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Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Tue Jun 07, 2022 9:59 am

keesje wrote:
The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that it is still not using its fleet of KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tankers to support combat operations, and will not for the foreseeable future except in response to "emergency need." This is despite the service recently touting that these aircraft can now "support 97 percent of the daily Joint Force air refueling demands" as part of what it calls an Interim Capability Release plan intended to help move the long-troubled jets toward a truly operational state.


https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/k ... hole-story

I assume every effort is made to get the KC46A fully operational and to keep this process out of the new tanker selection process, handle it as two separate topics.


The combat theater exclusion policy is well understood, despite the continued efforts of The War Zone to twist it into something else.

Boeing had said from the outset that the KC-46 RVS vision issues were limited to a small subset of operational conditions. That has now been proved out by the USAF ICR dispatch approvals for 97% of the fleet, with more to join in future. The approvals include restrictions to avoid those conditions, which are easily accommodated outside of combat.

In combat theaters, it might not be possible to avoid the prohibited conditions, so that creates an unnecessary risk, when other assets are able to fulfill those needs. That is the rational for the combat restrictions. They don't apply to the cases of exercise or training missions, which are allowed in combat theaters. The reasoning is the same for those cases.

It's because the KC-46 role is being expanded, that the need for a KC-Y competition is being questioned. The expanding role is the cause, not the effect.
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Tue Jun 07, 2022 3:57 pm

Reading that article, it sounds more like it is lack of familiarity with the platform that is driving the decision more than the KC-46A can't refuel a combat sortie (since they have proven the frame can refuel a non-combat sortie).

IMO, LMXT will not see the light of day. The USAF does not appear to have the budget (or at least the budget appetite) to develop a new and more expensive tanker program now that the KC-46A is finally approaching the finish line for full operational capability.
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Tue Jun 07, 2022 3:59 pm

I expect that the US DOD has the ability to scan the frame for "bugs" (I mean they have found them in other things) so even if the Chinese government did plant them into the frame prior to hand-over, they would be detected and does China want that diplomatic headache?

IMO, they do not.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 5:17 am

keesje wrote:
The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that it is still not using its fleet of KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tankers to support combat operations, and will not for the foreseeable future except in response to "emergency need." This is despite the service recently touting that these aircraft can now "support 97 percent of the daily Joint Force air refueling demands" as part of what it calls an Interim Capability Release plan intended to help move the long-troubled jets toward a truly operational state.


https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/k ... hole-story

I assume every effort is made to get the KC46A fully operational and to keep this process out of the new tanker selection process, handle it as two separate topics.



(Summary) In 2020, the KC-46 was not used for any refueling missions. In 2021, It was allowed to support transport missions, including the ferrying for several types of fighter jets. It is not allowed to support combnat missions, nor are there any plans to do so in the foreseeable future.

(Quotes)
"in 2020 ... that the service was not using the KC-46A for routine combat or non-combat aerial refueling missions"

"In May 2021, the KC-46A was not cleared to operationally support any USTRANSCOM missions..."

"On May 31, 2022... approved... the KC-46As, which the service currently has 59 of in inventory. This authorizes "daily task-able operational use" of these tankers to refuel more Air Force, as well as U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, "during U.S. Transportation Command-tasked missions."

"The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that it is still not using its fleet of KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tankers to support combat operations, and will not for the foreseeable future except in response to "emergency need."
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 6:27 am

The "foreseeable" part is TWZ being disingenuous, as they know the new RVS is being rolled out next year, and will begin factory integration the following year.

Also "emergency need" just means lack of availability of another refueling asset. The KC-46 could step in at any time. As the USAF officials said, you will see them operating in combat theaters during exercises and training, but won't be dispatched there for routine operations.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 6:30 am

Avatar2go wrote:
Also "emergency need" just means lack of availability of another refueling asset. The KC-46 could step in at any time. As the USAF officials said, you will see them operating in combat theaters during exercises and training, but won't be dispatched there for routine operations.


Another way to interperate the quote, especially in the context of the other information in the article: We will not use these planes for combat training. No exorcise will plan on using these planes for combat training. Emergencies do come up, and you will see these planes used in those cases from time to time. But only in very limited situations.
Last edited by kitplane01 on Wed Jun 08, 2022 6:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 6:35 am

Avatar2go wrote:
The "foreseeable" part is TWZ being disingenuous, as they know the new RVS is being rolled out next year, and will begin factory integration the following year.


I believe they spoke to exactly that issue, complete with quote from the USAF officer.

"Whatever the case, the KC-46A remains years away from reaching an official IOC, which will come after the redesigned RVS is determined to be adequate and is actually integrated onto a sufficient number of tankers. As it stands now, that's not expected to occur until at least some time in 2024 at the earliest. It remains unclear when the service may feel comfortable using these tankers to support combat operations when it doesn't absolutely have to.

“Until that visual system is upgraded, AMC does not have a plan to declare this aircraft fully operationally capable,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Ryan Samuelson, the KC-46 Cross-Functional Team lead
 
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scbriml
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 7:16 am

kitplane01 wrote:
keesje wrote:
The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that it is still not using its fleet of KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tankers to support combat operations, and will not for the foreseeable future except in response to "emergency need." This is despite the service recently touting that these aircraft can now "support 97 percent of the daily Joint Force air refueling demands" as part of what it calls an Interim Capability Release plan intended to help move the long-troubled jets toward a truly operational state.


https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/k ... hole-story

I assume every effort is made to get the KC46A fully operational and to keep this process out of the new tanker selection process, handle it as two separate topics.



(Summary) In 2020, the KC-46 was not used for any refueling missions. In 2021, It was allowed to support transport missions, including the ferrying for several types of fighter jets. It is not allowed to support combnat missions, nor are there any plans to do so in the foreseeable future.

(Quotes)
"in 2020 ... that the service was not using the KC-46A for routine combat or non-combat aerial refueling missions"

"In May 2021, the KC-46A was not cleared to operationally support any USTRANSCOM missions..."

"On May 31, 2022... approved... the KC-46As, which the service currently has 59 of in inventory. This authorizes "daily task-able operational use" of these tankers to refuel more Air Force, as well as U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, "during U.S. Transportation Command-tasked missions."

"The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that it is still not using its fleet of KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tankers to support combat operations, and will not for the foreseeable future except in response to "emergency need."


Imagine how bad things would be if Boeing didn't have all those decades of tanker experience. :duck:
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 7:18 am

kitplane01 wrote:
[quote="Avatar2go]

I believe they spoke to exactly that issue, complete with quote from the USAF officer.

"Whatever the case, the KC-46A remains years away from reaching an official IOC, which will come after the redesigned RVS is determined to be adequate and is actually integrated onto a sufficient number of tankers. As it stands now, that's not expected to occur until at least some time in 2024 at the earliest. It remains unclear when the service may feel comfortable using these tankers to support combat operations when it doesn't absolutely have to.

“Until that visual system is upgraded, AMC does not have a plan to declare this aircraft fully operationally capable,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Ryan Samuelson, the KC-46 Cross-Functional Team lead[/quote][/quote]


To be clear, the USAF also said that we will see the KC-46 operating in combat theaters. In fact we have just seen that in an exercise in Spain. KC-46 fly around the world, as part of exercises and training. They absolutely can step in if needed.

TWZ always has defense programs that serve as whipping boys. The F-35 was one for a long time, but has now deployed successfully. Also the Ford, which is about to deploy. And the KC-46, which is probably 2 years out from full deployment, with a significantly upgraded state-of-the-art vision system that is automation-ready.

The purpose of this article was to throw shade on progress the program has made over the last year. That progress has dispelled the notion that the KC-46 is not capable. It has a well-understood limitation and is in need of an upgrade, which is in the pipeline. So the article emphasizes the restrictions that remain, which were never disputed. It's part of a long standing practice at TWZ, as I mentioned.
Last edited by Avatar2go on Wed Jun 08, 2022 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 7:32 am

scbriml wrote:
Imagine how bad things would be if Boeing didn't have all those decades of tanker experience. :duck:


As many here have tried to explain, the KC-46 is not the KC-135, it's significantly more advanced, as requested by the USAF. The decades of experience with the KC-135 won't overlap very much with the KC-46. All the systems are different, airframe is different, boom is different, fuel system is different, avionics are different, certification is different, hardening is different, defenses are different.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 7:37 am

Avatar2go wrote:
scbriml wrote:
Imagine how bad things would be if Boeing didn't have all those decades of tanker experience. :duck:


As many here have tried to explain, the KC-46 is not the KC-135, it's significantly more advanced, as requested by the USAF. The decades of experience with the KC-135 won't overlap very much with the KC-46. All the systems are different, airframe is different, boom is different, fuel system is different, avionics are different, certification is different, hardening is different, defenses are different.



Development started 11 years ago.
First flight was 8 years ago.
First delivered to the air force 3 years ago.
Might be cleared for combat operations in another 3 years "at the earliest".
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 7:48 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Development started 11 years ago.
First flight was 8 years ago.
First delivered to the air force 3 years ago.
Might be cleared for combat operations in another 3 years "at the earliest".


Yes, all true except the 3 years, which is more like 2 years, although it will take time to retrofit the existing fleet to achieve full compliance. But mainly due to changes requested by the USAF. Redundancy and EWIS, two boom redesigns, civilian certification, and RVS redesign. All of which distinguish the KC-46 from the KC-767, which is serving well with other air forces.

This is not to blame the USAF, they know what they want and need. It's just unfortunate that they weren't on the same page with Boeing initially, and as a result the contract did not accommodate the development that was needed, and has now taken place. Both sides played a role and have some fault in that, and both sides have acknowledged it should have been done differently.
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 3:46 pm

scbriml wrote:
Imagine how bad things would be if Boeing didn't have all those decades of tanker experience. :duck:


I believe pretty much every issue encountered with the KC-46A has been due to systems not made by Boeing with the exception of the wiring issues. And if Boeing had actually had the Defense side of the company perform that in San Antonio, as was the original plan before they decided to let the Commercial guys do it in Everett because it was cheaper, that might not have happened.

Now I am not sure if KC-45 had the exact same third-party components like the RVS, WARPS and such that KC-46A has, but if they did, then we may very well have seen many of these same problems and then the Boeing Boosters would be saying "See! This is what happens when you award a contract to a company without decades of tanker experience!" :biggrin:
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 4:28 pm

Stitch wrote:
"See! This is what happens when you award a contract to a company without decades of tanker experience!"


Personally, I feel that is just PR from all sides. At there time of the contract, actually Boeing people with tanker experience is pretty slim. Other than those who support the existing fleet, the pool of designers with tanker experience probably would not make a difference.

The argument does not hold up in light of of the P-8A program. How much experience did they have with maritime patrol? There were lots of experience ported over from E-7 which help. But I feel the how the NAVY structured the program and the effective management of that program has more to do with its success than prior MMA experience.

bt
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 08, 2022 6:39 pm

As Prime Contractor, Boeing is the one responsible for bringing all the various sub-contractors together to deliver a finished product. And they have clearly done a very poor job of that with the KC-46A program. But I agree with bikerthai that it had been decades since Boeing delivered the KC-767s to Italy and Japan and a fair bit of that "institutional knowledge" was gone by the time KC-X was formally awarded to Boeing and the KC-46A was a fairly different tanker than the original KC-767 proposed back in 2002.

And if the original 2002 lease deal had gone through, chances are that the program would have delivered successfully, even if the USAF would not have gotten as whizz-bang a platform as the KC-46A.

So what I am saying is, that it is all John McCain's fault. :P

(And no, I am not really saying that.)
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 09, 2022 5:57 am

I thought it might be interesting to compare the two programs. I've started their timelines at program start.

KC-46
Development started 11 years ago.
First flight took 3 years after program start
First delivery to the air force took 8 years after program start
Might be cleared for combat operations in 14 years after program start "at the earliest".

A330 MRTT
Development started 18 years ago
First flight took 3 years after program start
First delivery (to the Australian air force) took 7 years after program start
Clear for all operations took 7 years after program start
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 09, 2022 8:20 am

kitplane01 wrote:
I thought it might be interesting to compare the two programs. I've started their timelines at program start.

KC-46
Development started 11 years ago.
First flight took 3 years after program start
First delivery to the air force took 8 years after program start
Might be cleared for combat operations in 14 years after program start "at the earliest".

A330 MRTT
Development started 18 years ago
First flight took 3 years after program start
First delivery (to the Australian air force) took 7 years after program start
Clear for all operations took 7 years after program start


Some caveats to this analysis. First, most of the technology for the A330 version was derived from the A310 version. Which is somewhat similar to the KC-767 & KC-46 development.

Second, the A330 MRTT was not fully cleared for Australian operations until 2014, because it too had teething problems. So that is 10 years after program start.

Third, many of the features of the KC-46 did not appear in the A330 MRTT until the "New Standard" aircraft, which first flew in 2016, and were not delivered for 2 more years, as an evolution of the earlier aircraft. It was also in this time frame that the UK modified a few of their Voyagers for civilian transport certification, similar to the KC-46. So if those are included to get a common basis of comparison, 14 years total.

Lastly would point out that the KC-46 production rate is higher and has already matched the A330 MRTT production, meaning that airframes are being built while the testing and teething problems are being worked out (concurrency). So it will take longer to retrofit the existing aircraft because there are far more of them to modify.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 09, 2022 8:39 am

Avatar2go wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
I thought it might be interesting to compare the two programs. I've started their timelines at program start.

KC-46
Development started 11 years ago.
First flight took 3 years after program start
First delivery to the air force took 8 years after program start
Might be cleared for combat operations in 14 years after program start "at the earliest".

A330 MRTT
Development started 18 years ago
First flight took 3 years after program start
First delivery (to the Australian air force) took 7 years after program start
Clear for all operations took 7 years after program start



Second, the A330 MRTT was not fully cleared for Australian operations until 2014, because it too had teething problems. So that is 10 years after program start.


I thoguht I was reasonably informed, but I've not read this. Can you provide a link .. something that tells about this. The obvious to me google searches find nothing. I'm totally willing to be educated.

Avatar2go wrote:
Third, many of the features of the KC-46 did not appear in the A330 MRTT until the "New Standard" aircraft, which first flew in 2016, and were not delivered for 2 more years, as an evolution of the earlier aircraft. It was also in this time frame that the UK modified a few of their Voyagers for civilian transport certification, similar to the KC-46. So if those are included to get a common basis of comparison, 14 years total.


If you are referring to this, it reads like a rather standard PIP, and not a revolution in performance. "Dubbed MRTT Enhanced and planned to be flight tested from late 2015, the enhancements include improved aerodynamics, engine performance improvement packages, and avionics introduced on commercial A330s in recent years, plus a new mission planning system and software updates for the refuelling boom."

Avatar2go wrote:
Lastly would point out that the KC-46 production rate is higher and has already matched the A330 MRTT production, meaning that airframes are being built while the testing and teething problems are being worked out (concurrency). So it will take longer to retrofit the existing aircraft because there are far more of them to modify.


I would not look at things this way. Write Airbus a check, and they will sell you as many MRTTs as you want. The KC-46 has won one contract (plus three airframes for Japan), and that was with the one air force that owns more than 1/2 the worlds air refuelers. Discusing why would rehash old political discussions. But Airbus could easily crank the production rate .. just write a check.

I don't believe the MRTT ever needed an upgrade to do it's basic mission. The KC-46 does.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 09, 2022 8:42 am

Avatar2go wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
I thought it might be interesting to compare the two programs. I've started their timelines at program start.

KC-46
Development started 11 years ago.
First flight took 3 years after program start
First delivery to the air force took 8 years after program start
Might be cleared for combat operations in 14 years after program start "at the earliest".

A330 MRTT
Development started 18 years ago
First flight took 3 years after program start
First delivery (to the Australian air force) took 7 years after program start
Clear for all operations took 7 years after program start


Some caveats to this analysis. First, most of the technology for the A330 version was derived from the A310 version. Which is somewhat similar to the KC-767 & KC-46 development.

Second, the A330 MRTT was not fully cleared for Australian operations until 2014, because it too had teething problems. So that is 10 years after program start.

Third, many of the features of the KC-46 did not appear in the A330 MRTT until the "New Standard" aircraft, which first flew in 2016, and were not delivered for 2 more years, as an evolution of the earlier aircraft. It was also in this time frame that the UK modified a few of their Voyagers for civilian transport certification, similar to the KC-46. So if those are included to get a common basis of comparison, 14 years total.

Lastly would point out that the KC-46 production rate is higher and has already matched the A330 MRTT production, meaning that airframes are being built while the testing and teething problems are being worked out (concurrency). So it will take longer to retrofit the existing aircraft because there are far more of them to modify.


Considering all available information, would you agree the MRTT has had an easier development than the KC-46?
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 09, 2022 9:06 am

I consider them both to be comparable in quality and capability, in final form, but due to large difference in size, they are optimized for different missions. That is the true discriminator.

In July 2013, RAAF announced there would be a delay in full operational capability of their RAAF A330, after problems with the boom emerged. Those were not fully worked out until March 2017. However the drogue system was fully operational by 2014, and the boom was operational in testing. Which was a somewhat similar situation to the current KC-46.

https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/min ... c-30a-mrtt

So as far as development path, the MRTT was quicker to drogue operation, but they both have had boom issues that delayed full operational capability.

Several of the MRTT customers didn't require the boom, having only drogue aircraft, so those customers came online with fewer delays and problems. That was never an option for the KC-46, for which the boom is the primary refueling instrument.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 09, 2022 10:44 am

One big difference between the MRTT and the KC-46 is the in-line production of the militarized frame. It was this in-line production which lead to the decision of BCA control of the wiring design (or mis-design) that contributed to some of the delay.

The KC-45 would have also had in-line production of a militarized frame and a brand new FAI in Alabama. Who knows how many additional years it would add to the KC-45 if all went well vs. the MRTT. Maybe one or two?

bt
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 09, 2022 11:23 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
I consider them both to be comparable in quality and capability, in final form, but due to large difference in size, they are optimized for different missions. That is the true discriminator.


If "in final form" means "once it works" then that's an uninteresting observation.

I believe that today the A330 MRTT is fully operational in all it's missions, and the KC-46 is not.

And yes, there is a size difference.

Does anyone know the price difference between a KC-46 and an MRTT? Price does matter!
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 09, 2022 11:58 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
I believe that today the A330 MRTT is fully operational in all it's missions, and the KC-46 is not.


The KC-767 also works.

The contest was with the KC-45 not the MRTT. I would admit that Airbus may have the advantage in the remote vision arena, but . . .

bt
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Fri Jun 10, 2022 12:00 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
I consider them both to be comparable in quality and capability, in final form, but due to large difference in size, they are optimized for different missions. That is the true discriminator.


If "in final form" means "once it works" then that's an uninteresting observation.

I believe that today the A330 MRTT is fully operational in all it's missions, and the KC-46 is not.

And yes, there is a size difference.

Does anyone know the price difference between a KC-46 and an MRTT? Price does matter!


As you acknowledged, the A330 MRTT began in 2004,which was 18 years ago, and achieved full operational capability in 2017, so that is a period of 13 years. The KC-46 began in 2011, which was 11 years ago, and will reach full operational capability in 2025 (if one includes the modified boom), so that will be 14 years. So I don't see a substantial difference. Both aircraft had developmental issues.

The cost of an A330 MRTT is $300M for a new aircraft, about $240M for a used aircraft conversion. The US full contract cost for a new KC-46, including development, is also about $240M. The unit cost for a new KC-46 is estimated to be around $180M.(from Japan procurement). The Israeli cost for the KC-46 was $300M, but includes a broad parts, support equipment, and services package.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Fri Jun 10, 2022 7:50 pm

Well another series of the MRTT being far better than the KC-46. Yes, Boeing screwed the pooch and needed to write off billions. Lot 7 in early 2021 was 2.124 billion for 15 aircraft results in a unit cost (probably pretty bare) of $141.6M each. Many of the issues with the design was the required EMP hardening and getting the WARPS FAA certified which Cobham totally botched, but these WARPS were also going onto the A330 design so this would have hit both of the designs, Cobham still has not finished up with the WARPS, one of the big remaining items.

Boeing was stupid to argue for 5 years on behalf of their subcontractor for the Remote Vision System. It was a low bid crappy system from the get go, Boeing fighting for years on this cost Boeing years, goodwill, and billions. If they had a spec of intelligence RVS 2.0 adoption should have been years ago.

I suspect the AF contracts people did some math, if they award a sole source to Boeing for the KC-Y there are a whole host of FAR clauses that limit the contract unit costs fromthe KC-X, basically just by inflation. If they rebid, Boeing could reprice as they saw fit knowing they are already certified but the LM A330 version needs to cover their certification costs. This is likely a $20M or more increase pssible compared to the sole source. No wonder the AF seems to have shelved the rebid.

If only had Boeing executed the KC-46 like they did with the P-8A.
 
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par13del
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Fri Jun 10, 2022 9:37 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
If only had Boeing executed the KC-46 like they did with the P-8A.

If only the Air Force had performed their duties like the Navy......
It takes two hands to clap.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Fri Jun 10, 2022 10:19 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
I consider them both to be comparable in quality and capability, in final form, but due to large difference in size, they are optimized for different missions. That is the true discriminator.


If "in final form" means "once it works" then that's an uninteresting observation.

I believe that today the A330 MRTT is fully operational in all it's missions, and the KC-46 is not.

And yes, there is a size difference.

Does anyone know the price difference between a KC-46 and an MRTT? Price does matter!


As you acknowledged, the A330 MRTT began in 2004,which was 18 years ago, and achieved full operational capability in 2017, so that is a period of 13 years. The KC-46 began in 2011, which was 11 years ago, and will reach full operational capability in 2025 (if one includes the modified boom), so that will be 14 years. So I don't see a substantial difference. Both aircraft had developmental issues.

The cost of an A330 MRTT is $300M for a new aircraft, about $240M for a used aircraft conversion. The US full contract cost for a new KC-46, including development, is also about $240M. The unit cost for a new KC-46 is estimated to be around $180M.(from Japan procurement). The Israeli cost for the KC-46 was $300M, but includes a broad parts, support equipment, and services package.


Why do you think the airbus a 330 MRTT did not attain full operational capability until 2017? And why do you think the plane had any operational deficiencies before 2017
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Fri Jun 10, 2022 10:46 pm

kitplane01 wrote:

Why do you think the airbus a 330 MRTT did not attain full operational capability until 2017? And why do you think the plane had any operational deficiencies before 2017


I posted the link to the Australian Defense Ministry statement above.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:52 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:

Why do you think the airbus a 330 MRTT did not attain full operational capability until 2017? And why do you think the plane had any operational deficiencies before 2017


I posted the link to the Australian Defense Ministry statement above.



I read that. It does not say the airplane had any deficiency. It reads like the squadron has moved from IOC in 2014 to full OC in 2017. That they completed training and procedures. I see no reason the believe the plane had significant deficiencies in 2014.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jun 11, 2022 12:36 am

kitplane01 wrote:

I read that. It does not say the airplane had any deficiency. It reads like the squadron has moved from IOC in 2014 to full OC in 2017. That they completed training and procedures. I see no reason the believe the plane had significant deficiencies in 2014.


Sorry, you had said you researched this and I explained earlier, so didn't think you needed the earlier references.

Here is the history of the Australian program:

The prototype aircraft (MRTT#1) was accepted on 29 December 2011 following refurbishment to remove the extensive suite of flight test instrumentation, repair structural damage, install retrofit modifications, and to complete the interior fit out. In accordance with the commercial settlement, MRTT#1 was handed back to Airbus Defence and Space for use during 2012 for testing of modifications to the military avionics and boom refuelling systems.

Commencement of qualification flight testing was delayed due to additional inspections and repairs to MRTT#1 to correct quality and maintenance deficiencies. Flight testing of the military avionics was completed in October 2012, with ongoing technical investigation of two functions.

Certification of modifications to the boom refuelling system was further delayed due to completion of investigation into the in-flight loss of boom incident in September 2012 on a United Arab Emirates Air Force aircraft being operated by Airbus Defence and Space. Certification (safety) flight testing was completed February 2013.

Qualification (contract compliance) flight testing commenced in March 2013 but was unable to be completed prior to induction of the test aircraft into heavy maintenance in July 2013 due to a number of test anomalies. Flight test resumed in November 2013 with certification and qualification flight test to be conducted through 2014. Completion of boom testing is planned for July 2014.

The ARBS Qualification flight test program was successfully completed in July 2014 with Contractual acceptance of the ARBS achieved in December 2014. FMR is currently forecast for May 2016, 39 months behind the original planned date.


https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... NFsGTuugW6

In March 2015, the A330 MRTT was taken off the "Concern" list with boom problems addressed, and boom operations beginning to be phased in. That process continued until 2017 when it was fully approved for boom operations, which took a year longer than expected (roughly 50 months behind the original schedule defined in 2008).

https://www.flightglobal.com/australia- ... 72.article
 
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scbriml
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sun Jun 12, 2022 8:41 am

Avatar2go wrote:
scbriml wrote:
Imagine how bad things would be if Boeing didn't have all those decades of tanker experience. :duck:


As many here have tried to explain, the KC-46 is not the KC-135, it's significantly more advanced, as requested by the USAF. The decades of experience with the KC-135 won't overlap very much with the KC-46. All the systems are different, airframe is different, boom is different, fuel system is different, avionics are different, certification is different, hardening is different, defenses are different.


Your user profile indicates you weren't hear during "tanker wars", when Boeing's tanker experience was touted by many as a major factor in why they should be awarded the contract.

It also shouldn't be forgotten or ignored that Boeing had already delivered 767-based tankers to Italy and Japan.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sun Jun 12, 2022 12:01 pm

scbriml wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
scbriml wrote:
Imagine how bad things would be if Boeing didn't have all those decades of tanker experience. :duck:


As many here have tried to explain, the KC-46 is not the KC-135, it's significantly more advanced, as requested by the USAF. The decades of experience with the KC-135 won't overlap very much with the KC-46. All the systems are different, airframe is different, boom is different, fuel system is different, avionics are different, certification is different, hardening is different, defenses are different.


Your user profile indicates you weren't hear during "tanker wars", when Boeing's tanker experience was touted by many as a major factor in why they should be awarded the contract.

It also shouldn't be forgotten or ignored that Boeing had already delivered 767-based tankers to Italy and Japan.


Same argument applies, the KC-46 is not the KC-767. Therein lies the contract overage and disputes with the USAF.

You're correct that I wasn't here for the tanker wars, didn't participate in that discussion. I personally would not have held that Boeing deserved the contract out of experience. I've said here that the MRTT is a good and capable aircraft, and could serve well in the US.
 
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par13del
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sun Jun 12, 2022 1:20 pm

scbriml wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
scbriml wrote:
Imagine how bad things would be if Boeing didn't have all those decades of tanker experience. :duck:


As many here have tried to explain, the KC-46 is not the KC-135, it's significantly more advanced, as requested by the USAF. The decades of experience with the KC-135 won't overlap very much with the KC-46. All the systems are different, airframe is different, boom is different, fuel system is different, avionics are different, certification is different, hardening is different, defenses are different.


Your user profile indicates you weren't hear during "tanker wars", when Boeing's tanker experience was touted by many as a major factor in why they should be awarded the contract.

It also shouldn't be forgotten or ignored that Boeing had already delivered 767-based tankers to Italy and Japan.

I was, and it is amazing how folks then and now seem to continue to ignore that the USAF DID NOT WANT the 767 tanker that was already being produced nor the A330 version already in development. As for Boeing experience with say the boom for instance, everyone knew that larger a/c could take a higher fuel flow than the fighters but.....oh and the USAF and Boeing experience on RVS was priceless.....
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jun 18, 2022 1:37 am

Boeing claims to have foreign customers lined up for the KC-46, with as many as 40 potential aircraft sales. Expects at least some to close by the end of 2022.

I would guess some nations would be sitting on the fence, waiting to see if the KC-46 problems will be worked out.

https://breakingdefense.com/2022/06/cov ... -official/
 
angad84
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jun 18, 2022 1:05 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
I would guess some nations would be sitting on the fence, waiting to see if the KC-46 problems will be worked out.

A lot of the KC-46 problems are not major concerns for export customers. Some customers will not be so demanding, others may not be using RVS/boom, etc etc. I'm not surprised Boeing is bullish with the low(ish) unit cost of the KC-46. But that said, I wonder how the USAF will react if Boeing's attention is diverted to export customers while the primary user is still waiting for fixes.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jun 18, 2022 2:02 pm

angad84 wrote:
But that said, I wonder how the USAF will react if Boeing's attention is diverted to export customers while the primary user is still waiting for fixes.

Sales Staff and Engineering Staff . . .

As long as these potential customers are not requesting customization. The article stated that Boeing will not remove the refueling system for those who only want the KC-46 as a transport.

Even though there may not be a lot of foreign sale, any additional frame reduces the per frame price of each lot buy. The USAF would want that.

bt
Last edited by bikerthai on Sat Jun 18, 2022 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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par13del
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jun 18, 2022 2:03 pm

angad84 wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
I would guess some nations would be sitting on the fence, waiting to see if the KC-46 problems will be worked out.

A lot of the KC-46 problems are not major concerns for export customers. Some customers will not be so demanding, others may not be using RVS/boom, etc etc. I'm not surprised Boeing is bullish with the low(ish) unit cost of the KC-46. But that said, I wonder how the USAF will react if Boeing's attention is diverted to export customers while the primary user is still waiting for fixes.

Since the primary user is the only user of the a/c and is responsible for a lot of the delays due to not wanting to utilize the efficiency and cost savings of their Off the shelf project, they should welcome a break from their demands and Boeings inability to pivot on a dime. Allow both of them a rest while others operate the a/c within their limited parameters.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jun 18, 2022 2:33 pm

par13del wrote:
Allow both of them a rest while others operate the a/c within their limited parameters.


Right, for those operators who do not fly stealth aircrafts, the vision issue is not as big a deal as draging the boom across the receiver wont damage any stealth coatings.

bt
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:16 pm

angad84 wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
I would guess some nations would be sitting on the fence, waiting to see if the KC-46 problems will be worked out.

A lot of the KC-46 problems are not major concerns for export customers. Some customers will not be so demanding, others may not be using RVS/boom, etc etc. I'm not surprised Boeing is bullish with the low(ish) unit cost of the KC-46. But that said, I wonder how the USAF will react if Boeing's attention is diverted to export customers while the primary user is still waiting for fixes.


I presume that the DoD will have to approve any foreign sales of the KC-46. They've been willing to do so for Japan and Israel.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jun 25, 2022 8:24 pm

An amendment to the FY23 NDAA, that would have required the USAF to conduct a KC-Y competition, was defeated by the House. Proponents have vowed to try again next year.

Also the KC-46 refueled the MV-22 Osprey for the first time last week. Currently a C-130 must shuttle fuel between a boom tanker and the Osprey, making several trips. The KC -46 can refuel the Osprey in one shot, using the centerline drogue.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jun 25, 2022 11:23 pm

Anyone here know how DOD contracts work for purchases beyond the contract amount? For example LM keeps building C-130's, jet engines keep getting ordered well past the contract amounts etc. There were the engines for the F-15EX that was first sole sourced, but PW protested as they had the contract for the last US destined F-15's, The re-compete required PW to cover the certification costs which GE did not as their engines were certified with the Qatar et al frames. But what allowed the Air Force to do the sole source RFP in the first place, can't be from thin air. The KC-Y set of frames would have been the competed contract, but if sole source it could be for say 50 units, then a few years on another 50 units. It's been around 15 frames a year being ordered currently.

It's possible that in 10 years they will have a better idea of the third batch in terms of quantity, size, performance, etc. KC-Y could be split, with that future tanker being competed then. Possibly a blended wing autonomous tanker.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Wed Jun 29, 2022 11:37 pm

USAF has announced an Aerial Refueling Family of Systems program, which is thought to be a replacement for the KC-Y competition. It seeks to improve the capabilities of KC-46 & KC-135, while simultaneously establishing the criteria for next generation KC -Z.

Included goals are:

1. “resilient line of sight (LOS) and beyond line of sight (BLOS) airborne connectivity with the future Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) environment”

2. "open architecture design, federated systems & data streams"

3. "alternative forms of positioning, navigation and timing (PNT)"

4. “enhanced survivability and mission effectiveness, increased situational awareness that enhances situational understanding"

5. "on-board electronic warfare (EW)/electronic attack (EA)"

6. "interoperability with off-board Autonomous Collaborative Platforms (ACP)” (loyal wingman)

https://www.airforcemag.com/air-force-i ... formation/
 
bobinthecar
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 30, 2022 2:52 am

bikerthai wrote:
par13del wrote:
Allow both of them a rest while others operate the a/c within their limited parameters.


Right, for those operators who do not fly stealth aircrafts, the vision issue is not as big a deal as draging the boom across the receiver wont damage any stealth coatings.

bt


Does the Airbus tanker have the stealth aircraft refueling requirement?
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 30, 2022 3:23 am

bobinthecar wrote:

Does the Airbus tanker have the stealth aircraft refueling requirement?


Both MRTT and KC-46 are certified to refuel the F-22 and F-35. Like the KC-46, the MRTT is not yet certified to refuel the B-2. But probably could be.

At this point there's not a lot of operational difference between them. The main difference is that the KC-46 needs authorization to participate in combat theater operations. That will remain true until the vision system is fixed.
 
Buckeyetech
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Thu Jun 30, 2022 1:46 pm

Pease ANGB has painted a full American flag art on one of its KC-46’s tail.
https://www.facebook.com/10004481152798 ... 2tGdl/?d=n

https://www.flygirlpainters.com/
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jul 02, 2022 4:55 am

Avatar2go wrote:
bobinthecar wrote:

Does the Airbus tanker have the stealth aircraft refueling requirement?


Both MRTT and KC-46 are certified to refuel the F-22 and F-35. Like the KC-46, the MRTT is not yet certified to refuel the B-2. But probably could be.

At this point there's not a lot of operational difference between them. The main difference is that the KC-46 needs authorization to participate in combat theater operations. That will remain true until the vision system is fixed.


I don't think that Avatar2go and I need to rehash everything already written, but other should please undertand that this view is not obviously correct. Arguments for both sided can be found in this thread around post #68 or so for the debate (which we still don't need to redo).

"The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that it is still not using its fleet of KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tankers to support combat operations, and will not for the foreseeable future except in response to "emergency need."
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jul 02, 2022 5:03 am

bikerthai wrote:
angad84 wrote:
But that said, I wonder how the USAF will react if Boeing's attention is diverted to export customers while the primary user is still waiting for fixes.

Sales Staff and Engineering Staff . . .

As long as these potential customers are not requesting customization. The article stated that Boeing will not remove the refueling system for those who only want the KC-46 as a transport.

Even though there may not be a lot of foreign sale, any additional frame reduces the per frame price of each lot buy. The USAF would want that.

bt


Why would anyone want a KC-46 for mere transport? There are LOTS of cheaper ways to move freight!

A used 767F or A330F is maybe $30-$60M, and a KC-46 is $287M.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jul 02, 2022 6:35 am

kitplane01 wrote:

I don't think that Avatar2go and I need to rehash everything already written, but other should please understand that this view is not obviously correct. Arguments for both sided can be found in this thread around post #68 or so for the debate (which we still don't need to do).

"The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that it is still not using its fleet of KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tankers to support combat operations, and will not for the foreseeable future except in response to "emergency need."


As stated, the USAF authorizes missions around the globe for the KC-46. These are permitted in the context of exercises and training. As detailed in this article:

https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... years-away

In addition to the U.S., seven other countries have also cleared some of their aircraft to refuel with the KC-46. Earlier this year, four KC-46s deployed to Spain in an exercise that AMC designed to refine its tactics and plans for the aircraft in addition to validating the tankers abroad. The tankers flew 81 missions offloading fuel to 155 aircraft including Spanish F-18s, and supporting U.S. fighters that were deploying to Europe for air policing missions on NATO’s eastern front.

“Allies asking for a while, hey, we’d love to certify our aircraft against your KC-46 and we finally felt that we were in a position to do that,” Samuelson says of training with allies.

The Boeing E-7A is also undergoing tests with the KC-46 ahead of both clearance for allied operators to receive fuel from the tanker and before the U.S. Air Force itself plans to buy the Wedgetail. Royal Australian Air Force E-7s have flown in multiple exercises inside the U.S. this year.

While the KC-46 is cleared for most operations, initial and full operational capability is also years away because AMC will not declare these milestones until the new Remote Vision System is completed and installations begin in 2024. The current RVS 1.0 has several serious deficiencies affecting operations, with washed out areas or deep shadows on displays that can cause boom impacts outside the receiver’s refueling receptacle.

“Until that visual system is upgraded, AMC does not have a plan to declare this aircraft fully operationally capable,” Samuelson says. “However, does that mean you won’t see the KC-46 around the world filling [aerial refueling] mission sets? No. It means you will see that, it’ll just be a measured risk.”

Like the deployment to Europe earlier this year, AMC is planning similar exercises across the globe to come soon. KC-46s will deploy to the Pacific for exercise Valiant Shield starting this month, with a deployment to the Middle East to follow.


The KC-46 also just participated in Cope North, an exercise with Japan and Australia in the Pacific, that paired it up with the MRTT KC-30A.

https://www.mcconnell.af.mil/News/Artic ... -north-22/

Cope North is an annual U.S. Pacific Air Forces combined multi-lateral field training exercise and is underway Feb. 2-18, combining air forces from Australia, Japan, and the United States to perform humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, large force employment, and aerial combat training.

“Having the ability to apply the new tactics, techniques, and procedures that we have developed over the past several months has been a career highlight,” said Capt. Jack Rush, 344th Air Refueling Squadron. “We are landing at austere locations with the world’s newest tanker aircraft and applying dispersal techniques that will have strategic impact. The KC-46 may be in its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation process, but you would think otherwise watching yesterday’s Special Refueling Operations at an austere field.”

Cope North operations are taking place at Andersen Air Force Base and Northwest Field on Guam; the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, including Rota, Saipan, and Tinian; Palau; and the Federated States of Micronesia.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jul 02, 2022 10:45 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Why would anyone want a KC-46 for mere transport?


Not a "mere" transport, but a military transport with military grade electronics, wiring and self protection.

But the question would then be why would they want a KC-46 when they it may be cheaper to convert a 767 or 767F to a military transport.

There could be several answers:

1) Boeing holds the IP and is reluctant to go down that path

2) For the life cycle, the KC-46 may indeed be the less expensive option.

3) They want to be interoperable with the US fleet.

bt
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing KC-46 News, Production and Delivery Thread - 2022

Sat Jul 02, 2022 4:05 pm

bikerthai wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Why would anyone want a KC-46 for mere transport?


Not a "mere" transport, but a military transport with military grade electronics, wiring and self protection.

But the question would then be why would they want a KC-46 when they it may be cheaper to convert a 767 or 767F to a military transport.

There could be several answers:

1) Boeing holds the IP and is reluctant to go down that path

2) For the life cycle, the KC-46 may indeed be the less expensive option.

3) They want to be interoperable with the US fleet.

bt


Also a fair fraction of the cost overruns of the KC-46 involved hardening and adhering to mil-spec. And it still has civilian transport certification. So no reason to reinvent that wheel, when the investment has been made.

My guess is the nations that want this, would need the boom, drogues, and fuel tanks removed to increase cargo volume & weight. But probably not enough demand to make it worthwhile for Boeing.

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