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VC-X, KC-46, Other Updates  
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5648 times:

http://www.defensenews.com/article/2...odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

It seems the USAF has begun the AF-1 replacement, the VC-X. The story doesn't mention money but I am sure it will be added into the DOD FY-2013 budget, as will money for the Marine-1 replacement. The USAF is looking at a 2019 date to begin adding the equipment needed for the new AF-1. The USMC is looking at a V-XX date around 2023. For the VC-X program, the B-747-8I is the current front runner, although no selection has been made. In the past few years the USAF had stated they would need 3 new airplanes to replace the two current VC-25As.

It also looks like the USAF is going to strech out the KC-46A buy program. Originally the USAF wanted 124 of them by 2021, now they only plan on buying 83 by 2022. So I guess the KC-135 will have to soldier on for a bit longer.

The T-X program (T-38 replacement) is back, but it will not be in the FY-2013 budget. Productioned is looking like beginning in 2018 with an IOC of 2020.

The new bomber is currently expected in the mid 2020s.

A new program has shown up, the F-X which is to begin replacing the F-22As with a Gen VI fighter by the end of this decade. Sounds like the F-22 may not be all it could be.

The USN also has a new fighter program, the FA-XX, which is to replace the F/A-18E/F with a Gen VI fighter.

Between 2013 and 2022 the overall DOD fleet of aircraft will grow from the current projection of 14,340 planes to 14,415 planes at a cost of about $770B.

35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 3906 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5634 times:

Thanks for the roundup, interesting times  
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
A new program has shown up, the F-X which is to begin replacing the F-22As with a Gen VI fighter by the end of this decade. Sounds like the F-22 may not be all it could be.

Well, going by various reports, the current F-22 is lacking a lot of the electronics and avionics capabilities that were promised at the outset (with billions of dollars of upgrades being asked for to get there), plus its already having external panels and parts redesigned with replacement parts being modeled off of F-35 production methods, for easier and cheaper maintenance of the LO capability.

More likely tho, going by the "end of this decade", it will be a refresh (F/A-22B for example) rather than a fully new airframe - 8 years is not going to get you a new airframe, lets face it...


User currently offlineRaginMav From United States of America, joined May 2004, 376 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5626 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):

A new program has shown up, the F-X which is to begin replacing the F-22As with a Gen VI fighter by the end of this decade. Sounds like the F-22 may not be all it could be.

After a bit of head scratching on that one (moo is right - no chance at a new airframe in 8 years), I took a look at the article. It actually says...

Quote:
The plan, for the first time, notes the emergence of a Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor replacement, dubbed F-X. The Pentagon plans to start spending money on development of this sixth-generation aircraft Air Force aircraft toward the end of the decade.

So tack on another 20 years of development... and it's much more reasonable.


User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 3906 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5600 times:

Quoting RaginMav (Reply 2):
So tack on another 20 years of development... and it's much more reasonable.

Is that including program delays...?  


User currently offlinechuchoteur From France, joined Sep 2006, 763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5560 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
It seems the USAF has begun the AF-1 replacement, the VC-X.

... fortunately, this time round it should be a straightforward affair (at least in terms of airframe selection).

During the last RFP EADS/Airbus were forced to submit a proposal (it was one of the informal pre-conditions to be able to tender for the Tanker), but they really didn't want to... As long as the Air Force gets a decent price from Boeing for the green airframes, it should go well...

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
The USMC is looking at a V-XX date around 2023

After the previous project got canned, I wonder if they're re-starting from scratch? Seems mega expensive for the taxpayer if that is the case...

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
The T-X program (T-38 replacement) is back

That is definitely one of the more urgent programs... and I hope it goes well.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 5475 times:

At today's list prices, a new build B-747-8I costs about $333M each, so to buy 3 of them at listed prices is $1B. But like the airlines when they buy Boeing, the USAF is a preferred customer and gets a significant discount. The real costs of the new AF-1s, which I think will be called the VC-47As (the C-47 is the next number in the MDS system, since the C-46 was taken by the KC-46 tanker), as I don't see another cargo jet in the DOD near future, will be in all the speced equipment the WH and SS demands. I believe that means each new AF-1 will cost north of $850M.

The F-X program can be almost anything at this point. It may well address the shortfalls of the F-22A, and some of the shortfalls of the F-35. The F-35 will not replace all the current airplanes it is suppose to replace, the F-16, F/A-18C/D, A-10, AV-8B, and F-15E. Maybe the FB-22 proposed program may come back, but even that won't replace the A-10. The Warthog is the odd man out, as it cannot be replaced by a multi-role airplane, and it is absolutley vital to our grunts.

I agree the T-X is badly needed. As is the new replacement bomber. The B-1B is getting old.


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5257 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
The F-X program can be almost anything at this point. It may well address the shortfalls of the F-22A, and some of the shortfalls of the F-35

Sounds like the initial RFP for the ATF program in the eairly 80s. It only took 24 years to get the F-22 out of that. At this rate you are looking at a 30 year development phase for a 6th gen fighter... if they start spending by the end of the decade, that puts the F-22 replacement in the 2040s, F-22 phase out in the 2050s. I dont think the commitment to look at a replacement now is any statement on any shortfalls of the F-22.


The T-X REALLY needs to be a simple multi use airframe, as much off the shelf as possible, designed with lots of room to add systems and upgrades, and simple. Did I mention simple?

[Edited 2012-04-13 13:57:46]

User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3472 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5231 times:
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Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 4):
from Boeing for the green airframes


Boeing will fully outfit these.. no green airframes.!


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5207 times:

Quoting Oroka (Reply 6):
The T-X REALLY needs to be a simple multi use airframe, as much off the shelf as possible, designed with lots of room to add systems and upgrades, and simple. Did I mention simple?

The US really doesn't need a multi-use trainer, like some countries do. It does not need to be a simple light weight fighter or attack or reconn airplane. What we need is a good supersonic trainer to replace the T-38.


User currently offlineDiamondFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1527 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5137 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
The US really doesn't need a multi-use trainer, like some countries do. It does not need to be a simple light weight fighter or attack or reconn airplane. What we need is a good supersonic trainer to replace the T-38.

If it means a cheaper airplane, we most certainly do. Especially if it's a training airframe that can do at least part of what the A-10 does. Simply put, the M.346 or the T-50 would both be exactly what we need. Heck, I'd go as far to say as an L-159 would suffice. There is no need for a purely supersonic T-X, especially when you consider by the time we get the thing in service, the UAS field is going to be massively larger than it is now.

-DiamondFlyer


User currently offlineDevilfish From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4794 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 5041 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):

It seems the USAF has begun the AF-1 replacement, the VC-X. The story doesn't mention money but I am sure it will be added into the DOD FY-2013 budget, as will money for the Marine-1 replacement.

Finally, threads asking about when AF1 would be replaced may cease coming. Also, as Airbus had opted out long ago, those asking what the replacement would be need not wonder any longer.....

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Royal S King


Indications are it will have the requisite 10 year in-service record. What remains is the hope that this not follow the path of the last VH-1 acquisition.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
in all the speced equipment the WH and SS demands. I believe that means each new AF-1 will cost north of $850M.

But with all that, the temptation to surpass all expectations is very real.           


Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
What we need is a good supersonic trainer to replace the T-38.
Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 9):
Simply put, the M.346 or the T-50 would both be exactly what we need.

Of the two, only the T-50 could really be billed supersonic. No details yet on Boeing's purported entry.....

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/th...2011/09/19/Boeing%20TX%20thumb.jpg

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 9):
There is no need for a purely supersonic T-X, especially when you consider by the time we get the thing in service, the UAS field is going to be massively larger than it is now.

It would obviate the need for expensive transition time on F-16s, which also would be on the way out by that time. Not to mention training for the new F-X they're talking up now.

[Edited 2012-04-14 05:40:43]


"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4431 posts, RR: 19
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 5005 times:

Seriously, why does the USAF need THREE Vcx airframes ?


The 748 seems an ideal replacement, the current VC25's are a set of two which seems reasonable.


But three ?


Ridiculous.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 8991 posts, RR: 75
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 5004 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
At today's list prices, a new build B-747-8I costs about $333M each, so to buy 3 of them at listed prices is $1B. But like the airlines when they buy Boeing, the USAF is a preferred customer and gets a significant discount. The real costs of the new AF-1s, which I think will be called the VC-47As (the C-47 is the next number in the MDS system, since the C-46 was taken by the KC-46 tanker), as I don't see another cargo jet in the DOD near future, will be in all the speced equipment the WH and SS demands. I believe that means each new AF-1 will cost north of $850M.

I doubt the USAF gets any significant discount from Boeing on 3 heavily modified one of a kind aircraft.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 4995 times:

Quoting zeke (Reply 12):
I doubt the USAF gets any significant discount from Boeing on 3 heavily modified one of a kind aircraft.

But they would essentially be buying 3 'green' aircraft. The modifications to what ever the new AF-1 standards will be may, or may not be done by Boeing. Also, the USAF is a significant customer of Boeing with the C-17 and KC-46 aircraft (yes USAF C-17 production is winding down). Also, the prestege (real or imagined) of building the Air Force-1 airplanes for Boeing is advertising around the world. Many people, including here on a.net refer to the VC-25s as "B-747s" and the former VC-137s as "B-707s".

Quoting Max Q (Reply 11):
Seriously, why does the USAF need THREE Vcx airframes ?


The 748 seems an ideal replacement, the current VC25's are a set of two which seems reasonable.


But three ?

Since both VC-25s are used on every Presidential trip, one primary and one back-up, it makes it difficult to schedule heavy maintenance. Three airplanes would solve that problem.


User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 8991 posts, RR: 75
Reply 14, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 4989 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):

I have never hear of Boeing giving the US government significant discounts for anything, P8, KC-46, C17 included. All the engineering design and modifications will need to recovered in the 3 frames, and a significant markup? Look at the KC-46, the first 4 aircraft are earmarked to cost 1.2 billion EACH, that is what is costing the government for those modifications on 4 SDD airframes.

http://mccain.senate.gov/public/inde...994ee3-245f-4bb9-9c5f-de5f73d871b1

The VC-X airframes is bound to need more modification than the VC-25 to pack more technology, and more protection into the airframe. Each VC-25 was $325 million in 1986, that is 680 million in today's money.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3516 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 4984 times:
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Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
Since both VC-25s are used on every Presidential trip, one primary and one back-up, it makes it difficult to schedule heavy maintenance. Three airplanes would solve that problem.

Two VC-25s go only on the overseas trips. Since the 2 VC-25s are relatively low time, I'd suggest the AF keep those in service (much as they did the VC-137s) for use as the backup 3rd aircraft after the new airplane comes online.



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User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 4967 times:

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 15):
Since the 2 VC-25s are relatively low time, I'd suggest the AF keep those in service (much as they did the VC-137s) for use as the backup 3rd aircraft after the new airplane comes online.

Agreed. 3 seems like overkill to me.



Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineNewark727 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 1340 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 4942 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):

The new bomber is currently expected in the mid 2020s.

I find the idea of a new, "full-size" (?,) capital-B bomber to be very interesting. It seems (to me at least with no firsthand knowledge) that so much of that job has passed to smaller strike fighters in a lot of places, but we're obviously still getting mileage out of the ones we have. What sort of form would a B-1B replacement take?


User currently offlineSSTeve From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 700 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4937 times:

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 16):
Agreed. 3 seems like overkill to me.

Me too. Maybe they're asking for three, so that Congress can cut it to two and give themselves a good pat on the back.


User currently offlineDiamondFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1527 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4925 times:

Quoting Devilfish (Reply 10):

It would obviate the need for expensive transition time on F-16s, which also would be on the way out by that time. Not to mention training for the new F-X they're talking up now.

Really? Do we not have the ability to use a simulator to teach some of these things? Is there anything that requires a supersonic training jet? Most of the military pilot's I've heard speak about doing supersonic training more or less say that going supersonic is barely noticeable. If that's the case, what is the difference between an M.346 running around at .8-.9 and a T-50 running around at 1.1-1.2? Why do the pilots who fly the B2 need a supersonic jet to train in? They don't.

I really feel that the best training, for the money, we can do is, T-6, then a non-supersonic jet and then training in the "career" jet.

-DiamondFlyer


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 20, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 4864 times:

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 15):
Two VC-25s go only on the overseas trips.
Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 16):
3 seems like overkill to me.
Quoting SSTeve (Reply 18):
Maybe they're asking for three, so that Congress can cut it to two and give themselves a good pat on the back.

Three is the number the USAF said, last year, they would ask for. Maybe the idea originated with the WH?

Quoting zeke (Reply 14):
Each VC-25 was $325 million in 1986, that is 680 million in today's money.

I know. That's why I said this.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
I believe that means each new AF-1 will cost north of $850M.


User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 4858 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 20):
Maybe the idea originated with the WH?

To me it matters little with whom the idea originated, I think its plenty wasteful and wholly unneccassary. As ZANL188 stated I think it would be better to keep a VC-25 or both as back up. If it was just a matter of buying an airframe it would be bad enough, but the cost of making it the 'flying white house' just makes paying for 3 new AF1's too much. Just my opinion.



Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineDevilfish From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4794 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 4848 times:

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 19):

Really? Do we not have the ability to use a simulator to teach some of these things?

You certainly could pull 'Gs' while earthbound, but like they say..."Ain't nothin' like the real thing."

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 19):
Is there anything that requires a supersonic training jet?

Why else (besides if they'd be flying on F-16s forever) would the air force send them to train on F-16s before transitioning to the others?

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 19):
Why do the pilots who fly the B2 need a supersonic jet to train in? They don't.

But those who would fly the B-1B and that future bomber they're planning, and would-be fighter jocks do.

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 19):
then a non-supersonic jet and then training in the "career" jet.

It 'd be enlightening to compare hourly flight training and maintenance costs on F-15s, F-35s and F-22s with those on a T-50. And also very interesting to see CO's, the AF's and DoD's reaction should a 5th Gen fighter be lost in training.

[Edited 2012-04-14 17:15:33]


"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineDiamondFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1527 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 4833 times:

Ok, another idea. Rather than buying a bunch of supersonic trainers, why not buy a super cheap jet trainer, something like the L-159, and keep the F-16 around as a training jet?

-DiamondFlyer


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3472 posts, RR: 27
Reply 24, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 4807 times:
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Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
But they would essentially be buying 3 'green' aircraft. The modifications to what ever the new AF-1 standards will be may, or may not be done by Boeing.



These two or three a/c will be unique builds not BBJ green frames. everything from the wiring to floor beams, from retractable forward and aft air-stairs, access to the cargo bay, aerial refueling to chaff dispensers (or what ever the latest anti missile defense is) is different from any commercial unit. The interiors will be built and installed by Boeing as part of the package. (fewer eyes seeing sensitive details and systems/electrical integration are a b**ch)

I seem to recall Boeing lost money on all the previous AF1's however it was worth the public relations.... but we did pretty good on the C-32's and C-40's


25 Revelation : IIRC the theory behind this is that they take out two VCs whenever the pres makes a trip in case there's a fault with one, so it makes it 'awkward' f
26 KC135TopBoom : They already lost one with the fatal crash of a F-22 in Alaska a few years ago. They also lost a billion dollar bomber, a B-2 in Guam a few years bef
27 rwessel : In addition to one of the YF-22s, they've lost three F-22s, although one of those was during the flight test program.
28 Devilfish : The ALCA had been out of production for a while now. What the Czechs have are excess stored examples which they have been trying to unload for the be
29 ZANL188 : They only take 2 VC-25s on overseas trips. On the domestic trips it's just one VC-25 or one of the smaller airplanes. No reason the White House can't
30 Confuscius : Wouldn't it be cheaper if it's outsourced? I'm sure China would be interested.
31 HaveBlue : Me too. The B-2 certainly had nothing to do with operator error whatsoever. And both F-22 fatalities were the result of the oxygen system imo. The US
32 kanban : there's cheap and then there's security and the fewer that know what's under the skin the better.
33 KC135TopBoom : The Alaska F-22 accident was a CAP training sortie. The Guam B-2 accident was a redeployment sortie. Correct.
34 Post contains links and images Devilfish : I bet they're raring for a chance to return the favor they received with the (allegedly) bugged 767 presidential plane. They also want to offer for t
35 KC135TopBoom : Yeah, I'm sure they will get a fair compitition, too.
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