CX747
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Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:29 am

Right now, it seems that the Air Force will stop buying C-17s when the 180th airframe rolls off the line. What does everyone think? Is this a good idea? Will the Air Force actually end up buying more after Congressional approval is received for their budget?
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Lumberton
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:52 am

Sounds like a poll question, but if I read the tea leaves correctly: No. Other programs have higher priority. Also, I seriously doubt that all this tanker talk (and please, the last thing we need is another USAF tanker thread!) will amount to anything--at least for a new build. Just my opinion, have flak jacket on and am prepared for incoming....
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
Galaxy5007
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:33 am

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 1):
(and please, the last thing we need is another USAF tanker thread!)

No kidding!

I doubt that the USAF will buy any more 17s. Charleston and McChord have 50 each, Altus has 13, and increasing to 15 each, Travis and Dover will have 13 each, McGuire already has 13, March, Jackson, Hickam, and Elmendorf either have, or are getting 8 each. Thats PLENTY. If they want to put more 17s somewhere else, they can move them from McChord and Charleston. The USAF has the higher priorities, including the tanker replacement, and then modernizing the C-5s. Part of the reason the C-5 modernization has gone so slow is because of funding the 17. The C-17 mind you is a C-141 replacement, so people that think replacing the C-5 with 17s is gonna work, they are wrong. Someone asked once before why they haven't started designing a new C-5 type aircraft.....Well look at the cost! With the 5s airframe life still good for another 40 years at a MINIMUM, I see them outflying alot of other aircraft. Again, back to the C-17s, the USAF doesn't need more than 180. I'm sure the line would stay open, as the UK wants to buy some, and I have heard other people interested in the 17 as well. I mean, they could do what they did with the 5s as well, they could stop for a while and go back and build C-17Bs 20 years later if more are needed. The truth is, the C-17 isn't as reliable as everyone makes it sound. They have alot of issues, and alot of modifications going on to get those issues fixed.
 
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STT757
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:47 am

I think they will go ahead with the additional 42 C-17s, it's an important aircraft that fits the Pentagons plan for Force restructuring. The DOD's Restructuring plan relies more on mobility and rapid deployments, especially with the Army's Modular Brigade Combat Teams.

Here's how I would deploy the 42 Additional C-17s:

Two active Duty Squadrons;
13 McGuire AFB (total 26)
13 Travis AFB (total 26)

Two Reserve/Guard Squadrons

8 Niagara Falls ARB (to be near the 10th Mountain Division)
8 for the MO Air National Guard at St.Louis IAP (to be near the 1st Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division).
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echster
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:36 am

Quoting CX747 (Thread starter):
Right now, it seems that the Air Force will stop buying C-17s when the 180th airframe rolls off the line. What does everyone think? Is this a good idea? Will the Air Force actually end up buying more after Congressional approval is received for their budget?

IMHO, Congress will have lots of bluster and indignation with the termination of this program but it won't be enough. The C-17 has parts made in 42 of 50 states so there's lots of support. However, when all is said and done, Congress knows that unless they cut spending from somewhere else, the USAF just cannot: 1) afford the final 42 frames, 2) justify the spending for 112 modified C-5s that can go another 40 years, and 3) tankers that can carry palletized cargo and be around a long time.
 
Galaxy5007
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:14 am

Quoting STT757 (Reply 3):
Two active Duty Squadrons;
13 McGuire AFB (total 26)
13 Travis AFB (total 26)

If they want more jets, they can get them from Charleston and McChord. Personally I think its stupid that they have Dover getting 17s when McGuire is a 15 min flight away, and Charleston being an hour away. With Travis, March has their own, and McChord has enough as it is. I can say that the coasts are pretty well covered, and its not feasible to purchase another 42 airframes. I just don't see it happening.

The C-5s and Tankers will be on the list to keep.
 
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:38 am

QA5007,
I agree 100% that putting 13 ea C-17s @ Dover and the same at McGoo is bizarre. I'd love to have somebody explain to me how that is efficient or cost effective. What comes to mind is pure politics. 50 airplanes at one location, which sounds like mayhem, and then a few isolated 13 aircraft bases. Just further that parts, AGE, test equipment and people have to be spread out.

It might be a good idea to wait and see how the C-17 matures a bit. It's not a new airplane any more, but if they are "keepers", more could be cranked out in the future. The C-5B was MUCH improved over the A, I would hope a later C-17 would be the same.
 
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:52 am

Whatever they do, I hope they archive the machine tools for the C-17.

In fact, aren't there allocations for precisely that purpose?
What's fair is fair.
 
CX747
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:58 pm

I've heard that they might possibly keep the line "warm" which means they give Boeing x amount of dollars to keep the lights on if additional airframes are needed. To me, it would just make more sense to roll out C-17s at the factory minimum requirement.
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:03 pm

Quoting CX747 (Reply 8):
To me, it would just make more sense to roll out C-17s at the factory minimum requirement.

I wonder if the Air Force would object if Boeing found foreign buyers for its C-17, such as other countries in the NATO alliance. Imagine if Boeing could extend the line by a number of years churning out a few dozen airframes for Canada, Britain, Australia, and Germany, for example.

I'm fairly certain the idea may have already occurred to those in power.

[Edited 2006-02-11 08:04:41]
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:05 pm

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 9):
I wonder if the Air Force would object if Boeing found foreign buyers for its C-17, such as other countries in the NATO alliance. Imagine if Boeing could extend the line by a number of years churning out a few dozen airframes for Canada, Britain, Australia, and Germany, for example.

Why would the AF or US government object if NATO countries wanted to buy transport planes? They've been griping about other NATO countries' lack of transport capacity for years.
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echster
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:18 am

Australia would like 4 of the C-17s but cannot afford them. Also, should they not buy more, Congress is expected to fund storage of the tooling just in case.
 
Galaxy5007
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 4:13 am

Quoting JohnM (Reply 6):
Just further that parts, AGE, test equipment and people have to be spread out.

Exactly my point....and the way things are going so far with most bases is that NOBODY IS READY FOR THEM!!! Personally, I don't understand why the Guard and Reserve are getting brand new 17s....why aren't they getting the older models, like they did with the 5s?

The same problem is going on with the C-5 relocations, nobody is ready for them. Memphis can't handle the 4 they have, they don't have any hangers or backshops to support them. Travis and Dover are doing the ISOs. Wright-Patt only has 2 planes, and that is a disaster up there. No one wants to work on them, they miss their 141s, and are pissed off that they didn't get 17s. Martinsburg is the only base getting ready for them. But even so, they won't be done intime for October. Westover can switch to B-models anytime, with little change. Parts are about the only difference, and I know they already started converting the warehouses for that. They are supposed to get a BUNCH of B-models before the end of the FY.

Going back to the 17s, Britan(the UK) already wants to buy a squadron of 8-12. The problem with most foreign governments can't afford the plane....Like I said previously, the plane is expensive! 262 million a pop is not exactly cheap! Then to maintain them, yeah, thats a another half million a plane.
 
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:33 am

What aspect will Congress allocating money for additional C-17s play in the Air Forces wishes to cease purchasing airframes?
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:01 am

Thanks for the answers.  Smile

For countries that cannot afford them, perhaps Boeing can arrange for financing. (Yes, I know that sounds simplistic, but maybe it's worth a try!)
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STT757
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:31 am

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 12):
. Memphis can't handle the 4 they have, they don't have any hangers or backshops to support them. Travis and Dover are doing the ISOs. Wright-Patt only has 2 planes, and that is a disaster up there. No one wants to work on them, they miss their 141s, and are pissed off that they didn't get 17s

They should consolidate the C-5 operations, especially at Dover since they have the infastructure and experience handling the C-5. Instead of getting 13 C-17s Dover should get the C-5s from Memphis and Wright-Patt and form a joint Air Force Reserve/Air Guard Squadron similar to what the BRAC has ordered for Niagara Falls.

The DE ANG at New Castle should give up their C-130s and the Unit should move to Dover to form a new Guard/Reserve Unit flying C-5s, move the C-130s to Memphis and the 13 C-17s Dover is slate to get should go to Wright-Patt AFB.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:38 pm

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 12):
Like I said previously, the plane is expensive! 262 million a pop is not exactly cheap! Then to maintain them, yeah, thats a another half million a plane.

What does 262 million get you? I thought the price was well below 200 million.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:44 pm

Can someone confirm the Brits are buying their 4 leased versions and buying a 5th? Thanks.

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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:03 pm

Quoting STT757 (Reply 15):
They should consolidate the C-5 operations, especially at Dover since they have the infastructure and experience handling the C-5. Instead of getting 13 C-17s Dover should get the C-5s from Memphis and Wright-Patt and form a joint Air Force Reserve/Air Guard Squadron similar to what the BRAC has ordered for Niagara Falls.

Well Memphis and Wright-Patterson are in the process of converting over to C-5s. Thats why they only have 4 and 2 respectively at the moment. We at Dover gave half to each base. We don't want the A models back. Dover is only giving a few B-models to Westover. As I said before, Dover and Travis will still have 18 planes, which is hard enough to maintain. When we had 36 two years ago, it sucked being a mechanic! I just disagree with us getting the 17s. The C-5 mission is still hard enough to maintain by itself. I agree with the DE ANG combining with Dover, it should be a joint thing, Active, ANG and AFRC. Travis already has two airframes....why they are getting a third, I don't know, but I forsee alot of problems in the near future when they start getting the 17s.

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 16):
I thought the price was well below 200 million.

The 17s are expensive as crap, and are priced about 260 million a piece. With the plane being "modern", it carries a modern price tag. FY 99 price was 236.9 million; so I'm sure by now its about 260.
 
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:37 pm

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 18):
The 17s are expensive as crap, and are priced about 260 million a piece. With the plane being "modern", it carries a modern price tag. FY 99 price was 236.9 million; so I'm sure by now its about 260.

I looked around and couldn't find a good hard figure. I've seen plenty of numbers above $200 million for recent years and one even above $300 million. At that price, it is clear to see why the USAF might want a fleet of KC-777s. A millitarized 777 would probably have a similar price, but it would have much better cargo capacity and range while serving as a tanker, and perhaps as a reconnaisance platform.

What I don't understand is why the price tag has increased so steeply from the mid 90s. The rate of inflation is not high enough to push something that was in the mid $100 millions to the mid $200 millions.
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CX747
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:10 pm

While I agree that the C-17 is extremely expensive, it performs its mission quite well and has brought "fresh air" to AMC. I would like to see an additional 42 airframes purchased because the production line is open, the aircraft are performers, and did I say the production line is open??? The C-17 has an extremely high dispatch rate and is highly flexible. It is a modern asset that is proving itself. While I love the C-5, the new "M" program has not proven that the aircraft's reliabilty or capabilities will me real world standards. If Congress is going to set aside money, I say take it and run.

Here is the major problem I have with not buying more C-17s and pursuing the KC-777 line. How long does anyone think it will take to see a potential KC-777 on the line at Travis or McGuire? Maybe 20 years from now? The C-17 was designed in the early 1980s and didn't see the light of day until the early 1990s. So if we take that time line into consideration, this is what we are looking at. I believe they are looking to start design in 08? So, in 2018 at the earliest the KC-777 gets to Edwards for testing. By 2022 the aircraft enters service and we now have the proper "layout". So for the next 16+ years just get by. Also, cargo and tanker gas rarely if ever need to go to the same place. Doing fighter drags across the pond takes up a lot of KC-10 time. Time that they are not being used as freight dogs. Also, with today's current budget problems do you really think a "new" tanker is going to find the light of day? I personally see stopping C-17 production as changing horse mid race.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:56 pm

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 19):
A millitarized 777 would probably have a similar price, but it would have much better cargo capacity and range while serving as a tanker, and perhaps as a reconnaisance platform.

The problem with 767s, 777s, A330s etc is that they can't fly into Air fields that C-17s can fly into. Especially when Carrying cargo.

The C-17 can carry heavy loads right into the Theater of Operations, a cargo 777/767 etc would need to off load far from the front and have it's cargo trucked to the front or un loaded and then re loaded on a bunch of C-130s.

You can fly a heavily loaded C-17 into an airfield close to the front directly, if you are using A330s, 767s, 777s etc it would take twice as long to get the cargo to front line forces.

You also can't carry a M1A2 tank, Stryker Combat Vehicle, UH-60, or AH-64 in a 777, 767, A330.

With the Pentagon's Transformation plan especially with regards to the Army's Brigade Combat Teams additional C-17s are required, they can fly the Soldiers and their Stryker Vehicles right to the theater of operations making for a true rapid response force.
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atmx2000
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:19 pm

Quoting CX747 (Reply 20):
The C-17 was designed in the early 1980s and didn't see the light of day until the early 1990s. So if we take that time line into consideration, this is what we are looking at. I believe they are looking to start design in 08? So, in 2018 at the earliest the KC-777 gets to Edwards for testing.

Why would you expect such a long lead time for a derivative aircraft? The C-17 was a new design.

Quoting STT757 (Reply 21):
The problem with 767s, 777s, A330s etc is that they can't fly into Air fields that C-17s can fly into. Especially when Carrying cargo.

The C-17 can carry heavy loads right into the Theater of Operations, a cargo 777/767 etc would need to off load far from the front and have it's cargo trucked to the front or un loaded and then re loaded on a bunch of C-130s.

How often are C-17s capabilities actually used? My impression is that the mobility command isn't willing to risk C-17s on such missions without very good reasons, for fear of damaging the aircraft. Also, the military needs plenty of cargo capacity for moving standard palletized cargo between bases. The C-17 doesn't provide as much capacity, and because of its range limitations needs more tanker support or refueling stops.
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Galaxy5007
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:49 pm

From what I have heard, the USAF isn't buying anymore than the 180. They are really concerned about the aging KC-135 fleet, and want to persue that.

Personally, The KC-777 idea isn't going to happen. For one, The plane is too long. It is almost as long as a C-5(the 777-300 is longer than a C-5). The wingspan is 200 feet. Having the ramp space at designated locations would become an issue. I think they are looking for a replacement for the KC-135, not the KC-10. KC-135s are smaller, and more manuverable than the KC-10, which is why we didn't buy more KC-10s when we could have. The 777 is NOT proven as a military plane. It would be a bit risky only having 2 engines as well(even though it could fly with one, the military wouldn't like that idea).

Lets stray away from the tanker threading...we have enough of that as it is....

An idea, but, if the USAF wanted to, they could look into a KC-17 design as well. The plane is proven, and could be a good choice; but the biggest drawback is again the cost. Although news reports and internet sites say the C-17 is awesome, does everything it does all the time the right way; its just not true. The plane has alot of bugs in it. Most are station keeping equipment restricted, and alot have computer issues. Gear problems, Hydraulic problems and avionic issues are showing up more and more. There is several time compliance tech orders out to replace defective parts, with new or improved ones just to keep the plane in the air. It is a good plane, but it isn't the best thing in the world just because it is new. All planes have issues; and the C-17 isn't any exception. If you talk to C-17 maintainers, most would say, it is a piece of crap. Just like the C-5 is. But when they both fly, they do a good job flying. The whole point is, it is expensive not only for the plane, but it is expensive to maintain as well.

Quoting STT757 (Reply 21):
With the Pentagon's Transformation plan especially with regards to the Army's Brigade Combat Teams additional C-17s are required, they can fly the Soldiers and their Stryker Vehicles right to the theater of operations making for a true rapid response force.

You mean 180 C-17s can't do that job? Heck 20 can do the job. Or how about 10 C-5s? It may take longer, but it can be done. That isn't a reason to buy more. The C-5 can go in almost any location a C-17 can go. They just don't do it as often because of the C-5s reliability rate compared to the 17s. The C-17s we have, the oldest ones just passed 10K hours....Plenty of life left in the ones we have now. No reason to buy more. Period.

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 19):
What I don't understand is why the price tag has increased so steeply from the mid 90s. The rate of inflation is not high enough to push something that was in the mid $100 millions to the mid $200 millions.

Well think of it this way, a 79 cent 20 oz soda in the mid 90s is now $1.39....more or less in some locations, but here in Delaware and MD, its been like that. that is a 60 cent increase. Inflation is happening faster than everyone thinks, just the news, media and government are trying to cover it up as much as they can. A .25 cent candy bar in the mid 90s is now 85 cents. My friend made 5.15 an hour before and got by, now he makes 10 an hour and is stuggling to survive, living off of section 8 housing, and can barely put gas in his car. Inflation is there, and its slowly, finally surfacing that it is affecting millions.
 
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:09 am

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 23):
Well think of it this way, a 79 cent 20 oz soda in the mid 90s is now $1.39....more or less in some locations, but here in Delaware and MD, its been like that. that is a 60 cent increase. Inflation is happening faster than everyone thinks, just the news, media and government are trying to cover it up as much as they can. A .25 cent candy bar in the mid 90s is now 85 cents. My friend made 5.15 an hour before and got by, now he makes 10 an hour and is stuggling to survive, living off of section 8 housing, and can barely put gas in his car. Inflation is there, and its slowly, finally surfacing that it is affecting millions.

I don't remember any 25 cent candy bars even in the early 90s. The change is 40-50 cents to 65-85 cents. But I suppose if the C-17 went up the same amount it would be what it is priced today.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:56 am

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 24):
I don't remember any 25 cent candy bars even in the early 90s.

Hell I remember 10 for a dollar, mmm....snickers and reese's
 
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 5:04 am

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 25):

Hell I remember 10 for a dollar, mmm....snickers and reese's

Back in the early 90s I was partial to Symphony bars.
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Lumberton
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:19 am

My crystal ball says (for today at any rate):
--No more C-17's will be procured.
--KC-135E's will be re-worked and re-engined (gives the USAF Depots something to do as well)!
--IF (big If) a new build tanker is procured, it will be a limited buy of KC-767's, which will piss everyone off, but nowhere the triple figure procurement originally comtemplated.
--USAF 'circles the wagons' to protect the F-22 and, to a lessor extent, the F-35.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:32 am

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 27):
--KC-135E's will be re-worked and re-engined

The KC-135E's are being retired with the latest BRAC rounds, Air Guard Units flying the KC-135E's will either disband or replace them with KC-135R's.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:43 am

I do think a new tanker buy will happen soon. I don't think it will be the 777 though. There was a really good article in AW&ST a few weeks ago about the debate going on in the Pentagon. I think that the 767 design will win. The aircraft are cheaper to purchase, cheaper to operate and they take up less space. This scenario allows the AF to purchase more tankers and have more booms in the air.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:13 am

The 777 is not a good fit to replace the KC-135, down the road they would be a good replacement for the KC-10.

I think they will go ahead with a KC-767 purchase, it's the right sized aircraft that is already proven as a tanker. It will also keep the 767 line open for the E-10A, when that program secures funding.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:58 am

I agree, the 777 would be a great KC-10 replacement but not a 135 replacement. The KC-767 will allow the AF to buy more tankers and put more booms in the air. Also for crying out loud lets get some new airframes out there. Operating in aircraft manufactured in the 1950s and 1960s is ridiculous.

I don't think the E-10 though will see the light of day. The AF just doesn't have the money for the program. What I think we will see happen is the E-8 fleet get re-engined. The technology gained from the one E-10 platform will then get transferred to the JSTARS fleet. That being said, there seems to be a growing consensus of using the 737 platform as a replacment for the Rivet Joint and JSTARS. I personally think this is a great idea. The 737 is going to be used by several services and spare parts/training costs can be reduced. Also, within 15 years time, the airlines will start retiring old 737NGs. These airframes can be bought and used as spare parts ships etc.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:29 pm

Quoting CX747 (Reply 31):
there seems to be a growing consensus of using the 737 platform as a replacment for the Rivet Joint and JSTARS. I personally think this is a great idea. The 737 is going to be used by several services and spare parts/training costs can be reduced.

The Navy has committed to 108 P-8s, they are also looking at the 737 to replace their EP-3s. The Army may also persue the 737 as the platform of choice for their Common Sensor Program.
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 2:15 pm

Quoting CX747 (Reply 8):
've heard that they might possibly keep the line "warm" which means they give Boeing x amount of dollars to keep the lights on if additional airframes are needed. To me, it would just make more sense to roll out C-17s at the factory minimum requirement.

I agree once they close the line it is highly unlikely it will reopen. Plus if they close the C17 plant in LB there is no real reason for Boeing to keep LB site alive with the closure of the MD11, MD80/90 and 717. Only thing that I can think of would be left would be some small upgraded program that could easily be moved to Seattle or ST. LOUIS.

Am I wrong?
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:49 pm

I don't believe the USAF will be able to buy the KC-777, KC-767, or the KC-737. There simply isn't any money there. USAF always wanted 224 C-17s, but with the DOD cut off at 180 airplanes, that will be all they get (at least until situations on the budgets change). The KC-17 is out of the question, it is not going to happen, to many technical problems to over come making it a duel role airplane.

The E-10 (B-767-400) isn't going to happen, either. But a USAF B-737-Wedgetail is possible as the RAAF already did the R&D on it (I think Turkey also has a few on order). USAF will call it the EC-40. From there they might get a KC-40, but I doubt it.

USAF will settle on reactivating the KC-135Es and upgrading them to the KC-135R. That is a low cost and low risk option for them.

USAF needs fighters more than anything else. They will do what ever they need to to get more F-22s and F-35s.

DOD and USAF will try to keep the C-17 line open for FMS sales, and they can fund it that way. I would guess the RAF, RAAF, and JSDF will all get some of them, as well as the Iraqi Air Force.

So, for the next 15-20 years, the USAF will take a back seat to USN funding for the new DD(X), Virgina class SSN, CVN-21, and CG-21 programs.

I wouldn't worry to much about the Boeing Long Beach Plant closing. Boeing has a back order of some 1200 airplanes. They really need production capability. The LB plant will get some orders as the airlines want early production slots for their orders. LB will (probibly) begin building some B-737NGs, then go into the proposed Y-1 production in 2012.
 
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USAF336TFS
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:53 am

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 27):
My crystal ball says (for today at any rate):
--No more C-17's will be procured.
--KC-135E's will be re-worked and re-engined (gives the USAF Depots something to do as well)!
--IF (big If) a new build tanker is procured, it will be a limited buy of KC-767's, which will piss everyone off, but nowhere the triple figure procurement originally comtemplated.
--USAF 'circles the wagons' to protect the F-22 and, to a lessor extent, the F-35.

Lumberton, we may be using the same crystal ball, as I see it exactly the way you do. While I disagree with some of the assertions made that the C-17 is unreliable, (My friends at McGuire say just the opposite), I would agree ANY new aircraft would have it's growing pains. I would love to see the Air Force buy an additional 42 C-17s, although I do not think it will happen.
Unfortunately the Tanker discussion and this one can not be de-linked, as what the final decision on the C-17 is, will directly affect what/where/how the Tanker debate will ultimately wind up.
The writing is on the walls already, on this one, it seems to me...

180 C-17s, with the capability to restart production on the C-17B.

75 KC-767s initially with an eye towards a KC-777 in the 2018-2020 timeframe.

I do think that speed is critical. Deliveries of the tanker replacement need to happen sooner rather then later. And no, it will NOT be a split buy.
336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
 
Galaxy5007
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:08 am

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 35):
While I disagree with some of the assertions made that the C-17 is unreliable, (My friends at McGuire say just the opposite),

McGuire has 2004 model planesl they aren't even broken in yet! Ask about Charleston and McChord. It may have a high mission capable rate, but it doesn't cover up the mechanical issues the plane already has. It'll show its face eventually.

Most new planes are new for 5 years, then the wear and tear starts showing the weak spots. It'll happen sooner or later. I know some of the McGuire birds have already gone to depot once for mods that the fleet are getting.
 
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USAF336TFS
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:20 am

I agree with you, but please tell me what aircraft hasn't had technical issues?
My point is that overall, the Air Force, crews and maintence personnel love the aircraft.
336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
 
TSV
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 6:44 am

Quoting Echster (Reply 11):
Australia would like 4 of the C-17s but cannot afford them.

The Jury has hardly even started sitting on this one. Don't be surprised if we do eventually get some - stranger things have happened.
"I told you I was ill ..." Spike Milligan
 
Lumberton
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:27 am

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 27):
--IF (big If) a new build tanker is procured, it will be a limited buy of KC-767's, which will piss everyone off, but nowhere the triple figure procurement originally comtemplated.

Well, the political manuevering has commenced. Did you all see the article(s) today (here's one: HERE).
Which one, what kind, how many, etc. This may well prove irresistable to Congress--especially the California congressional delegation in an election year!
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
Dougloid
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:12 am

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 39):
Well, the political manuevering has commenced. Did you all see the article(s) today (here's one: HERE).
Which one, what kind, how many, etc. This may well prove irresistable to Congress--especially the California congressional delegation in an election year!

Interesting. This has all the earmarks of a stroke job.

Boeing's been deconstructing Long Beach since the takeover and all of a sudden they want to put a dedicated 767 tanker line in the C17 plant? First of all, it doesn't add up. Why would they set up a second assembly line for 100 airplanes, when they've got one already that isn't doing much?

The ill fated "LB737" project was a prime example of how well that's likely to go over north of the Columbia River where the IAM rules. If Boeing truly had any interest in keeping the plant going they would have done more with it over the last ten years than cook up Douglas Park.

http://www.douglaspark.org/

I hope that Senators Feinstein and Boxer and the representatives from the region aren't gulled by this clumsy effort to treat SoCal like a third world country to Boeing's United Fruit.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
Lumberton
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:57 am

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 40):
I hope that Senators Feinstein and Boxer and the representatives from the region aren't gulled by this clumsy effort to treat SoCal like a third world country to Boeing's United Fruit.

On the contrary, Dougloid, they're probably overjoyed at the prospect! Big grin
Politically, this is a brilliant move (IMO). The USAF will get new tankers, jobs will stay at Long Beach, the 767 line will stay open, and Feinstein and Boxer can crow that they made it happen! This certainly ups the ante considerably. There is a long way to go before this happens, but Boeing just went a long way towards co-opting the entire California congressional delegation and breathed some life into this program. Very astute move.
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
Dougloid
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:54 am

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 41):
On the contrary, Dougloid, they're probably overjoyed at the prospect!
Politically, this is a brilliant move (IMO). The USAF will get new tankers, jobs will stay at Long Beach, the 767 line will stay open, and Feinstein and Boxer can crow that they made it happen! This certainly ups the ante considerably. There is a long way to go before this happens, but Boeing just went a long way towards co-opting the entire California congressional delegation and breathed some life into this program. Very astute move.

The Bloomberg article in the PI is the only one to report this story so I wouldn't count the 767s just yet. I did a little research on the subject and they've got a backlog of 30 orders for the 767. They have four KC767s on the book for the Italian AF and some (don't know how many) for Japan. So the technology is there. The first Italian aircraft was outfitted with the tanker gear at Wichita and the rest are going to be done in Italy.

Bell also said that "We have no intentions of holding open the 767 line in anticipation of a contract" That was at the same conference.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
Lumberton
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:12 am

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 42):
so I wouldn't count the 767s just yet.

No argument from me on this. But...the whole tanker issue just took on another political dimmension which, I freely admit, took me by surprise. This is similar to then Navy Secretary John Lehman co-opting multiple congressional delegations back in the '80s by building bases in many states. You would have been hard pressed back then to find someone from a southern state, New York, or Washington (state) who didn't support the Navy. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I just checked my crystal ball and it is still telling me the same thing as it did in reply #27!  Wink
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
CX747
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:34 am

It's funny because I was wondering if Boeing was going to try and keep open the CA line for a possible tanker win. That would indeed go a long way in keeping the senators and congressmen from CA in Boeing's corner. I would make sure though that the tanker program is fully won etc before allowing the -17 line to close etc. This deal seems more palatable to me that just closing the C-17 line and beginning a paperwork study on the feasibility of a new tanker order. Concrete terms and a fly off with orders signed and aircraft on the ramps!!! Word it how you want, but make sure your future is secure before you close the -17 door.

I think that Boeing will "trade" C-17 production for a 767 tanker deal. If the US orders 200 tankers that is tremendous increase over 42 additional cargo aircraft. Also, if the KC-767 is the tanker of choice by the USAF then other airforces around the world will opt for it. While I'm sure the financial cost would be extreme, if I were Boeing I would say that ANY future tanker we build we be built in CA. To win this order, Boeing should be willing to open up a 767 line or a 777 line in CA. The political support for that program and cough likelihood of winning cough would increase dramatically. Everybody wins because the Air Force gets a superior platform, Boeing gets $$$ and every time the budget comes up, CA politicians aren't going to let their program come up short.

Now, with all of that being said, here is a quote from James McNerney, chairman and CEO of Boeing in this weeks AW&ST, "McNerney also maintained that Bush's proposal to end production of the Boeing built C-17 transport aircraft in 2008 might not be the final word. 'I don't think that's the end of the discussion,' he said. 'Congress is calling for more C-17s.'"

How about an add on order for 20 additional C-17s to keep the factory and line open until the KC-767 rolls out into the California sunshine. I'd also love to see a nice metal plack welded by the door of each tanker saying "Boeing CALIFORNIAN MADE KC-767".
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:46 am

As of now, there really isn't a need for any more C-17s; they can move around the globe fast enough, and the money would be better to go towards some replacements for other aircraft.
Guns don't shoot people; Dick Cheney does!
 
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:06 am

Quoting CX747 (Reply 44):
If the US orders 200 tankers that is tremendous increase over 42 additional cargo aircraft.

Not really considering they will be retiring about 100 KC-135s to make room for those new KC-767s, the air lift capability of the USAF is going down with the retirement of the C-141s and C-130E's. They are not being replaced on a one for one basis by C-17s and C-130J's.

The transformation of the Army from Heavy Divisions to new rapid response Modular Brigade Combat Teams mean they need more airlift, a C-17 can carry three Stryker Vehicles or a M1-A2 Tank. The KC-767, KC-777, KC-A330 etc cannot carry any vehicles.
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Dougloid
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RE: Will The Air Force Buy More Than 180 C-17s?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:40 pm

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 43):
You would have been hard pressed back then to find someone from a southern state, New York, or Washington (state) who didn't support the Navy. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I just checked my crystal ball and it is still telling me the same thing as it did in reply #27!

Just reread numero 27 and I concur. We have not seen the end of the KC135 just yet.

Too bad that the brain trust in Chicago was so quick to let Long Beach bleed out in the emergency room-coulda been a KC11 with no trouble at all, plenty of excess capacity, tried and tested package, got the work hours down to a manageable level, no airline customers to bother with...nope. They wanted to make sure that heavy jets do not get built anywhere in the US except at their say so, and that means north of Portland and west of Boise.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn

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