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More KC-46A woes....

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More KC-46A woes....

Old 18th Jul 2015, 11:46
  #281 (permalink)  
 
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On the other hand, Melmoth, if they are as competent as td says, that level of reasoning is likely to be beyond them.

I suspect that one of the issues here is that there are many other programs going full blast in Seattle-area Boeing, and all of them are more attractive career-builders than a one-off tanker, and matter more to Commercial Airplane's income and reputation.
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 12:54
  #282 (permalink)  
 
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School yard bickering on PPRuNe aside, it seems Airbus and Boeing share a key issue: the development of great aircraft hindered by management agendas.
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 15:54
  #283 (permalink)  
 
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do you mean the need to make money??
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 18:45
  #284 (permalink)  
 
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They need to be profitable to remain in business but what margins are they using on military contracts?
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 11:51
  #285 (permalink)  
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AW&ST: Boeing’s Tanker Cost Overruns Exceed $1 Billion

Boeing is, once again, taking a charge on its books to keep the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46 aerial refueler program on track.

The after-tax charge is $536 million; that is $835 million before taxes. The lion’s share - $513 million – comes from Boeing Commercial Airplanes, which is providing the 767 baseline platform, while Boeing Military Aircraft, a division of Boeing Defense Space and Security, is paying $322 million. More detail is expected in an earnings call for the second quarter scheduled for July 22. This most recent overrun is a result of technical problems with the tanker’s complex integrated fuel system, which provides fuel to fly the KC-46 as well as to receivers taking on fuel from a centerline boom or wing-mounted pods. The fuel system is the heart and soul of an aerial tanker, and Boeing’s extensive experience building tankers was a major selling point in its bid against Airbus for the KC-X competition. The problems arose as the company “prepared for and conducted test and verification of that system during the second quarter,” the company’s July 17 announcement says. Multiple Boeing spokesmen declined to say when the test problems came to light beyond pointing to the second quarter, or April – June.The past two years of Boeing KC-46 charges amount to a pre-tax burden of $1.26 billion for the program........

Boeing took a $272 million after tax charge - or $425 million pre-tax – last summer due to an inadequate design for wiring bundles on the aircraft. The Air Force requires redundancies and “safe separation” between some wiring components in the militarized 767, and the design fell short, prompting an extensive redesign and months-long delay to the first flight of the tanker. What little information that has been released on the integrated fuel system shortfalls points to similar problems because Boeing acknowledges an engineering redesign is needed, prompting manufacturing retrofits, and more qualification and certification work must be done to get the system certified........

Boeing is required to take charges to cover the overruns because its 2011 development contract for the KC-46 is a $4.4 billion fixed-price deal that limits the government’s total liability to $4.9 billion. Boeing officials have long said the government’s cost estimates at completion of the KC-46 development are high. Last year, the Air Force’s KC-46 program office increased its estimate for completion by $441 million, to $6.3 billion. A Boeing spokeswoman said in December that the company’s estimate to finish development was far lower, but she did not provide a number. However, the $4.9 billion ceiling paid for by the government, coupled with the $1.26 billion brings the cost - $6.16 billion - close to the government’s estimate.......

Boeing officials have said first flight of the KC-46 is expected by September. The first 767-2C, the modified commercial variant upon which the KC-46 will be built, conducted its first flight Dec. 27. Prior to the revelations about the integrated fuel system shortfalls, Air Force Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson said the start of production was already expected to slip as much as six months. It is unclear now when production will begin, putting further pressure on Boeing’s goal to deliver the first 18 tankers in August 2017.

“We remain optimistic Boeing will meet the required assets available target of 18 operationally ready KC-46s by August 2017,” Richardson said. “Boeing continues to meet their commitments on this program at no additional cost to the government.”
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 12:26
  #286 (permalink)  
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This most recent overrun is a result of technical problems with the tanker’s complex integrated fuel system, which provides fuel to fly the KC-46 as well as to receivers taking on fuel from a centerline boom or wing-mounted pods. The fuel system is the heart and soul of an aerial tanker, and Boeing’s extensive experience building tankers was a major selling point in its bid against Airbus for the KC-X competition.
That is frankly astonishing. Surely the fuel system would have been one of the very first systems to have been designed for the tanker role?

The A310MRTT has a total of 10 (potentially 11) fuel tanks, with 4 (potentially 5) additional centre tanks augmenting the 6 wing / centre section and tailplane tanks. OK, it doesn't have a boom system as none was specified, but technically it could do so with minor modification to the internal transfer system logic. Operation in the receiver role would also have been possible, but wasn't specified either.

With its large centre tank, the 767-200ER has a much simpler fuel system than the A310-300. The KC-46A has additional centre tank plugs, but even so the aircraft has a pretty simple fuel system compared to the A310MRTT. But maybe that's the issue - with only 1 tank in each wing (excluding surge tanks), plus the centre tank, it would perhaps be more of a challenge to guarantee independent engine feed priority than in the A310MRTT, whose outer tanks can only feed the engines?

Modifying the wing tank design and fuel feed system for engines and AAR, to provide the same guaranteed engine feed priority as the A310MRTT provides, would be a hugely complex problem at this late stage - and very, very costly.

Last edited by BEagle; 19th Jul 2015 at 12:43.
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 12:54
  #287 (permalink)  
 
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Personally I find this comment interesting.....

"...due to an inadequate design for wiring bundles on the aircraft. The Air Force requires redundancies and “safe separation” between some wiring components in the militarized 767, and the design fell short, prompting an extensive redesign and months-long delay to the first flight of the tanker......"

An indication (the "safe separation" part) that using a proven civil design for military use isn't always that simple? I don't know if this was an issue in the case of the P-8, but maybe the USN and USAF have different approaches?
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 13:18
  #288 (permalink)  
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An indication (the "safe separation" part) that using a proven civil design for military use isn't always that simple? I don't know if this was an issue in the case of the P-8, but maybe the USN and USAF have different approaches?
737 goes to war - the P-8A Poseidon

Boeing's original proposal was to buy a 737-800 off the commercial line, fly it a modification centre, take it apart and put it back together - as it does with the airborne early warning and control 737 and KC-767 tanker. "We have always built a green aircraft and modified it because it is difficult to do in line," says Perry Moore, director of P-8 manufacturing operations for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "But the navy wanted us to find a way to do this.

"The navy said why buy a good aircraft and cut it apart? If you do not do something different, you will probably not win the contract," says Eric Lindblad, director, P-8 aircraft systems. "We had to take a high-powered production machine and learn how to make a military derivative."...........

Final assembly of the P-8 could have been performed on the existing 737 moving lines at Renton, but Boeing decided it less risky to create a separate line. It would also be easier to meet the Pentagon's security restrictions by building a separate "ITAR compliant" line that would nonetheless be available to build commercial 737s if Boeing needed more capacity.

"The real significant difference is in final assembly, and it was not worth the risk of disrupting the commercial line," says Moore. "We have a new final assembly line, but it's another commercial line, a replica of the others with the same lean production system. It's a moving line, but with extended flow times." Almost four times the number of wiring bundles in a typical 737 have to be installed, along with extra ducting and the cargo-bay auxiliary fuel tanks. "The line will not move as fast,"...........
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 14:12
  #289 (permalink)  
 
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Beagle

I seem to remenber we had a complex integrated fuel system on the Victor tanker. It was called copilot.
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 15:03
  #290 (permalink)  
 
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ORAC,

Thanks for that...!
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 14:48
  #291 (permalink)  
 
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You sound like little Miss Maisy.
????????????

I have no idea who/what that is.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 14:53
  #292 (permalink)  
 
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Also the Japanese KC-767J had an AAR boom, so quite why it has taken so long NOT to fly a KC-46A is perplexing in the extreme.
The boom on the KC-767 came from the KC-135. A heritage Boeing product.
The boom on the KC-46 came from the KC-10. That's a very different boom and a heritage Douglas product.
And the biggest change to the KC-46 is in the Mil Spec wiring. Mistakes there cost months to resolve.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 18:04
  #293 (permalink)  
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KenV wrote:
And the biggest change to the KC-46 is in the Mil Spec wiring. Mistakes there cost months to resolve.
Yes, we know. But the latest issue is actually concerned with design of the fuel system, something rather more fundamental in tanker design, I would have thought.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 18:51
  #294 (permalink)  
 
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I was answering the question of why it took so long "to fly a KC-46A".
I was not addressing why it's costing so much now that it has flown.
And I thought your earlier reply (#286) on the fuel system problems was damn good. This reply, not so much.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 19:06
  #295 (permalink)  
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I was answering the question of why it took so long "to fly a KC-46A".
I was not addressing why it's costing so much now that it has flown.
the point is, it hasn't ..........
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 19:19
  #296 (permalink)  
 
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Figuring out how to integrate a different boom than what was on the KC-767, and screwed up wiring caused no delays to the KC-46's first flight?

If you say so. We'll have to agree to disagree on that.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 20:10
  #297 (permalink)  
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Except that the KC-46A still hasn't flown.....

EMD-1, the 767-2C with dummy AAR equipment, is the closest thing to a KC-46A which has yet flown.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 20:19
  #298 (permalink)  
 
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Aaaah! I missed ORAC's point. He is correct. Mea Culpa.

Having said that, KC-46's first flight was dependent on EMD-1's first flight, which was delayed for the reasons I cited. And from this article, while the "fuel system problems" have already cost Boeing millions, this article does not state it resulted in further delays. What is driving the latest delays has not been stated.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 20:43
  #299 (permalink)  
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Boeing took a $272 million after tax charge - or $425 million pre-tax – last summer due to an inadequate design for wiring bundles on the aircraft. The Air Force requires redundancies and “safe separation” between some wiring components in the militarized 767, and the design fell short, prompting an extensive redesign and months-long delay to the first flight of the tanker. What little information that has been released on the integrated fuel system shortfalls points to similar problems because Boeing acknowledges an engineering redesign is needed, prompting manufacturing retrofits, and more qualification and certification work must be done to get the system certified........
Engineering redesign and manufacturing retrofits cannot do anything BUT drive the latest delays.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 20:54
  #300 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KenV View Post
Mea Culpa.
You got that right.

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