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Old 30th Oct 2014, 16:47   #21 (permalink)
 
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Beagle,,

Would you to disclose your prior affiliations with EADS, Airbus on the RAF A330 MRTT plane?

GF
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 17:03   #22 (permalink)
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GF, that's easy - none!

LowObservable, yes, IAI quietly developed and supplied a 767-200 based tanker to Colombia (pods only) and later developed a FBW boom for the 767. They now have a contract to deliver 2 767-300ER based tankers to Brazil, but I don't know whether they will be boom equipped.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 19:15   #23 (permalink)
 
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The Brazilians don't have anything with a boom receptacle, unless I am overlooking something. Mind you, they say that around Copacabana you can find a few booms in places where you don't exp[That's enough of that. - Ed.]
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 19:15   #24 (permalink)
 
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To all those stateside ppruners who feel they're being hounded by beagle(!) let me say that he is equally ready to lash UK manufacturers, or anyone else who, rightly or wrongly, he feels deserves it. Generally in procurement matters, the USA could teach us a thing or three. In this instance the criticism seems fully justified.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 19:50   #25 (permalink)
 
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GF,

Don't know what affiliations Beags had, has, or perhaps will have with Airbust, but RAF do not have the A330 MRTT. They (sometimes) fly the Airtanker supplied FSTA... same kennel, different dog.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 20:58   #26 (permalink)
 
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"Better" is in the eye of the beholder

With regard to the clear "superiority" of the A330 MRTT to the KC-46, that all depends on the user's priorities.

The A330MRTT is derived from the passenger version of the A330. It does not have a cargo door nor a cargo floor. The KC-46 is derived from the 767 freighter and has both a large cargo door and a main deck cargo floor. So if cargo is priority for the user, A330 loses.

Further, the A330's short nose gear gives the A330 a decided nose-down attitude when on the ground. This make loading of cargo containers and pallets problematic. That nose gear is why it took so long to make a freigher version of the A330 and why it sold so poorly. If ground cargo handling is a priority for the user, A330 loses. Again.

If the tanker is also going to be used for aeromedical evacuation, a cargo door is very important. Hauling evacuees in litters up the airstairs and then making a 90 degree turn inside the aircraft is nigh on impossible with seats installed. Reconfiguring for an aeromedical mission by removing the seats of a passenger configured aircraft is nightmarishily slow and a montrous headache. And even then the overhead luggage bins remain a huge problem. There are numerous modular kits available today for reconfiguring a KC-10, a KC-135, a C-17, a C-5 and other aircraft with a cargo door and a cargo floor to perform aeromedical evac. So if aeromedical evac is a priority for the user, the A330 loses. Again.

The A330MRTT is significantly larger than KC-46 and the KC-135. If the user has a large number of KC-135s and desires to operate the new tanker from the same bases as the old tanker, the A330 loses. Further, when supporting forward deployed forces from size contstrained forward bases, MOG (Maximum On Ground) becomes a serious issue. MOG is why the smaller C-17 can actually deliver far more cargo in a given period (throughput) than the much larger C-5. So when the operation is MOG contrained, the A330 loses. Again.

For many (most?) Air Forces MOG is a minor concern because most Air Forces operate a small number of air tankers. But when the user has a fleet of air tankers numbering in the hundreds that must support large numbers of forward deployed air assets (fighters, bombers, transports, and yes, even other tankers) the A330 loses. Again.

If fuel burn while orbiting and waiting to service receivers is a priority, the bigger airplane burns much more per hour than the smaller airplane. And so the A330 loses. Again.

And without divulging anything specific or classified, consider that the KC-46A has well over 70 (70!) MILES of additional wiring than the base 767F. The tanker mission alone most certainly does not require all that additional wiring. There are other "things" being installed in those airframes that have nothing to do with the tanker mission. Airbus simply could not do these other "things". And those "things" were yet another high priority for the KC-46's user. 'nuff said.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 21:10   #27 (permalink)
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It is clear that the KC-390 is intended to be able to receive fuel in flight. Unless a decision is made to include a centreline hose on the KC-X2, or perhaps on another KC-390, a boom on the KC-X2 and UARRSI on the KC-390 would be logical.

For those who think I'm 'anti-American' when it comes to aircraft - think again. Why we persisted with the Tornado F2 and GR4 when the F-15C and F-15E were so clearly far superior is quite beyond me.

Re. the A330MRTT cargo door, it is a customer option because the capacious lower deck cargo holds are adequate for all current users. Both holds have large 107" doors and the hold capacity is unaffected by any AAR requirements. Whereas the Frankentanker needs an upper deck cargo door because the lower cargo areas are too narrow for paired LD3s and are compromised by the extended centre tanks....

The difference in fuel burn between an A330 and a 767 whilst on a refuelling anchor is virtually insignificant - that was one red herring used to try to bolster the alleged benefit of the KC-46A. Anyway, until it actually flies no-one, knows how much fuel it will burn....

Last edited by BEagle; 30th Oct 2014 at 21:29.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 21:28   #28 (permalink)
 
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It does not have a cargo door nor a cargo floor. The KC-46 is derived from the 767 freighter and has both a large cargo door and a main deck cargo floor. So if cargo is priority for the user, A330 loses.
The A330 MRTT has underfloor cargo space for 45 tonnes of pallets (it can actually carry more cargo than the A400M). All of the MRTT's fuel is carried in its usual tanks, with no need for auxiliary tanks in either than main cabin or under the floor.

The KC-45 was to have a cargo door at the USAF's request, but that is not a requirement for any other operator.

By contrast, the KC-46A loses much of its underfloor cargo space to auxiliary tanks, and while the A330 MRTT can carry over 200 passengers the KC-46A is only certified to carry 58 (and has space for just 114 in its usual configuration).

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The A330 MRTT is significantly larger than KC-46 and the KC-135. If the user has a large number of KC-135s and desires to operate the new tanker from the same bases as the old tanker, the A330 loses.
The KC-46A may have a very marginally shorter take-off run than the MRTT, when you take into account the actual length of runway required due to safe abort distances there is next to no difference as to the size of airfield required by both. Interestingly, the KC-46A will not be able to take-off from Mildenhall or Fairford with a fuel fuel load for this reason.

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If fuel burn while orbiting and waiting to service receivers is a priority, the bigger airplane burns much more per hour than the smaller airplane. And so the A330 loses. Again.
I don't know the fuel burn figures for the KC-46A, but the A330 MRTT's is 4 tonnes per hour in the cruise and 6 tonnes per hour with the hoses deployed. I'd be surprised if the KC-46A was a meaningful factor less than this.

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There are other "things" being installed in those airframes that have nothing to do with the tanker mission. Airbus simply could not do these other "things". And those "things" were yet another high priority for the KC-46's user.
Are you referring to the EMP hardening, ballistic and NBC protection of the cockpit? Granted, the A330 MRTT doesn't have that, but then no one has requested it.

I don't know the facts related to your other points.

Last edited by melmothtw; 30th Oct 2014 at 21:39.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 21:51   #29 (permalink)
 
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KenV,

Hi, actually you can order an A330MRTT with Main Deck Cargo door, yes the French have ordered them on their second batch of 6!

Not sure what you mean about the low Nose-wheel Gear problem. Many airlines daily seem to manage to load and offload Pallets and ULDs without any issue! They have Hi-loaders that adjust for height you know!

You may be correct in saying they are too big for every occasion, but they would sure replace a KC-10 quite well.

I would have thought a mixed fleet maybe the best for USAF in reality.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 22:44   #30 (permalink)
 
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A converted passenger A330 or a tanker based on the pax airframe has a nose-down sit, but a KC based on a freighter has a modified nose gear.

And the secret "things" that Airbus "simply could not do"? As a matter of technology or of restrictions on the assembly line?

It not only sounds most improbable, but if there really were secret requirements that disqualified the Airbus design, whoever was running an alleged "competition" should be spanked, drawn and quartered and sued up the kazoo and down again, by both sides, for deceptive practices that wasted millions of dollars.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 23:23   #31 (permalink)
 
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So advanced planning for an RC-46B then........
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 23:47   #32 (permalink)
 
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I thought one of the prime arguments that Boeing put up against the original contract was that the Airbus exceeded the requirements...

Call me old fashioned but as a military aircraft, anything over the contract requirements is a bonus.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 00:17   #33 (permalink)
 
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Well the IDF/AF got a lovely 'array' of 707 tankers as this popped over my head last year , summer time, approaching the 'hall



cheers
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 01:57   #34 (permalink)
 
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sorry - I lost track in the answering of all of Ken's points......

whats the score now ?

Because the view from the cheap seat over here is 'Bubba done gone sideways and his ole frankentanker (built in 'murica by 'muricans to a 'murican design ) just is not up to it.

I mean it's not like they are trying to reinvent the wheel again are they?
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 12:30   #35 (permalink)
 
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Maybe the 'other stuff' that is a 'high priority' for the KC-46A customer should have been included in the RFP. In fact, if there were requirements specifically omitted from the published, and publicly available, RFP then surely the process was illegal and any competitors to the contract winner would have a right to appeal to the GAO?
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 12:59   #36 (permalink)
 
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KenV doesn't say they weren't in the RFP, just that Airbus couldn't do them
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 15:21   #37 (permalink)
 
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I'll start by reiterating the first sentence in my previous post: "With regard to the clear "superiority" of the A330 MRTT to the KC-46, that all depends on the user's priorities."

USAF's priorities are different than many other users' priorities. For many users a tanker about the size of a KC-10 is preferable, which leads them to the MRTT. For others a tanker about the size of a KC-135 is preferable, which leads them toward the KC-46. In USAF, the KC-46 is replacing KC-135s, not KC-10s.

As for the many other points:
Adding a cargo door does not turn an MRTT into a good cargo carrier. It would still need a cargo floor, and would still need to have all the luggage bins, galleys, lavs, etc etc removed. And the nose gear installation would need a redesign. Airbus redesigned the A330 freighter's nose gear installation for a very good reason, and not on some whim. I haven't a clue why Airbus is not using the A330 freighter as the basis for the MRTT, but the fact is they are not. For many potential users, that is a bad choice. For others who want to transport passengers, that's a good choice. But USAF does not want to use their tankers to haul passengers. USAF has a CRAF fleet for hauling passengers. And in a pinch, the KC-46 can be very quickly equipped with existing seat pallets and comfort pallets to enable it to carry passengers. The reverse cannot be said of the MRTT.

As for the "things" I mentioned, think sensors and comm gear. Imagine multiple orbiting tankers that are able to be "servers" for a digitally connected battle force and able to be electronic "vacuum cleaners" of the EM spectrum. Keep in mind that one of the F-22's major assets is its ability to be a battle space EM vacuum cleaner. There's more, but I'll leave it at that.

As for size of the aircraft, I was not referring to runway length. I was referring to the tarmacs, maintenance hangars, etc etc currently used by HUNDREDS of KC-135s. The 767 can use all those KC-135 facilities. The A330 cannot. The facilities issue was one of the drivers of the C-17's size. The C-17 can use all the facilities used by the C-141 and the C-17 replaced the C-141 just as the KC-46 will replace the KC-135. to put this in perspective, sure the C-5 and the 747F are larger can call haul far more than the C-17. Ther was massive pressure to use those existing larger aircraft rather than develop a new, smaller C-17. But both these "superior" air transports would require massive amounts of MILCON (military construction) to either modify all those C-141 facilities or build entirely new facilities. The same is true of the KC-135 and 767 vs A330. The total ownership costs include the facilities needed to operate and service/maintain the aircraft. A 767 sized tanker significatly reduces those costs for USAF relative to an A330 sized tanker because they can use the KC-135 facilities. For other users that don't have an existing fleet of tankers being replaced, this point would be moot.

Independent of the ability to use existing facilities, bigger is most certainly NOT always better. If bigger were better, Boeing could have proposed a 777F based tanker that would have been "far superior" to the 767, A330 AND the KC-10. But for the mission USAF was doing, bigger was NOT better. By comparison, Brazil chose the Gripen over the Super Hornet. For Brazil the small, single engine fighter fit their needs much better than the "far superior", but larger, Super Hornet. A C-130J is obviously "far superior" to a C-27J. But if your mission calls for a smaller aircraft, then the C-130's size does not necessarily make it "superior." The 747-8F, 777F and A330F freighters are all bigger and "far superior" to the 767F, yet UPS, FEDEX, and others chose the 767F over those bigger aircraft. And that had nothing to do with politics.

So I will end where I began and provide an addition. "Superior" is in the eye of the beholder. And in some beholder's eyes, "bigger" often does NOT equal "superior".

EDIT: I forgot one point. Boeing significantly underbid Airbus for the firm fixed price development contract. Boeing was willing to take a huge financial risk to develop the tanker. Airbus was not. Boeing may have "won" the contract, but at the current pace of spending, they will certainly lose a LOT of money on the first few dozen aircraft. Rather a Pyrrhic victory.

Last edited by KenV; 31st Oct 2014 at 16:19.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 16:01   #38 (permalink)
 
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KenV doesn't say they weren't in the RFP, just that Airbus couldn't do them
There was a reason Northrop Grumman was the prime and Airbus (technically, EADS) was a subcontractor in the beginning of this competition. When N-G pulled out and Airbus chose to go it alone, a considerable amount of capability was lost.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 16:07   #39 (permalink)
 
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I thought one of the prime arguments that Boeing put up against the original contract was that the Airbus exceeded the requirements...

Call me old fashioned but as a military aircraft, anything over the contract requirements is a bonus
Please excuse my bluntness, but this statement indicates a lack of understanding of basic military procurement processes. What you are describing is called "goldplating", which is not only bad practice, but is (generally) illegal.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 16:18   #40 (permalink)
 
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I would have thought a mixed fleet maybe the best for USAF in reality.
Please keep in mind that USAF already has a "mixed fleet" of KC-130s, KC-135s and KC-10s. The KC-46s will replace the KC-135s. The KC-10s won't be replaced till some (far) future date. Maybe the A350? 777X? Other?
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