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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 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 10615 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 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 10608 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 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 10603 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 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 10591 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 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 10586 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 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 10567 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 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 10496 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, 1719 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10164 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 15 hours ago) and read 9775 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 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 9583 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 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 9559 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 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 9421 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 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9394 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 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 9360 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 18 hours ago) and read 9123 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 17 hours ago) and read 9099 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, 89 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 9069 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 12 hours ago) and read 9001 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, 1719 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 8992 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, 1719 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 8980 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 8 hours ago) and read 8943 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, 1719 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 8918 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 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 8849 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 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 8845 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 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 8841 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.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 25, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 8853 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 23):
If you don't buy the 767 now it won't be around for you to buy in 15 years.

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 prices are almost the same, yet the 787 has far more capability and burns way less and costs less to maintain, just FYI. There is a reason the 787 is being ordered by the airlines and not the 767.

Secondly, nobody knows what the tanker demand by the USAF will be that far out. By all indications, the fleet count of the USAF is going down. 15-30 years out, the USAF could be much smaller than today, in fleet count.

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 23):
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.

If increasing tanker count is the goal, the existing 74 KC-135Es could be brought out much cheaper and we should stop retiring 16 KC-135Rs. Not using your existing capital assets is a total waste of money.

Would you junk your car (no resale value) if it had only 50,000 miles on it (or store it) and buy a new one? I don't think so.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 22):
Today it is about 3750 hours between visits. That's not even at the annual rate of flying of commercial NB airplanes.

Which is why I scratch my head as to the need for 1) an increase in the tanker fleet, 2) with new tankers, when we have 74 Es in long term storage and 3) are putting an additional 16 KC-135Rs into long term storage. Only the Pentagon can utilize assets like that. A company would go broke.

http://www.amc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123337705

The 1st KC-135R being retired was utilized only 22,500 hours. LH recently retired a 747-400 utilized over 110,000 hours.
First LH 744 Retired (by na Jan 3 2012 in Civil Aviation)


User currently offlineKC135Hydraulics From United States of America, joined Nov 2012, 305 posts, RR: 0
Reply 26, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 8743 times:

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 year old crap...

C-17 > KC-135

SELL THEM ALL TO ISRAEL and let THEM deal with it!  


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1719 posts, RR: 0
Reply 27, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 8806 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 25):

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 prices are almost the same, yet the 787 has far more capability and burns way less and costs less to maintain, just FYI. There is a reason the 787 is being ordered by the airlines and not the 767.

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 worth it.

A 787's list price comes in at around a cool $206.8 million for a -8 today. Sure, you might get discounts that drive that cost down, but add in milcon costs, it goes back up and maybe even then some. Add in inflation, it will increase 15 years down the line.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 25):
If increasing tanker count is the goal, the existing 74 KC-135Es could be brought out much cheaper and we should stop retiring 16 KC-135Rs. Not using your existing capital assets is a total waste of money.

Supportability issues is the big one.

Also, the KC-135E is more expensive to maintain; in 2001, E-model engines are removed for repair/overhaul at a rate 17 times greater than R-model engines. Additionally, the overhaul costs for the E-model engine increased to $1.039M in FY01 versus $400K for the R-model engine.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 28, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 8764 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 27):
Supportability issues is the big one.

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 767 tankers are neither free nor are their maintenance costs free. The 94 KC-135Es can be re engined far cheaper than new KC-767s or kept as Es a low totem pole capability reserve.

Factor in all costs and of keeping the KC-135s and - on a cost basis - they extremely cheap compared to any new alternative. Throwing away capital is as foolish as throwing money out the window.

Why would airlines fly planes till way past 22,500 hours, several times over? Nobody can afford to throw money out the window, except the US Pentagon.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1719 posts, RR: 0
Reply 29, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 8743 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
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.

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 any project manager, procurement specialist (like I am) or accountant. The next highest cost is usually depreciation of asset.

As someone that has a Supply Chain Management Professional designation, (it was formerly known as Certified Professional Purchaser), this is something we are acutely aware of in the procurement field.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
Factor in all costs and of keeping the KC-135s and - on a cost basis - they extremely cheap compared to any new alternative. Throwing away capital is as foolish as throwing money out the window.

You don't know that for certain, nor can you state that as a fact. This is merely an opinion.

For all we know, based upon the Air Force's calculation of future costs, they may have determined that the costs of keeping the KC-135's over the next 20-30 years without replacement will greatly exceed the costs of purchasing and sustaining a replacement based upon using Life Cycle Cost analysis.

The object of LCC analysis is to choose the most cost-effective approach from a series of alternatives so the least long term cost of ownership is achieved. LCC analysis helps engineers and project managers justify equipment and process selection based on total costs rather than the initial purchase price of equipment or projects.

Remember the first alternative for accountants is the “Do Nothing” case and this is the last alternative for engineers - thus LCC is a natural field of combat. Engineers and project managers must make their first alternative a computation of the “Do Nothing” case to form the datum for their improvement alternatives. Also remember that the single LCC number for the figure of merit is net present value (NPV) and it can be positive or negative - in general, since most engineers and project managers are only working with small parts of a projects, their NPV’s will be negative and thus the lesser negative value is the preferred course of action.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
Why would airlines fly planes till way past 22,500 hours, several times over? Nobody can afford to throw money out the window, except the US Pentagon.

Airlines operate their aircraft until it is no longer cost effective to operate. Full stop. There are cases where airlines have sold or scrapped nearly nearly new aircraft because they are no longer economical to operate, for one reason for another (fuel and maintenance are the two biggest causes).


User currently offlinecargotanker From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 158 posts, RR: 1
Reply 30, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8695 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 25):
Would you junk your car (no resale value) if it had only 50,000 miles on it (or store it) and buy a new one? I don't think so.

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 term maintenance and have no plan for replacement? Would you keep them until 80 years and then get replacements? I don't think so.

You need to do more than master a few GAO reports in order to be an expert on this stuff. Especially hand-picking the ones you like best. Other people on this forum are experts, seasoned professionals with years in the trade. A little humility might be in order instead of arguing with them.

Do you know that depot maintenance is not counted against mission reliability? Don't you think that 20-30% of the fleet in depot continuously contradicts a claimed 80% reliability rate? How many F-22s are in depot right now? What % of the C-17 fleet is in depot right now? (hint: its a lot less than the KC-135)

Do you want to know why KC-135Rs are being retired with so (comparatively) few hours on them? To create spare parts to keep other KC-135s flying. Because we've run out of a lot of spare parts from the C-135s already in the boneyard. That might happen 60 years after the end of production.

Do new build 767s require Block 45 upgrades or skin replacements to fly beyond 2018?

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.

Its settled in your mind, but thankfully people who know airplanes and acquisition have come to a different conclusion. When I google "KC-135 GAO" I get a bunch of GAO reports stating that the KC-135 needs to be replaced. One of them even says "urgently", and it's from 2003! How can that be?

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
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.

Few hours compared to what? Airlines or other military aircraft? Why would you even compare USAF flying hours to airline flying hours? Do you mean the "recent uptick" in usage that happened 12 years ago aroud Sep 2001? How much are the aircraft flying when they aren't in depot?

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
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.

This doesn't even make sense. Purchase a 767 for $200M and it will cost less than $20M to maintain it for 30+ years?


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 31, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 8646 times:

Quoting KC135Hydraulics (Reply 26):
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 year old crap...

Oh, where to begin?

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 27):
the KC-135E is more expensive to maintain; in 2001, E-model engines are removed for repair/overhaul at a rate 17 times greater than R-model engines. Additionally, the overhaul costs for the E-model engine increased to $1.039M in FY01 versus $400K for the R-model engine.

Other than the engines, the KC-135E airframe costs approximately the same to maintain as the KC-135R frame does. There are a few differences between the two models in the landing gear, brakes, electrical system and the APU.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
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 767 tankers are neither free nor are their maintenance costs free. The 94 KC-135Es can be re engined far cheaper than new KC-767s or kept as Es a low totem pole capability reserve.
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
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 any project manager, procurement specialist (like I am) or accountant. The next highest cost is usually depreciation of asset.
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
The object of LCC analysis is to choose the most cost-effective approach from a series of alternatives so the least long term cost of ownership is achieved. LCC analysis helps engineers and project managers justify equipment and process selection based on total costs rather than the initial purchase price of equipment or projects.

Hold on guys. The original KC-135A airplanes, bought between FY-1955 and FY-1964 had an average cost about $4.5M to $6M each (the KC-135R had an average modification cost of $29M to $32M). Like all SAC airplanes at the time they originally were planned to have a fleet life expectancy of about 15 years, which means all of them should have retired by 1979 to 1980. Since the first KC-135A did not retire until 1992, and still had plenty of life left in the airframe, it became an amazing bargain airplane for the USAF, in terms of costs. When the B-52E/F retired in the late 1970s, they had an average of about 6000-6500 flying hours on them. When the first KC-135A retired in 1992, she had more than 16,000 hours on her, more than 2.5 X the use of the B-52. In fact most of the B-52Gs that retired about the same time the KC-135A started to retire, the bombers only had about 8000 hours on them. While it is true many of those B-52 hour were spent during low-level flying, those airplanes were modified for that. Many KC-135As also had many low-level flying hours too, but the KC-135 was never modified structurally for that type of flying.

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 30):
Do you want to know why KC-135Rs are being retired with so (comparatively) few hours on them? To create spare parts to keep other KC-135s flying. Because we've run out of a lot of spare parts from the C-135s already in the boneyard.

That is correct. But we have to keep in mind that about half of all KC/EC-135s in the boneyard are in storage and are not to have to many parts removed from them in case they need to be reactivated. Most of the salvaged parts for the KC-135R/T come from parts donor KC-135As in the boneyard. Most KC-135Es and EC-135Cs are still in flyable storage.


User currently offline135mech From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 412 posts, RR: 4
Reply 32, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 8619 times:
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Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
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?



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 KC acquisition... Let me ask you... have you worked on the venerable (wonderful in my eyes of course) KC-135's??? Have you flown them personally? What makes you so "knowledgeable" on these airframes?

I worked them for 21 years and flew on them for just as long, and I am sorry to say your "determined correctness" is NOT accurate.

Just like any old airframe it eventually shows it's "wear and tear".

I found a document years ago, from Boeing, about how the shelf life was given a 100 year "fatigue" life, HOWEVER, corrosion (and the future of it for this specific airframe) was unknown and undetermined due to the fact it was a "new" alloy and they did NOT have accurate ways to test for it. The Corrosion IS a huge part of the KC-135's main problem. My first airplane specifically was scrapped and devoured by the depot teams to investigate where and how intense the corrosion problems were on these birds in 1992 (so my plane - a 1961 model) was already 31 years old and falling apart because of the corrosion. FROM THAT POINT ON...the KC-135's were permanently restricted from being stationed in high-corrosive locations (i.e. MacDill, Kadena, Mildenhall, and other places) for more than 24 months, with rare exceptions...and a VERY intense & COSTLY corrosion control program.

So, please...do tell, from where does your experience derive???

Regards,
135Mech (see... someone with experience on these great but VERY OLD and CORRODED birds)


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 881 posts, RR: 11
Reply 33, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 8614 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 31):
That is correct. But we have to keep in mind that about half of all KC/EC-135s in the boneyard are in storage and are not to have to many parts removed from them in case they need to be reactivated. Most of the salvaged parts for the KC-135R/T come from parts donor KC-135As in the boneyard. Most KC-135Es and EC-135Cs are still in flyable storage.

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 drain on the parts you are pulling from the A models AND reduce a source of future parts for the R's that will keep many of them flying until 2030-2040.

That is yet another reason to buy new tankers now really. This program is honestly a piece of competent fleet management on the part of the USAF. It will get maximum economical life out of the KC-135's.

Tommy would also do well to realize that the goal of the USAF in this is really to manage its year to year budget in a prudent manner. Waiting until 2030 and then buying 30 tankers a year is a recipe for disaster in the procurement budget.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1719 posts, RR: 0
Reply 34, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8569 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 31):
Hold on guys. The original KC-135A airplanes, bought between FY-1955 and FY-1964 had an average cost about $4.5M to $6M each (the KC-135R had an average modification cost of $29M to $32M).

Don't forget to adjust for inflation... $4.5 million dollars in 2012 dollars would be $37.9 million.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 35, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 8550 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
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 any project manager, procurement specialist (like I am) or accountant.

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 planes, including operating cpsts, maintenance and capital costs for both - and the 767 total costs are far higher over the same period and with equivalent capability, than keeping the KC-135 for that capability and time period. If you don't want to believe the GAO - it's a free country.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
You don't know that for certain, nor can you state that as a fact. This is merely an opinion.

Just going by GAO reports.

Quoting 135mech (Reply 32):
I worked them for 21 years and flew on them for just as long, and I am sorry to say your "determined correctness" is NOT accurate.

Your cited experience alone does not qualify you to make a financial comparison. It also does not disqualify the GAO.

Quoting 135mech (Reply 32):
So, please...do tell, from where does your experience derive???

GAO reports are my source. Perhaps you should ask that question of them. They actually answer how they came up with their calculations in their reports, if you really want to know.

GAO has already reported on all this. A. Netter seem to want to reinvent the wheel.

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 33):
Waiting until 2030 and then buying 30 tankers a year is a recipe for disaster in the procurement budget.

The opposite is true. Buying airplanes 15-20 years before you have to, is a total waste. Who does that except the Pentagon? Is that how you buy your cars or replace your roof? Over the same period and to provide the same capability, the GAO has concluded it is more expensive - all costs considered - to buy new planes VS keeping what we already have for the same time period. If I remember correctly, 1 KC-46 = 1.35 KC-135R and 1.75 KC-135E or something like that. They factored everything in.

I suggest if anyone wants to re-argue the GAO numbers, we open up a new thread, as it has nothing to do with Israel. The GAO reports are public and clear. To me that's what I go by.

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 30):
I get a bunch of GAO reports stating that the KC-135 needs to be replaced. One of them even says "urgently", and it's from 2003! How can that be?

Feel free to start another thread on that and don't forget to include who said that and in full context. Spoiler alert: It was the USAF who said that, not GAO. GAO quotes many sources in its reports, before coming to its own conclusion.

Here's an example from that same report, on the same page even:

The Air Force report indicates the following:
• Leasing costs more than buying by $150 million (net present value).

GAO has the following observations about the lease report:
• Purchasing could be up to $1.9 billion cheaper (net present value),

USAF was off by a factor of over 10 x. USAF can't do financials, they've proven it over and over again. Their books can not even be audited, because they're such a mess.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1719 posts, RR: 0
Reply 36, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8531 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
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 planes, including operating cpsts, maintenance and capital costs for both - and the 767 total costs are far higher over the same period and with equivalent capability, than keeping the KC-135 for that capability and time period. If you don't want to believe the GAO - it's a free country.

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 years out of the KC-46. As such, the long term costs of acquiring the KC-46 sooner rather than later is lower because A: we won't have the option of a cheaper alternative when it does come time to replace the airframe, and B: the higher acquisition and per unit costs associated with a much faster procurement and production process.

Furthermore, the 767 is slowly going to be retired from civilian operations over the next decade. The USAF, much like what they did with the 707's, can purchase those airframes on the cheap, and strip them of parts to reduce maintenance costs.

The USAF is making the economically sound judgement to start preparing for the end life of the KC-135 now.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Just going by GAO reports.

Of which you don't know the exact context, and of which, you have selectively cherry picked arguments that you agree with.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Your cited experience alone does not qualify you to make a financial comparison.

Of which he has the judgement and experience alone estimate costs of repair. He's seen what the airframes are like and thus, has some evidence to back up a potential costing analysis on the work necessary to keep the KC-135 operating.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 37, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 8361 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 34):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 31):Hold on guys. The original KC-135A airplanes, bought between FY-1955 and FY-1964 had an average cost about $4.5M to $6M each (the KC-135R had an average modification cost of $29M to $32M).
Don't forget to adjust for inflation... $4.5 million dollars in 2012 dollars would be $37.9 million.

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.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
tommytoyz

Whoa there cowboy. 135mech's, Cargotanker's, and my own experience with the KC-135 does qualify us to make financial comparisons. 135mech's experience with KC-135 maintenance is all about cost as well as turning wrenches and screw drivers. He did not spend all his time on the flight line, but also did scheduling work and ordering parts. Mine included time as a CCTS Instructor, a Wing level Air Refueling Superintendent and a Wing Scheduler and TTF experience, including the Air Refueling Coordinator for the CENTAF 17th AD (P) within the Desert Storm AOR. Cargotankers experience includes Command Level Scheduling and at the TACC. We did not just fly the KC-135, but managed it at the wing or command level.

I think the 3 of us have a little bit more than just an idea about the KC-135 weapons system.


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 38, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 8313 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
The USAF order for 75 additional Booms from Boeing included the Israeli Booms (8, including spares, IIRC).

Indeed correct!

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 25):
The 1st KC-135R being retired was utilized only 22,500 hours. LH recently retired a 747-400 utilized over 110,000 hours.

For the KC-135 this is not a particularly helpful comparison. The issue is not necessarily total airframe hours but utilization hours. The utilization cycles of 747-400 on long haul routes might be airborne 10 hours, turned in 3 hours and airborne again for another 10 hours. Flying is a far friendlier place for an airframe than sitting alert for 90 days at a time at Minot AFB, ND, where the parts become cold soaked, systems are not regularly cycled, and there is even tire-rotation scheduled to prevent tire and strut damage.

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 30):
Do you want to know why KC-135Rs are being retired with so (comparatively) few hours on them? To create spare parts to keep other KC-135s flying. Because we've run out of a lot of spare parts from the C-135s already in the boneyard. That might happen 60 years after the end of production.

Exactly, and in fact this problem arose decades ago. During the 1980s and 1990s four KC-135As were lost due to the explosion of fuel-air mixture in the fuselage body tank ignited by overheated fuel pumps. The replacement parts for the pumps were no longer manufactured, and until an alternative was found Boeing dictated that 5,000 pounds of fuel be left in the tank to cool the pumps.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
GAO reports are my source. Perhaps you should ask that question of them.

The GAO is hardly an unbiased source. Although well beyond the scope of this thread, GAO reports are typically politicized with the desired results selected and then evidence marshaled to support that argument.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Over the same period and to provide the same capability, the GAO has concluded it is more expensive - all costs considered - to buy new planes VS keeping what we already have for the same time period. If I remember correctly, 1 KC-46 = 1.35 KC-135R and 1.75 KC-135E or something like that. They factored everything in.

This always has been and always will be an idiotic argument. "Tanker equivalents" has been a spurious argument since the KC-135 replacement discussion began. The real issue is boom/drogue to receiver ratio. If 1 KC-46 can do what 1.75 KC-135Es can do, the bean counters in the GAO are happy. But that means there is one less boom somewhere over the Atlantic for an F-22 that needs gas.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 37):
We did not just fly the KC-135, but managed it at the wing or command level.

I think the 3 of us have a little bit more than just an idea about the KC-135 weapons system.

Precisely. A bunch of politically motivated MBA whiz kids crunching what-if numbers in some Washington DC federal building can generate a report that supports or refutes any point of view.

Concerning the transfer of KC-135s to Israel (is THAT what this thread is about?), not only did Israel request KC-135s during the 1970s but Iran and Canada did as well. All were denied and bought 707 tankers instead. Interestingly, the sale of C-135Fs to France violated export rules and was done against the express policy stated by the President and Secretary of Defense and done without their knowledge.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 39, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 8317 times:

Quoting rc135x (Reply 38):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):Over the same period and to provide the same capability, the GAO has concluded it is more expensive - all costs considered - to buy new planes VS keeping what we already have for the same time period. If I remember correctly, 1 KC-46 = 1.35 KC-135R and 1.75 KC-135E or something like that. They factored everything in.
This always has been and always will be an idiotic argument. "Tanker equivalents" has been a spurious argument since the KC-135 replacement discussion began. The real issue is boom/drogue to receiver ratio. If 1 KC-46 can do what 1.75 KC-135Es can do, the bean counters in the GAO are happy. But that means there is one less boom somewhere over the Atlantic for an F-22 that needs gas.

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 packages with different targets and different weapons loads. This is a pre-strike refueling and the tanker usually off-loads all of its scheduled (and in most cases more) then returns to base, flying just a few hours. other tankers will complete the post-strike refueling.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 40, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 8303 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 37):
Whoa there cowboy

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 with a team of people and congressional power behind, because Congress asked it to. They looked at the books and got facts that others don't have access to.

Which doesn't even begin to address the fact that, as far as I am aware of, none of you have worked on the KC-46 program and have no inside knowledge of the facts regarding that program at all.

I mean no disrespect, and in no way want to disparage anyone's experience and qualifications. I want to discuss the facts in a civilized manner. The post I was responding to was not in a civil spirit and I was forced to pushed back a little and respond defensively by pointing out his weakness in the matter.

Sorry you felt the need to jump in and seem offended. No offense was meant to anyone on my part.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 41, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 8089 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 40):
tommytoyz

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 at best a guess. Future costs are difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Just taking into account the cost of fuel required for the KC-46 will need to complete its missions is far from accurate. Even guessing at the number of hours each KC-46 will fly per year is tricky. The USAF never took projected flying hours for the KC-135 into would increase by 70% per airplane per year prior to 9/11. That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.


User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2351 posts, RR: 2
Reply 42, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7941 times:
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Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 41):
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 at best a guess. Future costs are difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Just taking into account the cost of fuel required for the KC-46 will need to complete its missions is far from accurate. Even guessing at the number of hours each KC-46 will fly per year is tricky. The USAF never took projected flying hours for the KC-135 into would increase by 70% per airplane per year prior to 9/11. That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.

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 the contractors? The GAO at least produces estimates (often for things very hard to actually estimate) from a fairly neutral perspective. And they do offer opportunities to rebut their assessments. And while they clearly don't always get it right, they're a heck of a lot more creditable than almost anyone else.


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 43, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7885 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 42):
And while they clearly don't always get it right, they're a heck of a lot more creditable than almost anyone else.

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 assumption rather than present an unbiased outcome analysis. Starting variables may be "cherry picked" to validate an argument, just as the military, corporations, or A.Netters do. TopBoom is merely stating that to take GAO reports as canon is a risky proposition and should not be a "sole source" rationale for decision making.

This is his key point:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 41):
That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.

As an example, during Congressional testimony on 17 Feb 55, officials urged the cancellation of the KC-135 program. Citing reams of documents and analyses, they concluded the airplane was inefficient and too costly. Their recommendation for a tanker to refuel jet bombers was a KB-36.

Good decisions are based on healthy discussion of all points of view. Using only GAO reports or operational experience can lead to poor choices with drastic long-term consequences.

*If I've misrepresented TopBoom's thinking here I apologize and will go stick my hand in the toaster.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 44, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 7830 times:

Quoting rc135x (Reply 43):
As an example, during Congressional testimony on 17 Feb 55, officials urged the cancellation of the KC-135 program. Citing reams of documents and analyses, they concluded the airplane was inefficient and too costly. Their recommendation for a tanker to refuel jet bombers was a KB-36.

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?

The one capability that makes and made the KC-135 stand out above all others, is its speed. It matches the high subsonic speeds of the planes it is refueling. No amount of money or savings was going to make the prop based tankers faster.

The slower tankers were simply too slow for the new jets and at times had to be on a descending profile while offloading, to maintain speed. That was the main problem. The KC-135 solved that.

The main USAF argument for the KC-46 is cost and that the KC-135 is rotting away. I never really heard that the capabilities of the existing fleet or its readiness rate were inadequate. If the KC-46 adds some sort of crucial capability today that the KC-135 lacks, I have yet to hear it.

So it really comes down to the cost issue then. And just like the tanker lease deal, the USAF statements are in conflict with GAO calculations. Who would you believe?


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 45, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7635 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 44):
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?

I did not state nor mean to imply this was a GAO recommendation, and regret any confusion.

References: Congress, House, Subcommittee of the Committee of Appropriations, Hearings Before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, 84th Cong., 1st sess., 17 February 1955, 300.

Aviation Week, 16 May 1955, 13.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 44):
And just like the tanker lease deal, the USAF statements are in conflict with GAO calculations. Who would you believe?

I don't necessarily believe any source. Invalid USAF claims do not, per force, validate GAO claims, and vice versa. To reiterate

Quoting rc135x (Reply 43):
Using only GAO reports or operational experience can lead to poor choices with drastic long-term consequences.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 46, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7514 times:

Quoting rc135x (Reply 43):
Quoting rwessel (Reply 42):And while they clearly don't always get it right, they're a heck of a lot more creditable than almost anyone else.
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 assumption rather than present an unbiased outcome analysis. Starting variables may be "cherry picked" to validate an argument, just as the military, corporations, or A.Netters do. TopBoom is merely stating that to take GAO reports as canon is a risky proposition and should not be a "sole source" rationale for decision making.

This is his key point:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 41):That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.
Quoting rc135x (Reply 43):
*If I've misrepresented TopBoom's thinking here I apologize and will go stick my hand in the toaster.

No sir, you got it right, and said it better than I did.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 44):
If the KC-46 adds some sort of crucial capability today that the KC-135 lacks, I have yet to hear it.

The KC-46 has better combat survivability than the KC-135 does. It has an armored cockpit to protect the crew from 7.62mm (.30 caliber) ammo, and also will have LAIRCM, both systems the KC-135 does not have. Although there has never been a KC-135 shot down in combat, and only 2 received combat damage inflight (both incidents happened during the Vietnam War and only one crew member was wounded, the Boom Operator), the KC-135 still is required to fly beyond the FEBA. The KC-46 will also be able to carry 19 463L pallets, the KC-135 carries only 6. The KC-46 also can carry up to about 150 troops, compared to a max of 85 in the KC-135, and carries 3 X the number of aero-medical patients the KC-135 can. For air refueling, the KC-135 will have a much bigger air refueling envelope for the Boom. Although the KC-46 only has a slight increase in maximum off-load capability over the KC-135, about 202,000 lbs. of fuel compared to about 185,000 lbs. of fuel, and off-loads fuel at the higher (maximum) rate of 1200 GPM compared to the KC-135's rate of 900 GPM.


User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2930 posts, RR: 1
Reply 47, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 7343 times:

Rumors are that the 3 will indeed be KC-135R models, that is if the deal actually goes through,


The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offline135mech From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 412 posts, RR: 4
Reply 48, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7279 times:
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Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 36):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Just going by GAO reports.

Of which you don't know the exact context, and of which, you have selectively cherry picked arguments that you agree with.


You said that perfectly!

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 36):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Your cited experience alone does not qualify you to make a financial comparison.

Of which he has the judgement and experience alone estimate costs of repair. He's seen what the airframes are like and thus, has some evidence to back up a potential costing analysis on the work necessary to keep the KC-135 operating.


Thank you!

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 37):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
tommytoyz

Whoa there cowboy. 135mech's, Cargotanker's, and my own experience with the KC-135 does qualify us to make financial comparisons. 135mech's experience with KC-135 maintenance is all about cost as well as turning wrenches and screw drivers. He did not spend all his time on the flight line, but also did scheduling work and ordering parts. Mine included time as a CCTS Instructor, a Wing level Air Refueling Superintendent and a Wing Scheduler and TTF experience, including the Air Refueling Coordinator for the CENTAF 17th AD (P) within the Desert Storm AOR. Cargotankers experience includes Command Level Scheduling and at the TACC. We did not just fly the KC-135, but managed it at the wing or command level.

I think the 4 of us have a little bit more than just an idea about the KC-135 weapons system.


Precisely!

It's great...tommytoyz is an amazing "reader" of GAO reports...but seriously fights as if he's "lived" what he's talking about. If you want to dispute something, then have the decency to "appreciate" other people's experience on the actual matter (especially the four of us who have "lived" these airplanes, unlike you who can "read a report").
I actually have worked them in depth, I did the Isochronal/Phased inspections for a few years and the rest of the time did the other scheduled and unscheduled major and minor inspections, along with finding new fixes for new problems and helping overcoming the age/corrosion problems! Installing the "glass cockpits" and numorous other modifications. Also, the four of us have "lived" on/in the airplanes taking them around the world and still being able to finish our job, keeping the airplane and rest of our crews safe, and ultimately "coming home" in the end.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 38):
For the KC-135 this is not a particularly helpful comparison. The issue is not necessarily total airframe hours but utilization hours. The utilization cycles of 747-400 on long haul routes might be airborne 10 hours, turned in 3 hours and airborne again for another 10 hours. Flying is a far friendlier place for an airframe than sitting alert for 90 days at a time at Minot AFB, ND, where the parts become cold soaked, systems are not regularly cycled, and there is even tire-rotation scheduled to prevent tire and strut damage.


Yup, KC-135's sat all of those years with near max fuel loads, ON THE GROUND, for days/weeks and that alone is something 747's and other commercial airliners NEVER do!!! (It's incredibly stressful to do this and maintaining them gets costly due to it!)

Quoting rc135x (Reply 38):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
GAO reports are my source. Perhaps you should ask that question of them.

The GAO is hardly an unbiased source. Although well beyond the scope of this thread, GAO reports are typically politicized with the desired results selected and then evidence marshaled to support that argument.


Exactly, but his ONLY sources are the GAO reports... seriously, widen your search and increase your EXTREMELY LIMITED knowledge if you want to have a "true" debate on this issue.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 38):
Precisely. A bunch of politically motivated MBA whiz kids crunching what-if numbers in some Washington DC federal building can generate a report that supports or refutes any point of view.


:D

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 40):
I mean no disrespect, and in no way want to disparage anyone's experience and qualifications. I want to discuss the facts in a civilized manner. The post I was responding to was not in a civil spirit and I was forced to pushed back a little and respond defensively by pointing out his weakness in the matter.
Sorry you felt the need to jump in and seem offended. No offense was meant to anyone on my part.


Our response, and mainly my response was ... in response to you saying that our experience has NO MATTER on the tanker acquisition... and you got rapidly offended... We love debating the future of our tankers, but when someone does as you do, of course we will be wound up and actually "respond" the way we do.

If you want a civilized conversation (as you state) then please treat the others with the respect that you so desire, and we'll all get along. But, many of your responses are borderline disrespectful (in MANY of these threads and not just this one... I usually make it an effort to completely ignore your usual postings - because of it), especially to those who actually "know" things about said topics and not just "readers of reports". HOWEVER... I am THOROUGHLY QUALIFIED to be posting (along with the amazingly knowledgeable KC135TopBoom, rc135x, and CargoTanker) about this topic, because we have first hand knowledge AND experience with the airframe/weapon system. (Please show a little respect for that...we've earned that much.)

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 41):
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 at best a guess. Future costs are difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Just taking into account the cost of fuel required for the KC-46 will need to complete its missions is far from accurate. Even guessing at the number of hours each KC-46 will fly per year is tricky. The USAF never took projected flying hours for the KC-135 into would increase by 70% per airplane per year prior to 9/11. That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.


Very true, costs are only (at best) ever estimated, and that's why you have all of the other number-people keeping tight tabs on the actual spent dollar...it's the way to keep your contractors and partners in check with the overall physical product.

Quoting rwessel (Reply 42):
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 the contractors? The GAO at least produces estimates (often for things very hard to actually estimate) from a fairly neutral perspective. And they do offer opportunities to rebut their assessments. And while they clearly don't always get it right, they're a heck of a lot more creditable than almost anyone else.


Absolutely not... The GAO is there for a reason, HOWEVER, they are only a part of the process, and aid (if we all play nicely so-to-speak) in getting us a good deal for a good plane/weapon system.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 46):
The KC-46 has better combat survivability than the KC-135 does. It has an armored cockpit to protect the crew from 7.62mm (.30 caliber) ammo, and also will have LAIRCM, both systems the KC-135 does not have. Although there has never been a KC-135 shot down in combat, and only 2 received combat damage inflight (both incidents happened during the Vietnam War and only one crew member was wounded, the Boom Operator), the KC-135 still is required to fly beyond the FEBA. The KC-46 will also be able to carry 19 463L pallets, the KC-135 carries only 6. The KC-46 also can carry up to about 150 troops, compared to a max of 85 in the KC-135, and carries 3 X the number of aero-medical patients the KC-135 can. For air refueling, the KC-135 will have a much bigger air refueling envelope for the Boom. Although the KC-46 only has a slight increase in maximum off-load capability over the KC-135, about 202,000 lbs. of fuel compared to about 185,000 lbs. of fuel, and off-loads fuel at the higher (maximum) rate of 1200 GPM compared to the KC-135's rate of 900 GPM.


Sometimes it's easy to get off track, but thanks TopBoom for this data! I remember how many differences the KC-330 was under the needs vs. the KC-46's meeting of needs when all of this was getting heated in 2007/2008.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 47):
Rumors are that the 3 will indeed be KC-135R models, that is if the deal actually goes through,


Thank you for getting us back on topic! That's great they are getting the R-models, the performance/efficiency/reliability of those engines vs the old (but MANY spares) TF-33 is significant.

Cheers!
135mech

[Edited 2013-05-02 13:59:29]

User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 49, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7265 times:

Quoting 135mech (Reply 48):
If you want a civilized conversation (as you state) then please treat the others with the respect that you so desire, and we'll all get along.

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 does not qualify you to make a financial cost comparison of both programs - any more than it qualifies you to fly as captain. This is the truth and not meant to disrespect your experience and I stated as such. If you insist on taking offense to me pointing out the limitations of your argument, so be it.

We can talk about these things in a civil manner, which is what I desire. So please why don't you cite some numbers or sources beyond citing you experience alone, which does not address the cost comparison? What exactly is it the GAO did wrong in your opinion, specifically?

Or what are your cost numbers - anything at all? Anything.

I don't try to pretend that I am personally qualified or that I know better than anyone, which is why my opinions are based on the GAO, and not based on my experience. Some specific cost figures from you would be nice. Thanks.

And indeed, if the KC-135R is more expensive than new tankers, why doesn't Israel just order new tankers?

[Edited 2013-05-02 14:11:49]

[Edited 2013-05-02 14:22:50]

User currently offline135mech From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 412 posts, RR: 4
Reply 50, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7251 times:
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Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 49):
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 does not qualify you to make a financial cost comparison of both programs - any more than it qualifies you to fly as captain. This is the truth and not meant to disrespect your experience and I stated as such. If you insist on taking offense to me pointing out the limitations of your argument, so be it.

We can talk about these things in a civil manner, which is what I desire. So please why don't you cite some numbers or sources beyond citing you experience alone, which does not address the cost comparison? Again, I don't see where your KC-135 experience somehow qualifies you over the GAO any more than it qualifies you to fly as captain. What exactly is it the GAO did wrong in your opinion, specifically?

I don't try to pretend that I am personally qualified or that I know better than anyone, which is why my opinions are based on the GAO, and not based on my experience. Some specific cost figures from you would be nice. Thanks.

And indeed, if the KC-135R is more expensive than new tankers, why doesn't Israel just order new tankers?



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 process (please re-read, with an open mind and not just to argue back, what I posted).
Secondly, I never claimed to be a pilot... everything I wrote was responding to your mis-information that the overall condition of the aging KC-135's is not getting into a sooner need for it's replacement. These wonderful aircraft were NEVER designed to fly anywhere close to this long, or this many cycles (that and the repeatedly mentioned corrosion). Please remember this airframe was in production about 2 years before the 707, so being the first true U.S. jet transport, it was never expected to do this well for this long. Keeping it as long as we have HAS saved us $$Billions overall, but now it's time to plan and purchase it's replacement. THAT also, is a part of what the GAO will help us do, and smartly we all hope.

As many have stated, the acquisition process takes several years and there are so many awesome inputs to this thread that you would be "wise" to read and actually learn aka "take-in" the knowledge presented to you, it WILL expand your true knowledge of the overall KC purchase process (all aspects of it) and not just stubbornly ONLY stick with and defend your "GAO reports ONLY" thought process.

Sadly, you get very offended AND offensive to others (as I stated earlier, in MANY different threads) and can't open your mind to see what we all are trying eagerly to teach you. We have NO problem with the GAO, just the stubbornness of your defense of it as the "sole" argument.

Regards,
135Mech


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 51, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7227 times:

Quoting 135mech (Reply 50):
We have NO problem with the GAO, just the stubbornness of your defense of it as the "sole" argument.

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 apologize once again if you take offense to my pointing out the flaws in your arguments or to me relying on the GAO.

However, why don't you even answer the simplest question I asked, which is why, if the new tankers are cheaper, as you maintain - why is Israel going with the KC-135 or the more expensive solution? No numbers required.

If you take offense to the way I discuss, relying on solid and reputable sources, I can't help that. I mean no offense to you or anyone. But I will no kiss **s here either and perpetuate a myth since the hard cold numbers expose it as a myth. That I will not do and never have done.

I have never said the GAO is the only one that has come to this same conclusion. It is just the source I cite, since it is easily verified and accessible. If you have a problem with my posts, just ignore them!

[Edited 2013-05-02 15:40:09]

User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 52, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7222 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 49):
indeed, if the KC-135R is more expensive than new tankers, why doesn't Israel just order new tankers?

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 expensive for Israel? The US already pays for most of the Israeli defense Budget. I'll bet the selected airframes go through depot level maintenance and are brought up to Block 45 standards before they will be delivered to the IDFAF. The Israeli crews will begin training in the US long before that and will, most likely stay in the US flying aboard USAF KC-135Rs to maintain currency and qualifications, and most likely go through 509 Weapons Squadron tactics school. The 509 WPS is what my old squadron at Pease AFB, the 509 AREFS, has become now. It is assigned to ACC, and part of the 57 Wing out of Nellis AFB, but is a GSU assigned to Fairchild AFB.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/509th_Weapons_Squadron

I am guessing that will happen, but I have no info about it.


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 53, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 7201 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 49):
Some specific cost figures from you would be nice.

I believe this reflects the core disagreement here over GAO reports versus operational experience.

I recall a Secretary of Defense who brought his Harvard MBA to the Pentagon and defined success with the multi-service cost effectiveness of the TFX and victory in Southeast Asia quantitatively in terms of body count. While technically accurate measures, neither were particularly appropriate.

I spent an afternoon arguing with the chief Boeing engineer for the KC-135 program about the need for thrust reversers on F108-equipped RC-135s. He told me that reversers were expensive, complicated to maintain, added weight to the airplane, induced drag at cruise thereby wasting expensive fuel and reducing optimum speed and altitude, and a host of other reasons. When I mentioned that despite all his technical and financial objections that the cheapskates at airlines STILL equipped their new jets with thrust reversers he grew silent for a bit, then replied, paraphrasing, "based on a cost analysis study the engineers have decided that you don't need them so you won't get them." Funny how there were no engineers or accountants on board the RIVET BALL that slid off the icy runway at Shemya AFB and broke in half or the RC-135V that slid off the end of the wet runway at RAF Mildenhall.

Ultimately, the success of the GAO vs experience argument comes not in the halls of Congress or corporate engineering departments or the cozy procurement offices at the Pentagon or on chat boards about airplanes, but at FL250 as some bleeding fighter tries to get feet wet in hostile airspace over East Elsewhere. If we accept a less capable tanker (based on cost analysis) in lieu of a more capable tanker (based on operational experience) then I wonder if the pilot of that fighter will thank the GAO for saving taxpayers' dollars as she ejects due to lack of fuel and becomes a non-paying guest of the Crimson Bad Guy Popular Front for the Liberation of Perpetual Motion.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 54, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7182 times:

Quoting rc135x (Reply 53):

I believe this reflects the core disagreement here over GAO reports versus operational experience.
Quoting rc135x (Reply 53):
Ultimately, the success of the GAO vs experience

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 would have to bail out due to KC-135 deficiencies Vs. any KC-46 capabilities that would avoid a bailout. On page 1 of all GAO reports, the GAO says what each report is about. I am talking about those reports seeking to answer the cost question.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 52):
Who said the KC-135R would be more expensive for Israel?

That is true, good point. However, it is a technicality. Because someone pays. Whoever the payer is or are, to operate the tankers, would spend less by acquiring new tankers, according to A.net wisdom here. So the question can be rephrased to - why is the payer of the operating costs going with KC-135s, if they are more expensive than new tankers?

There may be many political and practical reasons as you have pointed out. KC-135s being available now is certainly one. But why can they not wait? If the KC-46 is going to be better for Israel, with all the advantages mentioned, wouldn't everyone want to wait for it? Or perhaps the KC-135 is sufficiently capable, available now and cheaper, all at the same time?

[Edited 2013-05-02 19:57:18]

User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 55, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 7179 times:

Quoting rc135x (Reply 53):
If we accept a less capable tanker (based on cost analysis) in lieu of a more capable tanker (based on operational experience) then I wonder if the pilot of that fighter will thank the GAO for saving taxpayers' dollars as she ejects due to lack of fuel and becomes a non-paying guest of the Crimson Bad Guy Popular Front for the Liberation of Perpetual Motion.

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.


User currently offline135mech From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 412 posts, RR: 4
Reply 56, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7108 times:
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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 Kyrgyzstan (by zeke May 3 2013 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)

http://www.fightercontrol.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=287&p=493663

http://rss.rt.com/news/us-plane-crashes-kyrgyzstan-771/

     

VERY SADLY...
135Mech


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 57, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 7092 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 54):
But why can they not wait? If the KC-46 is going to be better for Israel, with all the advantages mentioned, wouldn't everyone want to wait for it?

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 first jet tanker/transport, on 18 June 1954, ARDC invited Boeing, Convair, Lockheed, Douglas, and Fairchild to submit proposals. LeMay (at SAC) and Power (at ARDC) had already expressed unequivocal support for the Boeing tanker based on the flying 367-80. Both wanted "no delay" in acquiring a jet tanker and McConnell (at the Pentagon) hoped that LeMay could "effect any shortening of the [procurement] time." Clearly SAC wanted an airplane sooner to meet current and projected requirements rather than later. Less than 2 months later, and BEFORE the results of the competition were announced, the AF announced the purchase of 29 + 88 = 117 KC-135s as "interim" jet tankers pending the outcome of the formal jet tanker competition.

Interestingly, Lockheed, not Boeing, won the competition based on technical data. When Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott announced the results, he said that Lockheed would build 1 prototype (which was never built) and USAF would order an additional 169 KC-135s.

In the face of the competition results and under intense political pressure from California politicians (where the Lockheed plane would be built), the AF came under scrutiny. There were charges made that AF leaders played favorites: "The clear inference is something was wrong in the way Boeing got the jump on its competitors." (Sound familiar?)

The AF responded that "the desire to produce an optimum tanker conflicted with the operational urgency for a weapons system at an earlier date," and that "Lockheed had won the design competition but that earlier availability of the Boeing proposal offset the optimum tanker proposed by Lockheed."

There are two lessons here: (1) having something now that is proven is better than waiting for something that is still on the drawing board; and (2) the people with decades of operational experience at the broadest and highest levels (LeMay, et al.) chose an arguably better airplane than the one recommended by the engineers and accountants. Which might explain why Israel opted for the KC-135R instead of waiting for the KC-46.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 58, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7079 times:

Quoting rc135x (Reply 53):
rc135x

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 built with thrust reversers on their TF-33 engines?

All KC-135As (no thrust reversers) that were converted to the KC-135E had thrust reversers installed with their TF-33-PW-102 engines (former JT-3D engines from donor B-707s) along with 5 rotor brakes (most KC-135As only had 4 rotor brakes)?

The USN E-6A/B is equipped with the CFM-56 engine in its original format, the CFM-56-2A-2 or -2A-3 engines (military designation F-108-200 or F-108-200A engine), as is all E-3s, except the USAF and NATO versions, and the RSAF KE-3A tanker.

Thrust reversers can reduce the landing roll by about 15%, and reduce wear on brakes and reduce the possibility of 'hot brakes'? The operational benefits for thrust reversers far out weigh the maintenance costs. They include higher S1 speeds (V1), higher SR speeds (V-REF), increased in gross weight capability, and access to more runways throughout the world than we currently have with the KC-135R/T, and by far more than we had with the old KC-135A/D/E/Q models. The safety benefit on wet, snow covered, or icy runway cannot be measured. Reverse thrust does not depend on friction braking as wheel brakes do (friction of the brake pads against the rotors and the tires against the pavement). It is an aero-dynamic braking system, just as spoilers are, and to a lesser extent, aero-braking techniques.

The KC-46A will have thrust reversers.

All KC-10As were built with thrust reversers?

The A-330MRTT/KC-30 has thrust reversers, as do the KC-707 and KC-747?

Even though the B-52 (and many other airplanes) does not have reverse thrusters, it does have a drag chute, which does the same thing.

A little history on the KC-135 upgrade with the F-108-100 engine development. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when SAC began the KC-135R program, SAC Maintenance decided that thrust reversers were to expensive to maintain, so they wanted the thrust reverser engineered out of the CFM-56 engine, making it a new model called the CFM-56-2B1 (F-108-100) engine. This made the -2B1 engine about 200 lbs. lighter than the -2A-2 or 2A-3 engine, or about 800 lbs. per airplane, but also reduced the thrust per engine by some 2,000 lbs. of thrust. BTW, the DC-8-70 series that were reengined with the CFM-56-2C1 engine produced the same 22,000 lbs. of thrust as the CFM-56-2B1 engine of the KC-135R/T and had thrust reversers and was about 20 lbs. lighter in weight. The engineering costs to engineer the thrust reversers out of the KC-135R was over $1M per airplane in 1982 dollars.

USAF maintenance man hours cost, then and now, are a constant cost for the USAF. They have to pay military and civilian man hour costs if they are working on an airplane or just sitting around (I am not implying anything here, it is just a cost analysis). The cost for parts, for thrust reverser systems, would have to be weighed against reduced cost for brake systems, wheels and tires and other parts of the airplane.

The argument against thrust reversers is just as stupid now as it was back in the early 1980s.

FWIW, the competing engine against the CFM-56 engine (called the "10 ton engine") was the JT-8D-217/-219 series engine which would be mounted on the MD-80 series airplanes. P&W would not engineer out the thrust reverser system. The P&W engine lost the contract, even though it was more than $2.5M cheaper per airplane. The JT8D-217 is about half the cost of the CFM-56-2B1 engine.

Okay, okay, I'll get off my soap box now.


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 59, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7065 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 58):
Did that engineer know that;

Yes, he did. It was like trying to teach a pig to sing....

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 58):
The argument against thrust reversers is just as stupid now as it was back in the early 1980s.

SAC said no thrust reversers on KC-135Rs and therefore bought into the spurious argument about no reversers on other platforms. SAC's rationale for no KC-135R reversers was linked to SAC's myopic vision of the KC-135's mission: VALID RED offload to a B-52 under SIOP conditions. If the KC-135R managed to get to someplace in Greenland to land after offloading all fuel but standpipe then it would weigh next to nothing and therefore have no trouble stopping on a compromised runway, ergo, no need for reversers.


User currently offlinedlednicer From United States of America, joined May 2005, 544 posts, RR: 6
Reply 60, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7063 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 58):
FWIW, the competing engine against the CFM-56 engine (called the "10 ton engine") was the JT-8D-217/-219 series engine which would be mounted on the MD-80 series airplanes. P&W would not engineer out the thrust reverser system. The P&W engine lost the contract, even though it was more than $2.5M cheaper per airplane. The JT8D-217 is about half the cost of the CFM-56-2B1 engine.

And, then there is the on-again, off-again program to reengine the E-8 JSTARS fleet with JT8D-219s, with thrust reversers.

http://www.pw.utc.com/Content/JT8D_Engine/img/B-1-7_pw_jt8d_engine_family_power_jstars_704x396.jpg


User currently offlinecargotanker From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 158 posts, RR: 1
Reply 61, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7066 times:

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 47):
Rumors are that the 3 will indeed be KC-135R models, that is if the deal actually goes through,

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 how many 707 tankers the IAF has?

Acquiring 3 KC-135s this year in addition to their existing fleet of 707 tankers shows a greater emphasis on long range strike by Israel. It allows Israel to fly more aircraft to Iran to attack Iran's nuclear capabilites.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 54):
Whoever the payer is or are, to operate the tankers, would spend less by acquiring new tankers, according to A.net wisdom here. So the question can be rephrased to - why is the payer of the operating costs going with KC-135s, if they are more expensive than new tankers?

Could it be that cost isn't that much of a factor for Israel? Or that survival of the nation is a greater factor? My guess is that Israel recognizes that no one is going to stop the Iranian nuclear program except for Israel. Adding a few more tankers allows Israel to get more aircraft to Iran.

In this scenario, Israel doesn't care about 30 year costs, they want a tanker cheap and they want it quick. How much do you think the US charged Israel for these tankers? I bet its close to zero. If Israel went with new build 767s, they would have to wait 5 years at least until delivery. Also, Israel doesn't care about cargo capacity, defensive systems, or medevac abilities. They want a few booms that can fuel F-15s and F-16s.


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 62, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7056 times:

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 61):
They want a few booms that can fuel F-15s and F-16s.

Bingo!


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 881 posts, RR: 11
Reply 63, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7029 times:

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 61):
Could it be that cost isn't that much of a factor for Israel? Or that survival of the nation is a greater factor? My guess is that Israel recognizes that no one is going to stop the Iranian nuclear program except for Israel. Adding a few more tankers allows Israel to get more aircraft to Iran.

In this scenario, Israel doesn't care about 30 year costs, they want a tanker cheap and they want it quick. How much do you think the US charged Israel for these tankers? I bet its close to zero. If Israel went with new build 767s, they would have to wait 5 years at least until delivery. Also, Israel doesn't care about cargo capacity, defensive systems, or medevac abilities. They want a few booms that can fuel F-15s and F-16s.

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. Israel will be operating in insignificant percentage of any tanker they elect to get. They will be able to draw spares as the USAF draws down its KC-135 force. Them having these tankers is insignificant to what the US will end up paying in terms of operating cost and MX cost because it is such a small number. Essentially it is important to get the new tankers building so we can tear the E models apart to keep the R's flying. Then when the R's start leaving service they will provide yet more spares to keep the other ones going until they can be replaced.

In short the USAF is preparing to replace and maintain 400 plus tankers and manage a finite number of spare parts that are no longer built to facilitate economic MX on the other aircraft. Israel is looking for half a dozen tankers that will likely never amount to more than a few percent of the KC-135 force operating until the very end of their life cycle.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 64, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6958 times:

KC-135s are flown by:

United States (416+)

France (12)

Singapore (4)

Turkey (7)

Chile (3)


User currently offline135mech From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 412 posts, RR: 4
Reply 65, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 6839 times:
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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 did. They had a different model of the TF-33's and I wanna say a different/higher power than the others due to it's higher gross-wt's than the others, and may have been why that model didn't have reverse.

Cheers,
135Mech


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 66, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 6728 times:

Quoting 135mech (Reply 65):
The NKC's, WC's, and EC's had thrust reveresers, but I don't believe any of the RC's did. They had a different model of the TF-33's and I wanna say a different/higher power than the others due to it's higher gross-wt's than the others, and may have been why that model didn't have reverse.

This is confusing given the many similar MDS's used with different engine configurations.

Airplanes which were derivatives of the original KC-135Bs (Boeing 717-166) such as the EC-135C used for LOOKING GLASS and EC-135J, and RC-135Bs (Boeing 739-445B) such as the RC-135C, U, and V were equipped with TF33-P-9 engines WITHOUT thrust reversers.

Airplanes which were derivatives of the original C-135Bs (Boeing 717-158) including C-135C, RC-135E, RC-135M, RC-135S, and RC-135X, OC-135W, WC-135B and several EC-135 testbeds were equipped with TF33-P-5 engines WITH thrust reversers.

Airplanes converted to "E" model standards with TF33-PW-102 engines all had thrust reversers.

The RC-135T had J57-P/F-43W engines, and the RC-135A and RC-135D had J57-P/F-59W engines, all WITHOUT thrust reversers.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 64):
France (12)

Originally France received 12 C-135Fs, but 63-8473 crashed in the Pacific during a nuclear test on 1 Jul 72. Four (possibly five) additional AMARC A models (62-3497, 62-3535, 62-3574, and 63-8009) were converted to R models and transferred. I don't know if these were loaners or remain in the Armee de l'Air. I would be grateful to learn of their disposition.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 67, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 6675 times:

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 CFM-56-2B1 engines are no longer in production. But I suppose the tooling is still around with CFMI.

The four tankers transferred to France (including one of my old Pease airplanes, 62-3535) were transferred under FMS, so France owns them now. These 'new' tankers carry the MDS of KC-135FR, not the French MDS of C-135FR that were delivered from Boeing (as C-135F). As I understand it France has retired 3 C-135FRs to AMARC and had them stripped for parts to support the French Fleet of tankers. The retirements coincided with the deliveries of the former USAF tankers.


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 68, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6632 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 67):

Thanks! I appreciate the updated information.


User currently offlinesolarflyer22 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Nov 2009, 1084 posts, RR: 3
Reply 69, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6631 times:

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 61):
Could it be that cost isn't that much of a factor for Israel? Or that survival of the nation is a greater factor? My guess is that Israel recognizes that no one is going to stop the Iranian nuclear program except for Israel.

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 they have nothing to carry a MOP.

I think IrIAF will avoid dangling with F-15's and head straight for the tankers on the way back.

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 61):
How much do you think the US charged Israel for these tankers? I bet its close to zero. If Israel went with new build 767s, they would have to wait 5 years at least until delivery. Also, Israel doesn't care about cargo capacity, defensive systems, or medevac abilities. They want a few booms that can fuel F-15s and F-16s.

I think its mostly bluff. Or it may be for use to hit targets in Sudan which they have done. There clearly is a need for them to extend their air power range and my guess is they told the US either you sell or will convert our own. Sales to Israel are usually structured so that the US ultimately pays via writing off or forgiving a loan.


User currently offline135mech From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 412 posts, RR: 4
Reply 70, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6571 times:
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Quoting rc135x (Reply 66):
This is confusing given the many similar MDS's used with different engine configurations.

Airplanes which were derivatives of the original KC-135Bs (Boeing 717-166) such as the EC-135C used for LOOKING GLASS and EC-135J, and RC-135Bs (Boeing 739-445B) such as the RC-135C, U, and V were equipped with TF33-P-9 engines WITHOUT thrust reversers.

Airplanes which were derivatives of the original C-135Bs (Boeing 717-158) including C-135C, RC-135E, RC-135M, RC-135S, and RC-135X, OC-135W, WC-135B and several EC-135 testbeds were equipped with TF33-P-5 engines WITH thrust reversers.

Airplanes converted to "E" model standards with TF33-PW-102 engines all had thrust reversers.

The RC-135T had J57-P/F-43W engines, and the RC-135A and RC-135D had J57-P/F-59W engines, all WITHOUT thrust reversers.

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, and just remember seeing what white-tops coming in either not having or not using T/R's and knew (remembered) what I could. (You and KCTopBoom rock!).

Cheers!

135Mech

[Edited 2013-05-06 07:53:58]

User currently onlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2322 posts, RR: 10
Reply 71, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6531 times:

Quoting 135mech (Reply 70):
WOW... thanks! You know your engines!

He should - the gentleman literally wrote the book on the KC-135...
 



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offline135mech From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 412 posts, RR: 4
Reply 72, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6513 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting moose135 (Reply 71):
Quoting 135mech (Reply 70):
WOW... thanks! You know your engines!

He should - the gentleman literally wrote the book on the KC-135...

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 Recce's.

Cheers!


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 73, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6473 times:

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 69):
I think IrIAF will avoid dangling with F-15's and head straight for the tankers on the way back.

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 sends their F-14s with the AIM-54A Phoenix AAM, I doubt the Israelis will be caught off guard. The 3 known times the USN fired the Phoenix, AIM-54C, over Iraq, the missiles failed to hit the targets.

Iranian reports of 50-60 kills by the Phoenix during the Iran-Iraq War cannot be confirmed.

Quoting moose135 (Reply 71):
He should - the gentleman literally wrote the book on the KC-135...

I have Bob's book.


User currently offlinesolarflyer22 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Nov 2009, 1084 posts, RR: 3
Reply 74, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 6422 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 73):
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 sends their F-14s with the AIM-54A Phoenix AAM, I doubt the Israelis will be caught off guard. The 3 known times the USN fired the Phoenix, AIM-54C, over Iraq, the missiles failed to hit the targets.

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 find that highly unlikely. I would imagine they would loiter over the Persian Gulf and I don't think USN will CAP for them unless the US is part of the planning.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 73):
Iranian reports of 50-60 kills by the Phoenix during the Iran-Iraq War cannot be confirmed.

I seriously doubt they had that many by AIM54 kills but they proved extremely capable toward the end of the war. Much more so than the Gulf Arabs flying more modern tech. Much like Iraq and Afghanistan, I think it will be much harder than thought.


User currently offlinecargotanker From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 158 posts, RR: 1
Reply 75, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6403 times:

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 69):
I think IrIAF will avoid dangling with F-15's and head straight for the tankers on the way back.

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 surprise raid by Israel and Iran would be lucky get more than ten aircraft off the ground. Those that get airborne will have no clue where the Israelis are and might even be engaged by their own SAMs. Think about how poorly the air forces of Iraq/Syria/Egypt have fared against competent Western/Israeli air forces.

Israel has to worry more about Iran's SAMs than their fighters.


User currently offlinesolarflyer22 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Nov 2009, 1084 posts, RR: 3
Reply 76, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6382 times:

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 75):
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 surprise raid by Israel and Iran would be lucky get more than ten aircraft off the ground. Those that get airborne will have no clue where the Israelis are and might even be engaged by their own SAMs. Think about how poorly the air forces of Iraq/Syria/Egypt have fared against competent Western/Israeli air forces.

Israel has to worry more about Iran's SAMs than their fighters.

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 minority on this one.

Lest the world forget they actually conducted the first attack on a reactor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Scorch_Sword

Desert One, Iraq and Afghanistan were supposed to be a piece of cake too.


User currently offlinecargotanker From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 158 posts, RR: 1
Reply 77, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6330 times:

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 76):
Absolutely I do and having been to Iran and the Arab states I know the differences

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.

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 76):
Desert One, Iraq and Afghanistan were supposed to be a piece of cake too.

During Desert One the US was able to fly helicopters and C-130s through Iranian airspace at medium altitudes without detection. Iranian forces were not able to contribute to the failure of that operation.

Iraq and Afghanistan are difficult because counter insurgency warfare and nation building are difficult. Destroying a low quality air force is comparatively easy.

I don't think an Israeli raid on Iran's nuclear infrastructure will be easy for Israel. The targets are hardened and underground, the distance to fly is significant, and Iran has protected these sites with some decent SAMs. But dealing with Iran's air force is not a big worry for Israeli fighters.


User currently offlinerc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 78, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6332 times:

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 (perhaps forum readers can identify specific target(s) other than Iran which constitute a real and immediate threat to Israel, not just rhetoric).

In addressing the potential of IAF vs IRIAF capabilities, the ultimate argument must not dwell on issues such as AIM-54 capability, pilot sophistication, C3 reliability, and other technical factors. Instead, we must consider what "victory" would look like for either side.

For Israel, would "victory" mean the complete destruction of Iranian nuclear facilities? The partial destruction of key or select nuclear facilities? A show of force to Iranian leadership that Israel can attack Iran at will? Making the effort and not losing a large number (or even any) high value assets? Something else?

For Iran, would "victory" mean preventing or limiting the damage to its nuclear facilities, even at high military cost? The defeat of some or all of an attacking Israeli air assault, even at high military cost? Merely surviving a preemptive Israeli attack in an effort to use world opprobrium to garner global support to eliminate or reduce sanctions on Iran, ease UN pressure on its nuclear program, condemn Israel (and by proxy) the United States, and fan anti-U.S. sentiment among militant Islamic populations? Other possibilities?

If the United States is concerned about limiting or preventing a potential "lone-wolf" Israeli strike against Iran then the transfer of air refueling assets to the IAF critically undermines that policy. If the United States is using the KC-135 transfer as a message to Iranian leadership that the U.S. is willing to provide Israel with the capability to attack Iran because it agrees with that plan, then the sale strengthens that policy.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12146 posts, RR: 51
Reply 79, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 6223 times:

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 74):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 73):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 sends their F-14s with the AIM-54A Phoenix AAM, I doubt the Israelis will be caught off guard. The 3 known times the USN fired the Phoenix, AIM-54C, over Iraq, the missiles failed to hit the targets.
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.

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 their airspace. I just don't see their Cessna-172s and -208s, or their T-6A Texans as much of a threat against Israeli KC-135s, F-15s, or F-16s. Iraq's F-16IQs have not been delivered yet..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_Air_Force#Aircraft_inventory

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 77):
cargotanker
Quoting rc135x (Reply 78):
rc135x

The list and location of Iran's nuclear facilities have been known publicly for years. There are about 17 facilities, of which not all have to be hit to make the mission successful, as defined by Israel. Probably the two most important facilities are Arak, a heavy water processing facility, and Fordow, near the city of Qom, is the site of an underground uranium enrichment facility at a former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps base. Natanz and Parchin are most likely on Israel's "hit list" too. There are about 12 sites that represent parts of a nuclear weapons program.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_facilities_in_Iran


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