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Old 21st Feb 2017, 14:18   #561 (permalink)
 
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KC-46A tests delayed until January 2018

On Flight Global:-
KC-46A tests delayed until January 2018

Quote:
Initial operational test and evaluation on the Boeing KC-46A tanker will begin in January 2018 at the earliest, US Air Force officials tell FlightGlobal.

In a 10 February interview at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, KC-46 programme manager Col. John Newberry told FlightGlobalthat testing will begin pending the results of a US Air Force IOT&E readiness review in the fall of 2017.
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Old 24th Mar 2017, 22:39   #562 (permalink)
 
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More potential woe & slippages - Defense News article 24 March:-Already a year delayed, KC-46 program at risk of further schedule slips
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Old 19th May 2017, 12:18   #563 (permalink)
 
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Boeing Still Tracking Toward First KC-46A Delivery This Year

Boeing is forging ahead with KC-46 Pegasus FAA airworthiness certification in the hopes of getting the aircraft certified for delivery to the U.S. Air Force by year’s end.

The company is on the hook to deliver 18 combat-ready aircraft to the service’s first operational and training bases by “early 2018,” a revised timeline set down by the government in late 2016 when the program entered low-rate initial production.
The program is running about one year behind its original delivery schedule because of various technical setbacks during development. Boeing continued building tankers on its own dime at the planned rate and now has six test aircraft built and flying, plus 20 more in various stages of assembly. But the Air Force won’t accept any deliveries of aircraft before the airworthiness certification process is complete.

Mike Gibbon, Boeing’s KC-46 vice president and program manager, says he is confident the aircraft will be certified by year’s end, and at that point Boeing will deliver the aircraft as fast as the Air Force can accept them.
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Old 19th May 2017, 13:29   #564 (permalink)
 
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"Boeing is forging ahead" but is over a year behind - you have to laugh at the people who put out such statements
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Old 19th May 2017, 14:09   #565 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
"Boeing is forging ahead" but is over a year behind - you have to laugh at the people who put out such statements
By modern standards, a "year behind" in a military aircraft development program is remarkable. A400 for example is far further behind and getting worse, not better. Airbus is now attempting to renegotiate the entire program.
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Old 19th May 2017, 14:13   #566 (permalink)
 
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The A-400 is a completely new airframe and engines

the KC-46 was supposed to be a risk-free simple reworking of a 36 year old design that they've already delivered over 1000 units...........
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Old 19th May 2017, 17:12   #567 (permalink)
 
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Boeing is forging ahead with KC-46 Pegasus FAA airworthiness certification in the hopes of getting the aircraft certified for delivery to the U.S. Air Force by year’s end.
Why does a military aircraft need FAA certification before delivery to an Air Force?
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Old 19th May 2017, 20:04   #568 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by eckhard View Post
Why does a military aircraft need FAA certification before delivery to an Air Force?
Because it is a commercial derivative aircraft. There are actually three kinds of certifications involved. The aircraft will be produced on the existing Boeing production certificate. The basic airframe has an existing commercial FAA type certificate and will receive a new amended type certificate (ATC). The military bits will receive supplemental type certificates (STC). These are all pre-delivery processes/certifications. Post-delivery (i.e. after the airplane leaves the production environment and enters the operational environment) the aircraft will be supported and maintained using commercial maintenance certification. USAF deemed that to be a quicker, easier, and cheaper way to certify the aircraft as well as its production and support/maintenance processes

To put this into perspective, the 6 KC-46s that are now flying in the test program have not been delivered and are still in the production environment. Production processes (including all the record keeping) must be used to support and maintain them. That includes de-modding them from test aircraft configuration to operational aircraft configuration. The maintenance manuals/Tech Orders, SRM (Structural Repair Manual), etc may NOT be used in the production environment. Only after the test aircraft are demodded and the customer accepts those aircraft will they enter the post-production environment and use all the processes/certifications that apply there. It's complicated.
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Old 19th May 2017, 20:16   #569 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
the KC-46 was supposed to be a risk-free simple reworking of a 36 year old design that they've already delivered over 1000 units...........
Gotta love it. Only the clueless (or those with an axe to grind) would use "risk free" to describe any development project, especially a military one that is being certified using commercial processes.
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Old 19th May 2017, 21:32   #570 (permalink)
 
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Thanks KenV for a very comprehensive explanation.
As you say, it's complicated!
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Old 20th May 2017, 07:10   #571 (permalink)
 
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I agree ken - there are always risks - but at the time this is what Boeing said in their press release and they keep using the words "proven" & "low-risk":-

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 24, 2011 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: A] has received a contract from the U.S. Air Force to build the next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will replace 179 of the service’s 400 KC-135 tankers.

The contract calls for Boeing to design, develop, manufacture and deliver 18 initial combat-ready tankers by 2017.

............................
In selecting the Boeing NewGen Tanker after a lengthy and rigorous proposal process, the Air Force has chosen an American-built, multi-mission tanker that is based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane and meets all requirements at the lowest risk for the warfighter and the best value for taxpayers.

The Boeing proposal was created by an integrated "One Boeing" team from various sites across the company, including employees from the Commercial Airplanes; Defense, Space & Security; and Engineering, Operations & Technology organizations.
"This contract award would not have been possible without the hundreds of Boeing employees across the entire company, and the thousands of our industry teammates, who remained l@ser-focused on our commitment to offer a solution that is first in capability and best in value,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "This award is also a tribute to the Air Force and Defense Department officials who worked so tirelessly to make this procurement process fair, ultimately resulting in the selection of the right plane for the mission. We look forward to working with our Air Force customer to deliver this much needed capability to the servicemen and women we are honored to serve."

The KC-46A tankers will be built using a low-risk approach to manufacturing by a trained and experienced U.S. work force at existing Boeing facilities. The KC-46A tanker also will fuel the economy as it supports approximately 50,000 total U.S. jobs with Boeing and more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states.

"Boeing has always been committed to the integrity of the competitive process, and the men and women across our Boeing commercial and defense teams and our entire supplier network are ready to extend that commitment to delivering these tankers on time and on budget," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane, the KC-46A Tanker is a widebody, multi-mission aircraft updated with the latest and most advanced technology and capable of meeting or exceeding the Air Force's needs for transport of fuel, cargo, passengers and patients. It includes state-of-the-art systems to meet the demanding mission requirements of the future, including a digital flight deck featuring Boeing 787 Dreamliner electronic displays and a flight control design philosophy that places aircrews in command rather than allowing computer software to limit combat maneuverability. The NewGen Tanker also features an advanced KC-10 boom with an expanded refueling envelope, increased fuel offload rate and fly-by-wire control system.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 18:14   #572 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
I agree ken - there are always risks - but at the time this is what Boeing said in their press release and they keep using the words "proven" & "low-risk":-
Maybe its the language barrier, but on this side of the Atlantic there's a rather large difference between "proven/low risk" and "risk free." Note that all the "proven" parts have indeed turned out to be "low risk." The delays have been due to the many "new" bits that require development, testing, and certification. And while the program is indeed a year behind, most indications point to that year being made up fairly soon.

All the above is rather a far far cry from a certain transport program that's not only several years behind and several billions over cost, but getting worse rather than better. And with the manufacturer demanding the program be renegotiated (a second time!) not much hope in sight. And all this ignores a 2015 tragedy in Seville.

Why do a pot and kettle spring to mind?
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Old 22nd May 2017, 18:34   #573 (permalink)
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Oh my....errrrmmm....the usual KenV half-truths and anti-A400M bolleaux...

Judging by the number flying around here these days, the A400M Atlas is serving the RAF pretty well right now.

Whereas that aged, absurd KC-46A Pig'sArse Frankentanker is still a long way from even starting OT&E with Uncle Spam's Air Force, let alone becoming operational...

Pots and kettles, for sure.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 19:26   #574 (permalink)
 
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Oh my....errrrmmm....the usual KenV half-truths and anti-A400M bolleaux....
Oh my. I clearly touched a nerve. What "half-truth" have I uttered? Can you name one?

Since you've decided to make this personal, let's touch another nerve. What is the "truth" and "half-truth" concerning the number of people who have died flying an A-400M vs a KC-46? Is that an "anti-A400M" question or just a tragic albeit embarrassing factoid? And (once again) for the record, I am NOT anti-A400M. I believe it is an excellent aircraft with tremendous potential. It's development and entry into production on the other hand has been anything but excellent. And that's what this is about: a development program leading into early production. The program's many woes are self evident.

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...Judging by the number flying around here these days, the A400M Atlas is serving the RAF pretty well right now.
Hmmm. How well is it doing for Germany? German Minister forced to change plane after A400M trouble

Further, how many should be "flying around" vs how many are actually "flying around?" (i.e. how many should have been delivered by now vs how many were actually delivered?) And of those delivered how late were their deliveries? And since the aircraft was designed and sold as a tactical airlifter with some strategic capabilities, how many tactical missions has the RAF performed with the aircraft? None you say? Hmmmmm. Is that a "half truth" or an embarrassing one? So that's another problem with the program: developing its full potential has been embarrassingly slow.

And once again, I'm NOT "anti-A440". I'm very confident the A400 will ultimately be an excellent tactical airlifter. It's just taken a whole lot longer and cost a whole lot more money than promised to get there. And that's what this discussion is about: the program, not the aircraft. Although you'd clearly like to make it about the aircraft with your oft repeated yet zero truth "frankentanker" epithet. And oh yes, how is that tanker capability the A400M was touted as having turning out?

As for you comparing flight hours of a developmental aircraft with flight hours of a delivered aircraft, that's apples and oranges, not pots and kettles. You need to get your idioms straight.

Last edited by KenV; 22nd May 2017 at 19:39.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 19:43   #575 (permalink)
 
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Handbags at dawn?
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Old 22nd May 2017, 21:10   #576 (permalink)
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Or this:

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Old 23rd May 2017, 06:01   #577 (permalink)
 
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Maybe its the language barrier, but on this side of the Atlantic there's a rather large difference between "proven/low risk" and "risk free." Note that all the "proven" parts have indeed turned out to be "low risk."
Maybe Boeing should have explained that in their press releases.
And the definition of Proven - "Having been demonstrated or verified without doubt"
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Old 23rd May 2017, 07:23   #578 (permalink)
 
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To be honest it really doesn't matter - what we see is the two biggest aircraft manufacturers in the world making a mess of a) taking a proven design and screwing up the conversion and b) starting with a clean sheet and screwing up

I guess it goes to show that building aeroplanes is still not quite the science we think it is..............
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Old 23rd May 2017, 07:54   #579 (permalink)
 
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It is of little of little consequence that both manufacturers 'screwed up'; we love to blame and point out 'error'.

The alternative is to consider what might be learnt.
Both manufacturers were directed by military requirement involving cost and time constraint, and specifications more often based on wish lists subject to change.
Modern large scale projects involve timescales greater than the changes in political and military objectives, yet in an era where technology is perceived to be easy to change or can meet any task. The reality is that any future requirement is difficult to define; countries lack the necessary foresight of future threats. The military require flexibility but cannot afford it, change appears easy, new regulation and testing constraints add complexity.

It is easy in hindsight to point out the 'errors', but there is greater value in understanding the evolution of programmes, the driving forces, and how these might be applied to future projects. How can we best manage uncertainty.
Unfortunately we often forget, there is always something better, and something worse ... politics.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 08:11   #580 (permalink)
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I wouldn't agree that statement matches the KC-46 programme at all. On the contrary, it was exactly because it appeared as a simple modifications of a mature product that led to Boeing taking their eye of the ball.

From what I have read here previously, and I think KenV will agree, Boeing put their best management and engineers on other programmes which had problems and larger orders such as the 787 and P-8, and those assigned to the KC-46 were very much the B team. The problems which then occurred, such as not designing the wiring looms to DoD specifications etc, were down to engineering screw-ups and lack of management oversight - not a struggle to implement new technology.

They are sorting - but it's the Boeing shareholders who are feeling the pain.
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