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Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:24 am

I Herd news that Airbus is buying an old Air Force base in Alabama, so it could produce a replacement tanker for the KC-135. Due to the bad deal the United States Air Force got from Boeing, with them trying to lease 767 tanker to the USAF instead of selling them, the USAF is supposed to be buying Airbus Tanker instead. But for the USAF to buy them, they have to be built in the US.
Is this story true and if so is it going to be A310, A330 or a all together new design.

PS I apologize if this topic been bought up before.
 
LeanOfPeak
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:28 am

They're looking at domestic bases (And partners) to make their bid more credible. Neither offering has been selected yet, but they know whatever remote chance they have at the contract would be totally destroyed if they can't show US final assembly jobs out of the deal.
 
Slcpilot
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Sat Sep 24, 2005 11:53 am

And the latest is...

Northrop-Grumman has joined EADS and selected Mobile, AL for a possible assembly site for it KC-30. Here's a little more info..

Here's a link

SLCPilot
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TheSonntag
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:12 pm

While it certainly is clear that Airbus would have problems getting this contract (the AvsB has attracted too much public attention), it would neither be anything new nor surprising for the US to license build foreign military technology.

They already did that with the 120mm gun of the Abrams (German Rheinmetall gun), the Beretta 92.

It also worked the other way, the JSF will be manufactured by license in Europe, as well...

So I would not really rule out this option totally, even though its pretty unlikely.

Michael
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Sun Sep 25, 2005 7:39 pm

First of all, the KC-135 is not being replaced. It is true the USAF wants to retire the KC-135Es. There are about 150 of them, and they are having engine strut corrosion problems. The engines, struts, and horizontial stabizers all came as used parts from former airliner B-707-300/320s.

Boeing proposed the B-767-200ER as a new tanker, in 1994. Then after the 9/11 attacks on the US, the airline industry went down hill, taking both Boeing and Airbus with them as they canceled orders for airplanes. Airbus did better than Boeing did during this time period.

So, Boeing and the USAF can up with the KC-767 lease program, that was a scam of US tax payer dollars. They got caught and people went to jail.

Airbus proposed a tanker version of their A-330-200, a larger airplane than the proposed KC-767. USAF says a KC-330 is to big and uses to much ramp space, but the KC-330 program does have its supporter in Congress.

The KC-767 has been bought by Italy and Japan. The A-330TT has been bought by the RAAF and the RAF.

The real problem is that USAF still wants a new tanker. They say they need about 100 new airplanes to replace the 150 KC-135Es they are retireing to DM. Newer airplanes are much more sexier than older airplanes. A new airplane is not always a better choice than the airplane it was bought to replace.

The real solution here is to convert these KC-135Es to KC-135Rs. There are many reasons to do this:
1. It is the cheapest option, less than 30% of the cost of new KC-330s or KC-767s.
2. There are no additional training costs, as the schools for flight crews and maintenance for the KC-135R still exist.
3. Neither the KC-330 or the KC-767 offer more refueling capability than the KC-135R. Both offer more cargo and troop airlift capability.
The KC-135R is even smaller than the KC-767, thus using less ramp space, a major USAF consideration.
4. The KC-135R is a mature weapons system and will not have any growing pains when compared to either a KC-330A or a KC-767A.
5. There is still over 50 years of flying capability in the KC-135 airframe, and it is fully supportable with airframe parts from other already retired C/EC/KC-135A/B/Cs. This is about the same life expectancy USAF will get from new KC-330As or KC-767A.
 
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:17 pm

Brookley Field has not been military in quite some time and Airbus is not buying the airport - just a portion. It's also home to a large Teledyne-Continental plant that among other things produced the engines for the Voyager around the world flight.

The site selected by Airbus was also a finalist for the 787 assembly line. Between the union situation and having people like Richard Shelby working on Airbus' behalf, they may well regret passing this location over.
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drewfly
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:00 am

Any chance of adding in-flight refueling capability to the KC-135 fleet? I've heard that the lack of this is a problem. I'm sure KC135TopBoom you can inform me a bit more about this.
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TheSonntag
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:04 am

Quoting Drewfly (Reply 6):
Any chance of adding in-flight refueling capability to the KC-135 fleet? I've heard that the lack of this is a problem. I'm sure KC135TopBoom you can inform me a bit more about this.

Does it make sense to refuel a tanker with another tanker? Can you enlighten us about that, KC135TopBoom (Btw, thanks for your insights so far, they were pretty interesting)
 
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:18 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 7):
Does it make sense to refuel a tanker with another tanker?

You could top off a tanker for long drag so that you may not have to send additional tankers.
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Kukkudrill
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:13 pm

If I recall right the Brits did it during the Black Buck operation to bomb Stanley Airport during the Falklands war. Several Victor tankers were involved in refuelling each other and the Vulcan.
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USAF336TFS
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Fri Sep 30, 2005 10:10 pm

As was reported yesterday, September 29, 2005, Boeing is currently developing a sixth generation refueling boom, which will be available for the USAF on their new tankers. They have also signalled a willingness to provide the Air Force with a choice of airframes, including the 787. This is a major reversal on Boeing's part, due largely to a change in circumstances.
Boeing clearly is favored to get the contract, although almost certainly, it will be under standard military procurment rules.
Bottom line, at least the way I see it, Boeing has a flying, tested and PROVEN product in the KC-767. Airbus does not.
Boeing has experience with tankers; 50 years of it, while Airbus is only now developing one and has yet to produce a flying prototype. And they are using much of Boeing's own designs for their boom. The KC-767 will be in service years before we'll ever see the first example K-30 for the RAF.
Boeing can deliver a 777 tanker, should the U.S. Air Force want one.
The fact that Airbus even suggested "spliting" the order shows that EADS itself doesn't think it has much of a chance of getting this order.
Contrary to some of the above comments, yes the basic KC-135 airframe is viable and can be upgraded, it's becoming increasingly expensive to do so and with diminishing returns on investment.
The Air Force will get new tankers. Will they get 100? That figure will stand if they do choose the 767, although I believe they'll use a bigger airframe, perhaps a 763?

Regards,
Sal

[Edited 2005-09-30 15:13:09]
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whitehatter
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement

Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:16 am

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 10):
Boeing has experience with tankers; 50 years of it, while Airbus is only now developing one and has yet to produce a flying prototype

Airbus has considerable experience with tankers. It's a consortium, and British Aerospace is part of that consortium.

Airbus was formed from long established aircraft manufacturers and that wealth of experience is there on tap. Much design work is done at BAe Filton. The only part of a tanker which would be new would be a boom, which the British and European manufacturers have traditionally not offered on their aircraft due to probe and drogue being preferred.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. BAe and the RAF also have experience in main deck tank installation, something Boeing has not previously offered on their aircraft. So both sides have something to bring to the party.

I'm not going over all this again but I still reckon the KC-767 is the best aircraft for the job, even put up against a hypothetical 787 tanker. Simple but efficient and potentially more damage resistant in a nuclear scenario than an A330. I certainly do not think the A330 is the right aircraft for the RAF, and an RB211 powered 767 would be a much better fit.
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474218
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:26 am

Which RAF tankers have main deck fuel tanks?
 
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:38 am

Quoting 474218 (Reply 12):
Which RAF tankers have main deck fuel tanks?

some of the VC-10 tanker fleet were outfitted with main deck tanks instead of the freight loading floor. The VC-10 itself has plenty of power to lift the additional weight.

They were not full diameter tanks, more like large pressure vessel shaped tanks mounted in the centerline of the cabin. I'm not sure if any of the fleet still have this fitted, and they were not connected in any way to the aircraft's own fuel system. So they could not self-refuel.
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474218
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Tue Oct 11, 2005 9:31 am

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 13):
some of the VC-10 tanker fleet were outfitted with main deck tanks instead of the freight loading floor. The VC-10 itself has plenty of power to lift the additional weight.

Thanks  Smile
 
DAYflyer
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:57 pm

Airbus has no shot at getting this contract. The law prohibits it.
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sidishus
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:05 pm

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 11):
I'm not going over all this again but I still reckon the KC-767 is the best aircraft for the job, even put up against a hypothetical 787 tanker.

The suitability of any offering will be unknown until the Analysis of Alternatives is made public. Its at DOD now.
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sidishus
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Fri Oct 14, 2005 5:48 pm

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 11):
I'm not going over all this again but I still reckon the KC-767 is the best aircraft for the job, even put up against a hypothetical 787 tanker



Quoting Sidishus (Reply 16):
The suitability of any offering will be unknown until the Analysis of Alternatives is made public. Its at DOD now.

Just to emphasize the point here is an excerpt from an article in today's Seattle Times...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...stechnology/2002557521_bell13.html
Boeing finance chief says he's staying put


...Asked if slowed-to-a-crawl 767 production is likely to end, Bell's response betrayed a creeping doubt that the 767 is still the aircraft of choice for the Air Force tanker contract.

"I don't know whether it'll be a 767 or another platform," he said.

If the Air Force requirements that emerge from a Pentagon-commissioned tanker study remain close to the original specifications, Bell said he expected the 767 to win the reopened competition.

But if not, "we may respond with a different platform," he said. "Whatever platform it's on, we'll be there."

If the 767 tanker solution is abandoned, production of the jet will end. It's unclear what other aircraft Boeing might have in mind to turn into a tanker.


[Edited 2005-10-14 10:50:23]
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DLPMMM
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:28 pm

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 15):
Airbus has no shot at getting this contract. The law prohibits it.

You are wrong here. The law does not prohibit it. The Northrop Grumman/Airbus partnership have every legal right to bid for and win a military contract.
 
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Sat Oct 15, 2005 2:26 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 18):
ou are wrong here. The law does not prohibit it. The Northrop Grumman/Airbus partnership have every legal right to bid for and win a military contract

And politicians make (change) the law. It will never happen.  Smile
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kc135topboom
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:30 am

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 7):
Quoting Drewfly (Reply 6):
Any chance of adding in-flight refueling capability to the KC-135 fleet? I've heard that the lack of this is a problem. I'm sure KC135TopBoom you can inform me a bit more about this.

Does it make sense to refuel a tanker with another tanker? Can you enlighten us about that, KC135TopBoom (Btw, thanks for your insights so far, they were pretty interesting)

There were five, or so, RC-135As that were converted to KC-135As that had a receiver refueling capability. In my day, these airplanes were refered to as KC-135AART for Air Refuelable Tanker. The KC-10A is also receiver capable. Adding receiver capability to tankers gives you added flexibility in scheduling airframes and crews for different missions. It also keeps additional fuel airborne if a tanker has a limited boom operation, or cannot refuel multipul receivers (fighters) and another tanker can. It allows KC-10s to carry cargo and personnel as well as refuel fighter deployments with just a few airplanes, as they can be refuel or topped off enroute by KC-135s, and still deliver the airplanes, personnel, and equipment to the destination all at the same time. Additionally, adding receiver capabilities to KC-135s allows these airplanes to become battle management airplanes, as well as other missions in addition to air refueling.

BTW, the first converted KC-135A to the KC-135R (60-0345, IIRC) was an ART airframe.
 
GDB
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:53 am

I for one an glad that the RAF is getting the A330, since it has to replace L1011's as well, fleet size will be limited so you need as much aircraft as you can reasonably get, we are looking at almost entirely overseas deployment, where the greater capacity, ability to carry troops/freight simultaneously, of the A330 comes in to play, we are not going to do lots of UK Air Defence support and other Cold War roles that largely drove pre 1982 tanker planning.

BA also now need the 767's, which have had the long planned interior upgrades.
RAF 767 tanker would be a good VC-10 replacement, but more than that is needed.

Now my preference for A330 is not a positive comment on the means of procurement cobbled together by the bean counters, just buy the bloody aircraft, or at least an initial batch!

Of course none of the above is of relevance to the USAF!
 
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:34 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 21):
I for one an glad that the RAF is getting the A330, since it has to replace L1011's as well, fleet size will be limited so you need as much aircraft as you can reasonably get, we are looking at almost entirely overseas deployment, where the greater capacity, ability to carry troops/freight simultaneously, of the A330 comes in to play, we are not going to do lots of UK Air Defence support and other Cold War roles that largely drove pre 1982 tanker planning.

Well said. I do think the A-330TT will be a better tanker, for the money, for the RAF. It has great range, which means a large fuel load.

But, I do not understand this lease deal the RAF has with a company to fly the airplanes. Are cilivians going to fly combat missions, over the FEBA for the RAF? The RAF lease of the C-17As was much more straight forward, as it was not a wet lease, RAF crews fly the C-17s. But, the tanker deal is a wet lease. What are the legal responsibilities if an A-330TT is shot down? Since the crew is all cilivan, could they be tried as spys, if captured? The Geneva Convention allows this as it only recognises military personnel as "combatants".
 
whitehatter
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:36 am

The proposed RAF deal is a public private partnership (PPP) deal. External financing for the assets which are then leased to the Government with support included.

Don't expect to see any civilian crew in RAF operations. It won't happen. Flying tankers is not something a civilian pilot can just go and do.

Quoting GDB (Reply 21):
BA also now need the 767's, which have had the long planned interior upgrades.

The entire BA 767 proposal was rubbish from start to end and should have been costed on newbuild 767 frames. Raiding BA for aircraft was a 1970s trick best consigned to history, and would only have made sense if QF were not to have extended the lease on those aircraft they took.
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kc135topboom
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:22 am

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 23):
The proposed RAF deal is a public private partnership (PPP) deal. External financing for the assets which are then leased to the Government with support included.

Don't expect to see any civilian crew in RAF operations. It won't happen. Flying tankers is not something a civilian pilot can just go and do.

Thanks, WhiteHatter. But, there are lots of retired USAF and RAF tanker crews out there that can still do the job. But, I do understand why the RAF will not put cilivans into the A-330TT crew positions.
 
whitehatter
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:37 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 24):
there are lots of retired USAF and RAF tanker crews out there that can still do the job. But, I do understand why the RAF will not put cilivans into the A-330TT crew positions.

There are also lots of tanker trained personnel in the RAF who will no longer have the VC-10 or TriStar to fly. So there just will not be a need to employ any civilians.

Training will probably go to subcontractors such as Boeing, who operate Airbus simulators within the UK at a subsiduary company of their British division, or other private training falilities.

There is also the political dimension. If a civilian crew were shot down or crashed whilst flying a military mission, the fallout would be catastrophic. Crews need to be military in these situations, but what they are flying does not have to be military owned. When this deal first saw daylight there was press overkill which banged on about the A330 tankers flying Gatwick to Malaga charters one day and refuelling Tornados the next. The truth as usual was far from that.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:26 am

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 15):
Airbus has no shot at getting this contract. The law prohibits it.

The problem with this is that 30-40 years ago, there were at least three big companies in the US available to build such a plane, Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed. Today Boeing has a monopoly. The US taxpayers would be well advised to allow some competition or they will be screwed over.
Due to the same reason I also don't want to see Boeing excluded from European military deals.

Jan
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Venus6971
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:51 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 26):
The problem with this is that 30-40 years ago, there were at least three big companies in the US available to build such a plane, Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed. Today Boeing has a monopoly. The US taxpayers would be well advised to allow some competition or they will be screwed over.
Due to the same reason I also don't want to see Boeing excluded from European military deals.

Well said, if you are up on your history the KC-135 was just a interim aircraft until Lockheed got their design off the drawing board which they won the contract. Back in the 50's General Lemay (CINCSAC)had procurement authority unlike today's brass. He a lot of say, the M16 or AR-15 was initially procured for the USAF before the USA on his authority and changing the cockpit layout of the B-52 was his decision , he didn't care for the crew coordination it took to fly a B-47 especially if the interphone was inop.
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whitehatter
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:33 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 26):
Due to the same reason I also don't want to see Boeing excluded from European military deals.

They are not. Italy bought the 767 tanker after all, plus the other players have all scored wins over European competition.

If Airbus do get the nod, it's going to be along the same lines as the Hawk and Harrier with the work done in the USA. Just having one defence contractor capable of bidding for the work opens up all sorts of abuse of monopoly situations and that is something that the flag wavers are going to have to get over.

There is no other player in town except Airbus, and without two players you can't have a game. Or do you really want to see the US DoD writing blank cheques to Boeing? If there is no other competing bidder in the sector then you have to look at friendly/allied nations and their offerings. The most critical part of the A330 tanker is its powerplant and that's US sourced after all.
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keesje
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RE: Airbus Plant In The U.S. For KC-135 Repacement.

Mon Oct 24, 2005 8:47 pm

Northrop Grumman Corp. is expected to announce today that it will build a facility in Mobile to modify aerial refueling tankers assembled at the Brookley Field Industrial Complex by EADS North America Inc., according to officials familiar with the project.

Los Angeles-based Northrop has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center, where Gov. Bob Riley is expected to join the company in announcing its selection of Brookley as the site where it will perform the modification work.

http://www.al.com/business/mobilereg...usiness/113014547512570.xml&coll=3
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