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kc135topboom
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The Cost Of Air Refueling

Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:17 am

With all the talk about the capabilities of the KC-30 vs. the KC-767, no one has yet mentioned just what the real costs of air refueling is. The reason the USAF is interested in reusing the KC-135 infastructure is so they don't have additional costs associated with buying a new airframe.

Using the KC-135R as an example, it costs the USAF $25 for each US gallon of JP-8 delivered to the receiver aircraft. That is an average figuer based on a 2.5 hour tanker mission offloading 100,000lbs of fuel, at a distance of 500nm. The cost for each gallon delivered from a KC-10A flying the same mission is $34. Both the KC-767 and KC-30 will have a cost of more than $50 per US gallon of JP-8 as these airplanes have not been paid off yet. You can expect the costs for the KC-767 to drop into the mid $30 to low $40 range and the KC-30 to be about $3-$5 more after these airplanes are paid off.
 
KevinSmith
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:02 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
KC135TopBoom

Good Stuff. Did not know any of that before.


What besides airframe cost, MX, etc drives up the cost so much?

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
The cost for each gallon delivered from a KC-10A flying the same mission is $34

Why is the 10 higher?
Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings.
 
TedTAce
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:33 am

So I guess that means that another consideration (that will not really be considered) will be durability. Great, some pencil pushing accountant in Washington is going to take the short view; figure out which will be paid for first and forget that the effers have to fly LONG after they are paid for. Let's not forget the EXTREMELY short sighted press corp. and the shorter sighted constituents.  Yeah sure

I don't know which will be a better strategic decision based on real world facts, but the fact the 'original' 135 airframes are still doing the job today leads me to believe that Boeing knows a little something more then Airbus about being built to last. I'd be ashamed as an American to think that we'd need to go outside for ANYTHING related to our defense, but if that's PROVEN to be the fact, so be it.
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kc135topboom
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:54 am

Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 1):
What besides airframe cost, MX, etc drives up the cost so much?

The cost, and training of the crew, the fuel, and the infastructure needed to support the airplane (Supply, CE, Transportation SQs, Security Police, etc.), as well as the fuel the tanker comsumes.

Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 1):
Why is the 10 higher?

The KC-10 costs more to operate on short missions (because it is a heavier airplane), and it's parts (engines, etc.) cost more. Additionally, the KC-10 has a 4 man crew to the Pacer Craig KC-135R 3 man crew. USAF airplanes are usually considered "paid off" at 20 years old. Only a few of the KC-10s are still younger than 20 (the 1988 and 1989 airplanes), so I just consider the whole fleet paid for.
 
Ttailfe
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:07 am

It may cost a few more bucks for the 10, but what you can do with one 10 you would need 2-3 135's. So you really have to compare amount of offload and distance. As a coronet planner we run into this problem all the time.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:57 am



Quoting Ttailfe (Reply 4):
It may cost a few more bucks for the 10, but what you can do with one 10 you would need 2-3 135's

Yes, you are right, the actual mission will really decide the actual costs per US gallon of fuel delivered. The variable factors will include receiver type, number of receivers, etc.

That is the reason I selected a generic mission of:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
a 2.5 hour tanker mission offloading 100,000lbs of fuel, at a distance of 500nm

That could be a typical Volent Boom mission delivering 100,000lbs to a C-5 receiver. In this case, we maximuize the capabilities of the KC-135R, while the KC-10A capabilities would be excessive due to the "small" offload, as opposed to the maximum offload capability of the KC-10.

To fly a 2.5 hour, 100,000lbs offload mission, you would need a fuel load on the KC-135R of about 150,000lbs, using peacetime fuel reserves. On the KC-10A flying that same mission, the fuel load would need to be about 175,000lbs.

Now, Coronet missions are a whole different story, as these are usually fighter deployments/redeployments (we called them fighter drags). There would be anywhere between 2 and 6 receivers per tanker. The KC-10A excells in this mission, because it can carry up to 365,000lbs of fuel, or a reduced fuel load, and the cargo and pax for that fighter squadron.
 
Nicoeddf
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:38 am



Quoting TedTAce (Reply 2):
leads me to believe that Boeing knows a little something more then Airbus about being built to last

And where exactly does Airbus comes into play?

Did they offer a KC-135 competitor which proved to be built less to last?
Wouldn't be the normal, non-US and non-paranoid, reply "Boeing built an excellent aircraft which is still capable of flying more years"?
 Yeah sure

Quoting TedTAce (Reply 2):
I'd be ashamed as an American to think that we'd need to go outside for ANYTHING related to our defense, but if that's PROVEN to be the fact, so be it.

Ashamed? There are millions of reasons to be ashamed of as an American (or European or whatever) but the capability of building all your military equipment at home is certainly, applying normal standards, not one of those.
 
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flyingclrs727
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:50 pm

With costs like that the B-52 fleet should have been reengined years ago.

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EMBQA
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:12 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):

That actually sounds pretty fair. I guess the cost break down would be: Price per gallon of receiver JP-8, cost of the KC-135 flight crew of four per mission.. 3 Officers, 1 enlisted, cost of the fuel burn on the KC-135 for the mission, cost of the maintenance per mission on the KC-135... would the cost of the receiver play into this...?

I think I told you once a while back... that was the job I wanted if I went into the Air Force... Boomer. I got to go on a demo flight years ago and just thought it so cool. How long a go you ask..?? We refueled MA ANG F-106's....!!!!!

[Edited 2008-10-07 10:16:26]
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kc135topboom
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:36 am



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 8):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):


That actually sounds pretty fair. I guess the cost break down would be: Price per gallon of receiver JP-8, cost of the KC-135 flight crew of four per mission.. 3 Officers, 1 enlisted, cost of the fuel burn on the KC-135 for the mission, cost of the maintenance per mission on the KC-135... would the cost of the receiver play into this...?

No, the costs are delivered costs for the tanker only. The costs for getting the receiver to the refueling would be on top of that, and would vary widely, from a single engine F-16, to the 8 engine B-52, or 4 engine C-5.

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 8):
I think I told you once a while back... that was the job I wanted if I went into the Air Force... Boomer. I got to go on a demo flight years ago and just thought it so cool. How long a go you ask..?? We refueled MA ANG F-106's....!!!!!

Wow. My first tour at Pease AFB, NH was in the mid and late 1970s. We flew some of those type missions. The NHANG flew a lot of them, too. You could have flown with me.
 
Venus6971
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:35 pm

This may not be part of this forum but I looked in a OC-135 going thru depot here at Tik, it caught my eye being one of the few TF-33 powered -135's left flying, what interested me that it was getting 4 brand new engine struts at $1M apiece and new carbon fiber brakes on the main landing gear, I wonder if this is a precurser for some mods for the remaining KC-135E's before they are parked in the boneyard. The main reason they a parked now is the most of the engine pylons came off derilict 707's the USAF purchased back in the 70's and now are having corrision issues, on the OC-135 I saw I never saw before clean sheet metal on a strut before with my time I spent on EC-135H's and RC-135V/W's.
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EMBQA
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:50 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 9):

Wow. My first tour at Pease AFB, NH

Yea... it was maybe 1981-82.. I was in the CT CAP and I did a week at Pease AFB. Very cool and at that point I wanted to be a Boomer. I think our mission was 5-6 hours. We had to go up to near Greenland to refuel the F-106's. Funny - creepy part.... 15 years later I go to work for Business Express Airlines based at the now closed Pease AFB and work out of the same hangar I did a tour of all those years before........ It was close to the same time the KC-10 came on-line because there was a brand new one sitting on the ramp near the firehouse waiting to ferry overseas.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: The Cost Of Air Refueling

Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:54 am



Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 10):
This may not be part of this forum but I looked in a OC-135 going thru depot here at Tik, it caught my eye being one of the few TF-33 powered -135's left flying, what interested me that it was getting 4 brand new engine struts at $1M apiece and new carbon fiber brakes on the main landing gear, I wonder if this is a precurser for some mods for the remaining KC-135E's before they are parked in the boneyard.

The two remaining OC-135Bs (one of the original 3 was retired to AMARC), 61-2670 & 61-2671, were originally C-135Bs, later converted to WC-135Bs, and finally OC-135Bs. They have always had TF-33-P-5 fan engines since they were built, they never carried the J-59-P-43WB or J-59-P-59W engines (JT-3C). The KC-135E was reengined with TF-33-P-102 engines. The P-102 engine has 18,000lbs of thrust, compared to the P-5 engine with only 16,000lbs.

So, the engine stuts on the OC-135B and KC-135E would actually be slightly different. But, it should not take much more engineering to upgrade the new struts to handle the higher thrust engines.

Now the carbon fiber brakes is a mod all KC/RC/OC/WC/VC/C-135s are getting. It saves some 800lbs per airplane.

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