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More KC-46A woes....

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More KC-46A woes....

Old 21st Jul 2015, 00:50
  #301 (permalink)  
 
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BEagle, I know more than I can (or should) reveal about the fuel system problems. However I am amazed they were able to it up that bad.
I appreciate melmoth's concern but I'm not too worried about repercussions because I criticized 'dumbass management' (I'm at a point in my career where they basically need me more than I need them). But if I start revealing details of what's wrong with the fuel systems, I could easily run afoul of proprietary information (or worse, ITAR, which means the government might come after me ).

Perfect world engineering is when you have such a good team that management simply needs to point them in the right direction and get out of the way. Aside from periodic status updates, the only thing we need management for is if we run into a problem that requires outside help. I've been on teams like that, and they can be a real joy. But if the team isn't good and/or experienced enough, applying that lack of management oversight can be disastrous. That's a big part of happened to the fuel system - and the original designs didn't work. Massive redesigns and rework on aircraft that had already been built and that's really, really expensive (there was also some really crappy luck thrown in - I don't know if that story has been made public - if it has I'll elaborate on a future post).
It's also the primary reason the program has now gone so far the other direction, with multiple levels of micromanagement of every detail, to the point were you can't get anything done because you spend all your time in meetings and giving status briefs to different levels of management.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 12:17
  #302 (permalink)  
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It's also the primary reason the program has now gone so far the other direction, with multiple levels of micromanagement of every detail, to the point were you can't get anything done because you spend all your time in meetings and giving status briefs to different levels of management.
That's what spelled the death knell for the superb TSR2 - apart from dumbass CDS pro-CVA 01 / Buccaneer sabotage....
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 12:29
  #303 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KenV
Mea Culpa.


You got that right.
Thank you for acknowledging that when I make an error, I have no problem admitting it. That was unexpected.
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Old 22nd Jul 2015, 13:26
  #304 (permalink)  
 
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more official delay projections

Boeing Co. may have to wait an extra eight months for $3 billion in contracts on its KC-46 tanker because of delays caused by flaws in the refueling plane’s wiring and parts for its fuel system, according to the U.S. Air Force.
“Low-rate production” contracts to build the first 19 of the tankers may be delayed from August to as late as April 2016 in the latest of several schedule revisions agreed on by the Air Force and Boeing. In addition, the planned first flight of a fully equipped KC-46 is being delayed to as late of September of this year after missing an April goal.
Difficulties with the tanker based on Boeing’s 767 jetliner are affecting the performance of the Chicago-based company. Boeing said on July 17 that it will revise its full-year profit forecast because of a $536 million after-tax charge due to higher costs associated with developing the plane. It’s the second such charge in the past year.
Boeing discovered the need for wiring changes while working on the second of four development aircraft as well as encountering delays in “qualifying some of the fuel system parts,” Charles Gulick, an Air Force spokesman, said in an e-mail.
“Boeing is working through typical challenges associated with first-of-model aircraft design,” Gulick said. “Even with these slips, Boeing projects they that can achieve” the program’s most important contractual goal: delivery of 18 tankers by August 2017, he said.


I personally have my doubts that "18 tankers by August 2017" is achievable. From where I sit (admittedly, a thousand miles away) they're going to be lucky to achieve that by August 2018.
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Old 29th Jul 2015, 15:38
  #305 (permalink)  
 
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More details about the fuel system problems

Supplier Quality Control, Fuel System Integration Haunt KC-46

The latest charge against Boeing’s KC-46 aerial refueler program arose from overly optimistic certification planning and critical parts falling short of design specifications. This time, the $835 million pretax charge will pay for redesigns and retrofits required to address a faulty integrated fuel system, the heart of an aerial refueler. At least some of these defective parts came from suppliers, while other integration shortcomings are Boeing’s.


Ineffective quality control raises its ugly head once again.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/supp...on-haunt-kc-46
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Old 31st Jul 2015, 13:32
  #306 (permalink)  
 
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More management oversight

With all the delays and increased costs cropping up on the KC-46 program, Boeing top management has decided to "increase management support" of the program. So it looks like the current micromanagement of the program is going to get cranked up a notch. Will it work?

From The Wall Street Journal:

Boeing Co. has assigned its aircraft development chief to right its troubled aerial refueling tanker project, on the heels of a surprise $835 million charge to its second-quarter earnings, the company said in an internal memo to staff.
Scott Fancher, vice president of airplane development, will take on “a special interim assignment to provide senior executive oversight and increased management support to the tanker program,” according to the memo from Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing ’s newly appointed chief executive.

The new assignment adds to Mr. Fancher’s current role overseeing the company’s new jetliner development programs. Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager of the 777X jetliner development, will also become Mr. Fancher’s deputy in the development role on programs such as the stretched 787-10 and single-aisle 737 Max.

Mr. Fancher is no stranger to troubled programs, having served as head of Boeing ’s flagship 787 Dreamliner program from 2008, helping to right production and complete development after 3½ years of delays.

Boeing on July 17 announced it was taking a 77 cent per share charge against its earnings after testing revealed issues with the jet’s fuel system. The company aims to deliver the first 18 new KC-46 tanker aircraft to the U.S. Air Force by August 2017.
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Old 31st Jul 2015, 16:18
  #307 (permalink)  
 
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"The new assignment adds to Mr. Fancher’s current role overseeing the company’s new jetliner development programs. Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager of the 777X jetliner development, will also become Mr. Fancher’s deputy in the development role on programs such as the stretched 787-10 and single-aisle 737 Max."

so that's another 3 programmes that are going to be affected by this overrrun
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Old 4th Aug 2015, 22:35
  #308 (permalink)  
 
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Sometimes you can't make this stuff up:

Just weeks before the planned first flight of a fully outfitted KC-46 Air Force tanker, the plane’s fueling system has been damaged by a chemical mix-up, temporarily grounding the jet.
Chemical mix-up during testing damages Boeing tanker | The Seattle Times

Again, I know more than I can repeat, but the Seattle Times article is pretty accurate.
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 14:23
  #309 (permalink)  
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That beggars belief - can it get any worse for Ol' Bubba Boeing?

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Old 15th Aug 2015, 10:45
  #310 (permalink)  
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I see that, after the last Seattle blunder, there is still no firm date for the first flight of the KC-46A EMD-2 aircraft. A spokesman is quoted as having stated:

“Right now it looks to be roughly a month beyond our previous plan to fly EMD-2 in the late August to early September timeframe”
Which would mean less than 2 years remaining to complete testing and to deliver 18 operational KC-46A aircraft to the USAF......
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Old 15th Aug 2015, 11:14
  #311 (permalink)  
 
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Chemical in a fuel system test? The only things I can imagine we are talking of here are, blending anti-icing, lubricity or anti-fungal agent. Or, could it be a trace marker, to prove the source of delivered fuel or, prove non mixing in the tank/piping system? Whatever, it must be a reactive contaminent as fuel systems need a fairly comprehensive resistance to water and acid!

OAP
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Old 15th Aug 2015, 13:31
  #312 (permalink)  
 
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Meanwhile, I'm sure someone in Blagnac is having a wry smile to themselves.
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Old 16th Aug 2015, 09:20
  #313 (permalink)  
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Big pinch of salt - it is DEBKAfile - but this is the first reference I have seen to a major slip in timescale for overseas customers and a big price hike. But it does seem logical seeing as Boeing have a fixed delivery date and price with the DoD and have to find the slack in the line to meet the date and start covering their losses. They also seem to have another competitor......

Israel is working at speed to convert Boeing 767 into a long-flight refueling tanker

US defense and air industry sources report that the Israeli Air Force may give up on the US Boeing’s KC-46A Pegasus as its future refueling tanker for long-range flights because of delays in its delivery. Israel had first planned to take the Pegasus to replace its converted Boeing 707 when delivery was first to the US Air Force was scheduled for August 2017. But this week, the company put the date back by another eight months and the price increased by half a billion dollars.........

On July 22, DEBKAfile’s military sources revealed a mammoth transaction for Iran to purchase Russian UL78 MK1 (Midas) tankers with a range of 7,300km. (The distance from Iran to Israel is 1,200km). Each tanker is capable of spontaneously feeding 6-8 fighter craft. This purchase represented Tehran’s aspiration - not just to draw level with Israel but to outdo its air force in range and fueling capability. This transaction no doubt spurred the decision by Israel’s defense chiefs to go ahead on its own project, instead of waiting for the American KC-46A to become available.

Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI] is therefore working at top speed on the Boeing 767, a long-range, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner with a range of 7,000 to 11,000 km. The converted aircraft will be designated 767-200ER MRTT.........

Last edited by ORAC; 16th Aug 2015 at 11:04. Reason: sp
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Old 16th Aug 2015, 10:53
  #314 (permalink)  
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Well, they've already converted one for Colombia and 3 x 767-300ER MRTT aircraft are on order for Brazil's KC-X2 programme.

767-200ER seems a better idea (as I proposed back in 1996!), given its shorter fuselage for boom clearance on take-off and lower structural weight.

Israeli 707s were through Lajes AFB last week, supporting an F-15 trail. According to the spotters, they were also supporting Jordanian F-16s....??
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Old 16th Aug 2015, 12:06
  #315 (permalink)  
 
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767-200s have a lighter structure but there are very few high-gross-weight -200s.

Also, IAI has developed a boom mod that recesses the retracted boom into the tailcone and solves the issue with the -300.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=p...0150076286.pdf
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Old 16th Aug 2015, 13:36
  #316 (permalink)  
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FlightGlobal has the same rumour, but suggests 300ERs added to the production line for those for Brazil.
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Old 16th Aug 2015, 15:02
  #317 (permalink)  

 
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As you say, ORAC, DEBKA does need its pinch of salt. But I rather liked this bit
capable of spontaneously feeding 6-8 fighter craft
"There we were, bumbling along, minding our own business, when we bumped into these 6-8 fighter craft. I said, 'OK chaps, why don't we just feed them anyway?'"

Perhaps DEBKAFile means simultaneously?

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Old 16th Aug 2015, 16:01
  #318 (permalink)  
 
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Simultaneously feeding 8 aircraft seems a bit of a stretch too. Presumably that means 8 booms and 8 boom operators? 4 booms on each wing perhaps?
I heard Dexter had a plan for 2 booms but have never found proof of more than 1 per tanker being built.

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Old 16th Aug 2015, 16:28
  #319 (permalink)  
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Some years ago, Lockheed Martin were working on a box wing 'Advanced Mobility Aircraft' design, which featured 2 booms and 2 wing hoses:


I'll bet that would be fun in turns for fighters on the booms.... If it looks right, it'll fly right. Equally, if it doesn't....

No doubt L-M would deliver that thing on time and on budget, just as they have with the F-35......
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Old 16th Aug 2015, 21:57
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Chemical in a fuel system test?
Onceapilot - the chemical in question was supposed to be a 'fuel analog' - something to use during testing that has similar qualities to jet fuel but without the flammability risk (we use something called "calibration fluid' when testing certain engine control components - similar density, lubricity, etc. to jet fuel but much lower flammability and hence much safer if something goes wrong). Not only was the stuff not a suitable fuel analog - it was actually fuel system destructive . The good news is that little of it made it into the aircraft fuel system - the exposure (and hence damage) was mainly limited to specific parts of the AR system.


Scuttlebutt is that Boeing is going after the vendor that supplied the "mislabeled" stuff with a vengeance
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