dandy_don
Posts: 197
Joined: Tue May 02, 2000 11:13 am

Why Not A Dedicated Tanker Design For The Usaf?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:20 pm

Would not the USAF be better off to submit it's requirements for bids and see what specific tanker design manufacturers can come with? Why try and make a tanker out of an airliner? The military doesn't do that with it's freighters.
 
dl021
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RE: Why Not A Dedicated Tanker Design For The Usaf?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:52 pm

Because the needs for a tanker are not so stressful that a civilian aircraft cannot perform that mission.

It's not like a bomber or tactical transport that must be able to land on dirt strips or drop parachutists or bombs....
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
oly720man
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RE: Why Not A Dedicated Tanker Design For The Usaf?

Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:44 pm

$$$. Would a manufacturer commit to building something that wouldn't sell enough copies when they can base a tanker on an existing airframe? As said, a tanker has a rather quiet life compared to the freighters that have to be designed for purpose - and are generally high wing as well, something that is not part of a civil design for bigger aircraft.
wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
 
LMP737
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RE: Why Not A Dedicated Tanker Design For The Usaf?

Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:08 am

Quoting Dandy_don (Thread starter):
Would not the USAF be better off to submit it's requirements for bids and see what specific tanker design manufacturers can come with? Why try and make a tanker out of an airliner? The military doesn't do that with it's freighters.

Like the previous post said, it's all about the money. Or in this case the lack of money. Just look at the costs of programs like the V-22, JSF, F-22, C-17, B-2 etc. New build programs are very expensive. Unlike a freighter, fighter or bomber a tanker does not require a specialized design. That's why the USAF goes with existing designs, it's cheaper.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
dc1030guy
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 8:21 am

RE: Why Not A Dedicated Tanker Design For The Usaf?

Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:08 am

I whole-heartedly agree with most everything said. It is just cheaper to base a tanker off of a proven commercial design. They do not need to be designed to land on dirt strips like the C-17, C-5, and C-130.

Interestingly enough, Boeing created an airliner based on designs for a replacement of the KC-97 (Boeing 367-80) ... the Dash-80 developed for the USAF KC-135 was turned into the Boeing 707.

I think the Air Force hit a home run with the purchase of the KC-10. Not only is it a great tanker platform, it is also an excellent strategic airlift platform as well. It can move 27 pallets of cargo, weighing up to roughly 170,000lbs a distance up to 4,400 miles. In comparison, the C-17 has 18 pallet positions with a max cargo weight of roughly 170,000lbs but only a range of 2,400 miles!

I think we will see another tanker / airlifter combination as the next tanker for the air force. It just makes sense. Flexibility is the key to air power. (haha)

I don't have my in-flight guide with me, but there is a gee-wiz section of air show data to tell the patrons. It is something like this; it takes 8 KC-135s, 2 C-5s, and 3 141's and 4 days to move a squadron of 12 F-15s, their support personnel, and cargo from the US to the Middle East. 6 KC-10's can do the same mission, saving 1,000,000 lbs of fuel, and do it non-stop, truly giving the KC-10 the nickname the Extender. If that isn't specialized, I don't know what is.

Pat
 
dc1030guy
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RE: Why Not A Dedicated Tanker Design For The Usaf?

Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:07 am

I was a bit off in my recollection of the air show data .. here's the actual data from the book ...

"With only Six KC-10s, we can deploy 12 F-15s, 115 tons of equipment, and over 200 troops nonstop to the middle east. The same job without the KC10 would take 16 KC-135s, 3 C-141s, 2 C-5s, two forward operating bases, a two day deployment, and four million extra pounds of fuel."

Pat
 
RC135U
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RE: Why Not A Dedicated Tanker Design For The Usaf?

Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:12 am

Quoting Dc1030guy (Reply 4):
I think the Air Force hit a home run with the purchase of the KC-10. Not only is it a great tanker platform, it is also an excellent strategic airlift platform as well. It can move 27 pallets of cargo, weighing up to roughly 170,000lbs a distance up to 4,400 miles. In comparison, the C-17 has 18 pallet positions with a max cargo weight of roughly 170,000lbs but only a range of 2,400 miles!

I always thought that the USAF could have acquired a good-sized batch of
MD-11s (could have called 'em KC-10Bs) for a pretty good price when Boeing
was looking to wind down production after disappointing commercial sales.
Admittedly, there are differences that would need to be addressed such as
the glass cockpit and flying characteristics. On the other hand, with lots
of mx troops familiar with the KC-10A, wouldn't there be a reduced need for
new parts and mx infrastructure?

BTW, I live in Mercer County and frequently see the McGuire KC-10s and
C-17s. What's the inside skinny on the C-17? Sure isn't much to look at
but then there's the old saw about form following function. How's it function?
 
dc1030guy
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 8:21 am

RE: Why Not A Dedicated Tanker Design For The Usaf?

Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:55 am

Interestingly enough, McD back in the day offerred the USAF another 60 airplanes at cost in order to keep the DC-10 line open to ensure a seamless transition to the MD-11. Unfortunately, the USAF didn't opt for them. Hind-sight is 20-20; many of the KC-10 guys think the USAF made a big mistake doing that.

The DC-10 and/or the MD-11 is a great platform, not just for air refueling (KC-10), but also for hauling palletized cargo. Let's face it, if it they weren't, FedEx and UPS wouldn't be using them to fly cargo.

I don't fly the C-17 and can't really speak to how it functions. The airplane definitely has some unique capabilities. It's bread and butter is delivering heavy cargo to airfields not suitable for commercial aircraft. I don't think it is a great strategic airlifter in that it isn't efficient or fast, and doesn't carry many pallet positions.

Just my 2 cents.

Pat

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