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kitplane01
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KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:26 am

Reading the whole article, my understanding is that before July 9th the KC-46 had been certified for testing or exercises, but not operational use. But now it is certified for day-to-day refueling operation and can do some planes such as F-18 that use a drogue, and three large planes that use a boom (the C-17, The B-52, and other KC-46s).

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/08/kc- ... operators/
 
LHAM
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Mon Aug 09, 2021 8:40 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Reading the whole article, my understanding is that before July 9th the KC-46 had been certified for testing or exercises, but not operational use. But now it is certified for day-to-day refueling operation and can do some planes such as F-18 that use a drogue, and three large planes that use a boom (the C-17, The B-52, and other KC-46s).

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/08/kc- ... operators/

How many European air forces operate F-18s and C-17s? :lol: :lol: :lol:
And how often these air forces do on air refueling?
I suspect you won't even get a light buzz from the beers that would be warranted from these operational needs for K-46s refueling them.
 
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kc135topboom
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:17 pm

LHAM wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Reading the whole article, my understanding is that before July 9th the KC-46 had been certified for testing or exercises, but not operational use. But now it is certified for day-to-day refueling operation and can do some planes such as F-18 that use a drogue, and three large planes that use a boom (the C-17, The B-52, and other KC-46s).

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/08/kc- ... operators/

How many European air forces operate F-18s and C-17s? :lol: :lol: :lol:
And how often these air forces do on air refueling?
I suspect you won't even get a light buzz from the beers that would be warranted from these operational needs for K-46s refueling them.


The UK has the C-17, E-3D, RC-135W, and F-35B in the RAF fleet, they are getting the E-7 AEW1 and P-8
The Swiss flies the F-18A/B, so does Spain and Finland.
The Swiss is also getting the F-35A.
France flies the E-3F.
Many European Air Forces fly the F-16.
SAC flies the C-17.
Italy flies the KC-767A.
Turkey flies the E-7T.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:32 pm

GDB wrote:

But really, isn't the whole KC-46 story just another Boeing malaise? Along with the MAX, Starliner, SLS?
Plus reported quality issues across other types.
It will get there in the end and do it's job for the US and allies, just hope Boeing are paying through the nose for all the delays which as you will know, ultimately costs the USAF and therefore taxpayer more by keeping older aircraft in service for longer than planned.


Malaise isn't the word I'd use.

Incompetence and malfeasance come closer to the truth. And, that's just GloboBoeing. We haven't even discussed Air Force Material Command and Air Mobility Command's hands in the tanker fiasco.

Its terrible, and inexcusable. Worse than a crime, its a mistake. Over and over again.

Sometimes, you've got fail publicly to face squarely to your own errors, and elect to fix those errors. Honestly, I think the jury is out on that within the entire US Military Industrial Complex.

To your point of the heavy lifting in NATO, its extraordinarily rare that the US does combat operations globally dependent upon allied enablers, with the exception of basing. Now, the reverse isn't true, and the facts are that most, if not all European (EU/NATO) out of area operations, to include unilateral French or British ones are dependent upon US enablers. And, that's OK, since 95%+ Allied operations are pretty politically/diplomatically congruent.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:08 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
Over and over again.


We harp on the bad and dismiss the good. A big operation like Boeing will have its bad and good.

Good. Programs running smoothly.

P-8A
AH-64
CH-47
F-18G

The newer programs are just too new to evaluate.

bt
 
FlapOperator
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:07 pm

bikerthai wrote:
FlapOperator wrote:
Over and over again.


We harp on the bad and dismiss the good. A big operation like Boeing will have its bad and good.

Good. Programs running smoothly.

P-8A
AH-64
CH-47
F-18G

The newer programs are just too new to evaluate.

bt


Other than the P-8, not Boeing projects. All of them date to 1980s. At least you didn't claim the dumpster fire of the F-15EX.

The other projects are basket case failures of the first order. A tanker is three meat computers, a flying tube and a hose. No off-manufacturer weapons integration. No real integration other than the insane boom. Now, where are we? Tankers are something we've been doing since Eisenhower was President. I mean, there was a flying 767 tanker! How do you botch that? Its like, right there! It ALREADY exists!

Boeing built how many non-conforming examples?
 
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:15 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
Other than the P-8, not Boeing projects.


Not sure what you mean by "not Boeing project".

Did not claim the EX. But also did not claim the K, SA, S, QA, all successful modern version of the F-15. Also did not claim the E-7 which may not be a monetary success, was definitely a technical success.

The 787 is no doubt a success, although the move to Charleston is biting them in the rear end.

bt
 
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:24 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
. I mean, there was a flying 767 tanker! How do you botch that? Its like, right there! It ALREADY exists!


Don't want to rehash old argument that goes back to 2001. There are enough technical and fabrication differences between the two that opportunity to screw up abounds.

My point is painting "Boeing" in big strokes do not serve credits for those parts of Boeing that got things right.

bt
 
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:31 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
At least you didn't claim the dumpster fire of the F-15EX.


Don't want to come across as prejudging a program before it completes flight testing as some may have already done.

bt
 
bennett123
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:25 pm

I had not realised that the KC46 was STILL not fully operational.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:48 am

I recall that the F-35 still hasn't reached full rate production, it hadn't by this article in Marchhttps://www.airforcemag.com/f-35-f ... ion-surge/

It first flew in 2006, what is LockMart doing with this?!

Boeing has screwed the pooch on the KC-46, that is for sure, but most DOD procurements have years of problems.

Anyone hear anything on how the remote vision 2.0 is coming along?
 
LHAM
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:09 am

kc135topboom wrote:
LHAM wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Reading the whole article, my understanding is that before July 9th the KC-46 had been certified for testing or exercises, but not operational use. But now it is certified for day-to-day refueling operation and can do some planes such as F-18 that use a drogue, and three large planes that use a boom (the C-17, The B-52, and other KC-46s).

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/08/kc- ... operators/

How many European air forces operate F-18s and C-17s? :lol: :lol: :lol:
And how often these air forces do on air refueling?
I suspect you won't even get a light buzz from the beers that would be warranted from these operational needs for K-46s refueling them.


The UK has the C-17, E-3D, RC-135W, and F-35B in the RAF fleet, they are getting the E-7 AEW1 and P-8
The Swiss flies the F-18A/B, so does Spain and Finland.
The Swiss is also getting the F-35A.
France flies the E-3F.
Many European Air Forces fly the F-16.
SAC flies the C-17.
Italy flies the KC-767A.
Turkey flies the E-7T.

Currently the KC-46s can only refuel C-17s and F-18s.
So I'll ask again, how many times European operators of these two aircraft type have used KC-45s to refuel them?
 
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keesje
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:18 am

Hopely quality issues get ironed out, the visual system will be replaced, the boom updated and operational types qualified. It's about time. Fingers crossed for no new surprises..
 
brindabella
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:27 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
FlapOperator wrote:
Over and over again.


We harp on the bad and dismiss the good. A big operation like Boeing will have its bad and good.

Good. Programs running smoothly.

P-8A
AH-64
CH-47
F-18G

The newer programs are just too new to evaluate.

bt


Other than the P-8, not Boeing projects. All of them date to 1980s. At least you didn't claim the dumpster fire of the F-15EX.

The other projects are basket case failures of the first order. A tanker is three meat computers, a flying tube and a hose. No off-manufacturer weapons integration. No real integration other than the insane boom. Now, where are we? Tankers are something we've been doing since Eisenhower was President. I mean, there was a flying 767 tanker! How do you botch that? Its like, right there! It ALREADY exists!

Boeing built how many non-conforming examples?


At least you didn't claim the dumpster fire of the F-15EX.


reference thanks.

Better be good.

Billy

Hey Mods what are you doing???
 
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kc135topboom
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:17 pm

LHAM wrote:
kc135topboom wrote:
LHAM wrote:
How many European air forces operate F-18s and C-17s? :lol: :lol: :lol:
And how often these air forces do on air refueling?
I suspect you won't even get a light buzz from the beers that would be warranted from these operational needs for K-46s refueling them.


The UK has the C-17, E-3D, RC-135W, and F-35B in the RAF fleet, they are getting the E-7 AEW1 and P-8
The Swiss flies the F-18A/B, so does Spain and Finland.
The Swiss is also getting the F-35A.
France flies the E-3F.
Many European Air Forces fly the F-16.
SAC flies the C-17.
Italy flies the KC-767A.
Turkey flies the E-7T.

Currently the KC-46s can only refuel C-17s and F-18s.
So I'll ask again, how many times European operators of these two aircraft type have used KC-45s to refuel them?


I know you mean the KC-46 and not the unbuilt KC-45.

It does not matter how many times EU operators have refueled from the KC-46. The fact that they can is what is important for wartime planning.
 
BestIntellect
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:53 pm

kc135topboom wrote:
they are getting the E-7 AEW1 and P-8
Turkey flies the E-7T.


There is no mention of any 737-based airframe being cleared to tank from KC-46.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:08 pm

BestIntellect wrote:
kc135topboom wrote:
they are getting the E-7 AEW1 and P-8
Turkey flies the E-7T.


There is no mention of any 737-based airframe being cleared to tank from KC-46.



Flight test with the P-8A was done last year.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... k4aRnnuQG_

Or was that just a photo op?

bt
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Thu Sep 16, 2021 4:06 am

bikerthai wrote:
BestIntellect wrote:
There is no mention of any 737-based airframe being cleared to tank from KC-46.


Flight test with the P-8A was done last year... Or was that just a photo op?

bt


Flight test does not equal AAR clearance: there are NO 737 variants cleared to refuel off the KC-46.
 
LHAM
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:42 am

kc135topboom wrote:
LHAM wrote:
kc135topboom wrote:

The UK has the C-17, E-3D, RC-135W, and F-35B in the RAF fleet, they are getting the E-7 AEW1 and P-8
The Swiss flies the F-18A/B, so does Spain and Finland.
The Swiss is also getting the F-35A.
France flies the E-3F.
Many European Air Forces fly the F-16.
SAC flies the C-17.
Italy flies the KC-767A.
Turkey flies the E-7T.

Currently the KC-46s can only refuel C-17s and F-18s.
So I'll ask again, how many times European operators of these two aircraft type have used KC-45s to refuel them?


I know you mean the KC-46 and not the unbuilt KC-45.

It does not matter how many times EU operators have refueled from the KC-46. The fact that they can is what is important for wartime planning.


If in a wartime scenario Europe can use the KC-46s' only to refuel F-18s and C-17s the aircraft is pretty much useless for its needs.
60 year old KC-135s would be far more useful.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:44 pm

LHAM wrote:
kc135topboom wrote:
LHAM wrote:
Currently the KC-46s can only refuel C-17s and F-18s.
So I'll ask again, how many times European operators of these two aircraft type have used KC-45s to refuel them?


I know you mean the KC-46 and not the unbuilt KC-45.

It does not matter how many times EU operators have refueled from the KC-46. The fact that they can is what is important for wartime planning.


If in a wartime scenario Europe can use the KC-46s' only to refuel F-18s and C-17s the aircraft is pretty much useless for its needs.
60 year old KC-135s would be far more useful.


In a wartime scenario, the total number of non-US NATO OR strike aircraft isn't that large.
 
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zeke
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:35 am

FlapOperator wrote:
At least this is step in the right direction. I want all of the the "330 MRTT is a more betterer airplane!" guys on this forum offer to buy me a beer for every EU nation sourced sortie a USAF tanker or airlift mission supports in the next 24 months, until I need a liver transplant.


The Australians had A330 tankers based in the Middle East from September 2014 to September 2020, they performed 1440 air-to-air refuelling missions including to USAF/USN and RAAF C F/A-18 E/A-18G and C17s.

https://www.airforce.gov.au/news-and-ev ... ndertaking

The Australian hornets conducted continuous operations in Iraq since their first mission in October 2014, flying more than 2,700 sorties over 21,000 flying hours.

As far as I am aware, the MRTT is cleared for both the P8 and wedgetail which the RAAF operate.

“The KC-30A can carry a fuel load of more than 100 tonnes, and transfer part of that load to compatible aircraft, including:

F/A-18A/B Hornets;
F/A-18F Super Hornets;
E/A-18G Growlers;
E-7A Wedgetails;
C-17A Globemaster III; and
Other KC-30As.

It is also compatible with refuelling P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft, F-35A Lightning II, and foreign aircraft such as the F-16C Fighting Falcon and B-1B Lancer.”

From https://www.airforce.gov.au/technology/ ... -transport
 
CX747
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:45 am

Was going to say that the Aussies have been pretty aggressive with their MRTTs and Wedgetails. Definitely brought both of them to the ME fight. This goes without mentioning the rotating F/A-18C and F/A-18F deployments to the sandbox. I truly hope the new AUKUS pact has US F-35s based down under.

The KC-46 has plenty of hurdles it is working it's way through but it is getting there. Yes, we shake our head at why there are issues but I put the blame squarely on all parties. Better communication would lead to smoother entries into service. Overall though the T-7, CH-47 and AH-64 recap or new buys are doing just fine.

As for the F-15EX, not sure where the hate is coming from. The Mudhen part II showed up and got right to work. Testing, meeting goals and deploying to Alaska to go face to face with F-35s and others after only being at Eglin a short time. Plug and play with greater capabilities. I for one am pulling that not only does it replace all the Albinoes but the current hens also. Then rotate the used Mudhens to the ANG/Reserves as not everything is best answered with a Block 30/40 F-16!!!

No reason to throw mud amongst friends. The KC-46 will make it's way to Mildenhall and eventually be a workhorse. Right now though, the KC-135 continues to reign supreme. While MRTTs are definitely around, there are far more 135 booms transferring in Europe, either from Mildenhall or a US ANG/RES boom than anything else. What the heck though, I'm buying the first round for everyone whether you drive a Pegasus, 135, MRTT or get to go upside down, because we can in an Rhino, Albino, Mudhen, Fat Amy/Panther, Phoon or holding out cause its cool and old school Tornado.

I'd love to see a USN Tomcat in the break again but alas, that vision is to awesome to occur in 2021.
 
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zeke
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:32 am

CX747 wrote:
Was going to say that the Aussies have been pretty aggressive with their MRTTs and Wedgetails. Definitely brought both of them to the ME fight. This goes without mentioning the rotating F/A-18C and F/A-18F deployments to the sandbox. I truly hope the new AUKUS pact has US F-35s based down under.


It hasn’t been done solo, there are a lot of exchange pilots being placed in those RAAF aircraft, one of the reasons they were so effective. Those same exchange pilots have naturally the ability to report back on their exchange experience.

https://youtu.be/vA9SmoYnlz8
 
FlapOperator
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:48 pm

zeke wrote:
CX747 wrote:
Was going to say that the Aussies have been pretty aggressive with their MRTTs and Wedgetails. Definitely brought both of them to the ME fight. This goes without mentioning the rotating F/A-18C and F/A-18F deployments to the sandbox. I truly hope the new AUKUS pact has US F-35s based down under.


It hasn’t been done solo, there are a lot of exchange pilots being placed in those RAAF aircraft, one of the reasons they were so effective. Those same exchange pilots have naturally the ability to report back on their exchange experience.

https://youtu.be/vA9SmoYnlz8


Its not just exchange pilots.

I think most people would be surprised at the number of Australian, Canadian and British personnel imbedded within operational US forces and headquarters.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:26 pm

At one time a RCAF pilot was the author of the USAF General Flight Rules regulation. Captain Mark Wuennenburg, IIRC
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Sun Sep 26, 2021 1:36 pm

I understand that the problems with this tanker are not simply Boeing errors, nor Air Force changing specs (?), but also capability requests that are bleeding edge technology. Has anyone done a back of the envelope on percentages of these three?
 
CX747
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:03 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
I understand that the problems with this tanker are not simply Boeing errors, nor Air Force changing specs (?), but also capability requests that are bleeding edge technology. Has anyone done a back of the envelope on percentages of these three?


That is a spot on assessment. Boeing is partly to blame but so is the USAF. Will it get fixed? Yes. Is it any one parties fault? No. Should they have just put a glass window in the back and had a guy do it? Um, yeah, but we had to be fancy, we had to be top shelf. Oh well, they are getting it right but we took the long way around.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:41 am

CX747 wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
I understand that the problems with this tanker are not simply Boeing errors, nor Air Force changing specs (?), but also capability requests that are bleeding edge technology. Has anyone done a back of the envelope on percentages of these three?


That is a spot on assessment. Boeing is partly to blame but so is the USAF. Will it get fixed? Yes. Is it any one parties fault? No. Should they have just put a glass window in the back and had a guy do it? Um, yeah, but we had to be fancy, we had to be top shelf. Oh well, they are getting it right but we took the long way around.


What bleeding edge technologies are you referring to. It's a variant of a plane who's first flight was 1981. Boom refueling has been happening for many generations. Heck, the A330MRTT has passed testes where AI guides the boom to the receiver .. the KC-46 cannot even show a decent video feed to the boom operator! https://skiesmag.com/news/airbus-comple ... ing-trial/

It's 99% Boeings fault. They made promises, and failed. There are no *significant* requirement changes.
 
CX747
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 2:04 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
CX747 wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
I understand that the problems with this tanker are not simply Boeing errors, nor Air Force changing specs (?), but also capability requests that are bleeding edge technology. Has anyone done a back of the envelope on percentages of these three?


That is a spot on assessment. Boeing is partly to blame but so is the USAF. Will it get fixed? Yes. Is it any one parties fault? No. Should they have just put a glass window in the back and had a guy do it? Um, yeah, but we had to be fancy, we had to be top shelf. Oh well, they are getting it right but we took the long way around.


What bleeding edge technologies are you referring to. It's a variant of a plane who's first flight was 1981. Boom refueling has been happening for many generations. Heck, the A330MRTT has passed testes where AI guides the boom to the receiver .. the KC-46 cannot even show a decent video feed to the boom operator! https://skiesmag.com/news/airbus-comple ... ing-trial/

It's 99% Boeings fault. They made promises, and failed. There are no *significant* requirement changes.


It's not 99% anyone's fault, so let's recage that failed assessment.


https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/05 ... -redesign/
 
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lightsaber
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 2:16 pm

Please post respectfully. If you note deleted posts, those that wuoted a disrespectful post were also deleted.
 
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Revelation
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 2:36 pm

CX747 wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
I understand that the problems with this tanker are not simply Boeing errors, nor Air Force changing specs (?), but also capability requests that are bleeding edge technology. Has anyone done a back of the envelope on percentages of these three?

That is a spot on assessment. Boeing is partly to blame but so is the USAF. Will it get fixed? Yes. Is it any one parties fault? No. Should they have just put a glass window in the back and had a guy do it? Um, yeah, but we had to be fancy, we had to be top shelf. Oh well, they are getting it right but we took the long way around.

Actually doing the structure to get the Guy In Back his window does add a bunch of complexity too, and given the link just posted, one wonders if USAF would have managed that correctly as well. Going to a remote operator has its merits. It seems what was botched was a review of technological readiness along with both sides truly understanding what the specs did and did not say. They are still arguing about those aspects.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 2:52 pm

Revelation wrote:
Actually doing the structure to get the Guy In Back his window does add a bunch of complexity too, and given the link just posted, one wonders if USAF would have managed that correctly as well. Going to a remote operator has its merits. It seems what was botched was a review of technological readiness along with both sides truly understanding what the specs did and did not say. They are still arguing about those aspects.


Frankly, Technical Readiness Objectives and Technical Readiness Levels are really probably two of the harder parts of the procurement process to get right.

Sometimes, its easy, sometimes its hard, and if really clear objectives weren't set early in the program (talking about decades of time, potentially) then this can ripple through a program as people try to kludge the TRO to the TRL, sometimes as metal is being cut.

Personally, I default to simple to complex spiral development, as I think the costs of PiP are generally less than trying to anticipate every right answer a decade plus in advance. I think that the costs of including significant engineering reserve are usually absorbed in amortized use, but that's an assessment, and hard to prove with data.
 
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Revelation
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 3:23 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Actually doing the structure to get the Guy In Back his window does add a bunch of complexity too, and given the link just posted, one wonders if USAF would have managed that correctly as well. Going to a remote operator has its merits. It seems what was botched was a review of technological readiness along with both sides truly understanding what the specs did and did not say. They are still arguing about those aspects.

Frankly, Technical Readiness Objectives and Technical Readiness Levels are really probably two of the harder parts of the procurement process to get right.

Sometimes, its easy, sometimes its hard, and if really clear objectives weren't set early in the program (talking about decades of time, potentially) then this can ripple through a program as people try to kludge the TRO to the TRL, sometimes as metal is being cut.

Personally, I default to simple to complex spiral development, as I think the costs of PiP are generally less than trying to anticipate every right answer a decade plus in advance. I think that the costs of including significant engineering reserve are usually absorbed in amortized use, but that's an assessment, and hard to prove with data.

Yes, these things are complex so not easy to get right, although one must hope the parties involved were aware of the presence of the Sun.

https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... 20-design/ suggests a design for V2 of the vision system has been approved and should be ready in 2023. https://breakingdefense.com/2021/08/kc- ... operators/ suggests fully operational status will be achieved in FY 2024. Presumably rolling out all the changes to the rest of the fleet will take some years. It'll be a long time before the fleet is where it should be, but unfortunately that's kind of how these things go.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 3:24 pm

Revelation wrote:
Actually doing the structure to get the Guy In Back his window does add a bunch of complexity too,


Structural mod, while complex, is straight forward and is something they know how to do. Having the window add additional weight when they finally switch over to remote operator and ultimately automated refueling. The only thing it would have done was give more time for the remote vision system to mature. But then who can say if they would not see the same issue later.

The wiring screw up and the boom issue would still have occurred.

Again I think if they did not have too much expectation from the get go, it would have provided better PR optics. The vision system seems to work for most situation. That last 10 percent is what tripped them up. If it was set up as a phased approach, the problem would have been categorized differently.

bt
 
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Revelation
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 3:53 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Again I think if they did not have too much expectation from the get go, it would have provided better PR optics. The vision system seems to work for most situation. That last 10 percent is what tripped them up. If it was set up as a phased approach, the problem would have been categorized differently.

I presume they did the all-in approach to keep cost low to win the contract, knowing they were gambling a bit that they'd hit the marks and if they missed that could be addressed once the contract was won. Turns out they lost the bet.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:51 pm

CX747 wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
CX747 wrote:

That is a spot on assessment. Boeing is partly to blame but so is the USAF. Will it get fixed? Yes. Is it any one parties fault? No. Should they have just put a glass window in the back and had a guy do it? Um, yeah, but we had to be fancy, we had to be top shelf. Oh well, they are getting it right but we took the long way around.


What bleeding edge technologies are you referring to. It's a variant of a plane who's first flight was 1981. Boom refueling has been happening for many generations. Heck, the A330MRTT has passed testes where AI guides the boom to the receiver .. the KC-46 cannot even show a decent video feed to the boom operator! https://skiesmag.com/news/airbus-comple ... ing-trial/

It's 99% Boeings fault. They made promises, and failed. There are no *significant* requirement changes.


It's not 99% anyone's fault, so let's recage that failed assessment.


https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/05 ... -redesign/


The original budget for development was $4.9B. Boeing has spent $10B (including $5B of their own money). This boom issue was $100M. That is 1% or 2%, depending on your base.

If there's more, I'm interested.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 29, 2021 12:22 am

kitplane01 wrote:
It's 99% Boeings fault. They made promises, and failed. There are no *significant* requirement changes.

You are completely wrong. I agree with frmrCapCadet and CX747 that a large portion of the blame is on the USAF.

The Airbus system also fails the USAF requirements. The USAF requirement was simply too high and could never be achieved. Boeing should be commended for persisting at their cost. Neither Airbus or Boeing would have known that the USAF would just keep failing any system that was selected.

The RAAF A330MRTT have been using probe and drogue in the middle east for the Hornets and the boom was only used for large aircraft. The A330MRTT can not refuel fighters by boom to the standards required by the USAF. It would not be "operational" to USAF standards.

Other air forces do have lower standards to what they consider "operational" and they can refuel fighters using the A330 boom with higher risk levels and less safety. The RAF for instance doesn't even have a boom fitted to their MRTT aircraft.

The RAAF selected the MRTT because the superior KC-46 didn't exist yet. The MRTT was the only aircraft that could refuel the planned C-17, P-8 and E-7 purchases. There was no other tanker solution. Japan had done a few 767 tankers but they still had the low fuel capacity of the normal passenger/freighter version.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 29, 2021 2:48 am

RJMAZ wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
It's 99% Boeings fault. They made promises, and failed. There are no *significant* requirement changes.

You are completely wrong. I agree with frmrCapCadet and CX747 that a large portion of the blame is on the USAF.

The Airbus system also fails the USAF requirements. The USAF requirement was simply too high and could never be achieved. Boeing should be commended for persisting at their cost. Neither Airbus or Boeing would have known that the USAF would just keep failing any system that was selected.

The RAAF A330MRTT have been using probe and drogue in the middle east for the Hornets and the boom was only used for large aircraft. The A330MRTT can not refuel fighters by boom to the standards required by the USAF. It would not be "operational" to USAF standards.

Other air forces do have lower standards to what they consider "operational" and they can refuel fighters using the A330 boom with higher risk levels and less safety. The RAF for instance doesn't even have a boom fitted to their MRTT aircraft.

The RAAF selected the MRTT because the superior KC-46 didn't exist yet. The MRTT was the only aircraft that could refuel the planned C-17, P-8 and E-7 purchases. There was no other tanker solution. Japan had done a few 767 tankers but they still had the low fuel capacity of the normal passenger/freighter version.


I think for me to be wrong it would have to be that the USAF issued a contract that Boeing agreed to, and then later the USAF made significant changes to the requirements. Changes so significant that that they doubled the cost of development from $5B to $10B, and delayed the program by years. If you can name such changes I'm interested.

The boom thing was a $100M cost that the USAF says is their fault. But that's a very small fraction of $10B.
 
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SeamanBeaumont
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 29, 2021 3:33 am

RJMAZ wrote:


The RAAF A330MRTT have been using probe and drogue in the middle east for the Hornets and the boom was only used for large aircraft. The A330MRTT can not refuel fighters by boom to the standards required by the USAF. It would not be "operational" to USAF standards.

Other air forces do have lower standards to what they consider "operational" and they can refuel fighters using the A330 boom with higher risk levels and less safety. The RAF for instance doesn't even have a boom fitted to their MRTT aircraft.

That is Big Apple style baloney right there...

https://www.airforce-technology.com/unc ... e-4976530/
USAF seemed happy for KC-30 to drag six F-16Cs from Japan to Darwin in 2016 and then refuel them all on exercise but hey, what do they know...
 
RJMAZ
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:26 am

SeamanBeaumont wrote:
That is Big Apple style baloney right there...

https://www.airforce-technology.com/unc ... e-4976530/
USAF seemed happy for KC-30 to drag six F-16Cs from Japan to Darwin in 2016 and then refuel them all on exercise but hey, what do they know...

That same year Japan was also using the 767 to refuel their F-15J in training and joint exercises. Their tanker uses the same boom as the KC-46 BEFORE it was redesigned. That is clear proof that different operators have different standards for equipment to be deemed "operational".

The RAAF and JASDF have declared their tankers fully operational. The USAF simply wants their tankers to work in worse conditions that is beyond the existing Boeing or Airbus systems.
 
744SPX
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 29, 2021 6:02 pm

At least in terms of requirements, the USAF has to be faulted. The KC-767 in JSDF and Italian service has had nowhere near the problems of the KC-46. Why they couldn't have gone with that is beyond me.
 
checksixx
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 29, 2021 8:28 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Reading the whole article, my understanding is that before July 9th the KC-46 had been certified for testing or exercises, but not operational use. But now it is certified for day-to-day refueling operation and can do some planes such as F-18 that use a drogue, and three large planes that use a boom (the C-17, The B-52, and other KC-46s).

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/08/kc- ... operators/


Well they were refueling aircraft a year ago that weren't part of testing or an exercise, so I'm not sure what the article is referencing.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Wed Sep 29, 2021 9:22 pm

checksixx wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Reading the whole article, my understanding is that before July 9th the KC-46 had been certified for testing or exercises, but not operational use. But now it is certified for day-to-day refueling operation and can do some planes such as F-18 that use a drogue, and three large planes that use a boom (the C-17, The B-52, and other KC-46s).

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/08/kc- ... operators/


Well they were refueling aircraft a year ago that weren't part of testing or an exercise, so I'm not sure what the article is referencing.


They were referring to the fact that the KC-46 was not certified to operationally refuel these planes, and now it is. Maybe the stuff a year ago was testing????
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Sun Oct 03, 2021 4:01 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
The RAAF and JASDF have declared their tankers fully operational. The USAF simply wants their tankers to work in worse conditions that is beyond the existing Boeing or Airbus systems.


Bingo.

Textbook example: neither MRTT nor the KC-767 can survive in a nuclear or chemical environment, whereas the KC-46 was specifically designed to operate there. The USAF wanted it, and paid for it. Boeing thought they could go cheap with the vision system and still make specs. They bet wrong. You get what you pay for, but you also don't have to pay if what you get isn't what you want.
 
angad84
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:54 am

LyleLanley wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
The RAAF and JASDF have declared their tankers fully operational. The USAF simply wants their tankers to work in worse conditions that is beyond the existing Boeing or Airbus systems.


Bingo.

Textbook example: neither MRTT nor the KC-767 can survive in a nuclear or chemical environment, whereas the KC-46 was specifically designed to operate there. The USAF wanted it, and paid for it. Boeing thought they could go cheap with the vision system and still make specs. They bet wrong. You get what you pay for, but you also don't have to pay if what you get isn't what you want.

As I understand it, the NBC capability is not the reason for the KC-46 delays and cost overruns, so that's moot surely? The KC-46 cannot do - in *any* environment - what the KC767 and MRTT can today.
 
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zeke
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Mon Oct 04, 2021 10:13 am

checksixx wrote:
Well they were refueling aircraft a year ago that weren't part of testing or an exercise, so I'm not sure what the article is referencing.


The KC-46 still does not meet the contract specification, it has 4 USAF identified category 1 deficiencies and some more minor things like toilets that dont work. Only once all of these deficiencies have been rectified will the KC-46 be declared fully operational.

"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."

from https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/02 ... -problems/

The biggest issue is to resolve the boom, it just not work in realistic combat configurations, when tests were done the receiver aircraft were light weight without ordnance or not at realistic loads for transport aircraft. The USAF is paying 100 million to redesign the boom that wont be available until 2024, and then it needs to go through clearance tests again.

"For example, the reduced flight plan allowed for the KC-46 to refuel an A-10 flying at one airspeed and altitude combination, but the test was executed with an A-10 in a clean-wing configuration that was not representative of a combat environment. "

"Flight tests of the C-17 and F-16 were similarly not tested at heavy gross weights or “the most critical stressing point for aircraft center of gravity,”

"However, because of the boom axial load deficiency and other technical problems involving its Remote Vision System, the KC-46 is only approved to refuel certain aircraft under certain conditions, and isn’t slated to be fully operational until at least fiscal 2024."

from https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/05 ... -redesign/

LyleLanley wrote:
Textbook example: neither MRTT nor the KC-767 can survive in a nuclear or chemical environment


The A330 and A400M are certified into those environments for AAR. Australia had deployed their MRTTs to the middle east for years where that environment exists. See page 11 of this briefing https://www.airbus.com/content/dam/even ... 30MRTT.pdf
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:07 pm

angad84 wrote:
As I understand it, the NBC capability is not the reason for the KC-46 delays and cost overruns, so that's moot surely? The KC-46 cannot do - in *any* environment - what the KC767 and MRTT can today.


NBC isn't the reason - you're right, there. I was just elucidating that the USAF has capability requirements that other nations aren't interested in, or aren't able or willing to pay for. NBC capes are one of those capabilities. NVG compatible cockpit lighting is another: if memory serves, the MRTT's cockpit lighting isn't NVD-compatible. The mil-spec wiring throughout the aircraft, rather than just the civilian stuff. I can go on, and on, and on.

If we really wanted to split hairs, here, the KC-46's RVS is better than the Dutch KDC-10 system, as well as the Japanese and Italian 767's system. Those systems have serious limitations those nations were fine with, but the USAF isn't. If the USAF evaluated the KC-767 or MRTT for their own use, rather than checking for compatibility with other nations' equipment, there would be restrictions there, too.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:13 pm

zeke wrote:
LyleLanley wrote:
Textbook example: neither MRTT nor the KC-767 can survive in a nuclear or chemical environment


The A330 and A400M are certified into those environments for AAR. Australia had deployed their MRTTs to the middle east for years where that environment exists. See page 11 of this briefing https://www.airbus.com/content/dam/even ... 30MRTT.pdf


After all we've been through, I'd hope you wouldn't just point to a brochure... There's a world of difference between a manufacturer's brochure with carefully chosen words vs. reality.

There's a world of difference between being certified to wear AERPS gear, which is what that brochure says, and being specifically designed to operate in that sort of environment. The MRTT is a lot like the KC-10: you can wear the gear and transit through a radiological/chemical area, but you're not designed to stay there. The MRTT (and KC-10) aren't hardened against EMP, there are no flash curtains, etc.

Australia's deployments to the middle east have nothing to do with whether the airplane can operate in those environs. You know Emirates flies 777s out of there, too, right?

I'm not an Airbus-hater, but its capes against the KC-46 in this subject are not strong.
 
GDB
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:05 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
angad84 wrote:
As I understand it, the NBC capability is not the reason for the KC-46 delays and cost overruns, so that's moot surely? The KC-46 cannot do - in *any* environment - what the KC767 and MRTT can today.


NBC isn't the reason - you're right, there. I was just elucidating that the USAF has capability requirements that other nations aren't interested in, or aren't able or willing to pay for. NBC capes are one of those capabilities. NVG compatible cockpit lighting is another: if memory serves, the MRTT's cockpit lighting isn't NVD-compatible. The mil-spec wiring throughout the aircraft, rather than just the civilian stuff. I can go on, and on, and on.

If we really wanted to split hairs, here, the KC-46's RVS is better than the Dutch KDC-10 system, as well as the Japanese and Italian 767's system. Those systems have serious limitations those nations were fine with, but the USAF isn't. If the USAF evaluated the KC-767 or MRTT for their own use, rather than checking for compatibility with other nations' equipment, there would be restrictions there, too.


Certainly the RAF and I expect all NATO forces, in particular those who do a lot of operations, can operate aircraft in NBC conditions, quite frankly if the instant sunshine, the ‘N’ part starts appearing then refueling mostly tactical aircraft will then seem somewhat irrelevant! Certainly last time a credible chem/bio threat was there, the 1991 Gulf War, air and ground crew prepped extensively for it.
I mean its something the credit the KC-46 with I guess, shame it’s about the least relevant issue operationally speaking.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: KC-46 now cleared to operationally refuel some aircraft

Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:16 pm

GDB wrote:

Certainly the RAF and I expect all NATO forces, in particular those who do a lot of operations, can operate aircraft in NBC conditions, quite frankly if the instant sunshine, the ‘N’ part starts appearing then refueling mostly tactical aircraft will then seem somewhat irrelevant! Certainly last time a credible chem/bio threat was there, the 1991 Gulf War, air and ground crew prepped extensively for it.
I mean its something the credit the KC-46 with I guess, shame it’s about the least relevant issue operationally speaking.


Agreed. I’m confident in the Brit’s abilities, but the rest not so much. Fact is, the KC-46 will be flying during and after the flashes, but the MRTT can’t. It’s just not able to. I’m sure they’ll figure it out for afterwards, but again, it’s the difference between it being designed to operate there vs. “sorta can-ish if you muddy what the word ‘operate’ means”.

Again, I like the jet. Just like I love my current mount (KC-10s). But just trying to be impartial to the facts, which are that the KC-46 will be flying when neither the MRTT nor the KC-10 can.

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