Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Typhoon Radar

Old 21st Nov 2014, 08:01
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
O-P, re your F-15 question, I never flew a lead-nose one. That's not to say there weren't occasional radar snags on start, but that meant calling in the problem and a short wait for a radar specialist to arrive in a big truck with lots of goodies in it. Said specialist (our best was a very attractive blonde) would plug into the intercom and ask questions, direct one to do stuff with the radar and run the odd short diagnostic. She would swap out a box, ask for a check, bid one a good a flight and off we'd go.

Just about the only radar unit that couldn't be changed on the line was the antenna. I don't recall a significant failure in flight.
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2014, 19:33
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 26
F/A-18A/B/C/D Lot 5 to Lot 14 (1200 hrs over 2.5 years). Failures:

9 radar overheats (same ac 9 times over one weekend), had to recycle it every 15 mins but it worked fine.

1 partial INS failure after t/o, re-aligned in flight

1 generator failure

1 gearbox failure

0 FCS failures

0 Engine failures

Never (not once) climbed out after signing for the jet; you remember the failures because they were that rare.

Tornado F3 (1500 hrs over 15 years - every radar standard from X-list to the end, albeit not very much of the final version). Failures:

Radar c10% complete failure and c10% partial (single TWT, Lock, etc).

MMS: in the early days you were hard pushed to get a rocket off the jet under any circumstances, but that improved significantly.

Fair number (over 10) engine failures - rarely complete, but they did all require changing (on one occasion both at the same time after a double VIB - which wasn't in the FRCs).

Numerous hydraulic (and CSAS) failures, including a utilities failure right out of the factory on pick-up.

And you needed two INSs for the number of times one went walkabout.

I didn't climb out very often (though I knew plenty who did at the drop of a hat) but I climbed out many more times than I wanted to, especially for CSAS - though that also got much better, over time.

Now let's talk about reliability...
sarn1e is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2014, 20:09
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
In a strange way, this is quite a good demo/simulation. I always loved being able to keep the target in scan at 120 off boresite.
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2014, 21:01
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 4,050
Not so sure I like the slewable RADAR display - it has similarities to the FULCRUM's slewable display which could be most confusing. Also, from the video, why when you're supporting shots in a 2 v 8 would you turn in opposite directions when you would be better off staying a visually supporting pair?

I know we used to split to RADAR supporting pairs in the F3 with JTIDS when we had Skyslug versus bigger rockets like AMRAAM or AA10c. But that tactic would be wasted on a single seat, agile wonder jet with BVRAAM, AMRAAM and ASRAAM and likely to have the advantage - why would you take the risk of losing visual support?

Lima Juliet is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2014, 21:04
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
I used it in the early trials of this radar. You soon get used to it. Better than a squished display and no room for a wide screen TV.
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2014, 21:06
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 4,050
So what happens when you get a pop-up 100 left and 100 right - or do you have to have Marty Feldman vision?

Lima Juliet is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2014, 21:27
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
Love it!!!
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2014, 22:31
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Oz
Posts: 645
This is the kind of thread I come here for - informative, technical but not overly so, unclass, good natured banter...keep at it!
FoxtrotAlpha18 is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2014, 23:54
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hertfordshire
Age: 54
Posts: 816

That's what I'm talking about. The RAF/MoD is so institutionally setup to accept routine failures as normal. When you see what it could be like it is all rather depressing. Especially as when the operators say "it's not that bad" what motivation has the MoD to produce the goods?

The RAF, and this is as prevelant with the Typhoon, operates with so many deferred faults that it is rare to see a fully mission capable aircraft on the line. Something that was uncommon during my exchange.

It's all a bit sad really.
The problem with Typhoon that normal RAF issue, Lack of spares. Electronics items fail, especially when they are pushed to the limit as regards space, weight and being thrown around the skies with G loading that would kill most civil electronic kit in minutes. The other thing about comparing the US and UK maintenance systems (correct me if i'm wrong here, GK121) is the US Avionics guys tend to be specialists in one aspect of the aircraft's systems (They will be a radar, a radio, an instrument or electrical system specialists) while the RAF have somebody who has to know the whole lot (where in the past the RAF avionics trade had some form of separation of those 4 specialists). If something goes wrong on the line, they have a much deeper understanding of that particular bit of kit. Having had two amalgamations of trade within my service period, I know for a fact that it caused issues, best summed up by this video.

MAINJAFAD also has a point on the "design & make" aspect. The AN/ALQ-126 Defensive ECM system on the A-6E (and other aircraft) was a very low MTBF item in the early 1980s-with MTBRs around 10 hours. The LRU was a two-deck box, full of circuit boards that were covered with IC chips. When Sanders developed the -126, they "had a brilliant idea" - to "make maintenance easier", they put almost all of the IC chips in plug-in sockets (the sockets were soldered to the boards). Over 90% of failures were cleared by "simply" reseating all of the >300 IC chips in the LRU - a process which took several hours, but which had to be done, as invariably in each LRU there were multiple chips that had vibrated loose enough to break connection - despite the "hold-down clamps" Sanders had installed to prevent that.
Don't know if the British MoD ever did that in an airborne system, definitely did it with a transportable ground based Air Defence Radar, After the radar was moved from A to B, the operators tried to run it up and found it wouldn't work. On opening the racks up, the RAF Technicians found piles of IC's laying at the base of the racks.
MAINJAFAD is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2014, 00:14
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 192
LJ, Courtney,

I'm sure that once you get used to the display it'll be one of those things that you could never live without (a bit of colour would help)...I do hope that auto track initiate is a standard function however!

Fire and run, love it! Split my assets, love it even more. If two enemy jets are in the same piece of sky then I only need to look in one place, if they aren't, I get seriously worried! The fire and run theory was used by F16s before they got a BVR capability, although a bit of North European weather could scupper those plans

I loved JTIDS, but I don't think we ever used to the full with say 4 independent, yet supporting fighters...OK someone had to be the leader. I suppose we got close with night/IMC 4 ship ops.


In my time on the F3.

Numerous VIB captions in the early days (all went out on throttle back)

No Hyd failures

1 Oil P

Numerous CSAS 1st Fails, all reset (Early days)

1 RHAG engagement (practice)

4ish battery chargers

Many IN runaways (Having two was pointless, you didn't know which one was playing stupid. 3 would have been a better idea) The RLG GPS solved that problem.

10+ main Comp stops/freeze

3 rides in C/F18's, no snags

1 ride in an F18F. Engine failure after 20 mins (Oceana) Jet had 260+ hours on it from new

Last edited by O-P; 24th Nov 2014 at 00:22. Reason: Extra info
O-P is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2014, 00:29
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: by the Great Salt Lake, USA
Posts: 1,541

At squadron level ("O" for organization) the avionics guys are generalists, trained mainly to quickly diagnose and change out LRUs, and to find & repair wiring harness problems.

At the next level of maintenance ("I" for intermediate), we were trained on specific systems or related groups of systems - I was trained on the FLIR/l a s e r systems, other guys were trained on radios, others on navigation systems, or ECM, or radar - etc. There was an IMA (Intermediate Maintenance Activity) at each base, and we deployed personnel with squadrons when they went elsewhere for more than a couple of weeks. The IMA avionics shops were in ISO containers - airconditioned/heated, with the test benches inside -so we could fix LRUs "in the field". In 1984 we packed all of them up and flew them from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan to NAS Cubi point, P.I. for 6 weeks (thank you, USAF C-141s), then brought them back - this was a normal evolution.

"I" level techs frequently went over to the squadrons to help with an unusually nasty problem, or to help out during high-tempo operations, or just to "see how the other half lived". This was particularly true aboard ship or when deployed overseas.

Both of these were, of course, staffed by military personnel (except for an occasional civilian "tech-rep" (technical representative), either from the manufacturer of a high-value system or a government-employed rep from NAVAIR.

Depot level maintenance was usually civilian contractor work with a minimal military staffing "for oversight".

The Hair Farce worked a bit differently, with more personnel at the squadron level - these were more specialized than in NAVAIR - often requiring 3-4 personnel to perform a task the USN/USMC would use 2 for.

For example, in NAVAIR avionics techs were permitted to remove/replace access panels themselves, in the AF an airframes person had to do that part - NAVAIR avionics techs could apply electrical power to the aircraft to run up the systems, AF avionics guys had to get a aircraft electrician, and so on.

I believe that USAF squadrons also have people specialized in systems - or they used to. Nowadays, the "smart planes" pretty much diagnose themselves, all you need is someone who can remove/install the boxes and deal with the wiring/databus.

GreenKnight121 is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2014, 02:04
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 192
Del and Sar,

Perhaps I selected the wrong phrase.

I would have loved to have flown an aircraft that was fully serviceable, had no Greens/Reds to worry about...Sadly every aircraft I flew had a limitation in the F700.

I also picked up F3s from Warton, watched the guys cry as we took their babies away, then tore the paint off them in the Irish Sea. What was your record speed?

On my first Sqn engines/and spares were flowing like gummy bears, then the wall fell down. The Jet then got dramatically better, only spares dried up (Dam'd those wars)
O-P is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2014, 06:34
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hertfordshire
Age: 54
Posts: 816

Thanks for that, Very much like the old differences between the RAF and FAA. As you stated All box changing based on what the BITE says is bust.
MAINJAFAD is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2014, 09:07
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
MAINJAFAD, you are right. But that was very much because some folk in the early days, understandably, took modern BITE to be exactly what it said it was and believed that the fault codes would do all the diagnostics for them. To a considerable degree they do. Then came people with far greater depth of system knowledge who realised there was more to it and the promise of a BMW-like service and repair system didn't quite do all it claimed. Sadly, working practices had already become chiseled into tables of stone and there was no hope of a Velvet Revolution.
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2014, 09:38
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Racedo blows goats
Posts: 677
The RAF endorsed a multi-million upgrade to Blue Parrot (Buccaneer) near the end of its life to raise the System MTBF from 3.5 hours to around 6, which they deemed acceptable. At the same time the superb Blue Fox (SHAR 1, and more akin to Foxhunter) System MTBF was just over 30 hours and considered excellent by the RN.
Not a fair comparison given they were generations apart in technology and decades apart in terms of service. The Parrot update was primarily to one LRU; the rest of the system was on the upward leg of the bath tub curve. That said, Parrot reliability went up after 3rd line was given to Industry. In terms of reliability, Blue Parrot and MCS from the F4 seemed to be on a par but both were 2nd hand from the RN.

MAINJAFAD hit the nail on the head about the influence of the techies on the kit, sometimes it was a matter of taking some short term pain to get everything well in spec, to get a long term benefit. But you can only do that if you have a spares buffer.
engineer(retard) is offline  
Old 27th Nov 2014, 14:11
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: London
Posts: 477
t43562 is offline  
Old 27th Nov 2014, 22:42
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
The ability to reposition AESA gives the capability to scan beyond 90 off borsite. Keeping a target 120 off post-launch is an excellent tactical capability. No reason for it to be unreliable.
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 28th Nov 2014, 00:00
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: uk
Posts: 36
"Keep it simple! Less capability and more reliability please because when it fails I have ZERO capability. "

I couldnt agree more, in fact I often had discussions along these lines with F3 aircrew (both driver & ballast). I am sure they would have traded a fair bit of (supposed) capability for reliability on the earlier incarnations of blue circle.

The difficulty is getting someone to COMMIT to a reduced capability when the industry glossy sales brochure promises so much.
whisperer is offline  
Old 28th Nov 2014, 02:10
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 192
Wow whisperer! How to make friends! I hope some of the 'ballast' will educate you later.

Your points are, how should I say this politely..boollocks!

If we had traded some of the capability of the blue circle (which was a very reliable lump of concrete) what would we have gained?

As the F3 matured (and I'm only talking about the weapon system here), it got vastly MORE capable, complex AND reliable. In the early days in was extremely fragile. As time progressed it become more and more robust.

When you next buy a car, ask them to take out the ABS, TRAC, Airbags, Electric windows, DSG, Radio, GPS and the AC as you just want something reliable...There are a couple of 1980's Lada's on ebay if you're interested?

Last edited by O-P; 28th Nov 2014 at 02:25.
O-P is offline  
Old 28th Nov 2014, 02:23
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 192

Just wondering if, when you were lucky enough to be offered an exchange tour, they'd asked "Well your choice F-18C, F-18E or F-22"? Would you have plumped for the less capable jet?

I know which one I would have picked. Sadly, I never got the opportunity for either.
O-P is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.