aislepathlight
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Next Usaf Tanker

Sun Jul 30, 2006 4:07 pm



Yes, I know that we have beaten this topic to death, but I wanted to see one thread, of all the opinions of what the next tanker will be. I will list most of the tanker options that we have discussed, with the base aircraft in parentheses, to prevent confusion.

  • KC30 (Base, A330)
  • KC340 (Base, A340)
  • KC380 (Base, A380)
  • KC135R (Re-engining of all of the Eairframes)
  • KC737NG (Base, 737 NG)
  • KC44 (Base, 748)
  • KC767 (Base, 767)
  • KC777 (Base, 777)
  • KC787 (Base, 787F)


I personally would love to see a fleet of KC787s (choice I), but I think that that is highly unlikely. I am guessing that we see a combination of D and H, which I am not opposed to, but would rather see KC787s. What do you guys think?
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Tancrede
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Sun Jul 30, 2006 6:41 pm

KC30, definitely.

I am surprise about KC340 and KC380. Were they ever considered?

[Edited 2006-07-30 11:43:00]
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Sun Jul 30, 2006 6:46 pm

Well, it might be easier to eliminate those airplanes that simply have no chance (at least at this point in time) of being selected.

I would eliminate B. KC-340, C. KC-380, and E. KC-737NG as none of these really have a chance, right now. Of course things could change, but I doubt it.

That leaves A. KC-30, D. KC-135R, F. KC-44, G. KC-767, H. KC-777, and I. KC-787.

Cost, rather than military significants, is going to be the deciding factor for Congress, I think. That means (lowest cost to highest) D., G., A., H., F., and I. Yes, I believe the KC-787 will have the highest developement costs.

Those same airplanes should have military tactical value, in a slightly changed order, the top airplanes being the KC-135R, KC-767, KC-30, KC-44, and KC-777.

But, my choice, as it has been all along is the re-engine the KC-135Es to KC-135Rs.
 
aislepathlight
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:59 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
Well, it might be easier to eliminate those airplanes that simply have no chance (at least at this point in time) of being selected.

I would eliminate B. KC-340, C. KC-380, and E. KC-737NG as none of these really have a chance, right now. Of course things could change, but I doubt it.

I agree with this. I was simpely bring to the table all of options that I have seen in the many threads.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):

But, my choice, as it has been all along is the re-engine the KC-135Es to KC-135Rs.

I would guess that is what they go with, but I can see another small is order of a larger tanker, heavier than even a KC10, to suppliment them with, as posted above. Could anyone else see another large tanker entering the USAF?
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RichPhitzwell
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:18 am

Not that I have any knowledge of such things, but...I have a hard time believing that the USA will purchase the Airbus options.

The ones I would go with would be limited to Lockheed and the following:

Quoting AislepathLight (Thread starter):
KC135R (Re-engining of all of the Eairframes)

KC737NG (Base, 737 NG)

KC44 (Base, 748)

KC767 (Base, 767)

KC777 (Base, 777)

KC787 (Base, 787F)
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texfly101
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:40 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
I would eliminate B. KC-340, C. KC-380, and E. KC-737NG as none of these really have a chance, right now. Of course things could change, but I doubt it.

Right on...most definitely. as always, KC135TopBoom's experience has the edge in this area.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
Yes, I believe the KC-787 will have the highest developement costs.

Right again, and the 787 is not a known aircraft, a really big risk which this contract will want to avoid since it is already way too heavy with baggage.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
But, my choice, as it has been all along is the re-engine the KC-135Es to KC-135Rs.

Always a very sound and logical choice. And again, experience showing. One of the all-time great aircraft with lot of legs left. Modern engine and flight deck and they don't need to go to DM. But they also need the new boom. But the airframe, control systems, and corrosion control is still and always will be old school maintenance heavy. But more importantly, the AF has already chosen for the 767 and as I said in the similiar thread going on right now, and past threads, the same Ops AF planners are still there, with the same views, and probably more importantly, a little pissed that they didn't get their aircraft when they wanted it. Generals, Colonels, and Majors aren't used to being dictated to by outsiders, they have wars to plan for and run. There just might be some some residual feelings about proving that they were right in the first place, which maybe they were...what brouhaha this will be. It might even make the B787/A350 thread invective seem minor when this one goes thru Congress. Make no mistake that this will be a very public, political decision that will be dictated by the senators in DC. But the Ops guys also have their ways of making things happen...so I say B767 and A330 mix. Just my opinion.
 
Confuscius
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:37 am

What if the KC-30 wins the tanker competition. Can Boeing accuse Airbus of double-dipping, meaning receiving government launch aid and US defense subsidies?

Hmmm...  scratchchin 
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TropicBird
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:19 am

I also believe that the USAF planners are still pushing the 767 which may backfire on them. Their are certain key members of congress whom will make the final decision, (not anybody in the Pentagon) and they may not be convinced (once again) that the 767 or A330 is needed. With money so tight the Pentagon struggled once before to make a business case for replacing the KC-135 with the KC-767 and they failed. The situation is now even less likely to happen if they push a "medium" sized aircraft.

They are now using the need to fly into "austere" airfields to justify the 767 in that it can operate from these airports with tight ramps and short runways. That may work until one of our "allies" decides to prevent us from using their austere airfields, then what?

However if a "large" category aircraft such as the 747-8 is promoted to work with the "medium" KC-135 they may have a chance. Because of its large fuel carrying capability, the 747 can overfly these forward airfields and still offload a large amount of fuel. This takes an element of political blackmail out of the picture and provides the Pentagon brass and planners with breathing space.


The way they help pay for this is by giving up on re-engining the C-5 ($11 billion saved) and retiring them and the KC-10 (that should get your attention). The money would be reallocated into more C-17's and a 747-8 tanker/cargo platform using some of the technology already developed.

This would make sense from both a cost and operational efficiency stance as it would provide the USAF with better flexibility in all areas of operation. Please keep in mind this will not happen overnight but will take up to 15 or more years to complete.
 
Galaxy5007
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:01 pm

Quoting TropicBird (Reply 7):
The way they help pay for this is by giving up on re-engining the C-5

They won't drop the C-5 modernization program, its too valuable. The B and C models at a minimum will be converted into Ms(along with the prototype A model). Depending on the solution to other C-5 problems will decide the fate of the A models.

Anyways, I doubt they will modernize the KC-135Es. Most of them have just as many hours as the Rs and they are hurting on airframe life. They aren't designed to last forever you know. With them looking at improvements for the R models, they still realize that the R models are getting old as well. Thats why they need a replacement and why they've needed a replacement for years. I still think the KC-767 has a good shot. I doubt the US will go with an airbus, the 737 isn't the size they want, the 747 is too big for what they want, and the 787 would take too long to get into service (especially with all the orders already made on the base aircraft). The 777 has a chance, but I would think they wouldn't pick that due to ramp space issues. the 777 by far is NOT a small aircraft. As much as we've talked about all these new planes, I wouldn't doubt them looking at some DC-10 conversions to increase the KC-10 fleet. The KC-10 has been a great tanker as well, and shouldn't be left out. However, the deal is to find a replacement for the 135, and I think that the KC-767 fits in the puzzle the best.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:44 pm

Quoting TropicBird (Reply 7):
The way they help pay for this is by giving up on re-engining the C-5 ($11 billion saved) and retiring them and the KC-10 (that should get your attention). The money would be reallocated into more C-17's and a 747-8 tanker/cargo platform using some of the technology already developed.

If the Congress ever decided to cancel the C-5M program, and retire the KC-10As, the money saved would be reallocated into some social program, not into buying new C-17As and KC-44As.

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 8):
Anyways, I doubt they will modernize the KC-135Es. Most of them have just as many hours as the Rs and they are hurting on airframe life. They aren't designed to last forever you know. With them looking at improvements for the R models, they still realize that the R models are getting old as well. Thats why they need a replacement and why they've needed a replacement for years. I still think the KC-767 has a good shot. I doubt the US will go with an airbus, the 737 isn't the size they want, the 747 is too big for what they want, and the 787 would take too long to get into service (especially with all the orders already made on the base aircraft). The 777 has a chance, but I would think they wouldn't pick that due to ramp space issues. the 777 by far is NOT a small aircraft. As much as we've talked about all these new planes, I wouldn't doubt them looking at some DC-10 conversions to increase the KC-10 fleet. The KC-10 has been a great tanker as well, and shouldn't be left out. However, the deal is to find a replacement for the 135, and I think that the KC-767 fits in the puzzle the best.

Well, to begin with, your premius the KC-135Es and some Rs are approaching the limit of their airframe life is wrong. The airframe is good for 80,000+ hours, and the high time KC-135 has just over 32,000 hours. So, the airframe is not limited, at least as far as flying hours and cycles go. Also, if the USAF was considering the KC-135R as getting to old (hours) why would they waste money with new improvements to it? Money is to tight in all of the USAF and DOD to do that. You don't waste money on an airplane that is about to retire when you need to buy more C-17s, F-22s and F-35s.

The KC-767 could be reborn, but I think USAF will call it something else. I believe they were originally going to call it a KC-34 or KC-35 before Boeing convinced them to call it the KC-767 for an attempt at increasing FMS. It may be a good airplane, but Congress is not convinced.

The KC-44 has an outside chance of getting a few airplanes into the USAF, because it has unique capabilities that none of these other airplanes bring to the table. Addidtionally, it is the only airplane in production (or almost in production) that can actually supplement both the C-5 and the C-17, other than it's B-747-400F/ERF brothers.
 
aislepathlight
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:57 pm

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 8):
As much as we've talked about all these new planes, I wouldn't doubt them looking at some DC-10 conversions to increase the KC-10 fleet. The KC-10 has been a great tanker as well, and shouldn't be left out.

How many -30s are around in the world today? Not that many. Most of them are in freight hands, where they will happily searve for a while. After all, that would mean

  • Finding suffient numbers
  • Buying them in large numbers
  • Rip everything out of the airframe
  • Adding a boom, extra fuel tanks, and other stuff need to make it a tanker.

I can't see it happening. I would see the purchace of some large aircraft to suppliment the KC135Rs (That I think that we will see) and KC10s. KC777s aren't big enough, so KC44s make the most sense. The airframe is amazingly capable, and it is used for freight around the world. Makes sense to me.
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VirginFlyer
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:19 pm

How much chance does the Lockheed box-wing aircraft stand? Could the USAF go for such a radical all new platform? Is the concept even being seriously pursued by Lockheed, or is it just there as a concept for the sake of a concept?

V/F
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aislepathlight
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:22 pm

Nahh, that probably won't happen. If you check out the older threads, you will notice that there are a couple main options, and the box wing is not one. The R & D on that would be a lot, and the option of re-engining KC135Es to Rs is very inexpenive (compaired with the box wing). Heck, developing the KC44 would be cheaper. The box would be cool, but I don't see it happening
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texfly101
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:12 am

Quoting Confuscius (Reply 6):
What if the KC-30 wins the tanker competition. Can Boeing accuse Airbus of double-dipping, meaning receiving government launch aid and US defense subsidies?

A KC-30 will not win a sole source contract for the USAF tanker.
 
Galaxy5007
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:07 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 9):
and the high time KC-135 has just over 32,000 hours

Thats where you are wrong. A while back, in the 80s if I'm not mistaken, when they were converted to E models, all the 135s had thier hours zeroed out during the mod, due to the extensive-ness of the mod. Alot of the 135s had 45-50K hours on them before the mod. So the 32K hours you state is more like 82K...and the AF knows this..which is why they are in such a big hurry to find a replacement!

Again, I don't think that the BIG plane concept is what the USAF wants, or needs for that matter. Thats why I still stick with the KC-767 concept.

I agree, finding the aircraft for more KC-10s would be difficult.
 
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:34 am

Quoting VirginFlyer (Reply 11):
How much chance does the Lockheed box-wing aircraft stand? Could the USAF go for such a radical all new platform? Is the concept even being seriously pursued by Lockheed, or is it just there as a concept for the sake of a concept?

V/F

To bad Lockheed did not work on this project more, it was also supposed to replace the C-141 starlifter.

Quoting AislepathLight (Thread starter):
KC135R (Re-engining of all of the E airframes)

In my opinion this would be a disadvantage to a KC-135E pilot if they re-engine the E airframes with the same CFM-56 that the R model has. I would think the lack of thrust reverser, would be a pain in the neck to E pilot.

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 4):
KC787 (Base, 787F)

The best choice if they wait for ten years.

Quoting AislepathLight (Thread starter):
KC777 (Base, 777)

The best choice today.

Quoting AislepathLight (Thread starter):
KC737NG (Base, 737 NG)

The worst choice for any country Air Force. A tanker should a large plane. The KC-135A was one of the largest plane built when it came out in the 50's.
 
ebj1248650
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:12 am

Quoting Confuscius (Reply 6):
What if the KC-30 wins the tanker competition. Can Boeing accuse Airbus of double-dipping, meaning receiving government launch aid and US defense subsidies?

This isn't beyond the realm of possibility as Northrop/Grumman is to be the company that would license produce the airplane. New jobs in Alabama and more work for the company. Keep in mind the government might go along with that if the price is right and considering the production run would keep Northrop/Grumman in the airplane production business.
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VirginFlyer
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:20 pm

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 15):
A tanker should a large plane.

Is that really the case? KC135TopBoom said he thought a KC-737 would make a good component of a mixed-type tanker fleet in another thread.

V/F
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kc135topboom
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:32 pm

Quoting VirginFlyer (Reply 11):
How much chance does the Lockheed box-wing aircraft stand? Could the USAF go for such a radical all new platform? Is the concept even being seriously pursued by Lockheed, or is it just there as a concept for the sake of a concept?

There actually is a tactical need for a stealth tanker, but that doesn't mean one will ever be bought.

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 14):
Thats where you are wrong. A while back, in the 80s if I'm not mistaken, when they were converted to E models, all the 135s had thier hours zeroed out during the mod, due to the extensive-ness of the mod. Alot of the 135s had 45-50K hours on them before the mod. So the 32K hours you state is more like 82K...and the AF knows this..which is why they are in such a big hurry to find a replacement!

I see you are a Crew Chief on the C-5. The next time you see a KC-135, check out the form 781 (or what ever the current form number is today, 781 goes back to my day). It will show the current hours on the airframe. Check as many 781s as you can for the type, and you will get a good feel for where the fleet is. Your C-5s have more hours on them than the KC-135 does.

Boeing offered, but USAF never accepted to "zero out the flying hours", as the number of cycles on the fuselarge would remain the same. I believe you are talking about the underwing skin replacement project completed on all -135s, in the late 1980s. It took some 12-13 years to complete all of the airframes, and that modification increased the time the airplane could fly from something around 50,000 hours to something around 80,000 hours. The reskin had to be completed before any of the -135s counld be reengined, with either engine.

You are correct, there were some -135s with 45,000-50,000 hours on them in the late '80s. But, none of them were KC-135s. They were EC-135Cs (Looking Glass airplanes) and RC-135s (ELINT but not the RC-135S Cobra Ball). The KC-135 fleet averaged just over 15,000-18,000 hours, with a few designated "lead the fleet airplanes" (for continued testing of the airframe life) that had over 25,000 hours, then. Today they are around 32,000 hours, mostly because the KC-135s were used to fill in for the C-141s when they had problems (a KC-135 is not a good replacement airplane for the C-141), and they no longer stand alert, like they did in SAC. The utilization rate today is a lot higher than when I was in.

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 15):
In my opinion this would be a disadvantage to a KC-135E pilot if they re-engine the E airframes with the same CFM-56 that the R model has. I would think the lack of thrust reverser, would be a pain in the neck to E pilot.

Not, really. There is difference training given to all crews who transistion from one model to another. There have been several units that have given up their KC-135Es for KC-135Rs, like the NHANG, TNANG, and NJANG.

Quoting VirginFlyer (Reply 17):
Quoting 747400sp (Reply 15):
A tanker should a large plane.

Is that really the case? KC135TopBoom said he thought a KC-737 would make a good component of a mixed-type tanker fleet in another thread.

I still think that a B-737-700ER would make a good tanker. If the USAF would ever consider a true "tactical tanker", the KC-737 would be a very good choice. But USAF tankers have to be used in a stratigic role, too. The KC-737 could not fill that role. So medimum sized airplanes, like the KC-135, KC-10, KC-30, and KC-767 are the real choices. If the USAF could afford a true mixed tanker force of small, medimum, and large tankers (lie they do with cargo and bomber aircraft), then the KC-737 would easily fit into that mix, as the small tanker.

The large tankers (B-777-200LRF, B-747-800F, and possibly an A-340-500) have a very good chance of entering the USAF tanker mix, much better than a KC-737 has. So I am being a realist here, by suggesting it will not be considered. My opinion for the medimum sized tanker, has always been the KC-135E reengined to the KC-135R.
 
Galaxy5007
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:44 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 18):

I'm not a crew chief....I'm a bubblechaser!

KC-135T 58-0050 was my shift chiefs plane back in the mid 80s. He has pictures of the plane before and after the mod that zeroed out his aircraft. When it left, it had 44,729.4 hours. When it came back it had 14.2 hours. Currently it has 18919.2 hours and is in PDM. So regardless of your accounts with the 135, I know that at a min. this plane was redone, and looking at the others, there ain't no way that they weren't done as well. Why would the USAF be so determined to get another tanker if the plane only had 32K hours on it, and it has a projected service life of 80K? Simple, they know about the zero out. They know that the life of the aircraft is nearing end. That is why they are so determined to get another tanker to replace the 135. They aren't doing it for giggles!

I can get the hours on our computer from any 135, 5, 17, 130(USAF based). Yes most have between 15K and 30K hours on them. But think about how much these aircraft have been used and abused since the 50s...there aint no way they don't have more hours. The C-5s don't have anywhere near as many hours. Comparing a C-5 to a 135 is night and day. The max time on the 5 is 24427 hours. Average being around 18K for As and 14K for the Bs. The 135 flys a heck of alot more than the C-5 does. Even though they have 362 135s in service, that doesn't warrant the low flying hours that are in the forms.
 
Galaxy5007
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:45 pm

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 19):
Even though they have 362 135s in service,

My mistake, 512 in service....
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Wed Aug 02, 2006 5:39 pm

I flew 58-0050 when I was at Plattsburgh AFB, NY in the early and mid 1970s. It was a partial KC-135Q then ( partial because it did not have the LORAN-C). If it went to Beale, they installed the rest of the Q equipment.

When SAC owned the KC-135s, they sat in alert status, just like the B-52s and FB-111s. The KC-135Qs at Beale AFB, CA did not sit alert, but Plattsburgh Qs did. We also rotated our Qs with theirs to average out the flying hours more evenly. The Q model did have slightly more flying time on them than the A models, but not near that much, maybe 2000-3000 hours.

When 0050 was converted to the KC-135T, I would be interested in knowing why the number of hours were changed, as only the engines and landing gear get changed (well Okay, so does the APU, and much of the hydraulic and electrical systems, water system eliminated, etc.). But, the flying hours were not "zeroed" when these airplanes had the undersurface of the wings reskinned. The wings and center wing box, as well as pumps, wiring, etc, is where the real wear and tear is on airplanes. Engines, yes, but they can easily be changed out, wings are a little harder to do.

Does your computer tell you the number of previous hours as well as current hours on these airplanes? It would seem to me that someone would want to track these hours, so they can total them up?
 
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par13del
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Wed Aug 02, 2006 9:01 pm

To KC135TopBoom, from a military perspective only, does the airforce believe that there is a need for a tactical and a strategic tanker?

I ask that because there are a lot of rumours, speculation going around and an awful lot of them focus on the strategic mission, dragging fighters, carrying cargo, personel and others. Is the number of training hours flown by the forces going up or down, if down, during peace time the value of a tactical tanker is not seen.

If the story of an airforce big wig flying a KC10 all the way up to front lines in the last Iraq war is true, it certainely did not help the case of tactical tankers. When supporting combat strikes, the cargo hold is not used, nor all the seats, that equates to extra weight which could have been used for more fuel.
 
texfly101
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:54 am

Quoting Par13del (Reply 22):
When supporting combat strikes, the cargo hold is not used, nor all the seats, that equates to extra weight which could have been used for more fuel.

Yes, and thats the basis of the internal dialogue going on right now in the USAF. It seems that everytime a new bird is proposed that the mission requirements become bloated thru scope creep and the final aircraft doesn't really do the designated job in the most efficient manner. Remember Col. Boyd's rant about what happened to the F-16. In the beginning, it was supposed to be a true energy dog fighter and with no other capabilities. As everyone tacked on things like ground attack etc, it became heavier and less manuverable to the point that he washed his hands of it and did the classic Boyd meltdown in the Pentagon. And he was right, IMO. To see the F-16 loaded up with iron for mud moving is a misuse of what should have been the greatest dogfighter the world has seen. But back to the point. The USAF Ops guys want a plane to give them the best tactical capability possible. They, not Boeing, determined that a re-worked 767 was the best. Remember that the 777 was available then as was the A300, A330 and the A340. Boeing would have been glad to sell the 777's as it was in the pits just like the 777. But the 767 gave the footprint, the volume, the systems and the changes that the USAF wanted. As I've always stated, the tanker 001 is not a civilian 767 with dark gray paint on it. Its not the same as the Italian and Japanese tankers. Its not a compromise, no matter what the pundits try to picture it as. Its a purpose built airplane to USAF specs. Its what they wanted at that time....and probably to some, still want. To try and pitch the 777 means that B will offer less airframes than A will offer with the A330. That won't fly as to get the same number of aircraft will mean a greater lump sum overall cost for a 777 tanker. Congress won't go for that. So this won't be a military decision, it will be a political one, fought between the Senators allied with NG and B with Senator McCain and Warner counting every proposed nickle. So again, I say a B767/A330 mixed buy is what will happen, IMO.
 
aislepathlight
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:13 am

Quoting Texfly101 (Reply 23):
But the 767 gave the footprint, the volume, the systems and the changes that the USAF wanted. As I've always stated, the tanker 001 is not a civilian 767 with dark gray paint on it. Its not the same as the Italian and Japanese tankers. Its not a compromise, no matter what the pundits try to picture it as. Its a purpose built airplane to USAF specs. Its what they wanted at that time....and probably to some, still want. To try and pitch the 777 means that B will offer less airframes than A will offer with the A330. That won't fly as to get the same number of aircraft will mean a greater lump sum overall cost for a 777 tanker. Congress won't go for that. So this won't be a military decision, it will be a political one, fought between the Senators allied with NG and B with Senator McCain and Warner counting every proposed nickle. So again, I say a B767/A330 mixed buy is what will happen, IMO.

I would disagree about some points in your argument. I can't see A330's entering US service, as it is one-uped by Boeing in so many ways. The 787 will be more efficient, the 777 is bigger (so is the KC44, and freight variants are already in production) , the KC737NG makes more sense as a tactical tanker (than the A330), and the KC767 is favored by the USAF... Just a couple reasons. Oh yeah, I forgot the fact that if you are talking price, the KC135 re-engining is cheapest. And it is already built to their specs. So what was your argument?

I would agree that the KC767 is more than a 767 with a boom, and it would be more purpose built than just an add-on. Also, you do have a point about the penny pinchers, but then you would argue that the KC135Rs are the best.
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Galaxy5007
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:27 pm

Quoting AislepathLight (Reply 24):
The 787 will be more efficient

Again, the USAF isn't going to wait around 10 years for the 787 to come out, get flight tested, and wait in line with all the other orders.... 787 is OUT!

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 21):
Does your computer tell you the number of previous hours as well as current hours on these airplanes?

No, the computer doesn't have the hours before mod. However, there is a military site through boeing and Tinker OO-ALC that has that information. I don't have access to it, but I know its there, and it has pre-mod hours and after mod hours. They did the same thing with the C-5As when they were re-winged, hours before and hours after, however, they weren't zeroed out. The hours are tracked seperatly though. Either way, I'm done arguing my point. The point is, as stated before, if the aircraft had 40-50K hours of airframe life still on them, why would the AF be in such a big hurry to get new ones. Common sense tells you that the hours WERE in fact zeroed out, and the USAF knows that the hours are actually nearing 80K. This is why they dropped the foot and said, uh, yeah...tankers...need replacing...NOW...not 10 years from now!

Saying the 787 is going to be a USAF tanker is like saying the 797 is going to be the new cargo jet to replace the C-5 next year. Come on now! Its plain and simple that it isn't going to happen.

Question, does Airbus have a plant in the US, or planning on building one? That is a big thing with the USAF, they'll want AB factory support in the US, especially when it comes to those gear down one time flights for extensive maintenance should an incident occur(which is why I think AB has a significantly lower chance in getting a bid).
 
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VirginFlyer
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:38 pm

Quoting AislepathLight (Thread starter):
KC787

A thought just occurred to me. How much of a reduction in radar cross section would there be for a conventionally configured aircraft built primarily of composites rather than aluminium?

V/F
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kc135topboom
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Thu Aug 03, 2006 4:47 pm

Quoting Par13del (Reply 22):
To KC135TopBoom, from a military perspective only, does the airforce believe that there is a need for a tactical and a strategic tanker?

I ask that because there are a lot of rumours, speculation going around and an awful lot of them focus on the strategic mission, dragging fighters, carrying cargo, personel and others. Is the number of training hours flown by the forces going up or down, if down, during peace time the value of a tactical tanker is not seen.

If the story of an airforce big wig flying a KC10 all the way up to front lines in the last Iraq war is true, it certainely did not help the case of tactical tankers. When supporting combat strikes, the cargo hold is not used, nor all the seats, that equates to extra weight which could have been used for more fuel.

Yes, a smaller tactical tanker does have an advantage, and mission. A smaller airplane can allow you to have more tankers in the combat area. It is all about the number of Booms available, not the number of large tankers. Spreading your smaller tankers out allows more targats to be hit at one time. It also allows more receivers to refuel at the same time, reducing the time needed to refuel. Putting a lot of fuel in fewer, larger tankers forces you to cycle your receivers through fewer Booms, slowing the refueling process, and allowing fewer targets hit simultaniously.

Tankers, by their very design will always be duel use airplanes, cargo/transport and tanker. On the strike tanker mission, there is no need to carry cargo. True, then the cargo compartment is not used. But, adding additional fuel tanks to the cargo compartment does not increase your refueling capability, as it is all still going through just one Boom.

Quoting Galaxy5007 (Reply 25):
No, the computer doesn't have the hours before mod. However, there is a military site through boeing and Tinker OO-ALC that has that information. I don't have access to it, but I know its there, and it has pre-mod hours and after mod hours. They did the same thing with the C-5As when they were re-winged, hours before and hours after, however, they weren't zeroed out. The hours are tracked seperatly though. Either way, I'm done arguing my point. The point is, as stated before, if the aircraft had 40-50K hours of airframe life still on them, why would the AF be in such a big hurry to get new ones. Common sense tells you that the hours WERE in fact zeroed out, and the USAF knows that the hours are actually nearing 80K. This is why they dropped the foot and said, uh, yeah...tankers...need replacing...NOW...not 10 years from now!

I'm going to Tinker next month, for the 50th birthday of the KC-135. I'll check into this. But, I'll say it one last time, the reengine or reskin modifications to the KC-135As did not zero out the flight hours. The wings were not changed, like they were on the C-5. The current flight time on each KC-135, is the actual total time on each airframe since it left the Boeing factory when it was built.

If this were not true, why is the USAF still looking at the possibility of flying the KC-135 into the 2040s? Why are the spending money on KC-135Rs to improve mission capability?

The USAF is in a hurray to get new airplanes of every type. Look at what they keep telling Congress. We want more C-17s, we want more F-22s, we want new tankers, we want more F-35s, and oh, BTW, we really don't need any more Preditors and Global Hawks.

Using the USAF's own numbers, look at what I said in the KC-X thread, reply #55. KC-X Tanker Project Approved (by 747400sp Jul 9 2006 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)#55

QUOTE SELECTED TEXT

KC135TopBoom From United States, joined Jan 2005, 2048 posts, RR: 12
Reply 55, posted Wed Aug 2 2006 08:00:30 UTC+2 and read 86 times:


Quoting AirRyan (Reply 46):
a KC-777 based on a 200LR or something, with the folding wings that Boeing has already designed; it would take up no more room than a KC-30.

Should the USAF ever buy a KC-777, it will not have the folding wing option. No airline has ever bourght the option on their B-777s. The folding system adds a considerable amount of weight, and reduces the main wing fuel tank size, thus reducing fuel capacity.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 50):
Why do you feel that way? This article says:

Quote:
Air Force officials told House lawmakers Tuesday night they want to proceed this year with expensive plans to replace its fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling tankers, despite a recent analysis that found the 1950s-era planes can fly for another quarter century.

I read the article, and still am not convinced we need to replace the KC-135 in the short term.

I might point our some things said by the USAF, in that artical, just don't make sense. First they say the KC-135s have no defenses. That is true, but there is nothing out there saying any new tanker would have defenses, either. If the USAF wanted to, they could have easily added defenses to the KC-135, or any other airplane. Then they say retiring 114 of the oldest models (KC-135E) would save $6.1B, enough to buy 50 new tankers. That puts the average price per new tanker at only $122M each. All of the proposals, except the KC-135E reengine option, has a per airplane price tag well above that $122M amount (called fly away price). Most are closer to $175M per new tanker. Finally the artical says maintaning all 531 KC-135s through FY 2040 would cost $46.8B. If we average out that $46.8B through the whole current KC-135 fleet, for the next 34 years (the expected life of the new tankers), it comes to only $88.1M per airplane, or $2.59M per KC-135, per year for 34 years. I think that shows the KC-135 to be a real bargan for the tax payer. $2.59M per KC-135 per year for 34 years? How many other airplanes are going to even come close to that amount? Even if the USAF doubles these numbers, the KC-135 is still the best and cheapest option. By contrast, using the USAF numbers above, and assuming they will buy 450 new tankers, at $122M each (USAF numbers, not true cost numbers), that is $549B, just to buy the new tankers. If we use the USAF KC-135 cost of $2.59 per airplane per year to maintane the new airplanes (very doubtful), that comes to $88.1M per airplane, or $396.45B for the maintenance costs (using USAF KC-135 maintenance costs amounts). That makes the total cost of the new tankers, NOT including operating costs, at $945.45B.

Can we just go ahead and call that $1T (Trillion) for a new fleet of 450 tankers?

Now, I might add the current costs to convert a KC-135E to a KC-135R is about $32M-$35M per airplane. That includes the cost of a complete "Phase" (the airlines call this a "D" check) of the airplane.





Saying the 787 is going to be a USAF tanker is like saying the 797 is going to be the new cargo jet to replace the C-5 next year. Come on now! Its plain and simple that it isn't going to happen.

You very well could be right. I agree with you on this. But, stranger things have happened in military procurement programs, so never say never.

Question, does Airbus have a plant in the US, or planning on building one? That is a big thing with the USAF, they'll want AB factory support in the US, especially when it comes to those gear down one time flights for extensive maintenance should an incident occur(which is why I think AB has a significantly lower chance in getting a bid).

As a matter of fact, Airbus has already selected the site for their KC-30 factory, should they get this contract. It is in Mobile, AL.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:49 pm

Regarding the need for new facilities should the KC30 be selected, I found the following article from globalsecurity.org on the KC767 to be interesting. Here's a quote:

Quote:
This leasing program also will require between $600 million and $1.2 billion in military construction funding to build new hangars, since existing hangars are too small for the new 767 aircraft.

So, this states that even if KC-767 is selected, there will need to be a lot of new construction, which seems to be counter to what others have said.
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AirRyan
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:51 pm

I don't think the ramp space argument against the KC-30 and even a 777 is all that legitimate of an argument. Folding wings on a 777 combined with the new 777 Freighter platform with the remote refueling apparatus Boeing designed for the KC-767 and the USAF has a great mix of modern technology and efficiecny as well as a great gap filler between the C-5 and C-17 cargo hauling fleet.

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HanginOut
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:16 am

Although I personally like the 767, the biggest problem facing it is its cargo carrying capability (or lack of capability). The fact that it cannot carry two LD containers side by side, like the A330, is IMO a serious problem.

I favour the 787 and don't think deliveries would be that much of a problem as any order would undoubtedly have Boeing opening another production line to satisfy the demand for the 787 by airlines and the USAF.

While the A330 is a great plane, I'm inclined to think that it won't be ordered because the politicians won't let it be ordered (even if the USAF wanted them, which they don't). Thus, I wouldn't be surprised if the 777F comes out as the compromise winner (satisfying no one, except for Boeing). The USAF could live with the 777F (even though its too big), Congress would love it (made in and by the USA) and the cargo/troop carrying capability would be fantastic!
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:02 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 27):
It is all about the number of Booms available, not the number of large tankers. Spreading your smaller tankers out allows more targats to be hit at one time. It also allows more receivers to refuel at the same time, reducing the time needed to refuel.

Absolutely! This gets me to thinking, will these new tankers be receiver-capable? At KGUS, we had the only receiver KC-135As, and back in the '80s, we supported a number of situations where our guys tanked off a KC-10, then refueled the fighters, expanding the off-load capability of the KC-10.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 29):
I don't think the ramp space argument against the KC-30 and even a 777 is all that legitimate of an argument. Folding wings on a 777 ...

I don't see them going for the folding wing option on a 777. It may help with ramp space, but it adds to the weight of the airframe, and that reduces fuel capacity...and it's all about how much gas can you get out the boom.
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747400sp
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:14 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 18):
The large tankers (B-777-200LRF, B-747-800F, and possibly an A-340-500) have a very good chance of entering the USAF tanker mix, much better than a KC-737 has.

Good! In my opinion the Boeing 737 should stay a short range airliner. It is Boeing cheap attempt to compete with the 1-11 and DC-9. Yes it a successful aircraft, but to me it will always be in the shadow of it bigger, faster, older sisters the 707 and 727. And less face it will never be a large plane.

PS: I will some what like the P-8 but that is because it a 737NG with 777-200LR, 300ER wing tips.
 
aislepathlight
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Sat Aug 05, 2006 7:14 am

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 32):

Good! In my opinion the Boeing 737 should stay a short range airliner. It is Boeing cheap attempt to compete with the 1-11 and DC-9. Yes it a successful aircraft, but to me it will always be in the shadow of it bigger, faster, older sisters the 707 and 727. And less face it will never be a large plane.

I don't know. If we see a very large stratigic tanker, such as the KC44, you wouldn't want them in a really dangerous situation. The KC737NG would make much more sense doing a smaller, tacticle roll, somewhat larger, but similar, role than the old KC130s. Another good thing about the KC737NGs is that they would have much smaller foot print, and other charecteristics that would let them be based at a much smaller or rough space than any other new tanker.

747400SP, What do you mean in your little bit about the the 737s? It makes no sense...
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Areopagus
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:09 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 18):
the underwing skin replacement project completed on all -135s, in the late 1980s

At an airshow a couple of years ago, I saw a number of circumferential metal bands around the fuselage of a KC-135 aft of the wing. Are they part of a lifetime extension mod?
 
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RE: Next Usaf Tanker

Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:36 am

Quoting Areopagus (Reply 34):
At an airshow a couple of years ago, I saw a number of circumferential metal bands around the fuselage of a KC-135 aft of the wing. Are they part of a lifetime extension mod?

No, that was completed in the 1960s. The "belly bands" were ment to strenghting the tail. One fell off a Castle bird, inflight, and that is why they bands were added.

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 31):
At KGUS, we had the only receiver KC-135As, and back in the '80s, we supported a number of situations where our guys tanked off a KC-10, then refueled the fighters, expanding the off-load capability of the KC-10.

Yes, they were officially called KC-135ARTs, for air refuelable tankers. They all became KC-135Rs quickly. I believe any new tanker will be air refuelable, The ARTs and KC-10 proved the value of an air refuelable tanker.

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