|Quoting Zeke (Reply 94):|
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 93):
Gen. Moseley was an idiot.
Wouldn't go that far, his career has been very impressive.
He was part of the Gen. McPeak (Former USAF COS
) fighter mafia. Tankers, bombers, recces, and trash haulers are not his strong suit, even though he does have some KC
-135 time and once headed AMC.
TropicBird, thanks. But, the Rand study also said on pages 15-16 the US doesn't really know how long the KC
-135 will last;
Technical Condition of the KC
There are substantial technical uncertainties associated with operating the KC
-135 fleet into
the 2040s. The current (December 2005) assessment of the flight-hour life of the KC
-135 fleet and
the expected future flying-hour programs together imply that these aircraft can operate into the 2040s. It cannot be said with high confidence that this is not the case, although there are risks
associated with a fleet whose age is in the 80- to 90-year range. It can also not be said with high
confidence that the current fleet can indeed operate into the 2040s without major cost increases or
operational shortfalls, up to and including grounding of large parts of the fleet for substantial
lengths of time, due to currently unknown technical problems that may arise. The nation does not
currently have sufficient knowledge about the state of the KC
-135 fleet to project its technical
condition over the next several decades with high confidence.
A major scientific and engineering effort to increase the state of knowledge about the technical
condition of the KC
-135 fleet would improve the nation’s understanding of the future costs and
risks associated with operating the KC
-135 fleet for the next 40 years. This effort might include
full-scale fatigue testing and teardown inspections of some aircraft. Such an effort would improve
the scientific basis for assessing the technical condition of the fleet.
It also concluded the most cost effective replacement for the KC
-135 fleet was a mix of medium and large tankers.
The primary findings of the AoA are as follows:
• A fleet of medium to large (300,000 to 1,000,000 pounds maximum gross takeoff weight)
commercial derivatives is the most cost-effective alternative for KC
That is, such a fleet would provide the required refueling capability at the lowest overall cost,
defined as the present value of all future production and operating costs. Fleets consisting of
just one kind of such aircraft or consisting of two kinds of them have comparable costeffectiveness.
• If the AoA-guidance KC
-135 fleet meets or exceeds the future aerial refueling requirement,
the present value of all life-cycle costs, both of operating the KC
-135s until they are retired
and of acquiring and operating the replacement aircraft, is relatively insensitive to the
timing of recapitalization. In this case, the decision of when to recapitalize should be based on
considerations other than the present value of life-cycle costs. Arguments favoring earlier (sooner
or more rapid) recapitalization include hedging against the technical risk associated with the
-135 fleet, the existence of future constraints on annual procurement budgets, and the
additional capabilities of the new tankers. Arguments favoring delayed (later or less rapid)
recapitalization include hedging against uncertainties that could reduce the desirability of
new tankers and the existence of very near-term budget constraints.
• If additional tankers must be acquired to meet the future requirement, a higher cost will
be associated with closing the resulting gap between capabilities and requirements more
rapidly. How rapidly to close the gap, i.e., how quickly to raise the capability level to the
requirement, and thus how much higher a cost to bear, is a matter for senior decisionmaker
Rand did not make any recommendations as to the purchase of new tankers, or even keeping the current KC
-135s operational until the 2040s. It only pointed out SOME of the advantages and disadvantages of the AoA for the KC
I do have a problem with their conclusion on converting the KC
-135Es to the KC
-135R as not being cost effective.
"A further question when considering the timing of recapitalization is whether it is cost-effective
to convert KC
-135Es to KC
-135Rs. This conversion would result in a small (about 2 percent)
increase in overall KC
-135 fleet effectiveness. KC
-135E to KC
-135R conversion only has present-value
cost savings if the converted aircraft will be operated beyond the late 2030s. If the aircraft will be retired
before then, there is a net present-value loss due to conversion because the sustainment cost
savings would not amortize the capital cost." Page 15.
I don't see how they arrive at the KC
-135 fleet effectiveness would only increase by 2%, if you reengine 73 KC
-135Es (the number used in the report). If that is true, what would reengining all 153 KC
-135Es would be?