An225
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KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:44 pm

Hello all,
Today I saw in the Israeli newspapers the same item stating that the US government will sell some new (?!?!?) KC-135 refulers as well as the V-22, missiles and other defence items.
As we know well, there are no "new" KC-135's since the 707 line is shut down for years. So here are some interesting questions come to mind:
What kind of airframes will be sold to Israel, in terms of number of hours logged and general MX condition?
Will they sell moth-balled KC-135's with the old J-57 engines or the ones with CFM engines?

An225
 
bigjku
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:58 pm

They can't possibly be new ones. My guess is the IAF is getting some tankers with the CFM engines at a pretty good price. Might be mothballed ones upgraded or just a few as the USAF brings their own new tankers into service.
 
L-188
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:58 pm

Actually there hasn't been a new KC-135 since the Eisenhower administration. Both the 367-80 and 707 are different airframes.

I am going to guess that if they are no R models they will be upgraded before transfer. I don't know if you get parts fir J-57 engines anymore.
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Spacepope
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:07 pm

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 1):
am going to guess that if they are no R models they will be upgraded before transfer. I don't know if you get parts fir J-57 engines anymore.

Israel's 707/KC-137 fleet has JT3D powerplants. Why not sell them some E models?
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ssteve
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:11 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 2):
I am going to guess that if they are no R models they will be upgraded before transfer. I don't know if you get parts fir J-57 engines anymore.

Chile's recent acquisition from US stores were KC-135Es with TF-33s. Not sure whether you consider that a "J-57," but it does seem they'll be around awhile longer.
 
An225
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:33 pm

Thanks for the info.

Regarding the J57's parts - IAF is using them so there are sources for parts, aren't there?

Another issue comes to mind - maintenance of a mixed refuelers fleet. IAF has its refuelers based on old 707's which are not the same airframe as the KC-135, and with different engines (J-57/JT3/CFM56) it must be a nightmare to maintain such old and diverse fleet. So here are my Q's:
1. What kind of overhaul will they need to perform on moth-balled frames? How long should it take?
2. Will it be wise/possible to re-engine the whole fleet with CFM's - both current 707 tankers fleet and the newcomers USAF frames?
3. What kind of commonality of parts/maintenance could be expected in a mixed fleet of converted 707 tankers (current fleet) and USAF frames?

An225
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:32 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 2):
Actually there hasn't been a new KC-135 since the Eisenhower administration.

No the last year of the KC-135 was the 1964 models, they were delivered in 1966.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 3):
Why not sell them some E models?

That would make sense, considering all the life remaining on them. It was all BS when the USAF said the KC-135Es were suffering from strut corrosion, then they sold some to Chile.

Quoting SSTeve (Reply 4):
Chile's recent acquisition from US stores were KC-135Es with TF-33s. Not sure whether you consider that a "J-57," but it does seem they'll be around awhile longer.
Quoting An225 (Reply 5):
Another issue comes to mind - maintenance of a mixed refuelers fleet. IAF has its refuelers based on old 707's which are not the same airframe as the KC-135, and with different engines (J-57/JT3/CFM56) it must be a nightmare to maintain such old and diverse fleet. So here are my Q's:
1. What kind of overhaul will they need to perform on moth-balled frames? How long should it take?
2. Will it be wise/possible to re-engine the whole fleet with CFM's - both current 707 tankers fleet and the newcomers USAF frames?
3. What kind of commonality of parts/maintenance could be expected in a mixed fleet of converted 707 tankers (current fleet) and USAF frames?

1. We are assuming here they will be KC-135Es given to the IDF. If that is true, The airplanes would first have to be reactived at DM, then flown to TIK for depot maintenance, and records check. In the mean time the first IDF crews will go through training and qualification. If the airplanes are to be KC-135Rs from the active inventory (like the RAF RC-135s were), then it is just a matter of selecting the individual airframes and the training.

2. I don't think the CFM-56-2B engine is in production anymore. But a different CFM-56 engine, like the -5B or -7B could be selected. IAI could do the work on both the KC-135s and the KC/B-707s.

3. There are very few common parts between the KC-135 and the B-707-320B/C airframes. But the IDF KC-707s are equipped with the KC-135 Boom, and some of the plumbing, valves, and pumps. The only airframe interchangeable parts I can think of are the cockpit windows, and maybe some Boom Pod parts.

If this sale happens, I think it is a great move for the IDF.

BTW, there are something like 1000-1200 J-57 engines of various models at DM, having been removed from KC-135As and B-52F/Gs. So, parts for the engines are not a problem for a long, long time. Now the water injection system parts might be a different story.

[Edited 2013-04-19 16:36:51]
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:59 pm

Quoting An225 (Reply 5):
3. What kind of commonality of parts/maintenance could be expected in a mixed fleet of converted 707 tankers (current fleet) and USAF frames?

We are assuming of course the Israeli's intend on flying the 707 tankers alongside the KC-135's. From the material I am reading, they are expected to retire the 707 tankers.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:55 pm

Actually, the IDF B-707s don't have as many hours and cycles on them as you would think. The ELINT-707s will be around for a while.

Do we know how many KC-135s Israel will get from the USAF?
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:36 pm

The Israeli 707 tankers use a flying boom modified from the Boeing KC-97, which they operated previously.

It's worth remembering during the 1970s as Israel was negotiating the sale of F-15s and F-16s from the United States that the IAF requested KC-135s to refuel the newly acquired fighters. The United States declined, arguing that an air refueling capability would give the Israelis the ability to project airpower across the Levant and elsewhere when the F-15s and F-16s were being sold as "defensive" equipment. [Given Dayan's definition of "defensive" it is hard to swallow this argument....]

Readers may wish to consider Bill Norton's outstanding "Air War on the Edge," pp 276 ff.
KC-135A, A(RT), D, E, E(RT), Q, R, EC-135A, C, G, L, RC-135S, U, V, W, X, TC-135S, W
 
bigjku
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:31 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 8):
Actually, the IDF B-707s don't have as many hours and cycles on them as you would think. The ELINT-707s will be around for a while.

Do we know how many KC-135s Israel will get from the USAF?

It would seem to make sense to me that they would replace all their tankers with the upgraded 135's. It is a good time to do it. They will be cheap. Parts will be plentiful for a long time. As the US starts to replace their 135's you can hoard parts to keep yours flying for a very long time. Israel does not need a huge air tanker capacity so getting the job done cheaply makes a lot of sense for them. Ditch the old engines and airframes which will eventually become hard to keep in the air (at least before the R models) and upgrade while you can do it. That way you don't get stuck having to buy a brand new piece of equipment later at a much higher cost.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:46 pm

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 10):
They will be cheap. Parts will be plentiful for a long time. As the US starts to replace their 135's you can hoard parts to keep yours flying for a very long time. Israel does not need a huge air tanker capacity so getting the job done cheaply makes a lot of sense for them


That analysis applies to the USAF as well. The USAF is wasting money by retiring the KC-135 too early by replacing them with brand new tankers.

[Edited 2013-04-22 13:48:37]
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:42 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 11):
That analysis applies to the USAF as well. The USAF is wasting money by retiring the KC-135 too early by replacing them with brand new tankers.

I don't know about that at all. The USAF is a very different situation. At some point they have to establish a supply source for new tankers. They can't just run KC-135's into the ground like Israel can (and will). Over 400 are operated today. You can't just wait until they are all about to crap out and order up 300 new tankers for delivery in 5 years.

The Air Force got its hands on the 767 production at a pretty ideal time really. They can have control of the line to themselves for the most part. Wait 5 years and it may or may not have been an option to get a 767 based tanker. For whatever reason (not worth getting into here) a foreign built tanker was just not going to happen. There are legit concerns about ongoing MX cost with the KC-135 as well.

I suppose you could make an argument to just soldier on with the KC-135's for another decade or two, MX cost be damned. But I don't think replacing them is a travesty or anything. You will get some more capability (cargo particularly) with the new aircraft and you were going to have to buy tankers at some point. Better to do it now with a well understood airframe in the 767 than put it off.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:16 pm

Quoting rc135x (Reply 9):
rc135x

You are correct, a modified KC-97 Boom was initially installed on the IDF KC-707s, but when the USAF ordered additional KC-135 Booms (because they were down to just 10 rebuildable spares for a fleet of 650 KC-135A/D/E/Qs SAC wide), some Booms were built for the IDF's B-707 tankers. Look at the Booms now on the KC-707s. The ruddervators are clearly hydraulicly powered (they were cable operated for the KC-97).

It would be extremely difficult for a Boom Operator to maneuver an unpowered Boom at 315 KIAS, thus the need for the new Booms. The USAF order for 75 additional Booms from Boeing included the Israeli Booms (8, including spares, IIRC).

The IDF modified their B-707s to tankers because of the F-15 and F-16 orders. Since they had installed probes on their F-4Es, they used the KC-130 to refuel them.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:35 pm

The most recent word on tankers for Israel are just 3 KC-135s, no word on what model though.
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tommytoyz
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:25 pm

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 12):
I suppose you could make an argument to just soldier on with the KC-135's for another decade or two, MX cost be damned.

This has been hashed over many times and is not part of this thread, so I won't get into details. There are many GAO and USAF official papers that say this that you can read on this topic. The KC-135s can go on till 2045-55 or so. Many will stay in the fleet till 2035. The B-52s are just as old.

The argument of maintenance costs being too much, is a myth, if you compare those costs with the costs for a new plane and maintaining it. The 767 doesn't maintain itself. The the KC-135 look very cheap.

The maintenance depot knows the KC-135 frame intimately and has replaced everything that needs replacing, structurally already on 500 or so KC-135, including engines. There is a ton of life still left in them, which the USAF and the GAO all concur on. It's not a capability or safety issue and to illustrate, the KC-135 fleet has had the highest readiness rate of all USAF frames for several recent years and has always been near the top in that department.

If you go be readiness rate, the F-22 would be scrapped.

In any case, the USAF tanker fleet is under utilized as it is. The Israeli's will be able to operate theirs very reliably and for little money for many decades with the help of the USAF maintenance depot.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:32 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 15):
In any case, the USAF tanker fleet is under utilized as it is.

Absolutely, not true. The KC-135 fleet has out flown the programmed hours for the past few years. While I agree there is substantial life remaining, the overfly is presenting big Depot issues. More so for just trying to keep with Depot maintenance.
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:48 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 15):
This has been hashed over many times and is not part of this thread, so I won't get into details. There are many GAO and USAF official papers that say this that you can read on this topic. The KC-135s can go on till 2045-55 or so. Many will stay in the fleet till 2035. The B-52s are just as old.

Even according to the schedule out there only 179 tankers bought to replace 460ish KC-135's and KC-10's by 2027. If you don't want to start buying some of those 450ish planes now when would you suggest is the right time to start buying them and at what sort of production rate do you want to do it? If we accept that those planes all have to go by 2050 and that KC-46 production would start in 2015 at a rate of 15 per year. we end up with 525 tankers by 2050. Seems to me that if you don't want some sort of capability gap you need to start buying now. The longer one can stretch the procurement program out over the less year on year impact it has on the budget. Also until current plans change part of that buy is to drive up the current tanker fleet numbers anyway rather than straight replacement.

So when exactly would you start buying new tankers?
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:09 am

Quoting mmo (Reply 16):
Absolutely, not true. The KC-135 fleet has out flown the programmed hours for the past few years. While I agree there is substantial life remaining, the overfly is presenting big Depot issues. More so for just trying to keep with Depot maintenance.

Indeed, calculations using a predicted structural service life of 70,000 hours (structural data only) and based on current annual flight hours reveal that the structural life could extend into the twenty-second century. However, these numbers taken alone are misleading as they do not include the effects of corrosion, and part obsolesce.

There will be a point where fixing corrosion and specially manufacturing small numbers of parts that are no longer made or finding and certifying a replacement part is no longer worth it.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:30 am

I will note as part of this sale to Israel, that there is AESA radar upgrades to the current F-15's and F-16's along with various munitions. Also mentioned is a sale to the UAE for roughly 25 F-16 Block 60's as well.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:30 am

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 17):
So when exactly would you start buying new tankers?

When the KC-135 actually need replacing, beginning in 2030 or 2040 or so, not now.

There would be no gap if done this way and we would not waste a valuable capital asset. If you want tanker increases that's another story.

But I have not heard anywhere that our current capabilities are lacking in any way. The tankers fly few hours as it is. Even if they have recently seen an uptick in usage, it's still not going to make a dent for several decades. If we need a few more, then fine. However I have not read we need more tankers. If we needed more, we still have many KC-135Es mothballed that can be activated or converted to Rs.

What's the rush?
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:13 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
When the KC-135 actually need replacing, beginning in 2030 or 2040 or so, not now.

You don't plan a replacement after when the asset is going to retire, you plan prior to. Also, the current predictions using airframe cycles and hours does not take into account corrosion and parts obsolesce issues, which are often just as pressing.

You may have an airframe that may still have plenty of life left in it, but various components on board are no longer made and / or the manufacturer has long gone out of business. I can relate a story regarding our CC-115 Buffalo's; the motor for the windshield wipers for our Buffalo's is no longer made. To reopen production for this part would cost a lot of money, and considering that it would only be a fairly small order, would be not cost effective. The alternative is to find another motor that can do the same job and then do testing and certification to make it work, which is just as daunting a task.

We are already seeing this with the KC-135R's; the CFM56-2 engines are no longer made. We will need to certify a whole new engine or derivative for this.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
But I have not heard anywhere that our current capabilities are lacking in any way. The tankers fly few hours as it is. Even if they have recently seen an uptick in usage, it's still not going to make a dent for several decades. If we need a few more, then fine.

The lack of ability of a boom-configured KC-135 to refuel Navy, Marine and allied aircraft that use the drogue method is a concern. You can configure the boom on a KC-135 with a drogue attachment, but then that KC-135 won't be able to refuel aircraft that require the boom.

And before you point out that there are refueling pods to the KC-135's wings, the USAF only have a small number of them, and only a handful of KC-135R's are configured and equipped with the pods (roughly 45 aircraft total). I also believe that the exact pods (Cobham Mk32B pods) are no longer made, meaning new pods will have to be purchased and then certified for use.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:57 pm

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 17):
BigJKU

The KC-46 will not replace all KC-135s and KC-10s. Few, if any KC-135R/Ts will retire in the next 15 years, and no KC-10As are scheduled to retire. The KC-46A buy is really replacing the 140 or so KC-135Es that have already been retired, bring the USAF tanker fleet back up to near 600 airplanes.

The KC-10 will be replaced by the KC-Y program, beginning in about 10 years, or so. The KC-Z program will replace the bulk of the KC-135R/Ts beginning around 2030, or so.

Quoting mmo (Reply 16):
mmo

The KC-135s are on a 5 year PDM schedule. It is not tied to airframe hours or cycles. Before 9/11 the KC-135 fleet flew an annual average of about 450 hours per airplane. Since 9/11 that rate has jumped to about 750 hours per airplane annually. That means prior to 9/11 the KC-135s cycled through the depot with about 2250 hours between visits. Today it is about 3750 hours between visits. That's not even at the annual rate of flying of commercial NB airplanes.

Both Boeing and the USAF keep a close eye on the health of the KC-135. Corrosion is the biggest problem for the KC-135, or any other airplane. There are new techniques for controlling and fighting corrosion and parts are made or salvaged from donor KC-135s at AMARC as needed. In the mid 2000s the KC-135 fleet, as a whole had extensive corrosion problems which caused each individual airplane to have an extended depot visit until the problem areas were repaired. That is pretty much behind the KC-135 now as almost all of them have been through depot at least once since the major corrosion repairs were completed.

There is plenty of useable and safe life still left in the KC-135 fleet, that is why the fleet will not be replaced until the KC-Z program begins. Pay no attention to the USAF talking point of just a 39,000 life span for the KC-135R/T fleet. An RC-135 just past the 50,000 hour point while flying a combat mission recently, and it is still in the inventory and will be for many years to come.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:06 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
When the KC-135 actually need replacing, beginning in 2030 or 2040 or so, not now.

There would be no gap if done this way and we would not waste a valuable capital asset. If you want tanker increases that's another story.

But I have not heard anywhere that our current capabilities are lacking in any way. The tankers fly few hours as it is. Even if they have recently seen an uptick in usage, it's still not going to make a dent for several decades. If we need a few more, then fine. However I have not read we need more tankers. If we needed more, we still have many KC-135Es mothballed that can be activated or converted to Rs.

What's the rush?

It is a matter of budgeting. If you start buying in 2030 and have to have them all replaced by 2050 then you are going to have to buy 23 tankers a year instead of 15. Your year on year expenditure is 35% higher than it is if you start now and you would be incurring higher MX cost on the remaining KC-135's at the same time you had to buy all these tankers. If you waited until 2040 you have to buy 46 tankers a years and your year on year expenditure is about 70% higher than it would be during that 10 year period.

The Air Force has a relatively consistent budget for acquisition. They know they will need around 400 tankers by the middle of the century. They know they can't likely buy them in batches of 30 or 40 a year without squeezing out everything else. This is simple prudent acquisition planning on their part.

Going beyond the simple financial planning aspect of it there is the question of where exactly are you going to get the tankers from if you don't order them now in reasonably low numbers. Neither Airbus nor Boeing generally keep a spare capacity for throwing another 20-50 wide body aircraft a year off their production lines.

767 average (31 Years): 33 Frames (63 peak)
777 average (15 Years): 70 Frames (88 peak)
A330 average (20 Years): 48 Frames (101 peak, averaged 84 the last 6 years)

If you rolled up to either manufacturer in 2040 and said I need to buy 46 tankers per year for the next 10 years they would look at you like you are insane. You have to expand your production line by 50% or more in most cases to try and fit the order in. And as we have seen production line ramp ups are no small issue.

Then you have to take into account the airframe cost.

767: $160-$180 million
777: $297 million
A330: $203 million

If you don't buy the 767 now it won't be around for you to buy in 15 years. The 777 is 50% more expensive per airframe. The A330 is 10-25% more expensive for the base airframe and has a similar problem in that it likely won't be around to buy in 2030 either. 787's and A350's might work but are both more expensive than the 767 by a pretty good margin and really don't provide you with anything the 767 does not.

I get that one could in theory wait on this. But I don't really see the benefit of it in the short or long term picture. The USAF has a chance to get what will basically be a captive production line that will be fully dependent on it to keep operating which should lead to better prices. Boeing or Airbus won't sell production slots on production lines still working for commercial orders for a smaller profit than they could get just selling them to an airline after all. With the 767 line they won't be able to say that the price is not good enough because we are making more selling to American Airlines. Buying 15 a year won't break the purchasing budget of the USAF by any means and it should help drive down MX cost on the KC-135's as you can start cannibalizing parts as you wind down the fleet.
 
bigjku
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:12 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 22):
The KC-46 will not replace all KC-135s and KC-10s. Few, if any KC-135R/Ts will retire in the next 15 years, and no KC-10As are scheduled to retire. The KC-46A buy is really replacing the 140 or so KC-135Es that have already been retired, bring the USAF tanker fleet back up to near 600 airplanes.

The KC-10 will be replaced by the KC-Y program, beginning in about 10 years, or so. The KC-Z program will replace the bulk of the KC-135R/Ts beginning around 2030, or so.

I agree and have never really said anything different. This initial production run is about increasing the size of the tanker fleet. But as I posted above I think it is also about prudent budgeting and fleet planning. You have to start buying something at some point to do it and the longer you wait the bigger impact it has on your annual budgets.

My guess is that you see 767 tankers as the bulk of the force through the KC-Z and KC-X programs and you might see something different for the KC-Y program (ie something bigger). Overall though the numbers add up. If you get 15 a year starting in 2015 that is 525 tankers by 2050 which is about what you would need.

Honestly I think it worked out well that this program slipped to the right. The USAF will have more pricing leverage with Boeing over the 767 cost than it would have in the early 2000's.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:57 pm

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 23):
If you don't buy the 767 now it won't be around for you to buy in 15 years.

Maybe that's a good thing. 15 years out, there will probably be a better one available that costs less. As to your comment on the 787/767. The list prices are almost the same, yet the 787 has far more capability and burns way less and costs less to maintain, just FYI. There is a reason the 787 is being ordered by the airlines and not the 767.

Secondly, nobody knows what the tanker demand by the USAF will be that far out. By all indications, the fleet count of the USAF is going down. 15-30 years out, the USAF could be much smaller than today, in fleet count.

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 23):
I get that one could in theory wait on this. But I don't really see the benefit of it in the short or long term picture.

If increasing tanker count is the goal, the existing 74 KC-135Es could be brought out much cheaper and we should stop retiring 16 KC-135Rs. Not using your existing capital assets is a total waste of money.

Would you junk your car (no resale value) if it had only 50,000 miles on it (or store it) and buy a new one? I don't think so.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 22):
Today it is about 3750 hours between visits. That's not even at the annual rate of flying of commercial NB airplanes.

Which is why I scratch my head as to the need for 1) an increase in the tanker fleet, 2) with new tankers, when we have 74 Es in long term storage and 3) are putting an additional 16 KC-135Rs into long term storage. Only the Pentagon can utilize assets like that. A company would go broke.

http://www.amc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123337705

The 1st KC-135R being retired was utilized only 22,500 hours. LH recently retired a 747-400 utilized over 110,000 hours.
First LH 744 Retired (by na Jan 3 2012 in Civil Aviation)
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:20 am

Actually we are packaging up one of our planes to send to DM shortly. I wish they'd send the entire fleet. I absolutely hate working on the KC-135. 50 year old crap...

C-17 > KC-135

SELL THEM ALL TO ISRAEL and let THEM deal with it!  
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ThePointblank
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:39 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 25):

Maybe that's a good thing. 15 years out, there will probably be a better one available that costs less. As to your comment on the 787/767. The list prices are almost the same, yet the 787 has far more capability and burns way less and costs less to maintain, just FYI. There is a reason the 787 is being ordered by the airlines and not the 767.

The problem is, a 787 costs more than a 767 and for what the USAF has determined it requires, a more expensive aircraft with more capabilities is not worth it.

A 787's list price comes in at around a cool $206.8 million for a -8 today. Sure, you might get discounts that drive that cost down, but add in milcon costs, it goes back up and maybe even then some. Add in inflation, it will increase 15 years down the line.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 25):
If increasing tanker count is the goal, the existing 74 KC-135Es could be brought out much cheaper and we should stop retiring 16 KC-135Rs. Not using your existing capital assets is a total waste of money.

Supportability issues is the big one.

Also, the KC-135E is more expensive to maintain; in 2001, E-model engines are removed for repair/overhaul at a rate 17 times greater than R-model engines. Additionally, the overhaul costs for the E-model engine increased to $1.039M in FY01 versus $400K for the R-model engine.
 
tommytoyz
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:34 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 27):
Supportability issues is the big one.

No, capital cost is the biggest factor by over 10 X. Do the math including the cost of capital. It overshadows all other costs many times over. The 767 tankers are neither free nor are their maintenance costs free. The 94 KC-135Es can be re engined far cheaper than new KC-767s or kept as Es a low totem pole capability reserve.

Factor in all costs and of keeping the KC-135s and - on a cost basis - they extremely cheap compared to any new alternative. Throwing away capital is as foolish as throwing money out the window.

Why would airlines fly planes till way past 22,500 hours, several times over? Nobody can afford to throw money out the window, except the US Pentagon.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:57 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
No, capital cost is the biggest factor by over 10 X. Do the math including the cost of capital. It overshadows all other costs many times over.

No, maintenance costs are generally accepted as being usually at anywhere from double to twenty times the capital costs over the life of a program by any project manager, procurement specialist (like I am) or accountant. The next highest cost is usually depreciation of asset.

As someone that has a Supply Chain Management Professional designation, (it was formerly known as Certified Professional Purchaser), this is something we are acutely aware of in the procurement field.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
Factor in all costs and of keeping the KC-135s and - on a cost basis - they extremely cheap compared to any new alternative. Throwing away capital is as foolish as throwing money out the window.

You don't know that for certain, nor can you state that as a fact. This is merely an opinion.

For all we know, based upon the Air Force's calculation of future costs, they may have determined that the costs of keeping the KC-135's over the next 20-30 years without replacement will greatly exceed the costs of purchasing and sustaining a replacement based upon using Life Cycle Cost analysis.

The object of LCC analysis is to choose the most cost-effective approach from a series of alternatives so the least long term cost of ownership is achieved. LCC analysis helps engineers and project managers justify equipment and process selection based on total costs rather than the initial purchase price of equipment or projects.

Remember the first alternative for accountants is the “Do Nothing” case and this is the last alternative for engineers - thus LCC is a natural field of combat. Engineers and project managers must make their first alternative a computation of the “Do Nothing” case to form the datum for their improvement alternatives. Also remember that the single LCC number for the figure of merit is net present value (NPV) and it can be positive or negative - in general, since most engineers and project managers are only working with small parts of a projects, their NPV’s will be negative and thus the lesser negative value is the preferred course of action.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
Why would airlines fly planes till way past 22,500 hours, several times over? Nobody can afford to throw money out the window, except the US Pentagon.

Airlines operate their aircraft until it is no longer cost effective to operate. Full stop. There are cases where airlines have sold or scrapped nearly nearly new aircraft because they are no longer economical to operate, for one reason for another (fuel and maintenance are the two biggest causes).
 
cargotanker
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:57 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 25):
Would you junk your car (no resale value) if it had only 50,000 miles on it (or store it) and buy a new one? I don't think so.

Would you run a business with a fleet of 60 year-old vehicles that required extensive upgrades and 30% of them needed to be in the garage for long term maintenance and have no plan for replacement? Would you keep them until 80 years and then get replacements? I don't think so.

You need to do more than master a few GAO reports in order to be an expert on this stuff. Especially hand-picking the ones you like best. Other people on this forum are experts, seasoned professionals with years in the trade. A little humility might be in order instead of arguing with them.

Do you know that depot maintenance is not counted against mission reliability? Don't you think that 20-30% of the fleet in depot continuously contradicts a claimed 80% reliability rate? How many F-22s are in depot right now? What % of the C-17 fleet is in depot right now? (hint: its a lot less than the KC-135)

Do you want to know why KC-135Rs are being retired with so (comparatively) few hours on them? To create spare parts to keep other KC-135s flying. Because we've run out of a lot of spare parts from the C-135s already in the boneyard. That might happen 60 years after the end of production.

Do new build 767s require Block 45 upgrades or skin replacements to fly beyond 2018?

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 15):
This has been hashed over many times and is not part of this thread, so I won't get into details. There are many GAO and USAF official papers that say this that you can read on this topic. The KC-135s can go on till 2045-55 or so. Many will stay in the fleet till 2035.

Its settled in your mind, but thankfully people who know airplanes and acquisition have come to a different conclusion. When I google "KC-135 GAO" I get a bunch of GAO reports stating that the KC-135 needs to be replaced. One of them even says "urgently", and it's from 2003! How can that be?

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
The tankers fly few hours as it is. Even if they have recently seen an uptick in usage, it's still not going to make a dent for several decades.

Few hours compared to what? Airlines or other military aircraft? Why would you even compare USAF flying hours to airline flying hours? Do you mean the "recent uptick" in usage that happened 12 years ago aroud Sep 2001? How much are the aircraft flying when they aren't in depot?

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
No, capital cost is the biggest factor by over 10 X. Do the math including the cost of capital. It overshadows all other costs many times over.

This doesn't even make sense. Purchase a 767 for $200M and it will cost less than $20M to maintain it for 30+ years?
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:09 pm

Quoting KC135Hydraulics (Reply 26):
Actually we are packaging up one of our planes to send to DM shortly. I wish they'd send the entire fleet. I absolutely hate working on the KC-135. 50 year old crap...

Oh, where to begin?

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 27):
the KC-135E is more expensive to maintain; in 2001, E-model engines are removed for repair/overhaul at a rate 17 times greater than R-model engines. Additionally, the overhaul costs for the E-model engine increased to $1.039M in FY01 versus $400K for the R-model engine.

Other than the engines, the KC-135E airframe costs approximately the same to maintain as the KC-135R frame does. There are a few differences between the two models in the landing gear, brakes, electrical system and the APU.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
No, capital cost is the biggest factor by over 10 X. Do the math including the cost of capital. It overshadows all other costs many times over. The 767 tankers are neither free nor are their maintenance costs free. The 94 KC-135Es can be re engined far cheaper than new KC-767s or kept as Es a low totem pole capability reserve.
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
No, maintenance costs are generally accepted as being usually at anywhere from double to twenty times the capital costs over the life of a program by any project manager, procurement specialist (like I am) or accountant. The next highest cost is usually depreciation of asset.
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
The object of LCC analysis is to choose the most cost-effective approach from a series of alternatives so the least long term cost of ownership is achieved. LCC analysis helps engineers and project managers justify equipment and process selection based on total costs rather than the initial purchase price of equipment or projects.

Hold on guys. The original KC-135A airplanes, bought between FY-1955 and FY-1964 had an average cost about $4.5M to $6M each (the KC-135R had an average modification cost of $29M to $32M). Like all SAC airplanes at the time they originally were planned to have a fleet life expectancy of about 15 years, which means all of them should have retired by 1979 to 1980. Since the first KC-135A did not retire until 1992, and still had plenty of life left in the airframe, it became an amazing bargain airplane for the USAF, in terms of costs. When the B-52E/F retired in the late 1970s, they had an average of about 6000-6500 flying hours on them. When the first KC-135A retired in 1992, she had more than 16,000 hours on her, more than 2.5 X the use of the B-52. In fact most of the B-52Gs that retired about the same time the KC-135A started to retire, the bombers only had about 8000 hours on them. While it is true many of those B-52 hour were spent during low-level flying, those airplanes were modified for that. Many KC-135As also had many low-level flying hours too, but the KC-135 was never modified structurally for that type of flying.

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 30):
Do you want to know why KC-135Rs are being retired with so (comparatively) few hours on them? To create spare parts to keep other KC-135s flying. Because we've run out of a lot of spare parts from the C-135s already in the boneyard.

That is correct. But we have to keep in mind that about half of all KC/EC-135s in the boneyard are in storage and are not to have to many parts removed from them in case they need to be reactivated. Most of the salvaged parts for the KC-135R/T come from parts donor KC-135As in the boneyard. Most KC-135Es and EC-135Cs are still in flyable storage.
 
135mech
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:34 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
Quoting BigJKU (Reply 17):
So when exactly would you start buying new tankers?

When the KC-135 actually need replacing, beginning in 2030 or 2040 or so, not now.

There would be no gap if done this way and we would not waste a valuable capital asset. If you want tanker increases that's another story.

But I have not heard anywhere that our current capabilities are lacking in any way. The tankers fly few hours as it is. Even if they have recently seen an uptick in usage, it's still not going to make a dent for several decades. If we need a few more, then fine. However I have not read we need more tankers. If we needed more, we still have many KC-135Es mothballed that can be activated or converted to Rs.

What's the rush?



It's funny, I read your posts on here and other threads...it's amazing how "determined" that you are "right" and everyone else is soooo wrong on this KC acquisition... Let me ask you... have you worked on the venerable (wonderful in my eyes of course) KC-135's??? Have you flown them personally? What makes you so "knowledgeable" on these airframes?

I worked them for 21 years and flew on them for just as long, and I am sorry to say your "determined correctness" is NOT accurate.

Just like any old airframe it eventually shows it's "wear and tear".

I found a document years ago, from Boeing, about how the shelf life was given a 100 year "fatigue" life, HOWEVER, corrosion (and the future of it for this specific airframe) was unknown and undetermined due to the fact it was a "new" alloy and they did NOT have accurate ways to test for it. The Corrosion IS a huge part of the KC-135's main problem. My first airplane specifically was scrapped and devoured by the depot teams to investigate where and how intense the corrosion problems were on these birds in 1992 (so my plane - a 1961 model) was already 31 years old and falling apart because of the corrosion. FROM THAT POINT ON...the KC-135's were permanently restricted from being stationed in high-corrosive locations (i.e. MacDill, Kadena, Mildenhall, and other places) for more than 24 months, with rare exceptions...and a VERY intense & COSTLY corrosion control program.

So, please...do tell, from where does your experience derive???

Regards,
135Mech (see... someone with experience on these great but VERY OLD and CORRODED birds)
135Mech
 
bigjku
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:58 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 31):
That is correct. But we have to keep in mind that about half of all KC/EC-135s in the boneyard are in storage and are not to have to many parts removed from them in case they need to be reactivated. Most of the salvaged parts for the KC-135R/T come from parts donor KC-135As in the boneyard. Most KC-135Es and EC-135Cs are still in flyable storage.

Which is really spot on. The E's are in storage now and not being torn down. They "could" be brought back into service but that would increase the drain on the parts you are pulling from the A models AND reduce a source of future parts for the R's that will keep many of them flying until 2030-2040.

That is yet another reason to buy new tankers now really. This program is honestly a piece of competent fleet management on the part of the USAF. It will get maximum economical life out of the KC-135's.

Tommy would also do well to realize that the goal of the USAF in this is really to manage its year to year budget in a prudent manner. Waiting until 2030 and then buying 30 tankers a year is a recipe for disaster in the procurement budget.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:14 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 31):
Hold on guys. The original KC-135A airplanes, bought between FY-1955 and FY-1964 had an average cost about $4.5M to $6M each (the KC-135R had an average modification cost of $29M to $32M).

Don't forget to adjust for inflation... $4.5 million dollars in 2012 dollars would be $37.9 million.
 
tommytoyz
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:04 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
No, maintenance costs are generally accepted as being usually at anywhere from double to twenty times the capital costs over the life of a program by any project manager, procurement specialist (like I am) or accountant.

That is true. And the KC-46 is also going to cost a pretty penny to maintain and operate. Did you factor that in? Add everything together for both planes, including operating cpsts, maintenance and capital costs for both - and the 767 total costs are far higher over the same period and with equivalent capability, than keeping the KC-135 for that capability and time period. If you don't want to believe the GAO - it's a free country.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
You don't know that for certain, nor can you state that as a fact. This is merely an opinion.

Just going by GAO reports.

Quoting 135mech (Reply 32):
I worked them for 21 years and flew on them for just as long, and I am sorry to say your "determined correctness" is NOT accurate.

Your cited experience alone does not qualify you to make a financial comparison. It also does not disqualify the GAO.

Quoting 135mech (Reply 32):
So, please...do tell, from where does your experience derive???

GAO reports are my source. Perhaps you should ask that question of them. They actually answer how they came up with their calculations in their reports, if you really want to know.

GAO has already reported on all this. A. Netter seem to want to reinvent the wheel.

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 33):
Waiting until 2030 and then buying 30 tankers a year is a recipe for disaster in the procurement budget.

The opposite is true. Buying airplanes 15-20 years before you have to, is a total waste. Who does that except the Pentagon? Is that how you buy your cars or replace your roof? Over the same period and to provide the same capability, the GAO has concluded it is more expensive - all costs considered - to buy new planes VS keeping what we already have for the same time period. If I remember correctly, 1 KC-46 = 1.35 KC-135R and 1.75 KC-135E or something like that. They factored everything in.

I suggest if anyone wants to re-argue the GAO numbers, we open up a new thread, as it has nothing to do with Israel. The GAO reports are public and clear. To me that's what I go by.

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 30):
I get a bunch of GAO reports stating that the KC-135 needs to be replaced. One of them even says "urgently", and it's from 2003! How can that be?

Feel free to start another thread on that and don't forget to include who said that and in full context. Spoiler alert: It was the USAF who said that, not GAO. GAO quotes many sources in its reports, before coming to its own conclusion.

Here's an example from that same report, on the same page even:

The Air Force report indicates the following:
• Leasing costs more than buying by $150 million (net present value).

GAO has the following observations about the lease report:
• Purchasing could be up to $1.9 billion cheaper (net present value),

USAF was off by a factor of over 10 x. USAF can't do financials, they've proven it over and over again. Their books can not even be audited, because they're such a mess.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:22 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
And the KC-46 is also going to cost a pretty penny to maintain and operate. Did you factor that in? Add everything together for both planes, including operating cpsts, maintenance and capital costs for both - and the 767 total costs are far higher over the same period and with equivalent capability, than keeping the KC-135 for that capability and time period. If you don't want to believe the GAO - it's a free country.

However, you forgot that the KC-46 will operate for a much longer time, instead of the estimated 20-30 years. We will probably get at least 40-50 years out of the KC-46. As such, the long term costs of acquiring the KC-46 sooner rather than later is lower because A: we won't have the option of a cheaper alternative when it does come time to replace the airframe, and B: the higher acquisition and per unit costs associated with a much faster procurement and production process.

Furthermore, the 767 is slowly going to be retired from civilian operations over the next decade. The USAF, much like what they did with the 707's, can purchase those airframes on the cheap, and strip them of parts to reduce maintenance costs.

The USAF is making the economically sound judgement to start preparing for the end life of the KC-135 now.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Just going by GAO reports.

Of which you don't know the exact context, and of which, you have selectively cherry picked arguments that you agree with.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Your cited experience alone does not qualify you to make a financial comparison.

Of which he has the judgement and experience alone estimate costs of repair. He's seen what the airframes are like and thus, has some evidence to back up a potential costing analysis on the work necessary to keep the KC-135 operating.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:08 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 34):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 31):Hold on guys. The original KC-135A airplanes, bought between FY-1955 and FY-1964 had an average cost about $4.5M to $6M each (the KC-135R had an average modification cost of $29M to $32M).
Don't forget to adjust for inflation... $4.5 million dollars in 2012 dollars would be $37.9 million.

That is true, but the 2012 adjusted dollars for the KC-135 is about 1/3 the cost of the 1980 KC-10, and just over 1/5 the costs of new build KC-46s.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
tommytoyz

Whoa there cowboy. 135mech's, Cargotanker's, and my own experience with the KC-135 does qualify us to make financial comparisons. 135mech's experience with KC-135 maintenance is all about cost as well as turning wrenches and screw drivers. He did not spend all his time on the flight line, but also did scheduling work and ordering parts. Mine included time as a CCTS Instructor, a Wing level Air Refueling Superintendent and a Wing Scheduler and TTF experience, including the Air Refueling Coordinator for the CENTAF 17th AD (P) within the Desert Storm AOR. Cargotankers experience includes Command Level Scheduling and at the TACC. We did not just fly the KC-135, but managed it at the wing or command level.

I think the 3 of us have a little bit more than just an idea about the KC-135 weapons system.
 
rc135x
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:07 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
The USAF order for 75 additional Booms from Boeing included the Israeli Booms (8, including spares, IIRC).

Indeed correct!

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 25):
The 1st KC-135R being retired was utilized only 22,500 hours. LH recently retired a 747-400 utilized over 110,000 hours.

For the KC-135 this is not a particularly helpful comparison. The issue is not necessarily total airframe hours but utilization hours. The utilization cycles of 747-400 on long haul routes might be airborne 10 hours, turned in 3 hours and airborne again for another 10 hours. Flying is a far friendlier place for an airframe than sitting alert for 90 days at a time at Minot AFB, ND, where the parts become cold soaked, systems are not regularly cycled, and there is even tire-rotation scheduled to prevent tire and strut damage.

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 30):
Do you want to know why KC-135Rs are being retired with so (comparatively) few hours on them? To create spare parts to keep other KC-135s flying. Because we've run out of a lot of spare parts from the C-135s already in the boneyard. That might happen 60 years after the end of production.

Exactly, and in fact this problem arose decades ago. During the 1980s and 1990s four KC-135As were lost due to the explosion of fuel-air mixture in the fuselage body tank ignited by overheated fuel pumps. The replacement parts for the pumps were no longer manufactured, and until an alternative was found Boeing dictated that 5,000 pounds of fuel be left in the tank to cool the pumps.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
GAO reports are my source. Perhaps you should ask that question of them.

The GAO is hardly an unbiased source. Although well beyond the scope of this thread, GAO reports are typically politicized with the desired results selected and then evidence marshaled to support that argument.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Over the same period and to provide the same capability, the GAO has concluded it is more expensive - all costs considered - to buy new planes VS keeping what we already have for the same time period. If I remember correctly, 1 KC-46 = 1.35 KC-135R and 1.75 KC-135E or something like that. They factored everything in.

This always has been and always will be an idiotic argument. "Tanker equivalents" has been a spurious argument since the KC-135 replacement discussion began. The real issue is boom/drogue to receiver ratio. If 1 KC-46 can do what 1.75 KC-135Es can do, the bean counters in the GAO are happy. But that means there is one less boom somewhere over the Atlantic for an F-22 that needs gas.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 37):
We did not just fly the KC-135, but managed it at the wing or command level.

I think the 3 of us have a little bit more than just an idea about the KC-135 weapons system.

Precisely. A bunch of politically motivated MBA whiz kids crunching what-if numbers in some Washington DC federal building can generate a report that supports or refutes any point of view.

Concerning the transfer of KC-135s to Israel (is THAT what this thread is about?), not only did Israel request KC-135s during the 1970s but Iran and Canada did as well. All were denied and bought 707 tankers instead. Interestingly, the sale of C-135Fs to France violated export rules and was done against the express policy stated by the President and Secretary of Defense and done without their knowledge.
KC-135A, A(RT), D, E, E(RT), Q, R, EC-135A, C, G, L, RC-135S, U, V, W, X, TC-135S, W
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:24 pm

Quoting rc135x (Reply 38):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):Over the same period and to provide the same capability, the GAO has concluded it is more expensive - all costs considered - to buy new planes VS keeping what we already have for the same time period. If I remember correctly, 1 KC-46 = 1.35 KC-135R and 1.75 KC-135E or something like that. They factored everything in.
This always has been and always will be an idiotic argument. "Tanker equivalents" has been a spurious argument since the KC-135 replacement discussion began. The real issue is boom/drogue to receiver ratio. If 1 KC-46 can do what 1.75 KC-135Es can do, the bean counters in the GAO are happy. But that means there is one less boom somewhere over the Atlantic for an F-22 that needs gas.

Correct, the maximum ration one tanker can support is 6 fighters to one tanker Boom. Pictures you see of 12-18 fighters stacked up are fighter packages with different targets and different weapons loads. This is a pre-strike refueling and the tanker usually off-loads all of its scheduled (and in most cases more) then returns to base, flying just a few hours. other tankers will complete the post-strike refueling.
 
tommytoyz
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:59 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 37):
Whoa there cowboy

The total cost comparison between both programs is a huge undertaking needing a huge amount of facts and data on both programs.The GAO has done that with a team of people and congressional power behind, because Congress asked it to. They looked at the books and got facts that others don't have access to.

Which doesn't even begin to address the fact that, as far as I am aware of, none of you have worked on the KC-46 program and have no inside knowledge of the facts regarding that program at all.

I mean no disrespect, and in no way want to disparage anyone's experience and qualifications. I want to discuss the facts in a civilized manner. The post I was responding to was not in a civil spirit and I was forced to pushed back a little and respond defensively by pointing out his weakness in the matter.

Sorry you felt the need to jump in and seem offended. No offense was meant to anyone on my part.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:37 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 40):
tommytoyz

The GAO is full of 'professional bean counters". They look at numbers and only numbers. Even the GAO acknowledges that LCC for any weapons system is at best a guess. Future costs are difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Just taking into account the cost of fuel required for the KC-46 will need to complete its missions is far from accurate. Even guessing at the number of hours each KC-46 will fly per year is tricky. The USAF never took projected flying hours for the KC-135 into would increase by 70% per airplane per year prior to 9/11. That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.
 
rwessel
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:08 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 41):
The GAO is full of 'professional bean counters". They look at numbers and only numbers. Even the GAO acknowledges that LCC for any weapons system is at best a guess. Future costs are difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Just taking into account the cost of fuel required for the KC-46 will need to complete its missions is far from accurate. Even guessing at the number of hours each KC-46 will fly per year is tricky. The USAF never took projected flying hours for the KC-135 into would increase by 70% per airplane per year prior to 9/11. That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.

So your solution is what? Write the military a blank check and hope they spend it wisely? Or trust the "estimates" that come out of the Pentagon and the contractors? The GAO at least produces estimates (often for things very hard to actually estimate) from a fairly neutral perspective. And they do offer opportunities to rebut their assessments. And while they clearly don't always get it right, they're a heck of a lot more creditable than almost anyone else.
 
rc135x
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:22 pm

Quoting rwessel (Reply 42):
And while they clearly don't always get it right, they're a heck of a lot more creditable than almost anyone else.

I don't believe this is what TopBoom means in his critique of the GAO.*

GAO reports can be (and often are) used to prove or disprove an original assumption rather than present an unbiased outcome analysis. Starting variables may be "cherry picked" to validate an argument, just as the military, corporations, or A.Netters do. TopBoom is merely stating that to take GAO reports as canon is a risky proposition and should not be a "sole source" rationale for decision making.

This is his key point:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 41):
That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.

As an example, during Congressional testimony on 17 Feb 55, officials urged the cancellation of the KC-135 program. Citing reams of documents and analyses, they concluded the airplane was inefficient and too costly. Their recommendation for a tanker to refuel jet bombers was a KB-36.

Good decisions are based on healthy discussion of all points of view. Using only GAO reports or operational experience can lead to poor choices with drastic long-term consequences.

*If I've misrepresented TopBoom's thinking here I apologize and will go stick my hand in the toaster.
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tommytoyz
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:27 pm

Quoting rc135x (Reply 43):
As an example, during Congressional testimony on 17 Feb 55, officials urged the cancellation of the KC-135 program. Citing reams of documents and analyses, they concluded the airplane was inefficient and too costly. Their recommendation for a tanker to refuel jet bombers was a KB-36.

I've looked for that reference, but can not find anywhere that the GAO urged Congress in this way or made that recommendation. Do you have a link?

The one capability that makes and made the KC-135 stand out above all others, is its speed. It matches the high subsonic speeds of the planes it is refueling. No amount of money or savings was going to make the prop based tankers faster.

The slower tankers were simply too slow for the new jets and at times had to be on a descending profile while offloading, to maintain speed. That was the main problem. The KC-135 solved that.

The main USAF argument for the KC-46 is cost and that the KC-135 is rotting away. I never really heard that the capabilities of the existing fleet or its readiness rate were inadequate. If the KC-46 adds some sort of crucial capability today that the KC-135 lacks, I have yet to hear it.

So it really comes down to the cost issue then. And just like the tanker lease deal, the USAF statements are in conflict with GAO calculations. Who would you believe?
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed May 01, 2013 1:35 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 44):
I've looked for that reference, but can not find anywhere that the GAO urged Congress in this way or made that recommendation. Do you have a link?

I did not state nor mean to imply this was a GAO recommendation, and regret any confusion.

References: Congress, House, Subcommittee of the Committee of Appropriations, Hearings Before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, 84th Cong., 1st sess., 17 February 1955, 300.

Aviation Week, 16 May 1955, 13.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 44):
And just like the tanker lease deal, the USAF statements are in conflict with GAO calculations. Who would you believe?

I don't necessarily believe any source. Invalid USAF claims do not, per force, validate GAO claims, and vice versa. To reiterate

Quoting rc135x (Reply 43):
Using only GAO reports or operational experience can lead to poor choices with drastic long-term consequences.
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kc135topboom
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Wed May 01, 2013 11:20 pm

Quoting rc135x (Reply 43):
Quoting rwessel (Reply 42):And while they clearly don't always get it right, they're a heck of a lot more creditable than almost anyone else.
I don't believe this is what TopBoom means in his critique of the GAO.*

GAO reports can be (and often are) used to prove or disprove an original assumption rather than present an unbiased outcome analysis. Starting variables may be "cherry picked" to validate an argument, just as the military, corporations, or A.Netters do. TopBoom is merely stating that to take GAO reports as canon is a risky proposition and should not be a "sole source" rationale for decision making.

This is his key point:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 41):That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.
Quoting rc135x (Reply 43):
*If I've misrepresented TopBoom's thinking here I apologize and will go stick my hand in the toaster.

No sir, you got it right, and said it better than I did.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 44):
If the KC-46 adds some sort of crucial capability today that the KC-135 lacks, I have yet to hear it.

The KC-46 has better combat survivability than the KC-135 does. It has an armored cockpit to protect the crew from 7.62mm (.30 caliber) ammo, and also will have LAIRCM, both systems the KC-135 does not have. Although there has never been a KC-135 shot down in combat, and only 2 received combat damage inflight (both incidents happened during the Vietnam War and only one crew member was wounded, the Boom Operator), the KC-135 still is required to fly beyond the FEBA. The KC-46 will also be able to carry 19 463L pallets, the KC-135 carries only 6. The KC-46 also can carry up to about 150 troops, compared to a max of 85 in the KC-135, and carries 3 X the number of aero-medical patients the KC-135 can. For air refueling, the KC-135 will have a much bigger air refueling envelope for the Boom. Although the KC-46 only has a slight increase in maximum off-load capability over the KC-135, about 202,000 lbs. of fuel compared to about 185,000 lbs. of fuel, and off-loads fuel at the higher (maximum) rate of 1200 GPM compared to the KC-135's rate of 900 GPM.
 
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu May 02, 2013 3:02 pm

Rumors are that the 3 will indeed be KC-135R models, that is if the deal actually goes through,
The last of the famous international playboys
 
135mech
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu May 02, 2013 8:20 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 36):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Just going by GAO reports.

Of which you don't know the exact context, and of which, you have selectively cherry picked arguments that you agree with.


You said that perfectly!

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 36):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Your cited experience alone does not qualify you to make a financial comparison.

Of which he has the judgement and experience alone estimate costs of repair. He's seen what the airframes are like and thus, has some evidence to back up a potential costing analysis on the work necessary to keep the KC-135 operating.


Thank you!

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 37):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
tommytoyz

Whoa there cowboy. 135mech's, Cargotanker's, and my own experience with the KC-135 does qualify us to make financial comparisons. 135mech's experience with KC-135 maintenance is all about cost as well as turning wrenches and screw drivers. He did not spend all his time on the flight line, but also did scheduling work and ordering parts. Mine included time as a CCTS Instructor, a Wing level Air Refueling Superintendent and a Wing Scheduler and TTF experience, including the Air Refueling Coordinator for the CENTAF 17th AD (P) within the Desert Storm AOR. Cargotankers experience includes Command Level Scheduling and at the TACC. We did not just fly the KC-135, but managed it at the wing or command level.

I think the 4 of us have a little bit more than just an idea about the KC-135 weapons system.


Precisely!

It's great...tommytoyz is an amazing "reader" of GAO reports...but seriously fights as if he's "lived" what he's talking about. If you want to dispute something, then have the decency to "appreciate" other people's experience on the actual matter (especially the four of us who have "lived" these airplanes, unlike you who can "read a report").
I actually have worked them in depth, I did the Isochronal/Phased inspections for a few years and the rest of the time did the other scheduled and unscheduled major and minor inspections, along with finding new fixes for new problems and helping overcoming the age/corrosion problems! Installing the "glass cockpits" and numorous other modifications. Also, the four of us have "lived" on/in the airplanes taking them around the world and still being able to finish our job, keeping the airplane and rest of our crews safe, and ultimately "coming home" in the end.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 38):
For the KC-135 this is not a particularly helpful comparison. The issue is not necessarily total airframe hours but utilization hours. The utilization cycles of 747-400 on long haul routes might be airborne 10 hours, turned in 3 hours and airborne again for another 10 hours. Flying is a far friendlier place for an airframe than sitting alert for 90 days at a time at Minot AFB, ND, where the parts become cold soaked, systems are not regularly cycled, and there is even tire-rotation scheduled to prevent tire and strut damage.


Yup, KC-135's sat all of those years with near max fuel loads, ON THE GROUND, for days/weeks and that alone is something 747's and other commercial airliners NEVER do!!! (It's incredibly stressful to do this and maintaining them gets costly due to it!)

Quoting rc135x (Reply 38):
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
GAO reports are my source. Perhaps you should ask that question of them.

The GAO is hardly an unbiased source. Although well beyond the scope of this thread, GAO reports are typically politicized with the desired results selected and then evidence marshaled to support that argument.


Exactly, but his ONLY sources are the GAO reports... seriously, widen your search and increase your EXTREMELY LIMITED knowledge if you want to have a "true" debate on this issue.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 38):
Precisely. A bunch of politically motivated MBA whiz kids crunching what-if numbers in some Washington DC federal building can generate a report that supports or refutes any point of view.


:D

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 40):
I mean no disrespect, and in no way want to disparage anyone's experience and qualifications. I want to discuss the facts in a civilized manner. The post I was responding to was not in a civil spirit and I was forced to pushed back a little and respond defensively by pointing out his weakness in the matter.
Sorry you felt the need to jump in and seem offended. No offense was meant to anyone on my part.


Our response, and mainly my response was ... in response to you saying that our experience has NO MATTER on the tanker acquisition... and you got rapidly offended... We love debating the future of our tankers, but when someone does as you do, of course we will be wound up and actually "respond" the way we do.

If you want a civilized conversation (as you state) then please treat the others with the respect that you so desire, and we'll all get along. But, many of your responses are borderline disrespectful (in MANY of these threads and not just this one... I usually make it an effort to completely ignore your usual postings - because of it), especially to those who actually "know" things about said topics and not just "readers of reports". HOWEVER... I am THOROUGHLY QUALIFIED to be posting (along with the amazingly knowledgeable KC135TopBoom, rc135x, and CargoTanker) about this topic, because we have first hand knowledge AND experience with the airframe/weapon system. (Please show a little respect for that...we've earned that much.)

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 41):
The GAO is full of 'professional bean counters". They look at numbers and only numbers. Even the GAO acknowledges that LCC for any weapons system is at best a guess. Future costs are difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Just taking into account the cost of fuel required for the KC-46 will need to complete its missions is far from accurate. Even guessing at the number of hours each KC-46 will fly per year is tricky. The USAF never took projected flying hours for the KC-135 into would increase by 70% per airplane per year prior to 9/11. That is just two examples of why LCC are at best a guess and at worst widely exaggerated.


Very true, costs are only (at best) ever estimated, and that's why you have all of the other number-people keeping tight tabs on the actual spent dollar...it's the way to keep your contractors and partners in check with the overall physical product.

Quoting rwessel (Reply 42):
So your solution is what? Write the military a blank check and hope they spend it wisely? Or trust the "estimates" that come out of the Pentagon and the contractors? The GAO at least produces estimates (often for things very hard to actually estimate) from a fairly neutral perspective. And they do offer opportunities to rebut their assessments. And while they clearly don't always get it right, they're a heck of a lot more creditable than almost anyone else.


Absolutely not... The GAO is there for a reason, HOWEVER, they are only a part of the process, and aid (if we all play nicely so-to-speak) in getting us a good deal for a good plane/weapon system.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 46):
The KC-46 has better combat survivability than the KC-135 does. It has an armored cockpit to protect the crew from 7.62mm (.30 caliber) ammo, and also will have LAIRCM, both systems the KC-135 does not have. Although there has never been a KC-135 shot down in combat, and only 2 received combat damage inflight (both incidents happened during the Vietnam War and only one crew member was wounded, the Boom Operator), the KC-135 still is required to fly beyond the FEBA. The KC-46 will also be able to carry 19 463L pallets, the KC-135 carries only 6. The KC-46 also can carry up to about 150 troops, compared to a max of 85 in the KC-135, and carries 3 X the number of aero-medical patients the KC-135 can. For air refueling, the KC-135 will have a much bigger air refueling envelope for the Boom. Although the KC-46 only has a slight increase in maximum off-load capability over the KC-135, about 202,000 lbs. of fuel compared to about 185,000 lbs. of fuel, and off-loads fuel at the higher (maximum) rate of 1200 GPM compared to the KC-135's rate of 900 GPM.


Sometimes it's easy to get off track, but thanks TopBoom for this data! I remember how many differences the KC-330 was under the needs vs. the KC-46's meeting of needs when all of this was getting heated in 2007/2008.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 47):
Rumors are that the 3 will indeed be KC-135R models, that is if the deal actually goes through,


Thank you for getting us back on topic! That's great they are getting the R-models, the performance/efficiency/reliability of those engines vs the old (but MANY spares) TF-33 is significant.

Cheers!
135mech

[Edited 2013-05-02 13:59:29]
135Mech
 
tommytoyz
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RE: KC-135 Will Be Sold To Israel

Thu May 02, 2013 9:10 pm

Quoting 135mech (Reply 48):
If you want a civilized conversation (as you state) then please treat the others with the respect that you so desire, and we'll all get along.

I have and I do. However, your opinions and arguments are soley based on your stated experience. So I simply pointed out that your stated experience does not qualify you to make a financial cost comparison of both programs - any more than it qualifies you to fly as captain. This is the truth and not meant to disrespect your experience and I stated as such. If you insist on taking offense to me pointing out the limitations of your argument, so be it.

We can talk about these things in a civil manner, which is what I desire. So please why don't you cite some numbers or sources beyond citing you experience alone, which does not address the cost comparison? What exactly is it the GAO did wrong in your opinion, specifically?

Or what are your cost numbers - anything at all? Anything.

I don't try to pretend that I am personally qualified or that I know better than anyone, which is why my opinions are based on the GAO, and not based on my experience. Some specific cost figures from you would be nice. Thanks.

And indeed, if the KC-135R is more expensive than new tankers, why doesn't Israel just order new tankers?

[Edited 2013-05-02 14:11:49]

[Edited 2013-05-02 14:22:50]

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