Skip to comments.Navy's P-8 A Dud?
Posted on 01/31/2013 7:29:39 AM PST by pabianice
Report: Navy's P-8 Aircraft Plagued with Problems; Deployment in Doubt
Received from a former P-3 crewmate. It would appear that there are some serious development problems with the new P-8 aircraft.
Here is some input from a friend, USN Retired, who is working for a defense contractor who has a contract with both P-3 and P-8 development. He is working with the P3 but has a LOT of input from the P-8 part of the company. Three cases in point about the waste of our defense establishment.
Sonobouy launching: The P-8 cant launch sonobouys at any high speed. The aircraft has to slow down to a very (below P-3 speed) to launch sonobouys. The precludes open ocean search from high altitude due to the speed. The aircraft has a very sophisticated launch package that fires the sonobouys straight down which causes them to angle aft in the slip stream and hang up in the tube. Still not resolved. [This is utterly brain-dead; not accounting for a sonobouy's ballistic launch -- Ed.]
Sonobuoy launching: To launch the bouys, the Navy and Boeing decided it needed a very high pressure air expulsion system. Thus there is a tank at about 6000 PSI to achieve the launch of a series of bouys. Great, EXCEPT that Boeing installed quite a SMALL reservoir which means it has to be recharged fairly often. The compressor chosen is small which means that it takes 2-3 hours to recharge the reservoir. Those assessing survivability pointed out that a single round to the reservoir, while the A/C is on the ground, would blow up the whole aft section of the A/C. So . . . now the recommendation is that the reservoir be discharged while the A/C is on the ground. Whoops. To recharge the reservoir with the small compressor would take 8 hours. Sooo now there is a suggestion that to quickly recharge that 6000 PSI reservoir that bleed air from the engine be used to quickly do the recharge!!!. Imagine all the extra plumbing and valves to do that.
Ocean surveillance: For years ALL merchant ships have had to have a transponder giving their name, location, port of call, cargo, etc. P-3's have had a receiver on board for years able to receive this information. If you have a private craft and wish to be able to know what ships are around you it is possible to buy a receiver for about 5,000 dollars which has extensive decoding capability. The P-8 does NOT have such a receiver. The Navy apparently failed to specify that such a devise was required to be in the electronics package. Now the Navy is asking for such a receiver, called ASI, to be included. Boeing says to add another receiver would cost, are you ready for this, $60 Million!!!!! This is their cost to do all the drawings and run all the cables, etc.!!!
So, between the Navy screwing up and Boeing milking the cash cow, we have a P-8 that basically cannot drop sonobouys [a major component of ASW] and unable to monitor merchant shipping, a major component of ocean surveillance.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK.
This confirms/details the "problems" suggested by a retired Pax River engineer (Contractor) at a social gathering. He particularly noted low level performance/on station time. He blamed the [inappropriate?] choice of the Boeing on Navy brass who wanted a "real jet plane" in lieu of the turbo prop. (Can you spell "S-3 Viking?") That claim may or not be a reflection of the process. I thought he might be biased against Boeing as a Lockheed guy ... but he apparently understated the situation (he didn't want to talk too much in negative terms to me . . a guy he had just met)
BTW, the term "system bugs" in the Subject line seems like a SERIOUS understatement. You don't work the "bugs" out of low level on-station time measured in minutes due to fuel temperature. That is not a software "fix."
No details of the other "weather, take-off, and flight envelope restrictions" which do not sound trivial Remaining aircraft weather, take-off, and flight envelope restrictions should not significantly affect mission operations and are on track for resolution prior to P-8A operational deployment.
The P-3 had sonobuoy tubes that were angled aft so that the airstream would assist in pulling the thing out of the tube.
Wonder what the name of the genius was that decided a fast aircraft didn’t need angled tubes.
You mean a brand new plane is not as one that has been in service for 50 years? I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell ya! What do you MEAN engineers don’t always get it right the first time? Off with their heads!
Considering the P-8 is a faster plane, they should have taken into consideration the slipstream.
The designers of the P-3 did.
There is an old movie that contains a scene where a defense contractor, when his defective system is unmasked, rails that it didn’t matter that it didn’t work; what mattered was the lucrative contract terms including follow on maintenance and upgrades.
Actually, the tubes were angled aft so that at a predetermined airspeed from a pre-determine height AGL (AGW?), the sonobuoy would land in the same spot where it was deployed. The way those things shot out of the tube, they didn't need airstream assist.
This is important in a submarine prosecution where you might have two DIFAR buoys indicating a target position and you wanted to drop a pinger on top - or even just another LOFAR to verify the contact before a MAD run.
To the article, the small size of the air bottle is doubly stupid because the TACCO will usually be punching out buoys every minute or so (or less) to establish a line. To be a single shot makes no sense.
I'm not surprised the P-8 is screwed up. I've had bad feelings about this concept since I first heard of it. It's just another example of non-players doing the designing, IMHO.
Boeing, run by the MBA/PMP crowd with zero experience in the programs they manage. They literally hire people with an MBA and a PMP certificate that has no knowledge of aviation, electronics, computers, software, military systems, etc. and put them in charge of making critical decisions they know nothing about. Boeing looks down on engineers as “techies” and the MBA/PMP crowd does their best never to hire an engineer within their ranks as to not make themselves look bad by comparison.
This is the same Boeing that a few years ago spent millions of dollars gathering the chief executives from around the word into one room just so some big fat black racist woman could lecture them on ensuring they hire more blacks and then distributing a video of that racist tongue lashing to all employees as a mandatory training film at a cost of even more millions of dollars.
No problem. Totally redesign the sonobuoys so that they can all be released at high altitude on a slow pass.
Give them pop out wings and GPS guidance. You can put them in any array you want.
They could spread out into a geometrically exact arrangement perfect for ideal detection, after only an hour or so of gliding and maneuvering.
Piece of cake.
I bet I could do the whole project for under a billion...
You should submit a bid.
About time to hold those responsible accountable. I think a firing squad is in order. Properly motivated, one would be surprised at the results that can be achieved.
I recall hearing long ago that NASA one time spent millions to develop a pen that would work in zero grav. Rusians used a pencil instead.
LOL, but then you’d also have to figure in overhead and glitches that devour whole towns.
The P-8 has no MAD. It is designed to fly at high altitude to save fuel. Sono drops from 20,000 feet? Morons. Yes, Boeing has no idea what it is doing.
Actually it necessarily doesn't. This pat.app. explains it.
It's launching from the Sonobouy Launch Container that is the problem. That powerful blast of compressed air just blows the bottom seal clear. The Sonobouy has to make its own way out by gravity (with slipstream assist in the case of the P-3)
The other way is used by the BAe Nimrod
Sonobouys are stored internally
Bouys are ejected vertically under positive pressure through close fitting tubes
System worked since the 60s
The Japanese already have their P3 replacement flying.
they could not wait while the US was messing around. I’m pretty sure theirs could launch sonobuoys with no problems.
The JASDF is the second largest users of the P3 aircraft. They learned their lesson in the Pacific war where a handful of US subs did a lot of damage to their merchant fleet.
The P-8 is designed to carry torpedo glide bombs; they glide down to the target from 20,000 feet, controlled from onboard the aircraft. This is right up there with the BAMS UCAV, also to be controlled from aboard the P-8. There is no money for BAMS, either. 108 P-8s (down from 156) are supposed to use BAMS to equal the former P-3 fleet of 456 aircraft.
Ah yes, the British Nimrod.
Started out as the Air Comet.
Idiocy and budgetary squabbling killed it.
And the replacement as well if memory serves?
Sounds like the techs for the P-8 could learn something from the system the Nim used.
Yes, you probably did hear that. Long ago.
It makes for great leftist propaganda.
It's also FALSE.
Do some research ... the internet is your friend.
So that means another contract award to make a gliding torpedo?
We did spend millions on uniforms that don’t work in the desert.
In this case you can't blame Boeing. They gave it MAD. NAVAIR told them to take it out to save weight. If the customer really wants it, it can be fitted
I saw some really stupid things in my days as defense contractor. WE had a customer, once, that insisted on a yearly redesign to add some new features and remove some old features for a project. Of course, the price for the prototype went up every time. This was because the customers with the decision making authority were shuffled through the office once a year and each felt an overriding need to add his touch to the projects under his control.
We had another situation where, in the course of my work, I located 1,458 critical faults (3 errors replicated 486 times) the engineers had installed in the run sheets to be used to produce cables. With PM authority, I presented my findings to the engineering department along with the necessary corrections and told them to make the changes before the package got to the production floor. They submitted the changes to the “change review process” and the original floor package installed all of the mistakes. It cost over $60,000 and one month to correct the mistakes. The project had to be shutdown after that.
When I pointed out that this was going to hurt the over all program
Are you referring to “chocolate chip”?
The MAD only works at low level and that means more gas burned. Low level flight would also do a number on the airframe as this is a commercial aircraft that was originally designed to take off, cruise straight and level and land.
Can it drop torpedoes at low level or do they have to slow down?
The Chocolate Chip was close. The new ABUs or ACUs or whatever name they have for them now. The plain tan flight suits are the only ones that blend in.
I'm not really clear on what the digital camo on the ACU is designed for; it doesn't seem to me to really match any environment.
i followed the uniform board on this and it was supposed to match any environment. They had all the fancy setups that it blended in with and it looked as if it would work. Real life experience have proven otherwise.
I guess it works once it gets all dirty and faded.
We aint got no mo Kelly Johnson’s, Glenn Martin’s, Jack Northrup’s etc. today. Our best and brightest have gone away.
The Japanese P-1 has a MAD, four engines and the service ceiling is 13000 ft.
The Navy should buy its aircraft from them.
Torpedo with a wing kit (HAAWC):
Looks like the P-8’s compressor is mighty, and should be well up to the task, even without a big air tank.
It’s either the above one or this one.
Both are nothing that anyone should call “small”.
The US Navy BDU appears to be designed to stand out and look pretty so the new alternatively oriented recuits are comforable
As contrast the Australian Navy camo actually works
OK the above images are actually from a televisual drama Sea Patrol which however was Backed By Russell Hill and the uniforms were authentic reproductions of the real thing.
My info says the P-1’s service ceiling is 44,000 feet.
I like the photo of the 4 foot 10 inch US Navy officer reviewing the troops in Aquaflage. She’d be a real help in a damage control situation.
13000 meters =44000 ft
Blind in one eye and can’t see out the other.
I have spent some time working with RAAF; they wore similar (maybe same) camouflage. I’m not clear on why sailors aboard ship would wear camo at all ...
That's sexist /s/
..something to do with them looking military.
What’s up with the name tags on their rear ends? (Back when they wore blue jeans.)
And because engineers don't get it right the first time, it creates employment for the ones who really make things work. We're called Field Engineers...
I think she is checking for nose hair.
And when you win the bid, subcontract it to... Boeing ;-)
I still have some ‘rifle team’ gear from my aeons ago high-power shooting days. Team insignia and name are on the back.
That’s what everybody sees when you’re on the line.
Me too! I was once the the designer of an automated controls system for coal fired boilers to be installed on coal transport ships. Supposedly, this was an entirely now concept that had never been attempted. Bear in mind at that time I had never burned a lump of coal except in shovel fed hot water heater and a barracks heater but I did have extensive oil fired boiler control experience. So doing my research I discovered that an Australian Company had long ago accomplished my project in real life and had a half dozen or so steaming merrily away in the Pacific carrying coal from Australia to Japan. We completed the project never mentioning the Australian accomplishments and was paid very well.
What about a fleet of Global Hawk and Reaper to deliver the torpedos and Sonobouys? Sounds to cheap?
Unfortunately that is no officer. From her badge she looks to be the Command Master Chief.
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