Old 9th Jun 2017, 22:58
  #34 (permalink)  
Bloodhound Loose
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Here and there
Posts: 9
Originally Posted by Jackonicko View Post
1) Cost
2) the inability to use anything but Size A buoys
3) Lack of MAD - still a useful confirmation sensor
4) Comparing the OEW with MTOW makes me suspect that payload/range will not be as impressive as the brochure suspects
5) I wonder whether the emphasis on (unproven) high altitude delivery of weapons and buoys is a matter of choice or whether it has been forced on the USN by platform limitations - fuel consumption, a relatively wide turn radius, fatigue, engine placement, etc.?
6) Lack of a 360 degree radar
7) Programmatically - the failure to integrate U.K. Weapon and buoy stocks - especially Stingray.
8) will demand massive investment in airfield infrastructure
9) fleet size. Two carriers, four SSBNs and a major maritime trading nation, with vital fisheries and EEZs and we're getting 9.Nine. Japan plans to get 70 P-1s.
10) I remain profoundly sceptical that one can accurately put a pattern of buoys in the water from FL nosebleed
Range has a number of variables, but assuming still air, no AAR in flight and LL 'turning and burning on-station', I'd plump for MR2 = 2 hours at 1200nm, MRA4 = 6 hours at 1200nm

2) Not really sure why that's important; you worried about running out of buoys? The P8 is very spacious inside. I am convinced you could put extra racks in and carry enough buoys to ensure you'd run out of fuel before sonobuoys.

3) MAD is desirable but not essential. Multi-Statics is a game-changer.

4) 4 hours at 1200nm was a key performance measure at initial test. It met the requirement.

5) The driver to operate at higher than traditional altitudes was nothing to do with ac limitations. Indeed, the increment 1 P-8A had to be able to operate at low level and it can. I hear a lot about how the 737 was not designed to operate at LL, but then neither was the comet or the Lockheed Electra. The first couple of P8 ac were used for flight envelope expansion. They had a whole raft of instrumentation devices attached all over the ac. This was then fed back into extremely accurate computer modeling so there is a deep understanding of fatigue issues during LL manouvre - this technology didn't exist when Nimrod and P3 ac were being developed.

6) Depends what you're trying to do with the mission. BAMS is seen as a partner of the P8 in terms of USN CONOPS for ASuW mission. The USN is also hanging its hat on multi static ASW in preference to radar detections.

7) Stingray was the only weapon planned and funded for MRA4. The P8 has a much broader suite of weapons. The databus/wing hard points on P8 offer significant weapon delivery options over the MRA4. You could try to put Stingray on it, but why? Buying off the shelf is cheaper to the taxpayer than making bespoke UK requirements - good enough is good enough.

10) I think you're looking at the problem through an old 'cold war' lens. Multi-statics is a game-changer. Maybe you don't need to drop a sonobuoy on 'a dime' anymore?

The arguments for COTS are well rehearsed. You buy 'off the shelf' you accept you're getting something that meets the host nation's requirements and CONOPS. As long as your requirements and CONOPS are not too different then you can get a product without having to fork out all the R&D costs - good enough is good enough.

The fact is that P8 is an on-time, on-budget, high-end war fighting platform that has achieved impressive maturity in the 7 years since first flight - look at platform and squadron numbers, number of nations flying the aircraft and the maturity of the training system in just 7 years; then compare that to MRA4 program. P8 development has been staggering.

IMHO, the P8 is a great buy for UK Defence that will fill a capability gap relatively quickly.
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