User avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 10997
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:08 pm

The new tanker for the USAF has been discussed here many times, but I don't remember seeing all airframes discussed in the same thread.

So, of all the different airplanes available, or in the not to distant future, what is the bast airplane for a USAF tanker?

Let's look at the possibilities from both Airbus and Boeing:

Airbus:
A-330TT, already selected for the RAF and RAAF tankers.
A-340-500, not mentioned before, but carries a lot of fuel.
A-350-800, mentioned several time, newest design, partially composit construction.

Boeing:
KC-135E converted to the KC-135R, by far the cheapest option and still in production (RC-135s), and the quickest production time.
KC-767A, in production for Italy and Japan, and some common parts with the E-10A.
B-777-200ER/LR, mentioned as a Boeing proposal and carries a lot of fuel.
B-787-800, mentioned by Boeing, and is a all composit airplane.
MD-11F, almost common with the KC-10A/KDC-10 but production would have to be reopened, as not many available on the used market.
B-747-400F/ERF, not mentioned before, but the IIAF flys KC-747-200 tankers and carries twice the fuel as most other competitors. Also has swing open nose for cargo missions.
B-747-800F, not mentioned, but the largest of all competitors and carries the most fuel. Like it's smaller B-747-400F brother has swing open nose for cargo missions. Same very fuel effiecent engines as on B-787 and A-350.

Any one of these options, including the KC-135E can give an estimated airframe life of 40-50 years from now. All airplane/tanker buys would be approximately 100 airplanes, except the KC-135E to KC135R conversion. That would be 158 airplanes.
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3136
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:58 pm

Larger tankers would be a great option with one minor change to USAF fighter/strike aircraft: Moving to probe-and-drogue (navy, rest of the world) style refuelling. The boom/recepticle method is quite nice for tanking heavies as it gets the massive amounts of gas onboard quicker, but the USAF will need a plane that can service multiple recievers if it goes with a larger aircraft, due to apron space constraints (read: less tankers in one place).

This option is more feasable than mounting two booms on the wingtips, and addresses the issue that there is no good reason for smaller aircraft to use the boom, and opens up tanking assets for usaf strike teams to tankers operated by everyone else (including the Navy, Marines, RAF) rather than the select few that operate KDC-10s or KC-135s.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
Boeing Nut
Posts: 5078
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2001 2:42 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:06 am

The chance of an Airbus product for the tanker role is slim to none, for political reasons only, which is a shame.

The things I have heard the most lately is, one, that a mix of types is a possibility and also, that the 777LRF platform is being studied.

The 787 platform is a possibility. Boeing some time ago was dismissing the 787 for a refueling platform because they stated the 787 was not designed for a tanker role. I thought this was a load of bull when I first heard it. I was right when they later changed their tune. I also don't buy the bit that the 787 is too "new" for a tanker role. Hell, the 707 was a custom design for the military. The 707 was then later developed into a passenger aircraft.

I doubt the MD-11 is being considered outside of the "dreamers" category for the reasons you stated. It's out of production and all used airframes are being snatched up by cargo operators.

I seriously doubt that the 747 platform is even being considered. It's just too big for the job although it would be an excellent aircraft for military cargo operations. I recall that the Air Force was once having hot and heavy talks with Boeing for a 744F order to supplement the C-17.

My guess for the new freighter fleet would be a mix of KC-767's and KC-777LRF's with the former being the most predominant.

Regards
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
User avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 10997
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:24 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
addresses the issue that there is no good reason for smaller aircraft to use the boom,

Boom refueling is 4 times faster than probe and drogue refueling, thus the KC-135 and KC-10 can both refuel twice as many USAF fighters as they can USN/USMC fighters (using the wing tip mounted refueling pods and refueling 2 fighters at the same time). Boom refueling is also a lot safer than probe and drogue refueling.

My guess for the new tanker is also a mix, but with the KC-135E to "R" option and a KC-747-800F.
 
DeltaGuy
Posts: 3965
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2001 5:25 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:17 am

I still think the KC767 stands the best chance to become our new tanker.

Annnnnd, wait for KC330 to come on here and spew "facts" as to how the Euro's product is so much 'better'.  sarcastic 

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
sonic67
Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:43 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:02 am

In terms of candidate airframes for the heavy tanker role, the short and medium term optimum is a 747 derivative give greatest flexibility. Used 747s are cheap and plentiful and easy to convert. With all the new airliner coming to market their should be a over abundance of perfectly good used 747 for sale.

If you read the article the RAAF is seriously looking into this strategy KC-33A/747-400 tanker transports.
http://ausairpower.net/AAR-ADF-Issues.pdf
 
Contact_tower
Posts: 534
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 4:05 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:17 am

Kill me now! Please........
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3136
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:36 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 3):
Boom refueling is 4 times faster than probe and drogue refueling, thus the KC-135 and KC-10 can both refuel twice as many USAF fighters as they can USN/USMC fighters

True, but you also double the joinup time too with the boom compared to probe and drogue. Plus, I guess you have to find out what to do with all these newly out of work boom operators! Sensitive subject for you I know...

USAF is being pressured to drop the F-35A model and buy F-35Cs instead. These would come with probe IFR capabilities.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
saintsman
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2002 12:34 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:13 pm

Lets take the A v B and how the US won't buy etc out of the equation. What is the best aircraft for the job.

All the aircraft can be modified for both boom and hose. A combination of the two would give you the most flexibility. All aircraft can have internal storage tanks fitted though perhaps some don't need them.

You can modify used aircraft for the same cost as a new aircraft. Although used aircraft are cheaper to buy their ongoing maintenance costs are higher and they won't last as long so will have to be replaced in maybe twenty years time. Modern aircraft are much more economical but you have to fork out a lot of money up front. Maybe it is better for the budget to pay less up front for used aircraft even though you pay more in the long run.

Ultimately though, I think the best choice of aircraft is the one that is going to be the one that gives you the most off-load capacity for the time spent on station. The tankers are their to serve their customers. Satisfying the customers needs should be more important than whether the aircraft is made in the US or Europe particularly when the customer has a pretty serious job to do.
 
jwenting
Posts: 9973
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:04 pm

KC135 is not an option. The airframes are too old, which is why they need replacement in the first place.
Maintenance is getting extremely expensive and cutting into available aircraft already, a situation that will only get worse.

The USAF already stated that the A330 is not an option because of its size, I guess they mean the longer wingspan.

That of course also disqualifies the 340 and 747.

Remain the 767TT and a hypothetical 787TT. Which it would be depends on the timeframe the USAF has in mind for delivery.
If they can wait until there's room on the 787 production line (or for Boeing to build a dedicated new line for them) it would be the superior option, but the 767TT isn't a bad option by any means and likely cheaper to build quickly (plus it's an airframe already in military use with several nations).

MD11 is indeed a pipedream, would be great for the AF though as it might make for easier transition of maintenance and flight crews between those and the KC-10s.

777 might have the same size problems as the 330 etc..
Don't know the bulk cargo capabilities if the airframe. Could the large fuselage actually be used effectively to hold fuel or would they be flying around with a lot of empty space because the weight limits are too low to make it effective?
I wish I were flying
 
Lumberton
Posts: 4176
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:34 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:53 pm

Quoting Contact_tower (Reply 6):
Kill me now! Please........

 rotfl 
I might have phrased it differently, but I've got to agree with you.
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
Pope
Posts: 3995
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 5:57 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Wed Nov 23, 2005 4:27 am

Quoting Boeing Nut (Reply 2):
The chance of an Airbus product for the tanker role is slim to none, for political reasons only, which is a shame.

I think you'll see a mix 767 / 330 buy with a bias toward the 767. Politically an 330 buy would help smooth over some of the problems the US has been having with Europe of late. At the same time one can't ignore the political ramifications of a large foreign airplane buy.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
dl021
Posts: 10836
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:06 am

Quoting Pope (Reply 11):
I think you'll see a mix 767 / 330 buy with a bias toward the 767

Right after they get done delivering that Zamboni to Hell for this next season.

Seriously, unless you have some insight I don't get, I'll go out on a limb here and say that it would be too politically damaging to buy Airbus, and it would not give us the footprint we need. We can flat afford more 767s than we can A330's and we need more airframes that are able to provide the services.

Any new tanker will have dual method capability, and any new tanker will have superior operating economics to the ones operating now.....

but...we need to be able to put tankers in multiple places and the more we spend on each one the fewer airplanes we can buy and the less capability we will have for global reach..... The difference in fuel carriage capability does not offset the advantage in greater numbers available for more missions.

I'd rather have 100 KC767s than 75 KC330's. Our needs are different than the British, and even they are growing concerned about their future tanker capability as far as number of airframes mission ready versus the number of missions. See the latest AI for that article.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
saintsman
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2002 12:34 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Wed Nov 23, 2005 4:56 pm

Why is it that it is considered politically acceptable to buy a foreign owned car / TV / fridge etc but made in the USA yet it is unacceptable to buy an foreign aeroplane that is made in the USA?

I bet all those people in Mobile know what they would rather have.

As for number of aircraft, it is not uncommon for a tanker to be refuelled by another tanker when extending the range a fighter aircraft can fly. If an A330 can do the same job without refuelling you need one less tanker. I will be very surprised if it isn't a mixed fleet.
 
jwenting
Posts: 9973
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:24 pm

We're talking about the military here, not your private automobile.
And unlike many I prefer to buy local if possible.

The US military (as all militaries should) prefers to buy local to preserve independence of foreign influence if nothing else.
Don't want to have your spares supply cut off because your supplier is in a country that's not currently friendly with you...
And despite everything France (and Germany) aren't exactly friendly towards the US, and can't be trusted to take their side in a possible conflict with say the PRC or Russia (which both have extremely strong ties with Paris and Berlin both politically and economically).
I wish I were flying
 
whitehatter
Posts: 5180
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 6:52 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:15 am

I've explained my views in gret depth several times, but my  twocents  is that the 767 is the best platform and should have been built for the RAF too.

Rugged, mature, dependable and plenty of global support in the civilian field for fast AOG access to airframe and engine parts. I'm also not that convinced of the A330's survivability in a nuclear environment with electromagnetic pulses damaging the FBW systems. The 767 has mostly conventional avionics and could be a better fit when considering that any major conflict is likely to have at least limited nuclear exchanges.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
User avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 10997
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Thu Nov 24, 2005 7:21 pm

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 9):
KC135 is not an option. The airframes are too old, which is why they need replacement in the first place.
Maintenance is getting extremely expensive and cutting into available aircraft already, a situation that will only get worse.

Actually, the USAF KC-135E/Rs only have around 24,000 hours on them. Maintenance on them is not really much of a problem as the KC-135 fleet has among the highest availabliity rate and in commission rate of all other USAF airplanes. IIRC, it is slightly bested by the KC-10s and T-38s.

Quoting Pope (Reply 11):
Politically an 330 buy would help smooth over some of the problems the US has been having with Europe of late.

No, it would not. Buying someone elses products, whether it is airplanes or tomatos does absolutly nothing to improve or degrade political feelings between the two countries.

But, in the US, it would be political suicide for any Congressman or Senator to support a large weapons program that puts jobs into some other country. Many would see that as "shipping jobs (to build it) overseas".
 
A342
Posts: 4017
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:05 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:32 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 3):
Boom refueling is also a lot safer than probe and drogue refueling.

I think this is wrong. A boom can´t move around as much as the hose&drogue system. Which one would you prefer in turbulences ?

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 15):
I'm also not that convinced of the A330's survivability in a nuclear environment with electromagnetic pulses damaging the FBW systems.

I may remind you that the B-2 as well as the Rafale have FBW and yet they are able to use nuclear weapons, but it is true that those FBW systems were designed with such circumstances in mind. Anyway, when those electromagnetical "storms" coming from the sun were discussed in the media, they just talked about the instrument problems. At least I´ve never heard of a FBW related one.

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 9):
The USAF already stated that the A330 is not an option because of its size, I guess they mean the longer wingspan.

That of course also disqualifies the 340 and 747.

Remain the 767TT and a hypothetical 787TT.

The 788/9 has a wingspan similar to that of the A342/3 or A330 and the lower-range 783 won´t be an option.

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 9):
777 might have the same size problems as the 330 etc..

Might ? Definitely, only exception would be the folding wingtip (which has never been sold, is it available on the 772LR ?).

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
But, in the US, it would be political suicide for any Congressman or Senator to support a large weapons program that puts jobs into some other country. Many would see that as "shipping jobs (to build it) overseas".

Hmmm, I think you know how many US-made military aircraft have been sold to countries which were able to pruduce their own ones.
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
columba
Posts: 5043
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:12 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:59 am

Quoting DeltaGuy (Reply 4):
Annnnnd, wait for KC330 to come on here and spew "facts" as to how the Euro's product is so much 'better'.

No reason to be sarcastic. The 330MRTT or KC 330 is a very good plane and will be in use with the RAF and the RAAF which could be an advantage for the USAAF,too.
Sure I am hoping that Northrop Grumman and Airbus will get the deal but I would not be too sad if Boeing gets deal because they offered the better, cheaper or superior solution but I would be sad if Airbus looses just because it is Airbus.
If they loose in a fair competion it is fine by me.
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
DeltaGuy
Posts: 3965
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2001 5:25 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Tue Nov 29, 2005 3:15 am

Quoting A342 (Reply 17):
I think this is wrong. A boom can´t move around as much as the hose&drogue system. Which one would you prefer in turbulences ?

And have you ever seen someone try to hook up to a hose basket in turbulence? Damn near impossible. Both systems have their benefits, and their drawbacks. A boom's movements, for the most part, are deliberate on the operator's part. A basket is sometimes at the mercy of the relative wind.

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
columba
Posts: 5043
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:12 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Tue Nov 29, 2005 3:18 am

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 14):
And despite everything France (and Germany) aren't exactly friendly towards the US, and can't be trusted to take their side in a possible conflict with say the PRC or Russia (which both have extremely strong ties with Paris and Berlin both politically and economically).

Well Germany has a new goverment which wants to improve the transatlantic relations.
Merkel -since coming from former East Germany - has a somewhat biased relation with Russia. Therefore you will not see such a big stress on German-Russian relations as it was under Schroeder.
Apart from the change of Goverment in Germany, the German Military will buy some American equipment soon.
We all know that Germany has not bought American made military aircrafts in a long time which will change it is almost certain that at least 5 Eurohawk (based on the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk) will be bought, delivery is scheduled for 2009.
The Germany Air Force also has shown interest in the Predator drone.
The most important German/American military project is the MEADS missle.

P.S. Sorry for being off-topic
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
keesje
Posts: 8591
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 2:08 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:44 am

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 15):
Rugged, mature, dependable

Anybody status of the separate air flow problems Boeing has experienced after placing refueling pods under the 767’s wings?

If unfixed, the plane’s speed would be limited to .79 Mach.

The first 767 for Italy is now undertaking flight trials at Boeing’s Wichita, Kan., facility after conversion by Boeing, while Aeronavali converts the second itself.

Boeing itself says the problems will be fixed. The aircraft will be delivered to Italy in mid- to late 2006.

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=1371056&C=mideast
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
airbusA346
Posts: 7284
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:05 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Tue Nov 29, 2005 5:09 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
B-747-400F/ERF, not mentioned before, but the IIAF flys KC-747-200 tankers and carries twice the fuel as most other competitors. Also has swing open nose for cargo missions.

Any photos of this aircraft yet on the net.

Tom.
Tom Walker '086' First Officer of a A318/A319 for Air Lambert - Hours Flown: 17 hour 05 minutes (last updated 24/12/05).
 
keesje
Posts: 8591
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 2:08 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:46 pm

http://www.iiaf.net/aircraft/tankerstranspt/images/iiaf747tanker_jpg.jpg

Suggesting 777, 787 and even 747 as tankers doesn´t seem a sign of confidence in the proposed KC767. Again an anything but .. specification.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
jwenting
Posts: 9973
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Tue Nov 29, 2005 7:27 pm

Quoting Keesje (Reply 23):
Suggesting 777, 787 and even 747 as tankers doesn´t seem a sign of confidence in the proposed KC767. Again an anything but .. specification.

BS. A customer centric company offers multiple options, rather than relying on their political friends to force the customer into accepting what the company wants to sell.

So Boeing offers the KC767, which they can deliver today, as well as the larger 747 and 777 airframes which could be built into a suitable tanker platform relatively quickly, and the future 787 airframe which would take even longer but might hold the longest possible production run.
I wish I were flying
 
keesje
Posts: 8591
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 2:08 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:10 pm

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 24):
A customer centric company offers multiple options, rather than relying on their political friends to force the customer into accepting what the company wants to sell.

So Boeing offers the KC767

How ironic to say Jwenting, shame on you. Where have you been.

The less heroic reality:

The Air Force gave the Boeing Co. five months to rewrite the official specifications for 100 aerial refueling tankers so that the company's 767 aircraft would win a $23.5 billion deal, according to e-mails and documents obtained by Knight Ridder.

In the process, Boeing eliminated 19 of the 26 capabilities the Air Force originally wanted, and the Air Force acquiesced in order to keep the price down.

The Air Force then gave Boeing competitor Airbus 12 days to bid on the project and awarded the contract to Boeing even though Airbus met more than 20 of the original 26 specifications and offered a price that was $10
billion less than Boeing's.


People got jailed / fired for it, Boeing is still in the process of restoring its credibility in Washington.

http://zfacts.com/metaPage/lib/KR-04...oeing%20specifications%20rewrite'

(my excuses to the ones trying to forget.. JW was asking for it.)
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
halls120
Posts: 8724
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:24 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:41 pm

Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
Right after they get done delivering that Zamboni to Hell for this next season.

 rotfl  rotfl  rotfl 

Quoting Saintsman (Reply 13):
Why is it that it is considered politically acceptable to buy a foreign owned car / TV / fridge etc but made in the USA yet it is unacceptable to buy an foreign aeroplane that is made in the USA?

Individual consumers are free to buy whatever they want. The federal government is not so unfettered. You have heard of organized labor, I trust?

Several years ago, the Coast Guard needed a replacement for their icebreaker on the Great Lakes. The Canadians had one in mothballs that was perfect for the job. The Coast Guard was ready to sign the check when Congress passed a law saying the Coast Guard MUST buy an American-made vessel as a replacement. A combination of the shipbuilding industry and union influence, of course. So - 10 years later, the Coast Guard is finally getting the replacement vessel.

Same thing for aircraft. Airbus and other foreign owned companies can compete and win small contracts - long range patrol aircraft for the Coast Guard and Presidential helicopter replacement - but when you are talking about big $$ contracts, Congress is under extreme pressure to "buy American."
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
columba
Posts: 5043
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:12 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:07 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 26):
- but when you are talking about big $$ contracts, Congress is under extreme pressure to "buy American."

So you are saying one icebraker is big $$ ?
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
echster
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2004 4:01 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:21 am

There were 2 long stories this morning on the next tanker, of which I'll summarize:

Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
December 1, 2005

DOD's New Transportation Chief Seeks Multi-Mission Tanker

- Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz, head of U.S. Transportation Command said that he needs new tanker aircraft with the flexibility to carry cargo or passengers as well as fuel.

- The Air Force should buy new multi-mission tankers "without delay" to replace aging Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. Some industry officials have been predicting that cargo capacity might emerge as a key requirement, which would give the budget-constrained Air Force more bang for its tanker buck.

- The "exact dimensions" are "not the thing that I worry about," he said. "I establish requirements, and that is that it needs to be multi-mission, it cannot be a single-mission airplane."

- A Defense Department-commissioned study of tanker modernization options, due to wrap up by mid-December, is widely expected to recommend buying some sort of new tanker. DOD has pledged to hold a competition once the study identifies a modernization approach.

-- Marc Selinger

Bloomberg.com
November 30, 2005

New U.S. Tanker Must Carry More Than Fuel, Wynne Says

By Tony Capaccio

- Competition for the contract to build a new aerial refueling tanker likely won't start until 2007 because the service wants a plane that can carry cargo, reconnaissance sensors and troops as well as fuel, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said today.

- "Tankers are not only tankers any more. They are going to be multi-mission aircraft."

- The Air Force said in February that it set aside $552 million between fiscal 2007 and 2011 for research and $8.58 billion to start buying the planes, used to refuel bombers, fighters and other planes in the air.

- The Air Force has 531 KC-135 tankers with an average age of about 44 years and 59 larger KC-10 tankers with an average age of 20.5 years.

- Wynne said that, based on additional study, the Air Force now sees an expanded role for its tankers. "There's lot of room to carry stuff,'' Wynne said. "A lot of airplanes we are considering -- whether big ones or small ones -- seem to have extra space."

- Wynne said the new plane would not be ``just a tanker replacement per se.'' He added: ``Yes, we do want it to carry fuel and have people take fuel off, but it also means we want it to carry cargo and we want it to be a `smarter' aircraft and carry a communications node if it does orbits over the world.''

With reporting by James Gunsalus in New York.
 
halls120
Posts: 8724
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:24 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:39 am

Quoting Columba (Reply 27):
So you are saying one icebraker is big $$ ?

For the Coast Guard, and the US shipbuilding industry, yes.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
socal
Posts: 464
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2005 9:20 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:52 am

The best choice is the 767.......  bigthumbsup 
I Love HNL.............
 
User avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 10997
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:26 am

Quoting A342 (Reply 17):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 3):
Boom refueling is also a lot safer than probe and drogue refueling.

I think this is wrong. A boom can´t move around as much as the hose&drogue system. Which one would you prefer in turbulences ?

Having been a Boom Operator for 22 years, and used both the Boom method and Probe and Drogue. The boom refueling is by far safer in turbalance, or any other flying conditions or weather than probe and drogue. The reasons most nations use probe and drogue refueling, is because it is chaeper than installing a receptical. Boom refueling is also up to 4 times faster than probe and drogue refueling.

Quoting A342 (Reply 17):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
But, in the US, it would be political suicide for any Congressman or Senator to support a large weapons program that puts jobs into some other country. Many would see that as "shipping jobs (to build it) overseas".

Hmmm, I think you know how many US-made military aircraft have been sold to countries which were able to pruduce their own ones.

Apples and Oranges.... there are many reasons why country XXX will buy wapons systems from the US, France, Russia, or anywhere else, even if they also build simaliar systems. These include price, speed of delivery, quality, and political reasons.

Quoting Columba (Reply 18):
The 330MRTT or KC 330 is a very good plane and will be in use with the RAF and the RAAF which could be an advantage for the USAAF,too.

First, we disbanded the USAAF in 1947, it became the USAF. The A-330TT is a very good airplane, but still must prove itself to be a good tanker. The RAF and RAAF have different priorities than the USAF. The RAF and RAAF are not global in their mission requirements, because both combined together would still be only 25% the size of the USAF. No, I'm not saying the RAF and RAAF do not respond globally, they do, but not near as fast or with as much equipment as the USAF does.

What I'm saying is that an airplane that works well for the RAF, RAAF, or many other Air Forces, will not always work well for the USAF. But, a US built airplane always works well in smaller Air Forces, when it is also in the USAF inventory. Examples are the KC-135, E-3, F-4, F-104, C-130, F-111, F-15, F-16, and the list goes on and on.

BTW, the US Military has flown lots of European built airplanes, including, Hawk, Serpa, Falcon Jet, HH-65, C-212, B-57 (Austrailian built), etc.

Quoting Echster (Reply 28):
"Tankers are not only tankers any more. They are going to be multi-mission aircraft."



Quoting Echster (Reply 28):
Wynne said the new plane would not be ``just a tanker replacement per se.'' He added: ``Yes, we do want it to carry fuel and have people take fuel off, but it also means we want it to carry cargo and we want it to be a `smarter' aircraft and carry a communications node if it does orbits over the world.''

Both the KC-10 and the KC-135 are multi-mission airplanes. The KC-135 can carry 83,000lbs of cargo, 125 troops, or a mix of both, while on a refueling mission, too. The KC-10 carries even more cargo, and troops..

The KC-135 is already flying the "smart tanker" missions, and has been doing it for years.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 21):
Anybody status of the separate air flow problems Boeing has experienced after placing refueling pods under the 767’s wings?

If unfixed, the plane’s speed would be limited to .79 Mach.

They shortened the attaching struts by about 3/4" (21mm), that eliminated the problem of the seperate airflows, thus restoring the Mach limit to .86M
 
User avatar
RayChuang
Posts: 7982
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2000 7:43 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:35 pm

My guess is that initially, the entire KC-135E fleet will be upgraded to KC-135R specifications and given a long-life extension that will allow them to operate till about 2018-2020 time frame.

I still some doubts about a tanker based on the 767-200 design, unless Boeing can really work out a deal to keep the 767 production jigs in place to build the first 100 of what could be as many as 350-400 airframes to completely replace the aging KC-135 fleet.

Boeing could derive tanker from the 787-8 design, but production limits from its production partners and the huge backlog of commercial orders could mean it could be 2011 before the first 787-8 tanker derivatives can be delivered to the USAF.
 
keesje
Posts: 8591
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 2:08 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:06 pm

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 32):
Boeing could derive tanker from the 787-8 design

For years people here argued the KC330 was too advanced and therefor not rugged enough to sustain the harsh militairy environment (avionics, fuel tanks, composites).

Boeing confirmed this in earlier stages in kc330 vs 767 discussions. Are there new solutions that make the 787 better then the kc330 in this respect?
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
columba
Posts: 5043
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:12 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:28 pm

Quoting Keesje (Reply 33):
Are there new solutions that make the 787 better then the kc330 in this respect?

Yes, wait another 25 years and replace the KC 135s with KC 787s.
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
A342
Posts: 4017
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:05 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Sat Dec 03, 2005 12:53 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 31):
Having been a Boom Operator for 22 years, and used both the Boom method and Probe and Drogue. The boom refueling is by far safer in turbalance, or any other flying conditions or weather than probe and drogue.

Why is this ?

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 31):
Apples and Oranges.... there are many reasons why country XXX will buy wapons systems from the US, France, Russia, or anywhere else, even if they also build simaliar systems. These include price, speed of delivery, quality, and political reasons.

So why is it apples and oranges ? I understand your point about jobs and, in this case, faster delivery, however the other reasons you stated above do also apply here as the USAF is considering to buy European tankers.

Also let´s not forget the KC-330 would be built in the US too.
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
echster
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2004 4:01 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Sat Dec 03, 2005 3:26 am

Quoting A342 (Reply 35):
Also let´s not forget the KC-330 would be built in the US too.

Is this so? I thought the aircraft would be built in Europe, then flown to the US for tanker conversion.
 
DeltaGuy
Posts: 3965
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2001 5:25 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:32 am

Quoting A342 (Reply 35):
Also let´s not forget the KC-330 would be built in the US too.

Only so the Euros can pass it off as "American Made". You do realize how much money they'd be losing by doing that logistical nightmare, but in the end, it's all about beating Boeing, isn't it?

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
User avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 10997
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:51 pm

Quoting A342 (Reply 35):
Why is this ?

The air refueling boom is actually flown by the Boom Operator. The boom is actually a small aircraft trailed behind the tanker. It has flight control surfaces, and a trim system (for refueling the C-5, E-4, VC-25, and C-17). The Boom Operator flys the boom to the receiver's air refueling receptical, then extends the boom into it to make "contact". While the tanker and receiver are hooked up together, the Boom Operator follows the receivers movements, within the air refueling envelope. This reduces strains on both aircraft, since the boom is relitively stiff. If done properly, the boom will come straight out of the receptical upon "disconnect", with no "whipping action" of the boom. If the boom is not lined up properly, it will whip and bounce after disconnect and the strain pressures are relieved.

BTW, the boom can be used to fly the KC-135, in the pitch and roll axis, but not yaw. The Boom Operator is in charge of the air refueling because he has the best view and can see things as the develope much better than the receiver pilot can, the tanker pilot can only feel things happening, but cannot see anything.

OTOH, during probe and drogue air refueling, the receiver pilot does most of the work (instead of sharing the work load with the Boom Operator). He must "stab" the basket with enough force to latch the toggles (this is done electronicly with boom refueling), but not so hard as to put to much slack into the hose. The hose is the most dangerous part to the receiver, it banging into the receiver can cause damage, as the hose is very heavy. True, with the KC-10 hose reel system and wingtip refueling pods, there is a tensioner that takes up slack, but it can only take up the slack at XX rate, a receiver can easily fly fast enough to exceed this rate. Hoses have broken canopys.

The Boom Drogue Adapter (BDA) that is attached to the boom on the KC-135s and French C-135F, is the worst of both worlds. The Boom Operator fully extends the boom and holds it at a predetermined position (based on the receiver type). The receiver stabs at the basket, but the hose is only about 6' (1.8m) long. The proper procedure is for the receiver to fly slightly forward, after contact to establish an "S" shape to the hose (called "half hose"). Any other movement can cause the hose to whip around in a circle during contact, thus possibly damaging the receiver. In both drogue tryes, the receiver must be aligned with the hose and tanker during disconnect, or the basket will beat him up as it straghtens itself after disconnect.

Another safety factor for the boom type refueling, is the rate at which fuel can be transferred. Boom type refuelings can pump at up to 8600lbs per minute (to large receivers, about 5000lbs per minutes for the fighters). The best I ever remember during probe and drogue refuelings is about 2200lbs per minute, as you can normally only use one pump. Boom refueling with USAF fighters normally starts with two or more pumps and you reduce than number as the receiver's tanks fill up. The larger receivers (B-52, B-1, B-2, VC-25, E-3, E-4, E-6, E-8/18, C-5, C-17, C-130, KC-10, KC/RC-135, etc.) normally start refueling with all 4 hydraulicly driven pumps.
 
AirRyan
Posts: 2398
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:57 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:24 pm

I think the KC-330 is a better platform than the KC-767 and I don't like how Boeing has now selected P&W to equip any future subsequent KC-767's (read USAF) after the GE powered ones for Japan and Italy are finished. Now, if Boeing were to offer a KC-787 than it would be a no-brainer for the USAF.

I like the idea of a KC-777F of some sort; there is no doubt that whatever platform the USAF selects it needs to offer a good amount of cargo/troop carrying capaibilties to boot and if that is to be the case, a new KC-748F might not be a bad idea if nonetheless really stinkin' cool!
 
User avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 10997
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:44 pm

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 39):
I think the KC-330 is a better platform than the KC-767

That is difficult to say the A-330TT is better than the KC-767, or the other way around. Airbus doesn't have a boom, Boeing does (actually they have two designs). Developing a boom for Airbus could cost between $500M to $1B US.

IIRC, the KC-10 boom cost MD some $200M to develope in the mid 1970s.

It is not as simple as putting two sliding tubes together and attaching ruddervators or wings to it. The flying boom is a complicated, but reliable, peice of equipment.
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3136
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Sun Dec 04, 2005 10:56 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 40):
Airbus doesn't have a boom,

Airbus has reported that it does indeed now have a boom (designed) for the A330TT. This was a big part of the Aussie order (for the F-111s) and pretty much any air foce they care to market to with F-15s and/or F-16s. Don't know when the boom would be built and tested, but the Aussie ones should come delivered with it installed.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
AirRyan
Posts: 2398
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:57 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:13 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 40):
That is difficult to say the A-330TT is better than the KC-767, or the other way around. Airbus doesn't have a boom, Boeing does (actually they have two designs). Developing a boom for Airbus could cost between $500M to $1B US.

I would wager to bet that if Airbus can develop as technologically efficient commercial airliners that they now can they can come up with a boom - it's not like there are not loads of data widely available to Airbus on this for them to simply duplicate.
 
drewfly
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:37 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:41 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 39):
I think the KC-330 is a better platform than the KC-767 and I don't like how Boeing has now selected P&W to equip any future subsequent KC-767's (read USAF) after the GE powered ones for Japan and Italy are finished.

What exactly is so wrong with PW powerplants? PW4062: 63,000lbs, CF6-90C2B6F: 62,100lbs. If the KC-330 is chosen for the USAF in place of the KC-767, anyone think that PW would get the transfered engine contract? Or would GE continue its growing engine monopoly on US aircraft.
A-10 Thunderbolt II, ugly as hell, efficient as hell, would you like to meet my boomstick?
 
DeltaGuy
Posts: 3965
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2001 5:25 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:14 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 38):
The Boom Operator fully extends the boom and holds it at a predetermined position (based on the receiver type).

My dad told me a story one time, wherein he was flying an A-7 over Saudi during Desert Storm, and some moron boom operator kept moving the damn boom around while he was trying to hook up to it with his probe- apparently he was trying to hook up with the Navy jets or just "keep it steady"- odd. Finally had to tell the dude to knock it off, that they'll take care of the tanking.

Of course, on my Omega Tanker flights, sometimes there's one smartass Naval Aviator who'll say "Excuse me while I whip this out", as he puts his IFR probe out...very non-PC, but awfly funny up there.

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
User avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 10997
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:04 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 42):
I would wager to bet that if Airbus can develop as technologically efficient commercial airliners that they now can they can come up with a boom - it's not like there are not loads of data widely available to Airbus on this for them to simply duplicate.

I never said that Airbus is not capable of developing a flying boom. They can, they have lots of very good engineering talent. Duplicating the booms that are already out there (Boeing patents) is not an option for Airbus. They really have only two workable options, 1.) develope their own boom, 2.) contract with Boeing to supply the booms.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 41):
Airbus has reported that it does indeed now have a boom (designed) for the A330TT. This was a big part of the Aussie order (for the F-111s) and pretty much any air foce they care to market to with F-15s and/or F-16s.

I had not heard that. If true, congradulations to Airbus.

Quoting DeltaGuy (Reply 44):
My dad told me a story one time, wherein he was flying an A-7 over Saudi during Desert Storm, and some moron boom operator kept moving the damn boom around while he was trying to hook up to it with his probe- apparently he was trying to hook up with the Navy jets or just "keep it steady"- odd. Finally had to tell the dude to knock it off, that they'll take care of the tanking.

It is not uncommon for the Boom Operator to attempt to "assist" a receiver pilot who looks like he is having trouble. Your Dad's comment during refueling is interesting. I wonder what the Boom Operator's response was. I know what my response would be.

As I said before, the Boom Operator is solely in charge of the air refueling operation. His decision is final and cannot be overridden during the refueling. Nor is there any UCMJ conciquence that a Naval Officer can bring against a USAF TSgt. Boom Operator for his decisions during refueling. This is all written in the joint services aggrements for inter-service, or international tanker support. Rank and Officer/Enlisted relations or debates have no place in flying. It is not uncommon to have an Aircraft Commander to be a USAF Capt., and his Navigator to be a USAF Lt. Col. The AC is the one in charge. It is the same thing during air refueling.
 
AirRyan
Posts: 2398
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:57 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:27 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 45):
As I said before, the Boom Operator is solely in charge of the air refueling operation. His decision is final and cannot be overridden during the refueling. Nor is there any UCMJ conciquence that a Naval Officer can bring against a USAF TSgt. Boom Operator for his decisions during refueling. This is all written in the joint services aggrements for inter-service, or international tanker support. Rank and Officer/Enlisted relations or debates have no place in flying. It is not uncommon to have an Aircraft Commander to be a USAF Capt., and his Navigator to be a USAF Lt. Col. The AC is the one in charge. It is the same thing during air refueling.

Big deal about the UCMJ - there is no sense in p!ssing off the guy holding a loaded weapon at your face! Smile

The only thing preventing one of those combat aircraft from taking out your nest in the back with a burst of cannon or simply falling back a little and taking the entire aircraft out is their good common sense of decency - take that one to court!  Smile
 
User avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 10997
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:54 am

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 46):
The only thing preventing one of those combat aircraft from taking out your nest in the back with a burst of cannon or simply falling back a little and taking the entire aircraft out is their good common sense of decency - take that one to court!

I disagree. Common sense isn't the only thing holding them back. The thought of facing a firing squad could be another (the US Military still has the death penalty, and the only two options are hanging and firing squads).  bigthumbsup 

Now, can we get back on topic? Yes, I know, I got off topic, too.  ashamed 
 
A342
Posts: 4017
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:05 pm

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:41 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 45):
I never said that Airbus is not capable of developing a flying boom. They can, they have lots of very good engineering talent. Duplicating the booms that are already out there (Boeing patents) is not an option for Airbus. They really have only two workable options, 1.) develope their own boom, 2.) contract with Boeing to supply the booms.

To my knowledge, it´s under dvelopment at EADS CASA. It will use FBW technology as well as cameras, so the operator would sit near the aircraft cockpit in a separate workstation, just like in the A310MRTT.
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
DeltaGuy
Posts: 3965
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2001 5:25 am

RE: Best Tanker Option For Usaf?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:20 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 45):
It is not uncommon for the Boom Operator to attempt to "assist" a receiver pilot who looks like he is having trouble. Your Dad's comment during refueling is interesting. I wonder what the Boom Operator's response was. I know what my response would be.

I did ask him to qualifiy that, if he was having trouble/was in turb...he said no, just simply the boomer was trying to treat him like an AF jet I suppose  Wink

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 45):
Rank and Officer/Enlisted relations or debates have no place in flying.

Absolutely

Quoting A342 (Reply 48):
It will use FBW technology as well as cameras, so the operator would sit near the aircraft cockpit in a separate workstation, just like in the A310MRTT.

I don't agree with this at all, from my experience in the tanker community. When I fly the Omega Tanker, they have a CCTV in the cockpit, with a limited field of view of the hose and basket..all the controls are also mounted in the cockpit. The camera provides almost no other situational picture, and if you needed to see anything other than what the camera gave you, you had to run and look out the windows in the back. Imagine doing that as a boomer, forced to look through a small screen...your perception of relative motion, closure rate, prevailing winds, etc etc, would be skewed IMHO..I'm sure the resident Boomers on here can speak more about this.

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests