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How Likely Is The KC-Y At This Point?  
User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1455 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6972 times:

I've seen various mentions of a potential KC-Y program where Airbus/EADS might get the upper hand, with the A330 being a closer match to the KC-10 (barring a 777 offer from Boeing of couse). Is there any merit to this, or is it just speculation and/or trying to soften the blow of losing the KC-X bid?

38 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineredflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4252 posts, RR: 29
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6961 times:

I think we're at least a decade away from beginning the KC-Y process. By then I think the landscape, militarily and politically, will be different than it is today.

In any event, the A330 wouldn't be a good fit for a KC-Y. Airbus would have to offer up an A340-500 or A350-1000, which would go up against a B777.



I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offline11Bravo From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1717 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6943 times:

Quoting redflyer (Reply 1):
I think we're at least a decade away from beginning the KC-Y process. By then I think the landscape, militarily and politically, will be different than it is today.

  

I think a decade at minimum if at all. It may well be that the USAF decides to simplify and go with a single-type tanker fleet. The selection of the KC-46A lends itself to that end. The new tanker is much larger than the KC-135 and it may be a situation where an even larger replacement for the KC-10 will be unnecessary; just buy more KC-46As.

[Edited 2011-02-25 10:39:52]


WhaleJets Rule!
User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1455 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6897 times:

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 2):
I think a decade at minimum if at all. It may well be that the USAF decides to simplify and go with a single-type tanker fleet. The selection of the KC-46A lends itself to that end. The new tanker is much larger than the KC-135 and it may be a situation where a even larger replacement for the KC-10 will be unnecessary; just buy more KC-46As.

That's my thought as well -- the KC-45 can fill both the "tactical" KC-135 and "strategic" KC-10 roles, at least more so than buying two separate aircraft will. If we see a KC-Y, I would think that to be worthwhile it would have to be larger than an A330, probably 777ish, to be of any value.


User currently offlineRaginMav From United States of America, joined May 2004, 375 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6878 times:

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 2):
It may well be that the USAF decides to simplify and go with a single-type tanker fleet

Think too about the future of the refueling requirement. Decades into the future we will see many manned platforms replaced with UAV's and UCAV's. Their smaller size compared to equivalent manned platforms will somewhat decrease the total volume of fuel that must be offloaded. Additionally, the number of missions that a KC-Y would be required for (too large for KC-46A) will decrease.

If the USAF can get 20 more years from the KC-10's, I would say there is a significant chance they will not be replaced 1 for 1.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29692 posts, RR: 84
Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 6837 times:
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Quoting redflyer (Reply 1):
In any event, the A330 wouldn't be a good fit for a KC-Y.

If you want to replace the KC-10 fleet, I can't think of a better option than the A330 MRTT. It offers similar volume for cargo and is similar in size (the A330 does have a 10m greater span, but fuselage lengths are similar). Where it falls short is maximum fuel capacity (111t vs 160t) and MTOW (233t vs. 268t), but that can be addressed in part by adding belly tanks (as the KC-10 must have, since a DC-10-30 can only tank 110t) and moving to the 238t MTOW option.

Boeing will pitch the 777 Freighter, but I see that as suffering from the same drawbacks that cost the A330 MRTT the KC-X competition: much larger (harder to base), much heavier (increased MILCON costs to reinforce pads and taxiways), higher fuel burn (to to larger engines and higher TOWs), and more expensive (both in terms of list price and production costs).


User currently offline328JET From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 6751 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
Where it falls short is maximum fuel capacity (111t vs 160t) and MTOW (233t vs. 268t), but that can be addressed in part by adding belly tanks (as the KC-10 must have, since a DC-10-30 can only tank 110t) and moving to the 238t MTOW option.

I believe as well that the A330MRTT and KC10 are very equal in terms of possible fuel on board.

The A330MRTT, with belly tanks, should have the same capacity as the KC10 but would offer 30 percent less operating costs...

But maybe the future could live with the KC46 only, as the total amount of needed fuel could be far less than today, because all future aircrafts which should get fuel, have a lower fuel burn than todays aircrafts.


User currently offlineredflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4252 posts, RR: 29
Reply 7, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 6684 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
Where it falls short is maximum fuel capacity (111t vs 160t) and MTOW (233t vs. 268t), but that can be addressed in part by adding belly tanks (as the KC-10 must have, since a DC-10-30 can only tank 110t) and moving to the 238t MTOW option.

Ok, I just posted in the other thread a comment that the MRTT can't touch the KC-10, and where I was coming from in that regard is the fuel capacity. However, if the belly tanks are added to the MRTT to bring up the fuel off-load capability then you lose the cargo capability (and I'm not talking below-deck cargo). I was under the impression where the KC-10 outshines all is its massive fuel off-load capability AND cargo lift.



I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12065 posts, RR: 52
Reply 8, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 6668 times:

A few years ago the Rand Corp. put out the matrix for tanker sizes. Tanker versions for the B-767, A-330, and of course the KC-135 were all called "medium tankers", based on the MTOW. The KC-10 was put into the "large tanker" size due to its much higher MTOW. So, if (and that's a big IF) the USAF decides it needs a KC-10 replacement in 10-20 years, the possible candidates that could fit the "large tanker" mission (based on aircraft we know of today);

A-350-900F
A-350-1000
A-380-800F (if it gets built)
B-777-200LRF
B-747-8F
B-787-900F (if Boeing builds a freighter version)

The difference with the KC-Y vs. the KC-X will be more mission capability on cargo, as well as refueling.

I do not think the A-330-200F, or the B-767-300ERF, in their current versions can effectively fill both missions due to their MTOW being less than 550,000 lbs. That means the B-767 or A-330 can either refuel recivers (think fighters) over long distances (think Pacific Ocean), or it can carry the full cargo support need for a full squadron (or wing) of deployed fighters, but not both in a single tanker.

The B-747-8F, B-777-200LRF, or A-380-800F should be able to do this. Both versions of the A-350 and the B-787 will need engineering modifications, as well as more powerful engines to do both, but I think that is very possible for these 3 airplanes.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29692 posts, RR: 84
Reply 9, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 6649 times:
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The A330 MRTT is a heavier frame than the KC-10 (by about 15t), but it would be interesting to see how much Airbus could raise the MZFW and the MTOW of the A330-200F and with the lower fuel burn, just how much fuel could such a plane offload compared to a KC-10 on a similar mission profile.

User currently offlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2247 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 6530 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
If you want to replace the KC-10 fleet, I can't think of a better option than the A330 MRTT.

Maybe, but 10 or 15 years from now, when they look to replace the KC-10, why would the USAF want those old and decrepit A330s rather than a more modern airframe?    



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3325 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 6498 times:

I'm betting that if it happens it will be a sole source contract for about 30 frames. I'm also betting its 77F based and used almost exclusively for deploying air wings overseas. Maybe some use for refueling bombers when our "allies" get snippy about basing assets anywhere near the mission area.

Note that 30 frames isn't going to make anyone any real money even if they do gouge on the price. Note that 30 frames isn't worth doing a contest as the costs to run it would be more than said gouging.


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3213 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 6494 times:
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Quoting 328JET (Reply 6):
But maybe the future could live with the KC46 only, as the total amount of needed fuel could be far less than today, because all future aircrafts which should get fuel, have a lower fuel burn than today's aircraf


I tend to agree that maybe the need for a KC10 size replacement tanker is more a theoretical exercise than a reality. Another idea to consider is a re-engine of the B-52's and any other gas guzzlers

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
That means the B-767 or A-330 can either refuel receivers (think fighters) over long distances (think Pacific Ocean), or it can carry the full cargo support need for a full squadron (or wing) of deployed fighters, but not both in a single tanker.


here I expect that the Air Force may look at the 767 freighter family with no tanker capability.. .. wouldn't that easily span the gap between the C-17 and the C-130..?


User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15497 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 6420 times:

Quoting LHCVG (Thread starter):
Is there any merit to this, or is it just speculation and/or trying to soften the blow of losing the KC-X bid?

It won't happen for a while. The USAF is not particularly into tankers anyway, they'd rather buy fighters.

Quoting kanban (Reply 12):
here I expect that the Air Force may look at the 767 freighter family with no tanker capability.. ..

Why would that be a more attractive idea than chartering civilian freighters?



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offline328JET From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 6383 times:

I really see that some users put the KC10 in a complete wrong light.

The KC10 is a derivate of the DC10 - in todays world a rather small longrange aircraft in comparison.
It has 4 actual/coming competitors in terms of size:


Boeing 767-400
Boeing 787-8

Airbus 330-200
Airbus 350-800

The KC10 has only such a big fuel capacity because it has 110tons capacity in its original tanks PLUS 50tons in additional tanks.
The A330-200 (MRTT) has one ton more fuel in its own tanks, but burns 30 percent less fuel!
Putting in additonal tanks will create a very capable KC10 replacement.

I have the feeling that this will be proved very soon by an order by the netherlands...


User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3325 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 6377 times:

Quoting 328JET (Reply 14):
The KC10 has only such a big fuel capacity because it has 110tons capacity in its original tanks PLUS 50tons in additional tanks.
The A330-200 (MRTT) has one ton more fuel in its own tanks, but burns 30 percent less fuel!
Putting in additonal tanks will create a very capable KC10 replacement.

you keep forgetting the KC30 is MTOW limited on fuel, NOT limited by tank capacity, so adding belly tanks only adds dead wieght. Airbus would need to use the A350 or make a new varient of the A330 using A340 landing gear to support higher MTOW (and likely new engines + extended wingtips) if they wish to match the KC10 on raw lift.


User currently offline328JET From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 6375 times:

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 15):
you keep forgetting the KC30 is MTOW limited on fuel, NOT limited by tank capacity,

Yes, i know.

The take-off weight has to be increased.
If that requires the center gear of the A342/343 remains to be seen, as the question is HOW MUCH more TOW is really needed.

If we assume a 30 percent lower own fuel burn vs. the KC10, then the percentage of own used fuel is much lower in case of the MRTT.

And i would say the PCN of and A330MRTT with around 250tons take-off weight should not be worse than that of the B77W for example.

Also i would not rule out further improvements of the A330MRTT like new engines and a reduced OEW.


User currently offlinepetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3309 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6277 times:

Quoting 328JET (Reply 14):
I have the feeling that this will be proved very soon by an order by the netherlands...

Don't bet on that one! For starters, the KDC-10 have very recently been upgraded, and I believe the DC-10 (non tanker) is still in the workshop and has been for ages! Also, the RNLAF is significantly scaling back their intended purchase of JSF because there is no money, so a fleet of new A330s is out of the question. Hell, there are barely 20 F-16s currently operational, the rest are grounded due to lack of spares and maintenance!



Attamottamotta!
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 11946 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6276 times:

Quoting kanban (Reply 12):
Another idea to consider is a re-engine of the B-52's and any other gas guzzlers

Like the KC-135Es?         



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offline328JET From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6276 times:

Quoting petertenthije (Reply 17):
Hell, there are barely 20 F-16s currently operational, the rest are grounded due to lack of spares and maintenance!

You are kidding, i hope.


I could see a lease deal for the netherlands like in the UK.

But maybe i am too optimistic about the money of the forces...


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12065 posts, RR: 52
Reply 20, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6271 times:

Quoting 328JET (Reply 16):
If that requires the center gear of the A342/343 remains to be seen, as the question is HOW MUCH more TOW is really needed.

If we assume a 30 percent lower own fuel burn vs. the KC10, then the percentage of own used fuel is much lower in case of the MRTT.

Then to become close to the KC-10 off-load capability, the A-330 would need a minimum of a 30% increase in fuel load, but more likely a 35%-40% fuel load capablilty, not including the extra structual weight.

Let's look at some numbers, based on a 524,000 lb MTOW with 245,000 lb fuel load version of the heaviest (current) A-330;

Just for the fuel increase at 30% would be a fuel load increase of 73,500 lbs, to a fuel load of some 318,500 lbs.

A 35% fuel load increase would be a 85,750 lb increase to a max fuel load of 330,750 lbs.

Just using the standard 10% of the increased fuel load in structual, additional fuel tanks, plumbing, pumps, and valves would be;

at 30% the added weight would be about 7,350 lbs

at 35% the added weight would be about 8,575 lbs.

I see no reason to compute the numbers for a 40% increase in max fuel loads, plus structure weight for the A-330.

So;

For a 30% increase in fuel load, structures, etc for a 524,000 MTOW A-330 the new MTOW would be (at full fuel tanks) approximately 604,850 lbs.

For a 35% increase in fuel load, structures, etc for a 524,000 MTOW A-330 the new MTOW would be (at full fuel tanks) approximately 618,325 lbs.

These weight estimates do not include additional landing gear (or a triple duel tandom gear, like the B-777), wing extensions, higher thrust engines, bigger tail surfaces, etc.

The question is would it be economical for EADS to add this kind of growth to the A-330 when A-350 series would become available?

Current invisioned MTOWs for the A-350 and published max fuel loads is;

A-350-800 = 571,000 lbs at 231,880 lbs of fuel (less than the current A-330s)
A-350-900 = 591,000 lbs at 248,200 lbs of fuel (slightly more than the current A-330)
A-350-900R = 657,000 lbs no fuel loads announced
A-350-900F = 657,000 lbs no fuel loads announced

A tanker version of the A-350-900F might be EADS's best proposal for a KC-10A replacement. It should still be in production by the time period of the KC-Y program. We do not know if any version of the A-330 will be in production in 15-20 years.


User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2378 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6264 times:

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 3):
That's my thought as well -- the KC-45 can fill both the "tactical" KC-135 and "strategic" KC-10 roles, at least more so than buying two separate aircraft will. If we see a KC-Y, I would think that to be worthwhile it would have to be larger than an A330, probably 777ish, to be of any value.

Just arm chair quarterbacking here, but if a larger platform is an option would the 748F be a contender? Viewing this presentatiopn is what made me wonder.

http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2005-02.pdf



Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
User currently offline328JET From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6252 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 20):
A tanker version of the A-350-900F might be EADS's best proposal for a KC-10A replacement.

Sorry, but can you please provide your figures in metric units?

That makes the whole comparison much less complicated for most of the readers here.

(I really did not check your posted figures against the metric system)





Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 20):
A tanker version of the A-350-900F might be EADS's best proposal for a KC-10A replacement.

NO!

The A350-900 is at least two classes above the capabilities of the KC10.
Make a simple comparison of the civil versions of the DC10 and A359 and you will find big differences in size and capabilities.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12065 posts, RR: 52
Reply 23, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 6213 times:

Quoting 328JET (Reply 22):
Sorry, but can you please provide your figures in metric units?
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 20):
Then to become close to the KC-10 off-load capability, the A-330 would need a minimum of a 30% increase in fuel load, but more likely a 35%-40% fuel load capablilty, not including the extra structual weight.

Let's look at some numbers, based on a 524,000 lb MTOW with 245,000 lb fuel load version of the heaviest (current) A-330;

Just for the fuel increase at 30% would be a fuel load increase of 73,500 lbs, to a fuel load of some 318,500 lbs.

A 35% fuel load increase would be a 85,750 lb increase to a max fuel load of 330,750 lbs.

Just using the standard 10% of the increased fuel load in structual, additional fuel tanks, plumbing, pumps, and valves would be;

at 30% the added weight would be about 7,350 lbs

at 35% the added weight would be about 8,575 lbs.

I see no reason to compute the numbers for a 40% increase in max fuel loads, plus structure weight for the A-330.

So;

For a 30% increase in fuel load, structures, etc for a 524,000 MTOW A-330 the new MTOW would be (at full fuel tanks) approximately 604,850 lbs.

For a 35% increase in fuel load, structures, etc for a 524,000 MTOW A-330 the new MTOW would be (at full fuel tanks) approximately 618,325 lbs.

These weight estimates do not include additional landing gear (or a triple duel tandom gear, like the B-777), wing extensions, higher thrust engines, bigger tail surfaces, etc.

The question is would it be economical for EADS to add this kind of growth to the A-330 when A-350 series would become available?

Current invisioned MTOWs for the A-350 and published max fuel loads is;

A-350-800 = 571,000 lbs at 231,880 lbs of fuel (less than the current A-330s)
A-350-900 = 591,000 lbs at 248,200 lbs of fuel (slightly more than the current A-330)
A-350-900R = 657,000 lbs no fuel loads announced
A-350-900F = 657,000 lbs no fuel loads announced

A tanker version of the A-350-900F might be EADS's best proposal for a KC-10A replacement. It should still be in production by the time period of the KC-Y program. We do not know if any version of the A-330 will be in production in 15-20 years.

Here is a rough estimate (as the numbers I arrived at are my estimates only);

30% fuel increase (A-330) is about 33.4 tonnes for a max fuel load of 144.75 tonnes, the new MTOW (including structual mods I mentioned and excluded) would be about 274.9 tonnes.

35% fuel increase (A-330) is about 38.9 tonnes for a max fuel load of about 150 tonnes, the new MTOW (including structual mods I mentioned and excluded) would be about 281.0 tonnes.

I used the simple method of dividing the lbs of weight by 2200, which is 1000 kgs, and equiles about one long tonne. It is enough to get you in the ball park.

So the MTOW of the A-350-900F would be about 298.6 tonnes.

I hope this helps.


User currently offline328JET From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 6204 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 23):
Here is a rough estimate (as the numbers I arrived at are my estimates only);

30% fuel increase (A-330) is about 33.4 tonnes for a max fuel load of 144.75 tonnes, the new MTOW (including structual mods I mentioned and excluded) would be about 274.9 tonnes.

35% fuel increase (A-330) is about 38.9 tonnes for a max fuel load of about 150 tonnes, the new MTOW (including structual mods I mentioned and excluded) would be about 281.0 tonnes.

I used the simple method of dividing the lbs of weight by 2200, which is 1000 kgs, and equiles about one long tonne. It is enough to get you in the ball park.

So the MTOW of the A-350-900F would be about 298.6 tonnes.

Hey many thanks!  


But i cannot agree completely...

I am thinking about an A330MRTT which has MTOW of around 250tons - so basically 12tons more than the latest CIVIL version of the A332.

I am also not sure if the structure needs to be changed, as a lot of structure is the A342/343 structure already.
The wing, for example, is already strengthened in contrast to the A342/343 wing.

If we assume a 12 tons increase of the actual MTOW of the A332, then i am confident that new tires will be needed, to get a lower PCN, but not much more.

So, in total, this new A330MRTT version, would have a tank capacity of 111tons plus 17tons minus the weight for the additional tanks.

Let s say new tank capacity would be around 126tons.

That is much less then the KC10s capability, but we have to see the 30 percent lower own fuel consumption vs. the KC10.

Also i know that Airbus is studying the GEnx engine for future variants of the tanker.
That would further improve the fuel burn advantage against the KC10 to around 40percent.

But it is all a bit speculation in the moment, let us wait and see how things develope.


25 KC135TopBoom : I thought GE closed the door on the GEnx for Airbus? At least on the A-350. I don't think there is a possibility for the GEnx on the A-330, at least
26 tommytoyz : It would either be a KC-10 re-engine/upgrade program or nothing at all. In my opinion because the US is broke. I even doubt we'll order 179 KC-45s. So
27 KC135TopBoom : I know you ment to type KC-46. But, yes, 18 have been ordered, or will be shortly if not already ordered. These include the 4 flight test aircraft an
28 tommytoyz : Oops, yep. I can imagine the two wing mounted engines being replaced with something like the geared PW engine and leaving the middle engine as is - i
29 kanban : sounds that way anyway, however I'm willing to bet if you were to separate the 4 test a/c from the 18, the cost of those 14 would be substantially lo
30 KC135TopBoom : Correct, the 4 flight test aircraft will costs about $1B, or some $250M each (part of that includes testing costs and FAA certification costs, and re
31 Flighty : I really really doubt any such re-engine would be justified by fuel economy. That type of project is expensive. These jets fly very sparingly. The fu
32 KC135TopBoom : I agree the KC-135s should not retire before the end of their useful lives. But the average costs for the first 18 KC-46s is misleading, as it is two
33 bikerthai : Whoa!!! I didn't realize the schedule was so tight. bikerthai
34 kanban : The way we've drifted off topic, is it safe to say a KC-Y is not likely at this time and probably not on the horizon for the next 10 years?
35 KC135TopBoom : Correct. I would not expect the KC-Y compitition for at least 15 years from now. The USAF may begin doing all the prelim work in about 10 years, but
36 PC12Fan : Would I assume correctly is that it's because the KC-10 fleet isn't in as dire financial condition as the KC-135 fleet?
37 Burkhard : By the time these aircraft could be needed, many more countries will have completely dropped their air forces, and all others will have shrunk very mu
38 KC135TopBoom : It isn't, then again neither is the KC-135R. Even according to the USAF, both aircraft can easily fly well into the 2040s. But with the early retirem
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