|Quoting Rheinwaldner (Reply 357):|
We have many voices here knowing better what the USAF wants and needs than the USAF. I mean with the KC45 selection the USAF brought so much troubles for themselves that they obviously really wanted that plane. They must see some huge benefits otherwise why worry, take the weaker offer and everbody would be happy, no complaints!
There would be a ton of complaints from congressional delegates in the gulf coast and Southern California (HQ of NG
has a very powerful lobby in congress and McCain on their side as well.
|Quoting Rheinwaldner (Reply 357):|
Of the listed options (very nice and comprehensive) you forgot the most obvious and cheapest, the bright way for the future, ... a new tanker fleet that at the same time supports the bullet-and-cargo cargo role better (more efficient) than anything else!!
We've gone over way too many times why buying $150 million dollar specialized tankers isn't a good option for transporting cargo. Buying a smaller dedicated force of tankers only and then a dedicated force of converted cargo aircraft is the cheapest option.
Buying new A330Fs would be a cheaper than buying extra KC
-45s. You wouldn't have to pay for the extra tanker equipment and you wouldn't suffer from the payload reduction of having thousands of lbs of tanker pluming on board.
The fact of the matter is that 179 KC
-45s aren't enough to cover the tanker missions and relieve the nearly 300 strong C-17 and C-5 fleet (not to mention the C-130 fleet) The KC
-45 can either be a great tanker or a great cargo aircraft but it can't do both at the same time and there aren't going to be enough spares lying around to cover the our current cargo fleet. We've also gone over numerous times the abuse in the forms of cycles, extra hours, and heavy weight take offs and landings you put on the KC
-45s by flying them all the time.
Here are your options listed from least expensive to most:
1. Convert the E models to R models (they have already been proven to last a long time) and then buy used aircraft and convert them to cargo aircraft for 25% of the cost of a KC
-45 to cover the long range cargo missions and suitable inter-theatre missions that the C-17, C-5, and C-130 are now flying. Rely on CRAF
and leases for the surges because surges don't happen that often and keeping enough aircraft around to cover them would be very expensive
2. Buy a fleet of A330Fs and dedicate them to flying C-17, C-5, and C-130 relief missions. You can then reserve your 179 tankers for refueling missions instead of putting cycles and hours on them hauling boxes.
3. If you really want a true multi-role capable tanker, buy A345 or a 777F based tanker. One that has enough payload to replace a C-17 cargo load and still be able to drag fighters across the pond. Of course when you use these aircraft as cargo only aircraft you still run into the problem of putting extra cycles and hours on a very expensive asset. This option I think would be slightly more expensive than 2 because of the R+D costs to make these tankers/freighters. We would also have to buy more when they wear out in 20 years instead of the 40 they are supposed to last (just like the KC
-45 would) when we abuse them by flying them all the time.
4. Buy enough KC
-45s to replace the KC
-135s and relieve the C-17, C-5, and C-130 fleet. The 179 we have now can't do this now despite the NG
propaganda (the KC
-767 couldn't do it either despite the Boeing propaganda, but we'll focus on the KC
-45 since it was selected). In order to do everything as promised we would probably need to add 100 KC
-45s (maybe even double the fleet size) to cover all the tanker missions and relieve the enormous C-5, C-17, and C-130 fleet. However we would be spending a ton of extra money on an asset that is penalized by its design (extra weight) to do a mission that a very cheap converted cargo aircraft could do. If you insist a new aircraft is better (UPS and FedEx disagree with you) then even new A330Fs would be a better and cheaper option than buying more KC
-45s to effectively cover all of those cargo missions.