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Old 30th Oct 2014, 08:17
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,413
The Nimrod AEW3 and MRA4 were both disastrous, it is true. Although the airframe wasn't problematic, the mission system in the AEW3 was totally inferior to even the most basic E-3A. Whereas the mission system in the MRA4 worked well, but the aircraft itself was an utter pig and would probably never have achieved military specification. Coincidentally, both were as ugly as sin.

Yes, the A400M suffered funding problems and a 3 year programme delay. But 174 are now on order with the likelihood of further sales being achieved.

Both the A310MRTT and A330MRTT suffered some in-service teething issues, particularly the latter's boom system. The A310MRTT was delivered more or less on time and budget and the pace of A330MRTT delivery was really only hampered by problems with the boom system. Slow government agreement to the FSTA contract delayed the Voyager's entry into service for the UK, but 5 nations now operate A330 tankers, with the prospect of 4 more.

Whereas Boeing's track history with the 767 tanker programme has been pretty poor. Even the basic KC-767I for Italy was 6 years late after problems with flutter and with the AAR system. It is a relatively simple version converted from the B767-200 airliner, lacking the additional fuel capacity or uprated systems intended for the KC-46A. Leaving aside the political shenanigans over the KC-X programme, development of the KC-46A has been both tardy and eye-wateringly expensive. When EADS North America learned that this Frankentanker was no longer to include a 767-400 based cockpit, but instead one derived from the 787, they correctly identified that this would pose huge risk to the programme.

Unless there are significant 'financial incentives', there doesn't seem much likelihood of Boeing selling what is still a 'paper plane' to any other customers, given the fact that the aircraft's on-paper capability is vastly inferior to the A330MRTT - which of course is already in service.

As for the 787, the delays and problems facing the programme resulted in a 3 year delay for the launch customer. Oddly though, a senior Boeing spokesman stated some years ago that the 787 wasn't suitable for tanker conversion owing to its 'configuration' . So any future Boeing tanker will probably be based on the ageing 767 or perhaps the 777. Whereas the A350XWB is coming along just fine, with 750 on order; when airlines begin to replace their A330s with the A350XWB, there will be a plentiful supply available to receive simpler, A310MRTT-style conversion.....
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