Clean sheet off the table but nip and tuck to the 737-10 to make it at least viable against the A321. A plane customers actually want instead of a laughable bargaining chip in A321 negotiations.
Code name 5G
"The technology isn’t available to justify a $10 billion to $15 billion all-new moonshot development today. However, as Boeing watches Airbus and the A321neo and incoming A321XLR tilt single-aisle market share in favor of the European plane maker, an ambitious, but less costly effort to rethink the struggling 737 Max 10 — known internally as the 5G — was being actively studied by Boeing just prior to the onset of the pandemic, The Air Current has learned."
While it seem to be too much of an update, I have been thinking a lot about how Boeing best can get out of the troubles they have had with the grounding of the MAX and make their portfolio more competitive versus Airbus and the A320. I am sure everyone reading end posting here, has thought a lot about this and there has also been many ideas from just getting the 737MAX back in the air to building an NSA, NMA or MOM. And then there is the occasional 757MAX.
Very short term the 737MAX has been deemed safe enough to to RTS and will do so in a small scale within a few weeks. I will have no worry about flying the 737MAX and must admit I look forward to being a passenger.
Personally I would like Boeing to make a plastic NMA with a lot of crew commonality with the 787. Making the plane more electric and digital will help with reliability and safety. The 737 is a stand alone product in a portfolio. While there are so many of them this is a weak spot in the Boeing portfolio. The 777/777X and 787 are much more similar. But this would be a higher risk than just letting the 737 return to service and do nothing.
But there is some risk to do nothing. While the 737MAX is deemed safe to return to service, its main computers have the same processing technology as the Super Nintendo. The big scrutiny it has been through has shown that those Super Nintendo Computers are making the workload during emergencies very high. The 737-10 is required to have a third AoA sensor before EIS. The A32LR and A321XLR have a bigger MTOW than the 737.
That has made me think about the 737-200 advanced. It was a big improvement over the original 737-200 and I have been thinking if something similar would be the best approach for Boeing. Could Boeing do something about the workload for pilots, add third AoA sensor and increase MTOW to close the gap between the 737 MAX 10 and the A321? A 737 Max 10 advanced.
Is it even possible to replace the Super Nintendo processors?
If you look a bit wider you can see that a strategy sticking to an existing product lines, supply chains, jobs, mostly won over the last 50 years.
Protecting existing jobs, government contracts, milking cash cows, instead of renewing often won the day. Adding better engines, systems, cockpits was good enough.
I think it basically killed the once dominant US helicopter industry. Also programs like C130, F15, F16, F18, Black Hawk, Apache, Chinook are supported by local politicians via committees to stay in place as long as possible (40-60 years) and then some more. It protects jobs, avoids investment, creates cash cows, pork barrel contracts, however it is named. If you have competition working from a different environment and markets open up, things go South though.
We discussed a bigger more capable 737 years ago,https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339395
, but Boeing was still entangled in their short term, stock value boosting period, keeping everybody happy successfully, with ambitious outlooks, MoM/NMA promises, record stock value and dividends. That had nothing to do with realistic long term portfolio management.
I think by now, it is sinking in the 737MAX is not good enough for 2020-2030 and a moon-shot (incl. conversion rights) 737 successor should be on the table. If not, things could get even uglier.