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Old 19th Mar 2021, 07:17
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Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
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Is this the oldest operational military aircraft in the world?

NAWCAD using rebuilt C-47 as range support aircraft ? Alert 5

NAWCAD using rebuilt C-47 as range support aircraft

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) recently started using a rebuilt C-47 transport as its range support aircraft for the Atlantic Test Ranges (ATR) at NAS Patuxent River.N161PR is a 77 year-old aircraft that has been rebuilt as a BT-67. It now has new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67R turboprop engines along with other modifications to its wing leading edges and wingtips to extend the airframe hours.

To support range instrumentation work, a Raven Advanced Phased-Array Telemetry Resource (RAPTR) was installed on the nose and a separate flat-panel array antenna was mounted on the bell radome. With two antennas, the aircraft is capable of tracking three targets, says Dennis Normyle, ATR chief architect.

“For example, we can track an F-18 firing a missile, the missile itself and the missile’s target all at the same time. Future upgrades will expand that number.”

Dan Skelley, lead engineer for the project, says the RAPTR is the first of its kind ever installed in an aircraft. Before N161PR arrived, ATR had to rely on a King Air which is equipped with one antenna. With the older antenna we have to make a decision: which signal to follow — one weapon or one target,” Normyle said.

Video posted by Basler Turbo Conversions show the interior with telemetry stations. The cockpit has been upgraded with glass instruments. To make space for RAPTR, the nose mounted weather was moved to the chin housing below.

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Old 19th Mar 2021, 08:31
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the reason is simple - there's a lot of space and capacity in that old airframe and modern kit is small. You can also cheerfully cut holes in them without a lot of worry

Boscombe and the RAE used to use a Fairey Surveys operated DC-3 G-ALWC up to 1982 for trials of things like Linescan. If you fitted tanks in the cabin you could get 8++ hours of flying at a time
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Old 19th Mar 2021, 10:21
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The South African Air Force
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 12:39
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... and the Thais still operate at least 4 C-47/BT-67 aircraft, which (if the Basler plate) is to be believed are all FY 1945 aircraft, but some of them also appear to be FY 1943 and FY 1944 aircraft.
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 14:54
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The AN2 must hold some records, started production in 1947 and only ended in 2001
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 16:25
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DC-3 and B-52s, the taxpayers got their money’s worth.

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Old 20th Mar 2021, 17:06
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Still are!

I have a copy of Gunston's "jet Bombers" written in 1993 - he says about the B-52 " and now these aircraft are finally fading away..."
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