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kc135topboom
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Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:35 pm

Well, I know the USAF tanker replacement has been discussed a lot here. Some might be getting tired of talk of KC-135s, KC-30s, KC-767s, etc. Others bring up the new tankers being bought or leased by other Air Forces.

Here is the latest from the official word from USAF on 'replacement' of the KC-135s, according to military.com.

1. Buy a new aircraft, all the same type. The airplane must be commerically available and convertable to a tanker package. It must be multi-mission capable, refueling (both probe and drogue and boom type on the same mission), refuelable, troop transport, cargo missions, etc.

2. Upgrade exsisting KC-135Es to the KC-135R configuration.

Apparently, those are the only two options currently supported officially by the USAF.

http://www.military.com/features/0,1...0,90338,00.html?ESRC=airforce-a.nl
 
bennett123
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:26 pm

So the prererence is for new build.

I am not clear what he means by derivative, is it just a cargo B767/A330 with a boom or is it deeper than that?.

He also seems to be moving to a tanker with a significant cargo role.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:53 pm

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 1):
I am not clear what he means by derivative, is it just a cargo B767/A330 with a boom or is it deeper than that?.

A USAF tanker is much "deeper" than that. You might recall the KC-10A, which is a derivative of the DC-10-30F only uses external parts that are common to both types. While the DC-10-30F has below deck cargo holds, the KC-10 does not. It has below deck fuel tanks. A new derivative tanker would be similar, additional fuel tanks, no below deck holds, additional hydraulics and electrical systems, tanker external lighting systems, military avionics and navigation equipment, rendevous beacons, and an additional crew position (since all modern commerical aircraft being considered are two pilot cockpits, a Boom Operator position must be added).

Did you notice the artical and Generals stayed away from any spiecific type?
 
kaitak
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:59 am

I'd really be surprised if they got A330s; I don't think it would be politically acceptable, although the fact that Lockheed(?) is involved may make it more palatable. Much as I respect Boeing, I think it is important that a message is got across: you don't have this market all to yourself.

And then, having said that, I then go on to say (!) ... what about the C17? Production of this is due to end in 2008, much to the chagrin of the military? Wouldn't it make a pretty darn good tanker?

As far as the 767 is concerned, I don't see it as an option, since it's at the end of its production run. Surely it would make more sense to start with a new model - the 787. If you look back on the production of the 767, it has had very few military applications - I think there's one 767-400 which had a military application. (Yes, I know the Japanese and Italians have bought military 767s, but I'm talking about US service). It occurs to me that it would be best to have a completely new airframe - the 787 - on which future military applications could be based. Quite apart from the tankers, there are many other variations of the KC-135/707 currently in service which will need to be replaced - AWACS, E8As, RC135s, etc. etc.

And, they can also ensure that future large jet manufacturing is not confined to Seattle by creating a new production line - say at Long Beach.

Just my few cents worth (although in military dollars, that equates to around $14,000)  Wink
 
bennett123
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:59 am

Yes, that was very clear.

If they are looking at a requirement now then it means KC767 or KC330.

If the ability to carry a substancial cargo load is in the spec then perhaps the KC330 has a chance after all. My understanding is that this was an issue for the RAF/RAAF.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:17 am

Quoting Kaitak (Reply 3):
And, they can also ensure that future large jet manufacturing is not confined to Seattle by creating a new production line - say at Long Beach.

If Boeing wanted to do that they wouldn't be letting Long Beach and its product lines bleed to death.

Let's look at some basic business reality. When you have a business (like building heavy commercial jets) where the cost of entry is high and assembling the knowledge base is difficult, it makes business sense for a competitor to buy a going operation, even if the intent is to ultimately revamp it. The Long Beach plant was such a place. The production methods, for the most part were obsolete.

The McD-D Long Beach facility was on the block and it almost got sold to Taiwan, but they bailed. There was some talk about a hookup with Airbus but that was wishful thinking mostly.

So Boeing bought it. They're bent on eliminating any competitive center or knowledge and expertise ever setting up shop in the US by raising the price of admission beyond what anyone else is willing to pay. It's better business for them to let it slide into oblivion.

The meat packers do the same thing here in the central part of the US. They buy up productive capacity and idle it. When some locals start saying "Hey. We can do this too!" the large packers make noises like they're going to reopen whatever and that shuts them up. So the locals start up their plant from scratch, they're undercapitalized, and they go broke, like they did in Tama.

In fact this is a good business tactic, and one of my clients used it successfully in a special purpose industry.

Now....where would Airbus have been in the tanker wars TODAY if they'd actually bought enough of Long Beach to keep it going when they had the opportunity, maybe in cahoots with the Taiwanese or someone else like the Brazilians or Canadians?

Why, they'd be a shoo-in. We wouldn't be having this discussion and the KC11s would be rolling off the line.



The C17 isn't well suited to being a flying gas station. It is designed around bringing in an M1 Abrams into a 5000 foot dirt strip. In fact, the in flight refueling development on the KC767 is already in the can courtesy of Italy.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
474218
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 8:26 am

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 4):
If the ability to carry a substancial cargo load is in the spec then perhaps the KC330 has a chance after all. My understanding is that this was an issue for the RAF/RAAF.

The reason the RAF A330 tankers can carry alot of cargo is because they are not going to add any additional fuel tanks. It will off load fuel from its own fuel supply carried in the wings and wing box.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 8:40 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
Here is the latest from the official word from USAF on 'replacement' of the KC-135s, according to military.com.
1. Buy a new aircraft, all the same type. The airplane must be commerically available and convertable to a tanker package. It must be multi-mission capable, refueling (both probe and drogue and boom type on the same mission), refuelable, troop transport, cargo missions, etc.
2. Upgrade exsisting KC-135Es to the KC-135R configuration.

Good grief! Paralysis by analysis. This is going to go on forever.... No matter what the decision, it will be second guessed for years. I still stand by my earlier posts on this topic, the gist of which follows:

This deal will (surprise!) revolve around politics. If the USAF would adopt a "french" aircraft, there'd be political hell to pay on a par with the DPW ports deal. The only way the A330 would get the nod would be as a "quid pro quo" in a larger deal, like resolving the WTO standoff and renouncing subsidies. Even this would have to be sold very carefully.

At any rate, I can't see any decision before the congressional elections in Nov. After that, it'll be time for another study....
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
TropicBird
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:25 am

Based on my reading of this matter, the USAF is now leaning to a "large" aircraft for this program in order to fulfill their air cargo and other developing needs.

If a "large" aircraft is indeed selected by the USAF the only Airbus model that fits that bill is the A340 (according to the RAND AoA study which shoots down the A380 as too big) and I just read where Airbus is considering the A340-500 as a possible freighter (surprise, surprise).

Airbus had repeatedly pointed out their ability to mount the wing refueling pods on the outboard "vacant" engine pads on the A330 wing as a major selling point. They lose that option on the 340 which means probable major engineering work for the 340 to become a tanker candidate. Airbus had a superior plane in the A330 over the B767 (because of payload, offload etc.) but if large is in, that is now a moot point, which is not lost on some Boeing supporters in Congress who are now pushing a larger plane.

I believe this is one of the major reasons the B777 surfaced as a candidate after the A330 came roaring into the picture. A study commissioned by Airbus in June last year pointed out that their larger A330 beat out the B767 in almost all aspects of the air tanker operation so in some ways this study may have helped Boeing and their supporters in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill move to a larger plane.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:31 am

Quoting TropicBird (Reply 8):
and I just read where Airbus is considering the A340-500 as a possible freighter (surprise, surprise).

Haven't heard of that. Do you have a link?
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
TropicBird
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 10:03 am

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 9):
Quoting TropicBird (Reply 8):
and I just read where Airbus is considering the A340-500 as a possible freighter (surprise, surprise).

Haven't heard of that. Do you have a link?

You can find the actual quote in the March 13, 2006 issue of Aviation Week, page 49 top left column. The article is titled "Changing Times" and starts on page 48. The money quote is below and appears to come from Noel Forgeard, the co-CEO of EADS.

"The A300 has been the backbone of Airbus's cargo offering. The A330-200 is slated to take that place, both in terms of new aircraft, and eventually, conversions. Airbus also may offer a cargo version of the A340-500."


I think it is fair to say that they will make a A340-500 cargo version if they need to for the Air Tanker competition.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 8:40 pm

If Airbus were to offer an A-340-500F, it would only be for the tanker program. I cannot think of a freight company (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.) that would go for that type of airplane. Airbus has begun the A-330-200F program, which will take any sales from it's 4 engine brother of the same lenght. For heavy lift, Airbus offers the A-380-800F. The A-340-500F would not be a competitor to any of the Boeing freighter offerings, B-767-300ERF, B-747-400F/ERF, B-747-800F, or the B-777-200LRF.

If the USAF really wants a large tanker to replace the KC-135Es, and later the KC-135Rs, Boeing may have the inside track with a tanker version of the B-747-800F and B-777-200LRF. You may have noticed, Boeing has not mentioned a B-787-800F/900F publicly, and has only talked about a tanker B-787 when asked by the USAF.

But, Congress, being what they are will not directly address the issue of buying a French built airplane vs. an American built airplane as the new tanker. They already have a way out, as offered by the USAF that gives them jobs for US workers and trade with France. It is also the cheapest option and they can then claim they held down the defict. I believe that Congress will direct the USAF to upgrade the KC-135s with CFM-56 engines, which is partially made in France.

This is a compromise that Congress can easily swallow. They also get to pass the bigger issue of a new tanker to a future Congress (something they love to do). When the time comes to decide on a replacement for the KC-135, chances are the A-330, A-340, B-747, B-777 and B787 will all be out of production.

USAF handed the Congress a way out of the decission making process, and I expect they will jump at the oppertunity.
 
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zeke
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:24 pm

If the 330/340 was offered it would be for a family replacement with the 330 being offered to replace the KC135 with 110,000+ lbs of fuel, and the 345 being offered to replace the KC10 with 220,000+ lbs of fuel, each providing about an extra 22,000 lbs above the current USAF aircraft. The 330/345 has have similar tarmac footprints. The A310 MRTT could deliver the same capacity as the KC135.

The 330/340 would offer commonality for crews between mission types and payloads. Fuel plumbing already exist outside the outboard engine for fuel dumping on the 340.

The MRTT being offered to China is not like the RAAF one, its almost like a cargo version of the A330, no windows, whereas the RAAF one is a general transport with tanker capability. India is also looking at the 310/330 and Russian equivalents.

The 310 is flying now with a variable drag drogue that allows different receiver platforms to be refuelled at different speeds in a single mission, its been ordered by the German and Canadian Forces, understand three of these and a boom will be available on the 330/340. The RAAF should have its first aircraft online next year in this configuration.
We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:30 pm

I read something interesting about the KC-30 that makes an interesting point. The A330, as we all know, shares the same wing with the A340. The 330 already has the hardpoints engineered into the wing for the outer engines which on the KC-30 could be used for two additional boom refuelers. I have no idea if this would be beneficial because of wingtip clearance issues with two aircraft refueling at the same time, but if it works it definitely would give an edge over any other platform.  twocents 

Quoting Kaitak (Reply 3):
As far as the 767 is concerned, I don't see it as an option, since it's at the end of its production run.

True, but keep in mind that the last 707's ever made went to the military.
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:41 am

A follow up to my post.... the distance between the outer engines on the A-342/3 is 128 ft. This could be the location for the booms on the wings. The largest wingspan for a fighter bomber I could find was just under 45 ft. for the F-22.

Now, half of that wingspan can be taken out of the equation since it would be outboard of the hard-point. So, rounded up, would be about 50 ft. out of the 128 ft. between hard-points. That gives well over 70 ft. between wingtips if there were two F-22's in their respective positions. That's a pretty comfy margin. If this is a viable option, this would give the KC-30 a huge edge from a capability standpoint.
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
atmx2000
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:42 am

Quoting Boeing Nut (Reply 13):
The 330 already has the hardpoints engineered into the wing for the outer engines which on the KC-30 could be used for two additional boom refuelers.

I thought it would only be suitable for probe and drogue. And wouldn't being so close to the engine exhaust be a problem?
ConcordeBoy is a twin supremacist!! He supports quadicide!!
 
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zeke
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Sat Mar 18, 2006 1:16 am

Quoting Boeing Nut (Reply 13):
The A330, as we all know, shares the same wing with the A340.

The 345 actually has a different wing, 330 wing has 90% structural commonality with the 342/343, not so with the 345/346. A340-500 wing span 208ft 11in, area 4704sq ft, A330 wing span 197ft 10in, area 3908sq ft.

The 330/340 boom is remote controlled 8,000 lb/min system using a new fly-by-wire design and hose/drogue include a 4250 lb/min centreline drum unit and 2,800 lb/min wing pods.
We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Sat Mar 18, 2006 1:48 am

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 15):
I thought it would only be suitable for probe and drogue.

The article I read was in the latest Aviation Leak and they specifically mentioned using booms. Not that they wouldn't use probes or drouges.

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 15):
And wouldn't being so close to the engine exhaust be a problem?

No different than current refuelers. The distances between engine and boom is actually greater on the KC-30 than it is on the KC-135's and KC-10's . 34' 7" to 26' 9" and 26' 10" respectively. (man, I hope I did the math right)  Smile Wing dihedral may be the actual issue, however.

Wingtip vortices may be another matter, but as with all other booms, they are controllable and can be lowered out of harms way.

Quoting Zeke (Reply 16):

Yea, I tripped up on that one I have to admit. Then I remembered that it's the A342/3 wing versus the A345 and that's when I made the follow up post.

Regards
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:02 am

Quoting Zeke (Reply 16):
The 345 actually has a different wing, 330 wing has 90% structural commonality with the 342/343, not so with the 345/346. A340-500 wing span 208ft 11in, area 4704sq ft, A330 wing span 197ft 10in, area 3908sq ft.

The A-340-500/600 and A-340-200/300 have the same wing, the -500/600 have a 1.5M wingtip extension on each side, and beefier engine struts attachment points (which they used from the A-330-200/300). But Airbus did not design a new wing for the longer ranged versions of the A-340. So this wing is still relitively common with the A-330-200.

A wing hard point will need to be designed for any version of the A-340 for the underwing refueling pods. But, that is not very difficult, or expensive. The wing will be heavier than it's commerical sister. This would be true for just about any airplane selected, except (maybe) the A-330.

Quoting Zeke (Reply 16):
The 330/340 boom is remote controlled 8,000 lb/min system using a new fly-by-wire design and hose/drogue include a 4250 lb/min centreline drum unit and 2,800 lb/min wing pods.

Impressive numbers, I am assuming these are the maximum fuel transfer rates.

Quoting Boeing Nut (Reply 13):
The 330 already has the hardpoints engineered into the wing for the outer engines which on the KC-30 could be used for two additional boom refuelers.

Well, we don't know that yet. The hardpoints you are talking about were designed for the outboard engines, not refueling pods, or anything else. Remember, the stress applied by an engine on the wing attachment points is applied in a foreward direction (pulling the airplane with thrust), not in a rear direction (drag). It does have some limited strenght in a drag direction for an engine out condition. These points will need, at a minimum, to be checked to confirm the required strenght and direction. It may be found they need a minimual amount of beefing up, or it may not need anything. We just don't know at this point. I'm sure that Airbus has already completed the required calculations and made what ever strenghting needed for the RAF and RAAF tankers.
 
CX747
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:56 pm

A reader of Aviation Week and Space Technology made some very interesting points in a letter to the editor last week.

"What is the better tanker for the Air Force? Analyzing all of the statistics and Boeing and Northrop Grumman websites, the KC-30 is not even close to the Boeing 777LR or KC-10. It is only marginally better than the KC-135R and KC-767.

KC-135R: Payload 183,000lb. or 31,000 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-10: Payload 348,973lb. or 51,319 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-30: Payload 212,500lb. or 37,000 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-767: Payload 166,600lb. or 31,000 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-777LR: Payload 422,900lb. or 62,191 gal. of Jet a fuel

The normal payload is 47,500 gal of fuel plus, 100,000lb of troops and equipment. The 777 has more pallet capability than the A330."

These numbers are amazing to say the least. While the AF has stated that this aircraft is to replace the KC-135E, it seems that they want to "grow" the aircraft and its capabilities. In my opinion, a mix of 777 and smaller 767 aircraft would be perfect. The 767 would be more of a direct 135E replacement while a smaller number of purchased 777s would decrease the workload of the KC-10s. Would it be possible to have a common cockpit between the 767 and 777? Finding the perfect number of 767s and 777s would increase the number of booms in the air and the overall quantity of fuel. 25 777s and 75 767s would allow for more inter-theater operations along with drags. Having the majority of civilian customers move on to the 787 is a plus. The 767 line will be able to meet the direct needs of the AF. The 777 at that time will also be facing growing competition from its own little brother the 787 and the A350. The 777-200LR has sold several airframes, but there should be more than enough production room to meet the demands of the Air Force.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
sonic67
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:30 pm

After spending 1 billion dollars in R/D on 767 USAF now considering the 777.
Seems like the KC-30 and the 777 seem more capable to do the job but maybe they are over kill.

http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles...oeing+faces+777+tanker+dilemma.htm
 
CX747
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:50 pm

In my opinion, the KC-30 by itself is overkill. They are more expensive to purchase than the KC-767 and take up more room on the ramp. They offload more fuel, but not by much. Having a majority of 767s with a few 777s makes more sense. You get more booms and also have an increase in capacity when needed.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
bennett123
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:22 pm

CX747

A reader of Aviation Week and Space Technology made some very interesting points in a letter to the editor last week.

"What is the better tanker for the Air Force? Analyzing all of the statistics and Boeing and Northrop Grumman websites, the KC-30 is not even close to the Boeing 777LR or KC-10. It is only marginally better than the KC-135R and KC-767.

KC-135R: Payload 183,000lb. or 31,000 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-10: Payload 348,973lb. or 51,319 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-30: Payload 212,500lb. or 37,000 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-767: Payload 166,600lb. or 31,000 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-777LR: Payload 422,900lb. or 62,191 gal. of Jet a fuel

You seem to be somewhat confused here.

Firstly you say that the capacity of the KC30 is only marginally greater than the KC135R or KC767 (nearly 20%), you then go on to say that the KC30 is smaller than the KC10/KC777LR. So is the issue that the KC30 is too small or too big. Besides there are no more KC10's on offer.

Finally, you then suggest a mix of KC767's and KC777LR's. Surely the KC777LR is the biggest of all. Is ramp space really the issue or is it a case of deciding that the KC30 will not be selected and THEN finding a reason.
 
CX747
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:52 am

Again, these are just my opinions and I'm sure the AF knows what it needs better than I do.

The KC-30 by itself is overkill. Ordering 100 KC-30s is too much. The amount of capacity they offer is not needed on every mission, and they take up a larger amount of ramp space than the competing KC-767. Ordering 100 KC-767s allows you to have modest growth over the KC-135E. The 767 also takes up less ramp space so more booms can be put in theater.

Putting together an order for 75-80 KC-767s WITH 20-25 KC-777s is in my opinion a better solution. The KC-767s can be kept in theater and do their thing. For missions that do need more capacity, the smaller fleet of 777s would be put to use. What the Air Force needs is a medium sized tanker. The A330 is a larger tanker than the 767. The AF needs more booms in theater and having 4 KC-767s in place is better than 3 KC-30s. While the fuel offload of a -30 is greater, with 4 aircraft I can cover 25% more missions etc. Ordering the 330 and 777 would be too much capacity. Ordering the 767 and 330 might be right but the growth of the 330 over the 767 is not as great as the difference between the 777 and 767.

What the 767 & 777 combo allows is for the crucial need of a medium sized tanker to be filled. It also allows for a smaller fleet of larger tankers to take on the few missions were the 767 doesn't fit the bill. What I would rather see is a fleet of 100 KC-737s and 20 KC-777s. Purchasing the cheaper 737 allows for drastically more booms to be placed in theater. I don't think thats going to happen though. In reality I think think that the KC-767 will be purchased. 1 for 1 replacement of the KC-135Es and the KC-10 fleet will soldier on.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
AirRyan
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:48 am

Here's a crazy idea - how about the USAF buying Super Hornets a la grande?

We'll start with F/A-18E's to replace all the F-15C's that the F-22A numbers simply won't allow, and these aircraft can also serve as tankers themselves as the USN has done? This could alleviate the need that some have for a smaller tanker and free up the buy for the KC-767 and more C-17's. Just send the bill over to Iraq so they can begin paying for the debt and we may even cut them in on some Super Hornets like what has been proposed for Bulgaria. No way Kuwait lets Iraq buy Super Hornets without them buying some as well, and the next thing you know there are all these Super Hornets orders and their prices begin to become more palatable.  Smile

Also, the USAF can buy some late-model F/A-18F's that come with the extra 55lbs of wiring which permits them to go "Growler" with a few minor additions, giving the USAF their frist EAW aircraft since they prematurely axed their EF-111's!
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:03 am

Quoting CX747 (Reply 19):
Would it be possible to have a common cockpit between the 767 and 777?

It is very possible since the 767-400 and 777 series have virtually identical cockpits. Cockpit commonality was one angle I had not thought of.

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 22):
Surely the KC777LR is the biggest of all. Is ramp space really the issue

Ah yes, but the $64,000 question is if the USAF is studying the folding wing concept at all which would cut the wingspan down to the same size of the KC-767.  scratchchin 
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
CX747
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:57 am

I forgot about the folding wing option. I'm know that it adds weight to the airframe, but it does shrink its footprint. I think a common cockpit between the tankers would be ideal. Crews could jump from one tanker to another and one type of mission to another. I don't know what this would do to maintenance costs, but could we have mixed squadrons? Say 9 KC-767s and 3 KC-777-200LRs?

AirRyan, you have got to be the SMARTEST Marine I have ever met. Are you sure you weren't in the Air Force? All kidding aside, that idea is great. There is no way that 180 F-22As make up for 700+ F-15Cs. I don't care how great the airframe is, and how much it is capable of doing. In a real shooting war technology AND numbers wins. The AF should buy a lightened version of the F/A-18E and F. Growlers should also be purchased as my future service needs to get back into the electronic warfare game. A perfect mix would be a squadron of 12 EA-18Gs and 12 F/A-18Es. A blend of jammers and shooters. One issue though is the fact that the AF uses booms to refuel. The AF Hornets could be used as tankers but only to other AF Hornets along with Navy and Marine Corp aircraft.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
atmx2000
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:05 am

Quoting CX747 (Reply 23):
What the 767 & 777 combo allows is for the crucial need of a medium sized tanker to be filled. It also allows for a smaller fleet of larger tankers to take on the few missions were the 767 doesn't fit the bill. What I would rather see is a fleet of 100 KC-737s and 20 KC-777s. Purchasing the cheaper 737 allows for drastically more booms to be placed in theater. I don't think thats going to happen though. In reality I think think that the KC-767 will be purchased. 1 for 1 replacement of the KC-135Es and the KC-10 fleet will soldier on.

I think you are forgetting about the cargo mission. The Air Force wants a tanker that has good pallet/container cargo capabilities so they don't need to order more specialized (and expensive) military transports and abuse them in rather mundane tasks necessary for supporting the US militaries far flung bases. It is the required cargo capability that is going to determine what is the most suitable tanker. Since the AF is not going to buy as many C-17s as once suggested, the cargo capacity of the not ordered C-17s will have to be made up. It's going to be hard to make that up with 737s. 762s and A332s can support more 463L pallets, but they still don't have a main deck volume comparable to that of the C-17 cargo hold. And of course max payload is less. The 772 would offer cargo volume closer to that of the C-17, more floor area for pallets, higher payload weights, and much greater range at similar payloads.
ConcordeBoy is a twin supremacist!! He supports quadicide!!
 
AirRyan
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:19 pm

Quoting CX747 (Reply 26):
AirRyan, you have got to be the SMARTEST Marine I have ever met. Are you sure you weren't in the Air Force? All kidding aside, that idea is great. There is no way that 180 F-22As make up for 700+ F-15Cs. I don't care how great the airframe is, and how much it is capable of doing. In a real shooting war technology AND numbers wins. The AF should buy a lightened version of the F/A-18E and F. Growlers should also be purchased as my future service needs to get back into the electronic warfare game. A perfect mix would be a squadron of 12 EA-18Gs and 12 F/A-18Es. A blend of jammers and shooters. One issue though is the fact that the AF uses booms to refuel. The AF Hornets could be used as tankers but only to other AF Hornets along with Navy and Marine Corp aircraft.

What are you talking about, Marines are world reknown for thinking outside of the box!  Smile

I know at first glance it sounds far fetched but when you consider that an F/A-18E is basically a modern F-15C but with a significant added A/G capability at the expense of the sheer top-end performance that really with the F-22 and modern AAM's you can live without, it seems like a logical if not plausible alternative. The USAF is definately going to need something to fill the gap on all the F-15's that won't be able to be replaced by the F-22's. The F-22's are mandatory but it would be impossible to buy them in the numbers nesceassary to replace all of the F-15's.

If Boeing could just get the DOD to approve funds for the improved reliabitliy and thrust version of the F414 that GE has all ready designed and ready to go, sling AIM-9X and the latest versions of the AMRAAM C-6/7 with an even longer range, it's really not all that far fetched as one might initially think if one can just get over the whole Air Force/Navy thing.

I think the issue of boom/drogue chute would be minimal since if I'm not mistaken don't all of the KC-10's already have both refueling types and especially once the future tankers (KC-767) arrive every one of them will have both types. USMC KC-130's would be able to serve these aircraft, as well. With the money saved by just using Super Hornet tankers as needed as well as buying what Boeing has already developed in the KC-767, the money saved could be used to buy more C-17's for the cargo capacity

You know, the USN has already given the affectionate knickname "Rhino" to the Super Hornet, a name that used to be referred to the F-4 Phantom; perhaps another McDD originated platform can make it back into the three services? (Imagine the costs going way down on the Super Hornet!)
 
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:15 pm

I concur, it would be interesting if the 2nd aircraft to be called "Rhino" actually got into the Air Force. The idea really makes sense, but I don't know where the funding is going to come from. After the F-22, the F-35 is going to take over the budget. Right now the AF is looking at ways to increase the F-22 buy. It seems they are going to buy 200+ and stop in 2012.

By using the F/A-18E/Fs as tankers one could see the amount of money need for new KC-XXs decrease. Take the funds from those birds and push it into Super Hornets. All in all though, the probability of the AF taking a Navy bird is very low.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:26 pm

Quoting CX747 (Reply 19):
KC-135R: Payload 183,000lb. or 31,000 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-10: Payload 348,973lb. or 51,319 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-30: Payload 212,500lb. or 37,000 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-767: Payload 166,600lb. or 31,000 gal. of Jet A fuel.

KC-777LR: Payload 422,900lb. or 62,191 gal. of Jet a fuel

You are talking two completely different missions here, that none of these airplanes can perform at the same time. One figure is maximum cargo, mimimum fuel, the other is maximum fuel offload capability, when take off is at full fuel tanks.

The idea the USAF has is to move receiver airplanes (fuel offload) and cargo (squadron equipment/troops) on the same mission. Much like the KC-10 does today, but do it more effecently than the KC-10 does. That really means a heavier airplane.

But, like I said in this post:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 11):
If Airbus were to offer an A-340-500F, it would only be for the tanker program. I cannot think of a freight company (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.) that would go for that type of airplane. Airbus has begun the A-330-200F program, which will take any sales from it's 4 engine brother of the same lenght. For heavy lift, Airbus offers the A-380-800F. The A-340-500F would not be a competitor to any of the Boeing freighter offerings, B-767-300ERF, B-747-400F/ERF, B-747-800F, or the B-777-200LRF.

If the USAF really wants a large tanker to replace the KC-135Es, and later the KC-135Rs, Boeing may have the inside track with a tanker version of the B-747-800F and B-777-200LRF. You may have noticed, Boeing has not mentioned a B-787-800F/900F publicly, and has only talked about a tanker B-787 when asked by the USAF.

But, Congress, being what they are will not directly address the issue of buying a French built airplane vs. an American built airplane as the new tanker. They already have a way out, as offered by the USAF that gives them jobs for US workers and trade with France. It is also the cheapest option and they can then claim they held down the defict. I believe that Congress will direct the USAF to upgrade the KC-135s with CFM-56 engines, which is partially made in France.

This is a compromise that Congress can easily swallow. They also get to pass the bigger issue of a new tanker to a future Congress (something they love to do). When the time comes to decide on a replacement for the KC-135, chances are the A-330, A-340, B-747, B-777 and B787 will all be out of production.

USAF handed the Congress a way out of the decission making process, and I expect they will jump at the oppertunity

I think Congress will decide to re-engine the KC-135Es.
 
aislepathlight
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:17 pm

KC135TopBoom has it right.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 30):

I think Congress will decide to re-engine the KC-135Es.

This could change depending how the elections go this fall, but we have a while before we need to worry about that. Congress is getting cheap, and the KC-135, while old, are proven to work well. How much they will sink into them and what that will get is another story, but it probably will happen this way. How many will they upgrade and how many fall by the wayside is up in the air. The only problem is when fatigue will start making the airframes fall apart, as they are from circa 40 years ago. Also, spare parts and work will get increasingly more expensive.
bleepbloop
 
Contact_tower
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:59 am

 
AirRyan
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:38 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 30):
I think Congress will decide to re-engine the KC-135Es.

That would be sheer irresponsibility of taxpayers funds!
 
aislepathlight
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:41 pm

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 33):
That would be sheer irresponsibility of taxpayers funds!

But it is our Congress...
bleepbloop
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:07 pm

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 33):
That would be sheer irresponsibility of taxpayers funds!

When did Congress ever let responsibilities to the tax payers ever get in their way?  Angry

Quoting AislepathLight (Reply 34):
But it is our Congress...

Yeah, it is. Don't ya just love 'em?  cloudnine 
 
aislepathlight
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:53 pm

Depending on how the elections that happen this fall, I could love  banghead  them even more.

TopBoom, do you think that Congress will leave us with the KC-135s for another 40 years, like they have have all ready? We might just see that.
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kc135topboom
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RE: Another Usaf New Tanker Thread.....

Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:57 am

Quoting AislepathLight (Reply 36):
Depending on how the elections that happen this fall, I could love them even more.

LOL

Quoting AislepathLight (Reply 36):
TopBoom, do you think that Congress will leave us with the KC-135s for another 40 years, like they have have all ready? We might just see that.

The "honorable and estemed" members of Congress have to spend their time on many more higher priority issues for the nation than the less important issues involving national defense. Like making sure they get re-elected to their seats.  Yeah sure

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