Author Topic: M.A.D's 'Alternative Australian Defence Force Order of Battle' Questions please  (Read 10892 times)

Online elmayerle

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Note that option 4 is also used on some F-16's.  Personally, I'd reckon option 1 as the most likely, followed by option 2.

Offline Old Wombat

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If I recall correctly that F-4 set-up was used to refuel ex-USAF F-4's rigged for boom IFR, as the Israelis were using probe-&-drogue IFR at the time.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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what I would like to lean on the forum's vast knowledge is in regards to 'Dassault's investigated air-air refuelling for the Avon engined Mirage IIIO'. Does anyone have any knowledge of what flight refuelling probe Dassault was investigating; or failing this, would anyone like to have an educated guess as to what flight refuelling probe Dassault might have come up with?  :-\


Well, if you want the very first Dassault Mirage III with refuelling probe you would actually be looking at the Mirage IIIB-2(RV) inflight refueling trainers with dummy nose probes:



 ;)

That not what you were after though obviously, so going back to your original subject:

Dassault had experimentally built an Avon engined Mirage and had investigated air-air refuelling for it, however the final decision was to stay with the standard IIIE. 


I came across the following statement whilst researching:

Quote
the RAAF asked Dassault not to equip the Mirage IIIO with single-point pressure refueling, on the basis that pressure refueling facilities would not be available at forward operating airfields. This decision had long term consequences, because even if the RAAF had later sought to modify the Mirage for air-to-air refueling, it could not be done easily as there was no single-point pressure refueling manifold within the Mirage into which to tap an air-to-air refueling probe.


Interestingly though I cannot find any mention of an aerial refuelling capability in one of the best references for the Australian Mirages - "The RAAF Mirage Story" by WGCDR M. R Susans.
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Offline M.A.D

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Thanks gents for your replies!

Greg, nice find re 
Quote
Mirage IIIB-2(RV) inflight refueling trainers with dummy nose probes
, but as you so correctly denote
Quote
That not what you were after though obviously
, as it obviously effects radar placement and operation  ;)

Yeah, really interesting and unfortunate re
Quote
the RAAF asked Dassault not to equip the Mirage IIIO with single-point pressure refueling, on the basis that pressure refueling facilities would not be available at forward operating airfields. This decision had long term consequences, because even if the RAAF had later sought to modify the Mirage for air-to-air refueling, it could not be done easily as there was no single-point pressure refueling manifold within the Mirage into which to tap an air-to-air refueling probe.
. The RAAF in hhindsight bit off their nose to spite their face  :-\

M. A. D

Offline M.A.D

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G'day gent’s

Im just putting it out there, but what is the realistic consensus/notion of the likes of the RAAF F-111C fleet being modernised in the mid to late 1980’s, with the utilisation of existing, more modern, more advanced, and more reliable systems and avionics like the following:

-replacing the F-111’s the AN/APQ-113 attack radar and the AN/APQ-110 terrain-following radar with that of the Texas Instruments TF/TA radar, Decca Type 72 doppler navigation radar and BAE Systems FIN1010 three-axis digital INS systems from the Panavia Tornado IDS?

-installing a modified electrical, triplexed fly-by wire system, with electrical and mechanical back-up modes; Command Stability Augmentation System (CSAS) systems from the Panavia Tornado IDS ?

-incorporating the automatic wing sweep system of either the Panavia Tornado IDS or Grumman F-14 Tomcat, so as to make the F-111C's flight profile more efficient and minimise the pilots workload?

-replacement of the underpowered and unreliable Pratt & Whitney TF-30 turbofan with General Electric F110 turbofan engines?

-obviously, the flawed and manpower intensive (not to mention the dangerous OH&S aspect) main internal fuel tank arrangement needs to be replaced in the RAAF's F-111C's; can anyone suggest a replacement arrangement, which doesn't require maintenance crews to enter such dangerous confined space, so as to scrub this fuel tank? [Please note,I've only ever heard of RAAF doing this, did the USAF conduct such similar 'entry and scrubbing' of its F-111 fleets main fuel tanks??]

Now Im thinking the use of off-the-shelf systems such as the Texas Instruments TF/TA radar, Decca Type 72 doppler navigation radar and BAE Systems FIN1010 three-axis digital INS system, fly-by wire system, the Command Stability Augmentation System (CSAS) and the GE F110’s are all matured and R&D paid for, so I would be hoping that much of the cost/time/risk will be in the actual upgrade process, re-programming of the fly-by wire system to incorporate the flight characteristics of the F-111, as opposed to the Tornado IDS…..

I also understand that the changing from hydraulic to electric actuators will be a substantially technical and a physical undertaking, but as I envisage this ‘update’ as a ‘mid-life update’, the aircraft are going to be stripped right down anyway for engineering lifespan appraisal, amendments and structural replacement processes…..

I also appreciate that the USAF/General Electric seriously committed some time and effort into the ‘real-world’ study of the USAF’s F-111’s being fitted with GE F101 DFE (F110’s), but the end of the Cold War put an end to the F-111 in their service. Add to this is the ‘real-world’ USN/Grumman/General Electric modifying and fitting of a number of Grumman F-14’s with GE F110, which they designated as F-14A(Plus)’s and later F-14B’s, so such a task isn't without studying and practical engineering, nor risky!

I would like to also emphasis that in my Alternative ADF ORBAT’ the F-111 is regarded by the ADF and politician’s alike, as a fundimental strategic asset of deterrents, and not ‘an add hock political toy of yesteryear, without a real mission/role’!, It is for this reason, along with the realisation that there isn’t another aircraft able to replace it, that the RAAF and government alike are willing to take both extensive time and money to not just keep the F-111 in service but also ensure its combat effective.

So what does forum members think? Doable?
Also, I'm open to any other suggestions re systems upgrades - ECM, RWR, etc....


M.A.D
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 07:45:54 AM by M.A.D »

Offline tankmodeler

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Replacing the avionics is probably possible (if not all, then most) as long as there is sufficient power available.

As long as the engine change can be managed in terms of structural interfaces to the fuselage, it seems that it should be possible.

Installing a triplexed fly by wire system with electrical actuators everywhere, though, doesn't look doable at even the "mid-life" update level of rework. I think it's just too extensive in terms of managing all the changes while not wholesale changing the fundamental structure of the aircraft.

I mean _anything_ is possible with enough money, but I think going electrical fly by wire mid-life is waaaaay past the cost-effectiveness point in the curve. I don't think the benefits would be worth the vast cost.

Paul

Online elmayerle

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Engine change is quite plausible (I've seen the Ft. Worth design studies) so that's a go.  Replacing avionics where suitable and a wholsale "pull and replace" on the wiring probably would be useful, both to deal with the changed out avionics and with changes that creep in over time.  If you don't mind a bit more effort and a slight reduction in clean top speed, replace the troublesome variable inlets with fixed ones (I'm leaning toward ones scaled up from those on the Super Hornet for my conversions).  I have to agree, though, that for an MLU, converting to fly-by-wire and electric actuators does not seem cost effective and seems rather expensive.  Now, I can see looking whether there are better OTS components out there that would improve system efficiency and/or reliability.

Side thought: It wouldn't be the easiest job to plumb, but consider added a probe and drogue refueling capability similar to what was proposed for the F-111K in addition to the flying boom receptacle.  Being able to tank from anyone might end up being a lifesaver for some crew.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 03:59:08 AM by elmayerle »

Offline GTX_Admin

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-replacing the F-111’s the AN/APQ-113 attack radar and the AN/APQ-110 terrain-following radar with that of the Texas Instruments TF/TA radar, Decca Type 72 doppler navigation radar and BAE Systems FIN1010 three-axis digital INS systems from the Panavia Tornado IDS?

-installing a modified electrical, triplexed fly-by wire system, with electrical and mechanical back-up modes; Command Stability Augmentation System (CSAS) systems from the Panavia Tornado IDS?

Well the F-111Cs did undergo the real life Avionics Upgrade Program (AUP) in the 1990s which involved  primarily upgrading to digital avionics. This included twin mission computers, modern digital databus, digital weapon management system, new AN/APQ-171 terrain-following radar, new AN/APQ-169 attack radar, and twin ring-laser gyro INS.  I am sure that anything you have suggested was considered.  Now whether it was considered necessary 10yrs earlier is up for debate.  I doubt the need was there though.  The F-111 was performing very well and I doubt switching to Tornado systems would have conferred any performance improvement.  As i was the eventual AUP was more about supportability than capability.

-replacement of the underpowered and unreliable Pratt & Whitney TF-30 turbofan with General Electric F110 turbofan engines?

Please note that the RAAf did not have an issue with the performance of the TF-30 in the F-111.  It was certainly not underpowered considering the F-111C was the fastest platform (Mach 2.5) the RAAF has ever operated.  Moreover, I have it on good authority that the F-111 powered by the TF30-P109 variant even went supersonic with one engine shut down and may have well exceeded the 'brochure' speed in trials...

I was involved in looking at replacing the TF30s with GE110s in the early 2000's and whilst possible it just didn't make economic sense given the life of type.  It could have conceivably occurred in the -80s but realistically only if the USAF also did it.  Perhaps in conjunction with the F-14 also being re-engined as such.  That said, I will reiterate again that the TF30 was never deemed a problem for the F-111.

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Offline M.A.D

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Thank you elmayerle and GTX for your informative replies!
I've just revisited and revised my initial question, so could I ask you to both re read it and if applicable re reply please?

elmayerle, is there any chance I could see a copy of that
Quote
Ft. Worth design studies
please?, so that I could incorporate some of the facts in my backstory.
Also,I hear and like your analogy regarding the flight refuelling plumbing and receptor, although this is another fundamentally 'real-world' issue that I've put emphasis in fixing!

GTX I full heartedly appreciate and take on-board you practical knowledge and experience with the F-111 in RAAF service mate.
Greg, in your opinion and knowledge, was the 'real-world'
Quote
Avionics Upgrade Program (AUP) of the 1990s
able/mature enough to have been done say in the late 1980's or am I pushing the technological boundaries?

In terms of replacing the TF-30's I was aiming for a better fuel efficiency, lower maintenance man hours, and the acknowledged fact that with the GE F110's, operationally, my F-111's would be able to operate in the realms of dry thrust to achieve given performances, which would otherwise require the use of afterburners to achieve the same performances - hence I'm thinking a net financial saving in fuel and maintenance costs for the duration of the F-111 in RAAF service life ~ 2025-2030.
I'm just looking at the statistic for F-14A(Plus)/F-14B and F110-GE-400 combination -
Quote
The F110-GE-400 engines are much more fuel efficient and give the F-14A(PLUS) sixty percent more range, 33 percent more time on station and a 61 percent improvement in rate of climb.
, and I cant help but wonder what capability improvement can be achieved with the F-111 with something like 60% more range! less reliance on airborne refuelling, ability to attack from different angles of the compass, have a better chance of out running the advanced threat like the Flanker..... 


Greg, I'd also appreciate your input regards your personal experience / knowledge
Quote
in looking at replacing the TF30s with GE110s in the early 2000's
if possible?


M.A.D
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 08:07:22 PM by M.A.D »

Online elmayerle

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Sorry, I saw those studies while I was working there and didn't get opportunity to copy them.  Timeframe when they were done would have been 1988, IIRC.  There were no major structural issues involved in the engine replacement, mostly those changes required for the different engine mounts.  As I understand it, the AUP incorporated the best aspects of the modernization programs developed by the USAF to bring all of their F-111s, FB-111s, and EF-111s up to a common equipment fit standard; that definitely needs to go along with the other changes we are discussing here and would probably encompass the wholesale wire harness replacement I mentioned (on the V-22, that's part of a common nacelle replacement program for the USMC that aims to bring all aircraft to a common configuration and do away with excess wiring that's accumulated over time as boxes and systems get replaced).

Offline M.A.D

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Replacing the avionics is probably possible (if not all, then most) as long as there is sufficient power available.

As long as the engine change can be managed in terms of structural interfaces to the fuselage, it seems that it should be possible.

Installing a triplexed fly by wire system with electrical actuators everywhere, though, doesn't look doable at even the "mid-life" update level of rework. I think it's just too extensive in terms of managing all the changes while not wholesale changing the fundamental structure of the aircraft.

I mean _anything_ is possible with enough money, but I think going electrical fly by wire mid-life is waaaaay past the cost-effectiveness point in the curve. I don't think the benefits would be worth the vast cost.

Paul

Thanks tankmodeler/Paul for your feedback and input my friend.
Ive just stumbled across an article pertaining to the Saudi Air Force's new F-15SA variant, which talks about the Saudi's incorporating "a modern fly-by-wire flight control system in place of the hybrid electronic/mechanical system used by all previous F-15s."
(Source: https://thaimilitaryandasianregion.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/f-15sa-saudi-advanced/

Add to this

"
Quote
Also included are the upgrade of the existing Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) fleet of seventy (70) F-
15S multi-role fighters to the F-15SA configuration
"
(Source: https://thaimilitaryandasianregion.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/f-15sa-saudi-advanced/)

Add to this, as I've reiterated in my main question, in my 'Alternative ADF ORBAT', the Australian government and ADF place the F-111 as a critical component of their deterrents, so maybe the money spent will be feasible :o

M.A.D


Offline tankmodeler

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Add to this, as I've reiterated in my main question, in my 'Alternative ADF ORBAT', the Australian government and ADF place the F-111 as a critical component of their deterrents, so maybe the money spent will be feasible
Well, like I said, anything is possible if you're willing to spend the money on it.

Remember, Australia had 24 F-111s. Saudi Arabia is amortising their development costs out over over 100 aircraft. For Australia, those costs would be going into just 24 airframes. And remember, one of the largest portions of the development cost would be developing, testing and verifying that the software controlling the fly-by-wire system actually worked properly. This is an oft forgotten, yet huge part of any digital upgrade.

So doing all of that for 24 airframes, yeah, it's possible, but I bet it would run into the $billions. Just for the software and test phases.

It's up to you to decide whether any Australian government could pay that price. It's your world, after all. :-D

Paul

Offline GTX_Admin

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The last point captures the biggest issue with this - something that we found with the proposed re-engine of the fleet in the early 2000's.  Australia relied heavily on the support provided by the USAF.  When the USAF retired their fleet in the mid-late 1990s the days were numbered for the RAAF fleet.  It was simply too small as a sole operator to remain economically viable.  Even doing something earlier (such as the 1980s as postulated by this scenario) would be economically difficult unless the USAF were also doing similar or unless there was some other program to help.  Thereof, nothing against the basic premise but one will need to include something such as one of the following into the backstory to make this viable:

  • USAF also decides to update fleet as proposed - thus allowing RAAF to piggy back off this;
  • RAAF has or acquires much larger fleet (80 - 100 airframe in active ops) so as to make economics of going alone viable; or
  • RAAF has something such as F-14 also in service thus allowing a potential joint fleet program for the engine at least

The last two were used in a combined fashion in my Greater Australia story where I had both the large RAAF/RAN F-111 and F-14 fleets using the GE110 as shown below:




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Offline M.A.D

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G’day to all once again

As per my continued research into my ‘Alternative ADF ORBAT' backstory, I’m currently trying to ascertain the costs of the systems/platforms. For example, Australia paid an average of $1,665,000.00 per Atar 9C-powered Mirage IIIO(F) (Source: ADF-SERIALS - Australian & New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials & History)

Does anyone have any information/idea how much Australia paid for its second batch of Mirage IIIO(A)’s?, what with its Cyrano II dual mode air / ground radar; a radar warning receiver(RWR) system, a radar altimeters and it’s Doppler navigation radar....

The cost of the Lockheed F-104G Starfighter in 1961/62?

The 1961/62 cost of the Rolls Royce RB146 Avon 67 turbojet; SNECMA Atar 9C and General Electric J-79

I've spent last last couple of evenings going though my library and the web to no avail 😞

M.A.D

Offline apophenia

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The '60s unit cost for an F-104G was around USD 1M (AUD 0.89M). Unit cost for a J79-GE-3 in 1961 was USD 624,727 (AUD 557,791).
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