The Impact of Tanker Support on Selection of Long-Range Combat Aircraft Size

by Russell D. Shaver, H. G. Massey, A. A. Barbour, John Birkler

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This Note addresses the problem of long-range combat aircraft (LRCA) size selection and the impact of tanker support. It examines two possible LRCA missions (the canonical SIOP requirement and the use of LRCAs for worldwide force employment (WWFE) with nonnuclear ordnance) and airframe designs. Section II discusses the range/payload equations (with and without tankers) appropriate for SIOP-like missions. Section III describes the range shortfalls for the SIOP mission given specific airframe designs and mission-specific payload weights. Section IV translates these designs into total life-cycle costs, still concentrating on the SIOP-like mission requirements. That section presents the observations about preferred sizes for LRCA if the SIOP were the only mission to be considered. Finally, Sec. V discusses the impact of the WWFE mission on the above observations. The appendix presents details of the cost estimates upon which the cost estimating relationships used for the analysis were based.

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