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Max Q
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:09 am

If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?
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Ozair
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:29 am

Max Q wrote:
If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?

Not only the boom operator but likely the pilots at some point as well. We will see how MQ-25 goes but the USAF has been looking at unmanned cargo and, by extension, tanker ops the last few years,

https://www.japcc.org/unmanned-cargo-aircraft/
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:48 am

Max Q wrote:
If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?

No, because someone has to monitor the connection, manage fuel flow, and take over in case of an emergency.
 
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Grizzly410
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:51 am

ThePointblank wrote:
Max Q wrote:
If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?

No, because someone has to monitor the connection, manage fuel flow, and take over in case of an emergency.


Even if I don't know how AAR are operated in general, and only the nominal way of working of the A3R I can assure you Airbus Defense&Space goal is very much to get rid of the boom operator. A3R is only a first step to achieve this.
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WIederling
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:21 am

Grizzly410 wrote:
Sure the system could be portable to KC-46, but that would probably request way to much integration work. At this point Boeing is better of squeezing its supplier to make the existing work !


You can't squeeze an empty zit :-)

The mentioned application range would imho indicate that installation/integration on KC46 would be low hanging fruit. ( put the sour grapes in the trash.)
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Grizzly410
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:14 pm

WIederling wrote:
Grizzly410 wrote:
Sure the system could be portable to KC-46, but that would probably request way to much integration work. At this point Boeing is better of squeezing its supplier to make the existing work !


You can't squeeze an empty zit :-)

The mentioned application range would imho indicate that installation/integration on KC46 would be low hanging fruit. ( put the sour grapes in the trash.)


Not sure exactly what your point is. In case the idea is saying getting rid of Rockwell Collins designed RVS for Kappa’s would be a viable solution, I wouldn’t qualify it as a low hanging fruit.
Top of my head issues to deal with : software changes, integration with boom operator console (hardware), the associated wiring change, computer size and requirement differences, camera and illuminator position requirement, very probably contractual issues, a complete test campaign and a number of aircraft to be retrofitted. That’s an awful lot of things to manage.

I’m afraid such a change would only provide some certainty using a proven system, but time and money wise I’m not so sure about this being a good idea at all.
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WIederling
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:47 am

Grizzly410 wrote:
I’m afraid such a change would only provide some certainty using a proven system, but time and money wise I’m not so sure about this being a good idea at all.


NIH?
the initial solution for the KC46 seems to ail on what Einstein observed in another domain:

Make your model as simple as possible but not simpler.
Here:
Make your design as simple and low cost as possible but not cheaper.

Being a cheapskate in the initial layout will bite you for a long time
as upgrading a basically "too cheap, simple" design demands
jumping through hoops repeatedly and on occasion unendingly.

Start with an adequate solution and simplify/refine that working setup.

the basic primitiveness of the original system seems to not be mendable
by "just a better camera".
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:51 am

WARP tests will be performed at L/N 1188 C/N 41868 B767-2LKC 18-46051 USAF KC-46A (VH051) Lot 4, #11/18, tail 86051.

See : http://www.paineairport.com/kpae18167r.htm

Original uploaded at Matt Cawby's Paine Field blog of Feb 13th 2020, see : http://kpae.blogspot.com/2020/02/paine- ... ry-13.html
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:53 pm

Grizzly410 wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
Max Q wrote:
If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?

No, because someone has to monitor the connection, manage fuel flow, and take over in case of an emergency.


Even if I don't know how AAR are operated in general, and only the nominal way of working of the A3R I can assure you Airbus Defense&Space goal is very much to get rid of the boom operator. A3R is only a first step to achieve this.


There's nothing inherently unique about the boom operator's role, so it's only a matter of time before the job is automated. In the near term, though, the answer is a flat-out NO. You also have pax/cargo to look after, but that's pretty minor. My guess is the position will be automated right around the time the pilots are similarly s***-canned.

If the KC-46 has taught the AF anything, it's that there's a huge gulf between what the contractor promises and what is actually delivered. A test tanker with an automated tanker boom plugging a test Viper in calm VMC, with an operator ready to take charge at a moment's notice? Sure. Making that happen on the daily, downrange, night/weather, without a human backup, on a crew whose highest experience level is an O-2 with barely 1,000 hours? That's gonna be the tricky part.
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:29 am

LyleLanley wrote:

If the KC-46 has taught the AF anything, it's that there's a huge gulf between what the contractor promises and what is actually delivered.


A large contributing factor is the loss of specialist military expertice within Boeing after the final closure of the Boeing Military Airplanes Wichita facility in 2014.

From 1927 to 1962, Boeing Wichita produced 15,000 aircraft and delivered more than 4,000 modified airplanes. Over the years, it built parts of every Boeing commercial jet and maintained and modified military aircraft, including Air Force One.

In 2005, Boeing shuttered the commercial aircraft division, the largest portion of its Wichita operation, which became Spirit AeroSystems. It still retained its military work at the site.

In January 2012, Boeing announced it was closing its Wichita facilities altogether and moving engineering work and program management to Oklahoma City, maintenance work to San Antonio and tanker work to the Puget Sound area in Washington state.

Most of its 2,100 Wichita employees are gone. They have moved with Boeing, have been laid off or have retired.

Read more here: https://www.kansas.com/news/business/av ... 53168.html
.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:58 pm

747classic wrote:
...
.


Sad read. Especially the family's perspective.

I like to believe that a solid 80% of the KC-46's problems wouldn't have happened if Wichita were open. Maybe more if some of the KC-10 design/test experience were still in the company.
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
744SPX
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:02 pm

I completely understand using the 767 airframe, but it still blows my mind that they are using a nearly 40 year old engine design when this thing is supposed to be flying for the next 50 years. Never understood the decision to drop the blended winglets either (from the previous competition). I realize fuel economy isn't a concern for the AF, but this makes it look like they are trying to burn as much fuel as they possibly can.
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:23 pm

744SPX wrote:
I completely understand using the 767 airframe, but it still blows my mind that they are using a nearly 40 year old engine design when this thing is supposed to be flying for the next 50 years. Never understood the decision to drop the blended winglets either (from the previous competition). I realize fuel economy isn't a concern for the AF, but this makes it look like they are trying to burn as much fuel as they possibly can.


As ironic as this might sound considering the state of the program at the moment, I expect the main reason not to seek new engines was to de-risk the program.

Also not sure there was an RFP for the engines or if Pratt was sole-source. If that was the case, then there would not have been a new engine option available. Or if there was an RFP, the fact that Pratt did not have a new engine option meant the RFP was written so GE could not offer a GEnx variant and had to go with the CF6 to match the PW4000.
 
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:14 pm

The GE CF6-80C2 would have been the real low risk solution, because this engine is by far the preferred engine at civil 767's and was already installed at the Italian and Japanese 767 tankers.
Seen all the time consuming issues with the WARPS - wing flutter on these aircraft, why choosing another engine type and another warp manufacturor, with a different flow pattern and weight causing the same difficult to solve problems. (nor solved yet, after how many years)
The lobby of PW must have been very strong to get this engine at the KC-46A.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
LMP737
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:57 am

747classic wrote:
The GE CF6-80C2 would have been the real low risk solution, because this engine is by far the preferred engine at civil 767's and was already installed at the Italian and Japanese 767 tankers.
Seen all the time consuming issues with the WARPS - wing flutter on these aircraft, why choosing another engine type and another warp manufacturor, with a different flow pattern and weight causing the same difficult to solve problems. (nor solved yet, after how many years)
The lobby of PW must have been very strong to get this engine at the KC-46A.


I believe it's the result of PW underbidding GE.
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:40 am

LyleLanley wrote:
Max Q wrote:


Well, there’s no room for an ARO station until you design it in and build it


It could have been done


Sorry, I should have been more specific: there's no room for an ARO station AND the required gas. To say nothing of the centerline drogue or the LAIRCM pod on the belly. The 46 is volume-limited and the RARO station was seen as the best way to mitigate that deficiency.


I don't understand this. The photos I've seen of the KC-46 show a clear interior ready for cargo, and not a fill-every-space gas tank.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:46 am

Reasons to have a camera instead of a window

1) When done right, the camera can be *better*. It can have zoom, night vision, virtual reality augmentation, edge enhancement, and more.
2) With a camera, the crew member can be in the cockpit. This could lead to better crew integration, more crew safety, and better egress in case of accidents.
3) With a camera, the plane can weigh less and hold more. There is no need for a crew station in the back, along with it's volume and space costs.
4) It can be upgraded to auto-connect (when the software becomes available).

All of this *of course* assume it's done well. I already understand that's not the case. But 40 years from now, I imagine everyone will assume that camera's how it's always been and obviously how it ought to be (except for the people who read history books)
 
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:00 am

LMP737 wrote:
747classic wrote:
The GE CF6-80C2 would have been the real low risk solution, because this engine is by far the preferred engine at civil 767's and was already installed at the Italian and Japanese 767 tankers.
Seen all the time consuming issues with the WARPS - wing flutter on these aircraft, why choosing another engine type and another warp manufacturor, with a different flow pattern and weight causing the same difficult to solve problems. (nor solved yet, after how many years)
The lobby of PW must have been very strong to get this engine at the KC-46A.


I believe it's the result of PW underbidding GE.


The cheapest option is most of time not the best option, but in this case it could have been (USAF) politics ?
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:04 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
I don't understand this. The photos I've seen of the KC-46 show a clear interior ready for cargo, and not a fill-every-space gas tank.


I could've written that better as "the KC-46 is volume-limited underneath its cargo floor". If Boeing fitted a conventional (window) ARO station to the KC-46 it would have to be underneath the cargo floor, due to the geometry of the fuselage and the practicality of the window installation. Unfortunately, in order to fulfill contractual obligations for amount of fuel to be offloaded as well as have them be accessible for field repairs and still have a decently aft CG for fuel burn, Boeing had to fill every nook and cranny of the aft underfloor with fuel tanks. This meant no room for a conventional ARO station. There's plenty of room in the forward cabin for a Remote ARO station (RARO), but no room down below in the aft section for an ARO station. In the end, the KC-45 was superior in every manner except ramp space/infrastructure: it's nearly the size of a KC-10 whereas the KC-46 is much closer in size to the KC-135 so it's more apt to be "plug and play" with the hangars/ramp space the KC-135 uses. The price you pay with a smaller tanker, though, is that everything has to fit in a much smaller volume. Boeing couldn't do it with an ARO station.

Re: the points you bring up, you can't really zoom with the cameras they have installed. It's just not practical. #2 also aren't issues. CRM will be the same whether in the very back or the forward cabin, but there's still a door separating the operators from the pilots, i.e. they're all communicating via interphone. It's not any safer and egress is a non-starter in a jet with no parachutes/useable exits. #1 and 3 are pretty much spot-on, though, and are the reasons why Boeing went with RARO. Unfortunately, they started with #3 and went cheap with #1.

Cheap, quick, good. You can have 2/3, and Boeing even screwed up the 2nd.
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ssteve
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:25 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
Maybe more if some of the KC-10 design/test experience were still in the company.


It's been quite a few decades. It's amazing what organizations will forget over those years, especially when the last go-round didn't use CAD. Old ideas get rediscovered and old mistakes get repeated.
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:46 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
Maybe more if some of the KC-10 design/test experience were still in the company.

ssteve wrote:
It's been quite a few decades. It's amazing what organizations will forget over those years, especially when the last go-round didn't use CAD. Old ideas get rediscovered and old mistakes get repeated.


I am not sure that everything can be laid at the feet of Boeing using BCA staff on the KC-46A instead of IDS staff. While certain items can certainly be traced to BCS inexperience (like the wiring issues early on and likely the recent issue with the cargo locks), would IDS staff been able to get Cobham's act together on the CDS and WARPs? I mean Cobham are supposed to be experts in these things, themselves.
 
LMP737
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:16 am

747classic wrote:

The cheapest option is most of time not the best option, but in this case it could have been (USAF) politics ?


The PW4000 series are proven motors, probably going to be one of the most reliable pieces of equipment on that aircraft.
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:46 am

LMP737 wrote:
747classic wrote:

The cheapest option is most of time not the best option, but in this case it could have been (USAF) politics ?


The PW4000 series are proven motors, probably going to be one of the most reliable pieces of equipment on that aircraft.


That's may be true, but seen all the development/ flight testing performed already at the 767-200/CF6-80C2 with warps it's not the most cost effective solution.
On top of that, most civil 767's are powered by GE engines, the second preffered engine type is P&W and the few RR powered 767 aircraft are destined to be scrapped soon.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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zeke
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:20 pm

texl1649 wrote:
At a certain point, I wonder if Boeing will consider scrapping the current system and installing something from someone else for USAF. I don’t see any way to salvage the current one to meet all requirements/standards USAF is holding them to.


Why would the USAF go back to the vendor who could not supply the system that was originally contracted, why not just get the vendor with the product that works to perform the work directly. Adding Boeing into the picture would add not value to the process at all, just additional red tape and cost.
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Ozair
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:03 pm

zeke wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
At a certain point, I wonder if Boeing will consider scrapping the current system and installing something from someone else for USAF. I don’t see any way to salvage the current one to meet all requirements/standards USAF is holding them to.


Why would the USAF go back to the vendor who could not supply the system that was originally contracted, why not just get the vendor with the product that works to perform the work directly. Adding Boeing into the picture would add not value to the process at all, just additional red tape and cost.

Basic acquisition practice Zeke. Boeing is contractually obligated to deliver a RVS that works. If after Boeing tries and fails again and the only one the USAF will likely accept is from a different supplier Boeing either go in that direction of compensate the USAF for the inability to meet the requirement.
 
LMP737
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:34 pm

747classic wrote:

That's may be true, but seen all the development/ flight testing performed already at the 767-200/CF6-80C2 with warps it's not the most cost effective solution.
On top of that, most civil 767's are powered by GE engines, the second preffered engine type is P&W and the few RR powered 767 aircraft are destined to be scrapped soon.


You agree that the PW4000 series of motors are a proven design. Do you have any evidence that shows that it's not the cost effective to have the Pratt motors on other than there are more GE powered 767 flying?
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Sun Feb 23, 2020 10:59 am

LMP737 wrote:
747classic wrote:

That's may be true, but seen all the development/ flight testing performed already at the 767-200/CF6-80C2 with warps it's not the most cost effective solution.
On top of that, most civil 767's are powered by GE engines, the second preffered engine type is P&W and the few RR powered 767 aircraft are destined to be scrapped soon.


You agree that the PW4000 series of motors are a proven design. Do you have any evidence that shows that it's not the cost effective to have the Pratt motors on other than there are more GE powered 767 flying?


The PW4000 is also a proven design, but not the preferred option on the 767 series, on top of that : all late built civil 767's are powered by GE engines.


More important however :
The interaction on the KC767A between the GE CF6-80C2 engine, the 767-200 fuselage plus wing platform and the WARP's were finally resolved after many, many test flight hours and re-designs, delaying the KC767A delivery for more than a year.

Why choose a new engine type (weight en arerodynamics differ) and a new WARP design for the KC-46A, requiring a lot of extra testing to understand the flutter modes with and without WARP's installed.
IMHO the USAF selected the PW4000 only at costs/hour and under-estimated that the integration of this engine into the KC-46A with WARP's had to be certified again and would require a lot of (flight ) tests again.- no lessons learnt from the past.

At this moment the WARP's are still not FAA certified (why FAA certify a military refuleing pod by the FAA ??) and operational and will need a lot of additional (flight) testing to understand the flutter modes with another engine type (PW4062) installed.

If the GE engine had been selected a lot of these very expensive WARP flutter flight test, that finally are in progress now (see link below), could have been avoided.

See Matt Cawby's Paine Field blog of Feb 20th : http://kpae.blogspot.com/2020/02/paine- ... ry-20.html
And : http://www.paineairport.com/kpae18820a.htm
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:19 am

747classic wrote:
LMP737 wrote:
747classic wrote:

That's may be true, but seen all the development/ flight testing performed already at the 767-200/CF6-80C2 with warps it's not the most cost effective solution.
On top of that, most civil 767's are powered by GE engines, the second preffered engine type is P&W and the few RR powered 767 aircraft are destined to be scrapped soon.


You agree that the PW4000 series of motors are a proven design. Do you have any evidence that shows that it's not the cost effective to have the Pratt motors on other than there are more GE powered 767 flying?


The PW4000 is also a proven design, but not the preferred option on the 767 series, on top of that : all late built civil 767's are powered by GE engines.


More important however :
The interaction on the KC767A between the GE CF6-80C2 engine, the 767-200 fuselage plus wing platform and the WARP's were finally resolved after many, many test flight hours and re-designs, delaying the KC767A delivery for more than a year.

Why choose a new engine type (weight en arerodynamics differ) and a new WARP design for the KC-46A, requiring a lot of extra testing to understand the flutter modes with and without WARP's installed.
IMHO the USAF selected the PW4000 only at costs/hour and under-estimated that the integration of this engine into the KC-46A with WARP's had to be certified again and would require a lot of (flight ) tests again.- no lessons learnt from the past.

At this moment the WARP's are still not FAA certified (why FAA certify a military refuleing pod by the FAA ??) and operational and will need a lot of additional (flight) testing to understand the flutter modes with another engine type (PW4062) installed.

If the GE engine had been selected a lot of these very expensive WARP flutter flight test, that finally are in progress now (see link below), could have been avoided.

See Matt Cawby's Paine Field blog of Feb 20th : http://kpae.blogspot.com/2020/02/paine- ... ry-20.html
And : http://www.paineairport.com/kpae18820a.htm

The WARP's on the KC-767 and KC-46 are not identical.

The KC-767's WARP's were made by Smiths Aerospace and are no longer manufactured.

The KC-46's WARP's are made by Cobham.

They are both different units with different flow characteristics.
 
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:39 am

ThePointblank wrote:
The WARP's on the KC-767 and KC-46 are not identical.

The KC-767's WARP's were made by Smiths Aerospace and are no longer manufactured.

The KC-46's WARP's are made by Cobham.

They are both different units with different flow characteristics.


Corrrect , but after the USAF choose the (adapted) Cobham WARP system from the A330 MRTT for the KC-46A, Smith Aerospace (taken over by GE Aviation ) stopped with the production of WARP systems after the selection of Cobham..
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:28 pm

My understanding is the Cobhams were more compatible with the speed/altitudes the USAF wanted the WARPs to be capable of. The Smiths have some limitations, especially with extension and retraction that the USAF wasn’t excited about.
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JayinKitsap
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:59 pm

Boeing in their proposal for the RFP had already selected the PW's. Why, I don't know, but this GE vs PW debate was going on all during the RFP period and selection. I thought they should have done the GEnX but at that time it didn't have years of in flight experience for reliability. I don't think the USAF was able to select the engine.
 
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scbriml
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:56 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
Boeing in their proposal for the RFP had already selected the PW's. Why, I don't know, but this GE vs PW debate was going on all during the RFP period and selection. I thought they should have done the GEnX but at that time it didn't have years of in flight experience for reliability. I don't think the USAF was able to select the engine.


I would have thought that Boeing put out an RFP for engines for their proposed tanker and selected the cheapest. They had to keep costs as low as possible. Offering an engine that wasn’t even certified on the 767 would have been hugely expensive and likely lost them the competition.
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:48 am

scbriml wrote:
...I think Boeing put out an RFP for engines for their proposed tanker and selected the cheapest. They had to keep costs as low as possible. Offering an engine that wasn’t even certified on the 767 would have been hugely expensive and likely lost them the competition.


This

They ripped out the TRs to save a little weight. It certainly fits their M.O. to select the cheapest engine option, too. Especially considering Pratt is in no position to high-ball their engine costs.
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kc135topboom
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:49 am

LyleLanley wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
I don't understand this. The photos I've seen of the KC-46 show a clear interior ready for cargo, and not a fill-every-space gas tank.


I could've written that better as "the KC-46 is volume-limited underneath its cargo floor". If Boeing fitted a conventional (window) ARO station to the KC-46 it would have to be underneath the cargo floor, due to the geometry of the fuselage and the practicality of the window installation. Unfortunately, in order to fulfill contractual obligations for amount of fuel to be offloaded as well as have them be accessible for field repairs and still have a decently aft CG for fuel burn, Boeing had to fill every nook and cranny of the aft underfloor with fuel tanks. This meant no room for a conventional ARO station. There's plenty of room in the forward cabin for a Remote ARO station (RARO), but no room down below in the aft section for an ARO station. In the end, the KC-45 was superior in every manner except ramp space/infrastructure: it's nearly the size of a KC-10 whereas the KC-46 is much closer in size to the KC-135 so it's more apt to be "plug and play" with the hangars/ramp space the KC-135 uses. The price you pay with a smaller tanker, though, is that everything has to fit in a much smaller volume. Boeing couldn't do it with an ARO station.

Re: the points you bring up, you can't really zoom with the cameras they have installed. It's just not practical. #2 also aren't issues. CRM will be the same whether in the very back or the forward cabin, but there's still a door separating the operators from the pilots, i.e. they're all communicating via interphone. It's not any safer and egress is a non-starter in a jet with no parachutes/useable exits. #1 and 3 are pretty much spot-on, though, and are the reasons why Boeing went with RARO. Unfortunately, they started with #3 and went cheap with #1.

Cheap, quick, good. You can have 2/3, and Boeing even screwed up the 2nd.


Actually the body fuel tanks in the KC-46 are smaller than those in the KC-135, holding less capacity of fuel, and the aft cargo compartment could have been used for a Boom Pod, similar to the KC-10 Boom Pod.

The KC-46A carries just slightly more fuel than the KC-135R.

The KC-45 is a lot bigger than the KC-10, in fact the KC-45 would have been the second largest airplane in the USAF, by wing span, behind the C-5. The A-330 wingspan is bigger than the current VC-25A, but not the future VC-25B. Since the USAF would have bought 179 KC-45As, that would have required a huge investment in infrastructure and ramp space.

Cameras have an inherent flaw in the fast the lens needs to be mounted on the outside of the airplane and along the bottom and lower fuselage sides. These areas tend get dirty in flight, not to mention minor fluid leaks that run along the sides and bottom of the airplane. All airplanes eventually leak. This contaminates the camera lens inflight when it is impossible to clean the lens. I've never had this problem using the Mk. 1 eyeball and a window.

P.S. the P&W engines were selected to keep the price low, that is also why the KC-46A does not have thrust-reversers.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:14 am

kc135topboom wrote:
Actually the body fuel tanks in the KC-46 are smaller than those in the KC-135, holding less capacity of fuel, and the aft cargo compartment could have been used for a Boom Pod, similar to the KC-10 Boom Pod.

The KC-46A carries just slightly more fuel than the KC-135R.

The KC-45 is a lot bigger than the KC-10, in fact the KC-45 would have been the second largest airplane in the USAF, by wing span, behind the C-5. The A-330 wingspan is bigger than the current VC-25A, but not the future VC-25B. Since the USAF would have bought 179 KC-45As, that would have required a huge investment in infrastructure and ramp space.

Cameras have an inherent flaw in the fast the lens needs to be mounted on the outside of the airplane and along the bottom and lower fuselage sides. These areas tend get dirty in flight, not to mention minor fluid leaks that run along the sides and bottom of the airplane. All airplanes eventually leak. This contaminates the camera lens inflight when it is impossible to clean the lens. I've never had this problem using the Mk. 1 eyeball and a window.

P.S. the P&W engines were selected to keep the price low, that is also why the KC-46A does not have thrust-reversers.


I disagree, but that's fine. There was no room for a boom pod under the floor and the AF would never sign off on pax and the ARO compartment sharing the same space; Link-16 and some of the other systems don't mix well with space-As... I'm sure there is more to the story, but there's no room for it anyway so it's a moot point.

I said the Airbus was nearly the same size as the 10 and the KC-46 is much closer in size to the KC-135 in comparison; they are. There's ~ 10' difference in length and what 30' in wingspan between the 10 and the KC-30? At Al Dhafra the Aussie KC-30 uses the standard KC-10 parking spots and the 10s next to it have no restrictions taxiing nearby.

There are methods in place to ensure a clean camera window. Can you say the same about a sighting window? Especially when you get hydro spray or deicing fluid all over it? Been there, and I'm sure you have, too. It's not fun, especially at night when the receiver has his lights up too high.

We'll have to agree to disagree on the TRs.
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
Ozair
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:35 am

LyleLanley wrote:

We'll have to agree to disagree on the TRs.

If you had the time to read previous KC-46 threads on TRs you would see we have been over this multiple times.

The USAF did not require thrust reversers for the KC-46 as part of the requirement set, it was not a cost savings exercise by Boeing, it was an acknowledgement by the USAF that they don’t want them. Similar to the TRs being removed by the USAF for the CFM56 as used by the KC-135R.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:05 am

Ozair wrote:
LyleLanley wrote:

We'll have to agree to disagree on the TRs.

If you had the time to read previous KC-46 threads on TRs you would see we have been over this multiple times.

The USAF did not require thrust reversers for the KC-46 as part of the requirement set, it was not a cost savings exercise by Boeing, it was an acknowledgement by the USAF that they don’t want them. Similar to the TRs being removed by the USAF for the CFM56 as used by the KC-135R.


I get that the TRs weren't an AF requirement, but that doesn't mean Boeing had to delete them. It simply meant it was contractor discretion to include them or not. My contention is that Boeing deleted them because they were in a bind as the KC-46 empty weight was steadily increasing (redundant wiring, fuel-tank inerting, armor, etc.) and saw the TRs as low-hanging fruit. When the AF and Boeing hashed out the details, the AF agreed with Boeing that they weren't a requirement and, hence, not needed. If Boeing had kept the TRs, the AF would've been fine with that, too, so long as they met all the contractual requirements.

Fun fact: TRs weren't a requirement for the KC-10 Extender, either. McD kept them because it was cheaper to keep them on than to take them off and they had enough weight margin to leave them. They also weren't originally going to be crewed with an FE... A more experienced/trained boom operator would've taken over the role of the FE.
Last edited by LyleLanley on Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:05 am

kc135topboom wrote:

Cameras have an inherent flaw in the fast the lens needs to be mounted on the outside of the airplane and along the bottom and lower fuselage sides. These areas tend get dirty in flight, not to mention minor fluid leaks that run along the sides and bottom of the airplane. All airplanes eventually leak. This contaminates the camera lens inflight when it is impossible to clean the lens. I've never had this problem using the Mk. 1 eyeball and a window.


It's a $200M airplane. Surely one can make a system to keep a camera clean??

These planes will be around for ~40 years (which is ridiculous, but hey). At some point the software will be so good we'll be glad for the camera. In fact, at some point it will be auto-boom-control, producing quicker connections with less stress on the parts, with more reliability.

kc135topboom wrote:
P.S. the P&W engines were selected to keep the price low, that is also why the KC-46A does not have thrust-reversers.


Less weight, less maintenance, more reliability, less purchase price, and (as long as the Air Force does not use icy runways) no problems.
 
Ozair
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:41 am

LyleLanley wrote:
I get that the TRs weren't an AF requirement, but that doesn't mean Boeing had to delete them. It simply meant it was contractor discretion to include them or not. My contention is that Boeing deleted them because they were in a bind as the KC-46 empty weight was steadily increasing (redundant wiring, fuel-tank inerting, armor, etc.) and saw the TRs as low-hanging fruit. When the AF and Boeing hashed out the details, the AF agreed with Boeing that they weren't a requirement and, hence, not needed. If Boeing had kept the TRs, the AF would've been fine with that, too, so long as they met all the contractual requirements.

I understand what you’re suggesting and agree but I’d like the think that in evaluating the proposal that the USAF would have considered the long term sustainment of a platform with TRs and one without. While TRs would play only a small part in that overall cost picture every little bit helps right.

Additionally my understanding was the brakes were so much better today than 30,40,50 years ago that they have more than compensated for the loss of TRs on the respective tanker fleet.

LyleLanley wrote:
Fun fact: TRs weren't a requirement for the KC-10 Extender, either. McD kept them because it was cheaper to keep them on than to take them off and they had enough weight margin to leave them. They also weren't originally going to be crewed with an FE... A more experienced/trained boom operator would've taken over the role of the FE.

Ha, FEs like Navs are a dying breed. Way too many old timer Navs clogging up higher RAAF ranks although not sure what a lot of Air Forces will do once the pilots are removed. How long till the first major air force is lead by someone whose only hours are in remote vehicles?
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:57 am

Ozair wrote:
I understand what you’re suggesting and agree but I’d like the think that in evaluating the proposal that the USAF would have considered the long term sustainment of a platform with TRs and one without. While TRs would play only a small part in that overall cost picture every little bit helps right.

Additionally my understanding was the brakes were so much better today than 30,40,50 years ago that they have more than compensated for the loss of TRs on the respective tanker fleet.


Valid points. While I don't know the comparative operational cost difference between with TRs and without, I'm certain Boeing had more to gain by ditching the TRs than the AF had to gain by keeping them. Overall, they're a great thing to have when they're truly needed, but when you're delving into trade-offs the contractor has a lot of leverage with not only ditching the weight but also pointing out lower sustainment costs. The fact they were working with a lot of former KC-135 guys didn't hurt either. For the same reasons, the KC-46 doesn't have escape slides in the front doors. Instead, they have inertia-reels for evacuation and life rafts if they're in the drink. Pax in the back get to keep their feet dry, though, as they'll have slides.

Ozair wrote:
Ha, FEs like Navs are a dying breed. Way too many old timer Navs clogging up higher RAAF ranks although not sure what a lot of Air Forces will do once the pilots are removed. How long till the first major air force is lead by someone whose only hours are in remote vehicles?


I reckon you and I both will have many years left when the first one folds!
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:40 am

Ozair wrote:
LyleLanley wrote:
I get that the TRs weren't an AF requirement, but that doesn't mean Boeing had to delete them. It simply meant it was contractor discretion to include them or not. My contention is that Boeing deleted them because they were in a bind as the KC-46 empty weight was steadily increasing (redundant wiring, fuel-tank inerting, armor, etc.) and saw the TRs as low-hanging fruit. When the AF and Boeing hashed out the details, the AF agreed with Boeing that they weren't a requirement and, hence, not needed. If Boeing had kept the TRs, the AF would've been fine with that, too, so long as they met all the contractual requirements.

I understand what you’re suggesting and agree but I’d like the think that in evaluating the proposal that the USAF would have considered the long term sustainment of a platform with TRs and one without. While TRs would play only a small part in that overall cost picture every little bit helps right.

Additionally my understanding was the brakes were so much better today than 30,40,50 years ago that they have more than compensated for the loss of TRs on the respective tanker fleet.

LyleLanley wrote:


I don't want to rake up the TR discussion again but saying that better brakes can compensate for the loss of TR's is only valid in perfect braking conditions.
On (short) runways with braking action less than good , i always prefer additional TR's, because even super-brakes don't work with a very low friction between the tyres and runway
.
Note : TR's made my day more than once, when landing on runways at large airports in the USA in the last 35 years, but that was on civil large airplanes, military airplanes only operate in perfect weather conditions. :lol:
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:18 pm

747classic wrote:
I don't want to rake up the TR discussion again but saying that better brakes can compensate for the loss of TR's is only valid in perfect braking conditions. On (short) runways with braking action less than good, i always prefer additional TR's, because even super-brakes don't work with a very low friction between the tyres and runway


To be fair, most major USAF bases have very long runways as the tankers need a fair bit of tarmac to get off the ground when at MTOW per a study I looked at... :biggrin:
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:28 am

Stitch wrote:
747classic wrote:
To be fair, most major USAF bases have very long runways as the tankers need a fair bit of tarmac to get off the ground when at MTOW per a study I looked at... :biggrin:


Valid. But when the long runway (6-24 at 10K) at McGuire is closed in winter, and everyone and their dog is using 18-36 (7K), I'd still prefer TRs if only to help with pucker factor. That being said, if the KC-135s across the ramp can make it happen, so can the KC-46.
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Spacepope
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:10 am

When are the next set of deliveries headed out the door?
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bikerthai
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:25 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Less weight, less maintenance, more reliability, less purchase price, and (as long as the Air Force does not use icy runways) no problems.


Or for the price of one set of TR cascades, blocker doors, and actuators, you can pay the cost of keeping one runway deiced for a decade :spin:
I'm talking about the deicing solution and not the trucks :wink2:

By the way, news has it that they finally have a solution for the camera system that will make the Air Force happy.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:04 pm

^^ Anywhere else that would make sense, but as more than one high ranking has briefed to the rank-and-file "that's a different pot of money". :rotfl:

bikerthai wrote:
By the way, news has it that they finally have a solution for the camera system that will make the Air Force happy.
bt


I'm keeping my fingers crossed. The 46 will be a game-changer once albatrosses like the RVS are fixed.
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kc135topboom
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:30 pm

bikerthai wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Less weight, less maintenance, more reliability, less purchase price, and (as long as the Air Force does not use icy runways) no problems.


Or for the price of one set of TR cascades, blocker doors, and actuators, you can pay the cost of keeping one runway deiced for a decade :spin:
I'm talking about the deicing solution and not the trucks :wink2:

By the way, news has it that they finally have a solution for the camera system that will make the Air Force happy.

bt


When I was an Airfield Operations Officer at DFW, it costs us about $45,000 to deice one runway for one storm, IIRC (not including labor {which was usually overtime} or the price of the trucks). We had 7 runways (including 4 runways at 13,400' long, two of those were 200' wide and two were 150' wide) at DFW and averaged 2 ice storms and maybe 1 snow storm per year. Snow accumulation averaged 2" to 4" (52 mm to 104 mm) per snow storm. It did not snow every year at DFW.

Each of our 13,400' runways were first plowed then required about 4,500 US Gallons of mostly E-36 deicing fluid, at about $10 per gallon (the tanker trucks capacity was 5,000 US Gallons). The runways were then sanded at an additional cost. E-36 was also used to deice all 8 taxiway bridges and one ARFF Road bridge.

Any details about the camera fix on the KC-46A?
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:48 am

kc135topboom wrote:
Any details about the camera fix on the KC-46A?


I think the article was in Defense Daily. It said they brought in scientist expert on light to break down the science behind what they were experiencing.

The details will probably disclosed until they implement the fix.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:16 pm

From Aviation Week:

After a lot of study, the Air Force has learned that operator age, gender and pupillary distance can all affect how well the system works. Now they are measuring many more factors to ensure that the RVS represents the 3D reality that exists outside the aircraft, he said.


Things are a lot more complicated than originally spected.

“Things are a lot better when you have technical people leading. You get to agreements faster. So I’m excited for the future of the program as long as scientists and engineers continue to lead,” he said. “I wish I could say more. We’re still negotiating with Boeing . But we’re making progress, and we’re trending in the right direction.”


bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
Ozair
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:27 pm

So an extra year now to fix the RVS… I like how Congress says they will try and use the yearly defence bill to pressure Boeing but then continue to fund tankers at the required rate and top up with additional frames. Sure the USAF is withholding some funding for each delivery until the issue is fixed but clearly that isn’t enough leverage if Boeing are now already a year late for a three year away solution.

A fix for the KC-46 is already a year late

The Air Force now believes a correction for the Boeing KC-46 tanker’s major technical problem won’t be available until at least 2023, forecasting a one-year delay to previous estimates, its top general said Tuesday.

The service is now targeting a 2023-2024 timeframe to begin fielding a fix for the Remote Vision System, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. The RVS, manufactured by Rockwell Collins, is a series of cameras that allows users to steer a refueling boom into the aircraft receiving gas.

The slow pace of a fix prompted concerns from senators, who indicated that Congress may use the yearly defense policy bill to further pressure Boeing to move quickly.

The new timeline is an effectively a one-year delay from the three to four year timeframe anticipated for a fix in 2019, which would have put a resolution in 2022-2023. Boeing is already delivering KC-46s to the service, and it could take even longer than the projected 2023 start date to begin retrofitting the KC-46s in its possession with new hardware and software, Goldfein added.

...

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/03 ... year-late/

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