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MC-27L Seaplanes: doing what no one in DoD wants to do---but has to be doneThe sad truth is that no one in DoD wants to do seaplanes and we arenow in a quandary of either land-based planes with rubber-tiredwheels that need constant refueling to stay aloft and runways to landon if we don’t parachute drop, or smaller sea-based aircraft carrierplanes (runway on a ship) that have to be close to the mission area,or dangle fuselages under fuel hungry rotors of helicopters that can’tfly fast or reach far. All because we don’t want to land on the water.Why don’t we stop worrying about getting our trousers wet and usethe water landing to our advantage? If done cleverly, theaerodynamic penalties are small and the mission flexibilitiesdramatic. NLMB U-27s and Little Birds can land on water easily byfloats using non-developmental items. The NLMB will initially be ableto air-deploy all 3D elements by C-27J onto land by parachute orSTOL airland. It’s a given that USAF C-130/C-17s can pitch in toexpedite 3D maneuver. However, the C-27J with air-to-air refuelingand tail-hook/folding wings could also land/take-off from USN andthe RO-RO Commando aircraft carriers, perhaps a “MC-27K”designation. However, a MC-27L that could land on water would openmyriad options, and should be a follow-on force multiplier.
MC-27L Seaplanes by floats...The simplest way to get MC-27Ls to land on water is by floats just likethe U-27s/Little Birds do. However, a much larger plane, the MC-27Lfloat plane would incur a large weight/drag penalty reducing topspeed from 300 mph to 250 mph and a range reduction from 2,000miles with full pay load to 1,500 miles; with in-flight refueling not aproblem except the USAF and AFSOC already have a tanker shortage.Benefits are minimal modification of the MC-27L fuselage/engines, sotime & money would be saved and most importantly the rear rampcould still open with the MC-27L in the water so M113A4 Amphigavinscould splash into the water and swim the final 4,000 meters or less toshore in a ready-to-fight and maneuver inland mode. Pictured below isan artist’s rendition of a MC-130J Hercules floatplane kit that wewonder why has not been acted on yet by USSOCOM that would besimilar to what the MC-27L floatplane wouldlook like. +
MC-27L Seaplanes by skis...The least aerodynamic loss way to get MC-27Ls to land on water is byskis just like the Stroukoff YC-123E Pantobase system did. Loss of just 10mph of airspeed is the penalty: 290 mph instead of 300 mph. Uponlanding in the water, the MC-27L with skis slows to a halt and then sinksinto water so its fuselage would have to be made watertight and wingtipfloats added. Rear ramp as its currently hinged at cargo floor could notopen to splash in M113A4 Amphigavins, reducing insertions to justpersonnel and cargo through side jump doors; small boat teams withdeflated Zodiac boats (limp ducks) could be inserted/extracted at most.The C-27L’s engines might have to be inverted to keep water spray out. 10 mph speed loss
MC-27L Seaplanes by skis…nose off-load Amphigavins intothe water and beach?In the can-do ethos of the 1950s, the navy still had seaplanes and an inspired vision forthem. The Tradewind 4-engine seaplane transport actually created a 300+ mph-deploy-anywhere-in-the-world capability so marines could assault beaches without having to sit for6 months at a time in WWII-style amphibious ships vulnerable to coastal defenseattacks from aircraft, missiles, submarines. The closed-minded USMC was not interested totheir everlasting shame and thus today they are desperate for V-22 tilt-rotor half-helicopter-airplanes to get strategic air reach that are mechanically too complex to work, and cannotland on water! The USMC could have had 300 mph global reach by seaplanessince the 1950s. Not enough budgetary $ pork for them. We bring up the Tradewind becauseit solved the off-loading of vehicles while-in-the-water problem by a nose that foldedupwards; vehicles then drove down ramps. With some more fuselage modifications and aboat hull shape to sit high enough in the water, the MC-27L could land in water and open itsnose for M113A4 Amphigavins to splash into the water or onto the beach. 403 mph top speed Fastest Prop seaplane ever! +
MC-27L Seaplanes + skis = Land on Land, too Stroukoff called his ski landing system “pan-to-base” or ability to land any where; note regular rubber-tire wheeled landing gear poke through the skis for rolling landings and take-offs. The U.S. Army used to have this ethos when led by the Howze Board in ‘62; it adopted the amazing OV-1 Mohawk turboprop STOL observation/surveillance/attack plane which had snow skis. Would OV-1s be better in the surveil/attack mission than U-27s? Darn right they would be. But OV-1s were forcibly retired in ‘96 and are not in production. OV-1s can’t drop troops like the slower OV-10 can, but the OV-10 is similarly retired/dead no-longer-in production. The U-27 is the best way to regain these lost capabilities.
MC-27L Seaplanes + skis = Land on Snow, tooHere an U.S. Army OV-1 Mohawk turboprop STOLobservation/surveillance/attack plane lands on snow using skis duringCold War operations in Germany. Similarly equipped MC-27Ls wouldalso be able to land on snow/ice.
MC-27L Seaplanes: Air Cushion Landing Systems (ACLSs)While we waste $ BILLIONS and lives on the “Holy Grail” of a V/TOL transport aircraft thatflies as fast and as far as one that takes-off and lands with runways, we would be wise toconsider once on the ground THE LANDING GEAR drives where we can and cannot land,V/TOL, STOVL or ESTOL. High ground pressure rubber tires are just as bad onland for aircraft as they are for ground vehicles. Because non-V/TOL aircraft need fast runsto create lift over their wings, wheels have been used; but if the aircraft can land on waterwheels are not needed. To not be so dependant on a smooth rolling surface we need tospread the aircraft’s load over a larger area using tracks and ESTOL lift devices sothe aircraft doesn’t come in so “hot” or break contact with the ground altogether with an aircushion like the LCAC. It just so happens that Air Cushion Landing Systems (ACLSs) workand are in use on the Russian Dingo amphibian. Bell in the 60s/70s perfected ACLSs on aBuffalo STOL aircraft and has since sat on the technology in favor of the more costlyV-22 V/TOL “Holy Grail”. ACLS on MC-27Ls would enable sealandings and a revolutionaryopening of possible ground landing spots that NLMB Attack Pathfinders could throughexperience exploit. Buffalo STOL w/ACLS Russian Dingo amphibian
MC-27L eXtreme Short Take-Off and Landing (ESTOL): Tracked Landing Gear: aircraft that can land anywhere
"The ideal troop-carrier combattransport would appear to be a largetransport of the twin-boom type forwhich personnel, artillery, and vehiclescould be dropped. It should have arange of two thousand miles and shouldbe equipped with self-sealing tanks,pilot armor, and a retractable track-laying undercarriage. This last featurewould permit its landing and take-off inpastures and cultivated areas. It wouldthus be able to enter the airhead early inan operation, landing and taking offfrom areas normally suitable only forgliders".---Airborne Warfare by General JamesM. Gavin, 1947
Early tracked landing gear aircraft successful in the 1950s! A Retired USAF C-130 pilot writes about the C-82 with tractor gear experiment shown here: "Mike...the C-82 with tractor gear. Only one was produced, but the P-40 Warhawk fighter idea was to reduce the pressure exerted from C-82 Packet 60 psi to 20 psi and EB-50 Heavy Bomber give it the capability to land anywhere." XB-36 Peacemaker Ultra- Heavy Bomber
With its initial single-wheel main landing gear, the 265,000 pound gross weight XB- 36 could land at only 3 airfields in the entire United States! “The track on the main landing gear is designed for a maximum average of 57 pounds pressure per square inch on the landing strip, as compared to a pressure of 156 pounds per square inch exerted by the conventional wheel-type gear on a B-36 at the same gross weight.”Tracked XB-36 ongrassy field! Washington, D.C. April 12, 1950. www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/bombe rs/b3-69.htm BOTTOM LINE: tracks can reduce ground pressure over wheels by 2/3ds!
Current rubber-tired aircraft cannotjust land anywhere---USAF CombatControl Team members must surveyassault landing zones with DigitalCone Pentrometers to assess soilhardness to support highpressures/weights of USAF aircraft =conservative Joint USSOCOMplanners opt for hard runway seizure;targets that are likely to be heavilydefended by the enemy!
Joint warfighter requirements for land-anywhere capabilities drives R&D towards unsound hybrid fixed-wing/rotary wing compromise design types that are overly complex, fragile and unsafe... lacking other alternatives... “Hanger Queen” Bad helicopter with too small rotorsBad fixed-wing with too large props “Death Trap”
HOW DO WE LIFT LIGHT TRACKED AFVs UP TO 13 TONS? V-22 CANNOT MEET REQUIREMENTS FOR NLMBV-22 tilt-rotor mechanically unreliableand too complex to fly/maintain-- V-22 too small to even carry acrashes too often in training, not 4x4 HMMWV truck inside!robust to be flown aggressively, not Cannot Air-Mech AFVs at highsurvivable in combat; cannot speeds/rangesautorotate! 4 crashes already! 30 men dead! V-22 cannot use SEL concept to carry small AFVs tight against fuselage because rotors in forward Even Howitzers are position would strike ground, cannot make running too big for V-22! take-offs to create more lift, inefficient airlifter
The Answer: upgrade NLMB MC-27Ls with TRACKEDLANDING GEAR SYSTEMS to create land-anywhere extremeshort-take-off and landing (E/STOL) capabilities so JointUSSOCOM Planners can make virtually any large area into anassault landing zone!
The technology: unlike primitive trackedtechnologies of the 1950s, reinforced aramidfibers (kevlar) and high-strength steelreinforcements can make “band-tracked”landing gear easy to maintain and safe.Unlike the Concorde whose fragile, air-filledtires shredded on take off after running overa sharp object, causing a fiery crash thatkilled 114 innocent people, a tracked landinggear can run-over all kinds of dangerousobjects and bumps without fatal damage YES! NO!
MC-27L E/STOL versus V-22 V/TOL: which works best? $26 Million each “J” 300 mph internal loads $80 Million each: 100 mph sling-loads Wheeled Osprey when its flyable and not crashing, barely lifts a 3-ton rubber-tired HMMWV SUV truck: little combat power!Tracked Spartan can internally carry then airdrop/airland light 45troops or tanks up to 13 tons, 1500 foot Assault LZs: muchocombat power!
NLMB applies lessons from the WWII “Air Commandos” and “Chindits” to execute 3D/2D air/ground maneuver warfareBuild entire Force around simple, rugged, reliable STOL aircraft that canoperate alongside ground forces Have Engineers make minimal landing strips All Teeth, No Tail! Maneuver Forces and Air Forces co-located…with air-transportable “Mech” light tracked airborne amphibious armored fighting vehicles