Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

More KC-46A woes....

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

More KC-46A woes....

Old 5th Mar 2020, 23:03
  #1001 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Leicestershire, England
Posts: 1,170
Originally Posted by SASless View Post
To add to GlobalNav's Post........
See post #991...

-RP
Rhino power is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2020, 13:21
  #1002 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Under a recently defunct flight path.
Age: 74
Posts: 1,200
It never rains but it pours - fuel in this instance...

Flight Global-:

Fuel is leaking from the Boeing KC-46A in-flight refuelling tanker
Lyneham Lad is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2020, 15:13
  #1003 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Ferrara
Posts: 2,800
It really is a shambles isn't it.....................
Asturias56 is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2020, 17:49
  #1004 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 1,081
With the overall KC-X, KC-Y and KC-Z legacy tanker replacement programs - of which KC-46A is KC-X - in a shambles - US TRANSCOM and USAF have now agreed to push ahead with part contractorization of the overall USAF AAR task - such as routine AAR training, trials, exercise support, Foreign Military Sales delivery flights etc.

I don't think there will be much chance of the KC-46A being the choice for KC-Y as well now.

A 2nd Industry Day for discussions of the art of the possible regarding contractorization was held on December 17, 2019 which was attended by 14 companies. Solicitation of bids is now expected June 2020.

It will be ironic if Airbus gets the contract with new-build / reworked surplus civil A330-MRTT which the USAF could have started getting 12 years ago if the original contest winner (KC-45A) in 2007 hadn't been derailed by vested interest interference which led to a re-run of the contest with parameters skewed towards Boeing !

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-w...137599.article

https://www.airforcemag.com/private-...eed-for-booms/
RAFEngO74to09 is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2020, 17:55
  #1005 (permalink)  
Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Peripatetic
Posts: 11,307
I don't think there will be much chance of the KC-46A being the choice for KC-Y as well now.
On the contrary I think it’s a certain shoo-in.

Congress and the Pentagon don’t seem to understand the concept of sunk costs.....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost
ORAC is online now  
Old 31st Mar 2020, 18:10
  #1006 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Washington.
Age: 71
Posts: 622
Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
On the contrary I think it’s a certain shoo-in.

Congress and the Pentagon don’t seem to understand the concept of sunk costs.....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost
We certainly have SUNK costs in that project. Boeing should be BIG TIME embarrassed, but I suspect share price is all that matters to the execs.
GlobalNav is offline  
Old 1st Apr 2020, 15:59
  #1007 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 1,081
Yet another KC-46A Category 1 problem - fuel leaks between the 2 containment systems - several aircraft need to reworked at the factory - production stopped due to COVID-19. This is in addition to the other long-term Cat 1s - rear vision system and flying boom.

So fuel, flying boom and rear vision - everything that matters - all now Cat 1 problems !

Category 1 deficiencies are defined by the USAF as issues “which may cause death or severe injury; may cause loss or major damage to a weapon system; critically restricts the combat readiness capabilities of the using organisation; or results in a production line stoppage”.

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-w...137624.article
RAFEngO74to09 is offline  
Old 1st Apr 2020, 20:48
  #1008 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Leicestershire, England
Posts: 1,170
Originally Posted by RAFEngO74to09 View Post
Yet another KC-46A Category 1 problem - fuel leaks between the 2 containment systems - several aircraft need to reworked at the factory - production stopped due to COVID-19. This is in addition to the other long-term Cat 1s - rear vision system and flying boom.

So fuel, flying boom and rear vision - everything that matters - all now Cat 1 problems !

Category 1 deficiencies are defined by the USAF as issues “which may cause death or severe injury; may cause loss or major damage to a weapon system; critically restricts the combat readiness capabilities of the using organisation; or results in a production line stoppage”.

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-w...137624.article
See post #1002...

-RP
Rhino power is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2020, 20:31
  #1009 (permalink)  

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Bourton-on-the-Water
Posts: 952
News from Boeing 2 April 2020:

Boeing Statement on KC-46 Agreement with the U.S. Air Force

ARLINGTON, Va., April 2, 2020—Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Leanne Caret issued the following statement regarding Boeing’s KC-46 agreement with the U.S. Air Force:

The Air Force and Boeing will make the KC-46 synonymous with aerial refueling excellence. The agreement we announced today takes advantage of new remote vision systems technologies that are orders of magnitude better than what was available when the program started. Generations of women and men in uniform will benefit from the advancements we are making in the science of visualization systems. Not only will these advancements benefit the KC-46 by preparing it for future capabilities like autonomous refueling, they will also benefit other programs for years to come. The investments we continue to make in the KC-46 clearly demonstrate Boeing’s commitment to Pegasus being the standard by which all future refueling aircraft are measured.

# # #
Can Ms Caret possibly be serious?

airsound
airsound is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2020, 21:31
  #1010 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 1,081
More on the RVS fix - at cost to Boeing here. "Almost complete replacement" of the RVS hardware and software.

https://www.defensenews.com/breaking...-its-own-dime/
RAFEngO74to09 is offline  
Old 3rd Apr 2020, 20:17
  #1011 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Washington.
Age: 71
Posts: 622
Boeing, having under bid this program deliberately, seem to also have relegated it to the third team, though it’s beginning to look like that’s the best they can do after trading the first team for MBA bean counters.
GlobalNav is offline  
Old 3rd Apr 2020, 23:40
  #1012 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 105
Originally Posted by RAFEngO74to09 View Post

It will be ironic if Airbus gets the contract with new-build / reworked surplus civil A330-MRTT which the USAF could have started getting 12 years ago if the original contest winner (KC-45A) in 2007 hadn't been derailed by vested interest interference which led to a re-run of the contest with parameters skewed towards Boeing !

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-w...137599.article

https://www.airforcemag.com/private-...eed-for-booms/
Although the KC-46 systems problems certainly don't bode well for the whole fiasco, the above is not why Boeing won KC-X.

Basically, there were three competitions for KC-X. The first was the one that Airbus won. However what GAO said in reviewing the protest was not that Boeing OR Airbus had the better plane. They refused to even rule on that. What they said was that by USAF's own specifications, weightings for ranking and their own rules for evaluation, the award to Airbus couldn't be justified as announced. They stated that USAF needed to explain how under their own rules, how they could make the award they did. USAF didn't even try and so the contract was canceled (no doubt with penalties awarded to Airbus). Basically, USAF said they wanted one thing, then decided they wanted something else and rather than just issue a new solicitation, twisted their evaluation to get the result they now wanted. Boeing didn't win on every complaint but did raise the point that if USAF had asked for what they were eventually desiring to begin with, Boeing would have bid a "KC-777", which may or may not have won.

The second contest was very short because it was clearly loaded for Airbus. Among the things done was that requirements where the A330 had fallen short were changed or simply eliminated. And, as a kicker, the time for bid was shortened as was the required development time. This would make any "KC-777" bid be deemed too high risk. This became so obvious that the second competition was aborted and never hit the street.

In the the third case, the requirements that finally came out (Boeing said it wouldn't decide on a KC-767 or KC-777 design until they saw them) were much closer to the original requirement, the larger load options would be requested in KC-Y or KC-Z. Boeing apparently lowballed, possibly thinking the big profits would come down the line, but it's likely they still would hae come in lower given they were starting with a KC-767, which was smaller and less expensive that the A330 base airframe.


Now it's just my opinion, but with the crazy way Air Force was awarding and managing contracts and developments, Airbus would have had problems too. The KC-46A is based on, but not the same as the KC-767s offered for export earlier.




Last edited by Commando Cody; 4th Apr 2020 at 06:35.
Commando Cody is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2020, 03:29
  #1013 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NEW YORK
Posts: 968
Even factoring in the AF specific extras for the KC-46, the performance is execrable, as Boeing had two prior chances to get this tanker right.
They had KC-767 sales to to Italy and to Japan . Both of those programs were badly messed up,so many of the pitfalls had already been visited before the KC-46 came around. It seems no lessons were learned at all.
etudiant is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2020, 03:39
  #1014 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: the far south
Posts: 461
Originally Posted by Commando Cody View Post
Although the KC-46 systems problems certainly don't bode well for the whole fiasco, the above is not why Boeing won KC-X.

Basically, there were three competitions for KC-X. The first was the one that Airbus won. However what GAO said in reviewing the protest was not that Boeing OR Airbus had the better plane. They refused to even rule on that. What they said was that by USAF's own specifications, weightings for ranking and their own rules for evaluation, the award to Airbus couldn't be justified as announced. They stated that USAF needed to explain how under their own rules, how they could make the award they did. USAF didn't even try and so the contract was canceled (no doubt with penalties awarded to Airbus). Basically, USAF said they wanted one thing, then decided they wanted something else and rather than just issue a new solicitation, twisted their evaluation to get the result they now wanted. Boeing didn't win on every complaint but did raise the point that if USAF had asked for what they were eventually desiring to begin with, Boeing would have bid a "KC-777", which may or may not have won.

The second contest was very short because it was clearly loaded for Airbus. Among the things done was that requirements where the A330 had fallen short were changed or simply eliminated. And, as a kicker, the time for bid was shortened as was the required development time. This would make any "KC-777" bid be deemed too high risk. This became so obvious that the second competition was aborted and never hit the street.

In the the third case, the requirements that finally came out (Boeing said it wouldn't decide on a KC-767 or KC-777 design until they saw them) were much closer to the original requirement, the larger load options would be requested in KC-Y or KC-Z. Boeing apparently lowballed, possibly thinking the big profits would come down the line, but it's likely they still would hae come in lower given they were starting with a KC-767, which was smaller and less expensive that the A330 base airframe.


Now it's just my opinion, but with eh crazy way Air Force was awarding and managing contracts at the time, Airbus would have had problems too. The KC-46A is based on, but not the same as the KC-767s offered for export earlier.
Why did the USAF go Airbus in the first place?

Was it politics - with Boeing? Or something they fancied in the A-330?

typerated is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2020, 06:33
  #1015 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 105
Originally Posted by typerated View Post
Why did the USAF go Airbus in the first place?

Was it politics - with Boeing? Or something they fancied in the A-330?
Originally, they were just looking for a replacement for the KC-135 and specified capability and performance requirements based on that, and that's how the solicitation ran. When the proposals came in and they saw how much more load, cargo especially, the "KC-30" could handle they became enamored of that and decided that's the kind of plane they wanted. With a dramatic requirements change such as that, the normal and proper action would be to pull the existing RFP and issue a new solicitation with revised requirements and evaluation criteria and let the best plane win. AF didn't want to take the time to do that, so they just analyzed the two proposals not as they requested the companies to provide but as what they decided they wanted now. While there was a certain amount of credit given for exceeding the advertised specifications to a point, it wan't enough to overcome the price difference. In addition, in certain areas where the "KC-30" didn't meet the RFP requirements, they simply ignored those areas. Or, they changed the evaluation criteria to overcome certain things where the "KC-30" wasn't as capable without informing Boeing (or maybe even Airbus). I am not saying Airbus was colluding with them on this; I don't know.

When the results were published, what had been done was pretty clear. Further, Boeing stated, "If you had advertised for this rather than what you actually did advertise, we would have bid a "KC-777", Boeing having had a broader product line. Because of all this, the GAO said there could have been a valid competition for what USAF had now decided they really wnated if they had honestly asked for it. Note they did not say Boeing would have won that one. They simply said that as advertised and under USAF's own rules and selection report the award to Airbus couldn't be justified, and to be allowed to proceed further USAF had to explain how under its own rules the award went to the "KC-30", now designated the KC-45. USAF realized it couldn't defend is actions, so canceled the whole thing. The third competition's RFP was pretty much a straight KC-135 replacement spec, and Boeing had the advantage of a smaller, cheaper plane that met the requirements.
Commando Cody is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2020, 06:53
  #1016 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 105
Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
Even factoring in the AF specific extras for the KC-46, the performance is execrable, as Boeing had two prior chances to get this tanker right.
They had KC-767 sales to to Italy and to Japan . Both of those programs were badly messed up,so many of the pitfalls had already been visited before the KC-46 came around. It seems no lessons were learned at all.

I'm not going to defend Boeing's performance on this contract. I will point out the KC-46 would be more properly described as a plane based on the KC-767, but not just the KC-767 with USAF painted on the side. For that matter, Airbus' proposal was based on, but not identical to their very successful A330 MRTT (which hadn't even flown when the RFP was released whereas the basic KC-767 had).

With all the things and changes USAF wanted, I suspect Airbus would have had problems with a US version as well (can you say "US-101/VH-71"?). whether they would have ended up as bad, who can say? I find it noteworthy that it seems the problems are not with the KC-46 aircraft itself but rather than the systems in it, which isn't that much comfort, really.
Commando Cody is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2020, 07:18
  #1017 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Ferrara
Posts: 2,800
Time and again Air forces strive for 100% of their wish lists in designs which then fail when if they'd accepted 95% of the wish list they'd have got something useful, on time and on cost.

Read any of Bill Gunstons books for examples...................... his favourite was the A-12A Avenger
Asturias56 is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2020, 09:52
  #1018 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 362
There's been extensive analysis of Boeing and its financials over on leehamnews.com. Suggestions are that the company is in deep financial doo-doo, especially now with corona virus screwing everything (including the money markets) up.

It seems that Boeing has been lobbying for a government bailout in these extraordinary times, but has now changed its mind. The rumours are that the US Gov said that any government aid would come with government controls attached - near enough a nationalisation. My guess is that the company management, knowing what sort of damage that'd do to them personally (through their devalued shareholdings) and their reputations, are now trying to tough it out in the (vain?) hope of somehow getting away with it.

There really is a question as to how long this can keep going on. Does Boeing actually have the financial and personnel resources to finish the KC46? If the USAF does end up with A330-MRTTs, that'd be one less reason for the US gov to prop up Boeing. Perhaps Europe can swap facemasks and medical provisions for tankers...
msbbarratt is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2020, 11:38
  #1019 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Just behind the back of beyond....
Posts: 4,098
Worth remembering that even if everything on the KC-46 had worked exactly as advertised, even if it had not been delivered groaning with FOD, with cargo locks that self-opened, and pissing fuel, it would still have been an inferior tanker to the A330MRTT, needing more balanced field length to lift an inferior load of fuel.
Jackonicko is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2020, 11:42
  #1020 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Just behind the back of beyond....
Posts: 4,098
Originally Posted by Commando Cody View Post
With all the things and changes USAF wanted, I suspect Airbus would have had problems with a US version as well (can you say "US-101/VH-71"?). whether they would have ended up as bad, who can say? I find it noteworthy that it seems the problems are not with the KC-46 aircraft itself but rather than the systems in it, which isn't that much comfort, really.
VH-71 remains a better choice for the Presidential helicopter. Bigger cabin, quieter, smoother, faster. What defeated it were shifting goalposts and the addition of more and more kit (including, famously, very heavy safes). The requirement for all of this heavy stuff was suddenly removed to allow VH-92 to win....... There really aren't very many cases where Europe has a much better solution to a requirement than US industry can provide, but you have identified two of them in US101 and KC-30/45/A330MRTT..
Jackonicko is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.