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Stitch
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Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:24 pm

Quote:
The White House has given the Pentagon guidance to delay procurement of aerial refueling tankers by five years and cancel plans for a new long-range bomber, according to three sources close to the discussions.

No final decisions have been made, and the recommendations are part of negotiations between the Office of Management and Budget and the Defense Department over possible budget trade-offs this year, the sources said. The guidance represents two of the offset options that OMB gave the Pentagon last month regarding the fiscal 2010 Defense budget request.

Air power advocates and military officials contend that the moves, if enacted, would hurt U.S. strategic might and put at risk missions that depend on the aging tanker and bomber fleets.

Article Link

If true, it looks like the KC-135R program will go forward for the interim.

A five year delay could be a benefit to NG/EADS since by then the A330MRTT and KC-30B programs should be in service with the RAF and the RAAF which would give EADS actual in-service data to compare against the in-service data from the JASDF and AM KC-767s.

It would also be a benefit to Boeing by allowing them five years to either make the KC-767 Advanced a more capable plane or be in a position to possibly offer a KC-787 model.
 
redflyer
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:34 pm

The LR Bomber I can see being delayed for a few years. I don't see how KC-X can be delayed any further, unless they decide to convert the remaining E's to R's. Besides the political muscle behind KC-X, there's considerable military muscle behind it as well. I think the Obama administration needs to tread carefully on this issue as it might be the flashpoint that will poison their working relationship with the military.
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TheSonntag
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:35 pm

Will they keep the tools and the manufacturing line 5 more years for the KC-767? To me this seems very doubtful, I guess they will then go ahead with a 787 development.
 
JakeOrion
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:42 pm



Quoting Stitch (Thread starter):
It would also be a benefit to Boeing by allowing them five years to either make the KC-767 Advanced a more capable plane or be in a position to possibly offer a KC-787 model.

If (IF) the 787 lives up to its capabilities as promised to airlines, and IF this article holds true, then Boeing would be extremely stupid not to offer this model five years from now.

What bugs me about all of this is people complain about most of the US inventory (aircraft, tanks, etc) is using 70s/80s technology yet people bitch about the costs of maintaining/upgrading the military. Which is it people?
Every problem has a simple solution; finding the simple solution is the difficult problem.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:45 pm

If this report proves to be correct and the Obama administration decides to defer the tanker procurement there is one other avenue for the Air Force: it could lobby the Hill. Congress, could add funds for a new tanker, just like they did for the C-17 after the last administration did not request more in the budget. Any bets what plane that favors? (Hint: if you bet on the airbus, try again.)
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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Stitch
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:46 pm



Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 2):
Will they keep the tools and the manufacturing line 5 more years for the KC-767?

The current commercial 767 backlog is good for around four years, I believe. The existing 767 line in PAE would be reconfigured to become ITAR-compliant to build the KC-767 Advanced as a complete package, as opposed to the JASDF/AM birds which were built as green planes and sent to Boeing IDS Wichita for outfitting as tankers.

If no additional commercial 767 sales materialize and the backlog is delivered around 2013, Boeing could then use the time to convert the line for the KC-767 Advanced if they have been awarded the contract and Congress has approved funding for production.
 
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par13del
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:51 pm



Quoting Stitch (Thread starter):
It would also be a benefit to Boeing by allowing them five years to either make the KC-767 Advanced a more capable plane or be in a position to possibly offer a KC-787 model.

More capable that the current a/c or the proposed KC-30? Argument started  Smile
If they need a tanker simply do a single source and go for it, if more C-17's are procured, the more capable need of the tanker takes a hit, it would then boil down to refuelling capabilities only, pax and cargo issues take the hit.

Similar issue for the new bomber, state clearly your requirements then solicit bids for that and nothing else, some one somewhere has to try to keep the process simple, at least thats the hope. Based on the current environment, by the time a new bomber gets into production, it will be 10 years late with obsolete technology.
 
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STT757
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:05 pm

Hopefully what these statements are saying is that programs not yet in production will be delayed, hopefully that bodes well for programs in productions;

C-17s, V-22s, F-22s, F-35s
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bennett123
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:14 pm

Stitch

Your estimate of 4 years backlog, what rate of production are you assuming?
 
gsosbee
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:14 pm



Quoting STT757 (Reply 7):

No spending will mean no spending. Some form of the V-22 and F-35 programs will probably make the cut. The C-17 line will have to depend on foreign sales, but the F-22 production is dead.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:55 pm



Quoting Gsosbee (Reply 9):
but the F-22 production is dead.

I doubt it's "dead".
http://www.dodbuzz.com/2009/03/10/tacair-budget-intel-f-22-below-40/

Quote:
Word is that PR 9, the latest version of the budget from the White House, would keep the F-22 production line going for one more year and would fund at least 20 planes, and perhaps as many as 40 more aircraft.

"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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Stitch
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:07 pm



Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 8):
Your estimate of 4 years backlog, what rate of production are you assuming?

The 767 currently has 68 unfulfilled orders. As of 2007, production was one per month so that would be 68 months - five and a half years.
 
60Mech
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:19 pm

Well, I don't know much about the continuance of these programs, the c-17 and maybe KC-x seem safe and may receive more support from the current administration. If you go to the President's web site (www. whitehouse.gov) under Defense the "C-17 cargo and KC-X air refueling aircraft" are "essential systems". Policies and preferences may change in light of current financial trouble but this is from the President's own agenda.
 
gsosbee
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:38 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 10):
I doubt it's "dead".

The F-22 is an expensive one trick pony. While more are needed, in today's climate it is "trumped" by the multi-role F-35. In addition the some form of the F-35 will be exportable which means more jobs. (Note, I am not saying the F-35 can do air-to-air in the same class as the F-22. Rather, the civilian "experts" in Washington will see it that way.)

Quoting 60mech (Reply 12):
Well, I don't know much about the continuance of these programs, the c-17 and maybe KC-x seem safe and may receive more support from the current administration. If you go to the President's web site (www. whitehouse.gov) under Defense the "C-17 cargo and KC-X air refueling aircraft" are "essential systems". Policies and preferences may change in light of current financial trouble but this is from the President's own agenda.

Since the only campaign promises that the current administration has kept are those that have weakened the security of the US, I would not count on any promise that would provide increased security or new equipment.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:03 pm



Quoting Gsosbee (Reply 13):
The F-22 is an expensive one trick pony

So was the F-117A. IIRC, it was somewhat useful. Frankly, you could make that criticism of FBM submarines as well.

Whatever the case may be, I think the F-22 is a long way from being "dead". Perhaps in a year, perhaps not, but it certainly has not expired as I write this.
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
Venus6971
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:06 pm

I wonder if the Kansas and Washington congressional delegations will put in a KC-135E to R amendment to the next spending bill to sneak it through. Some of those jets have been sitting around for about 4 years now just having calender inspections and tire rotations performed on them.
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:06 pm



Quoting Stitch (Thread starter):
Air power advocates and military officials contend that the moves, if enacted, would hurt U.S. strategic might and put at risk missions

The overreaction begins.

Note that the USAF itself was saying the KC135s were good till 2035 or so, before the idea of them getting new 767s came to light after 9/11.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 1):
Besides the political muscle behind KC-X, there's considerable military muscle behind it as well. I think the Obama administration needs to tread carefully on this issue as it might be the flashpoint that will poison their working relationship with the military.

Really? They'll draw the line in the sand over the tankers? I doubt it, there will be other battles more worthy of them.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
The existing 767 line in PAE would be reconfigured to become ITAR-compliant to build the KC-767 Advanced as a complete package, as opposed to the JASDF/AM birds which were built as green planes and sent to Boeing IDS Wichita for outfitting as tankers.

Presuming they get the contract.

Quoting STT757 (Reply 7):
Hopefully what these statements are saying is that programs not yet in production will be delayed, hopefully that bodes well for programs in productions;

C-17s, V-22s, F-22s, F-35s

I think the tanker and the bomber are being thrown under the bus in favor of the currently running programs.

If so, good choice.

It's a terrible time to be buying tankers.

We'd be buying 767s/A330s at the end of their life cycle.

Why not re-engine the 135s and wait to see if we can't get a modern plane (787/A350) a few years down the line instead?
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Stitch
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:45 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 17):
Presuming they get the contract.

If they don't, then they wind down 767 production and use it for storage or other uses. If they pitch and win the KC-787, then they can build them there.

Maybe they can sub-let it to NG/EADS to build the KC-30A if it wins, saving the expense of building a facility in MOB.  rotfl 
 
nomadd22
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:13 pm

Is it likely that Boeing would keep the 767 line open just for tankers?
Anon
 
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:21 pm



Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 2):
Will they keep the tools and the manufacturing line 5 more years for the KC-767? To me this seems very doubtful, I guess they will then go ahead with a 787 development.

Good question and a good point. In 5 years the 767 is definitely going to be old news and, frankly, I don't believe the 767 production line will be open then, unless something very unusual happens. A 787 tanker? From the looks of things, that's becoming more of a possibility all the time.
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redflyer
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:39 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 16):
Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 1):
Besides the political muscle behind KC-X, there's considerable military muscle behind it as well. I think the Obama administration needs to tread carefully on this issue as it might be the flashpoint that will poison their working relationship with the military.

Really? They'll draw the line in the sand over the tankers? I doubt it, there will be other battles more worthy of them.

I agree no one will draw a line in the sand, but some brass may come to view this event as a "dis", much as the brass viewed Clinton's meddling with gays-in-the-military as a "dis", or Carter and some of his axing of various military programs.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 16):
I think the tanker and the bomber are being thrown under the bus in favor of the currently running programs.

If so, good choice.

A good choice as long as something is done about the tanker requirements. If they indeed convert the remaining E's then they buy time. (I'm not even sure the remaining E's can be converted.) But if they allow this issue to just languish for 5 more years, it won't do anyone any good.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 16):
It's a terrible time to be buying tankers.

We'd be buying 767s/A330s at the end of their life cycle.

That may be true, but 767s and A330s at the end of their life cycle are still a 30 year advance over the existing fleet.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 16):
Why not re-engine the 135s and wait to see if we can't get a modern plane (787/A350) a few years down the line instead?

A good option...if they do it. Don't forget, Rev, they are talking about starting the procurement process over in 5 years. That means it will be a few more years beyond that 5 years that any new equipment starts entering the inventory in any appreciable numbers. Realistically, we're looking at the prospect of the new tankers coming on line in force in about 10 years' time. So what will be the stopgap until then considering everyone (USAF brass, DoD personnel, military experts, and us armchair A.net warriors) is saying that the USAF desperately needs about 100 or so new tankers to maintain current and future commitments?
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Revelation
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:01 pm



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 20):
That may be true, but 767s and A330s at the end of their life cycle are still a 30 year advance over the existing fleet.

Yes, but with the KC-135s we got absolute state of the art, and look how good that's worked for us.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 20):
A good option...if they do it. Don't forget, Rev, they are talking about starting the procurement process over in 5 years. That means it will be a few more years beyond that 5 years that any new equipment starts entering the inventory in any appreciable numbers. Realistically, we're looking at the prospect of the new tankers coming on line in force in about 10 years' time. So what will be the stopgap until then considering everyone (USAF brass, DoD personnel, military experts, and us armchair A.net warriors) is saying that the USAF desperately needs about 100 or so new tankers to maintain current and future commitments?

I think they are overselling their position.

I see we have around 500 KC-135s active now, and who knows how many able to be re-activated.

I see we will have a declining expeditionary military profile in the next several years.

I see we will be maintaining E-3 Sentry, E-8 Joint Stars and the EC/RC-135 family for a long time to come.

In 5 years, the 787-8 and A350-9 will be in full production.

It's much better to see what purchasing them will be like instead of going for A330s/767s.

If there is a gap to breach, I'd rather see us re-engine KC-135Rs and/or convert DC-10Fs to KC-10s in the short term.

All these are known quantities with known outcomes (let's hope, unlike RERP'd C-5s).
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gsosbee
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:04 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 21):

Very good points and probably will be close to what happens. However, if, the deferral actually comes to pass there will still be a reason for discussion on a.net  Cool :

* It would probably be discussed with each new Congress - 2010 and 2012. As a shift back to Republican control takes place, national defense issues will begin to rise again.

* The A v B issue will shift from the 767/A330 to the 787/A350. However, this will not help either manufacturer. Freighter versions of the 787 will not be flying even in 5 years, and the A350 will barely be flying if flying at all.
 
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:29 pm



Quoting Gsosbee (Reply 22):
The A v B issue will shift from the 767/A330 to the 787/A350. However, this will not help either manufacturer. Freighter versions of the 787 will not be flying even in 5 years, and the A350 will barely be flying if flying at all.

The prospect of a 100 plane order which could grow to a 500 plane order, all at military profit margins, can make a lot of things happen in a short period of time.

I could easily see the enhancements being done for the 787-10 being used on the shorter 787-8 fuselage to support a tanker.

A350 is scheduled to EIS in 2013, so it'll be mature enough to bid five years from now.
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
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redflyer
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:10 pm



Quoting Gsosbee (Reply 22):
However, this will not help either manufacturer. Freighter versions of the 787 will not be flying even in 5 years, and the A350 will barely be flying if flying at all.



Quoting Revelation (Reply 23):
A350 is scheduled to EIS in 2013, so it'll be mature enough to bid five years from now.

 checkmark 
If this news comes to pass, the bidding process will start in 5 years. By the time the contract is awarded, appealed, re-bid, re-awarded, appealed, etc., and the first military frames start rolling off the assembly line we will be closer to 8+ years out. By then both manufacturers will have had their birds in the air with plenty of data to support their respective bids. Also, the militarized version of these planes will be mods of existing models. Both manufacturers have been known to make mods in order to squeeze several dozen more orders out of their civilian planes. We're talking a mod that will result in a net 100 orders, for a government contract (read no cancellations and guaranteed profits), with the likelihood of a few hundred more orders in the future. That's a modification well worth implementing.

Back to the topic, I will still be surprised if the KC-X RFP is delayed for a full 5 years.
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kc135topboom
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:40 pm



Quoting STT757 (Reply 7):
Hopefully what these statements are saying is that programs not yet in production will be delayed, hopefully that bodes well for programs in productions;

C-17s, V-22s, F-22s, F-35s

I didn't know the F-35 entered production, yet.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 16):
Why not re-engine the 135s and wait to see if we can't get a modern plane (787/A350) a few years down the line instead?



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 20):
(I'm not even sure the remaining E's can be converted.)

Actually, if we re-engine the KC-135Es, there will not be a need for a new tanker in 8-12 years. There are two programs going on right now the KC-135E reengining could go into, the RC-135S/W/V reengine program with the F-108-200 engine (KC-135R engine {F-108-100, CFM-56-2B} with thrust reversers) and struts, or the E-8C re-engining program with the JT-8D-219 engines and struts. The costs for either program will be minimal.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 20):
So what will be the stopgap until then considering everyone (USAF brass, DoD personnel, military experts, and us armchair A.net warriors) is saying that the USAF desperately needs about 100 or so new tankers to maintain current and future commitments?

That would be 157 equivlent KC-135Rs, remember, the KC-X program was for 179 new airplanes.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 21):
I see we have around 500 KC-135s active now, and who knows how many able to be re-activated.

I see we will have a declining expeditionary military profile in the next several years.

I see we will be maintaining E-3 Sentry, E-8 Joint Stars and the EC/RC-135 family for a long time to come.

In 5 years, the 787-8 and A350-9 will be in full production.

It's much better to see what purchasing them will be like instead of going for A330s/767s.

If there is a gap to breach, I'd rather see us re-engine KC-135Rs and/or convert DC-10Fs to KC-10s in the short term.

All these are known quantities with known outcomes (let's hope, unlike RERP'd C-5s).

I doubt the A-350 will make EIS in 2013, and even if it did, there wouldn't be enough data to rate the airplane reliability. Airbus is still tinkering with it, and look at the B-787 program and how it has slipped, even though the B-787 is a more advanced design than the A-350 is. The A-350 is still a warmed over A-330 but with some composits and different engines.

We have about 200 KC-135A/Es that can reactivate.

With this Obama Administration, I see a need for more tankers and cargo airplanes for the USAF. In addition to continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we may have something come up with Iran and/or DPRK. Plus, Obama is just waiting for the next world humanitaring emergency, where he can send in US C-17s, C-5s, and C-130s full of food, water, tents, and medical supplies. He will need tanker support for that.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 23):
A350 is scheduled to EIS in 2013, so it'll be mature enough to bid five years from now.

No, it won't.

Everyone seems to be forgetting the B-777-200LRF, which will still in production in 2013-2015. A B-787-8 tanker is a possibility, as is a B-747-8F tanker. We will be looking at Boeing building 3 new B-747-8Is for the VC-25A replacement soon after that, so a B-747-8F tanker (KC-Y) program would also make economic sense, too.
 
MD-90
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:55 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 25):
so a B-747-8F tanker (KC-Y) program would also make economic sense, too.

I think a 777LR-based tanker would be far more likely to ever be ordered than a 748-based tanker. Does a 747 make strategic or tactical sense?
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:21 pm



Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 2):
Will they keep the tools and the manufacturing line 5 more years for the KC-767? To me this seems very doubtful, I guess they will then go ahead with a 787 development.

The difficulty isn't keeping the tools and manufacturing line intact. The 767 line is just one of many at the Everett facility, so there's very little overhead involved in mothballing the 767 equippment in place. Since another 787 line seems a ways off, Boeing won't need the space for a while anyway.

What is difficult is retaining the human knowledge and experience that goes into turning the drawings and processes into a real airplane. You can keep excellent records, but if the 767 team were to be disbanded, there will be some learning curve if Boeing decides to re-open the line. Not impossible, but a non-trivial added cost.
 
Oroka
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:23 pm



Quoting MD-90 (Reply 26):
Does a 747 make strategic or tactical sense?

If the new AF1 ends up being a 748i and the ABL continues to go ahead and builds (12 AL-1 IIRC) based on 748fs... that will be 15 748s in the USAF inventory already. A KC-748 would just add to that fleet.

Also, a 748f based tanker would make a great airlifter when not hauling fuel. You get a gas station and a transport truck, all in one package. This would take some of the load off of the C-5 and C-17, saving airframe time.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:26 pm

I was unable to edit, but let me add that Boeing still has orders for 68 767s. At current production rates (I believe 10-12 a year), that will keep the line open through at least 2015.
 
texl1649
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:39 pm

IF bidding does start in 5 years, expect the process to be over 3 years long. The 767 is ridiculously old as-is (when viewed in the context of a putative 50-year USAF service life), and it will not even be in consideration for an EIS in 7-10 years. Time to let it go for now, ladies.

All criticisms aside, this is one cut-back that just makes sense; the re-engined -135's will frankly have a lot of miles left in them.
 
nomadd22
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:41 pm



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 29):
I was unable to edit, but let me add that Boeing still has orders for 68 767s. At current production rates (I believe 10-12 a year), that will keep the line open through at least 2015.

They've been studying going to 2 767s a month for a while now. But, that might be on the back burner with the sales dropoff.
Anon
 
redflyer
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:06 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 25):
Actually, if we re-engine the KC-135Es, there will not be a need for a new tanker in 8-12 years. There are two programs going on right now the KC-135E reengining could go into, the RC-135S/W/V reengine program with the F-108-200 engine (KC-135R engine {F-108-100, CFM-56-2B} with thrust reversers) and struts, or the E-8C re-engining program with the JT-8D-219 engines and struts. The costs for either program will be minimal.

Ok, that answered the question I had as I recalled there was some issue with the engine struts on the E's and couldn't remember if it was cost-effective to replace those with newly fab'd parts or scrounging them off other frames.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 25):
That would be 157 equivlent KC-135Rs, remember, the KC-X program was for 179 new airplanes.

The last KC-X was for 179, but wasn't the original RFP (the scandal-ridden one) for just 100 tankers? Who's to say the next RFP re-issue won't be for yet another totally different number.

By the way, while I don't necessarily agree with your comment about the A350 not being ready for pitching in this new bid, I do see one disadvantage to the A350. And that is given that it will be relatively more new than the 787 from an EIS standpoint, its production capabilities will not be as mature. Moreover, the A350's production will be closer to the more traditional ones. It would seem Airbus might have to build its military frames on the same line as the civilian ones. And I don't think that is one airframe that Airbus will be able to have built in Mobile. If they can't build it in Mobile then that will certainly eliminate the "Built in the U.S." label and undercut the 'Americanization' of their tanker offering. Given the 787's intended "snap-together" final assembly construction process, what are the odds they could set up a completely different FAL in another location just for the USAF frames?
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Ken777
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:37 am

The delay on the tanker is no surprise - the real surprise is if there were funds available for the USAF to go forward.

By the time funds can logically be directed to the program there will be options that are simply not available now, such as the 787/350 programs.

What might be interesting when the tanker RFP is ready to go out again is the potential of the 787's barrel approach to allow for adjustments to the barrel to meet specific USAF desires and/or needs. I understand the desire for "off the shelf" planes, but the tankers will not be totally off the shelf - leaving them open to design mods. It seems that the 787 production approach would allow for changes to the barrels at a reasonable cost when depreciated over all planes produced.

The other potentially ironic approach if it is determined that we need to go ahead with the tanker even under restricted cash availability would be for the USAF to acquire them under a lease/purchase program.  Smile
 
osiris30
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:01 am

Key U.S. lawmaker urges split tanker buy

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN1141822520090311

Quote:
"I think that a consensus is developing" in Congress on a dual-source approach, the Democrat from Hawaii told reporters after speaking to a defense industry conference. "I think we can come to a reasoned conclusion on getting both bids accepted."

and

Quote:
The Air Force has said the tankers are its top acquisition priority, although the White House has asked the Pentagon to consider delaying the refueling tankers to save money.

Defense officials said on Wednesday no decisions had been made and all programs were under intense scrutiny.

Congress makes the final decisions on budget matters.

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Venus6971
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:11 am



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 32):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 25):
Actually, if we re-engine the KC-135Es, there will not be a need for a new tanker in 8-12 years. There are two programs going on right now the KC-135E reengining could go into, the RC-135S/W/V reengine program with the F-108-200 engine (KC-135R engine {F-108-100, CFM-56-2B} with thrust reversers) and struts, or the E-8C re-engining program with the JT-8D-219 engines and struts. The costs for either program will be minimal.

Ok, that answered the question I had as I recalled there was some issue with the engine struts on the E's and couldn't remember if it was cost-effective to replace those with newly fab'd parts or scrounging them off other frames.


Remember, the JT-8d-219 engines and most importantly the struts will bolt right up to existing A and E models in AMARC if they piggy back on the E-8C program. I am not sure if there are 200 airframes left you could do this to, some of these frames have been cannabilized down to the landing gear. Alot of 55 and 56 models have been scrapped, plus they have a different internal wing structure. Plus the A's are light years behind in all the TCTO's or AD's for our civilian Anetters that will have to be completed since the last A models flew into AMARC in 1993/94 time frame.
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rwessel
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:21 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 25):
With this Obama Administration, I see a need for more tankers and cargo airplanes for the USAF. In addition to continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we may have something come up with Iran and/or DPRK. Plus, Obama is just waiting for the next world humanitaring emergency, where he can send in US C-17s, C-5s, and C-130s full of food, water, tents, and medical supplies. He will need tanker support for that.

Why would you need tanker support for humanitarian missions? Where might you want to fly one where there aren't going to be some airfields enroute to use for refueling? It's a humanitarian mission, after all, other countries are likely to help.

I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but it seems like the need would be pretty darn rare.
 
osiris30
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:22 am



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 36):
Where might you want to fly one where there aren't going to be some airfields enroute to use for refueling? It's a humanitarian mission, after all, other countries are likely to help.

Far easier to use tankers and mid-air refueling for security and wear and tear purposes.
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rwessel
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:36 am



Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 37):
Far easier to use tankers and mid-air refueling for security and wear and tear purposes.

While security might be an issue, again, it's a humanitarian mission - you only need a semi-friendly airfield within a thousand miles or two of the destination.

As for wear and tear you might save a cycle and some time on the cargo plane, but you'll now put most of that on the tanker instead. Obviously the magnitude of that effect depends on which tanker you use (a KC-135 is likely to refuel only a single C-17, a KC-10 can probably do two).

And then there's the cost - fuel delivered by aerial refueling is quite expensive.
 
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Tugger
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:43 am



Quoting Gsosbee (Reply 13):
The F-22 is an expensive one trick pony. While more are needed, in today's climate it is "trumped" by the multi-role F-35. In addition the some form of the F-35 will be exportable which means more jobs. (Note, I am not saying the F-35 can do air-to-air in the same class as the F-22. Rather, the civilian "experts" in Washington will see it that way.)

The F-22 will become a "leader platform", hosting and coordinating a group of linked UAV's. Similar to what the P-8 is looking to do with augmenting its lower numbers by adding BAAMS UAV's to their patrols.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 21):
In 5 years, the 787-8 and A350-9 will be in full production.

It's much better to see what purchasing them will be like instead of going for A330s/767s.

But I thought the A330 was almost too large? So if it is "almost" how can the 787/350 not be too large?

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 25):
I didn't know the F-35 entered production, yet.

It has, it is now in the "LRIP" Low Rate Initial Production. Testing that nice mile-long factory Lockheed has in Texas. The plane hasn't exited yet but it has "entered" production.

Tugg
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osiris30
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:49 am



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 38):
While security might be an issue, again, it's a humanitarian mission - you only need a semi-friendly airfield within a thousand miles or two of the destination.

While I don't disagree with you, sometimes those airfield can be difficult to get to, and (much bigger issue) add time to the mission. It all depends on the situation, but it's not always cut and dry which is what I was trying to point out.
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rwessel
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:34 am



Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 40):
While I don't disagree with you, sometimes those airfield can be difficult to get to, and (much bigger issue) add time to the mission. It all depends on the situation, but it's not always cut and dry which is what I was trying to point out.

And I don't disagree that situation that need a tanker are possible - I was responding to the assertion that it was/is-going-to-be a common requirement, when, IMO, it appears that for humanitarian missions, a requirement for tankers would be relatively rare.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:05 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 25):
I doubt the A-350 will make EIS in 2013, and even if it did, there wouldn't be enough data to rate the airplane reliability. Airbus is still tinkering with it, and look at the B-787 program and how it has slipped, even though the B-787 is a more advanced design than the A-350 is. The A-350 is still a warmed over A-330 but with some composits and different engines.

Well then surely there wasn't enough reliability data to justify buying KC-135s, right? The Dash 80 was just a prototype after all.

And if they are just warmed over A330s then there should be enough component level reliability data, right?

And if they're just warmed over A330s, they should be able to have some of them flying in the next 2-3 years, right?

Bottom line is if we're going to be spending billions of dollars on tankers, I don't want to be buying last generation technology, unless we got a huge discount, which we won't.

I have every confidence that Airbus or Boeing products will be plenty reliable.

In the next 5 years we should have a much better idea what our future needs will be, for instance how many F22/F35s will be on order, what role UCAVs will be playing, etc.

All this argues for re-engining the KC135s and waiting to see what the future holds.
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:30 pm



Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 34):
Quote:
The Air Force has said the tankers are its top acquisition priority, although the White House has asked the Pentagon to consider delaying the refueling tankers to save money.

That's a throw-away statement. It may be their top acquisition priority, but it isn't their top budgetary priority. Clearly they aren't suggesting they'd divert funds from F22 and F35 to buy tankers, right? It's just saying the next program they want to go into acquisition mode is the KC-X program.

And as per the above, the USAF can ask for the sky and the moon, but that doesn't mean it ends up in the budget. It'll be a very tough sell even though certain congressmen seem to be smelling fresh pork.
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
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Flighty
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:34 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 42):
All this argues for re-engining the KC135s and waiting to see what the future holds.

Yeah, the A330 is 15 years old now, and the 767 is 25 years old. Conservatively, in both cases. Were they buying 1945 tech aircraft in 1970? No, that would be silly. In ~20 years, the 767 will be 50 year old technology.

A 787 or A350 would provide a future-upgradable platform. Why not displace commercial orders? Whose problem is that? It's not like the price is so low for the KC-X. They should be pleased to get the order under any circumstances. They should be delivering their newest airline-ready technology to this.
 
CX747
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:13 pm

If the AF was to begin re-engining some of the 135E birds left in the inventory, how many birds would they come up with?

The tanker fleet (both -135 and -10) has been going gang busters since 9/11 flying over double the amount of allotted time. Replacing the fleet in one way or another is the #1 priority.

Nobody Kicks A$$ without Tanker Gas.
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Moose135
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:48 pm



Quoting CX747 (Reply 45):
The tanker fleet (both -135 and -10) has been going gang busters since 9/11 flying over double the amount of allotted time. Replacing the fleet in one way or another is the #1 priority.

But prior to that, they had relatively low hours - for years, they sat alert for months at time (I think alert birds were rotated out every 90 days), and we didn't exactly fly the snot out of them even when they weren't on alert. Remember, even before this current KC-X mess, the bulk of the KC-135 fleet was projected to remain in service until sometime around 2040. By "#1 priority", do you mean reducing the number of F-22s or F-35s or C-17s ordered? You want to talk the Navy into giving up a couple of new ships in exchange for a brand new tanker fleet?
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tommytoyz
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:58 pm



Quoting Stitch (Thread starter):
If true, it looks like the KC-135R program will go forward for the interim.

Yep, this is a no-brainer. If the service life on those KC-135 tankers is good for another 30-40 years, why not keep modernizing them?

"The Boeing 767 leasing proposal was intended to allow the rapid retirement and replacement of the KC-135Es. Audits have shown it would cost about 15 times more to lease a modified 767 than to re-engine a KC-135E."

Granted this is based on the expensive leasing price. But the math is very clear that shows upgrading the KC-135s to R or better standards is far cheaper than new builds. The performance jump that the re-engined KC-135Rs provide, with a 60% greater operational radius, makes their replacement with new builds a lot less urgent.
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:13 pm



Quoting Tommytoyz (Reply 47):
The performance jump that the re-engined KC-135Rs provide, with a 60% greater operational radius, makes their replacement with new builds a lot less urgent.

Wow...That's a heck of an improvement. Is that with the CFM's or the Jt8's?

I can't see it happening, though...it makes way too much sense.
What the...?
 
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par13del
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RE: Obama Administration Seeks To Defer KC-X

Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:45 pm

To make sure I understand this correctly.

1. The US Air Force was not considering the B-777 a/c because it was too large.
2. Airbus is building the A350 to compete with the B-777 not directly the B-787 size wise
3. The US Air Force will select the A350 or B-787 both of which are larger than the KC-135, B-767 and A-330

So in 5 years times, the tanker need will have expanded so much that the current A330 and B-767 will be too small, if the manufacturing process is not mature enough to select the A350 or B-787 we are back to square one where the RFP will have to be written to ensure that something other than the B-777 can be selected.

Guess from an economic point of view they can then do one buy on one a/c to replace the KC-135 and the KC-10, more jobs can also be created by construction on existing air bases to handle the larger a/c.

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