Range Enhancement Equations for Various Refueling Options

by Russell D. Shaver


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This Note presents a series of simplified equations and numerical calculations indicating the magnitude of range augmentation (or, equivalently, payload enhancement for a fixed range) that refueling by tankers can provide long range combat aircraft (LRCA). The treatment is theoretical and should apply to LRCAs of various design. The Note examines several refueling conditions, including two pre-fueling tactics and two post-fueling tactics for the tanker. In addition, the author considers both pre- and post-strike refueling for the LRCA, and indicates the potential advantages in range enhancement derived from dropping the payload along the LRCA's flight path. Finally, for analytic convenience, most of the derivations and calculations contained in the Note assume that the LRCA and tanker are equal-size, being derived from the same basic airframe and engine.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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