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keesje
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Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:20 am

The Air Force on Tuesday released a sources sought notice for a non developmental tanker aircraft known as KC-Y that would bridge the gap between KC-46 and the next-generation KC-Z tanker.


https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/06/16/another-boeing-airbus-tanker-war-is-coming-soon/

Track records, capabilities will be analysed. What if the best tanker-transport is unacceptable from a national, strategic, political perspective?

I guess one of the possible suppliers will make sure beforehand to investigate if participating makes any sense.

In the past NG left the competition under huge pressure. And it had nothing to do with the tanker proposal itself.

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Boeing, https://www.key.aero/forum/modern-milit ... n-and-lpat

Now Lockheed Martin is in. I wonder what their strategy really is. Setting up a FAL in Washington state?

Give Boeing the required headwind to make it look like a fair competition & get something in return for the effort? :scratchchin:

A330NEO MRTT? Will GE play a role offering the GENX? https://www.sharecast.com/news/internat ... 26170.html
Last edited by keesje on Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
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texl1649
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:28 am

At this point it’s fair to ask if RVS 2.0 (or whatever it is to be called) will be fully operational and deployed on KC-46’s before the award is made on this. Boeing has lost so much money on this program, and has limited 767 commercial opportunities moving thru 2029, I don’t think they will really have an off the shelf option. The Airbus camera/autopilot system is just superior in every way anyway.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 11:29 am

Of course, you realize the forum and data you are quoting was from a 2009 posting. If you read the RFP, the implication is a 767 sized aircraft. In addition, this is for the KC-Y, which is an interim tanker.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/06 ... ming-soon/
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 11:29 am

Personally I have no stake in this nor a preferred outcome. But I think it's clear, historically, that international buys has been relegated to items of less visibility in the media. Why that is can be argued until the chickens come home. But it's a somewhat overarching pattern.

So while the political will seems to be there, unsurprisingly from Alabama where Airbus has a production facility, I don't think the national interest would allow an Airbus win. The trade dispute over Boeing and Airbus might have been postponed for five years, but I would assume that Boeing has enough clout to retain the tanker contract. Despite their current programs with the government (SLS, KC-46, T-7A, etc.) unless Lockheed restarts L1011 production they're the only national aerospace company with an airframe fit for the job. An Airbus choice would always be "designed elsewhere".

Those are my arm-chair speculations anyway.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 11:51 am

Since this is intended as a KC-135 replacement, and given that the USAF will have a sizable KC-46 fleet anyway, I fully expect them to simply buy more - perhaps slightly improved - KC-46.
 
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keesje
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:47 pm

Maybe that is the realist solution. Avoid Airbus wasting energy here and continue to service the rest of the global market.

Boeing can use it's cloud in congress and commitees to make sure the USAF requirements are limitted to what Boeing can / wants to offer.

No yelling, congress, delays, CEO getting fired, flagwaving, DoJ settlements, requirements. Keep it simple.

Putting the KC46s track record to bed, it will be a valuable asset for the men at the frontline looking forward.

Everybody happy / not angry.

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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:25 pm

The real question is if Boeing does stick with the 767, period (at this rate, 15 or so a year, it would be a guaranteed money loser), or moves to a 787 option, and at that point the question becomes one of engine providers. They have to be sick of losing money/continuous quarterly earning statements about what a disaster the KC-46 is to their shareholders. It’s incapable of ever helping them with their primary goal; re-starting dividend payments and share buybacks. I guess they could finally put a GEnX on this as a KC-46B, but that seems insane, and about 20 years too late, plus USAF only buys Pratt.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:12 pm

texl1649 wrote:
The real question is if Boeing does stick with the 767, period (at this rate, 15 or so a year, it would be a guaranteed money loser), or moves to a 787 option, and at that point the question becomes one of engine providers. They have to be sick of losing money/continuous quarterly earning statements about what a disaster the KC-46 is to their shareholders. It’s incapable of ever helping them with their primary goal; re-starting dividend payments and share buybacks. I guess they could finally put a GEnX on this as a KC-46B, but that seems insane, and about 20 years too late, plus USAF only buys Pratt.


I suppose that would depend on wether or not the cost of occupying a bespoke line for the KC-46 is outweighed by the payed off R&D, projected cost of manufacture and parts for that timeframe, and the costs associated with transplanting the technology (and likely in updated/new form) onto another airframe. The last of which is not exactly "easy" as Boeing has experienced.

I suppose it also depends on what, if any, requirement changes the government proposes for these tankers. If the requirement is the same I don't see why Boeing would contemplate using the 787. And I don't see why the government would be interested in making their spares and service catalogue needlessly more expensive to maintain with yet another airframe. A bulk buy of all necessary parts well in advance would secure pricing and supply chain resources onto a proven airframe and by that point well experienced workforce. Anything else would be changing horse mid-race, adding a lot of cost.
 
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keesje
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 4:11 pm

The USAF requirements determine if the KC46 can be offered here. So lobbyist, congressmen and senators will be all over USAF / DoD trying to find out who writes the KC-Y requirements and based on what needs and requirements, so they can start influencing those. Like 20 years ago and the tanker selection dramas after that.

I expect either a 45t or 100t payload is the way to go & everything in between is not meeting operational requirements.. Unless the 787 is also an option, than 55t might be a good compromise meeting new operational requirements in an ever changing world, supporting our troops for the next 40 years. Without cargo capability, because cutting out a cargo door in the single barrel, that's one you might want to avoid.
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 5:19 pm

Unless the USAF is willing to accept the KC-30A as used by the RAAF, I don't see how KC-Y would be anything but more KC-46 as I don't see how a customized "KC-45 Mk. II" would be able to compete on costs against a (hopefully by then) mature KC-46 program. After all, that is how the KC-46 won against the KC-45 in 2011 and while Boeing has spend a shedload since, Boeing has been the one spending it, not the USAF.
 
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keesje
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 5:47 pm

The KC-46 has four remaining category 1 deficiencies: two involving the Remote Vision System that are expected to be resolved when a new version of the system is rolled out in 2023; a problem with the stiffness of the air refueling boom that keeps it from being able to refuel some of the planes in the service’s inventory; and an issue with fuel leaks.

https://thefrontierpost.com/us-air-forc ... -problems/

And new ones coming up: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/06 ... iciencies/

If Airbus had half the track record on their MRTT that Boeing has on the KC-46, they would probably not be invited to do a proposal.
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Thu Jun 17, 2021 6:36 pm

Buy more KC-46s, and buy a bunch of 330's secondhand for conversion and operation by private companies if you really think you need bridge capacity. Another type would be stupid.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:45 am

Stitch wrote:
Unless the USAF is willing to accept the KC-30A as used by the RAAF, I don't see how KC-Y would be anything but more KC-46 as I don't see how a customized "KC-45 Mk. II" would be able to compete on costs against a (hopefully by then) mature KC-46 program. After all, that is how the KC-46 won against the KC-45 in 2011 and while Boeing has spend a shedload since, Boeing has been the one spending it, not the USAF.


My thoughts exactly.
 
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keesje
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 2:36 pm

DoD might be in a single bid position, if LM / Airbus feel there's no serious competition and Boeing will get the contract no matter how bad their track record, reliability and competitive performance.

Airbus won all 1-1 competitions globally since the launch of the MRTT, is cleared for almost all western aircraft, has great cargo capabilities, a 1300 global fleet to lean on for pilots and spares and is trailing auto refueling as we speak. But all that is not really that important I presume. :yawn: :zzz:

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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 5:35 pm

keesje wrote:
But all that is not really that important I presume.


For the USAF, it really isn't.

I don't think anyone with a critical-thinking approach would argue the A330MRTT is not a more capable airframe than the KC-46A. And considering almost every RFP other than the USAF had criteria that played to the A330MRTT's greater capability, it is not surprising it was chosen for them.

I mean the USAF had to deliberately rig the competition to get the KC-45/A330MRTT to win in 2008 because the RFP did not call for that extra capability and it came with not-insignificant costs and hardships for the USAF to integrate the frame into the existing base infrastructure. Which ended up with the award being thrown out on review when the chicanery came to light.
 
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keesje
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:07 pm

Stitch wrote:
keesje wrote:
But all that is not really that important I presume.


For the USAF, it really isn't.

I don't think anyone with a critical-thinking approach would argue the A330MRTT is not a more capable airframe than the KC-46A. And considering almost every RFP other than the USAF had criteria that played to the A330MRTT's greater capability, it is not surprising it was chosen for them.

I mean the USAF had to deliberately rig the competition to get the KC-45/A330MRTT to win in 2008 because the RFP did not call for that extra capability and it came with not-insignificant costs and hardships for the USAF to integrate the frame into the existing base infrastructure. Which ended up with the award being thrown out on review when the chicanery came to light.


I think it is essential to get the timeline right. The lowest price for meeting minimal requirements came after Airbus won. Since then many tried to rewrite history or forget. If the KC-Y specification requires a payload-range a KC46 can't handle, those same people will do the 180 and push a KC777, regardless of excess capability. For now I expect a circus around getting the KC-Y specification "right". :stirthepot: :rotfl: Curious how LM will approach this.
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:20 pm

keesje wrote:
The lowest price for meeting minimal requirements came after Airbus won.


Yes, because the DoD had to make it clear to the USAF they would not be allowed to do their usual "gold-plating" of the RFP to get things not in the RFP and then worry about paying for it later (usually by giving the OEM a lot more money than the original contract price).

If nothing else, at least the KC-46A came in "on budget" for the USAF since it is Boeing picking up almost all of the cost overruns (and where the USAF is picking up some or part of the tab, it is in areas they still "fudged" the RFP even though they were explicitly told not to this time around).


keesje wrote:
Since then many tried to rewrite history or forget.


Ain't that the truth, though it is almost all folks in the pro-KC-45/A330MRTT camp I notice... :angel:
 
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keesje
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:31 pm

Stitch wrote:
keesje wrote:
The lowest price for meeting minimal requirements came after Airbus won.


Yes, because the DoD had to make it clear to the USAF they would not be allowed to do their usual "gold-plating" of the RFP to get things not in the RFP and then worry about paying for it later (usually by giving the OEM a lot more money than the original contract price).

If nothing else, at least the KC-46A came in "on budget" for the USAF since it is Boeing picking up almost all of the cost overruns (and where the USAF is picking up some or part of the tab, it is in areas they still "fudged" the RFP even though they were explicitly told not to this time around).


keesje wrote:
Since then many tried to rewrite history or forget.


Ain't that the truth, though it is almost all folks in the pro-KC-45/A330MRTT camp I notice... :angel:


What will be interesting is how LM and Airbus will respond. I guess they want to know if they stand a fair chance before investing too much in a campaign. If not, they won't waste energy (again in Airbus case) if product value & price realism don't really matter.
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:39 pm

keesje wrote:
DoD might be in a single bid position, if LM / Airbus feel there's no serious competition and Boeing will get the contract no matter how bad their track record, reliability and competitive performance.

Airbus won all 1-1 competitions globally since the launch of the MRTT, is cleared for almost all western aircraft, has great cargo capabilities, a 1300 global fleet to lean on for pilots and spares and is trailing auto refueling as we speak. But all that is not really that important I presume. :yawn: :zzz:

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https://www.reddit.com/r/aviation/comme ... ounded_by/


Too big, too much capability. ;)

Airbus would be wise to ignore this. They cannot win.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:51 pm

VMCA787 wrote:
Of course, you realize the forum and data you are quoting was from a 2009 posting. If you read the RFP, the implication is a 767 sized aircraft. In addition, this is for the KC-Y, which is an interim tanker.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/06 ... ming-soon/


Then again, the KC-135 was also an "interim" tanker, originally... ;)
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:13 pm

Would a KC 787 be an option, or too capable?
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:35 pm

keesje wrote:
Would a KC 787 be an option, or too capable?


I would say "not an option" because it would be even more expensive to integrate into the force and then subsequently support compared to the A330MRTT (vis-a-vis another KC-46A bloc purchase) and I would expect it to be fairly more expensive to acquire, as well. You'd also be looking at a fairly longer EIS since it would need to first be designed and then certified.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:51 am

Stitch wrote:
keesje wrote:
Would a KC 787 be an option, or too capable?


I would say "not an option" because it would be even more expensive to integrate into the force and then subsequently support compared to the A330MRTT (vis-a-vis another KC-46A bloc purchase) and I would expect it to be fairly more expensive to acquire, as well. You'd also be looking at a fairly longer EIS since it would need to first be designed and then certified.


I don’t think it is really most likely, but I think Boeing’s present-day rapid prototype/design philosophy (a la T-7) might make this possible as, unlike with for instance the old drawings of the 767, they have all of the digital plans for the 787. The 787 routinely beats the A330 commercially (and the A330NEO is perhaps the second most vulnerable widebody to have the line shut down next, after the 767 itself), so the basic frame wouldn’t be an issue for costs.

The question is really just whether Boeing wants to keep a bespoke 767 line running for the USAF through the mid 2030’s, at ‘up to’ 15 frames a year. The basic space in the commercial lineup is supposed to be filled with NMA of course, and they’ve been wanting to just shut down one or both Washington production facilities but especially Everett for many years. Oh, and a KC variant of the 787 would enable them to also develop, relatively easily from that, the cargo version of the 787 commercially, which will be essential for new sales in just 5 years anyway in many places, while we all know Boeing has actually worked hard to maintain their cargo market share long term. So, the Boeing motivations for putting the KC-46 trail of losses/bruises behind them, are multiple, imho.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:44 am

I doubt that Boeing will be able to compete on cost with a 787 derivative when they have the KC-46A available. With the 787 moving entirely to CHS, the line doesn't have that much excess capacity either. It would also be as difficult to integrate for USAF as the A330, with different engines, a different cockpit, larger wingspan, ...

I expect a follow-up order for more KC-46, though Boeing will ask for a price that's profitable for them (unlike the current deal where Boeing bid so aggressively that they're losing money on each frame).
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:53 pm

A KC-787 would be nice. Would the composite frame have a lower radar signature?

That being said, developing a KC-787 would require time and money. Boeing only have budget for the NMA. And though digital engineering can reduce the design time, certification and flight test will still be a slog.

Until Airbus comes up with an freighter to compete effectively with the 777F/767F combo, a 787F will be on the back burner.

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keesje
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:55 pm

Boeing will have to determine what fits them best, at what price. Then the requirements must be managed accordingly.
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keesje
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Sat Jun 19, 2021 8:05 pm

Found this report. It seems the KC-46 is years away from reaching basic operation requirements like refuelling stealth aircraft, C130, C-17 or any war time or Transport command missions. There are 42 delivered.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... HpYfP0RmFo
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Sun Jun 20, 2021 3:48 am

I don't know why they just couldn't have gone with the plane-Jane KC-767 that works so well for Japan and Italy. But no, they had to make it complicated with the 767-"2C" mods.

Would have been better off with the A-330 or 777F.

Oh well, more untold billions down the toilet.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:08 am

744SPX wrote:
... the plane-Jane KC-767 that works so well for Japan and Italy.


Does it? Really?

IMU they have it and have to live with the purchase :-?
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Sun Jun 20, 2021 5:05 pm

Just give the order to Boeing already. The USA and the EU just agreed to put the airbus/boeing subsidy dispute on hold for five years, so there is no need to pretend this is an open order.
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 6:12 am

Why add another type anyway. Just follow up with more KC-46s and be done with it.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:18 am

petertenthije wrote:
Just give the order to Boeing already. The USA and the EU just agreed to put the airbus/boeing subsidy dispute on hold for five years, so there is no need to pretend this is an open order.


A competition will at least ensure that pricing stays in check. If it is clear from the onset that this is a single-source contract Boeing will try to recoupd all its losses made with the KC-46 so far with follow-on orders. That certainly cannot be in the interest of the tax payer - and not of the DoD too, which will be constrained on funds.

Downside: you need to make sure that both bidders think that they stand a fair chance of winning the business. If not: back to square one.

Opposed to the last competition the door is a bit opener for Airbus IMO: the assembly line in Mobile, AL, is not only a nice drawing on a sheet of paper but a real-world thing. It will be much harder to argue that local content will be low if the airframe are deliverey green (with P&W or GE turbines) and MRTT configuration takes place in Mobile, AL.
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 9:53 am

Track records, quality and capability are overrated anyway. If I was Airbus I would't waste much time here. You don't have to be a scientist to see what the better tanker-transport, why argue? Putting pn a GENX wouldn't be to much of a challenge, let LM give it a try.
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texl1649
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 11:38 am

keesje wrote:
Track records, quality and capability are overrated anyway. If I was Airbus I would't waste much time here. You don't have to be a scientist to see what the better tanker-transport, why argue? Putting pn a GENX wouldn't be to much of a challenge, let LM give it a try.


The USAF operates RR engines on other aircraft. See: F130. Aren’t all of the MRTT’s outfitted with either Trents or CF6 today? I can’t recall why, but there is some reason I believe the Trent 7000 option won’t be offered, maybe just that the bypass ratio/turbulence behind might need money/cost to re-certify as a tanker? Not that it really matters, USAF doesn’t seem to care if it is getting an older generation of engine.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:35 pm

texl1649 wrote:
I guess they could finally put a GEnX on this as a KC-46B, but that seems insane, and about 20 years too late, plus USAF only buys Pratt.


The huge recent buy of CF6 for the C-5 fleet begs to differ. Plus the reengined half of the E-4 fleet to eliminate the Pratts. They could even have ordered the KC-10 with Pratts if they were so inclined.

KC-46B with GEnX based off of the long rumored 764F project could give critical mass to that program too. Likely we'll just see a slew of more KC-46As though.
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:15 pm

texl1649 wrote:
The question is really just whether Boeing wants to keep a bespoke 767 line running for the USAF through the mid 2030’s, at ‘up to’ 15 frames a year.


I expect they do.

The new 767 FAL is significantly smaller than the old one and it's position at the back of the building doesn't make the space very usable for anything else.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:21 pm

744SPX wrote:
I don't know why they just couldn't have gone with the plane-Jane KC-767 that works so well for Japan and Italy. But no, they had to make it complicated with the 767-"2C" mods.

Would have been better off with the A-330 or 777F.


I'd be interested to know just how close the KC-30B/KC-45 was to the RAAF KC-30A or if would have been heavily-customized for USAF service. Because if it was the latter, then it is quite possible the NG/Airbus model would be having not-insignificant teething issues of it's own and people would be crowing about what a bad decision it was and how the USAF should have bought Boeing because "it worked for Italy and Japan". :duck:

I am presuming things like the RVS and boom were part of the master RFP and not bid as their own RFPs that would have been added to whichever frame had won, though if they were separate RFPs, then the NG/Airbus model would have the same crap RVS system the Boeing model does.
 
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:26 pm

Flying-Tiger wrote:
A competition will at least ensure that pricing stays in check. If it is clear from the onset that this is a single-source contract Boeing will try to recoupd all its losses made with the KC-46 so far with follow-on orders.


The USAF could single-source the purchase to Boeing for more KC-46A and just set the price they're willing to pay and set it as a fixed-price contract like the original.

Every follow-on order the USAF has placed with Boeing has been under the existing fixed-price contract and I don't see a reason why the USAF cannot extend the total possible buy beyond the current 179 frames at the same prices.

I find it unlikely that Boeing would tell the USAF to pound sand and refuse to bid considering how deep they are in on the program and every additional frame they sell will help generate future income from spares and block upgrades.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:15 pm

I would not compete if I were Airbus/LM. The same position as with Ryanair's O'Leary, there is no possibility to win, so why put any resources on this, just to humor the DoD for a lower price? Best not to compete at all.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
superbizzy73
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:43 am

Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 9:38 pm

Just my honest opinion, but this totally passes the "sniff test" of an excuse to buy more KC-46's...
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:25 pm

Spacepope wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
I guess they could finally put a GEnX on this as a KC-46B, but that seems insane, and about 20 years too late, plus USAF only buys Pratt.


The huge recent buy of CF6 for the C-5 fleet begs to differ. Plus the reengined half of the E-4 fleet to eliminate the Pratts. They could even have ordered the KC-10 with Pratts if they were so inclined.

KC-46B with GEnX based off of the long rumored 764F project could give critical mass to that program too. Likely we'll just see a slew of more KC-46As though.


I think the KC-46B based on the 764F would be a great upgrade. Have a freighter the 764 size and one the length of the KC-46. It would extend the life of the 767 line with both freighters and tankers. What isn't there to like.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:47 am

JayinKitsap wrote:
i think the KC-46B based on the 764F would be a great upgrade. Have a freighter the 764 size and one the length of the KC-46. It would extend the life of the 767 line with both freighters and tankers. What isn't there to like.


Apart from a complete and total do-over of the KC-46A flight test and AR compatibility program, as well as a bespoke crew force, all for a handful of dime-a-dozen pallet positions, not much.
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:41 am

bikerthai wrote:
A KC-787 would be nice. Would the composite frame have a lower radar signature?

That being said, developing a KC-787 would require time and money. Boeing only have budget for the NMA. And though digital engineering can reduce the design time, certification and flight test will still be a slog.

Until Airbus comes up with an freighter to compete effectively with the 777F/767F combo, a 787F will be on the back burner.

bt


If someone wants to pay Boeing to engineer a 787F ... Boeing would love that. It would help sell more 787s, it would deter the A350F. The 767F with it's old engines will not be the answer in 15 years time but a 787F might be.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:33 am

kitplane01 wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
A KC-787 would be nice. Would the composite frame have a lower radar signature?

That being said, developing a KC-787 would require time and money. Boeing only have budget for the NMA. And though digital engineering can reduce the design time, certification and flight test will still be a slog.

Until Airbus comes up with an freighter to compete effectively with the 777F/767F combo, a 787F will be on the back burner.

bt


If someone wants to pay Boeing to engineer a 787F ... Boeing would love that. It would help sell more 787s, it would deter the A350F. The 767F with it's old engines will not be the answer in 15 years time but a 787F might be.


I'm quite sure the 767 is easier to re-engine than, say, the B-52. And I base that on absolutely nothing. But yes, Boeing would probably welcome money from the US government to use their 787. I don't know what the production lines look like, but if there is underutilisation I'm sure Boeing would welcome it. However, if there isn't underutilisation, I don't think Boeing would be keen to divert production capacity to a military contract (unless it's not fixed price...) from commercial customers. The 767 works precisely because the tooling and production lines have been amortised and payed off I'd imagine. Using what would have been excess capacity as the commercial 767 program slowly winds down for military use.

On a tangential note: How does autonomous refuelling aircraft impact the plans for the KC-46 utilisation/purchases? I'm going to assume that it will be used primarily by the Navy initially, but there is nothing stopping such platforms from being set up as part of fighter squadrons close support arsenal. If those are common missions for the tanker fleet at all? I'm far to unknowledgeable on the subject, but I'm curious.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:00 am

Leovinus wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
A KC-787 would be nice. Would the composite frame have a lower radar signature?

That being said, developing a KC-787 would require time and money. Boeing only have budget for the NMA. And though digital engineering can reduce the design time, certification and flight test will still be a slog.

Until Airbus comes up with an freighter to compete effectively with the 777F/767F combo, a 787F will be on the back burner.

bt


If someone wants to pay Boeing to engineer a 787F ... Boeing would love that. It would help sell more 787s, it would deter the A350F. The 767F with it's old engines will not be the answer in 15 years time but a 787F might be.


I'm quite sure the 767 is easier to re-engine than, say, the B-52. And I base that on absolutely nothing. But yes, Boeing would probably welcome money from the US government to use their 787. I don't know what the production lines look like, but if there is underutilisation I'm sure Boeing would welcome it. However, if there isn't underutilisation, I don't think Boeing would be keen to divert production capacity to a military contract (unless it's not fixed price...) from commercial customers. The 767 works precisely because the tooling and production lines have been amortised and payed off I'd imagine. Using what would have been excess capacity as the commercial 767 program slowly winds down for military use.

On a tangential note: How does autonomous refuelling aircraft impact the plans for the KC-46 utilisation/purchases? I'm going to assume that it will be used primarily by the Navy initially, but there is nothing stopping such platforms from being set up as part of fighter squadrons close support arsenal. If those are common missions for the tanker fleet at all? I'm far to unknowledgeable on the subject, but I'm curious.


The drone uses a hose-and-droge system, not a boom as required by just about every USAF plane. And the conversion might not be easy at all.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:21 am

kitplane01 wrote:
The drone uses a hose-and-droge system, not a boom as required by just about every USAF plane. And the conversion might not be easy at all.


So the fighter tanker mission isn't a big part of the current tanker fleets mission profile currently then?
 
LordTarkin
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:41 pm

Leovinus wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
The drone uses a hose-and-droge system, not a boom as required by just about every USAF plane. And the conversion might not be easy at all.


So the fighter tanker mission isn't a big part of the current tanker fleets mission profile currently then?


It is, however (afaik) all USAF fighters are all refueled via boom. When they support the Navy/Foreign Acft, there are certain 135s that can equip MPRS pods out by the wingtips, and on all 135s a boom drogue adapter can be swapped onto the boom and ready to go in a couple hours. KC-10s have a centerline hose and drogue, as well as wing pods they can mount.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:16 pm

Leovinus wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
The drone uses a hose-and-droge system, not a boom as required by just about every USAF plane. And the conversion might not be easy at all.


So the fighter tanker mission isn't a big part of the current tanker fleets mission profile currently then?


The Navy uses trailing hoses, and refueling fighters is important for them. The USAF uses an incompatible system with a long boom, and refueling their fighters is important for them. The Navy drone cannot refuel USAF fighters, nor is it likely able to convert to do so.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:12 am

Thank you both for your replies. I certainly see the benefit to both. And like you kitplane01 I'm sceptical if drones, at least in these early stages, will allow for booms. But if drones frees the Air Force from parts of the Navy refuelling missions They can use their tanker fleet more flexibly I'd assume. Maybe unlock some aircraft for cargo etc. if the offset by drones is enough.
 
Flying-Tiger
Posts: 4118
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 1999 5:35 am

Re: Another Boeing-Airbus tanker war is coming soon, KC-Y

Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:33 am

Stitch wrote:
Flying-Tiger wrote:
A competition will at least ensure that pricing stays in check. If it is clear from the onset that this is a single-source contract Boeing will try to recoupd all its losses made with the KC-46 so far with follow-on orders.


The USAF could single-source the purchase to Boeing for more KC-46A and just set the price they're willing to pay and set it as a fixed-price contract like the original.

Every follow-on order the USAF has placed with Boeing has been under the existing fixed-price contract and I don't see a reason why the USAF cannot extend the total possible buy beyond the current 179 frames at the same prices.

I find it unlikely that Boeing would tell the USAF to pound sand and refuse to bid considering how deep they are in on the program and every additional frame they sell will help generate future income from spares and block upgrades.


That assums that
a) The frame contract for the 179 KC-46A allows for more to be purchased [over and above the 179] under the same contract. I´m not privy to the contract, I´ve to pound sand on this. However, based on public procurement contracts I´ve seen and bid for the 179 are rather to be considered as cieling, not as moveable barrier. On service contracts possibly, on product contracts rather unusual.
b) Even if the USAF sets a price they are willing to pay and want to set it up as a fixed price contract: there´s always the other party which needs to accept such an order...
c) We don´t know if the current fixed price contract actually covers (production) costs for Boeing. They might decided that it is not worth incurring further losses in the hope of winning support contracts down the line.
d) It assumes that the KC-Y contract specifies a frame very similar to the KC-46A. If this isn´t the case - and it looks as if the KC-Y is more a DC-10 sized frame - if will be hard to bid the KC-46A in anyway.
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