|Quoting VS11 (Reply 94):|
Maybe someone can enlighten me but from a purely conceptual point, in view of the mission profile for the tanker planes, why wouldn't you want to get the plane that can carry most fuel in a single take-off? Between the two comparable planes, A332 seems to be the one to fit that (most critical in my opinion) requirement.
Based on the aircraft data portion of this site, and calculating the difference between maximum take-off weight and empty weight, the A332 wins over the B762-ER by close to 24,000lbs.
A tanker can only refuel one plane at a time (in USAF
boom configuration), so even if it is more efficient in terms of fuel burn per gallon offloaded, one big tanker may actually be less
effective than two smaller tankers if it results in unacceptable queue times. A delicate balance has to be struck between offload per plane, number of planes, and total cost. Otherwise we could just skip to KC
-380s or KC
-747-8s and be done with it.
|Quoting EPA001 (Reply 95):|
But if you want the best, and at one time also the USAF considered it to be the best (and I guess they still do), a tanker based on the A330-MRTT platform would have made a better and for sure more modern performer.
Define "best." For smaller countries with more limited resources, the A330MRTT is probably a better choice; it can perform a wide number of roles with high overall performance. It's a great jack-of-all-trades for many customers. But the RAF and RAAF
simply have vastly different operational requirements and resource constraints than the USAF
, which is why we have not only KC
-135s but also KC
-10s and KC
-130s and "KF-18s." It makes no sense to argue that because these two customers selected the A330MRTT, the KC
-767 is self-evidently inferior and an unworthy choice for any
In this case, the USAF
made it clear it wanted a straight replacement for the KC
-135 and did not want to pay more for additional capability. You may disagree with their criteria, but the award is not surprising given what the USAF
asked for. As a taxpayer, I for one am glad - the A330 may have prettier looks and neat sidesticks and fly-by-wire control surfaces and pairs of LD3s living side-by-side in bliss in the cargo hold, but I don't want to pay for it if the 767 can do the job just fine, which at the end of the day, no one seems to dispute. The only surprising element, apparently, is how aggressive Boeing decided to be on the cost front.
Keynes is dead and we are living in his long run.