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KC-10 Chopping Block...KC-46 Right Choice?  
User currently offlineinfiniti329 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 677 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7094 times:

With the KC-10 now possibly on the chopping block, was KC-46 still the right choice? Essentially as I see it the KC-46 could be the replacement for both KC-10 and KC-135, if in fact the KC-10 is shown the graveyard. Would the KC-45 (A330 MRTT) would have been a better choice to replace both tankers? Will the Air Force put out another bid for a KC-10 replacement ( which is I think is high unlikely)?

56 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinesweair From Sweden, joined Nov 2011, 1824 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 7026 times:

B had a 777 proposal for the KC-10 replecement iirc. Probably based on the 77L?

User currently onlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (11 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6987 times:
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The KC 46 is adaptable to cover everything the KC-10 did.. the first batch may not, but subsequent batches will. Adding another model (KC-77) into the mix has real questionable value.

User currently offlinefridgmus From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1442 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (11 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 6922 times:
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Once enough KC-46's become operational, is there a market for the USAF KC-10's ? Would it still be a viable aircraft?

Thanks,

F



The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 4, posted (11 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6859 times:
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Quoting infiniti329 (Thread starter):
With the KC-10 now possibly on the chopping block, was KC-46 still the right choice?

Yes. The bulk of the USAF tanker and cargo fleet is the KC-135 and the KC-46 is a better fit for that role than the KC-45 (A330 MRTT) was.


Quoting infiniti329 (Thread starter):
Will the Air Force put out another bid for a KC-10 replacement ( which is I think is high unlikely)?

I do not believe so. The additional capacity the KC-46 offers over the KC-135 should cover the retirement of the KC-10 fleet.



Quoting sweair (Reply 1):
B had a 777 proposal for the KC-10 replecement iirc. Probably based on the 77L?

It was based on the 777F, but was really almost a gag meant to tell the USAF that if "bigger was better", than why "settle" for an A330 when you could have a 777.  


User currently offlineinfiniti329 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 677 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6697 times:

Quoting kanban (Reply 2):

The KC 46 is adaptable to cover everything the KC-10 did.. the first batch may not, but subsequent batches will. Adding another model (KC-77) into the mix has real questionable value.

But to be honest there can be a business case made. (Using the 777F as basis) Correct me if I am wrong on any if these points.

- A KC-777 would be able to provide same lift as up three C-130's
- The developmental cost would be minimal as most the technology would come from the KC-46
-The longer range it would provide would negate the need to be refueled in flight, but can be if needed
-KC-777 could draw from the KC-46 pilot pool and pilots could operate both no sweat
-Accelerated retirement of older airlift aircraft
- Would be able to hold 37 463L pallets compared to 18 (C-17), 19 (KC-46), 5 (C-130J), 27( KC10)

Thats what I got


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (11 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 6622 times:

The KC-10 was scheduled to be replaced in the KC-Y program, which I am not sure will happen now as currently planned. A KC-777F would be a good choice, and if defense budgets can be fixed in the next few years, Boeing could offer the KC-777F at a bargain price to help keep the B-777 line going until the B-777X is in full production. A fleet of about 96 KC-777Fs would fill 12 squadrons, 4 on the east coast, 4 on the west coast, and 4 throughout the middle of the country, including the training squadron.

User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 857 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (11 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 6617 times:

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 5):

But to be honest there can be a business case made.

The whole point of retiring the KC-10s would be to save money by getting rid of an entire type. In this budget climate I cannot see a single reason the retirement of the KC-10s would enable a business case for any tanker aircraft other than the KC-46.

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 5):

- A KC-777 would be able to provide same lift as up three C-130's

And yet not land on a short rough field, the whole point of a C-130.

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 5):
-Accelerated retirement of older airlift aircraft

Will happen anyway when required, aircraft don't need to be replaced one for one.

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 5):
- Would be able to hold 37 463L pallets compared to 18 (C-17), 19 (KC-46), 5 (C-130J), 27( KC10)

If transporting pallets are what you are worried about it is far cheaper to lease the assets from the civilian sector when you need them. After all, if a major conflict occurs there would be plenty of slack in the civilian freight sector.

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 3):
is there a market for the USAF KC-10's

The Dutch seem to like the tanker and transport capabilities of their two KC-10s so there may be a few nations who could operate a used KC-10 effectively, such as Israel. I would also expect Omega to pick up 4 to 6 and expand their contract AAR operation.


User currently onlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 8, posted (11 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 6586 times:
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Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 5):
Thats what I got

And how many would you propose to be sitting around with flight /maintenance crews because the usage requirements didn't need either the range or capacity?

Look at the average yearly utilization of today's fleet, subtract training flights and what's left -- - only K-46 capacity needs.


User currently offlineNBGSkyGod From United States of America, joined May 2004, 819 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (11 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 6512 times:

Forgive me because I think I missed something along the way. I thought the KC-46 was meant to replace the KC-135s, with the KC-10 remaining in the fleet. Is the USAF going to keep the 135 in favor of replacing the -10 with the -46 or are they just looking to axe it completely and go with a single tanker platform?


"I use multi-billion dollar military satellite systems to find tupperware in the woods."
User currently onlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 10, posted (11 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 6496 times:
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The KC-46 replaces the KC-135 primarily and allows the surplus of the aging KC-10s as part of the budget crunch.

User currently onlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8565 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (11 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 6389 times:

Quoting NBGSkyGod (Reply 9):
Is the USAF going to keep the 135 in favor of replacing the -10 with the -46 or are they just looking to axe it completely and go with a single tanker platform?

Without knowing a solitary thing: the AF brass will do whatever politics tells them is stylish to do.

They couldn't spec KC-X competition to favor the KC-30 because that would not be stylish. Now, suddenly they will retire the KC-10 and KC-135, needing expensive KC-45s which were not meant to replace KC-10. Maybe the 45 will do fine as a replacement except when huge offloads are needed. For all I know, that's incredibly rare.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 12, posted (11 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6280 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 11):
Now, suddenly they will retire the KC-10 and KC-135, needing expensive KC-45s which were not meant to replace KC-10.

I don't see the USAF revisiting the KC-45. They don't have the money right now for any new tanker except the KC-46.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (11 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6232 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
, Boeing could offer the KC-777F at a bargain price to help keep the B-777 line going until the B-777X is in full production.

Not necessarily true as there may be enough demand for commercial 777F to serve that purpose. Once the 777X production line takes over, you'll likely see a 777-8F.

Note that the 777X will have much different wing and fuselage than the current 777. Thus the benefit of keeping the existing 777 line open would only be beneficial short term but may be a liability long term when the 777 commercial lines shuts down.

Still it may be a moot point as any KC-X program may not materialize in time . . . timing will have to be impeccable.

Boeing is already having to figure out what to do with the P-8A line going forward once the MAX is at full speed. The cost savings of having a common 737 frame would not be as significant as was predicted at the beginning of the program.

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlineinfiniti329 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 677 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (11 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5982 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 7):
And yet not land on a short rough field, the whole point of a C-130.

To replace in strictly airlift missions base to base.. My point was where C-130 is being used in an airlift capability from base to base (to moving supplies and other palletable items) the KC-777 could easily free up three C-130's to do other missions such as moving vehicles. When it comes to airdrop or landing on improvised strips the C-130 and C-17s will always have that job.


User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 857 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (11 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5937 times:

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 14):
My point was where C-130 is being used in an airlift capability from base to base

In peace time the C-130 is used that way only because the USAF has it.

When conflicts occur, as has been the case for the last 10+ years in Afghanistan and Iraq, the C-130 is used primarily for short range cargo runs with a load of pallets or people from one airfield to the next. The advantage a C-130 has is it requires little to no airfield infrastructure and can land on just about any airfield irrespective of the surface. The larger cargo runs are operated by C-17s, again custom aircraft that can operate with little airfield infrastructure and land on a large number of runway surfaces.

If we look at Afghanistan as an example, NATO uses large military and civilian transport aircraft to fly supplies into the large bases, such as Kabul, Kandahar and Bagram, and then distributes this amongst the smaller bases. C-17s, C-5s, AN-124s, IL-76s etc are used for the large base runs and then the C-130s, C-17s and other smaller rough field capable aircraft land or airdrop those supplies around the respective smaller bases. The US is not using KC-135s, or KC-10s, to transport anything to the larger bases and certainly not into the smaller ones. It is cheaper to use the specialized freighter aircraft, both military and commercial, to do the large base runs.

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 14):
C-130's to do other missions such as moving vehicles

The C-130 is a terrible vehicle mover, anything a decent size or weight for the battlefield is too big and heavy for a C-130.


User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3413 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (11 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5932 times:

KC-46 in some respects CAN'T replace the KC-10. However, the KC-10's ability to loft massive payloads for short distances isn't as important as it once was. Over longer ranged/durations the lower fuel burn does leave the KC-46 in a good place to replace the KC-10.

While the USAF expressed the idea that the KC-Y bid would be for a larger plane than KC-X, political reality means that there is very little chance it will be anything other than KC-46 bought for quite some time. A bid process for anything else is just not going to happen. Even if they wanted a KC-777X, KC-748, or a airbus frame of some stripe.... Its simply infinitely easier to get 2x the number of smaller KC-46 frames.


User currently onlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12587 posts, RR: 25
Reply 17, posted (11 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5827 times:

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 13):
Not necessarily true as there may be enough demand for commercial 777F to serve that purpose. Once the 777X production line takes over, you'll likely see a 777-8F.

Probably not for a solid decade or so.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 13):
Boeing is already having to figure out what to do with the P-8A line going forward once the MAX is at full speed. The cost savings of having a common 737 frame would not be as significant as was predicted at the beginning of the program.

They were fools for selling off all the land at the Renton site. Short term gain, long term pain...

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 16):
However, the KC-10's ability to loft massive payloads for short distances isn't as important as it once was. Over longer ranged/durations the lower fuel burn does leave the KC-46 in a good place to replace the KC-10.

I was reading wiki's page on KC-10 which says:

Quote:

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Air Force commenced Operation Nickel Grass to supply Israel with weapons and supplies. The operation demonstrated the necessity for adequate air-refueling capabilities; denied landing rights in Europe, C-5 Galaxies were forced to carry a fraction of their maximum payload on direct flights from the continental United States to Israel.[3][4] To address this shortfall in mobility, in 1975, under the Advanced Tanker Cargo Aircraft Program, four aircraft were evaluated: the C-5 itself, the Boeing 747, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, and the Lockheed L-1011.[5] The only serious contenders were Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. On 19 December 1977, McDonnell Douglas's DC-10 was chosen. The primary reason of this choice was the KC-10's ability to operate from shorter runways.

So it seems the requirement was for a tanker that could escort C-5s from the US to the Middle East region with no use of European/African airfields, something the KC-135s could not do. I'd imagine the KC-46 could do this, based on what we know about the 763ER capabilities, but it would not do it with the kind of margins that the KC-10 has.

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 16):
While the USAF expressed the idea that the KC-Y bid would be for a larger plane than KC-X, political reality means that there is very little chance it will be anything other than KC-46 bought for quite some time. A bid process for anything else is just not going to happen. Even if they wanted a KC-777X, KC-748, or a airbus frame of some stripe.... Its simply infinitely easier to get 2x the number of smaller KC-46 frames.

I agree. Perhaps some had this same idea when they were pushing for KC-45, but that's not what the spec was for, so the bid was tossed out and the new bid really favored a pure KC-135 replacement rather than something that could cover for both.

I suppose in retrospect I would have been more in favor of the KC-45 if the goal was to replace both a/c. It would have been cool to have an A330 plant in Mobile.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently onlineN14AZ From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2721 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (11 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5672 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 18):

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Air Force commenced Operation Nickel Grass to supply Israel with weapons and supplies. The operation demonstrated the necessity for adequate air-refueling capabilities; denied landing rights in Europe

Denied landing rights in Europe? Honestly, I didn't know this. Which countries denied landing rights?


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 19, posted (11 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5640 times:

Quoting N14AZ (Reply 20):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 18):
During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Air Force commenced Operation Nickel Grass to supply Israel with weapons and supplies. The operation demonstrated the necessity for adequate air-refueling capabilities; denied landing rights in Europe

Denied landing rights in Europe? Honestly, I didn't know this. Which countries denied landing rights?

France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal (although the use of Lajas AB, Azores was allowed). The UK and Germany allowed landings of the USAF C-5s and KC-135s. In 1973 the C-141 was not air refuelable yet.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 20, posted (11 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5588 times:
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Quoting bikerthai (Reply 13):
Boeing is already having to figure out what to do with the P-8A line going forward once the MAX is at full speed.
Quoting Revelation (Reply 18):
They were fools for selling off all the land at the Renton site. Short term gain, long term pain...

Boeing did want to use Long Beach for military 737 programs (as well as the 737-700C), however IAM 751 effectively killed that plan.

That being said, Boeing is increasing the number of airframe assembly stations by a third as well as doubling the number of wing assembly stations. And as I understand it, the P-8 line is capable of building both commercial and military versions (though it will require ITAR-cleared personnel to work on the commercial frames) so Boeing might be able to send 737 MAX airframes down that line, as well.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (11 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5414 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 20):
Boeing might be able to send 737 MAX airframes down that line, as well.

The MAX and the NG is close enough in design to keep the economy of scale in the FA. But you've lost the buying power of all those NG engines. Fly-away cost of each P-8 will go up. Unless of course if GE can continue to churn out the older engines for the replacement market   

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently onlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 22, posted (11 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 5328 times:
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I seem to recall Boeing was going to keep the NG in production, not just for military derivatives, but for customers with existing fleets that wanted replacements and expansion capabilities without introducing a new model.. I doubt that the engine manufacturer will curtail production with military and spares requirements.

User currently offlineStoobie From United States of America, joined Sep 2013, 10 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (11 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5097 times:

So can 179 KC-46's match the production and availability of 400+ KC-135's?

User currently offlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2328 posts, RR: 10
Reply 24, posted (11 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5093 times:

Quoting Stoobie (Reply 23):
So can 179 KC-46's match the production and availability of 400+ KC-135's?

No, they were never intended to do that. The first order of KC-46s were to replace the E-models that have been parked. It has always been in the plan to add to that number of KC-46s as the R-models get older and start to need replacement.



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently onlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 25, posted (11 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5159 times:
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Also future KC-46's that are destined for special missions will be built with that in mind, not modified later.

User currently onlineN14AZ From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2721 posts, RR: 25
Reply 26, posted (11 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5121 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 19):
Quoting N14AZ (Reply 20):Quoting Revelation (Reply 18):
During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Air Force commenced Operation Nickel Grass to supply Israel with weapons and supplies. The operation demonstrated the necessity for adequate air-refueling capabilities; denied landing rights in Europe

Denied landing rights in Europe? Honestly, I didn't know this. Which countries denied landing rights?
France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal (although the use of Lajas AB, Azores was allowed). The UK and Germany allowed landings of the USAF C-5s and KC-135s. In 1973 the C-141 was not air refuelable yet.

Thank you very much for your explanations. I became curious and read the Wikipedia webpages about Operation Nickel Grass.

In the section "effects" there is something else that caught my attention, besides mentioning that the operation demonstrated the necessity for adequate air-refueling capabilities:

(I know this is off-topic but I hope it is acceptable since it wouldn't be worth starting a new thread)

Quote:
Nickel Grass vindicated the Air Force decision to purchase the C-5 Galaxy. Since its introduction in 1970, the C-5 had been plagued by problems. The Air Force claimed to have rectified the problems, but the C-5 was still viewed by the press as an expensive failure. During Nickel Grass, C-5s carried 48% of the total cargo in only 145 of the 567 total missions. The C-5 also carried "outsize" cargo such as M60 Patton tanks, M109 howitzers, ground radar systems, mobile tractor units, CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, and A-4 Skyhawk components; cargo that could not fit in smaller aircraft. This performance justified the C-5's existence

But the German Wikipedia Webpage has a different ending:
Translation:

Quote:
[...same as above]. By this the C-5-project was vindicated and the US-Government authorized the improved C-5B model, which is still flying today.

So is the German version correct or is it exaggerated? If it is true, why didn't they mention it in the English version?


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 27, posted (11 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5184 times:

Quoting N14AZ (Reply 26):
So is the German version correct or is it exaggerated? If it is true, why didn't they mention it in the English version?

Yes, a little bit exaggerated. The C-5B program was a new and separate program (started in 1982) that incorporated all of the mods to date of the C-5A, including the "H-MOD" which replaced the upper wing skin. The C-5B was part of President Reagan's rebuilding of the US Military Forces after years of neglect and decline b y President Carter. The C-5B was to add 50 new build airplanes to the C-5 fleet, bringing the total up to about 120 airplanes, IIRC.

Nickel Glass did "vindicate" the C-5A program in 1973, but it really did not need too. The C-5A, by that time had been flying missions to and from South Vietnam in support of that war well before the Yom Kippur War.


User currently offlineJohnM From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (11 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5142 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 27):
the "H-MOD" which replaced the upper wing skin

I know this is off topic, but the H mod ( re wing program) was a wing box replacement, not just skin. A very major TCTO that took many years. ALDCS had been added prior to that, to reduce wing load and bending.


User currently onlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12587 posts, RR: 25
Reply 29, posted (11 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4915 times:

I do appreciate all the comments but am also interested in focusing on the thread starter: is the KC-46 going to be an adequate fill-in should the KC-10 be scrapped? I think we mostly agree that it is not really an issue of cargo support since there are many different ways to meet that requirement. Do we need to have a pure tanker larger than KC-46?


Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 30, posted (11 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4789 times:

Quoting JohnM (Reply 28):
I know this is off topic, but the H mod ( re wing program) was a wing box replacement, not just skin. A very major TCTO that took many years.

Correct, H Mod also replaced a lot of wring etc. in the wing. The modified airplanes looked strange during refueling, the airplanes had the original livery of white and grey, with the section of the new wing painted in European 1.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
I do appreciate all the comments but am also interested in focusing on the thread starter: is the KC-46 going to be an adequate fill-in should the KC-10 be scrapped?

I doubt the KC-10s will be scrapped for a while. We used to say when the KC-10s were first coming into the SAC fleet, when the last KC-10 s sent to the boneyard, a KC-135 will be there to fly the crew home.


User currently onlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12587 posts, RR: 25
Reply 31, posted (11 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4741 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 30):
I doubt the KC-10s will be scrapped for a while. We used to say when the KC-10s were first coming into the SAC fleet, when the last KC-10 s sent to the boneyard, a KC-135 will be there to fly the crew home.

Indeed, but as above, no one is expecting them to be replaced by anything any time soon, so we really should consider the post KC-10 world and ask if KC-46 will be an adequate replacement in the tanker role.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlinecolumba From Germany, joined Dec 2004, 7073 posts, RR: 4
Reply 32, posted (11 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4674 times:

Would be a sad to see the KC 10 leave the fleet. The Dc 10 is one of the best looking aircraft ever build too sad its time is over.


It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
User currently offlinebuckeyetech From United States of America, joined Jul 2013, 55 posts, RR: 0
Reply 33, posted (11 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4655 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
I do appreciate all the comments but am also interested in focusing on the thread starter: is the KC-46 going to be an adequate fill-in should the KC-10 be scrapped? I think we mostly agree that it is not really an issue of cargo support since there are many different ways to meet that requirement. Do we need to have a pure tanker larger than KC-46?

In my opinion the 767 & A330 were way too much airplane for the tanker role. The Air Force 10 years ago seemed to have an unlimited budget, and Congress was going to give the DoD anything they wanted because of the wars. Flash forward to now, after the KC-46 program is already moving forward, and the DoD is in a budget crunch because of the mountains of debt caused by congress. The Air Force has said it has an excess number of cargo aircraft, so the cargo capacity requirement of the new tanker is negligible. I'm no expert, but would it have been possible for a newer generation 737 tanker? Was the 737 MAX in the design phase yet when they started the KC-X program?



B-52H, C-141C, C-5A, C-17A
User currently onlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12587 posts, RR: 25
Reply 34, posted (11 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4589 times:

Quoting buckeyetech (Reply 33):
I'm no expert, but would it have been possible for a newer generation 737 tanker?

Doubtful. One would like something with solid Trans Pacific range with full load, and that just isn't the 737. You need this for doing things like 'fighter drags' to move smaller a/c from one place to the other. In theory one can station tankers at mid points but that makes the logistics crazy (what if a monsoon/whiteout/whatever hits one midpoint?) and in times of crisis you need to presume midpoints may not be available.

Wiki gives the 'range' of KC-46 as 6385nm and its first base will be KPSM so http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?R=6385nm%40KPSM shows it can get to the Middle East pretty well, but 'range' may or may not be based on the fuel the tanker will be offloading as a part of its mission.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 35, posted (11 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4489 times:
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Quoting buckeyetech (Reply 33):
In my opinion the 767 & A330 were way too much airplane for the tanker role.

If they were replacing the KC-135 fleet on a 1:1 basis, that would be very true, however the KC-46 fleet, even if built out to the level the USAF desires, is going to be a fair bit smaller so in the end, at best we'll see parity in terms of total capacity, but likely a fair bit less.

As for the 737, the maximum fuel load you can put into a 737-700C is 70,000 pounds - one third of the fuel load a KC-135R can lift. And that requires 9 auxiliary tanks in the hold, which leaves just enough space (150 cubic feet) for the crew to store their duffels (and they can't be heavy duffels, since there would only be 5000 pounds worth of TOW left for payload).


User currently onlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12587 posts, RR: 25
Reply 36, posted (11 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4450 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 35):
As for the 737, the maximum fuel load you can put into a 737-700C is 70,000 pounds - one third of the fuel load a KC-135R can lift. And that requires 9 auxiliary tanks in the hold, which leaves just enough space (150 cubic feet) for the crew to store their duffels (and they can't be heavy duffels, since there would only be 5000 pounds worth of TOW left for payload).

Thanks for the numbers, Stitch!

For comparison, Wiki sez the KC-46 capabilities are:

Fuel Capacity: 212,299 lb (96,297 kg)
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load: 207,672 lb (94,198 kg)

A few more stats:

Crew: 3 (2 pilots, 1 boom operator) basic crew; 15 permanent seats for additional/optional air crew members, including aeromedical evacuation crew members
Capacity: seating for up to 114 people, 18 463L pallets, or 58 patients (24 litters, 34 ambulatory)
Payload: 65,000 lb (29,500 kg)

So there's a lot more capability versus a 737-700C.

The KC-10 is listed as providing 356,000 lb fuel capacity, so the KC-135 and KC-46 are around three 737-700s whereas the KC-10 is around five.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlinepar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7275 posts, RR: 8
Reply 37, posted (11 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4413 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
Do we need to have a pure tanker larger than KC-46?

The pivot to the Pacific means that fighter drags require a tanker with greater range and offload capacity than the KC-135, something which the KC-10 can do much better even over the KC-46. Big issue is that there are much more missions than those long range missions, so a bigger tanker than the KC-135 would means hauling around higher weight and unused capacity.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 34):
Doubtful. One would like something with solid Trans Pacific range with full load, and that just isn't the 737.
Quoting Revelation (Reply 36):
So there's a lot more capability versus a 737-700C.

The numbers I would love to compare is with the every day missions that the KC-135 performs,how do the 737 numbers stacks against operational numbers - every day use.
A small buy of KC-10's were done for the long range missions and those requiring high offload, could a smaller tanker based on the 737 be used domestically similar to the KC-10 and KC-135?
The KC-46 is expensive and with the size of the Air Force shrinking no one expects to see the current numbers of tankers converted into newer a/c, but if numbers are needed for peace time use within the continental USA, a smaller tanker on a cheaper frame might work.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 38, posted (11 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4394 times:

Quoting buckeyetech (Reply 33):
I'm no expert, but would it have been possible for a newer generation 737 tanker? Was the 737 MAX in the design phase yet when they started the KC-X program?

No, not enough fuel carrying capability.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 35):
which leaves just enough space (150 cubic feet) for the crew to store their duffels (and they can't be heavy duffels, since there would only be 5000 pounds worth of TOW left for payload).

Actually for USAF weight and balance, each crewmember's weight includes his/her extra baggage weight.

Quoting par13del (Reply 37):
The pivot to the Pacific means that fighter drags require a tanker with greater range and offload capacity than the KC-135, something which the KC-10 can do much better even over the KC-46.

The problem with the Pacific Ocean is it takes 12-16 hours to cross it. That is to long for fighter guys. So an intermediate stop is planned (usually Hawaii or Alaska) for crew rest. Even crossing the Atlantic Ocean sometimes requires a stop in the Azores, depending on how far inland from the east coast the fighters take off from. All of these missions can be done with the KC-135. The advantage the KC-10 brings is it can airlift some support equipment and support/maintenance personnel for the fighters on the same sortie.


User currently offlinebuckeyetech From United States of America, joined Jul 2013, 55 posts, RR: 0
Reply 39, posted (11 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4369 times:

Too bad the 757 still isn't in production, it might have well had the fuel capacity that the 737 didn't at the time the KC-X program started. One of my fav's too, with those tall landing gear, she's one of the more attractive planes even when on the ground.


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User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4549 posts, RR: 19
Reply 40, posted (11 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4321 times:

Quoting buckeyetech (Reply 39):


Too bad the 757 still isn't in production, it might have well had the fuel capacity that the 737 didn't at the time the KC-X program started. One of my fav's too, with those tall landing gear, she's one of the more attractive planes even when on the ground.

It's a good Aircraft but it just doesn't carry enough fuel to be a tanker, basically 75000 pounds is full tanks. Enough to give it a very good range but not to give out to others !


Imho the KC46 is a superb and very capable tanker, a perfect KC135 replacement but no KC10 replacement which carries an incredible amount of fuel. the only replacement is a 777 !



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2444 posts, RR: 5
Reply 41, posted (11 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4209 times:

Just armchair quarter backing here, and a couple references have been made, but why not consider the 748F as a super tanker platform? True the 777X would have the cargo space but I'm sure the nose loading feature would have some advantages whatever they may be. Boeing has already had some experience with a refueling boom on the 741. They also had experience with an on board loading system which would eliminate some dependance on ground based loading equipment. Makes me curious if one would be a good Presidential motorcade transport with the on board loading system? My rough estimates are that a KC-748 would be able to carry 500+ troops as well. Here was a thread about a possible KC-747.

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/military/read.main/47425/

The link I provided then doesn't work - AKA Boeing Nut then - but here is the updated address.

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


[Edited 2013-10-20 09:23:48]


Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
User currently onlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 42, posted (11 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4166 times:
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Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 41):
the 748F as a super tanker platform?

two concerns that I can think of.. the plane is too long for a tail boom to stay clear of ground contact on take off, and two fuel carrying quantity is one thing, but a 747 is limited in how many they can refuel so multiple tankers would still be required.

example: if say 20 fighters are transiting to the middle east.. they are all going to run low at the same point, if the 747 can only refuel 3-4 at a time, you have to start refueling much earlier to get all before they run out.. this creates a stagger at the next refueling and a bigger stagger at the third. however a group of smaller can refuel all in short order so at the next point they all arrive in roughly the same reserves, and so on. multiple tankers allow single point rendezvous..

I think KC135TopBoom discussed this in depth during the KV-45/KC46 debates


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 43, posted (11 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4168 times:
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Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 41):
Just armchair quarter backing here, and a couple references have been made, but why not consider the 748F as a super tanker platform?

That's a fair bit of overkill in both cargo and tanker capability, IMO. As KC135TopBoom noted, the issue is the endurance of the fighter crews. So there isn't a need for the capability to support a non-stop deployment across the Pacific.


User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2444 posts, RR: 5
Reply 44, posted (11 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4068 times:

Quoting kanban (Reply 42):
Quoting Stitch (Reply 43):

Thanks for the replies guys. I appreciate your educational response instead of the sometimes delivered - "think about it dumbass" input.

That aside, is there any mission that could be though of where the 748F could excel at?



Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3413 posts, RR: 4
Reply 45, posted (11 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 4026 times:

Quoting buckeyetech (Reply 33):
In my opinion the 767 & A330 were way too much airplane for the tanker role.

767 is as close to a 707 replacement as you can get in terms of payload lift. 737's are much smaller planes even if the passenger numbers look close on paper.

Quoting kanban (Reply 42):
two concerns that I can think of.. the plane is too long for a tail boom to stay clear of ground contact on take off, and two fuel carrying quantity is one thing, but a 747 is limited in how many they can refuel so multiple tankers would still be required.

I'm pretty sure Boeing would have no issue making a 744 length 748 if the Airforce orders 100 or so. One thing that *might* promote a much larger frame than currently used is if the USAF began using more "tactical" sized tankers for use near hostile regions. Where 737's, KC-130, etc do the refueling near the lines, but come back to load back up off a 747 or 777 closer to the base. The problem is this idea costs way too much to try today, and so only the Navy would be all that interested as they currently are limited to small "tankers" due to the problem of launching large aircraft off aircraft carriers. No way the USAF spends money to help the navy....


User currently onlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12587 posts, RR: 25
Reply 46, posted (11 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 4023 times:

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 45):
767 is as close to a 707 replacement as you can get in terms of payload lift.

It does seem the KC-46 will be a very close KC-135 replacement, which again begs the question what will happen when the KC-10s are retired?



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 47, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3826 times:
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Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 44):
That aside, is there any mission that could be though of where the 748F could excel at?

If you need to move a large amount of palletized cargo, but it would be cheaper for the USAF to source that via charter on the commercial freighter market, as they do now.

Back when McD was independent and trying to get the C-17 into service, Boeing countered with the C-33 - a 747-400F with a larger side door and reinforced main cargo deck. I am assuming this was the basis for the KC-33A in the Air Power Australia analysis you linked to.


User currently offlinecargotanker From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 158 posts, RR: 1
Reply 48, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3828 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 46):
which again begs the question what will happen when the KC-10s are retired?

Nothing.

The premise of this thread "KC-10 Chopping Block" is in reference to the USAF floating a plan to divest itself of its entire fleet of KC-10s, along with A-10s and F-15Cs.

If the entire KC-10 fleet gets divested in the near future, it will not be replaced by any specific aircraft. Rather, the USAF air refueling fleet will become a mix of KC-135s and KC-46s (and some spec ops C-130s). If some KC-46s happen to be stationed at current KC-10 bases, then you could state that, in that instance, the KC-10 was replaced by a KC-46. But where aircaft are located is determined more by politics than by logic or reality.

Introducing another type of tanker, whether it is a A330, A350, 777 or 747 would introduce a whole different type of aircraft into the fleet, which is entirely the purpose of getting rid of the KC-10.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130915/DEFREG02/309150004/

[Edited 2013-10-21 13:12:10]

User currently onlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12587 posts, RR: 25
Reply 49, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3780 times:

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 48):
Nothing.

Based on that, then, we can shut down the KC-10 fleet tomorrow...

My real question is if there are missions to be performed that only the KC-10 can perform.

Otherwise it seems the KC-10's days will end soon, regardless of the premise of this particular thread, regardless of KC-Y or KC-Z.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 883 posts, RR: 12
Reply 50, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3750 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 49):
My real question is if there are missions to be performed that only the KC-10 can perform.

There are of course missions only the KC-10 can do in the sense that there are missions the KC-10 is better at than the KC-135 is or the KC-46 will be. Like the discussion with the A-10 the answer in reality really comes down to the fact that you can muddle you way through and do well enough on those missions with other assets. Given a larger budget you would keep it around for the capability. Get squeezed and you make due with what you can afford.


User currently onlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 51, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3735 times:
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Quoting BigJKU (Reply 50):
There are of course missions only the KC-10 can do in the sense that there are missions the KC-10 is better at than the KC-135 is or the KC-46 will be.

That leads to the question: Are there sufficient missions on a routine basis to justify the fleet, crewing and maintenance? At one time it wa a spring board to a commercial DC-10/MD-11 operation but those are dwindling as well.

So it may actually be cheaper to wet lease commercial frames for those unique requirements.


User currently offlineinfiniti329 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 677 posts, RR: 0
Reply 52, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3618 times:

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 48):
Introducing another type of tanker, whether it is a A330, A350, 777 or 747 would introduce a whole different type of aircraft into the fleet, which is entirely the purpose of getting rid of the KC-10.

What if boeing tailors the Kc-777 to Kc-46 in which their share a great deal of commonality? For the pilots, boom operator and maintainers? That could be a valid selling point


User currently onlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8565 posts, RR: 2
Reply 53, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3565 times:

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 52):
What if boeing tailors the Kc-777 to Kc-46 in which their share a great deal of commonality? For the pilots, boom operator and maintainers? That could be a valid selling point

There is really no commonality there. The KC-46 will be a 767 with a lot of custom systems. 777 shares no pilot rating, probably a few fasteners, a few plastic decals and that's it. KC-10 would have similar (non) commonality.

If they were willing to team up 767s occasionally, they could duplicate KC-10 capability, more or less.

[Edited 2013-10-22 06:38:18]

User currently offlinecargotanker From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 158 posts, RR: 1
Reply 54, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3547 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 49):
Nothing.

Based on that, then, we can shut down the KC-10 fleet tomorrow...

My real question is if there are missions to be performed that only the KC-10 can perform.

Understood, I was replying that no new procurement will take place to replace the KC-10 if it is divested.

Once the KC-46 comes online, I do not think there will be any missions the KC-10 can perform that the KC-46 cannot do. Although, in some instances it may take a few extra KC-46s to accomplish some particular missions (such as dragging a fighter wing across the ocean with pax and cargo onboard).

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 52):
What if boeing tailors the Kc-777 to Kc-46 in which their share a great deal of commonality? For the pilots, boom operator and maintainers? That could be a valid selling point

I'm not trying to kill the thread, but I truly believe that we're not going to see another USAF jet tanker purchased in significant numbers after the KC-46 for another 30 or more years. Sometime after the current C-17s and F-22s haver been replaced. Proposals and plans in the past for KC-Y and KC-Z are irrelevant dreams from budget plans in the past. KC-46 is it.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 883 posts, RR: 12
Reply 55, posted (11 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3485 times:

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 54):
I'm not trying to kill the thread, but I truly believe that we're not going to see another USAF jet tanker purchased in significant numbers after the KC-46 for another 30 or more years. Sometime after the current C-17s and F-22s haver been replaced. Proposals and plans in the past for KC-Y and KC-Z are irrelevant dreams from budget plans in the past. KC-46 is it.

This is true precisely because of what you cited here...

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 54):
Once the KC-46 comes online, I do not think there will be any missions the KC-10 can perform that the KC-46 cannot do. Although, in some instances it may take a few extra KC-46s to accomplish some particular missions (such as dragging a fighter wing across the ocean with pax and cargo onboard).

The marginal cost of having even a few dozen more KC-46's in the fleet is far less than the R&D cost of a new tanker program. If you need more tanker capacity you are going to need a very good reason for it not to come from KC-46's to justify the R&D expense.


User currently onlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12587 posts, RR: 25
Reply 56, posted (11 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3459 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 53):
There is really no commonality there. The KC-46 will be a 767 with a lot of custom systems. 777 shares no pilot rating, probably a few fasteners, a few plastic decals and that's it. KC-10 would have similar (non) commonality.

Agree in general. Seems that the KC-46 will have the 787 display tech and one can think it will find its way onto 777X but that's not very significant. The screen will be the same but what will be on them will be different for all three families in order to preserve their certification.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 53):
If they were willing to team up 767s occasionally, they could duplicate KC-10 capability, more or less.
Quoting cargotanker (Reply 54):
Although, in some instances it may take a few extra KC-46s to accomplish some particular missions (such as dragging a fighter wing across the ocean with pax and cargo onboard).

Interesting. That's really what I was getting to. Thus it seems to me the KC-10 will probably fall to the budget axe sooner rather than later.

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 54):
KC-46 is it.

Agreed. Both KC-45 and KC-46 had 'proof of concept' platforms in MRTT and KC-767. I'm thinking a 777 or larger derivative will be more difficult. Keep in mind that for the KC-767 Italy signed a contract in 2002 for 2005 delivery but it took till 2011, so issues do crop up. In this case it was flutter due to the wing mounted drogue pods. We can't just presume a KC-777 would be a walk in the park. We also can't presume the taxpayers would be up for buying a new fleet of tankers whose need is not entirely clear. It'll be relatively easy for Congress to keep buying KC-46s just like they kept buying C-17s well past the point where the Air Force no longer wanted any.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
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