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Author Topic: CX-HLS and SST  (Read 11123 times)

Offline Archibald

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CX-HLS and SST
« on: September 28, 2010, 02:15:37 am »
A simple question. The two contracts were issued, CX-HLS in september 1965 (to Lockheed) and SST late 1966 (to Boeing) 
Whatif Lockheed had won the SST (with the L-2000) and Boeing the CX-HLS (C-5A Galaxy) ?

What consequences on the 747 ?Lockheed / RR / Tristar / boondogle of 1971 ?
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Offline uk 75

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2010, 06:12:33 am »
An interesting question?

I am always fascinated by the big 60s programmes, but am not so knowledgible on the US stuff.

On the SST, the Lockheed proposal seems to have been a better design than the Boeing one, which had to be continuously changed throughout the 60s until its cancellation in 1971.  However, I think the climate in 1971 was such that even the Lockheed design would have faced the axe.  The long range SST was even more expensive than Concorde and the US Government was faced with savings.
Airline enthusiasm from the US and Far East might have swung the Congress in favour.  However, Lockheed was no more successful than Boeing in delivering big projects on time and budget (C5 and Tristar).

The big Boeing CX design always reminds me of the Russian Antonov 124.  Had Boeing focussed on this and its 747 derivative it might have made more money in the period and perhaps encouraged the growth of cargoliners (Lockheed tried with the C5 civilian version).  The USAF would have been even more Boeing dependent, with the Boeing C5 being built instead of the KC10 and possibly even the C17 later on.

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Offline Archibald

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2010, 09:25:37 am »
The KC-10 thing is something I did not thought about ! Yes, Boeing would have staged a kind of "perfect coup".
Plenties of 747s for the airlines obviously. Plus some buig military contracts, including C-5A and KC-10. Air Force One and the E-4s of course.
Plus a little-known thing called the Civil Reserve Air Fleet - a handful of military airliners that could be loaned to USAF by airlines such as PanAm.
And, icing on the cake, over the years Boeing tried to place some 747s to USAF. The C-33 slot was for a fleet of 747s to bolster C-5s and C-141 / C-17 had the latter orders been cut or cancelled.

So that's probably a lot of 747s in USAF service !

Poor Lockheed, by contrast, might be bankrupted by a SST cancellation happening in 1971. It would be the Tristar boondoggle written larger - except Rolls Royce would not be involved in the disaster !
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Offline F-14D

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2010, 10:03:28 am »
A simple question. The two contracts were issued, CX-HLS in september 1965 (to Lockheed) and SST late 1966 (to Boeing)  
Whatif Lockheed had won the SST (with the L-2000) and Boeing the CX-HLS (C-5A Galaxy) ?

What consequences on the 747 ?Lockheed / RR / Tristar / boondogle of 1971 ?


It's been a while, so my memory is even more hazy than usual, but I seem to recall that the recommendation of the evaluation team was for Boeing for the CX-HLS.  McNamara, being all-seeing and all-knowing, overruled them, just as he did on the TFX.  
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 12:35:58 pm by F-14D »

Offline Triton

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2010, 11:07:44 am »
What about the Douglas CX-HLS proposal? Does anyone know why it was rejected? Was it related to the financial problems that Douglas Aircraft Company was having at the time and the fact that it was seeking merger partners?

If Boeing had produced the CX-HLS, then perhaps Seattle and the Puget Sound area may not have experienced the economic meltdown in the 1970s. The cancellation of the SST program on May 20, 1971 was a real blow to the local economy since Boeing layed off 60,000 workers. The SST is known as the "airplane that almost ate Seattle."
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 11:21:05 am by Triton »

Offline F-14D

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2010, 12:42:37 pm »
What about the Douglas CX-HLS proposal? Does anyone know why it was rejected? Was it related to the financial problems that Douglas Aircraft Company was having at the time and the fact that it was seeking merger partners?

If Boeing had produced the CX-HLS, then perhaps Seattle and the Puget Sound area may not have experienced the economic meltdown in the 1970s. The cancellation of the SST program on May 20, 1971 was a real blow to the local economy since Boeing layed off 60,000 workers. The SST is known as the "airplane that almost ate Seattle."

There's a good deal of detail here http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,535.0.html

I wonder if the way Douglas chose to do the nose door was a factor. 

Offline Pioneer

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 06:23:39 pm »
A simple question. The two contracts were issued, CX-HLS in september 1965 (to Lockheed) and SST late 1966 (to Boeing)  
Whatif Lockheed had won the SST (with the L-2000) and Boeing the CX-HLS (C-5A Galaxy) ?

What consequences on the 747 ?Lockheed / RR / Tristar / boondogle of 1971 ?


It's been a while, so my memory is even more hazy than usual, but I seem to recall that the recommendation of the evaluation team was for Boeing for the CX-HLS.  McNamara, being all-seeing and all-knowing, overruled them, just as he did on the TFX.  

I think you are on the money my friend!

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Offline alertken

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2010, 03:34:30 am »
Lockheed won CX/HLS because they accepted (more) program fixed pricing than did Boeing or Douglas. It was that (not any L1011 boondoggle) that sent them to the brink of bankruptcy in 1971, 'cos they just got the number wrong. We now know that a factor in Congress doing a socialist bail out was SR-71/F-117. So, for Boeing or Douglas to have won, they too would have needed to take a risk on pricing. Douglas could not, though if they had talked earlier to McDonnell, a 1965 MDC might have...Boeing could have done so, chose not to do so...but then in effect did in 1966, betting the Company on a PanAm variant. Award of Federally-funded 2707, thus overloading Boeing's R&D resources, was because Lockheed's R&D was fully streched on C-5 + black.

So, I suggest: if Boeing had excited McNamara with risk-receptiveness and won CX-HLS...no Boeing 2707, deferral of 747 till after C-5 was resolved (see C-135/717: 707); desperate priority at Lockheed on the US domestic wide-body, bringing it to market ahead of MDC DC-10, such that all 4 US Launch Customers take it. No DC-10, more/earlier DC-9 variants, lusty MDC flirtation with Europeans...such that A300B is stillborn. No US SST; no Airbus Industrie, but European risk-sharing roles in US products such as were actually taken by the Japanese consortium. GE might well have won L1011 as they would not have been consumed on TF39/C-5A; RR would then have taken greater interest in their (7/10/66 20%) investment in BAC (part of buying Bristol's share in BSEL) and tried harder to make 2/11 and/or 3/11 schemes fly.

Whiffs are fun!

Offline Archibald

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2010, 09:14:05 am »
The american SST was a bizarre beast. Looks like they were never really convinved that speed was civil aviation future, and that the US Government just  answered Concorde with a bigger project (because since 1962 Concorde was an ongoing, robust project; you never know, maybe Concorde might works, so we need an answer to it, even a paper one.)
At the same time however, realistic Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed CEOs knew the real future of civil aviation was wide-body, not speed. Incidentally the CX-HLS was a perfect opportunity to develop wide-body technologies (notably large turbofans !).
Once the CX-HLS given to Lockheed, Boeing and Douglas imediately started their wide-bodies programs, resulting in the DC-10 and 747. Even Lockheed tried his hand at the wide-body game later.

Browsing the Flight Global archive it is clear that in the 60's noone really knew what future of civil aviation would be: double the 707 speed or double the 707 number of passenger ? The US government  did not knew either, and decided to lock both options - supersonic through the SST, wide-body through the CX-HLS.

Clever people !  :)



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Offline F-14D

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2010, 12:54:26 pm »
Lockheed won CX/HLS because they accepted (more) program fixed pricing than did Boeing or Douglas. It was that (not any L1011 boondoggle) that sent them to the brink of bankruptcy in 1971, 'cos they just got the number wrong. We now know that a factor in Congress doing a socialist bail out was SR-71/F-117. So, for Boeing or Douglas to have won, they too would have needed to take a risk on pricing. Douglas could not, though if they had talked earlier to McDonnell, a 1965 MDC might have...Boeing could have done so, chose not to do so...but then in effect did in 1966, betting the Company on a PanAm variant. Award of Federally-funded 2707, thus overloading Boeing's R&D resources, was because Lockheed's R&D was fully streched on C-5 + black.

So, I suggest: if Boeing had excited McNamara with risk-receptiveness and won CX-HLS...no Boeing 2707, deferral of 747 till after C-5 was resolved (see C-135/717: 707); desperate priority at Lockheed on the US domestic wide-body, bringing it to market ahead of MDC DC-10, such that all 4 US Launch Customers take it. No DC-10, more/earlier DC-9 variants, lusty MDC flirtation with Europeans...such that A300B is stillborn. No US SST; no Airbus Industrie, but European risk-sharing roles in US products such as were actually taken by the Japanese consortium. GE might well have won L1011 as they would not have been consumed on TF39/C-5A; RR would then have taken greater interest in their (7/10/66 20%) investment in BAC (part of buying Bristol's share in BSEL) and tried harder to make 2/11 and/or 3/11 schemes fly.

Whiffs are fun!
Maybe I'm missing something here.  Are you saying that somehow the SR-71, about whose only similarity with CX-HLS was that it was manned, was a factor in the decision?  The SR-71 for which McNamara destroyed the production line when he couldn't get his F-111 interceptor? That, using their Delorean they traveled  back to the future from 1965 to take the F-117 into account?

Yes, Lockheed was willing to accept more risk on the always-problematical-for-R&D fixed price contract and bid lower, but I do believe that the evaluation team recommended Boeing anyway (it was not a low bid takes all solicitation).    They also were foolish enough to take McNamara at his word that DoD would fund a million pound press (none of which existed at the time) for the main wing carry through. Boeing, whose design  by the way tested out at Langley with superior aerodynamic cruise, apparently didn't base their wing on that promise.   After work began on the Lockheed C-5, DoD said, "Million pound press?  What million pound press?  You must have misheard.  Well, in any case it's your problem".   Regarding the L-1011, the real killer was the decision to only offer the RB211 as an engine choice for its promised thrust to weight ration and efficiency.  GE engines were available, as they were happily flying on the DC-10.  

BTW, the merger with McDonnell caused by the strain with the DC-8 and 9 was not the panacea that Douglas hoped.  Although the McDonnell management team did bring order to Douglas production, it was consistently reported that they weren't really familiar with the market of and selling to commercial aviation.   Regarding the A300, McDonnell management made a serious mistake when they chose not to pursue the DC-X.  had they done so, there probably wouldn't have been an A-300.  As far as the Boeing KC-135 and 707 went, those were different aircraft that shared a common gensis.  In fact, the 1st commercial 707 was  delivered only 14 months after the first KC-135.    The B-747 was a commercial business decision, not a fixed-price risky contract.

I'm just not following your thought, here.   

Offline F-14D

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2010, 01:02:13 pm »
The american SST was a bizarre beast. Looks like they were never really convinved that speed was civil aviation future, and that the US Government just  answered Concorde with a bigger project (because since 1962 Concorde was an ongoing, robust project; you never know, maybe Concorde might works, so we need an answer to it, even a paper one.)
At the same time however, realistic Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed CEOs knew the real future of civil aviation was wide-body, not speed. Incidentally the CX-HLS was a perfect opportunity to develop wide-body technologies (notably large turbofans !).
Once the CX-HLS given to Lockheed, Boeing and Douglas imediately started their wide-bodies programs, resulting in the DC-10 and 747. Even Lockheed tried his hand at the wide-body game later.

Browsing the Flight Global archive it is clear that in the 60's noone really knew what future of civil aviation would be: double the 707 speed or double the 707 number of passenger ? The US government  did not knew either, and decided to lock both options - supersonic through the SST, wide-body through the CX-HLS.

Clever people !  :)






USAF knew they needed a large air transport, so I don't think US Gov't was really doing it to provide wide-body civil transport.  Certainly manufacturers could use hat they learned when competing for the C-5, but that was not the driver.  That's why the 747 was considered so risky. 

It seems that Boeing thought that passenger 747s would only enjoy limited primacy before being replaced by SSTs for people moving, with the 747 becoming primarily a freight hauler.  That's why the 7847 was designed from the so that it would be easy to develop a freighter version.  That's one of the big reasons why the nose is the way it is.  Also, during the 747 development period, the SST did have priority.  Joe Sutter's book on the 747's development talks about this. 

Offline Triton

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2010, 01:58:11 pm »
Did the airlines believe that passengers would pay a speed premium to fly on the Boeing 2707-300 or the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde at supersonic speeds? Or did they believe that supersonic travel could be offered economically so that ticket prices would not be much greater than, or comparable to, the prices charged for subsonic travel? Could they have contemplated that a one way ticket from New York to London on the Concorde would be twelve times more than a round trip ticket on a subsonic airliner?

From the books and the magazine articles that I have read from the 1960s, it seems that many people believed that the future of aviation was speed and passengers would not be bothered with subsonic air travel. I don't see any evidence that Boeing, Douglas, and Lockheed CEOS knew with certainty that the real future of civil aviation was wide body. I also don't believe that anyone could have foreseen the 1973 OPEC oil embargo or the rise of fuel prices from their 1960's level.

The environmentalists were also against the United States SST project and there was opposition over the project because of noise concerns around airports and sonic booms. Could they have foreseen this strong opposition in the 1960s?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 03:04:52 pm by Triton »

Offline RLBH

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2010, 03:54:43 am »
Did the airlines believe that passengers would pay a speed premium to fly on the Boeing 2707-300 or the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde at supersonic speeds? Or did they believe that supersonic travel could be offered economically so that ticket prices would not be much greater than, or comparable to, the prices charged for subsonic travel? Could they have contemplated that a one way ticket from New York to London on the Concorde would be twelve times more than a round trip ticket on a subsonic airliner?
I believe there were studies done in the '60s that found that a mixed subsonic/supersonic fleet would be more profitable than a pure subsonic fleet, and that the operating costs per seat-mile of SSTs would be similar to that of subsonic transports - the greater hourly fuel consumption being more or less offset by the greater speed. At least in theory, anyway.

Bear in mind that during the '60s, mass air travel was still in its' early days, and airlines were built around the business traveller. From that viewpoint, saving four hours on a one-way transatlantic trip is quite significant, as our itinerant businessman can do that much more work: it was actually hoped that it would be possible to fly out from London to New York in the morning for a meeting, do the requisite deal, and fly back again the same day. Attempting the same trick with subsonic transports would lose at least two days.

This is discussed here:
http://www.concordesst.com/history/eh4.html#j

Offline Triton

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2010, 01:33:28 pm »
Thank you for the link RLBH.

joncarrfarrelly

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Re: CX-HLS and SST
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2010, 07:27:32 pm »
Did the airlines believe that passengers would pay a speed premium to fly on the Boeing 2707-300 or the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde at supersonic speeds? Or did they believe that supersonic travel could be offered economically so that ticket prices would not be much greater than, or comparable to, the prices charged for subsonic travel? Could they have contemplated that a one way ticket from New York to London on the Concorde would be twelve times more than a round trip ticket on a subsonic airliner?

From the books and the magazine articles that I have read from the 1960s, it seems that many people believed that the future of aviation was speed and passengers would not be bothered with subsonic air travel. I don't see any evidence that Boeing, Douglas, and Lockheed CEOS knew with certainty that the real future of civil aviation was wide body. I also don't believe that anyone could have foreseen the 1973 OPEC oil embargo or the rise of fuel prices from their 1960's level.

The environmentalists were also against the United States SST project and there was opposition over the project because of noise concerns around airports and sonic booms. Could they have foreseen this strong opposition in the 1960s?

I'm making my way through a fairly extensive collection of 1960s AW&ST (1963 ~ 1969) and the wide-body 'airbus' or 'air bus' as the main 'people mover' of the 70s is very much in evidence, ditto the noise concerns with the SST, particularly the issue of sonic booms over land and overpressure concerns.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 10:29:48 pm by joncarrfarrelly »