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KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:23 am

Welcome to the KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread for 2019, please continue to add your comments below

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1026493
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:09 pm

Since the last thread wasn't a 2018-centric thread and instead a vast collection of knowledge, why on earth doe we need a 2019-specific one? Can we have the "old" thread unlocked and archive this redundant one?
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:37 pm

Spacepope wrote:
Since the last thread wasn't a 2018-centric thread and instead a vast collection of knowledge, why on earth doe we need a 2019-specific one? Can we have the "old" thread unlocked and archive this redundant one?


My thoughts too.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:55 pm

while I disagree with creating a new thread for 2019, I believe the thought process was that it would begin to see the volume of posts like the commercial airplane model production and delivery threads.. doubt that will happen. so yes please reopen the old thread and delete this one.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:49 am

Given the old thread is archived...

I'm not sure this is a valid reason, at least in my mind. Surely someone lower than the SecDef can make this decision.

First KC-46 delivery stalled by Mattis’ departure

Boeing won’t be delivering the first KC-46 tanker to the Air Force in 2018 as planned, due to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ surprise ouster from the Pentagon, a source told Defense News on Monday.

The Air Force had intended to accept the first KC-46 by the end of December and was awaiting signature from Mattis, which would finalize the delivery plans, Reuters first reported on Dec. 20.

However, later that day, Mattis announced that he would step down from the top Defense Department post in February, and just three days later, President Donald Trump tweeted that Mattis would wrap up his work as secretary of defense by the end of 2018.



With sweeping changes in leadership at the Pentagon imminent, a decision on KC-46 was pushed out, a source close to the program told Defense News. The situation was further complicated because Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan — who by the end of Dec. 31 will temporarily take over Mattis’ role as defense secretary — is a former Boeing executive and must recuse himself from all decisions involving the company.

Boeing declined to confirm that the delivery would not take place on Dec. 31.

“KC-46 remains a top priority and we look forward to delivering tanker aircraft in partnership with the Air Force,” said Kelly Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the company, in a statement to Defense News.

The Air Force did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The delay is a blow for Boeing, which had promised to deliver the first tanker by the end of 2018 after a string of missed delivery dates stemming back to August 2017.



“We continue to make steady progress toward final certification of the KC-46 tanker,” Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in an October earnings call. “We are working with our U.S. Air Force customer toward completing all the steps required to deliver the first tanker aircraft this quarter."

The company has now racked up more than $3 billion in pre-tax charges on the program, as it is responsible for any costs beyond the $4.9 billion fixed price contract value originally awarded in 2011.

Boeing officials are hopeful that the Air Force will be able to move forward with delivery after a set of meetings in early 2019, one source said.

But at the moment it is unclear who will authorize the KC-46 delivery with Shanahan barred from the process, though it may fall to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson or to Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

The Air Force plans to buy 179 KC-46s throughout its program of record. McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas is set to become the first installation to receive the new tankers, and training for pilots and boom operators has already begun.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/12 ... departure/
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:48 am

Ozair wrote:
Given the old thread is archived...

I'm not sure this is a valid reason, at least in my mind. Surely someone lower than the SecDef can make this decision.

First KC-46 delivery stalled by Mattis’ departure

Boeing won’t be delivering the first KC-46 tanker to the Air Force in 2018 as planned, due to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ surprise ouster from the Pentagon, a source told Defense News on Monday.

The Air Force had intended to accept the first KC-46 by the end of December and was awaiting signature from Mattis, which would finalize the delivery plans, Reuters first reported on Dec. 20.

However, later that day, Mattis announced that he would step down from the top Defense Department post in February, and just three days later, President Donald Trump tweeted that Mattis would wrap up his work as secretary of defense by the end of 2018.



With sweeping changes in leadership at the Pentagon imminent, a decision on KC-46 was pushed out, a source close to the program told Defense News. The situation was further complicated because Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan — who by the end of Dec. 31 will temporarily take over Mattis’ role as defense secretary — is a former Boeing executive and must recuse himself from all decisions involving the company.

Boeing declined to confirm that the delivery would not take place on Dec. 31.

“KC-46 remains a top priority and we look forward to delivering tanker aircraft in partnership with the Air Force,” said Kelly Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the company, in a statement to Defense News.

The Air Force did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The delay is a blow for Boeing, which had promised to deliver the first tanker by the end of 2018 after a string of missed delivery dates stemming back to August 2017.



“We continue to make steady progress toward final certification of the KC-46 tanker,” Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in an October earnings call. “We are working with our U.S. Air Force customer toward completing all the steps required to deliver the first tanker aircraft this quarter."

The company has now racked up more than $3 billion in pre-tax charges on the program, as it is responsible for any costs beyond the $4.9 billion fixed price contract value originally awarded in 2011.

Boeing officials are hopeful that the Air Force will be able to move forward with delivery after a set of meetings in early 2019, one source said.

But at the moment it is unclear who will authorize the KC-46 delivery with Shanahan barred from the process, though it may fall to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson or to Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

The Air Force plans to buy 179 KC-46s throughout its program of record. McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas is set to become the first installation to receive the new tankers, and training for pilots and boom operators has already begun.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/12 ... departure/


Well if you read to the end of the article it does not there are probably others who can do it. They just need to figure out who.

But at the moment it is unclear who will authorize the KC-46 delivery with Shanahan barred from the process, though it may fall to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson or to Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.


But yeah, Boeing shot in the foot by Trump.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:00 pm

Wow, after so many delays the KC-46 missed its delivery target once again.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:57 pm

BOEING777EK wrote:
Wow, after so many delays the KC-46 missed its delivery target once again.


True but we can chalk up this latest delay to the USAF.... not Boeing.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:16 pm

Sooner787 wrote:
BOEING777EK wrote:
Wow, after so many delays the KC-46 missed its delivery target once again.


True but we can chalk up this latest delay to the USAF.... not Boeing.

Trump, not the USAF in this case. It was Trump who fired the person who's signature was needed and then put in place a person who by regulations can't sign. So the delay here is not Boeing's or the USAF's fault, but Trump's alone.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:23 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
Sooner787 wrote:
BOEING777EK wrote:
Wow, after so many delays the KC-46 missed its delivery target once again.


True but we can chalk up this latest delay to the USAF.... not Boeing.

Trump, not the USAF in this case. It was Trump who fired the person who's signature was needed and then put in place a person who by regulations can't sign. So the delay here is not Boeing's or the USAF's fault, but Trump's alone.


Trump never fired Mattis.....
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:22 am

Slug71 wrote:
Trump never fired Mattis.....

No, but rather than allow Mattis to hold his position until the end of February in order to have an orderly transition, Trump got pissed off when the true meaning of Mattis' resignation letter was explained to him, and decided to push him out at the end of December.
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:50 am

Moose135 wrote:
Slug71 wrote:
Trump never fired Mattis.....

No, but rather than allow Mattis to hold his position until the end of February in order to have an orderly transition, Trump got pissed off when the true meaning of Mattis' resignation letter was explained to him, and decided to push him out at the end of December.


Or Mattis just decided he didn't want to stay till then...
The media can say what they want, but no one actually knows what happened.

That is not what this thread is about though.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:26 am

Oh well. More time for Boeing to fine tune the KC-46 and sort out any other minor issues that may exist.
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:06 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
They just need to figure out who.


They probably know who. There is a chain of command. But for something like this, they have to make it official with multiple memo delegating authority. But with the gov shut down the writing and routing of the memo is probably delayed. :roll:
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:14 pm

bikerthai wrote:
But for something like this, they have to make it official with multiple memo delegating authority. But with the gov shut down the writing and routing of the memo is probably delayed. :roll:

Now we'll hear from the resident FOX viewers about how the government shutdown isn't Trump's fault either...
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:14 pm

Revelation wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
But for something like this, they have to make it official with multiple memo delegating authority. But with the gov shut down the writing and routing of the memo is probably delayed. :roll:

Now we'll hear from the resident FOX viewers about how the government shutdown isn't Trump's fault either...


It's not.
But again, that is not what this thread is about.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:52 pm

Slug71 wrote:
But again, that is not what this thread is about.

It kinda is. Boeing is said to be ready to deliver, the US government is said to not be ready to accept. The reasons why are on topic so we can understand when delivery may happen.
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:58 pm

How many are ready for immediate delivery once the log jam is broken?
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:55 pm

bigbird wrote:
How many are ready for immediate delivery once the log jam is broken?


Considering around 40 (if not more) are built, I would think roughly 12 to 18 must close. I think the October deadline requirement was for 18.

Maybe someone here will have a more definitive answer though.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:01 am

It seems like this is just rank political speculation, not on topic. I’m tired of flagging TDS posts, but it’s pointless to add to the dialog/nagging/whining/melting here.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:12 pm

Looks like BOE 28 (probably USAF 17-46028) is scheduled for a test hop today to MWH. https://flightaware.com/live/flight/BOE ... /KPAE/KMWH
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:53 pm

Boeing reported delivering 10 KC-46's in December...Sounds suspicous to me! Did the USAF accept 10 tankers?

I wonder if this is just accounting flim-flam? Maybe the B commercial side delivering them internally to the B military side for accounting purposes...just to make their yearly delivery numbers.
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:43 pm

QuarkFly wrote:
Boeing reported delivering 10 KC-46's in December...Sounds suspicous to me! Did the USAF accept 10 tankers?

I wonder if this is just accounting flim-flam? Maybe the B commercial side delivering them internally to the B military side for accounting purposes...just to make their yearly delivery numbers.


10 frames is a bit much just for one month (for an internal Boeing delivery). Can you provide reference material?

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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:50 pm

In its 2018 wrap up video Boeing did not claim any KC-46 deliveries.

https://youtu.be/YS78PtJnj6w
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:17 pm

Boeing's Current Year Deliveries Through December 2018 shows a total of 27 767s delivered: 17 for FedEx and 10 for BDS USAF Tanker Program. Boeing lists BDS USAF Tanker Program as the customer when they record KC-46A sales to the USAF (the two JASDF orders were listed under BDS Japan International Tanker).

So I am guessing the USAF did a Contractual Delivery for 10 frames in the last days of 2018 and physical delivery will happen soon.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:50 pm

bikerthai wrote:
10 frames is a bit much just for one month (for an internal Boeing delivery). Can you provide reference material?
bt


See delivery info below...10 tankers delivered -- all on 21-December or later, if you look at the December delivery report...

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/#/orders-deliveries

I have heard nothing about the USAF taking them. Looks like somebody noticed that Boeing would not make its yearly delivery target of more than 800 frames...and with a few day left over the Holidays --decided to "deliver" some tankers internally...how quaint !!
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:41 pm

QuarkFly wrote:
I have heard nothing about the USAF taking them. Looks like somebody noticed that Boeing would not make its yearly delivery target of more than 800 frames...and with a few day left over the Holidays --decided to "deliver" some tankers internally...how quaint !!


That someone would possibly be guilty of Securities Fraud, so that scenario is most unlikely.

What is more likely is that the USAF did a contractual delivery, something we have seen done many times with commercial customers.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:22 am

This is cut and paste from the Boeing web site,

"767 deliveries include the transfer of 10 767-2C aircraft to Boeing Defense, Space & Security for the U.S. Air Force KC-46 tanker program."
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:26 pm

itchief wrote:
This is cut and paste from the Boeing web site,

"767 deliveries include the transfer of 10 767-2C aircraft to Boeing Defense, Space & Security for the U.S. Air Force KC-46 tanker program."

10 is an interesting choice when we know 30+ have been built.
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:50 pm

Revelation wrote:
itchief wrote:
This is cut and paste from the Boeing web site,

"767 deliveries include the transfer of 10 767-2C aircraft to Boeing Defense, Space & Security for the U.S. Air Force KC-46 tanker program."

10 is an interesting choice when we know 30+ have been built.

I was sorta half-assed tracking the flights of individual airframes before the shutdown. That number more or less jives with the number of individual airframes that appeared to do acceptance flights. Most all in the USAF serial number 20-35 range, so not from the initial production batch.
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:32 pm

Revelation wrote:
10 is an interesting choice when we know 30+ have been built.


As quoted by itchief , the 10 frames mentioned are what BCA delivered to BDS in 2018. The other 20+ framed built are either have not been delivered to BDS or were delivered prior to 2018. No news here. No delivery to the USAF.

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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:31 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Revelation wrote:
10 is an interesting choice when we know 30+ have been built.

As quoted by itchief , the 10 frames mentioned are what BCA delivered to BDS in 2018. The other 20+ framed built are either have not been delivered to BDS or were delivered prior to 2018. No news here. No delivery to the USAF.

I'm not after news, I'm just trying to understand things. What does it mean to deliver a frame from BCA to BDS? I would think it means they are ready for installation of military hardware. Yet it would appear with 30+ built that many are ready for installation of military hardware. Or have many been delivered from BCA to BDA in the past and we just didn't take note of it?
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:14 pm

Revelation wrote:
What does it mean to deliver a frame from BCA to BDS? I would think it means they are ready for installation of military hardware. Yet it would appear with 30+ built that many are ready for installation of military hardware. Or have many been delivered from BCA to BDA in the past and we just didn't take note of it?


These 10 KC-46A are the first frames to be recorded as delivered out of a total of 56 frames ordered (and around three dozen-plus built). A fair number of these frames should be complete with their military hardware installed and per Spacepope, it sounds like at least 10 of them have been doing Customer Acceptance (C-x) flights with the USAF.

Prior to the mid-2000s, Boeing accounted the ordering and delivery of military frames to the service that ordered them (United States Air Force, United States Navy, Republic of Iran Air Force, etc.).

Since then, it appears that Boeing now accounts for orders and deliveries of military frames by Program Name, instead. The USAF KC-46A frames are accounted under BDS USAF Tanker Program whereas the JASDF KC-46A frames are accounted under BDS Japan International Tanker. The two 747-8's tasked to become VC-25Bs are accounted under USAF PAR Program (Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization). And the foreign P-8 Poseidon fleets are accounted for by their customer: Australia P-8, Indian Navy P-8I, UK P-8 and Defense, Space & Security - In (for Norway). The JASDF KC-767J frames are accounted under Japan ASDF Tanker and the JASDF E-767s are accounted under ITOCHU Corporation (ITOCHU being a trading company). The Italian KC-767As are accounted under Italian Air Force Tanker. And we can see the switch in action with the USN's P-8 Poseidon fleet, which was accounted for under United States Navy until 2017, when it switched to U.S. Navy (P-8A Poseidon).

So I am of the opinion that this was a Contractual Delivery to the USAF and the airframes will be flown out to USAF bases in the coming weeks. I also would expect that future KC-46A deliveries, contractual or physical, to the USAF will also be accounted for under BDS USAF Tanker Program and not under United States Air Force.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:14 am

I recall a few years back when the 767's went from Everett to BDS, the frames were shown as delivered. It seems like this was quietly changed to have the delivery being when BDS 'sold' the plane. As these 10 (the only 10 recorded as delivered) with the first being 12-21-18 appear to be the accounting change of ownership.

Spacepope noted that the serial numbers are in the 20-35 range, that seems to indicate these later frames are fully corrected, I suspect the initial 18 might need some updates to be able to fly out.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:10 pm

Revelation wrote:
What does it mean to deliver a frame from BCA to BDS?


That's the rub isn't it? When reading these delivery announcement, you'll have to know who is releasing the announcement. If BCA (Boeing Commercial) is logging 10 767-2C delivery to BDS (Boeing Defense), then it's 10 frames that have not had the mission system stuff installed on to them. So from the press release saying these are 10 767-2C deliveries, then I would place my money on this is just an internal accounting shift of ownership from BAC to BDS.

When it's time for the USAF to take the frames, then I would suspect that BDS would then account this as a KC-46 delivery (and it would log as under BDS and overall The Boeing Company delivery).

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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:43 pm

looks like things are moving forward to the first delivery
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:04 pm

first one is delivered now
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:08 pm

Here is the Boeing Release:

https://boeing.mediaroom.com/2019-01-10 ... r-Aircraft

With the signing of what’s known as the DD250 paperwork, the delivery activities can proceed. McConnell Air Force Base will receive the first four KC-46 aircraft, all of which are ready for delivery, with four subsequent aircraft destined for Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base, beginning as early as next month.


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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:30 pm

bikerthai wrote:
If BCA (Boeing Commercial) is logging 10 767-2C delivery to BDS (Boeing Defense), then it's 10 frames that have not had the mission system stuff installed on to them. So from the press release saying these are 10 767-2C deliveries, then I would place my money on this is just an internal accounting shift of ownership from BAC to BDS.


If that was the case, however, then we should have seen deliveries earlier in 2018 (if not 2017) as 767-2C airframes were being fully outfitted so they could perform the KC-46A-specific Supplemental Type Certificate testing for the FAA and the USAF.


musman9853 wrote:
first one is delivered now


I believe this confirms my speculation that these were Contractual Deliveries as the frames themselves will be flown to McConnell AFB "in the coming weeks". I believe that this also means BDS USAF Tanker Program will (continue to) be the "Customer of Record" for future KC-46A deliveries to the USAF (as opposed to United States Air Force as would have been the case pre-2000).
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:43 pm

Stitch wrote:
This seems to confirm my suggestion that these were Contractual Deliveries and I expect BDS will be the "Customer of Record" for future KC-46A deliveries to the USAF.


While the program is still under development, the whole KC-46A program was ran through BCA in Everett. Once the development is complete, the program is transferred to BDS. The actual transfer of the frames to the USAF did not occurred until today when the frames were "DD250" and the USAF is now the owner. So it is possible that those 10 frames were delivered to BDS late last year as the program was transitioning from BCA to BDS in anticipation of delivery to the USAF which got delayed until today.

You can see how future accounting of the KC-46 frame will work by looking at how they handle the P-8A deliveries from BAC to BDS to the USN.


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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:52 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Here is the Boeing Release:

https://boeing.mediaroom.com/2019-01-10 ... r-Aircraft

With the signing of what’s known as the DD250 paperwork, the delivery activities can proceed. McConnell Air Force Base will receive the first four KC-46 aircraft, all of which are ready for delivery, with four subsequent aircraft destined for Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base, beginning as early as next month.


bt


Interesting that in the Boeing press release there is no mention of offloading fuel to the B-1, B-2, F-22 and F-35. Any idea on why no testing has been done with these aircraft?

"During extensive flight testing, six KC-46 completed more than 3,800 flight hours and offloaded more than four million pounds of fuel to A-10, B-52, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, KC-46, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft. The Pegasus has been rigorously tested throughout all aspects of the refueling envelope and in all conditions, including day, night and covert."
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:11 pm

itchief wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
Here is the Boeing Release:

https://boeing.mediaroom.com/2019-01-10 ... r-Aircraft

With the signing of what’s known as the DD250 paperwork, the delivery activities can proceed. McConnell Air Force Base will receive the first four KC-46 aircraft, all of which are ready for delivery, with four subsequent aircraft destined for Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base, beginning as early as next month.


bt


Interesting that in the Boeing press release there is no mention of offloading fuel to the B-1, B-2, F-22 and F-35. Any idea on why no testing has been done with these aircraft?

"During extensive flight testing, six KC-46 completed more than 3,800 flight hours and offloaded more than four million pounds of fuel to A-10, B-52, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, KC-46, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft. The Pegasus has been rigorously tested throughout all aspects of the refueling envelope and in all conditions, including day, night and covert."

Probably still related to the scraping issue,

There’s also the issue that refueling a stealthy aircraft, such as a B-2 bomber, F-22 or F-35 fighter could result in damage to the stealth coatings. In wartime, that could render a plane useless in a first strike.

https://breakingdefense.com/2017/09/kc- ... fect-boom/

They likely delayed testing on those aircraft until after the aircraft is in USAF service.
 
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Stitch
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:40 pm

bikerthai wrote:
You can see how future accounting of the KC-46 frame will work by looking at how they handle the P-8A deliveries from BAC to BDS to the USN.


But that appears to have changed in 2017 for orders and 2018 for deliveries with the designation on the orders changing from United States Navy to U.S. Navy (P-8A Poseidon).

I'm interested to see if down the road if Boeing continues to use BDS USAF Tanker Program for future tranche orders and deliveries or if they eventually switch over to something else like U.S. Air Force (KC-46A).
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:10 pm

A comprehensive overview of the current KC-46 situation from DefenseNews. Apparently Ellen Lord signed off for the aircraft and the USAF is expected to withhold as much as US$28 million per aircraft, up to US$1.5 billion if this persists across the whole of current contractural deliveries, until fixes are completed and implemented.

Boeing delivers first KC-46, but fixes to technical problems still years away

After more than a year of delays, the U.S. Air Force took hold of its first KC-46 tanker on Jan. 10, but it will take several years for the service and manufacturer Boeing to reconcile major technical problems, and the company will not be receiving the full amount of money due upon delivery.

The agreement, finalized after months of sometimes public and contentious discussions, allows McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas to receive the KC-46 as early as this month, with more set to follow, said Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Hope Cronin. However, the new tankers will arrive with several outstanding category-1 deficiencies, the term used by the military to describe the most serious level of technical problems.

That may sound like a blow to the Air Force, whose leaders had previously implied that all category-1 deficiencies must be fixed before the service begins accepting the tankers.

However, service leaders believe the Air Force retains significant financial leverage, even as Boeing delivers the KC-46 aircraft, and the service sees it as vital that Air Mobility Command be able to begin training pilots and boom operators to use the tankers even as technical problems are being corrected.

“Despite all the flaws, there is operational utility of the system,” an Air Force official told Defense News. “KC-46 has a lot of systems that our legacy tankers don’t that in a contested fight you might want. It has improved situational awareness and battle management and protection.”

Perhaps more importantly, the Air Force holds a significant trump card in its hand. According to the terms of its fixed-price contract with Boeing, the service can withhold up to $28 million per aircraft upon delivery — and the Air Force official said the service intends to keep that amount until it sees a good faith effort by Boeing to fix deficiencies.

That means Boeing could miss out on $1.5 billion if the maximum withholding is applied to all 52 aircraft on contract.

“That is not something that legitimately can be contested by Boeing. That is purely a government decision until the airplane is brought up to specification,” the official said.

In a statement, Boeing hailed the Air Force’s decision to accept the KC-46.

“The KC-46A is a proven, safe, multi-mission aircraft that will transform aerial refueling and mobility operations for decades to come,” said Leanne Caret, president and chief executive of Boeing’s defense business.

“We look forward to working with the Air Force, and the Navy, during their initial operational test and evaluation of the KC-46, as we further demonstrate the operational capabilities of this next-generation aircraft across refueling, mobility and combat weapons systems missions."

Before the Air Force would accept the first KC-46, Boeing and the service first had to come to terms on the aircraft’s remote vision system, or RVS, the most significant technical hurdle that had bogged down talks between the parties.

In short, Boeing has agreed to embark on a redesign effort for the Rockwell Collins-designed RVS that will involve both hardware and software changes. The Air Force believes it will take three to four years to develop a fully functioning RVS, and Boeing has agreed to fix it at its own expense, Cronin said.

Unlike legacy tankers, where boom operators could see out a window in the back of the aircraft and rely on visual cues to guide the boom into the receptacle, the boom operator in a KC-46 works at stations in the front of the aircraft, relying on the RVS’ series of cameras and sensors.

However, Air Force test communities have complained that certain lighting conditions cause the imagery provided to the boom operator to be misleading, contributing to cases where the boomer accidentally scrapes the skin of the receiver aircraft. For aircraft with low-observable coating, such mistakes could result in the loss of stealth and a hefty repair bill.

Boeing previously maintained it could update its software to fix RVS problems, while the service was more reluctant to put its faith in that proposed solution.

To better understand the RVS, the Air Force formed a team that included personnel from Boeing, Air Mobility Command, the Air Force’s acquisition wing and the Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which studied how the imagery from the RVS was perceived and internalized by boom operators. For example, “there is a slight difference between the motion viewed in the RVS versus what is actually occurring in the physical world. All of those things can create a depth compression and curvature effect” where boom operators might overcorrect their movement based on what they are seeing on screen, an Air Force official explained.

Once the Air Force was able to understand how the RVS distorted imagery under certain conditions, the service was able to more firmly articulate the requirements Boeing must meet for an acceptable RVS, but those parameters will surely entail hardware changes — potentially very extensive ones.

However, the Air Force also made key concessions. Namely, it will have to pay for another fix using taxpayer money.

During tests, the Air Force found that certain aircraft — most often, the A-10 Warthog — had trouble generating the necessary thrust to push into the boom for refueling.

Boeing presented a boom design to the government at Milestone C that set the boom resistance to the international standard of about 1,400 pounds, which the government accepted, the Air Force official said. The problem is that to refuel the A-10, the boom must have a much lower threshold of thrust resistance, around 650 pounds.

Because the Air Force is asking for a change in requirements, it has agreed to fund the additional work — though it is still working out how much it will cost for the redesign work and retrofits, the official said. That redesign and manufacturing process will probably take about two years.

Tanker deficiencies

The delivery of the first KC-46 is a huge milestone for Boeing, which won a $4.9 billion fixed-price contract for the tanker program in 2011 after a protracted and controversial battle against Airbus.

The company was due to deliver the first 18 KC-46s to the Air Force in August 2017, allowing the service to declare the aircraft operational. But numerous technical issues were found that have delayed that milestone and driven up the price of the program.

After months of discussions with the Air Force, the service and Boeing came to an agreement in late 2018 that stipulated the way forward on KC-46, including a path to close deficiencies and a plan for the first KC-46 delivery.

The compromise would allow Boeing to get the tanker off its books by the end of the year — something the company has held that it could accomplish after missing the deadline several times since 2017 — but first, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis would have to approve the approach. When in December he announced he would resign, and then was forced by President Donald Trump to leave his role by the end of the year, momentum on the tanker delivery stalled.

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, signed off on the KC-46 acceptance on Thursday.

“The Department of Defense is in complete agreement regarding moving forward with delivery of KC-46 tankers,” said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews. “The department remains committed to providing the most cost-effective platforms for the U.S. taxpayer, while still delivering the best capabilities to our men and women serving in uniform.”

Boeing has been forced to pay more than $3 billion from the company’s accounts as a result of cost overruns.

However, some of the more serious technical problems appear to be on the mend.

The Air Force downgraded two category-1 deficiencies to category-2 status after a Nov. 7 meeting of the deficiency review board. A category-2 deficiency is a serious technical issue for which there is a workaround in place.

One of the deficiencies involved forces on the boom as it made contact with an aircraft, raising concerns that it was nearing its maximum loads. However, with further analysis, Boeing determined the boom was experiencing at most 45 percent of its maximum loads, and the Air Force ruled that the deficiency could be downgraded as Boeing revises its software.

The other deficiency occurred when the centerline drogue system experiences an increase in tension and disconnects from a receiver aircraft without being commanded to by the boom operator. The issue was observed during tests of multiple KC-46 tankers with two different F/A-18 Hornets acting as receivers.

To fix that problem, Boeing proved out a software fix that was then implemented throughout the existing KC-46 inventory, the company said in a statement.

https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-ne ... ears-away/
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:14 pm

Ozair wrote:

TFA says:

In short, Boeing has agreed to embark on a redesign effort for the Rockwell Collins-designed RVS that will involve both hardware and software changes. The Air Force believes it will take three to four years to develop a fully functioning RVS, and Boeing has agreed to fix it at its own expense

Oy, that's a huge miss.

It looks like Boeing bet it could make the existing system work, but now they see why it cannot / does not.

They took a big bet on a risky proposition and lost.
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:32 am

Revelation wrote:
Ozair wrote:

TFA says:

In short, Boeing has agreed to embark on a redesign effort for the Rockwell Collins-designed RVS that will involve both hardware and software changes. The Air Force believes it will take three to four years to develop a fully functioning RVS, and Boeing has agreed to fix it at its own expense

Oy, that's a huge miss.

It looks like Boeing bet it could make the existing system work, but now they see why it cannot / does not.

They took a big bet on a risky proposition and lost.

Indeed, given how low they bid on T-X, MQ-25 and the RW contracts it could go very lean for a few years.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:16 am

Revelation wrote:
Ozair wrote:

TFA says:

In short, Boeing has agreed to embark on a redesign effort for the Rockwell Collins-designed RVS that will involve both hardware and software changes. The Air Force believes it will take three to four years to develop a fully functioning RVS, and Boeing has agreed to fix it at its own expense

Oy, that's a huge miss.

It looks like Boeing bet it could make the existing system work, but now they see why it cannot / does not.

They took a big bet on a risky proposition and lost.

That's exactly what you get for trying to cut costs.
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:10 am

I think TBoom had an extremely valid point questioning why Boeing would give up the proven reliability, simply and fidelity of a simple window for a boom operator for an RVS


That seems to be technology for technology’s sake
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:17 am

Max Q wrote:
I think TBoom had an extremely valid point questioning why Boeing would give up the proven reliability, simply and fidelity of a simple window for a boom operator for an RVS. That seems to be technology for technology’s sake


I believe it was part of the KC-X RFP from the USAF.

If not, it is already on the KC-767A and KC-767J and would have been part of both the Airbus/NG KC-30A and Airbus KC-45A so it likely seemed logical to Boeing to have it on the KC-46A, as well.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread 2019

Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:41 am

Revelation wrote:
Ozair wrote:

TFA says:

In short, Boeing has agreed to embark on a redesign effort for the Rockwell Collins-designed RVS that will involve both hardware and software changes. The Air Force believes it will take three to four years to develop a fully functioning RVS, and Boeing has agreed to fix it at its own expense

Oy, that's a huge miss.

It looks like Boeing bet it could make the existing system work, but now they see why it cannot / does not.

They took a big bet on a risky proposition and lost.

And if Boeing thinks they can recoup some of the costs in future maintenance contracts, I would not count on it.

For one, the USAF might just buy every available second hand 767 out there and scrap them for spare parts to keep the KC-46's running. They did the same thing to keep the KC-135's running as well; buy out every available Boeing 707 and use them as parts donors.

And for future modernization work, the USAF could award the contracts for modernization to another company; it is not unheard of for the USAF and Pentagon to do this.

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