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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Lawman said:

If this is to be used simply as a low density logistics asset within the given COCOM by the ACC then it could be useful, but when talking ramp space and assets in theatre the juice to buy and maintain it is questionable at best.

If this is as the article seems to suggest some idea of adding smaller options to the bigger Transcom Intra and Outside theatre airlift than these guys are idiots. Until we are maximizing use of pallet space in the assets already in place (IE not flying a C-130 with 2 contractors and a pallet of water bottles in a ring route looking for Space A) this is a stupid idea. And the idea of “oh well it’ll only be for high value low density cargo” ignores the fact any staff flunky will just check that box on their Air Mission Request form.

The last thing we need to give people to used to hitting the Easy Button when thinking about logistics is another tool to misuse/misappropriate.

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True on both points, may not be worth the cost and how do you prevent abuse which would be tempting to say the least.

That said I don't think the idea is not without merit, just maybe not enough merit to warrant acquisition, not sure as they had plenty of anecdotes but no other data that proves there is a need.  How many times has this come up in recent operations?  In recent history?

On your point of maximizing pallet space or capacity, I think that is a different issue than the one they probably should have emphasized which is timeliness. 

This asset would not really be (IMHO) for more efficient deliveries of small cargo by using a smaller asset vs a grossly oversize one but for timely deliveries with little or no time from tasking to dispatch of small cargo hopefully truly high priority cargo.

9 hours ago, Day Man said:

A Cessna isn't going to fix issues like this.

Yeah but that anecdote (short notice F-16 tasking) was really about the poor customer service (the authors imply) by using only civilian delivery services once in place.  Not that a military owned Cessna based light airlift capability would have gotten them home sooner but that it would have helped to have a military owned and thus focused cargo support capability to access while deployed.  

They should not have put int the snarky six-month comment in to imply they were still there because of want of airlift support just that they were there probably longer than anticipated and having support capabilities like light on-demand military airlift would have helped operations significantly.

At least that's how I read it:

In yet another recent case, a small package of Aviano F-16s was deployed on 48-hour notice to an undisclosed location on a 21-day taking. Six months later, they were still there. Supporting the operation was a challenge in the months to follow due to the initial logistical movement — whatever could be packed and loaded on a pair of C-17 for 21 days of operations. After the initial deployment, all logistical support was pieced together by either DHL shipping or the occasional contract flight that flew in near the location. The time lag to get parts on-site severely impacted aircraft readiness while deployed.

The authors should have emphasized (IMHO) it was about timeliness not efficiency per se.

If it is about timeliness then other options are probably warranted (if the AF was really interested in this), a King Air 350i with a cargo door, upgraded engines/props and STOL options would be fast and efficient. 

Edited by Clark Griswold
Better choice of words

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To paraphrase the greatest of all cargo pilots, “Who’s gonna fly em, kid?”

Another of the multitude of reasons this one’s got issues - pilots - but they’re not insurmountable. 

This concept could be manned if the AF loosened its grip on “all pilots must be officers” with the officer career progression that goes along with it. But we’ve refused to change that, entertain warrants or enlisted pilots (a program that’ll be quietly killed) in force.

Contract pilots are a possibility, along the lines of the Red Air contract. That idea has merit. I’m sure there’s dudes who would fly 208s delivering spare parts to the spoke outbases. If they aren’t all flying for the airlines already.

Chuck

 

 

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4 hours ago, Chuck17 said:

To paraphrase the greatest of all cargo pilots, “Who’s gonna fly em, kid?”

Another of the multitude of reasons this one’s got issues - pilots - but they’re not insurmountable. 

This concept could be manned if the AF loosened its grip on “all pilots must be officers” with the officer career progression that goes along with it. But we’ve refused to change that, entertain warrants or enlisted pilots (a program that’ll be quietly killed) in force.

Contract pilots are a possibility, along the lines of the Red Air contract. That idea has merit. I’m sure there’s dudes who would fly 208s delivering spare parts to the spoke outbases. If they aren’t all flying for the airlines already.

Chuck

 

 

Folks love the idea of enlisted and WO pilots, as if we'll find people smart enough to fly airplanes but too dumb to figure out the airlines pay better.

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8 hours ago, Chuck17 said:

To paraphrase the greatest of all cargo pilots, “Who’s gonna fly em, kid?”

Another of the multitude of reasons this one’s got issues - pilots - but they’re not insurmountable. 

This concept could be manned if the AF loosened its grip on “all pilots must be officers” with the officer career progression that goes along with it. But we’ve refused to change that, entertain warrants or enlisted pilots (a program that’ll be quietly killed) in force.

Contract pilots are a possibility, along the lines of the Red Air contract. That idea has merit. I’m sure there’s dudes who would fly 208s delivering spare parts to the spoke outbases. If they aren’t all flying for the airlines already.

Chuck

Yeah, aircrew manning would be an issue but the ARC would probably bite if it was a decent deal, contract pilots would probably be the solution though.

I'm not opposed to the dual qual concept @HuggyU2 mentioned above either if the companion aircraft to their primary is simple enough and the CT beans are not made too stringent.  Dual logging instrument currency could be helpful and keeping the Liaison Aircraft beans basically type specific (takeoff/landing/practice EP maneuvers) could probably make it feasible with the pilots in theater needing this capability.

That said, the Grand Caravan would then be likely my recommendation.  Probably speedy enough and at around 1.8 mil a tail and about $500 an hour to fly, affordable in aviation terms.  Now it is it needed?  Still TBD but methinks it is justifiable, just needs better arguments for it.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Chuck17 said:

To paraphrase the greatest of all cargo pilots, “Who’s gonna fly em, kid?”

I have only one data point, Chuck, but there are quite a few of us retirees near Beale that would consider it as a contract pilot, or even as a Guardsman or Reservist.  But Beale/ACC/USAF/someone still... after 20 years of "looking at it"... can't manage to set up a Reserve/Guard program for U-2 and T-38 pilots.  The amount of "willing talent" within an hour of Beale is staggering.  I ran with the idea back in the 2008 time frame and no one "up the chain" at Beale, ACC, or AFRC really cared.  We've got Reservists/Guardsmen flying the F-22, B-2, UPT, and everything else under the sun.  Why Beale can't do it is beyond me.  

Part-time contract pilots would work also.  I know plenty of them flying for Draken and ATAC.  

 

BTW, the enlisted pilot program has been successful and I know a bunch of them... and they all got commissioned after being top-notch enlisted folks.  I hope they leave it that way.  

Edited by HuggyU2

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Imagine for a moment if you will...USAF pilots on staff around the world that would jump at the opportunity to fly anything. COCOMs/TSOCs solve their little intra-theater airlift problem and pilots still get to fly.

Think of the possibilities...

Even more frustrating is having that capability (plus airdrop) and seeing it pissed away for one reason or another.

Cooter

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Another interesting read from WOR on OSA / Light Airlift:

Airpower Orphans, Part I: Putting the “Operational Support” Back in Operational Support Airlift

History and purpose/rationale of the cargo centered OSA better explained IMO than in the first article at beginning of thread.

Authors again don't mention the C-145 or 146 but do the Twin Otter and SkyCourier curious but whatevs.   

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On 6/26/2019 at 9:53 AM, Clark Griswold said:

That said, the Grand Caravan would then be likely my recommendation.  Probably speedy enough and at around 1.8 mil a tail and about $500 an hour to fly, affordable in aviation terms.  Now it is it needed?  Still TBD but methinks it is justifiable, just needs better arguments for it.

How bout these the Quest Kodiak 100; a ten-seat, PT-6 turboprop that is just a tad smaller than a Caravan built from the ground up as a back-country/bush (so-to-speak) airplane not a commuter pressed into back-country ops. Already in service flying off dirt strips supporting missionary operations worldwide. Even comes with an aft pallet sized door for easy cargo load/unload or parachute ops for small items/people.    Shameless plug for a local company I have no personal stake in, details here: https://questaircraft.com/

 

quest-kodiak.jpg

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On 6/26/2019 at 8:24 AM, pawnman said:

Folks love the idea of enlisted and WO pilots, as if we'll find people smart enough to fly airplanes but too dumb to figure out the airlines pay better.

They found people like us dumb enough to be CSOs/WSOs...

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1 hour ago, pbar said:

They found people like us dumb enough to be CSOs/WSOs...

Yeah, but they were smart enough not to give us the necessary ratings to go to the airlines

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8 hours ago, Stitch said:

How bout these the Quest Kodiak 100; a ten-seat, PT-6 turboprop that is just a tad smaller than a Caravan built from the ground up as a back-country/bush (so-to-speak) airplane not a commuter pressed into back-country ops. Already in service flying off dirt strips supporting missionary operations worldwide. Even comes with an aft pallet sized door for easy cargo load/unload or parachute ops for small items/people.    Shameless plug for a local company I have no personal stake in, details here: https://questaircraft.com/

 

quest-kodiak.jpg

Not bad but if the AF chose to acquire a new platform to fulfill this role I would focus on the cargo mainly, people sometimes role the authors warn is not currently being fulfilled by the OSA jets the AF currently has.  Seems the ASEL Cessna Caravan or Qwest Kodiak would be good people haulers but a bit shy on cargo options, exactly what the cargo requirements is since it is a small, utility hauler is the 640 million dollar question. 

Not just trying to TLAR it but what exactly is the requirement and what should be the practical solution to that requirement?

How much cargo/people (max) and how far/fast?  Other capes for the platform?  Discussed a bit earlier in the thread but grokking on this idea, I think working backwards from a dispersed element of fighter/attack aircraft and what their reasonably conceivable resupply needs would be is a good starting point.  Deliveries to fill the gaps between major or regular resupplies. 

Either the SkyTruck or SkyCourier seem the best options.

SkyTruck has a ramp, loading system and rear cargo door for airdrop, SkyCourier has better cargo capacity (load) and is optimized for a common container system (LD3 shipping container).  Just my two cents but as this is mainly to be an air-land light cargo/pax platform to prepared and semi-prepared fields, the SkyCourier would be my choice.

Cessna_Skycourier_cargo.jpg

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This discussion misses the other end of the problem.

Yeah, the platform might be fine, but how does the logistical system work?

Are the light aircraft going to be on the ATO? Who schedules? Who works dip clearances?

Who deconflicts port capacities? Yeah, the ability to carry palletized cargo is awesome, but if no one is on the other end to offload that cargo because the port is working a C-5/C-17/C-130, then your stuff is sitting and waiting on the ramp.

What level of command will have their own organic lift?

If you push it too low, it'll be like the Haiti humanitarian airlift a few years ago, when you had a bunch of private companies and NGOs trying to fly their Cessna 208s or light jets to drop off a couple boxes, which prevented larger aircraft from bringing a significantly larger amount of cargo. Or it'd be like dodging Army helicopters in theater.

I think the reason we don't have light cargo is because the cost and the operational and support footprint required doesn't match the need. If a unit truly needed a widget and their mission was absolutely critical to the combatant commander, it'll get there fast.

The hard truth is that most units can wait for the normal supply system, but don't want to.

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This discussion misses the other end of the problem.  

Yeah, the platform might be fine, but how does the logistical system work?

 

Are the light aircraft going to be on the ATO? Who schedules? Who works dip clearances?

 

Who deconflicts port capacities? Yeah, the ability to carry palletized cargo is awesome, but if no one is on the other end to offload that cargo because the port is working a C-5/C-17/C-130, then your stuff is sitting and waiting on the ramp.

 

What level of command will have their own organic lift?

 

If you push it too low, it'll be like the Haiti humanitarian airlift a few years ago, when you had a bunch of private companies and NGOs trying to fly their Cessna 208s or light jets to drop off a couple boxes, which prevented larger aircraft from bringing a significantly larger amount of cargo. Or it'd be like dodging Army helicopters in theater.

 

I think the reason we don't have light cargo is because the cost and the operational and support footprint required doesn't match the need. If a unit truly needed a widget and their mission was absolutely critical to the combatant commander, it'll get there fast.

 

The hard truth is that most units can wait for the normal supply system, but don't want to.

 

Wise words, the authors don’t address that but I imagine they envision cargo loads light enough not require a serious support effort from the aerial port flying into or out of and likely I would see them advocating this organic lift being under the purview of a deployed OG.

 

To me those seem not unreasonable but to effectively execute the platform there would need some higher level visibility to prevent hoarding of it for just in case but then how does that fit the light/on-demand service direct to the customer?

 

I’m a skeptical believer but think you have a point that would have to be answered prior to green lighting this

 

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19 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

  Just my two cents but as this is mainly to be an air-land light cargo/pax platform to prepared and semi-prepared fields, the SkyCourier would be my choice.

 

Well I'm sure we'll see the light airlift platform mother blue buys sitting on the ramp next to the light attack (AT-6B/Super -T/whatever) at a deployed location someday soon....  (yeah, right)  

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Well I'm sure we'll see the light airlift platform mother blue buys sitting on the ramp next to the light attack (AT-6B/Super -T/whatever) at a deployed location someday soon....  (yeah, right)  

Maybe but argue for more manned aircraft where and when you can.
The Seagulls and Bobs will always default to no, don’t just take no and give up.
These are good articles with corners of recent military history I was not aware of but they need to get above the argument for platform X or Y and argue for Light Intra theater airlift as a sustained non-regionally associated capability the AF should maintain for the Joint Team.
They refer in both articles to the likely need for this if war with Russia breaks out in Europe, but the same capability would be needed in a Pacific, S. American or ME/African theater.
The C-27J could have been this capability (bit overkill but not as much as a 130 would be for these light airlift missions) but that ship has sailed.
With dispersed operations being considered due to the growth in our potential foes abilities to target with long range fires and the likelihood of dispersed operations being a reality, the support capabilities to enable this, light on demand airlift, should be acquired, IMHO.



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Wise words, the authors don’t address that but I imagine they envision cargo loads light enough not require a serious support effort from the aerial port flying into or out of and likely I would see them advocating this organic lift being under the purview of a deployed OG.  
To me those seem not unreasonable but to effectively execute the platform there would need some higher level visibility to prevent hoarding of it for just in case but then how does that fit the light/on-demand service direct to the customer?
 
I’m a skeptical believer but think you have a point that would have to be answered prior to green lighting this
 
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I'm not opposed to the idea of light airlift or utility aircraft, but as soon as you start talking pallets and containers that turns into forklifts and extra handling, and you can bet the port won't be getting any more Manning or equipment to support the extra movements.

At the risk of being called a heretic, what about ospreys to fill the light cargo load? Seems like a reasonable capacity for on demand cargo, there's already a supply chain, and the ability to operate out of austere fields, while being faster than a helicopter.

Alternatively, if operating costs are a concern, a Cessna caravan with a turbine, or a twin otter. Or even crazier, maybe more C-12s? Cheap enough to operate while providing on demand light cargo movements.

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I'm not opposed to the idea of light airlift or utility aircraft, but as soon as you start talking pallets and containers that turns into forklifts and extra handling, and you can bet the port won't be getting any more Manning or equipment to support the extra movements.

At the risk of being called a heretic, what about ospreys to fill the light cargo load? Seems like a reasonable capacity for on demand cargo, there's already a supply chain, and the ability to operate out of austere fields, while being faster than a helicopter.

Alternatively, if operating costs are a concern, a Cessna caravan with a turbine, or a twin otter. Or even crazier, maybe more C-12s? Cheap enough to operate while providing on demand light cargo movements.

I thought about the Osprey too but the per flight hour cost I don’t think fits with this capability / mission
Not a terrible idea though for tilt rotor delivery and there are other tilt rotors that could work this mission like the Bell Augusta 609
Smaller but could be a solution if timeliness needed to be increased considering the effect on cost



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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:


I thought about the Osprey too but the per flight hour cost I don’t think fits with this capability / mission
Not a terrible idea though for tilt rotor delivery and there are other tilt rotors that could work this mission like the Bell Augusta 609
Smaller but could be a solution if timeliness needed to be increased considering the effect on cost



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The idea of using the Osprey as a cargo plane type mission is a gross overspending to accomplish a mission in the worst way possible.

the Osprey has a very real capability to assaults do special use type aviation (forget its low organic self Defence caps) and an ability to go further than other rotor platforms without needing somebody to produce a 130 with baskets. That said, it’s not nor has it ever been a cheap flight hour or MX platform because it’s flexibility over traditional FW/RW is bought with dollars and time. 

If you have enough of an FOB footprint to require immediate parts but have anything other than a T wall surrounded firebase type existence an expedient runway for FW is a better more effective use of your time. If you don’t have that kind of surface area and security, you are either within the footprint of traditional RW resupply or you aren’t a big enough requirement to justify it and can take air drop supply which we already have. 

Edited by Lawman
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Lawman said:

The idea of using the Osprey as a cargo plane type mission is a gross overspending to accomplish a mission in the worst way possible.

the Osprey has a very real capability to assaults do special use type aviation (forget its low organic self Defence caps) and an ability to go further than other rotor platforms without needing somebody to produce a 130 with baskets. That said, it’s not nor has it ever been a cheap flight hour or MX platform because it’s flexibility over traditional FW/RW is bought with dollars and time. 

If you have enough of an FOB footprint to require immediate parts but have anything other than a T wall surrounded firebase type existence an expedient runway for FW is a better more effective use of your time. If you don’t have that kind of surface area and security, you are either within the footprint of traditional RW resupply or you aren’t a big enough requirement to justify it and can take air drop supply which we already have. 

No doubt (cost, overkill, etc..), just a sidebar discussion but if there was a widget that absolutely had to get somewhere as fast as possible with the greatest flexibility on destination requirements, a tilt rotor capability would be it. 

For what the authors of the article are advocating for (light intra theater affordable quick responding on demand airlift) it's a FW solution.

What the requirement exactly is what keeps me a skeptical believer.  The requirement as to how many tails, how much do each of those tails need do?  Payload, speed, takeoff/landing capability, other capes (NVG, Defensive Systems, etc...).  

Just a WAG, but a 25 tail fleet of SkyCouriers figured at 2 sorties a day per tail at 3,000 lbs of cargo/pax with 10% sortie attrition gives you the capability to move 135,000 lbs over a range of about 640 nm.  

Now is that enough or too little?  That was just a guess but you see where I think this needs to go, how much gap coverage is needed to cover?

Edited by Clark Griswold

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If we give/get organic lift to Air Force units (say at the group level) for on demand airlift, how long will it take for the Army to go back to Congress and tell them the Air Force isn't supporting them and that they need their own organic fixed wing airlift at the battalion level just like the Air Force has?

One of the reasons for a separate Air Force was to maximize the effect of a limited resource (airplanes), and enabling those aircraft to support multiple commanders and operations.

Like I alluded to earlier, I don't think the problem is picking a platform. Several aircraft on the market for the bill. The more important piece to work through is how to organize the aircraft, ensure utilization, and sustaining/supporting operating it (not just mx, but the entire operations and logistics concepts).

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Roger that - that's a possibility.and agree with you that the concept not the details are what is to be argued for.

What is it the customer wants or what the authors think the customers need but are not getting supplied by the AF right now?

Faster light airlift and more direct interaction with the airlift supplier.

How do you do that?  From the cuff, I could see Lt Airlift Dets with light FW capabilities on tap for pax/cargo that's not palletized, requires no special handling (hazmat), not a regular re-supply, less than 4,000 lbs. (just a number to start with) and parties of less than 12 (another starting number) that need movement within 36 hours.  Requests can not be placed in both airlift request systems (main and mini AMD) to prevent gaming the system placing two requests and seeing which one gets service first.  Every 36 hours the slate is wiped clean and new request queue built.

Smaller cargo requirements to remove those requests from the big AMD's plate, inside the typical planning cycle with some restrictions on the type of requirements to keep it to small cargo/pax movements that need direct customer service.

 

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On 8/22/2019 at 12:49 PM, Stitch said:

How bout these the Quest Kodiak 100; a ten-seat, PT-6 turboprop that is just a tad smaller than a Caravan built from the ground up as a back-country/bush (so-to-speak) airplane not a commuter pressed into back-country ops. Already in service flying off dirt strips supporting missionary operations worldwide. Even comes with an aft pallet sized door for easy cargo load/unload or parachute ops for small items/people.    Shameless plug for a local company I have no personal stake in, details here: https://questaircraft.com/

 

quest-kodiak.jpg

Actually this is on my wish list for when I hit the Lotto. My ultimate get away from it all SUV. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, jazzdude said:

If we give/get organic lift to Air Force units (say at the group level) for on demand airlift, how long will it take for the Army to go back to Congress and tell them the Air Force isn't supporting them and that they need their own organic fixed wing airlift at the battalion level just like the Air Force has?

One of the reasons for a separate Air Force was to maximize the effect of a limited resource (airplanes), and enabling those aircraft to support multiple commanders and operations.

Like I alluded to earlier, I don't think the problem is picking a platform. Several aircraft on the market for the bill. The more important piece to work through is how to organize the aircraft, ensure utilization, and sustaining/supporting operating it (not just mx, but the entire operations and logistics concepts).

Fair point, but consider this through the lens of a scenario driving “adaptive basing” for survivability.  [Don’t miss that one if you’re playing buzzword bingo at home].

The whole thing falls down under the extraordinarily centralized logistics plans we have now, but if we want to maximize (have?) offensive AirPower options after one adversary targeting cycle we’re going to need to sacrifice our current efficiency maximized system (laugh if you want) for a resiliency/flexibility maximized system.  If a byproduct of that is a low intensity capability that fills gaps and increases flexibility: that’s great.

The response to “they’re not supporting us” under that construct is: “we’re continuing to support like before, but are now able to provide armed American jets overhead in a high intensity conflict.”

Lots of elephants in the room with the adaptive basing flavor of the week in general and with this in particular (where do the crews, airframes and money come from?), but dedicated rather than centralized logistics is a COA that may solve some problems.

 

Edited by jice

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