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LyleLanley
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun May 17, 2020 3:07 am

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


Thank you for proving my point. With the engine, wing, and fuselage changes necessary to accommodate a much heavier, much wider diameter engine, this re-engined KC-46 would also be a different plane to the AF.

Talking about re-engining an aircraft that's barely entered IOT&E... It's a non-starter.
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Buckeyetech
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun May 17, 2020 1:02 pm

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


BTW I hate the Air Force’s PR stunt with that. They should be C-5Ds! (And yes I know there never truly was a C model). But then they named the new bomber after the “21st century”?! Spare me. :)
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747classic
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun May 17, 2020 2:43 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
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 have operated the 747-200/300 series with the old analoque instruments and with the new FMS and digital instruments and we did it in 2 steps , first installation of the FMS, thereafter installation of the EADI and EHSI. We were simply dual qualified after the difference course and operated both aircraft configurations in one crew rotation during the modification program (1998-1999), without issues.

So, are civil cockpit crews that much smarter or is the USAF simply not able to provide a flexible qualification solution, during a flight deck reconfiguration. ?

Note : a 767-400ER tanker with a refuelling boom would cause a lot of rotation issues, due the length of the -400 fuselage and the increase in fuel load will be marginal due structural limitations.
Last edited by 747classic on Sun May 17, 2020 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun May 17, 2020 2:57 pm

Just cultural, very few dual-qualified pilots in the AF and very strict in defining differences. A lot has to do with the experience levels, the mission variances and conservatism. We did fly FMS and non-FMS C-5s interchangeably, but the M was quite different, in an airline possibly separate fleet.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun May 17, 2020 3:15 pm

To elaborate a bit on GF's answer, a minimum-hour commercial pilot hire at your outfit probably has, what, 1500 hours? In an AF squadron they would be called 'experienced'. An experienced pilot has enough airmanship, muscle memory, and comfort whilst flying to be able to swap between different boxes/jets, etc. A copilot who has been mission-ready for two months is not an experienced pilot.

To elucidate on how quals affect AF operations, take the KC-10 deployed location, Al Dhafra: you have a crew, whose new co-pilot received GATM-training (non FMS-800). The crew is alerted to fly a GATM jet, but there's a hydro leak and the spare is an FMS-800 jet. The choice is either mx cancel or otherwise try to find another pilot (line-of-sight scheduling) who is FMS-qual'd to fly the mission. Neither are great options.
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LyleLanley
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun May 17, 2020 3:22 pm

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


BTW I hate the Air Force’s PR stunt with that. They should be C-5Ds! (And yes I know there never truly was a C model). But then they named the new bomber after the “21st century”?! Spare me. :)


Don't forget the KC-10/DC-10. The more things change...
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SuperiorPilotMe
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 12:12 am

426Shadow wrote:
I have 6 years USAF under my belt and going on 10 years at Lockheed.


*blah blah blah blah blah*

There are several things neither will admit publicly


*blah blah bah blah blah*

but I can tell you the Military Industrial Complex is real.


Ok, that we can agree on. The Military Industrial Complex is a very corrupt dark side of capitalism that is very much a driving force in the execution of warfare and thus the spreading of misery to the global population, and that profit motive is a much larger consideration than actual rational considerations to practicality.

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.


...are you familiar with the concept of the "Internet Tough Guy"?

par13del wrote:
SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
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.


True but there's a huge difference between ordering the same design from multiple yards and ordering redundant designs that ultimately do little more than complicate the logistics train. Speaking of which this has been one of the main failings of LCS. Heads deserved to roll for that program - and they did.
Stop the stupids!- Claus Kellerman
 
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flee
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 2:11 am

The USAF may not really need to replace the KC-10s. The aircraft fleet that they operate is now smaller. They have more fuel efficient aircraft like the C-5M. The B-52s will be re-engined with new fuel efficient engines. So maybe the K-46s will be sufficient to service these and in case they really do need to replace the KC-10s, they just need to order more KC-46s or rent a few extra tankers from private operators.
 
Ozair
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 2:47 am

flee wrote:
The USAF may not really need to replace the KC-10s. The aircraft fleet that they operate is now smaller. They have more fuel efficient aircraft like the C-5M. The B-52s will be re-engined with new fuel efficient engines. So maybe the K-46s will be sufficient to service these and in case they really do need to replace the KC-10s, they just need to order more KC-46s or rent a few extra tankers from private operators.

The USAF wants a two tanker fleet and more than likely in the next two years, once the KC-46s plethora of issues is behind them and the fleet is maturing, the KC-10s will get the chop. The USAF has forecast this multiple times with the primary reason being the retirement of the KC-10 reduces their overall sustainment budget. Yes the KC-135s are older and don't carry as much fuel but the KC-10 fleet size is small and more costly to sustain on a per aircraft basis.

The KC-135s are going to be around for the next twenty years and the USAF will likely continue to acquire KC-46s for at least the next decade. There is only one private AAR operator that has boom equipped tankers and the retirement of the KC-10 allows those boom equipped aircraft to move to private operators, either Omega or someone else who bids enough. Enough active, reserve and retired KC-10 aircrew will be available to staff a commercial vendor flying KC-10s. Additionally it is unlikely to be cost effective for a private operator to acquire new build KC-46s or KC-30s to fulfil a USAF commercial tanking mission given new build acquisition costs.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 4:52 am

I’d love to refute Oz, but he’s pretty spot-on. The KC-135’s strength is its numbers, and the KC-10’s strength is offload and capability (UARRSI, boom, and drogue on every flight). Private industry can capitalize on her strengths as the KC-46 brings its flexibility into the tanker world mainstream.

Brave new world.
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JerseyFlyer
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 11:54 am

The only reason for the USAF to order anything other than more KC 46s is because they need more capacity or more endurance or more flexibility - e.g as a troop transport per the RAF model of leasing out MRTT surge capacity to the private sector.

Were Airbus to win a competition the planes would be built in Mobile, and if the order were large enough they may certify a US engine in place of RR.
 
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flee
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 11:59 am

JerseyFlyer wrote:
Were Airbus to win a competition the planes would be built in Mobile, and if the order were large enough they may certify a US engine in place of RR.

The A332 (on which the Airbus A330 MRTT is converted from) is already certified with PW4000 and GE CF-6 engines. The RAAF's KC-30s have GE engines.
 
SuperiorPilotMe
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 8:17 pm

Ozair wrote:
There is only one private AAR operator that has boom equipped tankers and the retirement of the KC-10 allows those boom equipped aircraft to move to private operators, either Omega or someone else who bids enough. Enough active, reserve and retired KC-10 aircrew will be available to staff a commercial vendor flying KC-10s.


That does pose a question, if it's beneficial to accelerate handing off these KC-10s to a private contractor. There would be a small capability gap in the meantime but it would also accelerate those budgetary savings.

LyleLanley wrote:
I’d love to refute Oz, but he’s pretty spot-on.


He does tend to be one of the very few on Airliners.net who elects to regularly exercise his brain.
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Ozair
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 10:27 pm

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
Ozair wrote:
There is only one private AAR operator that has boom equipped tankers and the retirement of the KC-10 allows those boom equipped aircraft to move to private operators, either Omega or someone else who bids enough. Enough active, reserve and retired KC-10 aircrew will be available to staff a commercial vendor flying KC-10s.


That does pose a question, if it's beneficial to accelerate handing off these KC-10s to a private contractor. There would be a small capability gap in the meantime but it would also accelerate those budgetary savings.

At the moment the USAF has approx 35 or so KC-46s delivered. If you assume that 16 new aircraft will arrive every year then there should be sufficient available in the next few years to replace the ~58 KC-10s that are in service. Not sure about the state of the current fleet but the KC-10 traditionally had a higher availability than the KC-135. I expect the KC-46, again once the issues are sorted out, should match the KC-10 availability given overall platform maturity.

In the long run it is certainly beneficial though. The USAF maintains a two tanker fleet, USAF tankers are more focused on operations and a viable commercial vendor or two conducts a significant portion of domestic tanking missions. In the end it is a win for the USAF in most cases. The only losses I see is that reduction you get from the KC-10s higher fuel offload in some specific operational circumstances and as Lyle mentioned the boom and drogues being on all aircraft.

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
He does tend to be one of the very few on Airliners.net who elects to regularly exercise his brain.

I try although am likely as guilty as the next person of reading and posting when I am too tired. At least never post drunk…
 
texl1649
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 10:56 pm

Ironically, given a pivot to the pacific/Chinese theater, the need for tankers will increase if/when there is a reliance strategically on B-21’s (and B-52’s, re-engined).
 
Ozair
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Mon May 18, 2020 11:10 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Ironically, given a pivot to the pacific/Chinese theater, the need for tankers will increase if/when there is a reliance strategically on B-21’s (and B-52’s, re-engined).

That doesn’t invalidate the KC-10 retirement/commercial plan though, it actually support it. It is possible a commercial vendor could run US fighter deployments to the Pacific, for example Omega supported RAAF Hornets flying to Red Flag in Alaska with 707s and back in 2008, and using a KC-10 would certainly make that possible for boom equipped fighters. It additionally allows the USAF to focus their tanker fleet on operations and worry less about the CONUS training requirements they have to support today.

I could also see in a war time scenario that a commercial AAR vendor would be part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet and therefore continue to support operations.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Tue May 19, 2020 5:00 am

Revelation wrote:
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.

Northrop is now slouch in hammering the tax payer too and Boeing still managed to shoot down the EADS/Northrop KC45 which won the original RFP fare and square.
SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
That does pose a question, if it's beneficial to accelerate handing off these KC-10s to a private contractor. There would be a small capability gap in the meantime but it would also accelerate those budgetary savings.

Maybe we can pawn off the KC10 to the Saudis or UAE; or if the real concern is the South China Sea, then the Aussies, Indians, or Koreans. How’s Omega doing these days?

I do believe thought that the Pegasus (definitely one of the cooler USAF aircraft nicknames IMO) is the best option for the budget and is still a very good catch-all to replace both tanker fleets.
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flee
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Tue May 19, 2020 6:15 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Maybe we can pawn off the KC10 to the Saudis or UAE; or if the real concern is the South China Sea, then the Aussies, Indians, or Koreans.


Saudis - operating 6 A330 MRTTs
UAE - operating 3 A330 MRTTs
Aussies - operating 7 A330 MRTTs
Indians - no information about tankers
Koreans - operating 4 A330 MRTTs

So the Indains may have a small requirement...
 
FatCat
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Tue May 19, 2020 6:30 am

IMHO the KC-135 is way more survivable than a twin engined plane.
I know a pax B767 can successfully fly for a decent amount of time with only one engine, but imagine having to abort a bombing mission because of one tanker having an engine failure. Or worse, having a group of planes suffering from fuel starvation because of the tanker's engine failure, risking planes and crews.
I bet the 135s will be around for many many years to come... the perfect solution to me? Newly built KC-135s...
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LyleLanley
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Tue May 19, 2020 1:52 pm

FatCat wrote:
IMHO the KC-135 is way more survivable than a twin engined plane.
I know a pax B767 can successfully fly for a decent amount of time with only one engine, but imagine having to abort a bombing mission because of one tanker having an engine failure. Or worse, having a group of planes suffering from fuel starvation because of the tanker's engine failure, risking planes and crews.
I bet the 135s will be around for many many years to come... the perfect solution to me? Newly built KC-135s...


Fatcat,

Your argument makes sense from a physical standpoint; 4 engines -1 = 3 more engines to fly and refuel.

But that's not the way the Air Force operates.

Any Air Force tanker, whether 2, 3, or 4 engines, would abort if they experienced engine failure. That's why there are spares and that's why there's extra gas, because contingencies happen.

On the other hand, if the receiver declares an emergency all bets are off. I personally know of a tanker crew over Afghanistan, circa early 2002, whose FE refueled a group of emergency Navy aircraft. Their boom had passed out (undiagnosed diabetes) and was unresponsive.

If they're truly needed, they'll find a way to make it happen. If there are backups, there's no point in being hero. Especially when you don't have hot seats or carry chutes.
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bikerthai
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Tue May 19, 2020 1:58 pm

flee wrote:
So the Indains may have a small requirement...


And since it seems they like Boeing product, my bet is on the KC-46 if they decide on a western airframe.

Every one else will probably gravitate to the A330. Including future commercial/private operator supporting the USAF.

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

Tue May 19, 2020 2:12 pm

bikerthai wrote:
flee wrote:
So the Indains may have a small requirement...

And since it seems they like Boeing product, my bet is on the KC-46 if they decide on a western airframe.

Every one else will probably gravitate to the A330. Including future commercial/private operator supporting the USAF.

bt

Well India has ordered (and cancelled) the A330 MRTT some years ago. So we don't really know their preferences - they have evaluated the KC-46 amd IL-76 as well. Indian defence procurement does not have any pattern to it!
 
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Revelation
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Tue May 19, 2020 4:01 pm

texl1649 wrote:
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.

It's interesting how we read the USAF can't afford to maintain KC10s yet is willing to provide enough cash for a private contractor to do so and make some profit to boot.

GDB wrote:
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.

Apparently you are suggesting that we should all follow your shining example of humility, modesty and neutrality?

flee wrote:
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.

No, what it got was the 787 display technology, but the systems are still mainly vintage 767 systems. In essence it's a bit of window dressing, done not for crew efficiency but because the modern displays are cheaper to maintain than the vintage ones.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Tue May 19, 2020 8:40 pm

Revelation wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
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.

It's interesting how we read the USAF can't afford to maintain KC10s yet is willing to provide enough cash for a private contractor to do so and make some profit to boot.

GDB wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
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.

Apparently you are suggesting that we should all follow your shining example of humility, modesty and neutrality?

flee wrote:
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.

No, what it got was the 787 display technology, but the systems are still mainly vintage 767 systems. In essence it's a bit of window dressing, done not for crew efficiency but because the modern displays are cheaper to maintain than the vintage ones.


You’re assuming that the USAF cost of operation is similar to a civilian operator costs. They’re quite different, just try working thru government procurement process. Then there’s the manpower costs where have inexperienced, rotating enlisted staff doing the work. Might seem cheaper, but productivity pays for itself.
 
texl1649
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Wed May 20, 2020 2:15 pm

ugh, the A330 will never be in the USAF inventory, and it’s getting pretty silly/absurd to see it posited even at this point. The whole A330 line is probably the most likely to be terminated in this shutdown, and the CEO option on their tankers isn’t going to be produced much longer, regardless.

A unicorn A330 MRTT USAF fleet with RR engines is pretty hysterical to project being considered in 10-15 years. The KC-10 capability will be missed, and I suspect at some point an arsenal/refueling combo platform will have RFP spec’s drawn up (the question is can a somewhat ‘flying wing’ structure do both? Where would the engines wind up being located? Would it need to be quasi-stealthy?), but it’s all just speculation at this time.
 
SuperiorPilotMe
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Thu May 21, 2020 7:20 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Northrop is now[sic] slouch in hammering the tax payer too and Boeing still managed to shoot down the EADS/Northrop KC45 which won the original RFP fare and square.


That is certainly factually, undeniably true, especially the accusation against Boeing.

It's also largely irrelevant to the actual topic. It just changes the baseline aircraft, not the KC-10 replacement options.

Maybe we can pawn off the KC10 to the Saudis or UAE; or if the real concern is the South China Sea, then the Aussies, Indians, or Koreans. How’s Omega doing these days?


There may be some "second tier" countries that might appreciate them. We relatively recently sold KC-135s to Chile.

However as Oszair already pointed out countries that have a heavy tanking need tend to be purchasing KC330s right now, and I suspect countries that have a heavy tanking need but can't afford new frames will purchase ex-airliner 767s for conversion (as the Israelis have done). I'm convinced India will be a KC330 purchaser, although I can see a purchase of used A330 or 767 frames being a somewhat dark horse candidate. I can also see Pakistan purchasing used A330 or 767 frames for conversion.

The KC-10 airframe brings with it the disadvantages of a third, hard-to-access engine with not alot of added benefit compared to the A330 or 767. If an air force is going to be so cash strapped to have used KC-10s look attractive over brand-new KC330s or KC-46s, they'll probably be less inclined to deal with the KC-10 maintenance and operational headaches over used A330 or 767 conversions. Hell, the USAF, the most well-funded air force in history, is one of those nations which is literally what started this topic to begin with. I believe the Dutch also had KC-10s (from converted ex-airliner DC-10s) but ended up divesting them as well.

You know where those ex-Dutch airframes ended up, by the way? Omega Air Tanker. In fact it's effectively the core of their initial and current fleet.

As counter-intuitive as it may seem as a private entity Omega Air Tanker doesn't have the funding issues of governments, even the largest ones. Or rather, they're better able to incorporate those costs into their overheads because they don't have the competing mandates of spending as little of that massive budget as possible nor other acquisition programs competing over that budget. Being able to offer a fixed-price package (even with modifiers, qualifiers, caveats, stipulations, conditions etc.) brings economic operating benefits.

Revelation wrote:
Apparently you are suggesting that we should all follow your shining example of humility, modesty and neutrality?


All of Airliners.net is as you sarcastically phrase it "a shining example of humility, modesty and neutrality" (and I'm also going to throw in the biggest lack of display, intelligence) which is why I make a point of displaying little if any respect even over the course of using the forums. It's just the proper amount deserved.
Stop the stupids!- Claus Kellerman
 
Ozair
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Thu May 21, 2020 11:19 pm

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:


However as Ozair already pointed out countries that have a heavy tanking need tend to be purchasing KC330s right now, and I suspect countries that have a heavy tanking need but can't afford new frames will purchase ex-airliner 767s for conversion (as the Israelis have done). I'm convinced India will be a KC330 purchaser, although I can see a purchase of used A330 or 767 frames being a somewhat dark horse candidate. I can also see Pakistan purchasing used A330 or 767 frames for conversion.

Just to clarify, there is no current used 767 conversion, at least for a boom equipped aircraft. Boeing blocked IAI from doing so back in 2018, with Israel subsequently ordering KC-46s. I haven’t seen an approved conversion offer from any other vendor.

The conversion of both the 767 and the A330 to tankers is not cheap and I believe why we see so many new tankers being acquired and so few conversions. For the 767 IAI suggested a cost of US$150 million which likely included a used 767.
IAI’s proposal was based on purchasing used Boeing 767 aircraft on the open market, and converting the planes for use as refueling tankers, at a discounted cost of $150 million.

https://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-new ... 018/08/06/

Australia acquired and converted two ex-Qantas A330s for $200 million each (about the US$150 million each as well given the dollar conversions)
The RAAF is purchasing two ex-Qantas Airbus A330-200 aircraft, VH-EBH (MSN 892) and VH-EBI (MSN 898), from lessor CIT Aerospace by the end of 2015, for conversion to KC-30A multi-role tanker transports (MRTT) at a total cost of $408 million. Airbus says an MRTT conversion takes 10-12 months.

http://www.aviationwa.org.au/2015/07/01 ... -for-raaf/

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:

The KC-10 airframe brings with it the disadvantages of a third, hard-to-access engine with not alot of added benefit compared to the A330 or 767. If an air force is going to be so cash strapped to have used KC-10s look attractive over brand-new KC330s or KC-46s, they'll probably be less inclined to deal with the KC-10 maintenance and operational headaches over used A330 or 767 conversions. Hell, the USAF, the most well-funded air force in history, is one of those nations which is literally what started this topic to begin with.

So based on the previous cost of conversion I don’t think cash strapped Air Forces consider a used A330 or 767 as value for money. Yes cheaper than a new build but likely difficult to acquire and hence why no one other than the RAAF, who supplemented their existing new build fleet, are acquiring any. Perhaps COVID-19 will reduce the acquisition cost of some of these A330s and make a conversion more economical but that seems unlikely to me. The big cost is probably the conversion and that is where Boeing and Airbus have the Air Forces under their thumb.

A used KC-10 is a big aircraft for a small Air Force and probably a reasonably difficult aircraft to sustain, as you suggest. It really is positioned well to be retired from the USAF and move to a CONUS commercial company, especially as DC-10s also leave the FEDEX fleet.

What we also haven’t seen is a push to acquire more KC-130 and A400M aircraft for the tanking role. Half of that is probably cost in the case of the A400M and the other half likely the lack of a boom. A lot of small Air Forces operate F-16s and the lack of a probe for refuelling means a bigger and more costly acquisition.

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:

I believe the Dutch also had KC-10s (from converted ex-airliner DC-10s) but ended up divesting them as well.
You know where those ex-Dutch airframes ended up, by the way? Omega Air Tanker. In fact it's effectively the core of their initial and current fleet.

The Dutch have had a good run with the KDC-10, serving 25 years before the first was passed to Omega with the second going next year. Omega did run ex RAAF 707s and a KC-10 with drogue refuelling before they acquired the KDC-10s. Hence only now do they operate a boom equipped aircraft.

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:

As counter-intuitive as it may seem as a private entity Omega Air Tanker doesn't have the funding issues of governments, even the largest ones. Or rather, they're better able to incorporate those costs into their overheads because they don't have the competing mandates of spending as little of that massive budget as possible nor other acquisition programs competing over that budget. Being able to offer a fixed-price package (even with modifiers, qualifiers, caveats, stipulations, conditions etc.) brings economic operating benefits.

Additionally operating the KDC-10s for a few years before they potentially acquire any ex-USAF KC-10s will be a massive help. They will have a very good idea of the operating costs and likely be better positioned, and provide the most comprehensive, realistic and low risk quote to the USAF for commercial AAR services.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Fri May 22, 2020 1:36 pm

Just to clarify, I believe Boeing only blocked the 767 tanker mod only for the Isaelis. The Israilies are free fo mod the 767 for tanker duties for other airforces.

We all believe that Boeing has this clout because the money for the those tankers came from US aid. But they definitely do not want to burn their bridge with the Israilies.

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

Fri May 22, 2020 2:24 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
FatCat wrote:
IMHO the KC-135 is way more survivable than a twin engined plane.
I know a pax B767 can successfully fly for a decent amount of time with only one engine, but imagine having to abort a bombing mission because of one tanker having an engine failure. Or worse, having a group of planes suffering from fuel starvation because of the tanker's engine failure, risking planes and crews.
I bet the 135s will be around for many many years to come... the perfect solution to me? Newly built KC-135s...


Fatcat,

Your argument makes sense from a physical standpoint; 4 engines -1 = 3 more engines to fly and refuel.

But that's not the way the Air Force operates.

Any Air Force tanker, whether 2, 3, or 4 engines, would abort if they experienced engine failure. That's why there are spares and that's why there's extra gas, because contingencies happen.

On the other hand, if the receiver declares an emergency all bets are off. I personally know of a tanker crew over Afghanistan, circa early 2002, whose FE refueled a group of emergency Navy aircraft. Their boom had passed out (undiagnosed diabetes) and was unresponsive.

If they're truly needed, they'll find a way to make it happen. If there are backups, there's no point in being hero. Especially when you don't have hot seats or carry chutes.

thanks for clarifying!
Aeroplane flies high
Turns left, looks right
 
SuperiorPilotMe
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Fri May 22, 2020 6:39 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Just to clarify, I believe Boeing only blocked the 767 tanker mod only for the Isaelis. The Israilies are free fo mod the 767 for tanker duties for other airforces.


I should've clarified (since this is what I was thinking and intended) that I was referring specifically to hose-drogue 767 mods. Other than the F-15 and F-16 there are not many receiver-equipped tactical aircraft out there anyway, and for most foreign users even the F-16 and especially F-15 have enough untanked range to get by (Israel and maybe Korea being the biggest exceptions).

I wouldn't say they're unheard of (the IIAF has a few, I believe, although I believe they're Boeing factory conversions) but boom conversions for used airliners are pretty rare anyway.
Stop the stupids!- Claus Kellerman
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Fri May 22, 2020 8:42 pm

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
Other than the F-15 and F-16 there are not many receiver-equipped tactical aircraft out there anyway, and for most foreign users even the F-16 and especially F-15 have enough untanked range to get by (Israel and maybe Korea being the biggest exceptions).


There are several AF out there that need the boom for the larger planes. The UK and RAAF will have the P-8's along with the C-17's. Both of those countries have the A330.

India, who also have both P-8A and C-17 will also want a larger tanker as well.

There will be a few P-8 operators coming on line. They all will probably go for the A330 or share with their neighbors.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
angad84
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Fri May 22, 2020 9:10 pm

bikerthai wrote:
India, who also have both P-8A and C-17 will also want a larger tanker as well.

India will be happy with really any additional tanking capability at this point!

Unlikely to go boom for a number of reasons:
1. New manpower pipeline for a tiny fleet costs $$$
2. No Navy patrol aircraft have ever tanked (even tho the Tu-142s had the gear for it), nor has the navy ever projected a requirement for it. They have bases for staging if required.
3. Ditto C-17, more than covers the IAF's payload/range, and extending it would not justify the spend.

etc etc
 
SuperiorPilotMe
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sat May 23, 2020 6:56 pm

bikerthai wrote:
There are several AF out there that need the boom for the larger planes. The UK and RAAF will have the P-8's along with the C-17's. Both of those countries have the A330.

India, who also have both P-8A and C-17 will also want a larger tanker as well.

There will be a few P-8 operators coming on line. They all will probably go for the A330 or share with their neighbors.


But how many of those air forces would be the kind of air forces looking for second-hand 767s to convert to drogue hose draggers in the first place as opposed to buying new, or for that matter can afford a P-8A or any MPA that isn't a glorified flying pair of binoculars?

Granted the RAF had in the past converted ex-BA airliners and strategic bombers into tankers but 1.) it's pretty telling that they were able to afford heavy strategic bombers to conversion to tankers in the first place 2.) it was relatively early in the days of tanking, when only the US and the Soviet Union serially-produced them, 3.) the RAF didn't have any receiver aircraft anyway (and in fact you've named all the ones they even have now - and they potentially have enough range to not need tanking anyway) and 4.) miscellaneous factors that just aren't worth going into detail.

Come to think of it, India (and Pakistan, for that matter) will need an aircraft that can tank both receiver and boom aircraft since they either have or will potentially have significant fleets of both; this makes the KC330 a heavy favorite but it hardly rules out KC-46. Canada will likely want to transition to a boom or dual-capability as well (assuming they want to stick with F-35A) and their CC-150s are coming due for replacement anyway.

But there's still a large potential market for drogue and hose tankers, and conversion of second-hand 767s or A330s is much more straightforward for that configuration than a boom. That seems to be exactly the case with the RAAF KC330s, if I'm reading/remembering what's been shared in this very thread correctly.
Stop the stupids!- Claus Kellerman
 
ItnStln
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun May 31, 2020 7:04 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Northrop is now slouch in hammering the tax payer too and Boeing still managed to shoot down the EADS/Northrop KC45 which won the original RFP fare and square.

Wrong! They awarded airbus bonus points for additional AR offload beyond the contractual minimum but that extra wasn't supposed to be scored per the contract, right or wrong. In Boeing's defense, they would have offered up a 777-based tanker since it would be able to offload more fuel. The GAO agreed with Boeing and overturned the award.
 
brindabella
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:28 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.


A little while back I read with interest that the uplift capabilities of the KC-46 were increased such that a detachment could set off and reposition entirely self-sufficiently EG no uplift support would be required as the detachment could and would move itself in entirety.

Would remove a heap of headaches in the Uplift Command HQ!

It would seem that a few hundred 46s would come with a significant general uplift capacity.

:D :D :D

cheers
Billy
 
GDB
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:32 pm

Revelation wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
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.

It's interesting how we read the USAF can't afford to maintain KC10s yet is willing to provide enough cash for a private contractor to do so and make some profit to boot.

GDB wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
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.

Apparently you are suggesting that we should all follow your shining example of humility, modesty and neutrality?

flee wrote:
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.

No, what it got was the 787 display technology, but the systems are still mainly vintage 767 systems. In essence it's a bit of window dressing, done not for crew efficiency but because the modern displays are cheaper to maintain than the vintage ones.


I think it's well understood that Boeing, with the MAX, being beaten into launching US astronauts again after the long gap, by an eccentric tech bro, plus the KC-46 - pushed as the obvious solution by the experienced team, which historically they were - has seriously lost their way. KC-46 being just another example.
It is not for crowing, unlike that foolish Senator, rather it is sad.
Maybe less $ spent lobbying, on share buybacks, while losing engineers and that tanker experience by plant closing, I can think of where humility should be. As for 'modesty' and 'neutrality', your reading of what I posted is your interpretation.
 
Ozair
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:31 pm

Looks like the USAF is going to be prevented from retiring the planned 16 KC-10s untiul the KC-46 has had its technical challenges fixed. That may mean those KC-10s will continue on until 2024 and will likely delay the USAF’s plan for commercial refuelling.

Senate defense bill limits Air Force’s aircraft retirement plans

The Senate Armed Services Committee wants to give the Air Force more F-35 fighter jets and drones, but the panel’s version of the 2021 defense policy bill leaves many questions open about the future of the service’s legacy aircraft.

...

Specifically, the bill blocks the retirement of three A-10 Warthog squadrons, limits F-15C divestment, and delays the retirements of KC-10 and KC-135 tankers until after the KC-46’s technical challenges are resolved. The Air Force had planned to retire 13 KC-135s and 16 KC-10s in FY21.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/06 ... tirements/
 
SteelChair
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:22 pm

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


From all accounts, the M is a very successful program. And I agree with the earlier poster that the M greatly reduces the need for the high fuel volume of the 10. Imho the service should standardize on the much maligned KC46. The 330 is too big for current and projected needs, and would add another fleet type. But politics.
 
Ozair
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:42 pm

SteelChair wrote:
Imho the service should standardize on the much maligned KC46. The 330 is too big for current and projected needs, and would add another fleet type. But politics.

The USAF is already standardising around the KC-135 and KC-46 and soon the KC-46 will be in service in greater numbers than the KC-10.

There is also no current contractual mechanism for the USAF to acquire the KC-30, it is not an option now and I see no current way the aircraft will enter USAF service. It may operate with USAF aircraft and could be operated by a commercial contractor supplying refuelling services to the USAF but not directly.
 
Ozair
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:17 am

Confress has approved the USAF plan to start retiring the KC-10s although over a slightly longer timeframe that previously planned. As long as this passes the Senate it provides an excellent opportunity for the KC-10 to now move to a commercial contractor and support CONUS refuelling operations. I expect Omega will try to acquire potentially all of those first six but probably won't be able to take many more than that initially.

House to block KC-135 retirements for three years, but some B-1 bombers could head for the boneyard

The House Armed Services Committee will forbid the Air Force from retiring KC-135 tankers in fiscal 2021, but will allow the service to divest some B-1 bombers and KC-10 tankers.

...



It also would require the service to retain a total of 50 primary mission KC-10A aircraft in FY21; 38 primary mission KC-10A aircraft in FY22; and 26 primary mission KC-10A aircraft in FY23.

The Air Force currently has 56 KC-10s that are considered primary mission aircraft, so the HASC’s language would allow the service to retire six aircraft in FY21 and a total of 30 tankers over the next three years, said a source familiar with the bill. That will allow the service to retire roughly the same number of tankers as it proposed, but over a longer time period.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/06 ... -boneyard/

I expect Omega will try to acquire potentially all of those first six but probably won't be able to take many more than that initially. Hopefully the USAF doesn't retire the 6 most problematic aircraft and Omega can actually get things going quickly.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:15 am

Ozair wrote:
... Hopefully the USAF doesn't retire the 6 most problematic aircraft and Omega can actually get things going quickly.


Hope is a good thing, Oz, but resignation can be a better thing in some cases... The hangar queens will go first. 433 and 1947 should be the first jets heading to a sunny retirement. 124 will probably be the last to leave, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to SUU instead of DMA
"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?

Sun Jun 21, 2020 12:06 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
Ozair wrote:
... Hopefully the USAF doesn't retire the 6 most problematic aircraft and Omega can actually get things going quickly.


Hope is a good thing, Oz, but resignation can be a better thing in some cases... The hangar queens will go first. 433 and 1947 should be the first jets heading to a sunny retirement. 124 will probably be the last to leave, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to SUU instead of DMA

Ha, yeah I was afraid of that. What is SUU?

On a side note, what is the feeling inside the community on the retirement. Will many move to a commercial refuelling operator if the opportunity arose or will they just transition to KC-46 or the airlines (which may not need quite as many pilots in the next few years as they expected)?
 
texl1649
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:14 pm

SUU-Travis AFB. Not sure why it would be sent there.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:31 pm

Because it’s a KC-10 base for the West Coast Gucci fleet
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:25 pm

It’s a mixed bag, but it’s important to mention a few points first. McGuire’s 10s will be the first to retire in the next few years, and their FTU will shut down here shortly. As their squadrons convert to the 46 the FEs and booms unable to crossflow (due to retainability or vision) will head to Travis (SUU). Their worst jets will go to the boneyard to keep their best girls flying, and when they leave completely the best ones will come to Travis whilst the others join their parted-out friends at DMA; from there they’ll hopefully go to Omega. ~ 2023 Travis will see the 9th ARS (AD) and 79th (reserve) convert whilst the 6th (AD) and 70th (reserve) keep flying the 10. The SUU FTU will shut down ~ that time. Once the 9th and 79th are combat ready, the 6th and 70th will fly their girls south and start conversion, and hopefully some of those will go to Omega.

What’s the feeling like? It’s tough because in some ways the 10 is more capable than the 46 and matches many of its strengths. The 46 is a great 135 replacement but for the 10 it’s effectively downsizing. Still, though I’ll miss FEs I’ll enjoy the new jet smell. The FEs are either gonna switch squadrons and ride into the sunset, retire, switch to the C-5, or cross train to boom operator. Not many options, really, but some are holding out for Omega to work out. The 46 currently has weird issues regarding migraines and depth perception - hopefully that’ll improve when the RVS is fixed - so booms will either go 46, follow FEs to the other squadrons, switch to 135s, or retire and cross their fingers for Omega. Pilots will complain no matter what, but overall are looking forward to the 46. Something nice about a new jet that doesn’t have ‘INOP’ stickers everywhere...

Personally, I’m going to the 46. I’ll really miss cargo in the 10, but that’s already going away even now. The 46 can do it, but it’s a lot easier, hence less rewarding to do it well. New capes are pretty awesome, and the SA is just mind blowing. Once they fix the business end it’ll be a sweet jet, which it had better be with a nearly 15 year gestation period.
Last edited by LyleLanley on Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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LyleLanley
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:28 pm

texl1649 wrote:
SUU-Travis AFB. Not sure why it would be sent there.


The KC-10 sunset plan has McGuire fully converted to the 46 before Travis starts conversion. As part of that divestment the best jets go to Travis whilst the clunkers from both coasts go to DMA to be cann’ed.
"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?

Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:01 am

LyleLanley wrote:
It’s a mixed bag, but it’s important to mention a few points first. McGuire’s 10s will be the first to retire in the next few years, and their FTU will shut down here shortly. As their squadrons convert to the 46 the FEs and booms unable to crossflow (due to retainability or vision) will head to Travis (SUU). Their worst jets will go to the boneyard to keep their best girls flying, and when they leave completely the best ones will come to Travis whilst the others join their parted-out friends at DMA; from there they’ll hopefully go to Omega. ~ 2023 Travis will see the 9th ARS (AD) and 79th (reserve) convert whilst the 6th (AD) and 70th (reserve) keep flying the 10. The SUU FTU will shut down ~ that time. Once the 9th and 79th are combat ready, the 6th and 70th will fly their girls south and start conversion, and hopefully some of those will go to Omega.

What’s the feeling like? It’s tough because in some ways the 10 is more capable than the 46 and matches many of its strengths. The 46 is a great 135 replacement but for the 10 it’s effectively downsizing. Still, though I’ll miss FEs I’ll enjoy the new jet smell. The FEs are either gonna switch squadrons and ride into the sunset, retire, switch to the C-5, or cross train to boom operator. Not many options, really, but some are holding out for Omega to work out. The 46 currently has weird issues regarding migraines and depth perception - hopefully that’ll improve when the RVS is fixed - so booms will either go 46, follow FEs to the other squadrons, switch to 135s, or retire and cross their fingers for Omega. Pilots will complain no matter what, but overall are looking forward to the 46. Something nice about a new jet that doesn’t have ‘INOP’ stickers everywhere...

Personally, I’m going to the 46. I’ll really miss cargo in the 10, but that’s already going away even now. The 46 can do it, but it’s a lot easier, hence less rewarding to do it well. New capes are pretty awesome, and the SA is just mind blowing. Once they fix the business end it’ll be a sweet jet, which it had better be with a nearly 15 year gestation period.


Thanks, some interesting info and appreciate your perspective. Will be interesting to see how this whole process goes moving forward, my guess would be the community had been pretty static until the KC-46 arrived and so a lot of change to deal with especially as the KC-10 leaves the fleet.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Tue Jun 23, 2020 9:50 pm

Ozair wrote:
Thanks, some interesting info and appreciate your perspective. Will be interesting to see how this whole process goes moving forward, my guess would be the community had been pretty static until the KC-46 arrived and so a lot of change to deal with especially as the KC-10 leaves the fleet.


Perhaps some on the E-side, but the O-side moves around pretty smoothly. Coast-to-coast moves for pilot’s second ops tour is common. We see each other at Al Dhafra any way; on active duty it wasn’t uncommon to only see some folks whilst deployed - even dudes from your own squadron - as opposing deployment schedules, plus trips, leave, school take its toll on home-station continuity.
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6078
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:43 am

We had C-5 bubbas move up to CEF from DOV and meet their old squadron mates for the first time at CEF.
 
WingedVictory
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:22 pm

Re: Future KC-10 replacement options?

Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:48 pm

The current KC-46A construct as the one-size-fits-all solution to strategic air refueling is both dangerous and myopic among conventional thinkers and AAR mission experts, in terms of the rapidly changing landscape in the Pacific AOR, where the current and future AAR requirements should be pinned by DoD requirements and Congressional acquisition officials. The US does not have the luxury, in both development time and budget capacity to advance forward with another manned stealth MDS, tanker or otherwise. The MIC complex (aka the swamp) that has historically benefitted from this status quo approach will no longer be able to keep a lid on this failing fortress market strategy. With the KC-46A debacle, Boeing has effectively sealed the fate for itself and the other big six defense industry heavy weights of hoping that KC-Y will be another in a long line of the proverbial hogs having the acquisition trough all to themselves.

The pending adoption commercial AAR services will act as a de facto KC-Y program that will allow the USAF to develop and test more innovative and cost-effective solutions that will shape future requirements for KC-Z. The loss of the KC-10 fleet will only further exacerbate the current operational shortfalls in organically-delivered strategic air refueling. The rapid changes occurring in the Pacific AOR, with regard to the operational obsolescence of several well-invested FOBs in the western Pacific archipelagos will increasingly highlight the need for expanded air refueling capabilities and requirements that the KC-46A will be increasingly unable to meet. The move to Agile Combat Employment and ultra-long duration deep strike operations will drive the DoD to trifurcate the AAR fleet to meet these expanding mission realities, let alone the need to create entirely new airborne POL support using super tankers to backfill lost terrestrial LOC infrastructures at the aforementioned FOBs.

China, as a peer-adversary with equal, if not superior technological military capabilities and platforms will effectively discount the formerly asymmetric advantages of stealth technology that was the calling card of the USAF. This will force DoD planners to utilize a modified version of the former Soviet mass force strategy, that will require the development and execution of lower-cost, more ubiquitous unmanned airborne assets that are massed at the tactical edge in an attempt to flood Chinese IADS zones and make their calculus much more difficult and expensive to counter and remove, with far less meaningful mission impact, if successful, than the current KC-46A or other large, manned stealth AAR platform that would be conceivably built in the next 10-15 years and beyond. For those of you who will find my missive here outlandish or excessive must step back and observe the tanker problem from the proverbial 30k foot perspective, in terms of the theater-level impacts that China is successfully pressing against US military systems and networks in all relevant domains. since the Indo-Pacific theater represents the most challenging geographic AOR for the US, its ability to sustainably execute its logistics requirements across ten time zones into the backyard of China is an unprecedented test for the USAF and its most consequential force-multiplier and sustainment AAR mission capability.

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