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Can EADS/NG Delivery KC-30A On Time?  
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12178 posts, RR: 51
Posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 7261 times:

As we all know, the version of the A-330 that EADS/NG is offering USAF for the KC-X program is the A-330-200F, an airplane that still has not had it's final design frozen. Although Airbus is pumping A-330-200/-300s out the door like there is no tomorrow, they have yet to build the first A-330F. They do have several orders for this version.

But, the last 2 major Airbus aircraft developement programs have had very significant delays, the A-380 program is delayed up to 24 months (and has yet to deliver the first airplane), and the A-400M program may be running a 18-24 month delay.

Now to be fair, Boeing is also running a 24 month delivery delay to the RAAF on the E-737 Wedgetail. They are also some 18 months behind on delivering the KC-767 to Italy (Japan has already gotten their first KC-767, but it is a less complex tanker than the Italian version).

The time table for the KC-X program is very tight, delivery of a prototype airplane by mid-2009, and the first squadron up by 2013. Both Airbus and Boeing can meet the prototype deadline by flying a RAAF KC-30B and an Italian KC-767A in 2009. That will give a little breathing room on the A-330-200F and KC-767-200LRF development programs. But having squadron strenght by 2013 is going to be tough, that is 1-2 years of production (8-15 airplanes)

I think Boeing already has a slight edge by beginning developement of the B-767-200LRF before selection. But, Airbus, who is going to rely heaverily on the A-300-600F to get the A-330F going, still will not have a tanker version of the "F" to use as a template. Boeing has one, the already flying KC-767 is a "C" or "F" version (Combi for Japan, Freighter for Italy). The RAAF KC-30B will, at best be a combi version.

35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13252 posts, RR: 77
Reply 1, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7239 times:

Who knows? As you say, both have 'form' in this respect.

I guess though, that it almost impossible for anyone to deliver on time in a major programme like this, given politics, changing requirements etc.
I struggle to think of one in recent times produced by anyone, in a major programme, on time.

But, 330F here or not, I would not compare to two all new projects, as ambitious as A380, as politically riven as A400M, to what is at heart, a well proven aircraft with at least some major milestones to KC-30, in A330's being developed as tankers now, forging ahead.
Has not the existing export KC-767 had some delays?


User currently offlineLumberton From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 4708 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7225 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 1):
Has not the existing export KC-767 had some delays?

Yes, I think that is what he was addressing here:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
Now to be fair, Boeing is also running a 24 month delivery delay to the RAAF on the E-737 Wedgetail. They are also some 18 months behind on delivering the KC-767 to Italy (Japan has already gotten their first KC-767, but it is a less complex tanker than the Italian version).



"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
User currently offlineMoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4086 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7225 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
the A-330-200F, an airplane that still has not had it's final design frozen.

Is there actually any indication that this is the case? Airbus were courting the A330F in its present form in 2001.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
But, the last 2 major Airbus aircraft development programs have had very significant delays,

However the A330-MRTT has not had any Airbus induced delays, and as that is far closer to the KC-30s goals and production methodologies its fairer to watch that program than two completely new, from scratch designs. Airbus won't be going into the KC-30 with the same hills to climb as the A380 and A400M.

With the KC-30, the refueling systems already exist (MRTT), the aircraft already exists in a basic form (A330), the powerplants already exist (CF6-80E1) and the freighter modifications are already taking orders elsewhere (A330F). Hardly the same situation.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12178 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7218 times:

Quoting Moo (Reply 3):
With the KC-30, the refueling systems already exist (MRTT),

Not the version the USAF needs. All that exists right now is the plumbing to the underwing refueling pods. There is no fuel or hydraulic plumbing to the boom right now (But the hydraulic lines should be installed soon). The Boom is still being tested on the KC-310.

Quoting Moo (Reply 3):
the aircraft already exists in a basic form (A330), the powerplants already exist (CF6-80E1)

So does the B-767 as well as the PW 4062s.

Quoting Moo (Reply 3):
Airbus were courting the A330F in its present form in 2001.



Quoting Moo (Reply 3):
the freighter modifications are already taking orders elsewhere (A330F).

Not completely true. In 2001 Airbus was beginning to think about the A-330-200F as a replacement for the A-300-600F and B-767-300ERF (both still in production at the time). Airbus was in no hurry to push a freighter version of the A-330 back then. Also, in 2000-2001 the A-330 was not the hot seller it is today, the B-767 was out selling it. Then 9/11/01 happened and the "F" version thinking was dropped. Airbus did not sell any A-330Fs before 2006.

All of a sudden, Airbus announced the end of all A-300/310 production in the summer of 2007 (the announbcement was in late 2005). Only after that announcement did someone at Airbus realize "oh my God, we don't have a freighter". So they dusted off the 2001 A-330F plans, began selling them, and started to put engineers on the project, to refine the design, which they are still doing.


User currently offlinePADSpot From Germany, joined Jan 2005, 1676 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7215 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
Both Airbus and Boeing can meet the prototype deadline by flying a RAAF KC-30B and an Italian KC-767A

The A330MRTT that go to the RAAF (and in a slightly different forms to the RAF, RSAF and UAE AF) do not have much in common with the KC-30. Different air frame, different tank setup, partially different avionics, different engines, different refueling equipment, different capabilities and so on and so forth. They might share the wing and the fuel.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12178 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7202 times:

Quoting PADSpot (Reply 5):
The A330MRTT that go to the RAAF (and in a slightly different forms to the RAF, RSAF and UAE AF) do not have much in common with the KC-30. Different air frame, different tank setup, partially different avionics, different engines, different refueling equipment, different capabilities and so on and so forth. They might share the wing and the fuel.

But the RAAF KC-30Bs will have an air refueling boom, that is what the USAF would be interested in. You are correct about the rest of the airplane, completely different from anything the USAF needs.


User currently offlinePADSpot From Germany, joined Jan 2005, 1676 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 7185 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
But the RAAF KC-30Bs will have an air refueling boom, that is what the USAF would be interested in.

I don't even know if that will be same. The boom that the RAAF tankers receive is a European (Spanish I think) development, while it might easily be the case that NG will try to integrate its own ideas. Not at last to increase local content.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
You are correct about the rest of the airplane, completely different from anything the USAF needs.

I would never dare to speculate about what the USAF might need. I just said that the KC-30 is different from the A330MRTT in most aspects. I said exactly that. Not more and not less.

[Edited 2007-08-09 22:53:44]

User currently offlineMoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4086 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 7165 times:

Regardless of your other points, which I don't entirely agree with, theres this:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):

So does the B-767 as well as the PW 4062s.

And? My point had sod all to do with the 767 candidate or any competition, it was purely to indicate that large parts of the KC-30 project would be preexisting when the time came while the A380 and A400M are entirely from scratch projects. Hardly comparable.

The centerline boom is installed on the first Australian MRTT, which was rolled out two months ago. Yes, its still in development but it does exist and thus it wont be 'new' technology for the KC-30 project.

The A330F was courted by Airbus prior to 2006, they did designs and the current offering is little different to what was planned in 2001. No they didn't sell any then but I didn't say that they did.


User currently onlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2979 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 7054 times:

The first USAF bound KC-30 airframe is complete, and the KC-30 boom is already flying on the aussie KC-30B. The only really big open question now is whether the cargo door conversion will also entail the raised nose landing gear and fairing of the still-on-the-drawing board A330F. I suppose that the cargo floor could be easily modified and sourced from the A300F program. AFAIK, the KC-30B right now does not have any special cargo mods.


The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 7026 times:

Look at it this way - what airline or cargo operator is going to place an order for 150+ airplanes TODAY and select the a 763F over an A-330F? Answer is none. UPS ordered their 763F's in 1995 and the fact is Airbus only recently began offering the A-330F because demand for the pax version was still selling very strong.

The KC-767 would have been the best choice available to the USAF in 1997, but not today in 2007.


User currently offlinePADSpot From Germany, joined Jan 2005, 1676 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6981 times:

Having taken part in numerous of these threads, I have to admit that I get increasingly tired of it. Depending on which side of the fence one is, one can find arbitrary amounts of strong points and shortfalls in either design, economic approach and political argument.

In the end it will be a political decision anyway and technical details will just be arbitrarily picked to underpin the political decision. I don't want say that a political decision will choose the Boeing the product anyway, but in some way it just insults both products, ridicules the actual competition and renders the arguments of the people "who really know " irrelevant. That is the sad part of it ...

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 10):
The KC-767 would have been the best choice available to the USAF in 1997, but not today in 2007.

Just out of curiosity and not meant as criticism: What changed since 1997 thats leads you to above conclusion?

[Edited 2007-08-12 11:50:39]

User currently offlineZeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9228 posts, RR: 76
Reply 12, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6943 times:

from http://www.northropgrumman.com/kc30/operations/program_update.html

Quote:
"Today's A330 MRTT roll-in ceremony which also marks the inauguration of a very impressive EADS conversion facility represents tangible milestones in a program that has imperatives for schedule and timing," said Air Vice-Marshall Clive Rossiter, who heads Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation's Aerospace Systems Division. "In fact, EADS has delivered ahead of schedule, which is extremely important in a project as ambitious as this one."

Australia's A330 MRTT is a similar platform configuration to the KC-30 Tanker/Transport, which Northrop Grumman and EADS North America are offering for the capitalization of the U.S. Air Force's aging aerial refueling fleet. The Royal Australian Air Force's five A330 MRTTs will be outfitted with a state-of-the-art centerline ARBS (Air Refueling Boom System) with fly-by-wire controls, plus two under-wing hose and drogue pods. In addition, the aircraft will carry an electronic warfare suite that protects against surface-to-air missile threats, along with a Link 16 network system that provides real-time airborne connectivity.

As well as the EADS A330-MRTT being ahead of schedule, the delivery of the EADS UH-72A Lakota to the U.S. Army New Helicopters For US Army Delivered (by Zeke Jul 26 2007 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)

http://www.is.northropgrumman.com/systems/kc30tanker_assets/photos/low/06122007_RollOut2.jpg

Same aircraft after it was flown to the Paris airshow from Spain....

http://www.airbus.com/en/airbuslive/bourget-2007/img/getOptionMedia.htm?id=635



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6933 times:

Quoting PADSpot (Reply 11):
Just out of curiosity and not meant as criticism: What changed since 1997 thats leads you to above conclusion?

The advent of the A-332F which has led to the KC-30 as we know it today. The KC-767 is just too old of a design and Boeing should be ashamed to offer it to the USAF for the next 30+ years when they have the aircraft the are replacing the 767 with ready to go in the 787.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12178 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 6852 times:

Quoting Moo (Reply 8):
The A330F was courted by Airbus prior to 2006, they did designs and the current offering is little different to what was planned in 2001. No they didn't sell any then but I didn't say that they did.

I think I said that in reply #4

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):
In 2001 Airbus was beginning to think about the A-330-200F as a replacement for the A-300-600F and B-767-300ERF (both still in production at the time). Airbus was in no hurry to push a freighter version of the A-330 back then. Also, in 2000-2001 the A-330 was not the hot seller it is today, the B-767 was out selling it. Then 9/11/01 happened and the "F" version thinking was dropped. Airbus did not sell any A-330Fs before 2006.



Quoting Spacepope (Reply 9):
The first USAF bound KC-30 airframe is complete, and the KC-30 boom is already flying on the aussie KC-30B.

But, it is not being tested on the KC-30, it is just sitting there. The boom is being tested on the KC-310 (A-310MRTT?) Airbus test aircraft, using French Air Force Boom Operators.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 13):
The advent of the A-332F which has led to the KC-30 as we know it today. The KC-767 is just too old of a design and Boeing should be ashamed to offer it to the USAF for the next 30+ years when they have the aircraft the are replacing the 767 with ready to go in the 787.

So, is an old design no longer any good? Don't tell John Travolta that (he owns a B-707-138B), and what good is the DC-3 anymore? Maybe you also need to tell UPS how badly they screwed up recently by ordering 27 more B-767-300ERs, when they could have had the A-330-200F or B-777-200LRF.

The version of the B-767 Boeing is offering, as the KC-X, is a new design called the B-767-200LRF. It is not the airplane that was offered in 2002 to the USAF, or the airplanes ordered by Italy or Japan.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 883 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 6846 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
The version of the B-767 Boeing is offering, as the KC-X, is a new design called the B-767-200LRF. It is not the airplane that was offered in 2002 to the USAF, or the airplanes ordered by Italy or Japan.

Add to that the fact that if the 767 is obsolete then the A330 would be equally or more obsolete vs any 787 based proposal. However the Air Force gains a lot more from the 767 being on the downslide than it losses. There will be access to a lot of cheap spare parts, which will reduce the cost of keeping the things in the air. They will be basically the sole customers on the production line, which they will like.

Anything that is not a composite airframe is effectivly going to be obsolete, as in not the latest and greatest, before it even enters service with the USAF. However none of that matters for what they need to do.

The only thing the USAF cares about are cost and the ability to do the mission.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4951 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 6844 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):

The version of the B-767 Boeing is offering, as the KC-X, is a new design called the B-767-200LRF.

Latest talk on that version here.....

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...resh-767-line-with-tanker-win.html

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 15):
Anything that is not a composite airframe is effectivly going to be obsolete, as in not the latest and greatest, before it even enters service with the USAF. However none of that matters for what they need to do.

Has any study been done which concludes that a composite airframe is definitely better for the tanker role specifically than conventional metal frame?



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 883 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 6839 times:

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 16):
Has any study been done which concludes that a composite airframe is definitely better for the tanker role specifically than conventional metal frame?

Was more or less a statement to illustrate the absurdity of just declaring the 767 version obsolete vs. the A330. The two have comparable technology and the 767 made a decent showing in competition against a 10 year newer plane.

Composites would have some issues as tankers no doubt, but eventually that will be the way everything goes as manufacturing moves away from Aluminum airframes. If you can put in an internal tank to hold fuel for the airplane there is no reason you cannot put in a tank to hold fuel for offloading. Just a matter of plumbing.


User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 18, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 6819 times:

According to Airbus the A380 is still on schedule, despite having been delayed by several years.
Same with the A400M.
So according to THEIR definition anything is on time, no matter how far behind schedule it is...



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 6803 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 15):
There will be access to a lot of cheap spare parts, which will reduce the cost of keeping the things in the air.

It's a line on the way out. So according to your analogy, the A330 is the better choice as there will be much more and cheaper spares produced in the coming years.

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 15):
They will be basically the sole customers on the production line, which they will like.

You want the opposite, to spread out as many risk as possible.

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 17):
Composites would have some issues as tankers no doubt, but eventually that will be the way everything goes as manufacturing moves away from Aluminum airframes. If you can put in an internal tank to hold fuel for the airplane there is no reason you cannot put in a tank to hold fuel for offloading. Just a matter of plumbing.

The 787 is in a lot of aspects revolutionary which is great, but for a tanker you need a safe proven platform like the 767 or the A330. It would be silly to offer a tanker version of the 787. 777 is another story.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12178 posts, RR: 51
Reply 20, posted (7 years 4 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6734 times:

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 18):
According to Airbus the A380 is still on schedule, despite having been delayed by several years.
Same with the A400M.
So according to THEIR definition anything is on time, no matter how far behind schedule it is...

So, I guess the A-350 is, too. When Airbus launches the A-360 and A-370 programs, they, too, are on schedule.  Yeah sure

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 19):
Quoting BigJKU (Reply 17):
Composites would have some issues as tankers no doubt, but eventually that will be the way everything goes as manufacturing moves away from Aluminum airframes. If you can put in an internal tank to hold fuel for the airplane there is no reason you cannot put in a tank to hold fuel for offloading. Just a matter of plumbing.

The 787 is in a lot of aspects revolutionary which is great, but for a tanker you need a safe proven platform like the 767 or the A330. It would be silly to offer a tanker version of the 787. 777 is another story.

According to Boeing, the composite structures are several times stronger than an equil aluminum structure. If true, than there is no reason the current B-787-800 cannot be considered for a tanker modification.


User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (7 years 4 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6732 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 20):
According to Boeing, the composite structures are several times stronger than an equil aluminum structure. If true, than there is no reason the current B-787-800 cannot be considered for a tanker modification.

there is no data available on how it holds out on the long term, as it is the first aircraf of this size fully made out of composites. It's too risky to make a tanker out of it now. Sure you could do it technically..


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12178 posts, RR: 51
Reply 22, posted (7 years 4 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 6706 times:

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 21):
there is no data available on how it holds out on the long term, as it is the first aircraf of this size fully made out of composites. It's too risky to make a tanker out of it now. Sure you could do it technically..

I'm not so sure of that. For decades now, sub assemblies on some fighter aircraft have been made of composites. Then of course there was the Starship, a complete composite fuselarge. Yes, almost all have been "retired" now.


User currently offlinePADSpot From Germany, joined Jan 2005, 1676 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (7 years 4 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 6702 times:

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 13):
The advent of the A-332F which has led to the KC-30 as we know it today.

The idea of selling A332F is also partly motivated by the prospect of selling them as tankers to customers, the USAF just being a really big potential customer here. Especially the late 90s saw comparably low sales volumes of A330s, so that it might have been the case the if the USAF had initiated the tanker competition earlier, Airbus would also had started the A332F earlier.

It's always easy to discuss what might have happened in the past, but It's very likely that the competition would have seen very similar contenders. Well just the 767s would have looked less old at that time, because its successor was not in sight yet ...

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 21):
here is no data available on how it holds out on the long term,

There are long-term, accelerated stress test on those components, which expose a given part to stress of 20 years in say 3-5 years. So there are means to project the expected endurance and lifetime of given component. I don't think Boeing would build the 787 if they didn't know that the fuselage lives a certain, amount of cycles, hours and years.


User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (7 years 4 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 6695 times:

Quoting PADSpot (Reply 23):
There are long-term, accelerated stress test on those components, which expose a given part to stress of 20 years in say 3-5 years. So there are means to project the expected endurance and lifetime of given component. I don't think Boeing would build the 787 if they didn't know that the fuselage lives a certain, amount of cycles, hours and years.

agreed, but not on a systems level. Also, there's a big difference in grounding a particular type within airlines, and grounding the entire tanker fleet of the USAF, if something unexpected does show up.


25 Post contains images LifelinerOne : Airbus is claiming on time delivery to the revised delivery schedule after the extensive delays. They are not claiming they are on time, on time, but
26 PADSpot : Stress imposed by such strategic military transport applications is much lower, because hours and cycles are much lower. Any civil airliners would ha
27 F27Friendship : I agree with the financial aspects, but the risk is simply to high for USAF to have such a new platform. It wouldn't be the first time that a revolut
28 PADSpot : I think buying a defense product based on commercial airliners is the lowest risk investment possible. Any other fighter jet or pure military aviatio
29 F27Friendship : There is a huge difference between the tanker and all the other military aircraft you've mentioned. They do not have a civilian counterpart which is
30 KC135TopBoom : The only reason the new tanker will be FAA certified is to share parts with the airlines. Currently, the only tankers in the world that are FAA certi
31 Texfly101 : Its amazing at how when someone who really knows states a fact on something that he works on, he will get a ton of flack from the Wici and Discovery
32 PADSpot : I actually don't know how to reflect on your statement, as I am neither someone "who really knows" nor do I read Wikipedia very often. All I intended
33 Texfly101 : I'm sorry, please do not take my post as anything other than agreement. I was actually responding to other posts who had stated such views. I was not
34 StealthZ : Perhaps not as a tanker but they do have a penchant for adapting airframes for other uses, RC-135 etc. Composite airframes may not lend themselves to
35 PADSpot : The fact that C-135s have been converted to RC-135 and aircrafts alike, does not mean that their successor has to be based on the C-135's successor.
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