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More KC-46A woes....

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More KC-46A woes....

Old 20th Jun 2020, 21:34
  #1061 (permalink)  

 
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Maybe there's a place for Airtanker over there.................
If I've understood Airtanker's system correctly, any air force that uses it cannot use any other tanking facility without incurring big costs. Surely, no air force would accept such terms? Oh..... wait.....

I suspect the USAF might understand that?

airsound
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Old 21st Jun 2020, 01:31
  #1062 (permalink)  
 
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Not Airtanker - but I do not believe that there is a cat's chance in hell of the KC-46A being bought in sufficient numbers to replace the entire Cold War legacy fleet of KC-135s and KC-10s. It's not just the huge delays but also the need to use funds for higher priorities in classified programs, cyber and cutting edge systems like the B-21.

It is extremely likely that there will be a significant element of contractoriztion and that the KC-46A buy will be limited to some extent by the numbers needed for the additional special missions that the platform is planned to perform (for which there was all the additional gold plating of the specification in terms of wiring and EMP protection etc).

US TRANSCOM / US Air Mobility Command have been investigating contractorization for over 12 months now and have already held 2 Industry Days and come up with 5 potential options - explained here.

The five potential solutions are:

(1) Government Furnished Equipment to a contractor.
(2) Government sale or lease of surplus aircraft to a contractor.
(3) Foreign government surplus tankers purchased and used for contract air refueling.
(4) Modifying existing commercial aircraft to perform contracted boom air refueling support.
(5) the use of a commercial off-the-shelf tanker for contract air refueling support.

In April 22, 2020 Sec AF required parameters for a further study to be submitted within 60 days.

Full report here - scroll down and open the first pdf dated June 5, 2020:

https://beta.sam.gov/opp/54df80f9174...ve=true&page=5

My money would be on Airbus pitching a A330 MRTT PFI - especially since they will probably be plenty of "slightly used" A330 from bankrupt airlines that could be converted for a lot less than $300M a throw a new A330 MRTT would be.

Also, while that gets up and running, there may be a place for a number of small private companies eventually buying up surplus KC-135s from small air forces displacing them with A330 MRTTs and / or taking on early retirement USAF KC-135s and relieving the USAF of the manning, infrastructure and maintenance burden.
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Old 21st Jun 2020, 09:05
  #1063 (permalink)  
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Several years ago I discussed the notion of an A330MRTT 'lite' with a senior Airbus Military (as it was then) mate. The idea being a pre-owned A330 with minimum essential modifications to equip it for the AAR role. Similar in concept to the level of modification needed to convert the A310 to the A310MRTT / CC-150T in the early '00s.

No need for the complexity of the full-fat A330MRTT or Voyager - just a 2 pod design with a 3rd seat for an ARO who would have the same level of 'Fuel Operator Station' as in the A310MRTT / CC-150T including a Mission Computer System which actually works! No centreline FRU or boom, purely to keep cost to a minimum. Although the lack of interoperability with F-16 operators was acknowledged.

Unfortunately the hierarchy wasn't interested and preferred to offer only the brand new A330MRTT at at an eye-watering price.

The USAF is unlikely to adopt the probe-and-drogue AAR system, so the only real option is to stick with the much-delayed KC-46A or go back to the superior Airbus KC-45A which was the original choice over 12 years ago...….
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Old 21st Jun 2020, 16:08
  #1064 (permalink)  
 
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The game has moved on considerably since the original KC-45A competition win / cancellation and the KC-46A debacle. The point now is the KC-46A will take another 3 > 5 years to get right (primarily the RVS), the delivery of the initial tranche under KC-X is already years behind schedule and the production rate has been slowed down.

Options need to be considered not only to maintain a 415-tanker force at an acceptable operating cost over the period it would take to buy the next batch of tankers under KC-Y - which will take another 29 years - but also reduce acquisition and operating overhead costs by contracting out an element of the overall task using one or more of the options being considered.

Airbus already produces "flying boom" A330 MRTTs. Also, 30% of the US TRANSCOM / USAF AMC mission requirement is for "hose & drogue" [as the US DoD calls it over here] - so in the overall force mix there will be dual-method tankers - like the RAF Mildenhall 100 ARW KC-135Rs which have a "flying boom" and 2 x underwing "hose & drogue" pods (not just the "hose & drogue" adaptor on the flying boom).

Dual-method French AF A330 MRTT here:


Up-to-date info on the A330 MRTT options currently offered are here:

https://www.airbus.com/defence/a330mrtt.html




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Old 21st Jun 2020, 16:14
  #1065 (permalink)  
 
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Plenty of suitable aircraft sitting around going cheap to fill the gap - as long as you keep the spec at 1990's levels instead of 2020 ones.............
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Old 21st Jun 2020, 17:45
  #1066 (permalink)  
 
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airsound

The RAF signed up to that one but I doubt anyone else would.

RAF Eng

I will be interested to see how the French intend to refuel large probe and drogue receivers.
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Old 15th Jul 2020, 07:30
  #1067 (permalink)  
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https://www.mcchord.af.mil/News/Arti...oint-base-mdl/

First KC-10 Extender retires from Joint Base MDL

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Old 27th Jul 2020, 10:07
  #1068 (permalink)  
 
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Came across this link in the Flight Deck / Rumours & News section.
Airbus just beat Boeing to be the first to complete a wholly automated air-to-air refueling operation

  • An Airbus A310 aerial tanker successfully underwent a test to autonomously refuel an aircraft to be implemented on the A330 MRTT.
  • The achievement marks the next step in Airbus' goal to enable autonomy in routine flight operations.
  • Rival Boeing has not been able to achieve the same goal as its new flagship refueler continues to show problems.
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Old 28th Jul 2020, 01:42
  #1069 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RAFEngO74to09 View Post
The game has moved on considerably since the original KC-45A competition win / cancellation and the KC-46A debacle. The point now is the KC-46A will take another 3 > 5 years to get right (primarily the RVS), the delivery of the initial tranche under KC-X is already years behind schedule and the production rate has been slowed down.

Options need to be considered not only to maintain a 415-tanker force at an acceptable operating cost over the period it would take to buy the next batch of tankers under KC-Y - which will take another 29 years - but also reduce acquisition and operating overhead costs by contracting out an element of the overall task using one or more of the options being considered.

Airbus already produces "flying boom" A330 MRTTs. Also, 30% of the US TRANSCOM / USAF AMC mission requirement is for "hose & drogue" [as the US DoD calls it over here] - so in the overall force mix there will be dual-method tankers - like the RAF Mildenhall 100 ARW KC-135Rs which have a "flying boom" and 2 x underwing "hose & drogue" pods (not just the "hose & drogue" adaptor on the flying boom).

Dual-method French AF A330 MRTT here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnFj5rfVaRA

Up-to-date info on the A330 MRTT options currently offered are here:

https://www.airbus.com/defence/a330mrtt.html
Try this>>

https://www.contactairlandandsea.com...amed-exercise/
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Old 3rd Nov 2020, 15:27
  #1070 (permalink)  
 
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On Flight Global.
Boeing takes $67m loss on KC-46 tanker, but sees reason for optimism

Boeing has taken another multimillion dollar charge on the KC-46A Pegasus in-flight refueling tanker, but believes the programme is beginning to “clear the hurdle” in terms of how the US Air Force (USAF) views its manufacturing performance.

For the quarter ended 30 September, the Boeing Defense, Space & Security division’s earnings fell because of a $67 million charge to the tanker programme caused by to coronavirus disruptions and undisclosed productivity inefficiencies, it says in an earnings call on 28 October. As a result, the division’s profit fell 16.7% to $628 million for the third quarter, compared to the same period a year earlier. Revenue for the division fell 2.2% to $6.85 billion.


The KC-46A tanker programme has been plagued with problems for years. One of its most expensive problems is its remote vision system, a series of cameras that are meant to guide its refuelling boom into recipient aircraft. That camera produces distorted or washed out images creating a risk that an operator could accidentally steer the boom into an aircraft awaiting refuelling. In the first quarter of 2020, Boeing Defense took a $827 million loss to cover the cost of redesigning the boom cameras.

Boeing’s tanker programme has also suffered from poor manufacturing quality. Shoddy design and manufacturing work by the company’s employees has led to leaking fuel tanks, cargo locks that come undone and foreign object debris found inside the airframes of many aircraft.

Despite those problems and nearly $5 billion in losses, Boeing believes the KC-46A programme is turning a corner.

“The tanker has been a drag on us for like three or four years in every way you can think of with respect to investors. But we are beginning to clear the hurdle with our customer with respect to its performance in their fleet and then their need for that tanker,” says David Calhoun, Boeing chief executive on the earnings call. “So that whole relationship, I believe, will begin to transition next year. And as opposed to being a drag on our franchise, as it’s been, I believe it will become a strength in our franchise.”
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Old 3rd Nov 2020, 16:39
  #1071 (permalink)  
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What's the old quote.... "We lose money on every one we build, but we hope to make it up in volume....."
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 14:07
  #1072 (permalink)  
 
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Article header on Flight Global:-
Boeing wins $2.1bn for 15 more KC-46A tankers, points to battle communications role
Unable to link - I've run out of free articles...
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 14:11
  #1073 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
What's the old quote.... "We lose money on every one we build, but we hope to make it up in volume....."
It's all about the spares and support contracts...
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 14:55
  #1074 (permalink)  

 
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Lyneham Lad - I have the same problem with Flight Global! However, that nice Mr Boeing has a media room that'll give you the details:
https://boeing.mediaroom.com/news-re...ts?item=130812

Briefly, he say
15 More Boeing KC-46 Tankers to Fuel the Air Force into the Future
New multirole tanker contract brings number of U.S. Air Force orders to 94
Digitally advanced KC-46 an essential link connecting Air Force to broader battlefield
  • EVERETT, Wash., Jan. 21, 2021 – The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded Boeing [NYSE: BA] a $2.1 billion contract for 15 KC-46A tankers, expanding its fleet of aircraft that will not only set the standard for aerial refueling but will also help enable the integrated digital battlespace. Like a cellular tower in the sky, the KC-46 connects air forces to data needed to maintain the decision advantage and win on the 21st century battlefield.
“The KC-46’s adaptability is going to be a game-changer for the U.S. Air Force,” said Jamie Burgess, Boeing KC-46 tanker vice president and program manager. “We know our defense customers will need to transform how they fight and win in the modern era. That’s why Boeing is focused on making sure the KC-46 grows and changes with them.”

The KC-46 is a widebody, multirole tanker designed for state-of-the-art air refueling, cargo and medical transport. Boeing is now on contract for 94 KC-46A tankers.
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 15:17
  #1075 (permalink)  
 
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What's the old quote.... "We lose money on every one we build, but we hope to make it up in volume....."
Wasn’t it the Dave Gunson line about Pan Am always making a profit, albeit a negative one?!?!
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 15:43
  #1076 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lyneham Lad View Post
Boeing wins $2.1bn for 15 more KC-46A tankers
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Old 28th Jan 2021, 08:52
  #1077 (permalink)  
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https://www.defensenews.com/industry...the-air-force/

Boeing’s cost overruns on KC-46 now exceed initial contract with US Air Force

WASHINGTON — With the Jan. 27 announcement of a new $275 million charge on the KC-46, Boeing has now paid as much in cost overruns for the troubled program as the U.S. Air Force invested in the tanker’s development.

The new charge, which the company reported as part of fourth-quarter 2020 earnings, means Boeing has now paid more than $5.0 billion out of pocket to pay for the myriad technical problems and production issues that have cropped up since the company won the program in 2011.

Under the firm, fixed-price contract signed then, Boeing is responsible for paying for any costs in excess of the contract’s $4.9 billion ceiling.......
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Old 28th Jan 2021, 10:32
  #1078 (permalink)  
 
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Well, according to the London "Times" today, the KC-46 program involves "converting old 747 airliners into refuelling tankers".

Perhaps that's where it all started to go wrong....................
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Old 29th Jan 2021, 01:25
  #1079 (permalink)  
 
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ORAC, to be fair, most of that new charge is being blamed on COVID related delays and disruptions in the production system.
If true (and I can certainly understand some skepticism), that can hardly be blamed on Boeing. Just more of the worldwide suffering due to Covid.
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Old 2nd Feb 2021, 15:39
  #1080 (permalink)  
 
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Further information from The Air Force Magazine/Daily Report:


Army and Air National Guardsmen from the Oklahoma National Guard disembark a 157th Air Refueling Wing KC-46A Pegasus from Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., after returning from the District of Columbia to Oklahoma City, Okla., on Jan. 23, 2021. ANG photo by Senior Master Sgt. Andrew M. LaMoreaux.

USAF, Boeing Make Progress on KC-46 Fixes

By Brian W. Everstine

The Air Force recently resolved two Category 1 deficiencies on the troubled KC-46 tanker, both problems with the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit that could impact the safety of flight. However, the four remaining issues are still years away from being solved. The KC-46’s APU, located in its tail, developed two serious problems, one with a duct clamp that was moving excessively and another with a drain mast on the outside of the tail that could potentially break loose. As of the end of January, both problems have been addressed, with one closed and the other downgraded to a Category 2, or less serious, deficiency, AMC boss Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost told reporters Feb. 1.

- Ed
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