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Posted: 1/4/2006 10:16:15 AM EDT
It seems like the 747 airframe would be ideal for use as a cargo plane, tanker, or even missile/bomb truck. So why does it not get used ? Why develop other airframes for those tasks or convert other/smaller airframes like the 707 or the DC-10?


I know we use it for some things, like Air Force One, and for the Airborne Laser platform, but it seems like it would be useful for many more things too.......
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:20:20 AM EDT
I can't remember what it's called, but doesn't a modified 747 also carry the space shuttle as well?
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:21:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/4/2006 10:23:23 AM EDT by SmilingBandit]
My Understanding only:

Actually the 747 was the Air Force's pick for a tanker. Congress instead tried to bail out McDonnel Douglas and thus the KC-10 was ordered. (Boeing then bought McD)



The 747 has been pitched as a cruise missile carrier, but there really isn't the need.

And as far as a cargo plane, well there are alot of cargo 747s running around and the military contracts with them pretty often. But if you look every one of the Air Force's cargo planes are roll on, roll off capabile. The 747 cargo gets loaded through its nose, which is pretty far up.

And smaller planes can get into fields that larger ones sometimes can't.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:22:09 AM EDT
747s are already used as part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet

www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/craf.htm
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:22:26 AM EDT
Mainly it's because most of the current crop of aircraft using civilian frames were bought a good 30 years ago, and the only thing available then was the 707/737.

Future aircraft will probably use newer frames. The Boeing tanker deal was looking at 757s, IIRC.

Problem with the 747 is it's almost TOO big, and doesn't have a good cargo capacity (and when the military talks cargo, it means M1 Abrams and Patriot missile batteries). The only mission the 747 would be good for is command/control aircraft, and I don't think it has the cruise capacity of some of the newer Boeing models, like the 777.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:22:50 AM EDT
Because the fuel tanks make the 747 a vitual flying Glock, ready to kb at the slightest provocation.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:24:24 AM EDT
The next tanker should be a 777 or 757.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:24:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By limaxray:
Mainly it's because most of the current crop of aircraft using civilian frames were bought a good 30 years ago, and the only thing available then was the 707/737.

Future aircraft will probably use newer frames. The Boeing tanker deal was looking at 757s, IIRC.

Problem with the 747 is it's almost TOO big, and doesn't have a good cargo capacity (and when the military talks cargo, it means M1 Abrams and Patriot missile batteries). The only mission the 747 would be good for is command/control aircraft, and I don't think it has the cruise capacity of some of the newer Boeing models, like the 777.



The Boeing tankers were to be 767s. And the 747 also does work for USAF as a C2 plane, called the E-4B.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:27:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By kc8ard:
I can't remember what it's called, but doesn't a modified 747 also carry the space shuttle as well?



It's called, get ready, the "Shuttle Carrier."

It's owned by NASA, not the military. Therefore, no MDS designation.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:27:56 AM EDT
The 747 is very fuel inefficient compared to newer twin engine long haulers like the 777.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:39:18 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:55:53 AM EDT
Because when the Military needs to move stuff like with aircraft like that, they typically contract it from a commercial carrier.

They don't really have a big need for a 747-type Aircraft. At least not one that is modified for military use - civil versions... Well, it's cheaper to just hire it when you need it.

The Military will hire a carrier to bring in the pallets, and then they'll typically load them into a C-17 or a C-130 for a trip to a airfield closer to the front.

747 cargo versions can haul a lot of stuff.

747: 180,000 lbs
C-130J: 42,000 lbs
C-130H: 36,000 lbs
C-5: 261,000 lbs
C-17 170,000 lbs

The key difference here is that a C-17, while nominally very similar in load to a Cargo 747, only has 18 pallet positions. A Cargo 747 can carry twice that. So when it's paletized goods, that don't need to be dropped to their final destination, 747's make a lot of sense. But for the Military, they want that airlifter to be able to deliver the goods to a relatively rough field close to the front lines. Or they want to drop those goods. That's where a C-130 or a C-17 really shines.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 11:08:14 AM EDT
Back in the early '80's the USAF wanted to augment the fleet of C-5's which were starting to age. The 747 was a logical companion plane for the C-5 since studies were showing that the majority of air freight that the C-5's were carrying could be palletized and shipped via 747. The trouble was that Boeing's production line for the 747 was already running full tilt at the time for worldwide civilian orders and the USAF orders would have taken years to fill, so the USAF decided to modernize the C-5 fleet and reinorce the wing spars, etc.

-Gator
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 11:11:08 AM EDT
Not so much fuel as nozzles.
Refueling one AC at a time from something as large as a 747 would be slow and problematic.
Better a smaller AC with two or three nozzles.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 11:14:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
Not so much fuel as nozzles.
Refueling one AC at a time from something as large as a 747 would be slow and problematic.
Better a smaller AC with two or three nozzles.



The KC-10 manages just fine.

Anyways with the flying boom you can only gas one plane at a time in any tanker envisioned. There are some KC-135s and the design for the KC-767 that allow for two probe and drogue refuelings.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 11:18:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/4/2006 11:20:58 AM EDT by ASUsax]

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
Not so much fuel as nozzles.
Refueling one AC at a time from something as large as a 747 would be slow and problematic.
Better a smaller AC with two or three nozzles.



The KC-10 manages just fine.

Anyways with the flying boom you can only gas one plane at a time in any tanker envisioned. There are some KC-135s and the design for the KC-767 that allow for two probe and drogue refuelings.



I wouldn't be surprised if future aircraft (X-45?) were equipped for Probe and drogue. It makes a lot of sense, especially in smaller aircraft. You only really need booms for Bombers. Fighters are fine with probe and drogue.

Probably wouldn't be too hard to make a conversion kit to allow a C-130 or C-17 trail a drogue out the back, either. Probably could make it a drop-in - no mods to the aircraft.

I think, BTW, what the original poster was implying is that you'd rather have 2 KC-767's with 2 booms than 1 KC-747 with one boom, even if the total amount of fuel to transfer was the same.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 11:32:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ASUsax:

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
Not so much fuel as nozzles.
Refueling one AC at a time from something as large as a 747 would be slow and problematic.
Better a smaller AC with two or three nozzles.



The KC-10 manages just fine.

Anyways with the flying boom you can only gas one plane at a time in any tanker envisioned. There are some KC-135s and the design for the KC-767 that allow for two probe and drogue refuelings.



I wouldn't be surprised if future aircraft (X-45?) were equipped for Probe and drogue. It makes a lot of sense, especially in smaller aircraft. You only really need booms for Bombers. Fighters are fine with probe and drogue.

Probably wouldn't be too hard to make a conversion kit to allow a C-130 or C-17 trail a drogue out the back, either. Probably could make it a drop-in - no mods to the aircraft.

I think, BTW, what the original poster was implying is that you'd rather have 2 KC-767's with 2 booms than 1 KC-747 with one boom, even if the total amount of fuel to transfer was the same.



Exactly.
You don't want long waiting lines behind a single AC, and you certainly don't want to concentrate your refuel assets to one AC in a hostile environment.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 11:44:42 AM EDT
Got to walk on the wings of a 747 once...an E-4B to be exact..
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 11:44:59 AM EDT
The 747 is not used in more military roles because the military did not want to foot the bill to open up another military aircraft rework Depot, another school pipe line for aircrew and maintainers, build hangers and runways to support 747's (no, you can't use the same hangers that are used for the C-5's because they are full of C-5's), plus add another couple million parts to stock and store them for the 747.

The military does not need a fleet of aircraft like the 747 for its tactical airlift requirements, and for simple logistics civilian contractors and the civil fleet do just fine.

One of the biggest problems is that the 747 needs specialized loading equipment (K-loader) to load and unload while the C-5, C-17, C-141 can kneel and the C-130 can lower the ramp.

Side loaders like the C-9, KC-135 and the KC-10 are a pain in the ass to load and unload, and even though the 747 Combi has a nose that raises up it's still a pain to load and unload.








Link Posted: 1/4/2006 11:50:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KA3B:
The 747 is not used in more military roles because the military did not want to foot the bill to open up another military aircraft rework Depot, another school pipe line for aircrew and maintainers, build hangers and runways to support 747's (no, you can't use the same hangers that are used for the C-5's because they are full of C-5's), plus add another couple million parts to stock and store them for the 747.

The military does not need a fleet of aircraft like the 747 for its tactical airlift requirements, and for simple logistics civilian contractors and the civil fleet do just fine.

One of the biggest problems is that the 747 needs specialized loading equipment (K-loader) to load and unload while the C-5, C-17, C-141 can kneel and the C-130 can lower the ramp.

Side loaders like the C-9, KC-135 and the KC-10 are a pain in the ass to load and unload, and even though the 747 Combi has a nose that raises up it's still a pain to load and unload.

www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/boeing747-400f/images/Boeing747Freighter_4.jpg

www.telair.com/wide-body-systems/bilder/b747-400f_220.jpg

users.skynet.be/aerosite/RF_747_SR71.jpg

www.iiaf.net/aircraft/tankerstranspt/images/iiaf747tanker_jpg.jpg



With the proper equipment a 135 isn't overly difficult to load. And when doing pallet work even the trash haulers use a k loader.

FYI: That's an Iranian E-4A being refueled in the bottom pic if my eyes serve my right.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 12:01:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
With the proper equipment a 135 isn't overly difficult to load. And when doing pallet work even the trash haulers use a k loader.



That's my point, you have to have the proper equipment.
The trash haulers can kneel or lower their ramp and hook the winch up to a pallet and pull it in if they have to.
Trash haulers can drift or freight train pallitized cargo, can't do that with a side loader, even the 747 Combi.

And that was THE POINT of my post.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:31:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KA3B:

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
With the proper equipment a 135 isn't overly difficult to load. And when doing pallet work even the trash haulers use a k loader.



That's my point, you have to have the proper equipment.
The trash haulers can kneel or lower their ramp and hook the winch up to a pallet and pull it in if they have to.
Trash haulers can drift or freight train pallitized cargo, can't do that with a side loader, even the 747 Combi.

And that was THE POINT of my post.



Roger. Carry on.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 4:37:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KA3B:

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
With the proper equipment a 135 isn't overly difficult to load. And when doing pallet work even the trash haulers use a k loader.



That's my point, you have to have the proper equipment.
The trash haulers can kneel or lower their ramp and hook the winch up to a pallet and pull it in if they have to.
Trash haulers can drift or freight train pallitized cargo, can't do that with a side loader, even the 747 Combi.

And that was THE POINT of my post.



Some of this is correct... The C-5/C-17s were built with outsized cargo in mind... 747s are the ideal aircraft to move palletized cargo from stateside to operating bases closer to the action while C-5/C-17/C-130s move it into the combat zone.

C-5s hardly ever carry more than 130,000# of cargo and max out at 36 pallets. To move that cargo from the US to Europe takes about 200,000# of fuel (my Chevy would go around the world something like 240 times on that load of fuel alone). I've talked to plenty of 747 air cargo guys contracted to fly for the DoD - they carried around 42 pallets for about 180,000# of cargo with a fuel load of 120,000# - and those are mostly old 747-200s.

I've never seen a winch used to move palletized cargo on or off a kneeled C-5. I've seen regular fork lifts and all the k-loaders and Tunners but stuff doesn't get winched in. Roling stock, yes, pallets no...

Spooky
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 5:13:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Spooky130:
I've never seen a winch used to move palletized cargo on or off a kneeled C-5. I've seen regular fork lifts and all the k-loaders and Tunners but stuff doesn't get winched in. Roling stock, yes, pallets no...
Spooky



Not in regular ops, but in time of war you can get a shitload of 1 inch pipes......
Don't they teach you guys anything in Air Force Loadmaster School?
(I went through USAF Loadmaster training in 1992 at Sheppard AFB).
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