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Airbus pairs up with L-M for A330 tanker services to Pentagon

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Airbus pairs up with L-M for A330 tanker services to Pentagon

Old 4th Dec 2018, 22:23
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Airbus pairs up with L-M for A330 tanker services to Pentagon


Laughingly or not as I was reading the thread on the Voyager Plummets, this caught my eye ...

Lockheed And Airbus Join Forces To Disrupt U.S. Aerial Refueling Marketplace And More - The Drive


Airbus and L-M are apparently joining forces to pitch / propose the A330 tanker solutions to the Pentagon , thus kind of disrupting the USA aerial tanker marketplace. Largely because they see the likes of the Marine Corps and Naval aviation more and more using contracted out AAR (Omega). So the Airbus/ L-M conglomerate can see pitch in there.

Laughingly was it not exactly a decade ago ..that it was the KC-X competition where A330 was pitched and dismiissed because it was not American and Kc-46 picked.

Of interest one of my US colleagues when I worked in the airline industry at the time, rushed for a meeting / interview with a US company that umm partnered with Antonov for KC-X

https://leehamnews.com/2010/08/12/us...aces-an-112kc/

https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/Sp...063555phpapp02

Any thoughts?

Cheers

Last edited by chopper2004; 5th Dec 2018 at 00:12.
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Old 5th Dec 2018, 00:09
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Interesting, I seem to recal the original USAF plans were for up to three tanker programs:

KC-X, largely for more urgent KC-135 replecement which Boeing lost, then won as the KC-46

KC-Y, longer term follow on, which will augment above and also replace the KC-10. This new alignment between Airbus and Lockheed and might actually be better placed for this type of aircraft which would be likely be larger aircraft. But Boeing might have an edge as being “proven” and if the USAF does not have the funds or appetite for multiple programs.

KC-Z. Further down the road stealthy tanker.
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Old 7th Dec 2018, 15:50
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Originally Posted by chopper2004 View Post
Airbus and L-M are apparently joining forces to pitch / propose the A330 tanker solutions to the Pentagon , thus kind of disrupting the USA aerial tanker marketplace. Largely because they see the likes of the Marine Corps and Naval aviation more and more using contracted out AAR (Omega). So the Airbus/ L-M conglomerate can see pitch in there.
As an aside, one of the original missions of the P-8 was aerial refueling. But USAF objected claiming USN was treading on their exclusive turf with a jet powered aerial tanker. USN backed off. USN has now done an end around by acquiring the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial tanker. USAF could not claim they have anything like that. So if the point of this commercial aerial tanking program is to provide tanking to USN, the MQ-25 program may well kill any such notion.
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Old 7th Dec 2018, 15:58
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Originally Posted by chopper2004 View Post
Laughingly was it not exactly a decade ago ..that it was the KC-X competition where A330 was pitched and dismiissed because it was not American
Ummm, the European offer won that competition and was awarded the contract. Granted the award was contested and due to clear violations of the acquisition process by USAF the award was tossed out. The next contest went nowhere, although the Airbus product was favored when the program died. The third contest was won by Boeing not because it was American, but because Airbuss's US partner pulled out and Airbus was going it alone with an offer that was no longer fully compliant with the requirements.
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Old 7th Dec 2018, 22:01
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It will be going to Boeing, just they haven't paid their political "donations" yet.
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Old 8th Dec 2018, 09:29
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"an offer that was no longer fully compliant with the requirements." Of course it helps if you apply significant political pressure to get the requirements materially changed and the MoE tailored to meet the smaller, less capable product…..
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Old 10th Dec 2018, 19:11
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Originally Posted by Evalu8ter View Post
"an offer that was no longer fully compliant with the requirements." Of course it helps if you apply significant political pressure to get the requirements materially changed and the MoE tailored to meet the smaller, less capable product…..
KC-X was always supposed to be a KC-135 replacement. Size wise the KC-46 fits that much much better than the A330MRTT, which is much closer to the KC-10 in size. So no, the requirements were not "changed" nor "tailored" to fit the KC-46. What did change was the boom envelope requirements, which the original KC-46 could not meet and the A330 could, so in that sense the proposal favored Airbus. It's why the third iteration of the KC-46 used the KC-10's advanced boom vs the previous iterations which had the KC-135's legacy boom. What Airbus failed to do was offer a tanker based on a freighter airframe. Like all the other A330MRTT offered and built, the one offered to USAF was based on the passenger version of the A330. USAF specifically wanted a freighter door and floor in their tanker.

There were other new requirements, many of them classified. But a small clue as to the nature of these classified items, the KC-46 has 30 miles of additional wiring relative the B767. I don't know how Airbus proposed to meet those classified requirements without a US partner.

And finally, Boeing ultimately won the competition based on a low-ball bid which Airbus could not meet. This has resulted in massive cost over runs, all borne by Boeing because this is a firm-fixed-price contract. Boeing hopes to recoup those over runs later in the program's life. Boeing has done this on three other recent big ticket programs as well (USN's MQ-25 drone, USAF's UH-1N replacement helo, and USAF's T-X trainer). Right now Boeing is the only aerospace manufacturer with the deep pockets necessary to submit proposals that don't earn any money in the near term, and that is willing to bet on winning the maintenance/support contracts later which will produce much more long-term profit.
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