Modernizing the Mobility Air Force for Tomorrow’s Air Traffic Management System

Modernizing the Mobility Air Force for Tomorrow’s Air Traffic Management System

Sean Bednarz
Anthony D. Rosello
Shane Tierney
David Cox
Steven C. Isley
Michael Kennedy
Chuck Stelzner
Fred Timson
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 112
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt3fh0wn
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  • Book Info
    Modernizing the Mobility Air Force for Tomorrow’s Air Traffic Management System
    Book Description:

    Aircraft modernization to comply with mandates affecting airspace ensures continued access to fuel-efficient cruising altitudes and use of the busiest airports, but these future benefits require an upfront investment in avionics upgrade programs. Building on RAND work examining the cost-effectiveness of modernizing the U.S. Air Force’s KC-10 aerial refueling tanker, this study extended the analysis to the C-5, C-17, C-130, and KC-135 fleets.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7967-1
    Subjects: History, Transportation Studies, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xv-xviii)

    As airspace systems around the world are transformed to accommodate growing air traffic demands, the U.S. Air Force must decide whether to modernize its fleets to comply with new equipage mandates. Without avionics modernization, the Mobility Air Force’s C-5, C-17, KC-135, and C-130 fleets would lack some of the capabilities required to meet these forthcoming mandates. Modernization ensures continued access to fuel-efficient cruising altitudes and congested airspace, but these future benefits require an upfront investment in avionics upgrade programs.

    The Air Force plans to operate legacy aircraft well into the future. As they age, these fleets will require modernization to...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    As airspace systems around the world are transformed to accommodate growing air traffic demands, the U.S. Air Force must decide whether to modernize its fleets to comply with new equipage mandates. Modernization ensures continued access to fuel-efficient cruising altitudes and congested airspace, but these future benefits require an upfront investment in avionics upgrade programs. In a fiscally constrained environment, such investment decisions must be made in a way that maximizes the benefit of each dollar spent based on quantifiable future costs that would be avoided by modernization.

    In 2009, RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) published a study that examined the...

  10. CHAPTER TWO CNS/ATM Capabilities and Mandates
    (pp. 3-10)

    Airspace modernization decisions affect a wide range of parties, including private pilots, commercial airlines, military aviation users, and air traffic service providers. These groups benefit from improved operational efficiency, increased safety levels, and lower operating costs. As a result, they help drive changes in technical and operational standards by identifying needs and participating in working groups and committees. The result of this consensus-based process is a set of standards, such as minimum operational performance standards and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) Standards and Recommended Practices. Other standardization organizations that are responsible for producing recommendations include the European Organisation for...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Methodology for Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
    (pp. 11-22)

    In this study, we evaluated the cost-effectiveness of CNS/ATM modernization programs by comparing the upgrade cost to the operating cost avoidance that would result from the increased capability. Figure 3.1 illustrates the analytical approach. For each year through 2040, we projected the compliance status of each aircraft in the mobility air forces (MAF) fleet based on expected CNS/ATM mandates and current modernization plans. Using a steady-state operations pattern derived from historical data for each aircraft type, we were able to apply the impacts of noncompliance where appropriate to estimate the resulting change in steady-state operating costs. We then compared these...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR C-5 Modernization
    (pp. 23-34)

    As of this writing, there were 111 Lockheed C-5 Galaxy aircraft in the MAF fleet. Of these, 59 are C-5As, the first group produced for the U.S. Air Force. Another 47 are C-5Bs, which were built subsequent to the A models. These C-5Bs include prior C-5A improvements, plus additional modifications for improved reliability and maintainability. Two aircraft that have been modified to carry large payloads for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are designated C models (AMC, 2009).

    In 1998, AMC began the AMP to upgrade the CNS/ATM capabilities of these legacy aircraft. Later, the C-5’s re-engining and reliability program...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE C-17 Modernization
    (pp. 35-44)

    There are currently 213 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in the MAF fleet. The Air Force plans to complete its acquisition of the C-17 in 2012, when the fleet reaches 221 aircraft. Figure 5.1 shows the projected fleet size through 2020.¹

    There are two ongoing C-17 avionics modernization programs that will affect access to worldwide airspace. The C-17 GATM/RNP-1 program, which is part of a larger effort to retrofit aircraft up to a Block 17 configuration, addresses the aircraft’s navigation capability, while the CNS/ATM Phase I effort addresses its surveillance capability.

    The GATM/RNP-1 program provides required navigation performance capability down...

  14. CHAPTER SIX KC-135 Modernization
    (pp. 45-52)

    There are currently 418 Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers in the MAF fleet. Delivered to the Air Force from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, they are the oldest MAF aircraft. The fleet consists of 364 KC-135R and 54 KC-135Ts (formerly KC-135Q). The latter have the unique capability to carry different fuels in their wing and body tanks (Air Force Association, 2011); however, for this analysis of CNS/ATM capabilities, the two are treated as the same. A few of the aircraft are scheduled to be converted to other, non-tanker variants over the next few years, bringing the total down to 415. The KC-135...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN C-130H Modernization
    (pp. 53-60)

    There are currently 255 C-130H aircraft in the MAF fleet. Thirty-four are scheduled for retirement at a rate of five to ten per year until 2016, when 221 will remain. These aircraft will remain in the fleet, along with the newer J models, until their service life expires. Figure 7.1 shows the projected fleet composition through 2021.

    The C-130 AMP was awarded to Boeing in 2001, with the first aircraft received for modification in 2005. The program includes an upgrade to a modern digital glass cockpit with six multifunction displays, pilot and co-pilot head-up displays, night-vision imaging system compatibility, and...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT C-130J Modernization
    (pp. 61-68)

    There are currently 78 C-130J aircraft in the MAF fleet. This number is expected to grow at a rate of eight to 12 per year until 2016, when the fleet size should reach 134 aircraft. Figure 8.1 shows the projected fleet composition through 2022.

    There are two modernization programs planned for the C-130J fleet. The Block 7 upgrade will address navigation capability shortfalls, bringing modernized aircraft into compliance with performance-based navigation specifications down to RNAV-1 and RNP-0.3. The Block 8.1 program will equip the entire fleet with ADS-B Out within two years of the mandate, which takes effect in 2020....

  17. CHAPTER NINE Conclusions
    (pp. 69-70)

    Ongoing and future airspace modernization programs around the world require aircraft to equip with certain CNS/ATM capabilities or face possible operating restrictions. The MAF fleet frequently operates in regions with future mandates that will not be met without modernization. Based on the cost avoidance resulting from compliance, we found that ADS-B Out upgrade programs were cost-effective for the C-5, C-17, and KC-135, avoiding more than $5.7 billion through 2040. Similar modernization for the C-130 is cost-effective only if the upgrade can be accomplished for no more than $1.5 million for the H model and $1.3 million for the J model,...

  18. APPENDIX A CNS/ATM Capability Descriptions
    (pp. 71-78)
  19. APPENDIX B GDSS Steady-State Operations Patterns
    (pp. 79-84)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 85-88)