortress" from Flight of the Old Dog:
Image

Gaze at it's awesomeness and marvel! :bouncy:

Image
(PS, not real! ;-) )

Tugg


Actually there was a real proposal to use a 747 as a cruise missile carrier

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/why-bo ... 1605150371
 
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Moose135
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:16 am

Ozair wrote:
A good article on future tanker acquisition is here...


Unrelated to anything, but General Carlton Everhart, the head of Air Mobility Command interviewed in that piece, was a classmate of mine in USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus AFB a hundred years ago. He went by "Dewey" back then. ;)
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
bunumuring
Topic Author
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:09 pm

Hey guys,
Thanks for all of the feedback and opinions, much appreciated, especially the link provided by Ozair and the facts about the 767-300ER's tail clearance issues.
After reading the linked article provided by Ozair, I remember now reading about the KC-X, KC-Y and KC-Z a long time ago, although I seem to recall that the -Z was considered to be highly unlikely to be anything other than an add-on order of either of the other two.
And Tugger, what a great model! I am pretty sure that you are correct in identifying that modified B-52 in the novel I read from all of those years ago.
Thanks everyone,
Bunumuring
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
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exFWAOONW
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:56 pm

#23'Thepointblank"
Throwing away a unique capability (A10) without anything to replace it is very short-sighted idea, similar to the same quarterly results driven Wall-Street idiocy. I pity the ground troops of the future without close air ground support.
Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
 
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cpd
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:44 am

angad84 wrote:
Too big and not mature enough. Of the two, the 787 is the likelier to see service (but in the distant future) simply by virtue of being the only game in town.

Of course, if all this blended-wing military airlift stuff really takes off (heh), then who knows? The MRTT/KC-46 might be the last airliner-derived military aircraft.

Cheers
A


That must be why the military has used Omni Air B777 N927AX.
 
Ozair
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:30 am

cpd wrote:
That must be why the military has used Omni Air B777 N927AX.

The US military has used the An-225 but we obviously aren't talking about that being too big. The thread is about the ownership of the 777/787 by the USAF opposed to contracting these or any other airframe in.
 
angad84
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:43 pm

Ozair wrote:
cpd wrote:
That must be why the military has used Omni Air B777 N927AX.

The US military has used the An-225 but we obviously aren't talking about that being too big. The thread is about the ownership of the 777/787 by the USAF opposed to contracting these or any other airframe in.

Yup, thanks.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Possible US military use of 777 and 787

Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:06 am

exFWAOONW wrote:
#23'Thepointblank"
Throwing away a unique capability (A10) without anything to replace it is very short-sighted idea, similar to the same quarterly results driven Wall-Street idiocy. I pity the ground troops of the future without close air ground support.

The USAF is saying a family of systems will provide CAS, not just one particular aircraft:

http://aviationweek.com/defense/air-for ... eplacement

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