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AndoAv8R
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Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 11, 2020 2:17 pm

Didnt want to hijack the 757/767 NMA post

With the KC-767s going full strong, I'm curious as to what we will see for the next big tanker order from the USAF. I know at some point there will need to be a replacement for the KC-10 (given they decide if its even necessary, i know there we're talks about it during the 767/330 competition but haven't heard anything lately)

Given the advances being made, I thought of a few possibilities:

From Boeing:
KC-777 V1: Cheapest/fewest modifications- 777F fuselage with 777-300ER wing, 777X cockpit and GE-90/115. This seems the most likely contender.

KC-777 V2: 777F fuselage with 777X wing/cockpit/GE-9x powerplant

KC-777X- 777-8 with few modifications other than windows from fuselage.. Seems like the less likely option.

Im not sure how the 777X wing would handle refueling pods/if its strong enough to support them

From Airbus:
Seems unlikely given the treatment they got during the KC-X program, but just for kicks:

KC-350X: A350-900 fuselage/A350-1000 wings and and engines.


I don't know if there would be any other choices within the next 20 years

Thoughts?
 
TUGMASTER
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 11, 2020 2:29 pm

KC-767 is not going strong...
Loads and loads of problems in delivery.
 
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flee
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 11, 2020 2:48 pm

Airbus has teamed up with Lockheed Martin offering the A330 MRTT:
https://www.intelligent-aerospace.com/p ... s-air-show

I am not sure if this will be based on the A332 or the A338. But I am sure we will know once the USAF starts issuing its RFIs/RFPs.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 11, 2020 2:52 pm

AndoAv8R wrote:
Didnt want to hijack the 757/767 NMA post

With the KC-767s going full strong, I'm curious as to what we will see for the next big tanker order from the USAF. I know at some point there will need to be a replacement for the KC-10 (given they decide if its even necessary, i know there we're talks about it during the 767/330 competition but haven't heard anything lately)

Given the advances being made, I thought of a few possibilities:

From Boeing:
KC-777 V1: Cheapest/fewest modifications- 777F fuselage with 777-300ER wing, 777X cockpit and GE-90/115. This seems the most likely contender.

KC-777 V2: 777F fuselage with 777X wing/cockpit/GE-9x powerplant

KC-777X- 777-8 with few modifications other than windows from fuselage.. Seems like the less likely option.

Im not sure how the 777X wing would handle refueling pods/if its strong enough to support them

From Airbus:
Seems unlikely given the treatment they got during the KC-X program, but just for kicks:

KC-350X: A350-900 fuselage/A350-1000 wings and and engines.


I don't know if there would be any other choices within the next 20 years

Thoughts?

I am in the 'not likely to be replaced' camp unless you mean more KC46s will replace them. KC10 was purchased because USAF was worried about allies not allowing C5s to be refueled on long range missions to "controversial" nations. If you don't believe me, read the KC10 wiki page. Now we have KC46 with efficient big twin engines and C5 also with modern engines so the need is not what it once was. If USAF was truly worried about super long range missions they could have asked Boeing to put GEnX on KC46 years ago but did not. We see that Boeing is considering putting GEnX on 767F so the idea of updated KC46 for ULR missions seems quite feasible to me, should the USAF want or need them. I really don't see what value an A330/777 sized tanker would add. It'd be better to buy more KC46 to maximize the number of booms in the air.

TUGMASTER wrote:
KC-767 is not going strong...
Loads and loads of problems in delivery.

Yet USAF is still taking delivery and the cargo hold down issue is resolved. We're told that they have agreed on the solution on the camera issue but it will take some time to develop and test, with Boeing paying for it all. So "going strong" might be an over statement but given we're quite early in the life time of something that very well may live as long as KC-135 did, things are going well. Boeing is getting paid in full now that the camera situation is on a path towards resolution, which for them is a big step forward.
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VSMUT
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 11, 2020 3:57 pm

It will be the existing KC-46 or the A330MRTT (possibly based on the A330neo?).

Boeing already spent too much on the KC-46, which they need to recuperate through further orders. Airbus has already said they will be offering the A330MRTT in cooperation with Lockheed Martin.

AndoAv8R wrote:
Didnt want to hijack the 757/767 NMA post

With the KC-767s going full strong, I'm curious as to what we will see for the next big tanker order from the USAF. I know at some point there will need to be a replacement for the KC-10 (given they decide if its even necessary, i know there we're talks about it during the 767/330 competition but haven't heard anything lately)

Given the advances being made, I thought of a few possibilities:

From Boeing:
KC-777 V1: Cheapest/fewest modifications- 777F fuselage with 777-300ER wing, 777X cockpit and GE-90/115. This seems the most likely contender.

KC-777 V2: 777F fuselage with 777X wing/cockpit/GE-9x powerplant

KC-777X- 777-8 with few modifications other than windows from fuselage.. Seems like the less likely option.

Im not sure how the 777X wing would handle refueling pods/if its strong enough to support them

From Airbus:
Seems unlikely given the treatment they got during the KC-X program, but just for kicks:

KC-350X: A350-900 fuselage/A350-1000 wings and and engines.


I don't know if there would be any other choices within the next 20 years

Thoughts?


Boeing is going with the KC-46, but lets play with it:

The 777 is way bigger than what the USAF needs. The KC-46 already sits in between the KC-135 and KC-10, so is a great all-rounder to replace them both. The A330-200 is pretty much the same size as a DC-10. The 777-200 is a step above the even bigger A330-300.

You can probably strike out any 777 based options if they include legacy 777 bits. By the time this thing has gone through the RFP, won, contested and developed, the old 777s will be long out of production.


Revelation wrote:
It'd be better to buy more KC46 to maximize the number of booms in the air.


Buying some A330MRTTs would be the fastest way to do that, given the KC-46s issues of late... :duck:
 
jholio
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 11, 2020 4:41 pm

Revelation wrote:
I am in the 'not likely to be replaced' camp unless you mean more KC46s will replace them. KC10 was purchased because USAF was worried about allies not allowing C5s to be refueled on long range missions to "controversial" nations. If you don't believe me, read the KC10 wiki page. Now we have KC46 with efficient big twin engines and C5 also with modern engines so the need is not what it once was. If USAF was truly worried about super long range missions they could have asked Boeing to put GEnX on KC46 years ago but did not. We see that Boeing is considering putting GEnX on 767F so the idea of updated KC46 for ULR missions seems quite feasible to me, should the USAF want or need them. I really don't see what value an A330/777 sized tanker would add. It'd be better to buy more KC46 to maximize the number of booms in the air.


This is essentially my question as well. What role, other than capacity, does the KC-10 perform that the KC-46 cannot? With development costs being what they are, it may be cheaper to just buy two KC-46 for every KC-10 that needs to be replaced. As you mentioned, later in life if Boeing moves forward with the 767 update, they can hang better the GEnX on there to increase range.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 11, 2020 4:43 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Revelation wrote:
It'd be better to buy more KC46 to maximize the number of booms in the air.

Buying some A330MRTTs would be the fastest way to do that, given the KC-46s issues of late... :duck:

I'm fairly convinced the Airbus/Lockheed proposal will get a good hearing in the US. The concept of third party tanking is established. The concerns about the KC330 footprint don't matter if it is not going to be maintained on USAF property. The USAF would prefer to use its capital budget on buying F35 and B21 rather than more tankers. The tricky bit will be the politics, but having LM on their side is a big plus. No one knows how to pile drive the taxpayer better than LM, IMO.
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mmo
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 11, 2020 6:22 pm

The USAF has pretty much said they would like to develop a tanker that had the ability to operate in contested airspace. Clearly the KC-46 doesn't have that. I wouldn't be surprised to see an effort to develop a BWB type tanker with a stealth capability. However, given the current financial state, I think the military will lucky to get anything at all.

The USAF originally has an X, Y and Z tanker mod. The X was a KC-135 replacement, the Y was a KC-10 replacement and the Z was a close in tanker. The real need is for the close in tanker especially given the perceived threat in the S Pacific where distance is an issue and basing options are limited.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
MohawkWeekend
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 11, 2020 6:29 pm

Not a Boeing fan here but just throwing this out - the USAF isn't going to buy a tanker built in Europe. And how could LM/Airbus create a whole new assembly line in the States with all those associated costs and be competitive with an aircraft in production? Plus you'd have to cover the overheads of both LM and Airbus too -those lawyers and VP's don't come cheap.
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    LyleLanley
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Mon May 11, 2020 6:34 pm

    jholio wrote:
    ... What role, other than capacity, does the KC-10 perform that the KC-46 cannot? ...


    Dual role: carrying cargo and personnel from a fighter squadron whilst dragging their fighters to wherever.

    Capacity is also very, very important in certain missions and theaters. Gas in the air vs. booms in the air. 340K pounds of gas in a single platform can move a mission in ways the KC-46 won't be able to.

    As much as I love the KC-10, its replacement is really the KC-46. The AF will lose a lot of fuel capacity, but what really made the KC-10 a force multiplier was its flexibility; having a receptacle, boom, centerline drogue, WARPS (for some), plus the gas -- it made for a terrific platform no other tanker could match.

    Although they'll lose out on the gas, the KC-46 will bring the same flexibility to the party that the KC-10 does as well as the ability to get closer due to its defensive systems.
    "I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
     
    jholio
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Mon May 11, 2020 6:38 pm

    LyleLanley wrote:
    jholio wrote:
    ... What role, other than capacity, does the KC-10 perform that the KC-46 cannot? ...


    Dual role: carrying cargo and personnel from a fighter squadron whilst dragging their fighters to wherever.

    Capacity is also very, very important in certain missions and theaters. Gas in the air vs. booms in the air. 340K pounds of gas in a single platform can move a mission in ways the KC-46 won't be able to.

    As much as I love the KC-10, its replacement is really the KC-46. The AF will lose a lot of fuel capacity, but what really made the KC-10 a force multiplier was its flexibility; having a receptacle, boom, centerline drogue, WARPS (for some), plus the gas -- it made for a terrific platform no other tanker could match.

    Although they'll lose out on the gas, the KC-46 will bring the same flexibility to the party that the KC-10 does as well as the ability to get closer due to its defensive systems.


    Excellent. Thank you for the reply!
     
    mxaxai
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Mon May 11, 2020 7:24 pm

    MohawkWeekend wrote:
    Not a Boeing fan here but just throwing this out - the USAF isn't going to buy a tanker built in Europe. And how could LM/Airbus create a whole new assembly line in the States with all those associated costs and be competitive with an aircraft in production? Plus you'd have to cover the overheads of both LM and Airbus too -those lawyers and VP's don't come cheap.

    IIRC the plan for the original tender was to create a FAL in Mobile, AL, where now the A320 + A220 FAL's are. Considering how many KC-45/46 are being built, that's certainly worth a new FAL. But the point is moot since the KC-46 will remain the only new tanker the USAF outright buys. The plan of the current LM/Airbus JV is to provide tankers as a service like an airline or charter operator. I think the USAF couldn't care less about the airframe as long as the operator is based in the US, and the performance is according to the contract.
     
    texl1649
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Mon May 11, 2020 7:24 pm

    The loiter and volumes provided by the KC-10 cannot be remotely replaced by a single KC-46. It will be interesting to see how the USAF evolves this requirement, as the utility is really quite tremendous. I don't know what widebody could possibly be 'quickly' (ahem, term is relative in USAF tanker decisions/IOC), but both primes have a lot of capacity to deliver a lot of frames right now, so ideally something is done quickly.

    Among the reasons the KC-10 is unique are:

    Why Keep the KC-10?

    The KC-10, known as ‘Big Sexy’ by many aircrews, is a workhorse platform that brings several distinctive capabilities to the joint warfighter.


    High-Volume Refueling – The most unique contribution the KC-10 brings to the joint fight is volume. Launching a single KC-10 provides far more flexibility to any refueling mission because of its longer legs, ability to loiter, and capacity to offload fuel quantities that would require multiple KC-135s or KC-46s. As operations officers and commanders, we lost count of the number of times our KC-10s were supporting a large-scale exercise or senior leader movement where the tanker planners said that the “make or break” refueling was one supported by our units. This was because the offloads required at the critical point could not be accomplished by a KC-135. A primary KC-10 and an additional airborne KC-10 as a backup could easily accomplish a mission which would require at least four KC-135s.

    Reach and Deterrence – Perhaps the most concerning aspect of KC-10 retirement is the potential effect on strategic, long-range refueling missions. KC-10s provide huge offload capabilities over long distances, and this is particularly critical in the Pacific where there are relatively few long runways and lots of open ocean to traverse. The Nuclear Posture Review cites the strategic importance of long-range bomber assurance and deterrence missions, “including nonstop, round-trip flights from the continental United States to the Korean peninsula,” for which aerial refueling is “crucial” to success. Those massive fuel offloads are the KC-10’s core asset.


    https://warontherocks.com/2019/10/the-c ... air-force/
     
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    LyleLanley
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Mon May 11, 2020 8:18 pm

    jholio wrote:
    Excellent. Thank you for the reply!


    No problem.

    The article Texl1649 posted is pretty spot-on, except for the cargo part. While the KC-10's cargo capes are there and substantial, they're rarely used nowadays and bringing up the 'we can BYOB' argument weakens the rest of their otherwise well-thought out article.
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    USAviator
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Mon May 11, 2020 9:22 pm

    If I had to place money on whether or not they are going to be replaced... I am betting that they won't and we'll be seeing them fly for quite some time. External threats (one being China) have a massive amount of aircraft and the US Air Force is doing their best to try to have the most capable fleet as possible along with enough quantity of aircraft to carry out missions. KC-46 is having some issues and isn't fully mission capable yet. On top of that, like other users have stated, there's some things you get with a KC-10 that you just can't replicate with a KC-46 tanker or even the older KC-135. We might keep hearing about the KC10s replacement for years but that's typical US Air Force.... meaning bureaucrats will talk, plans will change/evolve, and essentially the overall fleet won't be too much different in 3-4 years than it is today. Not a problem for me because that aircraft (the KC10) has been a good aircraft.
     
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    Dutchy
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Mon May 11, 2020 9:26 pm

    My guess is more KC-46's and a new stealth tanker in smaller numbers. Boeing needs to be saved and why not a few overpriced KC-46's instead of direct support?
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    Ozair
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Mon May 11, 2020 10:51 pm

    Numerous important things to remember with this.

    First the USAF is really keen to retire the KC-10 fleet. This is for budgetary reasons and not capability reasons. Removing the whole KC-10 fleet will save a significant amount of money from the sustainment budget. While the KC-10 is more capable than the KC-135 the KC-135 fleet is bigger and is cheaper to sustain across that whole fleet.

    Second when the KC-10s are retired they will be prime aircraft to move to a commercial contractor. The USAF is very keen to increase commercial tanking for CONUS and the KC-10s are the perfect assets to make that happen. The USAF hasn’t been able to widely use commercial tanking given the requirement for a boom but retiring the KC-10s and pushing those to the commercial sector significantly changes that. Omega is a prime example of a company that could use these aircraft and potentially a number of USAF crews who retire with the aircraft to move to commercial tanking.

    Commercial CONUS AAR for the USAF will allow the USAF to use their assets for more effective support to operations. It is also one of those different buckets of money problems, it allows the USAF to be seen to reduce sustainment while the balance sheet lifts in other areas where funding can be increased or reduced more easily and is likely more cost effective. Same thing is happening with Agressor work, multiple contractors are being used in place of USAF aircraft to support that training.

    Third the LM/Airbus tie up for tankers was primarily in response to the USAF commercial solicitation for CONUS tanking, it is not to sell the A330MRTT/KC-45/?? to the USAF as a replacement for the KC-10. There was talk of LM and Airbus looing to work on a new tanker design for future USAF tanking requirements including the mentioned more stealthy design for FEBA tanking but that has yet to be defined by the USAF or become a program of record.

    For a future tanker my opinion is if the USAF is looking for a new stealthy tanker than a modified B-21 is a better option than a whole new airframe that likely has limited utility both commercially or militarily outside the USAF. The dev program for a stealthy tanker is going to be a lot and given money has already been sunk into a large two engine stealthy design that will operate manned or unmanned and has a decent payload it seems a better option. It would also reduce sustainment across the whole fleet. A modified B-21 may not be the most optimal tanker for fuel burn and fuel offload but would be capable of operating in the FEBA and could shuttle back and forth between rear area KC-46s.

    Other than that, the KC-46 buy will continue likely past the 250 mark but I don't expect all KC-135s to be replaced wholesale by KC-46s.
     
    texl1649
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Mon May 11, 2020 11:09 pm

    It’s so ludicrous in my mind that the USAF could plan to budget billions (tens of billions) for a stealthy tanker when I think any student of their procurement the past 50 years realizes they’d rather spend that on any number of combat systems. Contract tanking is a wave of the future/today, yes, for CONUS but real solutions are needed, not ‘pie in the sky’ tanks of gas from space etc.
     
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    LyleLanley
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Tue May 12, 2020 12:26 am

    F-35s can be equipped for both boom as well as probe & drogue refueling, right? DIdn't Canada want that? Can that be retrofitted? Could the F-22 be so equipped?

    Bombers don't need stealth tankers as their range is respectable enough, so the true "need" for a boom is greatly diminished, provided an alternative for fighters is available.

    Could it be feasible to equip a B-21 with a centerline HDU? A la the Vulcan bombers (tankers) in the 80's? Stuff the bomb bays with plumbing for fuel tanks (instead of bombs) to an HDU, and create some snazzy form of shroud for the basket to come out whilst maintaining a fairly stealthy profile. This tanker configuration could be the equivalent of a 5-wet Super Hornet: minimal training necessary for the crew, stealth tanker for F-35s and maybe the F-22 delivered.

    Thoughts?
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    Ozair
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Tue May 12, 2020 1:37 am

    LyleLanley wrote:
    F-35s can be equipped for both boom as well as probe & drogue refueling, right? DIdn't Canada want that? Can that be retrofitted? Could the F-22 be so equipped?

    F-35A is boom refueled but the space that is used to hose the probe on the Bee and Cee has been reserved in the A so a probe could be fitted there if required but no nation has funded that dev work. Yes I believe Canada was potentially interested in that option but last I heard Canada was possibly not going to renew the tanker fleet once the current aircraft are retired and rely only on commercial/USAF tanking assets, as they do today for most of their tanking today anyway.

    What is a potential cost to upgrade 800+ USAF F-35As with a probe? Probably not a great amount given most of the fleet, bar the training aircraft, are funded for Blk 4 upgrade anyway so that work can be done at the depot at the same time.

    LyleLanley wrote:
    Bombers don't need stealth tankers as their range is respectable enough, so the true "need" for a boom is greatly diminished, provided an alternative for fighters is available.

    Agree the bombers aren’t a huge priority for the tanking mission at the FEBA but it would take a very huge shift in USAF doctrine and thinking to move away for boom refueling for fighters. Would also be an additional training burden on units to keep and maintain quals potentially for both drogue and boom refueling but not insurmountable. Not saying it isn’t possible but that seems unlikely to me.


    LyleLanley wrote:
    Could it be feasible to equip a B-21 with a centerline HDU? A la the Vulcan bombers (tankers) in the 80's? Stuff the bomb bays with plumbing for fuel tanks (instead of bombs) to an HDU, and create some snazzy form of shroud for the basket to come out whilst maintaining a fairly stealthy profile. This tanker configuration could be the equivalent of a 5-wet Super Hornet: minimal training necessary for the crew, stealth tanker for F-35s and maybe the F-22 delivered.

    Thoughts?

    Agree with all of that, shouldn’t be an issue really especially for what would be an in production design. The other side of this is the tactical implications of tanking on or past the FEBA in a A2AD environment but that is for the ops planners to figure out.
     
    JayinKitsap
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Tue May 12, 2020 2:14 am

    Boeing has 1 to 2 years to get the KC-46 turned into the tanker the USAF really wants, if it keeps screwing around all bets are off.

    If the USAF is happy with the KC-46 at the time the KC-(y) RFP goes out the RFP will allow the A330 to fit in as a 2nd bidder, but the specs will be written 'for" the KC-46. If the USAF is not happy it will be written to favor another plane, for all the reasons the KC-10 is different.

    I will go with the USAF being 'happy', the RVS 2.0 notes indicate the scope has been revised to what is desired. The cost to Boeing is about $4 M per to do this, not a big hit for the customer to be happy. So the Air Force can go two ways: Order another batch of say 100 planes (crimping other contenders on spreading out the development costs by low quantity) of the existing KC-46 or similar competitor. Or, go the 767X route where the GEnX engines are added to the plane, back at the initial RFP, the GEnX had not been in service for at least 5 years, a big reliability clause in the specs. The engine efficiency gains 20% more range or loiter time, the 19 tons added MTOW with 4 tons taken up by added engine weight, still gives 30,000# more fuel carried. That is a big jump.

    I wonder what the real tanker demand is these days: Back when the last KC-135's added to the fleet, there were a lot of other 707 bases 4 holers flying, lots of B-52 (8 hole), other transports, and massive quantities of fighters etc. That has certainly changed, and this changes the tanker demand.

    I see the KC-(z) being requests for drone tankers, similar to the MQ-25 and the Loyal Wingman projects. Yes, bigger than the MQ-25, possibly double. The concept of a bomb truck is a high payload craft able to operate in moderate or highly contested airspace. Variant T could be the tanker, variant B for gravity bombs, and Variant M for stand off missiles. Not full stealth, not supersonic but low signature on a budget.
     
    Ozair
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Tue May 12, 2020 3:19 am

    JayinKitsap wrote:
    Boeing has 1 to 2 years to get the KC-46 turned into the tanker the USAF really wants, if it keeps screwing around all bets are off.

    If the USAF is happy with the KC-46 at the time the KC-(y) RFP goes out the RFP will allow the A330 to fit in as a 2nd bidder, but the specs will be written 'for" the KC-46. If the USAF is not happy it will be written to favor another plane, for all the reasons the KC-10 is different.

    A lot has pointed to the USAF not doing KC-Y. I haven’t seen anything official yet but I expect there will never be a KC-Y RFP. The USAF will continue to acquire KC-46s until they are ready to move forward with a KC-Z program which will undoubtedly be called something different by then.

    JayinKitsap wrote:
    Or, go the 767X route where the GEnX engines are added to the plane, back at the initial RFP, the GEnX had not been in service for at least 5 years, a big reliability clause in the specs. The engine efficiency gains 20% more range or loiter time, the 19 tons added MTOW with 4 tons taken up by added engine weight, still gives 30,000# more fuel carried. That is a big jump.

    I could see the USAF not going the 767X route and simply acquiring more vanilla KC-46s. They don’t have the same hesitation on fuel burn as the commercials do and to keep the fleets as common as possible and thereby significantly reduce the sustainment costs a single type fleet would likely be preferred.

    JayinKitsap wrote:
    I wonder what the real tanker demand is these days: Back when the last KC-135's added to the fleet, there were a lot of other 707 bases 4 holers flying, lots of B-52 (8 hole), other transports, and massive quantities of fighters etc. That has certainly changed, and this changes the tanker demand.

    Depends on where you want to fight. Hitting Afghanistan daily required a decent number of tankers located outside of the country. If the future planning for conflict is the Pacific then tankers aren’t going away because USAF 4th gen fighters aren’t going away till the late 2030s and 5th gen will need fuel a little less but still need it. The distances in that theatre of operations are just long...

    JayinKitsap wrote:
    I see the KC-(z) being requests for drone tankers, similar to the MQ-25 and the Loyal Wingman projects. Yes, bigger than the MQ-25, possibly double. The concept of a bomb truck is a high payload craft able to operate in moderate or highly contested airspace. Variant T could be the tanker, variant B for gravity bombs, and Variant M for stand off missiles. Not full stealth, not supersonic but low signature on a budget.

    This article has some comments on an enlarged MQ-25 amongst other potential solutions. https://othjournal.com/2019/04/17/air-m ... r-problem/

    Most of all we need to step back and think about what the USAF wants and not what Boeing wants them to buy. All this talk about 767X and 777X based tankers is nice but it isn’t going to the core of what the USAF needs for a future platform that supports operational needs.
     
    mmo
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Tue May 12, 2020 5:38 am

    JayinKitsap wrote:

    I wonder what the real tanker demand is these days: Back when the last KC-135's added to the fleet, there were a lot of other 707 bases 4 holers flying, lots of B-52 (8 hole), other transports, and massive quantities of fighters etc. That has certainly changed, and this changes the tanker demand.


    The thing you are forgetting is the military must or should plan for the worst-case scenario. Right now, that would be having a conflict in the Pacific where basing presents problems in offload with the tanker. PGUA is nothing more than a stationary target for a MRBM. So, the USAF is now looking at dispersal bases or bases in a box to get closer to the FEBA and allow the tankers to provide more of an offload available for the aircraft in the area.

    Regarding the KC-46, I feel the aircraft is under the microscope and politics have entered the procurement arena. I still have a few friends who are involved with the program and they paint a slightly different outlook. Generally, the USAF is very happy with the KC-46. Is it perfect? No. But keep in mind this was the first military aircraft to be FAA certified from the ground up. I know the military uses COTS aircraft but this was built from the ground up for the military. That certification process proved much more complicated than first expected. The pallet issue was somewhat of a fiasco. The 767 has been built/modified into a freighter and there have been no problems with that setup. Why not use the same one? The USAF wanted its own design and refused to sign off on the tried and true system currently in use in the civilian market. The RVS was approved by the USAF originally and the F-22/F-35 problems were not considered. The scratching of the surface around the receptacle impacts the reflectivity on the fighter. No one, including the USAF and Boeing, thought it would be a major problem. There is certainly enough blame to go around for that one. Finally, the A-10 issue; the A-10 was supposed to be out of the inventory, according to the USAF, now and wasn't considered a real player when it came to receiver aircraft. Quite simply, it was overlooked. Boeing's fault???
    If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
     
    GDB
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Tue May 12, 2020 6:47 am

    mxaxai wrote:
    MohawkWeekend wrote:
    Not a Boeing fan here but just throwing this out - the USAF isn't going to buy a tanker built in Europe. And how could LM/Airbus create a whole new assembly line in the States with all those associated costs and be competitive with an aircraft in production? Plus you'd have to cover the overheads of both LM and Airbus too -those lawyers and VP's don't come cheap.

    IIRC the plan for the original tender was to create a FAL in Mobile, AL, where now the A320 + A220 FAL's are. Considering how many KC-45/46 are being built, that's certainly worth a new FAL. But the point is moot since the KC-46 will remain the only new tanker the USAF outright buys. The plan of the current LM/Airbus JV is to provide tankers as a service like an airline or charter operator. I think the USAF couldn't care less about the airframe as long as the operator is based in the US, and the performance is according to the contract.


    That was ironic, Boeing's military sector lobbied hard to overturn the original choice of the A330 based tanker, they succeed, only for the result being a brought for, broken ground site for Boeing Commercials nightmare, an Airbus FAL in the US.
    (I don't recall who was but some senator, when Boeing snatched the tanker choice back after all the lobbying, crowed how 'the French' - leaving out all the other Airbus partners - should stick to cooking and not aircraft). Given the all the issues the KC-46 as recounted in this thread, plus the success of the A330MRTT on the world market, who is crowing now? Certainly not the US taxpayer.

    Rather like Boeing's space systems with their Starliner. Arrogance and despite all their long experience and resources, not performing as Boeing were once renowned for.

    Certainly I can see a A330MRTT for this commercial tanker for the US, after all enough US aircrew have been taking from A330 platforms for some years now, from allies.
     
    Ozair
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Tue May 12, 2020 7:27 am

    GDB wrote:

    Certainly I can see a A330MRTT for this commercial tanker for the US, after all enough US aircrew have been taking from A330 platforms for some years now, from allies.

    I'd be less confident on that. The business case to acquire a brand new airframe to run the AAR contract would be very tight compared to running a recently retired KC-10. Now if the A330MRTT was a converted, recently retired or not economical to return to service A332 then the numbers may stack up a bit better but even then, going by the ex-Qantas jets converted for the RAAF, the conversion cost is likely excessive...
     
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    seahawk
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Tue May 12, 2020 9:11 am

    A 764 based tanker with 787 engines would be a prefect solution.
     
    RJMAZ
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Tue May 12, 2020 11:02 am

    The USAF will just buy more KC-46.

    If anything else gets purchased it will be an improved higher MTOW KC-46. It is not about comparing max fuel capacity or MTOW but how much fuel is available at a set distance. A 200t MTOW KC-46 with wingtips and cleansheet engines would be able to offload more fuel than the 267t KC-10 at any point over about 2500nm.

    The KC-10 would burn 80% of its fuel capacity flying two and from that point. A 200t KC-46 with 15% improved SFC engines would only burn 60% of its fuel capacity flying to and from that point. Both would have about 35t of fuel to offload.

    Flying transpacific from the US to say Australia this improved KC-46 could ferry the same number of aircraft as the KC-10.
     
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    LyleLanley
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Wed May 13, 2020 12:35 am

    mmo wrote:
    The thing you are forgetting is the military must or should plan for the worst-case scenario. Right now, that would be having a conflict in the Pacific where basing presents problems in offload with the tanker. PGUA is nothing more than a stationary target for a MRBM. So, the USAF is now looking at dispersal bases or bases in a box to get closer to the FEBA and allow the tankers to provide more of an offload available for the aircraft in the area.

    Regarding the KC-46, I feel the aircraft is under the microscope and politics have entered the procurement arena. I still have a few friends who are involved with the program and they paint a slightly different outlook. Generally, the USAF is very happy with the KC-46. Is it perfect? No. But keep in mind this was the first military aircraft to be FAA certified from the ground up. I know the military uses COTS aircraft but this was built from the ground up for the military. That certification process proved much more complicated than first expected. The pallet issue was somewhat of a fiasco. The 767 has been built/modified into a freighter and there have been no problems with that setup. Why not use the same one? The USAF wanted its own design and refused to sign off on the tried and true system currently in use in the civilian market. The RVS was approved by the USAF originally and the F-22/F-35 problems were not considered. The scratching of the surface around the receptacle impacts the reflectivity on the fighter. No one, including the USAF and Boeing, thought it would be a major problem. There is certainly enough blame to go around for that one. Finally, the A-10 issue; the A-10 was supposed to be out of the inventory, according to the USAF, now and wasn't considered a real player when it came to receiver aircraft. Quite simply, it was overlooked. Boeing's fault???


    MMO,

    Completely agreed on your first para, but a couple points with the second: the KC-10 was designed from the get-go as an FAA certified aircraft. The FAA shenanigans Boeing is going through is because of quality control; i.e. no one noticing the pods don't have the paperwork needed for FAA cert. That's on Boeing.

    Regarding the pallet system, you're right Boeing has the commercial freighter experience, but the AF (and most of the rest of the military) uses the 463L system, and conforming to that system was most definitely in the contract. That's on Boeing.

    RVS? The concept was approved and when the AF truly tested the system (as per the contract) the AF gave it a hearty thumbs-down! That issue was purely Boeing navigating by the trees of the contract without realizing they were missing the forest. That's on Boeing.

    A-10. Definitely Air Force's fault. Whether it was inventory confusion or attention to detail, the AF screwed that up. A drop in the bucket compared to the company bragging about their decades of tanker experience.
    "I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
     
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    LyleLanley
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Wed May 13, 2020 12:52 am

    RJMAZ wrote:
    The USAF will just buy more KC-46.


    Bingo. The AF hates re-engining aircraft for good reason. It bespoken operations in a way the AF hates. The two examples are the KC-135 (E and R) and the C-5. The KC-135's anemic engines killed more than a few crews, severely limited its fuel offload, limited the number of usable airports in a conflict, and the AF didn't care so long as it did its job. Enter SAC wanting to offload KC-135s to the Guard and Reserves and them laughing and prodding for a reengineering since O'Hare international airport didn't take kindly to 11,000 water-injected takeoff runs... Finally, SAC came to it's senses with the already 707-proven TF-33s and eventually the R model and its efficiencies.

    Same with the C-5. Decades with that decrepit, but beautiful-sounding TF-39 got sh1t canned. What did it take to get rid of the world's oldest turbofan that literally "drove" the C-5's air refueling requirement and was responsible for much of its lackluster long range ability? Overhaul costs became too much and it was either retire the aircraft (non-starter) or retire the engine.

    RJMAZ wrote:
    If anything else gets purchased it will be an improved higher MTOW KC-46. It is not about comparing max fuel capacity or MTOW but how much fuel is available at a set distance. A 200t MTOW KC-46 with wingtips and cleansheet engines would be able to offload more fuel than the 267t KC-10 at any point over about 2500nm.

    The KC-10 would burn 80% of its fuel capacity flying two and from that point. A 200t KC-46 with 15% improved SFC engines would only burn 60% of its fuel capacity flying to and from that point. Both would have about 35t of fuel to offload.

    Flying transpacific from the US to say Australia this improved KC-46 could ferry the same number of aircraft as the KC-10.


    A 267t KC-10 would be pretty light, as MTOW is 295t, but coronet operations just don't work the way you mention. Not only would fighters NEVER go direct US to Australia (where your efficiencies mostly lay) but it also assumes the aircraft flies at its most efficient altitudes, and most coronets are flown in the mid-20s. Not to mention, the AF would leverage any flight like that with force extension or staggered offloads where the efficiencies you mention don't really matter.
    "I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
     
    Ozair
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Wed May 13, 2020 1:57 am

    LyleLanley wrote:
    A 267t KC-10 would be pretty light, as MTOW is 295t, but coronet operations just don't work the way you mention. Not only would fighters NEVER go direct US to Australia (where your efficiencies mostly lay) but it also assumes the aircraft flies at its most efficient altitudes, and most coronets are flown in the mid-20s. Not to mention, the AF would leverage any flight like that with force extension or staggered offloads where the efficiencies you mention don't really matter.

    Interesting observation, the 2018 first delivery of F-35 to Australia from the US went Luke to Hickam and then direct to Amberley. The Hickam to Amberley flight was minimum 4100nm which was at the time, and perhaps to this day, the longest F-35 flight. I assume a RAAF KC-30 was the tanker used for that flight.

    The pair flew in from Luke with a stopover at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, before flying to RAAF Amberley in Queensland in what is the longest sector yet flown by the F-35.

    https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... ase-roster

    The previous year, in 2017, two aircraft visited Australia and when they flew home went via Guam, Hickam and then to Luke so a longer route and also used a KC-30, max altitude was 30k.
    The F-35 transit from Australia to the USA was completed in less than three days and a total flying time of approximately 20 hours. The F-35s were refueled in-flight by RAAF KC-30 tanker crews and made overnight stops at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam and Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii, before completing the transit to Luke AFB, Arizona.

    http://www.adastron.com/lockheed/lightn ... ne-001.pdf

    Not sure if the generally higher fuel fraction of the F-35s allows that direct Hickam/Oz transit but I expect as RAAF jets fly back and forth to the US for Red Flags over the next twenty years they will likely do a mix of both routes depending on tanker and aircraft numbers.
     
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    LyleLanley
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Wed May 13, 2020 2:43 am

    Ozair wrote:
    LyleLanley wrote:
    A 267t KC-10 would be pretty light, as MTOW is 295t, but coronet operations just don't work the way you mention. Not only would fighters NEVER go direct US to Australia (where your efficiencies mostly lay) but it also assumes the aircraft flies at its most efficient altitudes, and most coronets are flown in the mid-20s. Not to mention, the AF would leverage any flight like that with force extension or staggered offloads where the efficiencies you mention don't really matter.

    Interesting observation, the 2018 first delivery of F-35 to Australia from the US went Luke to Hickam and then direct to Amberley. The Hickam to Amberley flight was minimum 4100nm which was at the time, and perhaps to this day, the longest F-35 flight. I assume a RAAF KC-30 was the tanker used for that flight.

    The pair flew in from Luke with a stopover at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, before flying to RAAF Amberley in Queensland in what is the longest sector yet flown by the F-35.

    https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... ase-roster

    The previous year, in 2017, two aircraft visited Australia and when they flew home went via Guam, Hickam and then to Luke so a longer route and also used a KC-30, max altitude was 30k.
    The F-35 transit from Australia to the USA was completed in less than three days and a total flying time of approximately 20 hours. The F-35s were refueled in-flight by RAAF KC-30 tanker crews and made overnight stops at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam and Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii, before completing the transit to Luke AFB, Arizona.

    http://www.adastron.com/lockheed/lightn ... ne-001.pdf

    Not sure if the generally higher fuel fraction of the F-35s allows that direct Hickam/Oz transit but I expect as RAAF jets fly back and forth to the US for Red Flags over the next twenty years they will likely do a mix of both routes depending on tanker and aircraft numbers.


    Valid. I assumed when he said US he was referring to CONUS, but your later article indirectly made my point: a 2-ship of F-35s is generally not how American coronets work, unless you’re picking up stragglers. 4 or 6 jets per tanker is the norm, so this was RAAF ops, not USAF.
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    bikerthai
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Thu May 14, 2020 4:57 pm

    Question about the stealth tanker. As noted above bombers have the range, so, wouldn't stealth tanker be more geared to strike packages. Wouldn't Navy unmanned tanker be stealthy enough to get close to the front line to support the F-35?

    bt
    Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
     
    Ozair
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Thu May 14, 2020 9:44 pm

    bikerthai wrote:
    Question about the stealth tanker. As noted above bombers have the range, so, wouldn't stealth tanker be more geared to strike packages.

    I don’t think we can remove the requirement for bombers to be refuelled, just that it may not be as frequent as the smaller platforms. If you consider the B-21 is meant to be an ISR node within the battlespace then being able to keep it in the area for as long as possible provides a massively significant ability to F2T2EA time sensitive or moving targets with high speed precision munitions launched from longer range platforms in rear areas.

    The USAF has also stated all along the B-21 is being built for manned and unmanned operations and therefore will be able to potentially stay in country for longer durations, thereby necessitating potentially multiple refuels.

    bikerthai wrote:
    Wouldn't Navy unmanned tanker be stealthy enough to get close to the front line to support the F-35?

    The MQ-25 is not really a stealth design. Yes it may have some shaping that is consistent with RCS reduction measures but stealth is not just RCS reduction. For example how will the MQ-25 be controlled? It is autonomous in its entire deployment or is it controlled via the carrier? If the jet is being controlled for portions of its flight then it becomes a target for EW.

    Additionally the MQ-25 is still a drogue refueller but the USAF is boom. You either change the MQ-25 to boom, unlikely and probably not possible without an increase in size and addition of a stealthy boom, or you change the USAF F-35 fleet (uncertainty on this cost). That still doesn’t solve the rest of the fighter fleet which will still be in service till the mid to late 2030s or longer in the case of F-15E and EX.
     
    texl1649
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Thu May 14, 2020 11:05 pm

    bikerthai wrote:
    Question about the stealth tanker. As noted above bombers have the range, so, wouldn't stealth tanker be more geared to strike packages. Wouldn't Navy unmanned tanker be stealthy enough to get close to the front line to support the F-35?

    bt

    Stealth bombers don’t have much range at all, really. The B-2 and B-21 are powered (or will be) by fighter engines, not high bypass turbofans. As such, their real world un-refueled combat radius is more like 2,400-3,000 miles (this is speculative, admittedly). The B-21 is sized basically like a tactical bomber, moreover, so it also doesn’t have a lot of ordinance at maximum range.

    I think drone tankers are going to be essential in any future capability/power projection vs. China, yes, regardless of which branch is deploying them.
     
    744SPX
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Thu May 14, 2020 11:17 pm

    If the 777F stays in production for a while yet, I don't see why the old 777 tanker proposal couldn't be revisited...
     
    Ozair
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Fri May 15, 2020 1:22 am

    744SPX wrote:
    If the 777F stays in production for a while yet, I don't see why the old 777 tanker proposal couldn't be revisited...

    The USAF has spent US$4.9 billion, and Boeing another 3-4 billion, to get the KC-46 to the point where it can operate in a military capacity. That same funding, and possibly more, would be needed for any 777 variant to modify it for the specific tanker role. Additionaly as with the A330 it isn't a great fit, the wingspan of the aircraft is too big for all the current tanker infrastructure.

    texl1649 wrote:
    bikerthai wrote:
    Question about the stealth tanker. As noted above bombers have the range, so, wouldn't stealth tanker be more geared to strike packages. Wouldn't Navy unmanned tanker be stealthy enough to get close to the front line to support the F-35?

    bt

    Stealth bombers don’t have much range at all, really. The B-2 and B-21 are powered (or will be) by fighter engines, not high bypass turbofans. As such, their real world un-refueled combat radius is more like 2,400-3,000 miles (this is speculative, admittedly). The B-21 is sized basically like a tactical bomber, moreover, so it also doesn’t have a lot of ordinance at maximum range.

    I think drone tankers are going to be essential in any future capability/power projection vs. China, yes, regardless of which branch is deploying them.

    The B-2 fleet regularly train for and fly 30+ hour missions so the current operational concept covers whatever perceived range issues the aircraft has. While that concept almost certainly does not cover refuelling beyond the FEBA there are likely only a few targets they cannot hit with a top up before entering the threat zone and topping up again afterwards.
     
    texl1649
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Fri May 15, 2020 3:51 am

    Today, refueling from beyond the FEBA makes sense. With drones and hypersonic/directed energy weapons in the near future, it’s not as clear cut (particularly if you are talking about KC-46/KC-135’s, which are pretty easy to find). Further, 30 plus hour missions for training is fine, but if you’re talking waves of hundreds of bombers being used (vs. the 19 B-2’s in existence), it’s somewhat irrelevant.

    It also bears noting that the Chinese navy may be able to redefine where the feba is going to be, in the future.
     
    426Shadow
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Fri May 15, 2020 4:05 pm

    I am a Lockheed employee and sometimes a Boeing cheerleader but the way I see it, I think we could use a slice of that pie along with Airbus with the A330 tanker. We are already picking spots here for production so they may be jumping the gun like what happened to Greenville with the T-50 but its a hopeful sign.
    We are all just fanboys, our opinions don't make or break businesses.
     
    mxaxai
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Fri May 15, 2020 4:27 pm

    Ozair wrote:
    The MQ-25 is not really a stealth design. Yes it may have some shaping that is consistent with RCS reduction measures but stealth is not just RCS reduction. For example how will the MQ-25 be controlled? It is autonomous in its entire deployment or is it controlled via the carrier? If the jet is being controlled for portions of its flight then it becomes a target for EW.

    Laser communication, via a relay satellite (for communication to a remote station like the carrier) or direct (to accompanying aircraft), is very robust against EW. The signal is very focused on the intended receiver. The only downside is that you can't fly under a cloud cover, and you need a platform that's stable enough for your pointing mechanism.

    If you're operating in a loyal wingman style, and the drone refueler is being controlled by a nearby aircraft, you could also use relatively little power to transmit data through conventional wireless communication; such signals would be relatively difficult to sense from far away. Not impossible to detect but definitely a challenge.

    I don't know if that's planned for the MQ-25 but robust wireless communication is possible.
     
    SuperiorPilotMe
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Fri May 15, 2020 9:12 pm

    426Shadow wrote:
    I am a Lockheed employee and sometimes a Boeing cheerleader but the way I see it, I think we could use a slice of that pie along with Airbus with the A330 tanker.


    The military is not a jobs distribution program.

    Going more strictly on-subject, the KC-46 renders redundant the capabilities of both the KC-135 and KC-10 as it has at least similar cargo volume to the KC-10, a volume that the KC-135 (about the size of a mid-body 737) can't even hope to dream of. Therefore the USAF should just keep buying the one type.

    Again, the military is not a jobs distribution program.
    Stop the stupids!- Claus Kellerman
     
    426Shadow
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Fri May 15, 2020 11:36 pm

    SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
    426Shadow wrote:
    I am a Lockheed employee and sometimes a Boeing cheerleader but the way I see it, I think we could use a slice of that pie along with Airbus with the A330 tanker.


    The military is not a jobs distribution program.

    Going more strictly on-subject, the KC-46 renders redundant the capabilities of both the KC-135 and KC-10 as it has at least similar cargo volume to the KC-10, a volume that the KC-135 (about the size of a mid-body 737) can't even hope to dream of. Therefore the USAF should just keep buying the one type.

    Again, the military is not a jobs distribution program.


    You say that, but have you been in either? I have 6 years USAF under my belt and going on 10 years at Lockheed. There are several things neither will admit publicly but I can tell you the Military Industrial Complex is real. You can live in your fantasy land all you want to but the people on the ground in this know what the deal is. Ive heard things from management that I can't repeat and I wouldn't even if I could.
    We are all just fanboys, our opinions don't make or break businesses.
     
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    LyleLanley
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Sat May 16, 2020 12:24 am

    I just want a tanker that works well.

    The AF isn't interested in buying yet another type of tanker. 3 is too many and 2 is preferred.
    "I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
     
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    par13del
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Sat May 16, 2020 1:19 am

    SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
    426Shadow wrote:
    I am a Lockheed employee and sometimes a Boeing cheerleader but the way I see it, I think we could use a slice of that pie along with Airbus with the A330 tanker.


    The military is not a jobs distribution program.

    Going more strictly on-subject, the KC-46 renders redundant the capabilities of both the KC-135 and KC-10 as it has at least similar cargo volume to the KC-10, a volume that the KC-135 (about the size of a mid-body 737) can't even hope to dream of. Therefore the USAF should just keep buying the one type.

    Again, the military is not a jobs distribution program.

    It's not always about jobs distribution, Navy ships are built in multiple yards by multiple vendors to ensure that the nation is not reliant on one OEM, such principle may be the key factor in purchasing a different tanker from another vendor especially if a USA firm is heavily involved. I do not expect it to be the primary tanker but I can see a Lockheed project replacing the KC-10 with continued buys of the KC-46 and other variants being used for other air force requirements.
     
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    flyingclrs727
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Sat May 16, 2020 12:51 pm

    If Boeing re-engines the 767-400ER with the same GEnX-2B used on the 747-8 for domestic freighters, the same aircraft would make an excellent replacement for the KC-10. This would keep lots of commonality with the KC-46 and a the same pilot rating
     
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    bikerthai
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Sat May 16, 2020 1:18 pm

    par13del wrote:
    Navy ships are built in multiple yards by multiple vendors to ensure that the nation is not reliant on one OEM


    This policy is increasingly difficult. We now have a defacto one manufacturer for fighters. One for bombers.

    The only way I can see the A330 replacing the KC-10 would be through a leased program. That way the contractor will be on the hook for maintaining the frame. How many KC-10 do they need to replace? Is it enough to keep the A330 production line open?

    bt
    Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
     
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    par13del
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    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Sat May 16, 2020 3:25 pm

    bikerthai wrote:
    par13del wrote:
    Navy ships are built in multiple yards by multiple vendors to ensure that the nation is not reliant on one OEM


    This policy is increasingly difficult. We now have a defacto one manufacturer for fighters. One for bombers.

    The only way I can see the A330 replacing the KC-10 would be through a leased program. That way the contractor will be on the hook for maintaining the frame. How many KC-10 do they need to replace? Is it enough to keep the A330 production line open?

    bt

    The A330 tanker portfolio may never get as large as the KC-46, so I suspect the rest of the world who buy the A330 tanker line will keep it rolling at a very slow rate.
    Unless something dramatic happens, the KC-46 will be the volume tanker for the foreseeable future, if the A330 is bought it may be for the similar job the KC-10 performed in which case I would say similar or slightly lower numbers. If the US were to buy even 30 of them they would be the largest operator.
     
    texl1649
    Posts: 1465
    Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:38 am

    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Sat May 16, 2020 9:58 pm

    flyingclrs727 wrote:
    If Boeing re-engines the 767-400ER with the same GEnX-2B used on the 747-8 for domestic freighters, the same aircraft would make an excellent replacement for the KC-10. This would keep lots of commonality with the KC-46 and a the same pilot rating


    There was a Forbes article in April that this is to happen (civilian versions). The other thing is the A330 is likely the most vulnerable ‘current’ civil airliner to face termination in the shut down.
     
    User avatar
    LyleLanley
    Posts: 290
    Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:33 pm

    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Sun May 17, 2020 12:47 am

    flyingclrs727 wrote:
    If Boeing re-engines the 767-400ER with the same GEnX-2B used on the 747-8 for domestic freighters, the same aircraft would make an excellent replacement for the KC-10. This would keep lots of commonality with the KC-46 and a the same pilot rating


    No, it wouldn’t. The initial offload capability isn’t that different from a straight KC-46 and the missions where the capability might be noticeable isn’t enough to justify the differences in the fleet, especially with a brand new engine maintained by an 18 year old who 6 months prior didn’t know the difference between a philips head and a flat head screwdriver. If your re-engined jet carried an extra 100K then they might talk.

    You talk of same type ratings and airline-style crew scheduling efficiencies but the AF doesn’t give a sh1t about type ratings, it cares about quals, and a re-engined KC-46 would be a different qual than a vanilla KC-46A. Pilots didn’t go from flying C-5Bs one day to flying Ms every other day. Even upgrading from the FMS-800 to GATM in the KC-10 was a scheduling nightmare, and the jet was the same; just a different box and an EADI.
    "I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
     
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    flee
    Posts: 1350
    Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:14 am

    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Sun May 17, 2020 2:11 am

    flyingclrs727 wrote:
    If Boeing re-engines the 767-400ER with the same GEnX-2B used on the 747-8 for domestic freighters, the same aircraft would make an excellent replacement for the KC-10. This would keep lots of commonality with the KC-46 and a the same pilot rating

    Didn't the KC-46 get the same glass cockpit as the B787? If so, it would have been an upgrade over the B767-400ER.
     
    GalaxyFlyer
    Posts: 6478
    Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

    Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

    Sun May 17, 2020 2:21 am

    C-5 conversion to the M model was full blown conversion, like it was a new plane.

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