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KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel  
User currently offlineAn225 From Israel, joined May 2005, 190 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 10620 times:

Hello all,
Today I saw in the Israeli newspapers the same item stating that the US government will sell some new (?!?!?) KC-135 refulers as well as the V-22, missiles and other defence items.
As we know well, there are no "new" KC-135's since the 707 line is shut down for years. So here are some interesting questions come to mind:
What kind of airframes will be sold to Israel, in terms of number of hours logged and general MX condition?
Will they sell moth-balled KC-135's with the old J-57 engines or the ones with CFM engines?

An225

79 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 881 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 10613 times:

They can't possibly be new ones. My guess is the IAF is getting some tankers with the CFM engines at a pretty good price. Might be mothballed ones upgraded or just a few as the USAF brings their own new tankers into service.

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29799 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 10608 times:

Actually there hasn't been a new KC-135 since the Eisenhower administration. Both the 367-80 and 707 are different airframes.

I am going to guess that if they are no R models they will be upgraded before transfer. I don't know if you get parts fir J-57 engines anymore.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2930 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10596 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 1):
am going to guess that if they are no R models they will be upgraded before transfer. I don't know if you get parts fir J-57 engines anymore.

Israel's 707/KC-137 fleet has JT3D powerplants. Why not sell them some E models?



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineSSTeve From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 706 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10591 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 2):
I am going to guess that if they are no R models they will be upgraded before transfer. I don't know if you get parts fir J-57 engines anymore.

Chile's recent acquisition from US stores were KC-135Es with TF-33s. Not sure whether you consider that a "J-57," but it does seem they'll be around awhile longer.


User currently offlineAn225 From Israel, joined May 2005, 190 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10572 times:

Thanks for the info.

Regarding the J57's parts - IAF is using them so there are sources for parts, aren't there?

Another issue comes to mind - maintenance of a mixed refuelers fleet. IAF has its refuelers based on old 707's which are not the same airframe as the KC-135, and with different engines (J-57/JT3/CFM56) it must be a nightmare to maintain such old and diverse fleet. So here are my Q's:
1. What kind of overhaul will they need to perform on moth-balled frames? How long should it take?
2. Will it be wise/possible to re-engine the whole fleet with CFM's - both current 707 tankers fleet and the newcomers USAF frames?
3. What kind of commonality of parts/maintenance could be expected in a mixed fleet of converted 707 tankers (current fleet) and USAF frames?

An225


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 10501 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 2):
Actually there hasn't been a new KC-135 since the Eisenhower administration.

No the last year of the KC-135 was the 1964 models, they were delivered in 1966.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 3):
Why not sell them some E models?

That would make sense, considering all the life remaining on them. It was all BS when the USAF said the KC-135Es were suffering from strut corrosion, then they sold some to Chile.

Quoting SSTeve (Reply 4):
Chile's recent acquisition from US stores were KC-135Es with TF-33s. Not sure whether you consider that a "J-57," but it does seem they'll be around awhile longer.
Quoting An225 (Reply 5):
Another issue comes to mind - maintenance of a mixed refuelers fleet. IAF has its refuelers based on old 707's which are not the same airframe as the KC-135, and with different engines (J-57/JT3/CFM56) it must be a nightmare to maintain such old and diverse fleet. So here are my Q's:
1. What kind of overhaul will they need to perform on moth-balled frames? How long should it take?
2. Will it be wise/possible to re-engine the whole fleet with CFM's - both current 707 tankers fleet and the newcomers USAF frames?
3. What kind of commonality of parts/maintenance could be expected in a mixed fleet of converted 707 tankers (current fleet) and USAF frames?

1. We are assuming here they will be KC-135Es given to the IDF. If that is true, The airplanes would first have to be reactived at DM, then flown to TIK for depot maintenance, and records check. In the mean time the first IDF crews will go through training and qualification. If the airplanes are to be KC-135Rs from the active inventory (like the RAF RC-135s were), then it is just a matter of selecting the individual airframes and the training.

2. I don't think the CFM-56-2B engine is in production anymore. But a different CFM-56 engine, like the -5B or -7B could be selected. IAI could do the work on both the KC-135s and the KC/B-707s.

3. There are very few common parts between the KC-135 and the B-707-320B/C airframes. But the IDF KC-707s are equipped with the KC-135 Boom, and some of the plumbing, valves, and pumps. The only airframe interchangeable parts I can think of are the cockpit windows, and maybe some Boom Pod parts.

If this sale happens, I think it is a great move for the IDF.

BTW, there are something like 1000-1200 J-57 engines of various models at DM, having been removed from KC-135As and B-52F/Gs. So, parts for the engines are not a problem for a long, long time. Now the water injection system parts might be a different story.

[Edited 2013-04-19 16:36:51]

User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1720 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 10169 times:

Quoting An225 (Reply 5):
3. What kind of commonality of parts/maintenance could be expected in a mixed fleet of converted 707 tankers (current fleet) and USAF frames?

We are assuming of course the Israeli's intend on flying the 707 tankers alongside the KC-135's. From the material I am reading, they are expected to retire the 707 tankers.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9780 times:

Actually, the IDF B-707s don't have as many hours and cycles on them as you would think. The ELINT-707s will be around for a while.

Do we know how many KC-135s Israel will get from the USAF?


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 16 hours ago) and read 9588 times:

The Israeli 707 tankers use a flying boom modified from the Boeing KC-97, which they operated previously.

It's worth remembering during the 1970s as Israel was negotiating the sale of F-15s and F-16s from the United States that the IAF requested KC-135s to refuel the newly acquired fighters. The United States declined, arguing that an air refueling capability would give the Israelis the ability to project airpower across the Levant and elsewhere when the F-15s and F-16s were being sold as "defensive" equipment. [Given Dayan's definition of "defensive" it is hard to swallow this argument....]

Readers may wish to consider Bill Norton's outstanding "Air War on the Edge," pp 276 ff.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 881 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 15 hours ago) and read 9564 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
Actually, the IDF B-707s don't have as many hours and cycles on them as you would think. The ELINT-707s will be around for a while.

Do we know how many KC-135s Israel will get from the USAF?

It would seem to make sense to me that they would replace all their tankers with the upgraded 135's. It is a good time to do it. They will be cheap. Parts will be plentiful for a long time. As the US starts to replace their 135's you can hoard parts to keep yours flying for a very long time. Israel does not need a huge air tanker capacity so getting the job done cheaply makes a lot of sense for them. Ditch the old engines and airframes which will eventually become hard to keep in the air (at least before the R models) and upgrade while you can do it. That way you don't get stuck having to buy a brand new piece of equipment later at a much higher cost.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 9426 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 10):
They will be cheap. Parts will be plentiful for a long time. As the US starts to replace their 135's you can hoard parts to keep yours flying for a very long time. Israel does not need a huge air tanker capacity so getting the job done cheaply makes a lot of sense for them


That analysis applies to the USAF as well. The USAF is wasting money by retiring the KC-135 too early by replacing them with brand new tankers.

[Edited 2013-04-22 13:48:37]

User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 881 posts, RR: 11
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 8 hours ago) and read 9399 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 11):
That analysis applies to the USAF as well. The USAF is wasting money by retiring the KC-135 too early by replacing them with brand new tankers.

I don't know about that at all. The USAF is a very different situation. At some point they have to establish a supply source for new tankers. They can't just run KC-135's into the ground like Israel can (and will). Over 400 are operated today. You can't just wait until they are all about to crap out and order up 300 new tankers for delivery in 5 years.

The Air Force got its hands on the 767 production at a pretty ideal time really. They can have control of the line to themselves for the most part. Wait 5 years and it may or may not have been an option to get a 767 based tanker. For whatever reason (not worth getting into here) a foreign built tanker was just not going to happen. There are legit concerns about ongoing MX cost with the KC-135 as well.

I suppose you could make an argument to just soldier on with the KC-135's for another decade or two, MX cost be damned. But I don't think replacing them is a travesty or anything. You will get some more capability (cargo particularly) with the new aircraft and you were going to have to buy tankers at some point. Better to do it now with a well understood airframe in the 767 than put it off.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 6 hours ago) and read 9365 times:

Quoting rc135x (Reply 9):
rc135x

You are correct, a modified KC-97 Boom was initially installed on the IDF KC-707s, but when the USAF ordered additional KC-135 Booms (because they were down to just 10 rebuildable spares for a fleet of 650 KC-135A/D/E/Qs SAC wide), some Booms were built for the IDF's B-707 tankers. Look at the Booms now on the KC-707s. The ruddervators are clearly hydraulicly powered (they were cable operated for the KC-97).

It would be extremely difficult for a Boom Operator to maneuver an unpowered Boom at 315 KIAS, thus the need for the new Booms. The USAF order for 75 additional Booms from Boeing included the Israeli Booms (8, including spares, IIRC).

The IDF modified their B-707s to tankers because of the F-15 and F-16 orders. Since they had installed probes on their F-4Es, they used the KC-130 to refuel them.


User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2930 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 9128 times:

The most recent word on tankers for Israel are just 3 KC-135s, no word on what model though.


The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 9104 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 12):
I suppose you could make an argument to just soldier on with the KC-135's for another decade or two, MX cost be damned.

This has been hashed over many times and is not part of this thread, so I won't get into details. There are many GAO and USAF official papers that say this that you can read on this topic. The KC-135s can go on till 2045-55 or so. Many will stay in the fleet till 2035. The B-52s are just as old.

The argument of maintenance costs being too much, is a myth, if you compare those costs with the costs for a new plane and maintaining it. The 767 doesn't maintain itself. The the KC-135 look very cheap.

The maintenance depot knows the KC-135 frame intimately and has replaced everything that needs replacing, structurally already on 500 or so KC-135, including engines. There is a ton of life still left in them, which the USAF and the GAO all concur on. It's not a capability or safety issue and to illustrate, the KC-135 fleet has had the highest readiness rate of all USAF frames for several recent years and has always been near the top in that department.

If you go be readiness rate, the F-22 would be scrapped.

In any case, the USAF tanker fleet is under utilized as it is. The Israeli's will be able to operate theirs very reliably and for little money for many decades with the help of the USAF maintenance depot.


User currently offlinemmo From Qatar, joined Apr 2013, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 9074 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 15):
In any case, the USAF tanker fleet is under utilized as it is.

Absolutely, not true. The KC-135 fleet has out flown the programmed hours for the past few years. While I agree there is substantial life remaining, the overfly is presenting big Depot issues. More so for just trying to keep with Depot maintenance.



If we weren't all crazy we would all go insane
User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 881 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 9006 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 15):
This has been hashed over many times and is not part of this thread, so I won't get into details. There are many GAO and USAF official papers that say this that you can read on this topic. The KC-135s can go on till 2045-55 or so. Many will stay in the fleet till 2035. The B-52s are just as old.

Even according to the schedule out there only 179 tankers bought to replace 460ish KC-135's and KC-10's by 2027. If you don't want to start buying some of those 450ish planes now when would you suggest is the right time to start buying them and at what sort of production rate do you want to do it? If we accept that those planes all have to go by 2050 and that KC-46 production would start in 2015 at a rate of 15 per year. we end up with 525 tankers by 2050. Seems to me that if you don't want some sort of capability gap you need to start buying now. The longer one can stretch the procurement program out over the less year on year impact it has on the budget. Also until current plans change part of that buy is to drive up the current tanker fleet numbers anyway rather than straight replacement.

So when exactly would you start buying new tankers?


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1720 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 8997 times:

Quoting mmo (Reply 16):
Absolutely, not true. The KC-135 fleet has out flown the programmed hours for the past few years. While I agree there is substantial life remaining, the overfly is presenting big Depot issues. More so for just trying to keep with Depot maintenance.

Indeed, calculations using a predicted structural service life of 70,000 hours (structural data only) and based on current annual flight hours reveal that the structural life could extend into the twenty-second century. However, these numbers taken alone are misleading as they do not include the effects of corrosion, and part obsolesce.

There will be a point where fixing corrosion and specially manufacturing small numbers of parts that are no longer made or finding and certifying a replacement part is no longer worth it.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1720 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 8985 times:

I will note as part of this sale to Israel, that there is AESA radar upgrades to the current F-15's and F-16's along with various munitions. Also mentioned is a sale to the UAE for roughly 25 F-16 Block 60's as well.

User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 8948 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 17):
So when exactly would you start buying new tankers?

When the KC-135 actually need replacing, beginning in 2030 or 2040 or so, not now.

There would be no gap if done this way and we would not waste a valuable capital asset. If you want tanker increases that's another story.

But I have not heard anywhere that our current capabilities are lacking in any way. The tankers fly few hours as it is. Even if they have recently seen an uptick in usage, it's still not going to make a dent for several decades. If we need a few more, then fine. However I have not read we need more tankers. If we needed more, we still have many KC-135Es mothballed that can be activated or converted to Rs.

What's the rush?


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1720 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 8923 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
When the KC-135 actually need replacing, beginning in 2030 or 2040 or so, not now.

You don't plan a replacement after when the asset is going to retire, you plan prior to. Also, the current predictions using airframe cycles and hours does not take into account corrosion and parts obsolesce issues, which are often just as pressing.

You may have an airframe that may still have plenty of life left in it, but various components on board are no longer made and / or the manufacturer has long gone out of business. I can relate a story regarding our CC-115 Buffalo's; the motor for the windshield wipers for our Buffalo's is no longer made. To reopen production for this part would cost a lot of money, and considering that it would only be a fairly small order, would be not cost effective. The alternative is to find another motor that can do the same job and then do testing and certification to make it work, which is just as daunting a task.

We are already seeing this with the KC-135R's; the CFM56-2 engines are no longer made. We will need to certify a whole new engine or derivative for this.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
But I have not heard anywhere that our current capabilities are lacking in any way. The tankers fly few hours as it is. Even if they have recently seen an uptick in usage, it's still not going to make a dent for several decades. If we need a few more, then fine.

The lack of ability of a boom-configured KC-135 to refuel Navy, Marine and allied aircraft that use the drogue method is a concern. You can configure the boom on a KC-135 with a drogue attachment, but then that KC-135 won't be able to refuel aircraft that require the boom.

And before you point out that there are refueling pods to the KC-135's wings, the USAF only have a small number of them, and only a handful of KC-135R's are configured and equipped with the pods (roughly 45 aircraft total). I also believe that the exact pods (Cobham Mk32B pods) are no longer made, meaning new pods will have to be purchased and then certified for use.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 22, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 8854 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 17):
BigJKU

The KC-46 will not replace all KC-135s and KC-10s. Few, if any KC-135R/Ts will retire in the next 15 years, and no KC-10As are scheduled to retire. The KC-46A buy is really replacing the 140 or so KC-135Es that have already been retired, bring the USAF tanker fleet back up to near 600 airplanes.

The KC-10 will be replaced by the KC-Y program, beginning in about 10 years, or so. The KC-Z program will replace the bulk of the KC-135R/Ts beginning around 2030, or so.

Quoting mmo (Reply 16):
mmo

The KC-135s are on a 5 year PDM schedule. It is not tied to airframe hours or cycles. Before 9/11 the KC-135 fleet flew an annual average of about 450 hours per airplane. Since 9/11 that rate has jumped to about 750 hours per airplane annually. That means prior to 9/11 the KC-135s cycled through the depot with about 2250 hours between visits. Today it is about 3750 hours between visits. That's not even at the annual rate of flying of commercial NB airplanes.

Both Boeing and the USAF keep a close eye on the health of the KC-135. Corrosion is the biggest problem for the KC-135, or any other airplane. There are new techniques for controlling and fighting corrosion and parts are made or salvaged from donor KC-135s at AMARC as needed. In the mid 2000s the KC-135 fleet, as a whole had extensive corrosion problems which caused each individual airplane to have an extended depot visit until the problem areas were repaired. That is pretty much behind the KC-135 now as almost all of them have been through depot at least once since the major corrosion repairs were completed.

There is plenty of useable and safe life still left in the KC-135 fleet, that is why the fleet will not be replaced until the KC-Z program begins. Pay no attention to the USAF talking point of just a 39,000 life span for the KC-135R/T fleet. An RC-135 just past the 50,000 hour point while flying a combat mission recently, and it is still in the inventory and will be for many years to come.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 881 posts, RR: 11
Reply 23, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 8850 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
When the KC-135 actually need replacing, beginning in 2030 or 2040 or so, not now.

There would be no gap if done this way and we would not waste a valuable capital asset. If you want tanker increases that's another story.

But I have not heard anywhere that our current capabilities are lacking in any way. The tankers fly few hours as it is. Even if they have recently seen an uptick in usage, it's still not going to make a dent for several decades. If we need a few more, then fine. However I have not read we need more tankers. If we needed more, we still have many KC-135Es mothballed that can be activated or converted to Rs.

What's the rush?

It is a matter of budgeting. If you start buying in 2030 and have to have them all replaced by 2050 then you are going to have to buy 23 tankers a year instead of 15. Your year on year expenditure is 35% higher than it is if you start now and you would be incurring higher MX cost on the remaining KC-135's at the same time you had to buy all these tankers. If you waited until 2040 you have to buy 46 tankers a years and your year on year expenditure is about 70% higher than it would be during that 10 year period.

The Air Force has a relatively consistent budget for acquisition. They know they will need around 400 tankers by the middle of the century. They know they can't likely buy them in batches of 30 or 40 a year without squeezing out everything else. This is simple prudent acquisition planning on their part.

Going beyond the simple financial planning aspect of it there is the question of where exactly are you going to get the tankers from if you don't order them now in reasonably low numbers. Neither Airbus nor Boeing generally keep a spare capacity for throwing another 20-50 wide body aircraft a year off their production lines.

767 average (31 Years): 33 Frames (63 peak)
777 average (15 Years): 70 Frames (88 peak)
A330 average (20 Years): 48 Frames (101 peak, averaged 84 the last 6 years)

If you rolled up to either manufacturer in 2040 and said I need to buy 46 tankers per year for the next 10 years they would look at you like you are insane. You have to expand your production line by 50% or more in most cases to try and fit the order in. And as we have seen production line ramp ups are no small issue.

Then you have to take into account the airframe cost.

767: $160-$180 million
777: $297 million
A330: $203 million

If you don't buy the 767 now it won't be around for you to buy in 15 years. The 777 is 50% more expensive per airframe. The A330 is 10-25% more expensive for the base airframe and has a similar problem in that it likely won't be around to buy in 2030 either. 787's and A350's might work but are both more expensive than the 767 by a pretty good margin and really don't provide you with anything the 767 does not.

I get that one could in theory wait on this. But I don't really see the benefit of it in the short or long term picture. The USAF has a chance to get what will basically be a captive production line that will be fully dependent on it to keep operating which should lead to better prices. Boeing or Airbus won't sell production slots on production lines still working for commercial orders for a smaller profit than they could get just selling them to an airline after all. With the 767 line they won't be able to say that the price is not good enough because we are making more selling to American Airlines. Buying 15 a year won't break the purchasing budget of the USAF by any means and it should help drive down MX cost on the KC-135's as you can start cannibalizing parts as you wind down the fleet.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 881 posts, RR: 11
Reply 24, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 8846 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 22):
The KC-46 will not replace all KC-135s and KC-10s. Few, if any KC-135R/Ts will retire in the next 15 years, and no KC-10As are scheduled to retire. The KC-46A buy is really replacing the 140 or so KC-135Es that have already been retired, bring the USAF tanker fleet back up to near 600 airplanes.

The KC-10 will be replaced by the KC-Y program, beginning in about 10 years, or so. The KC-Z program will replace the bulk of the KC-135R/Ts beginning around 2030, or so.

I agree and have never really said anything different. This initial production run is about increasing the size of the tanker fleet. But as I posted above I think it is also about prudent budgeting and fleet planning. You have to start buying something at some point to do it and the longer you wait the bigger impact it has on your annual budgets.

My guess is that you see 767 tankers as the bulk of the force through the KC-Z and KC-X programs and you might see something different for the KC-Y program (ie something bigger). Overall though the numbers add up. If you get 15 a year starting in 2015 that is 525 tankers by 2050 which is about what you would need.

Honestly I think it worked out well that this program slipped to the right. The USAF will have more pricing leverage with Boeing over the 767 cost than it would have in the early 2000's.


25 Post contains links tommytoyz : Maybe that's a good thing. 15 years out, there will probably be a better one available that costs less. As to your comment on the 787/767. The list p
26 Post contains images KC135Hydraulics : Actually we are packaging up one of our planes to send to DM shortly. I wish they'd send the entire fleet. I absolutely hate working on the KC-135. 50
27 ThePointblank : The problem is, a 787 costs more than a 767 and for what the USAF has determined it requires, a more expensive aircraft with more capabilities is not
28 tommytoyz : No, capital cost is the biggest factor by over 10 X. Do the math including the cost of capital. It overshadows all other costs many times over. The 7
29 ThePointblank : No, maintenance costs are generally accepted as being usually at anywhere from double to twenty times the capital costs over the life of a program by
30 cargotanker : Would you run a business with a fleet of 60 year-old vehicles that required extensive upgrades and 30% of them needed to be in the garage for long te
31 KC135TopBoom : Oh, where to begin? Other than the engines, the KC-135E airframe costs approximately the same to maintain as the KC-135R frame does. There are a few
32 135mech : It's funny, I read your posts on here and other threads...it's amazing how "determined" that you are "right" and everyone else is soooo wrong on this
33 BigJKU : Which is really spot on. The E's are in storage now and not being torn down. They "could" be brought back into service but that would increase the dr
34 ThePointblank : Don't forget to adjust for inflation... $4.5 million dollars in 2012 dollars would be $37.9 million.
35 tommytoyz : That is true. And the KC-46 is also going to cost a pretty penny to maintain and operate. Did you factor that in? Add everything together for both pl
36 ThePointblank : However, you forgot that the KC-46 will operate for a much longer time, instead of the estimated 20-30 years. We will probably get at least 40-50 yea
37 KC135TopBoom : That is true, but the 2012 adjusted dollars for the KC-135 is about 1/3 the cost of the 1980 KC-10, and just over 1/5 the costs of new build KC-46s.
38 rc135x : Indeed correct! For the KC-135 this is not a particularly helpful comparison. The issue is not necessarily total airframe hours but utilization hours
39 KC135TopBoom : Correct, the maximum ration one tanker can support is 6 fighters to one tanker Boom. Pictures you see of 12-18 fighters stacked up are fighter packag
40 tommytoyz : The total cost comparison between both programs is a huge undertaking needing a huge amount of facts and data on both programs.The GAO has done that
41 KC135TopBoom : The GAO is full of 'professional bean counters". They look at numbers and only numbers. Even the GAO acknowledges that LCC for any weapons system is
42 rwessel : So your solution is what? Write the military a blank check and hope they spend it wisely? Or trust the "estimates" that come out of the Pentagon and
43 rc135x : I don't believe this is what TopBoom means in his critique of the GAO.* GAO reports can be (and often are) used to prove or disprove an original assu
44 tommytoyz : I've looked for that reference, but can not find anywhere that the GAO urged Congress in this way or made that recommendation. Do you have a link? Th
45 rc135x : I did not state nor mean to imply this was a GAO recommendation, and regret any confusion. References: Congress, House, Subcommittee of the Committee
46 KC135TopBoom : No sir, you got it right, and said it better than I did. The KC-46 has better combat survivability than the KC-135 does. It has an armored cockpit to
47 Spacepope : Rumors are that the 3 will indeed be KC-135R models, that is if the deal actually goes through,
48 135mech : You said that perfectly! Thank you! Precisely! It's great...tommytoyz is an amazing "reader" of GAO reports...but seriously fights as if he's "lived"
49 tommytoyz : I have and I do. However, your opinions and arguments are soley based on your stated experience. So I simply pointed out that your stated experience
50 135mech : Interesting... Well, for one; I never stated the GAO was doing anything wrong... in fact I defended them as a necessary part of the acquisition proce
51 tommytoyz : That is my reputable source, full of numbers. You cite your experience as your source, which is fine by me. I am not offended by that. And I apologiz
52 Post contains links KC135TopBoom : Because they can get them, complete training, and be operational before the first KC-46 has its first flight. Who said the KC-135R would be more expe
53 rc135x : I believe this reflects the core disagreement here over GAO reports versus operational experience. I recall a Secretary of Defense who brought his Ha
54 tommytoyz : The GAO reports I am referring to seek to answer the cost question and make cost comparisons between the two programs. Not whether or not someone wou
55 tommytoyz : If you could give any examples from experience, that would be highly interesting! And how a kc-46 would have fared under the same circumstances.
56 Post contains links and images 135mech : So, here's the link to the thread for the KC-135 that just went down in Manas... May God be with their families and friends! KC-135 Crash In Kyrgyzsta
57 rc135x : This is a crucial point and well justified in asking. Perhaps this example might help clarify things. When the USAF held the competition for the firs
58 KC135TopBoom : Did that engineer know that; Some TF-33 equipped RC-135s had thrust reversers? All 17 original KC-135Bs (all converted to EC-135Cs) were originally b
59 rc135x : Yes, he did. It was like trying to teach a pig to sing.... SAC said no thrust reversers on KC-135Rs and therefore bought into the spurious argument a
60 Post contains links and images dlednicer : And, then there is the on-again, off-again program to reengine the E-8 JSTARS fleet with JT8D-219s, with thrust reversers.
61 cargotanker : I did some googling on this topic. Looks like IAF converted a 707 to a tanker in 2012 to add to their existing "fleet" of 707 tankers. Anyone know ho
62 rc135x : Bingo!
63 BigJKU : I think it is as simple as Israel will be operating 3 to 6 of these tankers and the US is looking to replace hundreds of tankers over 30 years. Israe
64 KC135TopBoom : KC-135s are flown by: United States (416+) France (12) Singapore (4) Turkey (7) Chile (3)
65 135mech : Hey TopBoom! How's it going? Always great to read your imputs! The NKC's, WC's, and EC's had thrust reveresers, but I don't believe any of the RC's di
66 rc135x : This is confusing given the many similar MDS's used with different engine configurations. Airplanes which were derivatives of the original KC-135Bs (
67 KC135TopBoom : There are some KC-135As at AMARC that are still in "flyable storage" for possible conversion and/or FMS. I don't know what the plans are now since the
68 rc135x : Thanks! I appreciate the updated information.
69 solarflyer22 : I really doubt cost is a factor. The US subsidizes in various ways. I think tanker support is clearly lacking if they attack Iran on their own. Plus
70 135mech : WOW... thanks! You know your engines! LOL I had the PW102's on mine with the IDG's for the Pacer-Link mods! I worked the 10th in Mildenhall 90-92, an
71 Post contains images moose135 : He should - the gentleman literally wrote the book on the KC-135...
72 135mech : LOL... it's a great "book"! Also, Sorry... when I wrote the earlier part, I was "mobile" and did not see KCTOPBoom's earlier post on the TF-s and Rec
73 KC135TopBoom : The IDFAF will not have their tankers holding anywhere that the IIAF can get to them, and they will have a CAP with them anyway. Even if the IIAF sen
74 solarflyer22 : How do you propose that would work? I can't see how that would work unless a host nation bordering Iran allows Israeli tankers and CAP's to circle. I
75 cargotanker : You think a lot more highly of Iran's air force than I do. Obsolete equipment, minimal training, poor command and control. Couple that with a surpris
76 Post contains links solarflyer22 : Absolutely I do and having been to Iran and the Arab states I know the differences. I can tell on the forums though I am deep in the minuscule minori
77 cargotanker : Iran's air force today is far worse in terms of equipment and training than Iraq's air force was in January 1991. And we know how that turned out. Du
78 rc135x : The core of the KC-135 sale to the IAF is their use to project Israeli airpower beyond the region, ostensibly to support a possible attack on Iran (pe
79 Post contains links KC135TopBoom : Saudi Arabia seem to turn I blind eye to Israeli air operations against enemies of Saudi Arabia. Also Iraq cannot do much if the IDFAF decided to use
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