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Northrop / Eads Tanker Plan Causing A Stir  
User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 3 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3520 times:

WASHINGTON - The disclosure last week of negotiations between Northrop Grumman Co. and the European parent company of Airbus, hoping to compete with Boeing for a multibillion-dollar tanker contract from the Air Force, is causing a stir from Capitol Hill to Jefferson City.


However the fact that Patty Murray is one the people critizing the plan isn´t giving credibility to the case. Her track record on the tanker deal is ... amazing.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/bus...2A4C286256FEC003253E7?OpenDocument



42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7438 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (9 years 3 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3490 times:

Firstly, contrary to popular belief, even IF the KC330 replaced the KC135 entirely, which is a big if. Then the US aircraft building industry will continue.

Secondly, the choice is between a Northrup Grumman/EADS aircraft and Boeing. If you eliminate the former, then you might at well give Boeing a blank cheque and say just build something. It is not uncommon for a country to build a foreign type under license.

Finally, is Patty Murray representing Washington state or just Boeing.


User currently offlineContact_tower From Norway, joined Sep 2001, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (9 years 3 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3487 times:

Quote:
Patty Murray representing Washington state or just Boeing.

.....the former usually include the latter!  Big grin


User currently offlineSidishus From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 519 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (9 years 3 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3457 times:

It will be even more costly to back-engineer in vulnerability attributes on the A-330 than it would on the 767. That means it will cost even more money to make it a viable militaryt aircraft.

-The increased use of composites in the wing structure makes the wings even more vulnerable to hydrodynamic ram damage.

-The flight control laws will have to be rewritten to compensate for degraded flgiht charcteristics consitent with battle damage. This latter one is a distinct advantage Boeing has because of their different philosophy in flight control design.

[Edited 2005-04-24 05:34:12]


the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 3 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3380 times:

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 1):
It is not uncommon for a country to build a foreign type under license.

The US has done exactly this for many years. Even the new Presidential helicopter is a European design.


User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7438 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (9 years 3 months 2 days ago) and read 3364 times:

So if Grumman Northrop build the KC330 is it acceptable.

User currently offlineWingman From Seychelles, joined May 1999, 2208 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (9 years 3 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3349 times:

It's acceptable if France and Germany buy an equal amount of major weapons systems from the US, in dollar terms. Period.

User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (9 years 3 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3304 times:

I agree, let EADS and Grumman/Northrup offer a competitive platform and let the Air Force choose the best one. I love Boeing and all but I love our USAF even more - the best platform for the best price ought to win and I'm tired of politicians influenced by big business and not the majority vote of their constituents try and make un-capitalisitc amendments to the current laws.

I don't remember Boeing say no to the British when the Marines wanted the Harrier or the Navy wanted the Goshawk. Same thing with the US-101.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 52
Reply 8, posted (9 years 3 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3283 times:

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 1):
Secondly, the choice is between a Northrup Grumman/EADS aircraft and Boeing. If you eliminate the former, then you might at well give Boeing a blank cheque and say just build something. It is not uncommon for a country to build a foreign type under license.

Wasn't Locheed/Martin talking to EADS about building the KC-330? There was some excitement her in Fort Worth that they MIGHT have a chance to build it here.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 7):
I agree, let EADS and Grumman/Northrup offer a competitive platform and let the Air Force choose the best one. I love Boeing and all but I love our USAF even more - the best platform for the best price ought to win

I believe the best tankers are flying with the USAF right now, the KC-135 and KC-10. There is nothing wrong with either tanker, and both have plenty of life left on the airframe.

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 1):
Firstly, contrary to popular belief, even IF the KC330 replaced the KC135 entirely, which is a big if.

That is a "big if". The KC-330, KC-767, or KC-X were never intended to "replace the KC-135 entirely". They were only to replace the 150+ KC-135Es. The KC-135Rs are here to stay.....for a very long time.


User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 9, posted (9 years 3 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3217 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
I believe the best tankers are flying with the USAF right now, the KC-135 and KC-10. There is nothing wrong with either tanker, and both have plenty of life left on the airframe.

wrong. The KC-135 are already being kept on the ground as much as possible because they are fast running out of airframe life.
They're good for a few more years, the USAF will be lucky if they can keep them flying until their replacements are delivered.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
That is a "big if". The KC-330, KC-767, or KC-X were never intended to "replace the KC-135 entirely". They were only to replace the 150+ KC-135Es. The KC-135Rs are here to stay.....for a very long time.

I doubt it. By the time the E's are gone it will be time to think about replacing the R's as well.
The winner of the first deal is the almost guaranteed winner of that contract.

If it goes to Airbus that will leave the US subject to French approval of every US military operation or they will face France cutting off the flow of supplies and spare parts (strategic components will of course not be allowed to be built under license).



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (9 years 3 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3202 times:

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 9):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
I believe the best tankers are flying with the USAF right now, the KC-135 and KC-10. There is nothing wrong with either tanker, and both have plenty of life left on the airframe.

wrong. The KC-135 are already being kept on the ground as much as possible because they are fast running out of airframe life.
They're good for a few more years, the USAF will be lucky if they can keep them flying until their replacements are delivered.

Were did you hear that from? Your information is WRONG! The KC-135E/R fleet has an average flight time on the airframes of about 22,000 hours and only 20,000 cycles. The airframe life (as a result of the wing re-skin program completed in the early 1980s) is 80,000 hours and 75,000 cycles. Even the "lead the fleet aircraft" (those with the highest number of hours/cycles) are in the 33,000-35,000 hour range.

The annual utilization rate is currently running at 800 hour per year per aircraft. There are no parts of the KC-135 that are in short supply, except the air refueling booms and the engines on the "E" model. But, even that is around 100 spares for each. The "E" can easily be upgraded to the "R" model, at a cost of about $28M per aircraft.

USAF currently still expects the KC-135 to be flying in FY 2055, 100 years after the 29 were ordered.

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 9):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
That is a "big if". The KC-330, KC-767, or KC-X were never intended to "replace the KC-135 entirely". They were only to replace the 150+ KC-135Es. The KC-135Rs are here to stay.....for a very long time.

I doubt it. By the time the E's are gone it will be time to think about replacing the R's as well.
The winner of the first deal is the almost guaranteed winner of that contract.

No, you are wrong on both points.

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 9):
If it goes to Airbus that will leave the US subject to French approval of every US military operation or they will face France cutting off the flow of supplies and spare parts (strategic components will of course not be allowed to be built under license).

That will never happen. This is the one major point against the KC-330. The US will never be put into a position wher the French have veto ability over anything we feel we need to do.

Do you actually have any idea of what you are talking about? Many people would like to see the KC-330 in the USAF fleet. That is fine, but the USAF will buy what ever it feels is the best for the country, with the blessing of the US Congress.


User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7438 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (9 years 3 months 21 hours ago) and read 3143 times:

I really find the notion of a French veto over operation of USAF KC330's laughable.

1. Airbus is not the French Govt.

2. If they did try to block supplies, the US would retaliate big time. There is no way that the French could win a trade war with the US. Which means that even if some people in France might like to be ackward, then it would never happen.

3. For as long as there are KC135R/KC10, the impact of any embargo would be limited.

4. Any operator will hold stocks of spare parts, so any impact would be delayed for some time anyway.

5. The bulk of a KC330 is the same as an A330, parts for which are widely available. Also if other Airforces, such as the RAF/RAAF order KC330's then there will be third party suppliers of KC330 parts.

6. Finally, there was an Arms Embargo on South Africa for 25 years, did the SAAF stop flying.


User currently offlineDuce50boom From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 3 months 12 hours ago) and read 3092 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
I doubt it. By the time the E's are gone it will be time to think about replacing the R's as well.
The winner of the first deal is the almost guaranteed winner of that contract.

No, you are wrong on both points

I'm thinking he's right on both: The E will hopefully be fully replaced in the next 10-15 years. However much life the 135 has left on it they will need to start working on a viable replacement around that time. And unfortunately, since the AF is so political, like the congress, if Boeing wins the contract for the KC-767 I'll bet my monthly paycheck that the 767 will eventually replace the R, unless the line is long since closed down with no hopes of restarting (not likely, even with Boeing's official doom and gloom). The AF and congress will pull out the argument that it's too expensive to have more than one (KC-10 notwithstanding) tanker at any one time. The 767 is proven, viable, we need more of them, blah blah blah. The only way they'll seriously consider a new tanker following the interim tanker concept is if the A330 wins the contract. Don't believe me? Lockheed won the USAF jet tanker competition in the 1950s. The AF needed a jet tanker quickly, at least until the Lockheed one could take it's place as the winner of the contract and the primary tanker. The AF bought the KC-135 as an "Interim tanker" to suffice until the Lockheed was ready. Guess which one is still flying and which one never got off the drawing board? Same reasons I mentioned are what the AF and congress used to cancel the lockheed contract (in the bag, mind you) and go with strictly Boeing tankers.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
Many people would like to see the KC-330 in the USAF fleet. That is fine, but the USAF will buy what ever it feels is the best for the country, with the blessing of the US Congress.

The AF will do whatever is in the senior leadership's (AF and congress) best interests. Not the country's. Check out a fantastic book called "The Pentagon Wars". Eye opener


User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (9 years 3 months 11 hours ago) and read 3076 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
Wasn't Locheed/Martin talking to EADS about building the KC-330? There was some excitement her in Fort Worth that they MIGHT have a chance to build it here.

Really? That would be great. I'm interested to hear a little bit more about this, and whether there's any chance of it panning out.



New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineDaveflys0509 From Italy, joined Apr 2005, 87 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (9 years 3 months 3 hours ago) and read 3046 times:

If the AF intends to keep the B-52's flying until 2050, I think they can afford to keep the 135's around a bit longer, from what I've heard from my tanker buddies there is no real rush for a replacement, worst case scenario they can always upgrade the E's to R's. I gotta agree with KC135TopBoom

User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (9 years 3 months 3 hours ago) and read 3042 times:

Extending the life of the B-52's is fast looking up to be a cash cow for Boeing - you can take a 777-300LR and cut out bomb-bays like they will be doing on the 737 MMA's for the Navy, install rotary launchers like in the B-52 as well with some modern electronic gear and I don't know what advantage the B-52 airframe/wing have over it?

User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 52
Reply 16, posted (9 years 3 months 2 hours ago) and read 3033 times:

Quoting Duce50boom (Reply 12):
The E will hopefully be fully replaced in the next 10-15 years. However much life the 135 has left on it they will need to start working on a viable replacement around that time.

Most here seem to forget the "E" and the "R" are, more or less the same airplane. Both are updated versions of the KC-135A, although the the similarity ends there. It is not that expensive to modify the "E" to the "R" configuration and still have a reliable and useful tanker. Both models have about the same number of hours and cycles and the same longevity left, at least 50 years. Even if the average utilization rate goes to 1,000 hour per year per aircraft. So, from a pure economics point of view, upgrading the "E" to "R" is still the best and cheapest option.

Quoting Duce50boom (Reply 12):
Lockheed won the USAF jet tanker competition in the 1950s. The AF needed a jet tanker quickly, at least until the Lockheed one could take it's place as the winner of the contract and the primary tanker. The AF bought the KC-135 as an "Interim tanker" to suffice until the Lockheed was ready. Guess which one is still flying and which one never got off the drawing board? Same reasons I mentioned are what the AF and congress used to cancel the lockheed contract (in the bag, mind you) and go with strictly Boeing tankers.

All of that is correct. But, the "interim tanker" we bought in 1955 turned out to be one of the best airplanes USAF ever bought. It is not only the KC-135, but has morfed into 29 different MDS and 27 different models.

Quoting Duce50boom (Reply 12):
The AF will do whatever is in the senior leadership's (AF and congress) best interests. Not the country's. Check out a fantastic book called "The Pentagon Wars". Eye opener

You are correct, there too, Duce.

Quoting N844AA (Reply 13):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
Wasn't Lockheed/Martin talking to EADS about building the KC-330? There was some excitement her in Fort Worth that they MIGHT have a chance to build it here.

Really? That would be great. I'm interested to hear a little bit more about this, and whether there's any chance of it panning out.

At this point in time, Lockheed/Martin has just a good a chance as Northrop/Grumman. It is really up to EADS as to which US OEM presents the best proposal to EADS, and then if they can get the whole tanker proposal through the USAF and later Congress. Even with Boeing in the mix, it will still be a political selection, not always the best deal. Duce is correct on this.

Quoting Daveflys0509 (Reply 14):
If the AF intends to keep the B-52's flying until 2050, I think they can afford to keep the 135's around a bit longer, from what I've heard from my tanker buddies there is no real rush for a replacement, worst case scenario they can always upgrade the E's to R's. I gotta agree with KC135TopBoom

Your tanker buddies are correct, there is no urgent need to replace the KC-135.


User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (9 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3000 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
At this point in time, Lockheed/Martin has just a good a chance as Northrop/Grumman. It is really up to EADS as to which US OEM presents the best proposal to EADS, and then if they can get the whole tanker proposal through the USAF and later Congress. Even with Boeing in the mix, it will still be a political selection, not always the best deal. Duce is correct on this.

If EADS chooses to partner with Lockheed, would the tanker definitely be built in Fort Worth?



New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineKC135R From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 725 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2793 times:

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 9):
I doubt it. By the time the E's are gone it will be time to think about replacing the R's as well.

10 years in the USAF, this number never changes, and according to a recent study is still the same - the R's are here to stay until 2040, still getting upgraded all the time.

Quoting Duce50boom (Reply 12):
unless the line is long since closed down with no hopes of restarting (not likely, even with Boeing's official doom and gloom).

767 orders are about dried up, with the 787 I don't see it lasting more than a few more years unless there is an AF order.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
Most here seem to forget the "E" and the "R" are, more or less the same airplane. Both are updated versions of the KC-135A, although the the similarity ends there.

True, all KC-135's (some went from A-R, some from A-E, a very few went A-E-R) were built between 1955 and 1964 - period. The E's are not older, but they have more problems, most notably many of them are grounded pending an engine strut replacement/beef up.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):

Agreed, rumors of it's "poor maintenance record" were greatly exaggerated to sell the 767. It is spending more time in depot, due to corrosion, but from what I hear many are getting new skin and ribs as they go through so will eventually kind of be "like new" for lack of a better term. Anyway with extremely reliable newer engines (many have never been off their original wing since being installed in the 80's and 90's), all new digital avionics, and continued upgrades - the KC-135 will be here until the projected retirement year of 2040.

FYI, when they came out to do site surveys for the then probable KC-767, they found very little had to be done to hangars or ramps to accommodate the 767. The A330, on the other hand, has 40 feet more wingspan and is a bigger plane overall. That, in and of itself, may not be a reason to go to the 767, but it doesn't hurt it.


User currently offlineKC135R From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 725 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2794 times:

Quoting N844AA (Reply 17):
If EADS chooses to partner with Lockheed, would the tanker definitely be built in Fort Worth?

Not yet, saw a report today and it has been narrowed down to four "finalists" among them Fort Worth and Mobile AL, I can't remember the other two or find the link


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 52
Reply 20, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2730 times:

Quoting KC135R (Reply 19):
Quoting N844AA (Reply 17):
If EADS chooses to partner with Lockheed, would the tanker definitely be built in Fort Worth?

Not yet, saw a report today and it has been narrowed down to four "finalists" among them Fort Worth and Mobile AL, I can't remember the other two or find the link

I believe they are in Long Island, NY and Marietta, GA


User currently offlineKC135R From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 725 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2714 times:

Quoting KC135R (Reply 19):
Not yet, saw a report today and it has been narrowed down to four "finalists" among them Fort Worth and Mobile AL, I can't remember the other two or find the link

I found it! Apparently Fort Worth is out of the running.
The finalists are:
Mobile Downtown Airport, Mobile, Alabama
Melbourne International Airport, Melbourne, Florida
Stennis International Airport, Kiln, Mississippi
Charleston International Airport, North Charleston, South Carolina

Link:
http://www.eads.net/frame/lang/en/80...F00000000400004/0/90/40619900.html

Of course all this is speculation because there are two big "ifs" here....
#1 - If the Air Force goes ahead with a tanker replacement - judging by the fact that the most recent DoD analysis I saw says the KC-135, at its current rate of use, will fly until 2040 and the heavy, heavy budget cuts the war in Iraq are causing (recent stories have said weapons programs like the F/A-22 and C-130J will likely suffer) - I would be surprised if they really went ahead with this now.
#2 - If they select the KC-330 over the KC-767, that remains to be seen and can be argued both ways.

[Edited 2005-05-08 09:58:08]

User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7438 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2660 times:

Reply 18 suggests that there are major infrastructure benefits of choosing the KC767 over the KC330.

If this is correct, then this clearly will, (and should) mean that the US will be inclined towards the KC767, (if a new tanker is choosen).

It is a pity that so much of the debate has been concentrated on hostility towards Chirac, and not enough on the practical issues.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 52
Reply 23, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2545 times:

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 22):
It is a pity that so much of the debate has been concentrated on hostility towards Chirac, and not enough on the practical issues.

From the American point of view, President Chirac, and France would like to deal with both the US and our adverseries. To us that makes France more than just a diplomatic bump in the road, that makes them obstructionest. Most Americans feel that we saved France's butt twice in the last century, at a terrible cost in men to us. So, unlike the UK, we think France is ungrateful.

Weather or not that feeling, by Americans is desearved or not, that is the way some of us feel.


User currently onlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12333 posts, RR: 25
Reply 24, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2413 times:

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 11):
USAF currently still expects the KC-135 to be flying in FY 2055, 100 years after the 29 were ordered.

And in 2055 they expect it to be tanking a B-52  Smile

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 11):
I really find the notion of a French veto over operation of USAF KC330's laughable.

C'mon, get with the program: Chirac will have the French software engineers plant a virus in the software that will listen for a certain signal on the navigation radios, and poof, the engines stop, never to start again till the orders are given from the basement of the Palace of Versailles  biggrin 



Inspiration, move me brightly!
25 KC135R : Both should be retired in 2040, still nearly 100 years old and they still fly (at least the KC-135's) great!
26 Jwenting : Don't laugh. It's happening already. When Indonesia wanted to use it BAe Hawk 200s against rebels in Aceh province (who for decades have been waging
27 KC135TopBoom : That is very true.
28 Art : There is something I do not understand. Why is it that so many people are unaware that the UK has a 20% stake in Airbus? I would bet my bottom dollar
29 SATL382G : I know you said this in jest... But with embedded / interdependent systems it's very doable. You could even make it simpler and not require an outsid
30 Atmx2000 : I am not sure what your point is. Is it that the UK would be getting money from US expenditures on a KC-330, or that the UK bought the 330 because it
31 Art : My point: the implication of Wingman only mentioning France and Germany is that he is unaware that the UK is involved in Airbus. BaE makes the wings
32 Atmx2000 : Since he was talking about major weapons system purchases, he may well have taken into account recent or planned UK purchases of weapons systems from
33 Art : OK, point taken. UK is acquiring a little thing called the F-35 in the next few years (probably). However, didn't Italy buy some 767 tankers? Were co
34 DfwRevolution : There's a difference between fair trade and equal trade. When was it mandated that for every dollar the Italian government spends on an American corp
35 Post contains links KC135R : Yes, Italy is buying the KC-767 - one is being modified in Wichita and a second was just delivered to Naples for modification. http://www.boeing.com/
36 Atmx2000 : Of course, the UK is a major partner on the F-35, and its aerospace companies will be making significant contributions to it. I'm not sure what the w
37 Ruger11 : One thing no one has yet mentioned is the million+ variants of the 707 that have served and do serve in the military over the last 45+ years. If we DO
38 Bennett123 : Revelation I did not say anything about KC135's flying in 2055. I do not know where you get you delusions about the French planting viruses in any equ
39 Wingman : Guys, I know fully well that BAe is a 20% partner in EADS. My point is that neither France nor Germany has purchased a major multi-billion dollar weap
40 Post contains images Atmx2000 : Well I don't want to see American taxpayers' money being sent to Germany to pay the members of the union that put out this lovely artwork:
41 Bennett123 : Everything was fine when Europe was buying hundreds of F104/F4/F16/C130 etc. Now that we are selling to you it is apparently all wrong.
42 Atmx2000 : If you didn't notice, the US was spending a boat load of money on the defense of Western Europe, which certainly lowered the cost for defense for Eur
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