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USAF Fund B-52 Engine Replacement

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USAF Fund B-52 Engine Replacement

Old 17th Mar 2018, 02:22
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
But they were still alive Ken... which is my original point... carpet bombing (or mining) doesn't wipe out all opposition.... I doubt the Wermacht or the Confederacy would have surrendered in droves...
I had no idea the point of carpet bombing was to "wipe out all opposition." Indeed its doubtful anything short of a nuke could do so, and even then there will likely be survivors. I believe there is a vast difference between the existence of survivors and the existence of an effective fighting force, and its neutralizing the latter that is the point of carpet bombing. So yes, plenty of Iraqi survivors, but no, no longer an effective fighting force. And that just applies to tactical use of carpet bombing. Carpet bombing is also effective at destroying manufacturing, transportation, governmental, and other strategic targets.

Last edited by KenV; 20th Mar 2018 at 16:45.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 15:13
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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I seem to recall A British company did a total nuts and bolts repair of a wing and marry it to a new fuselage then found that each one was a bit different..... In the end it cost an absolute fortune and the pollies scrapped the whole shebang just when it was about to come good....

I think there is a market in becoming the " official government aviation tooling scrapper" and buying it all then mothballing it and preserving the lot and showing the inspectors a pile of similar scrap

Then twenty years down the line when it's needed I " find the tooling " which had been mislabelled due to an admin error...... Lessons learned etc and you see where I'm going with this don't you??

Every engineer knows you never ever ever throw away a jig or a special tool, just in case
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 16:47
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cornish-stormrider View Post
I seem to recall A British company did a total nuts and bolts repair of a wing and marry it to a new fuselage then found that each one was a bit different..... In the end it cost an absolute fortune and the pollies scrapped the whole shebang just when it was about to come good....
True enough. But replacing engines and replacing wings are two very different things, with the former being much much lower risk than the latter.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 20:37
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KenV View Post
True enough. But replacing engines and replacing wings are two very different things, with the former being much much lower risk than the latter.
Ok....

But don't say we didn't warn you.....
Someone put the popcorn on, I'll get the pizza in the oven.
This will make an entertaining saga.


The book is..... Will it come in on.....??

1. Cost
2. Spec
3. Time
4. Without a significant political scandal

My twenty quid ( donating to RAFA if I lose ) says this won't achieve any of those four aims - but the closest to the mark will be spec
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 11:44
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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You might think that making a tanker version of a commercial airplane would be low-risk, particularly when it's your third go on the same type.
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 17:12
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cornish-stormrider View Post
Ok....

But don't say we didn't warn you.....
Someone put the popcorn on, I'll get the pizza in the oven.
This will make an entertaining saga.

The book is..... Will it come in on.....??

1. Cost
2. Spec
3. Time
4. Without a significant political scandal

My twenty quid ( donating to RAFA if I lose ) says this won't achieve any of those four aims - but the closest to the mark will be spec
Hmmmm. The C-5 RERP project (Re-engine and Reliability Program) successfully replaced four mechanical turbofans with four FADEC turbofans on 52 C-5 airframes. Airframes that were designed and built with 100% mechanical and analog systems. First fllight of the C-5 was 1968. Delivery of the last B-52 was in 1962, so they are roughly the same vintage technology wise, but with the B-52 receiving many more upgrades during its service life than the C-5.

Before C-5 RERP USAF successfully undertook the KC-135 re-engine program, replacing the old J-57 turbo jets with modern CFM-56 turbofans. And before that industry (in this case GammaCorp with Douglas doing the actual engineering) very successfully undertook the re-engining of DC-8 airliners with CFM-56 turbofans. 707s (similar to but not the same as KC-135) have also been successfully re-engined with CFM-56 engines, with the last 10 years or so of production (all military derivatives of the 707) being equipped with CFM-56s. And then there are the many re-engining programs that fitted JT-8D low bypass turbofans to several different aircraft.

And finally, do not forget that the B-52 itself has already undergone an engine change over its lifetime, replacing J-57 turbojets with TF-33 turbo fans.

So what's the bottom line? This kind of project is not something new to either industry nor USAF, and has been completed very successfully multiple times on multiple different airframes. Is caution warranted? Certainly. Is the deep skepticism and even cynicism displayed here warranted? NOT.

Last edited by KenV; 21st Mar 2018 at 17:41.
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 17:16
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by George K Lee View Post
You might think that making a tanker version of a commercial airplane would be low-risk, particularly when it's your third go on the same type.
Anyone who thinks that does not understand the complexity of such an undertaking. It is a complexity orders of magnitude greater than an engine change.
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 17:41
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I think you're making my point, Kenneth old chap.

Boeing certainly should have understood the complexities of the KC-46 and, accordingly, submitted a proposal with realistic costs and schedule - and stuck to it. Instead, they submitted a risky bid and then changed the manufacturing strategy in an attempt to reduce cost. The guy who announced that change - let's just say that he didn't face any negative consequences.

And as for C-5 RERP... "successfully"? It blew through Nunn-McCurdy and delivered 49 modded aircraft rather than the 108 originally planned.

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL34264.pdf
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 18:27
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Originally Posted by George K Lee View Post
Boeing certainly should have understood the complexities of the KC-46 and, accordingly, submitted a proposal with realistic costs and schedule - and stuck to it.
Shoulda woulda coulda. The point is Boeing's proposal was VERY aggressive on cost and schedule to ensure they won. They succeeded. And Airbus succeeded in suckering Boeing into making such an aggressive bid (indeed, Airbus's bid was non-conforming as they proposed a tanker based on the passenger version rather than the freighter version of the A330 when a freighter door and freighter floor were spec requirements.) Actually delivering to the proposed price and schedule is an entirely different matter, but all on Boeing as it is a fixed price contract with penalties for late delivery.

The further point is that KC-46 has less than nothing to do with re-engining B-52s and why I did not include KC-46 in my post. You mentioning it here is a total red herring and yet another example of the butwhataboutery that is common in these sorts of threads.

Originally Posted by George K Lee View Post
And as for C-5 RERP... "successfully"? It blew through Nunn-McCurdy and delivered 49 modded aircraft rather than the 108 originally planned.
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL34264.pdf
Did you actually read the report you cited? RERP included 70 initiatives to improve C-5 reliability, with the re-engine the centerpiece. The numbers of aircraft to be RERPed went down because the A model, which made up the majority of the fleet, were simply too far gone to warrant making such a major investment. Nunn-McCurdy was breached not because the estimated re-engine costs went up, but because as the actual condition of the C-5A fleet became known and the estimated cost of repairing them to make the re-engine investment worth it went way up. Once the C-5As were withdrawn as RERP candidates estimated costs went back down. Indeed, the actual costs of re-engining the B and C model aircraft (not the estimates which triggered Nunn-McCurdy) were slightly below estimates.

You also completely failed to understand the complex political dance that was going on when RERP was in the proposal stages and which is reflected in this old report. The MCS (Mobility Capability Study) and various other political moves of that period made retiring any C-5As impossible. Once the C-5A was taken off the table as a RERP candidate, almost everything changed. And the actual outcome of RERP proved the re-engine to be a success

So other than getting essentially all the facts wrong, nice rebuttal.
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 19:52
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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To begin with: "Aggressive pricing" is another word for "underestimated costs and time". And the costs are not all on Boeing, as Boeing does not pay for unplanned life extensions for inventory tankers. And this is a serious business, so dismissing such a comment with a blase "shoulda coulda woulda" is a mite sophomorish.

And, clearly, C-5M and KC-46 have one important common feature: underestimated cost and time. The A models had been flying for 30 years and their condition should not have been a mystery; if there were internal issues that might not be found until teardown, margin should be included. We've been finding nasties in old airplanes for decades.

There was one difference: the KC-46 bid was low in order to win, and the C-5M bid was low in order to get the program started.

As for the so-called nonconforming Airbus bid...

Since the two rival tankers had already satisfied 372 mandatory performance requirements, price determined the outcome and Boeing emerged victorious.

And that's according to Boeing's own consultant.
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Old 22nd Mar 2018, 08:25
  #51 (permalink)  
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And Airbus succeeded in suckering Boeing into making such an aggressive bid
Really? And there was me thinking they were grown-ups capable of making rational commercial decisions on their own.

And of course they would have had no signs or idea about the Airbus bid. Allegedly.....
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Old 22nd Mar 2018, 18:11
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by George K Lee View Post
To begin with: "Aggressive pricing" is another word for "underestimated costs and time".
That's one way to look at it. Another way is to look at the risk of losing vs the risk of underbidding and choose the latter. Boeing had already lost twice. They were determined not to lose again. And yeah, I like quips like "shoulda, woulda, coulda" and "butwhataboutery." You call them sophomorish. I think they add a touch of panache.

And "unplanned life extensions for inventory tankers"? You actually think that USAF is going to invest millions to extend the life of existing tankers because the KC-46 is late? Let's talk abut "sophomorish" some more.

Originally Posted by George K Lee View Post
And, clearly, C-5M and KC-46 have one important common feature: underestimated cost and time. The A models had been flying for 30 years and their condition should not have been a mystery
There it is again. "should"? Really? You have the authority to tell USAF what they "should" do and "should" know? The actual condition of the A fleet was not fully known until the first one was torn down and RERPed. That was the point of that exercise. It was a mess. Based on that experience and additional data gathering, the A's were not only not candidates for RERP, they became candidates for the bone yard. Indeed that's where they all are.

The B-52 is undergoing something similar right now. Having made the decision to retire B-1 and B-2 and keep B-52 flying, USAF has sent one B-52 to the San Antonio depot to figure out what it's going to take to keep the fleet going. More decisions, including the re-engining, will be made based on the data gathered there.

And about that "Boeing consultant"? He predicted, literally days before the award, that EADS (now Airbus) would surely win the award. He was dead wrong. He still is.

Last edited by KenV; 26th Mar 2018 at 15:28.
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Old 22nd Mar 2018, 18:42
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Really? And there was me thinking they were grown-ups capable of making rational commercial decisions on their own.
Grown-ups everywhere make lousy business decisions all the time. Edison went with DC while Tesla/Westinghouse went with with AC. We all know how that went. Ford tried to keep the Model T going long after it was no longer viable, and later came out with the Edsel. Yet they're going gangbusters. GM went bankrupt. As did Chrysler. Microsoft failed to go after the mobile market and have not a prayer of catching up. Aerospatiale/BAC decided to develop and build a supersonic airliner in the age of jumbo jets. Airbus decided to develop and build a giant four-engine airliner in the age of twin-jets. Airbus decided to develop and build a military transport with the worlds largest single disk turbo prop and its dragging down the ENTIRE enterprise. Do I even need to mention the Nimrod MRA4? The list of failed aircraft projects is nearly endless.

But here's the thing. The KC-46 has not failed and almost certainly will not fail, although, yes, it will be late. Maybe a year or more late. But was the risk of late deliveries and development cost over runs worth it? Almost certainly yes. You guys are thinking short term. Boeing is thinking long term. Does anyone seriously doubt that Boeing will be unable to generate some profit from this venture, low bid and all? REALLY??!!

And finally, comparing KC-46 to the proposed B-52 re-engine project is classic butwhataboutery run amok. You may as well compare Edison's choice of DC powerplants with Apple's choice of smartphone feature sets.
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Old 22nd Mar 2018, 21:16
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KenV View Post
But here's the thing. The KC-46 has not failed and almost certainly will not fail, although, yes, it will be late. Maybe a year or more late. But was the risk of late deliveries and development cost over runs worth it? Almost certainly yes. You guys are thinking short term. Boeing is thinking long term. Does anyone seriously doubt that Boeing will be unable to generate some profit from this venture, low bid and all? REALLY??!!
Agree with you here Ken. KC-46 will fly for 50 years...that's a lot of support services pretty much guaranteed. Not to mention, there seems to be chat now that KC-Y will be a KC-46 follow-on order.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 00:41
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But was the risk of late deliveries and development cost over runs worth it? Almost certainly yes.

Most likely you're right, if you're Boeing. The customer may have a different perspective. And is there any reason why the same won't apply to B-52RE, a few years down the road? Because we know where the guy who set up the KC-46 deal is sitting today, do we not?

And of course that consultant still cashes Boeing checks. And of course (it's your MO) you're deflecting my question about your assertion that EADS submitted a grossly noncompliant bid. How about some evidence for that?

Last edited by George K Lee; 23rd Mar 2018 at 00:54.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 01:07
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Damn, the USAF is really cracking down on Boeing's personnel management...

L'US Air Force ne veut plus de retards pour ses KC-46A - Air&Cosmos

I thought we were supposed to call them "specially gifted program managers" now?
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 07:12
  #57 (permalink)  
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KenV, my comment was in responsible to the remark about Airbus “suckering” Boeing into pitching their bid where they did. Now you are saying it was a good long term commercial decision.

Make up your mind, you can’t have it both ways. The6bwere either suckered is they weren’t. My point was tha5 they weren’t.
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Old 26th Mar 2018, 14:46
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Originally Posted by George K Lee View Post
But was the risk of late deliveries and development cost over runs worth it? Almost certainly yes.

Most likely you're right, if you're Boeing. The customer may have a different perspective.
Different perspective? Why? Boeing is covering the extra costs and is paying penalties for the late deliveries. After this batch, each new batch of tankers will require a new negotiation. It's up to the customer on how to handle that negotiation.

Originally Posted by George K Lee View Post
Because we know where the guy who set up the KC-46 deal is sitting today, do we not?
Loren Thompson?!! Set up the KC-46 deal? Really?!!! That's delusional.

Originally Posted by George K Lee View Post
And of course that consultant still cashes Boeing checks.
You appear to have a fixation on Loren Thompson being a "Boeing Consultant". He is not. Yes Boeing pays the Lexington Institute, but the Lexington Institute is a lobbying firm who's mission is to "inform, educate, and shape the public debate of national priorities in those areas that are of surpassing importance to the future success of democracy, such as national security, education reform, tax reform, immigration and federal policy concerning science and technology." Yes, they do influence Congress to support a wide range of defense and technology programs, which is clearly in Boeing's interest. But no, they have zero influence on specific defense programs, and no special insights into what and how EADS/Airbus (or any other contractor) is bidding.

And of course (it's your MO) you're deflecting my question about your assertion that EADS submitted a grossly noncompliant bid. How about some evidence for that?
My MO? Really? On what do you base this specious claim? In any event, this was well covered in another thread well over a year ago. EADS (now Airbus) bid a tanker based on the passenger version of the A330 because at first there was no requirement to base the tanker on a freighter. (Remember that the original KC-X competition was in 2007. The A330F did not fly till 2009). But the final RFP did require a freighter aircraft, and EADS would not offer the freighter version. Why? Hard to say, but my understanding is that the freighter is a converted passenger airplane. Converting a passenger plane to a freighter and then converting that to a tanker was too big a bite to chew. It's one reason why Northrop pulled out of the partnership. Several guys on this forum justified EAD's decision to not base their offer on a freighter by stating that because the A330 is bigger than the 767, it "did not need" a cargo door nor cargo floor nor under floor fuel tanks. That may or may not be true but is totally beside the point that unlike the first RFP, the final RFP mandated a cargo door and floor.

Last edited by KenV; 26th Mar 2018 at 16:22.
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Old 26th Mar 2018, 15:26
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
KenV, my comment was in responsible to the remark about Airbus “suckering” Boeing into pitching their bid where they did. Now you are saying it was a good long term commercial decision.

Make up your mind, you can’t have it both ways. The6bwere either suckered is they weren’t. My point was tha5 they weren’t.
Northrop/EADS had already won the first competition and Boeing was determined to beat EADS in the new competition and willing to bid very aggressively on both price and schedule. Northrop had already pulled out of the final bid and had EADS pulled out Boeing would have been much less aggressive on both cost and schedule. Further, Boeing would not have included their advanced refueling boom. The KC-767 and the original KC-46 booms were both based on the KC-135 boom. But that boom had a much smaller envelope than the Airbus boom, so Boeing switched to a modified KC-10 boom. A change that was neither easy not cheap. But EADS decided to go it alone with what was essentially their original bid, which was based on the passenger aircraft and non compliant to the new RFP. Northrop pulled out because a new proposal would be expensive and bidding the old proposal would result in nothing in it for them. But bidding with the old proposal was very smart strategically for Airbus as it caused Boeing to not only offer a much better boom, but to be very aggressive on price and schedule. It was a good long term business decision for Boeing to beat Airbus with a low bid, but Boeing could have bid much less aggressively on both cost and schedule and still won, and done so with much less risk exposure.

Last edited by KenV; 26th Mar 2018 at 15:58.
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Old 26th Mar 2018, 15:38
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"at any price"...

Not sure about that Ken - costs them cash, reputation and diversion of men, materials and management I'm sure they'd be better off using elsewhere - such as on the 757/767 replacement
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