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USAF KC-Y Tanker Competition

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USAF KC-Y Tanker Competition

Old 27th Jan 2023, 15:51
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Prettiest tanker I've seen since the KA-6D.
But wait, that one is supposed to haul troops and equipment. Just how tall is this thing?
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Old 27th Jan 2023, 15:57
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'Prettiest tanker'
Form follows function

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Old 27th Jan 2023, 16:03
  #23 (permalink)  
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As the write-up says, it’s just another iteration of Boeing’s blended wing transport as a possible C-130/C-17 replacement.

Cant see it supplanting the C-130 because of turboprop advantages. The6 are starting to think of a C-17 replacement as the early ones are getting tired because of Iraq/Afghanistan, but it’s still a way down the line.

Plus, even accepting it’s a military transport, being seated that far off the centreline in turns and turbulence is going to be an 8nteresting passenger experience.

Lots of room for fuel and freight though - even if adding a boom is definitely not stealthy.
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Old 27th Jan 2023, 18:08
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ORAC
Lots of room for fuel and freight though - even if adding a boom is definitely not stealthy.
It could be - not that hard really. Simply make the boom retractable into a landing gear style bay. Stealthy receiver aircraft already do that with the probe.
Just cost and weight...
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Old 27th Jan 2023, 22:28
  #25 (permalink)  
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An interesting concept…

The boom is as far back as possible and extends aft to allow a receiver to break away up, down, left or right and where the aerodynamics are least effected.

Put a boom in a bay and now, unless it extends a really long way, the receiver will have to be right under the tanker and with an interesting airflow around the bay, bay doors, boom, tanker airflow and receiver.

Im reminded of the XB-70/F-104 collision…..
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Old 28th Jan 2023, 08:15
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Originally Posted by Two's in
Purely in the interests of accuracy, they have managed to get 1,271 Boeing 767s working "properly", what they haven't been able to do is design and build a Remote Vision System (RVS) that works on the KC-46. RVS 2.0 is out there and being tested, but after nearly a decade of broken promises and piss-poor performance, the Air Force is going to take a lot of persuading the fix is in. The RVS 2.0 program has already had a 19 month slip to Military Flight Release, so it's not an auspicious start. Publicly quoted numbers state that Boeing charged the DOD $4.9B (with a B) for the KC-46 Program, and have subsequently paid an additional $5B from internal funds to fux the fix-up. Not exactly business leading numbers.
That we all know - the original comment was clearly about the tanker conversion - I'm still floored that they haven't fixed it. It looked like the lowest cost, least risky conversion of all time................
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Old 28th Jan 2023, 11:23
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Originally Posted by ORAC

...unless it extends a really long way…..
Maybe that's not a display stand the model is on!
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Old 28th Jan 2023, 23:56
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Originally Posted by Two's in
Purely in the interests of accuracy, they have managed to get 1,271 Boeing 767s working "properly", what they haven't been able to do is design and build a Remote Vision System (RVS) that works on the KC-46. RVS 2.0 is out there and being tested, but after nearly a decade of broken promises and piss-poor performance, the Air Force is going to take a lot of persuading the fix is in. The RVS 2.0 program has already had a 19 month slip to Military Flight Release, so it's not an auspicious start. Publicly quoted numbers state that Boeing charged the DOD $4.9B (with a B) for the KC-46 Program, and have subsequently paid an additional $5B from internal funds to fux the fix-up. Not exactly business leading numbers.
RVS is dumb as dirt. Boom operators using natural vision have done a great, low risk job for over half a century. RVS is a bad solution to a non-problem. Barring return to using natural, full color, 3D vision, autonomous boom operation would be a better path than RVS.
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Old 29th Jan 2023, 07:30
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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But how are people going to make money designing and selling kit if you're going to use people???
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Old 29th Jan 2023, 08:25
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A330MRTT Boom Enhanced Vision System with a 3D camera vision system for day and night refuelling seems to work just fine!
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Old 7th Mar 2023, 14:52
  #31 (permalink)  
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Latest USAF plan is to ditch previous KC-X, KC-Y and KC-Z programs and go for 179 x KC-46A on order - then 75 x possibly competed KC-46A / something else - then Next Generation Air-refueling System (NGAS) - which seems the same to me as KC-X, KC-Y and KC-Z in all but name - just changing the planned numbers of each!

USAF Shakes Up Its Plan for Tankers: Fewer ‘Traditional’ Refuelers, Focus on Stealth Future | Air & Space Forces Magazine (airandspaceforces.com)
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Old 7th Mar 2023, 15:06
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Originally Posted by BEagle
A330MRTT Boom Enhanced Vision System with a 3D camera vision system for day and night refuelling seems to work just fine!
Interesting. Can it successfully refuel all the aircraft types the KC46 is required to and in the same spectrum of conditions?

I wonder what “3D camera vision“ really means. What is used to display the imagery so that the operator has a true 3D view? Does each eye get a unique view?

Interesting that the supplier for KC46 hasn’t found a way to successfully match the performance of the MRTT. Or perhaps they did and it’s still not satisfactory.
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Old 7th Mar 2023, 15:31
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The USAF seems to have backed itself into a corner where it absolutely cannot buy the MRTT, lest it admit its mistake with the KC-46.
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Old 7th Mar 2023, 16:17
  #34 (permalink)  
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So, at a time when the threat is in the Pacific theatre where range and fuel offload is at a premium, they’re binning the KC-Y large KC-10 replacement to buy more shorter range KC-46.

That makes sense for Boeing, not the DoD.
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Old 7th Mar 2023, 16:35
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GlobalNav
I wonder what “3D camera vision“ really means. What is used to display the imagery so that the operator has a true 3D view? Does each eye get a unique view?
The short answer is yes - the operator sees a true 3d representation using multiple cameras (the console is, er, interesting). I can't elaborate for reasons that should be obvious. Apparently the issues are with resolution and poor lighting conditions - not the basic layout.

Originally Posted by GlobalNav
Interesting that the supplier for KC46 hasn’t found a way to successfully match the performance of the MRTT. Or perhaps they did and it’s still not satisfactory.
I know the MRTT does not meet all the mandatory requirements the USAF has for the KC-46 (granted, some of those requirements were silly, but if you pushed back on a silly requirement the USAF response was 'What part of mandatory don't you understand!' What I don't know is if any of those shortcomings relate to the remote vision system.
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Old 7th Mar 2023, 16:53
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Theoretically a '46 could fly unrefuelled one way from California to new South Wales, granted with out fulfilling it's primary mission, but taking on fuel from other tankers was even part of the KC-767 vision. Like all DoD program(me)s, it's all up for grabs until the pork gets allocated by Congress, as was reflected in the voting when members of the HASC failed in their attempt to get a mandatory full and open competition for the Bridge Tanker written into the fy23 DoD budget last June; those in favour promised to be back for another go this year. Those with Boeing supply chain constituents outvoted those with potentionally LXMT supply chain constituents.

From what I understand the Boeing offer for the Brige Tanker would be an enhanced and higher priced (i.e. profitable this time round) KC-46"B".
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Old 8th Mar 2023, 00:12
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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After the huge cost overruns on the KC46 program Boeing must be disappointed at the prospect of selling only 75 in addition to the original order


I’m sure they had hopes of providing hundreds more and replacing all the KC135R airframes one for one
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Old 8th Mar 2023, 05:47
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Most will be needed to fuel then reengined B-52s and E-7s for a long time. So non-stealthy workhorses like MRTTs will perfectly fit.
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Old 8th Mar 2023, 16:11
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Originally Posted by SLXOwft
Theoretically a '46 could fly unrefuelled one way from California to new South Wales, granted with out fulfilling it's primary mission, but taking on fuel from other tankers was even part of the KC-767 vision. Like all DoD program(me)s, it's all up for grabs until the pork gets allocated by Congress, as was reflected in the voting when members of the HASC failed in their attempt to get a mandatory full and open competition for the Bridge Tanker written into the fy23 DoD budget last June; those in favour promised to be back for another go this year. Those with Boeing supply chain constituents outvoted those with potentionally LXMT supply chain constituents.

From what I understand the Boeing offer for the Brige Tanker would be an enhanced and higher priced (i.e. profitable this time round) KC-46"B".
https://www.travelmath.com/distance/.../to/California

7,635 miles / 12 287 km flying

https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircraft/voyager/

Maximum range with maximum fuel: 8,000nm (14,816km)


RVS is dumb as dirt. Boom operators using natural vision have done a great, low risk job for over half a century. RVS is a bad solution to a non-problem. Barring return to using natural, full color, 3D vision, autonomous boom operation would be a better path than RVS.
Interesting that the supplier for KC46 hasn’t found a way to successfully match the performance of the MRTT. Or perhaps they did and it’s still not satisfactory.
meanwhile....

In 2020, Airbus joined with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to develop the A330 SMART MRTT – providing the company’s A330-derived Multi Role Tanker Transport with such capabilities as Automatic Air-to-Air refuelling and enhanced maintenance.

Airbus has begun flight testing for the development of the A330 SMART MRTT. The newly evolved aircraft will be the world's first to integrate the fully Automatic Air-to-Air Refuelling (A3R) capability. Using a converted tanker from the Republic of Singapore Air Force for the campaign, the SMART MRTT will also bring other innovations such as an enhanced vision system for night-time covert operations and improved sensors to capture more data and move towards predictive maintenance.
https://www.airbus.com/en/products-s...330-mrtt#smart
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Old 3rd Aug 2023, 06:47
  #40 (permalink)  
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KC-Z becomes NGAS

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2023...-in-september/

US Air Force to issue new refueling tanker request in September

DAYTON, Ohio — The U.S. Air Force expects to release its formal request for information for a KC-135 tanker recapitalization in September, which will pave the way for an official acquisition strategy for the program it previously referred to as a “bridge tanker.”

In a roundtable discussion with reporters at the service’s Life Cycle Industry Days event in Dayton, Ohio, the deputy program executive officer for mobility aircraft, Scott Boyd, outlined the force’s plan for the next two stages in a major overhaul of its tanker fleet.

But, Boyd cautioned, much remains undecided over how to eventually field an advanced refueling aircraft it now calls the next-generation aerial refueling system, or NGAS.

The Air Force originally referred to its two final stages as KC-Y, or the bridge tanker, and KC-Z, following its procurement in recent years of the KC-46. Those three modernization stages are to replace the service’s legacy KC-135 Stratotanker fleet.

The Air Force initially had loose plans for KC-Z to arrive in the 2040s. The service originally planned to buy about 150 tankers as an interim step until then — possibly more KC-46s, although Lockheed Martin is pitching its LMXT strategic tanker, based on Airbus’ A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport, as an alternative.

However, in March the Air Force shifted course on its future tanker modernization effort. Top leaders announced plans to speed up the acquisition of its most advanced future tanker, which was redubbed NGAS, to the mid- to late-2030s, and to cut in half the number of interim tankers it would buy.

Top service officials worry China’s advancing air capabilities will make it increasingly difficult for existing tankers to survive in highly contested airspace, and that a more advanced, survivable refueling aircraft able to operate in combat zones will need to hit the fleet sooner than anticipated. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in March that NGAS would require a new design, not derived from a commercial aircraft, and that a blended wing design is a possibility for its body.

During Monday’s roundtable, Boyd stressed the service’s acquisition strategy is not set in stone.

“Doesn’t matter what any person, senior leader, otherwise has said: We don’t know what our acquisition strategy is,” Boyd said. “We’ve engaged with Congress on that as well to try to make clear that we still don’t know what our strategy is.”

But Boyd said the Air Force is working through a process on joint capabilities, integration and development in order to get the final requirements for the interim tanker approved by the Pentagon……..

The Air Force is still figuring out what NGAS will be, Boyd said. In early fiscal 2024, he added, the Air Force will start its formal analysis of alternatives, which is expected to produce recommendations on what would be needed to meet the service’s goals for NGAS. The service believes it could field an NGAS tanker as early as 2035, he noted.

Even though the service has dramatically accelerated its NGAS schedule, Boyd explained, it will still need the KC-135 recapitalization as an interim step.

Hanging over the process is the service’s decision to slash the number of purchased interim tankers to 75. And, Boyd said, it remains to be seen whether the Air Force will strike the right balance between that reduced buy and when NGAS might actually arrive.

“If we end up getting 2035 wrong, then perhaps we got the quantity of what we needed [on KC-135 modernization] wrong,” Boyd said. “That’s everyone’s concern — Air Force has that same concern, Congress has that concern, industry certainly has that concern.”


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