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Boeing KC-46 Pegasus

sferrin

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Grey Havoc said:
TomS said:
Well, there's an ex-vendor, one imagines. How the heck to do mislabel corrosive materials and stay in business as a chemcial supplier (assuming that's the vendor in question)?
I wouldn't be surprised if there was a bit of corporate skulduggery involved somewhere.
I would be. Who benefits when (not if) it comes out somebody tried to sabotage their own product?
 

TomS

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Grey Havoc said:
I wouldn't be surprised if there was a bit of corporate skulduggery involved somewhere.
Are you suggesting that a Boeing competitor (Airbus, presumably) somehow caused this damage? Seriously? That's just an absurd suggestion.
 

Grey Havoc

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You might be surprised. Suborning a disaffected or otherwise compromised employee is one of the oldest tricks in the book. And, in this day and age they might not have to even do that, depending on how automated the vendor's (most likely not properly walled off from the internet) manufacturing & logistics systems are.
 

TomS

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No, sorry. The idea of a company causing actual physical damage to a compatitor's hardware is just insane. Doing so without leaving any evidence would be very tricky, and if it was detected (which is likely), the fallout would be enormous -- civil and likely criminal action against Airbus, possible DOD contracting bans, loss of security clearances for the involved emplyees, etc. The downside potential is huge, and the upside benefit is near zero.
 

Grey Havoc

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Corporate espionage is alive and well in the 21st Century; It's one of those things that everyone will admit to defending against, but no-one will admit to carrying out.

The old saw applies: who benefits?
 

Grey Havoc

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In other news: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/israel-evaluates-converted-767-as-tanker-alternative-415375/
 

TomS

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Grey Havoc said:
Corporate espionage is alive and well in the 21st Century; It's one of those things that everyone will admit to defending against, but no-one will admit to carrying out.
Espionage is not sabotage.
Grey Havoc said:
The old saw applies: who benefits?
In this case, no one.
 

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From the outside looking in, one would think these would have been the types of issues resolved 50/30 years ago when the KC-135 and KC-10 entered service.

KC-46: What Was Wrong With The Fuel System
by Amy Butler AW&ST
September 18, 2015

WASHINGTON—Despite multiple difficulties in developing a fuel-management system for its KC-46 aerial refueler, the U.S. Air Force officer overseeing the tanker program says first flight is slated to take place Sept. 25.
...
First, and likely the most major problem, was a deficiency in the fuel-system manifold that routs fuel throughout the tanker. The fuel system includes a complex labyrinth of pipes to wing-mounted fuel refueling pods, a centerline drogue system and a centerline boom. “It failed a stress test. So under certain stresses, it was possible it might form a leak,” Richardson tells Aviation Week during a Sept. 16 interview at the annual Air Force Association Air and Space Conference here. The problem came to light during qualification testing required for FAA certification, and Boeing notified the service of it in February.

The problem was the manifold’s design. “When a part like that fails qualification, it has to go through a redesign process, a refabrication process and a requalification process,” Richardson said. “A fuel manifold is not an invention, but it is a new part. Getting it redesigned was not an issue but it was an issue of how quickly we could get the part.”
...
Two other shortcomings were found when Boeing conducted a later fuel-system audit. The first was an issue with welding that connects the fuel tubes in the system. The second was an issue with how the fuel tubes are attached to the inside of the aircraft.

Though the weldings did not pass qualification testing, they are safe enough to use for flight testing; the problem was they failed to last the required 40 years of life.

*** Read complete story linked at title ***
 

Boxman

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First flight of a fully-configured KC-46A today.


Boeing KC-46A makes historic first flight after setbacks
by James Drew
Flight Global - Flight International
25 September 2015

Boeing’s first fully-configured KC-46A aerial refuelling tanker has begun its long-awaited first flight, lifting off from Paine Field in Washington today after some weather-related delays.

The 25 September flight to Boeing Field marks a significant step in the next-generation tanker programme, but comes approximately nine months behind schedule and almost five years after the Pegasus entered development.

"During this flight, they’ll check the basic integrity of the aircraft and exercise all the systems – operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems," a Boeing spokeswoman said in statement after takeoff at 1:24pm Pacific Time.

This first flight had been expected in late 2014, but significant missteps such as misplaced wiring and more recently a contaminated fuel system have repeatedly setback the multibillion-dollar development programme, which is working toward a Pentagon “milestone C” low-rate production decision, now expected in April 2016.

*** See full story linked at title ***
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/kc-46a-completes-first-aerial-refueling/
 

fredymac

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOv3oAajtsA

I wonder why Boeing had so much grief with the KC-46 when the KC-767 has been in service for years. I would have thought that basic things like the fuel storage system would be very similar if not unchanged. I know the cockpit is totally new and the operator stations are different but a lot should have been easy to transfer with minimal modifications. Then again, I'm not sure what the full specs are for the KC-767.
 

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seruriermarshal

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KC-46 tanker successfully refuels F/A-18

Posted 2/12/2016 Updated 2/12/2016

by Kenji Thuloweit
412th Test Wing Public Affairs

2/12/2016 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A U.S. Air Force and Boeing aircrew aboard the KC-46 tanker successfully refueled an F/A-18 fighter jet in flight Feb. 10.

The air refueling was the program's first using the KC-46's hose and drogue system. It took place in the skies over Washington state.

According to Boeing, the flight lasted more than four hours and the tanker's air refueling operator successfully transferred fuel to the F/A-18 at 20,000 feet.

The KC-46 will refuel aircraft using both its boom and hose and drogue systems. The boom allows the tanker to transfer up to 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute, while the plane's hose and drogue systems, located on both the plane's wing and centerline, enables the KC-46 to refuel smaller aircraft such as the F/A-18 with up to 400 gallons of fuel per minute, said the Boeing release.

F/A-18s are flown by both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

The KC-46 refueled an F-16 fighter from Edwards AFB using its air refueling boom Jan. 24.

The KC-46A Pegasus is intended to replace the Air Force's aging tanker fleet, which has been refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as allied nation coalition aircraft.

The 412th Test Wing is the lead developmental test organization for the KC-46 Tanker Program.

http://www.edwards.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123468942
 

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Grey Havoc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeings-second-kc-46a-achieves-first-flight-422724/
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/2016/04/01/air-force-boeing-tanker-issue-could-delay-production-decision/82510610/

::)
 

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The KC-46 Pegasus program completed all flight tests required for the Milestone C production decision July 15 by offloading 1,500 pounds/680 kg of fuel to an A-10 Thunderbolt II.
 

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What other firm can take a plane that was built as a tanker a decade ago and require US$5

8/14/16 - Correction - US$7 Billion

Billion to do it again. Not only that, they are behind schedule for failing to make a design decision that was required on the McDonnell Douglas KC-10 boom, a company purchased by Boeing.

Man I miss McDonnell Douglas. (A-4, F-4, C-9, F-15, AV8, F-18 with NG, YC-15 the precursor to the C-17)


Dear Boeing,

Please pay NG, LM, UT or better yet GD to take the St. Louis plant from you. That way we can protect the "industrial base" in St. Louis but we won't have to deal with your incompetent management team anymore.

Regards,

The US Taxpayers
 

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http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/support/2016/08/12/kc46-tanker-cleared-production-milestone-c/88642282/
 

fredymac

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The audio mentions a transfer rate of 1200 gallons per minute which I assume is for the boom. I wonder how much slower the transfer rate is for the hose/drogue system?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThbmESQTZrU
 

fightingirish

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The Centerline Drogue System (CDS) and the Wing Air Refueling Pods (WARPs) can offload each 400 gallons per minute (1,500 liters).
 

sferrin

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fredymac said:
The audio mentions a transfer rate of 1200 gallons per minute which I assume is for the boom. I wonder how much slower the transfer rate is for the hose/drogue system?
SAC (Strategic Air Command) originally came up with it for refueling their bombers. Being large aircraft they required a lot of fuel thus the higher rate.
 

Boxman

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Looks like the issue with the WARPs was an aerodynamics issue.

Here's a link to the referenced patent (US 20160144950 A1) with illustrations:
<a href=http://pdfaiw.uspto.gov/.aiw?PageNum=0&docid=20160144950&IDKey=722C606BFFE1&HomeUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fappft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect1%3DPTO2%2526Sect2%3DHITOFF%2526p%3D1%2526u%3D%25252Fnetahtml%25252FPTO%25252Fsearch-bool.html%2526r%3D1%2526f%3DG%2526l%3D50%2526co1%3DAND%2526d%3DPG01%2526s1%3D%252522US%252B20160144950%252522%2526OS%3D%252522US%252B20160144950%252522%2526RS%3D%252522US%252B20160144950%252522>US Patent -US 20160144950 Wing Aerial Refueling System</a>

<a href=https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/patent-application-reveals-kc-46-refueling-pod-fix-428866/>Patent Application Reveals KC-46 Refueling Pod Fix</a>
by Leigh Giangreco
Flight International
29-August-2016

A recently-published patent application reveals one issue Boeing overcame to develop KC-46A Pegasus tanker’s wing aerial refueling pod (WARP) system.

The Cobham WARP mounted on the outboard wings of the tanker can refuel more than one aircraft simultaneously with 1,514l (400gal) of fuel per minute. The US Air Force will buy 94 KC-46 tankers through fiscal 2021 and 42 WARP sets.

But according to the 26 May patent, the airflow around the tanker during flight can create a vortex that lifts the hose and drogue upward, causing instability during extension and retraction. Although features such as chines or Gurney flaps could be designed on older tankers to counter vortices across the refueling envelope, the KC-46’s higher speed exacerbated the issue.
*** REST OF THE STORY IS LINKED ABOVE TITLE ***
 

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KC-46A Aerial Refueling Aircraft for Japan
http://www.asdnews.com/news-67957/KC-46A_Aerial_Refueling_Aircraft_for_Japan.htm

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan for KC-46A aerial refueling aircraft and related equipment, training, and support. The estimated cost is $1.9 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
 

fightingirish

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Here a video with some interesting updates on the KC-46A Tanker Program. B)
Defense & Aerospace Report said:
Boeing's Hafer on KC-46A Tanker Program, Production, Features & Global Markets
Michael Hafer, chief of KC-46 tanker global sales & marketing at Boeing Defense, Space & Security, discusses the status of the company's KC-46A Pegasus tanker program for the US Air Force as well as production processes, features and export prospects for the jet with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian. The interview was conducted after a tour of Boeing's 767 production and tanker integration facilities in Everett, Washington.
https://youtu.be/59CxdPt4ugE
Code:
https://youtu.be/59CxdPt4ugE
 

Flyaway

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General update in this article.

Sixth aircraft joins KC-46A tanker test fleet

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/sixth-aircraft-joins-kc-46a-tanker-test-fleet-436869/
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-expects-delayed-kc-46a-delivery-next-spring-438072/
 

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https://www.defensenews.com/air/2017/07/28/kc-46-tanker-completes-electromagnetic-tests/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DFN%20DNR%207/28/17&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Daily%20News%20Roundup
 

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I was traveling by air and when we hit the layover in Detroit, I saw a KC-46 sitting all by itself by the Delta maintenance hangar. What in the world was it doing at an airport in Detroit??? Detroit doesn't house anything military. Selfridge is just another 10 minutes away by air and houses a refueling wing.
 

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Airplane said:
I was traveling by air and when we hit the layover in Detroit, I saw a KC-46 sitting all by itself by the Delta maintenance hangar. What in the world was it doing at an airport in Detroit??? Detroit doesn't house anything military. Selfridge is just another 10 minutes away by air and houses a refueling wing.
Just a guess on my part, but given that Delta's 767 fleet numbers over 80 aircraft, perhaps some sort of maintenance and/or check that the Delta facilities and/or personnel are better equipped to handle at this moment compared to Selfridge?
 

TomS

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It's still a civilian aircraft at this point, not delivered to he Air Force, so that may explain why it's at a civilian airfield.
 

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RAND Finds Little Hope Fixed Price Deals Control Costs
"Boeing costs of developing the KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft recently have risen by about $800 million to address problems with the integrated fuel system. That comes on top of the approximately $400 million cost of addressing wiring problems reported previously. Boeing is developing the KC-46A under a form of fixed price contracting; the cost to the Air Force for engineering and manufacturing development for this system is capped at $4.9 billion. So, to date, Boeing has had to absorb approximately $1.2 billion in cost overruns.

Industry experts assert Boeing took a calculated risk in its bid, willing to absorb some level of development cost overruns to win, thus ensuring that it remains relevant within the global market for tanker aircraft. Nonetheless, as the system progresses toward production and sustainment, the Air Force will need to stay the course, continuing to maintain close control over the development contract, and manage future contract negotiations for the KC-46A to ensure that losses during development are not recovered through future contracts.




The use of fixed price contracts to control cost growth during the development phase of weapon system acquisition has been tried before. A Defense Business Board analysis cites notable examples in the 1960s, as part of Total Package Procurement, including the C-5A, F-14, SRAM missile, Cheyenne Helicopter, LHA ship, and the F-111. Yet significant cost growth occurred within these programs, contributing to severe financial strain on two contractors.

The pendulum swung back toward cost-based contracts in the 1970s. Then in the 1980s, in response to cost growth in these cost-based development contracts, the Department of Defense (DoD) tried fixed price development contracts again for the A-12, V-22, F-14D, T-45, T-46, C-17, AMRAAM, and DIVAD programs. Significant cost growth occurred again, with another contractor in financial jeopardy. The A-12 program was particularly problematic, resulting in cancellation of the program and decades of litigation.




The pendulum again swung back toward cost-based contracts in the 1990s before fixed price development contracts again gained traction in the 2000s. The one constant across these decades and acquisition approaches was the presence of cost growth during development. RAND analyses of development cost growth across the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s found no significant change in cost growth across these decades. And a recent study by the Institute for Defense Analyses found no significant relationship between the type of contract and cost growth.




The prognosis is not hopeful .Looking across a wide range of weapon system acquisition case studies conducted over several decades at RAND, we are unable to find examples of fixed price contracts successfully reducing costs to the DoD associated with developing complex weapon systems. Sooner or later, through one mechanism or another, the government has ended up paying for much of the cost growth originally absorbed by the contractor, often during the production phase (or the program was cancelled or significantly cut back).

This does not necessarily mean that KC-46A will follow in the footsteps of prior programs, but the historical perspective does highlight the challenge the Air Force faces and suggests ways that it can shape its approach to the KC-46A program moving forward. In particular, experience suggests that the Air Force should pay particular attention to the following:

Hold The Line On System Requirements.

To date, the Air Force has successfully prevented changes to KC-46A system requirements, timing and funding to avoid opening the contract to further negotiation that could lead to higher costs to the Air Force. This should continue to be a high priority for Air Force leadership, requiring the buy-in of the Air Force’s operational and life cycle management communities and the other Services that depend on USAF tankers. Should new operational requirements become necessary, the Air Force should assess the cost implications of re-opening the contract during the development phase versus upgrading the system through a modification program in the future. If they choose, OSD leadership and Congress could also play a stabilizing role in the near term by deliberately avoiding new guidance that delays the current schedule or changes authorized quantities.

Don’t Save Now To Pay Later.

The DoD acquisition system naturally emphasizes near-term costs more highly than relatively uncertain future costs. Boeing’s recent development losses will increase its incentives to find opportunities for close-in savings. The Air Force will need to evaluate the effects of such development cost reduction initiatives on the costs associated with operating and supporting the system over its multiple decades of service life. Experience has shown that operating and support costs can be substantial, even when one accounts for their timing in the future.

Red Team Future Production Pricing Vulnerabilities.

In the past, some programs have seen development losses recouped during production.As the Air Force enters negotiations for future production lots and sustainment activities, it will want to understand the details of mechanisms through which Boeing could potentially seek to recoup development losses later in the KC-46A life cycle. This includes careful analysis of the underlying costs of the system and the opportunities for cost improvement throughout production. While the cost of future production lots is capped, the challenge for the Air Force will be to limit contractor attempts to recoup development losses by driving production costs all the way to the not-to-exceed prices.

Each of these recommendations sounds simple and intuitive, yet they have proven challenging time and time again in execution of large and complex military system acquisition programs. Given the importance of the KC-46A program within its overall investment portfolio, the Air Force cannot afford to waver, and key stakeholders in OSD and Congress could play a critical role in bolstering and enabling the Air Force’s efforts to limit cost growth."

Laura Baldwin, a senior economist, Mark Lorell, a senior political scientist, and Obaid Younossi all are defense experts at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/09/rand-finds-little-hope-fixed-price-deals-control-costs/?utm_campaign=Breaking+Defense+Daily+Digest&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=22068735&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8Kj4gYakM0M35tCcAuSpcR1OthIrUoY_WF-KwqmBPOcc7lP7LTV7-bGQqEf9Ei7L7gUsowtqz022C7UPcais8G-PpduQ&_hsmi=22068735
 

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jsport said:
RAND Finds Little Hope Fixed Price Deals Control Costs
"Boeing costs of developing the KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft recently have risen by about $800 million to address problems with the integrated fuel system. That comes on top of the approximately $400 million cost of addressing wiring problems reported previously. Boeing is developing the KC-46A under a form of fixed price contracting; the cost to the Air Force for engineering and manufacturing development for this system is capped at $4.9 billion. So, to date, Boeing has had to absorb approximately $1.2 billion in cost overruns.

Industry experts assert Boeing took a calculated risk in its bid, willing to absorb some level of development cost overruns to win, thus ensuring that it remains relevant within the global market for tanker aircraft. Nonetheless, as the system progresses toward production and sustainment, the Air Force will need to stay the course, continuing to maintain close control over the development contract, and manage future contract negotiations for the KC-46A to ensure that losses during development are not recovered through future contracts.




The use of fixed price contracts to control cost growth during the development phase of weapon system acquisition has been tried before. A Defense Business Board analysis cites notable examples in the 1960s, as part of Total Package Procurement, including the C-5A, F-14, SRAM missile, Cheyenne Helicopter, LHA ship, and the F-111. Yet significant cost growth occurred within these programs, contributing to severe financial strain on two contractors.

The pendulum swung back toward cost-based contracts in the 1970s. Then in the 1980s, in response to cost growth in these cost-based development contracts, the Department of Defense (DoD) tried fixed price development contracts again for the A-12, V-22, F-14D, T-45, T-46, C-17, AMRAAM, and DIVAD programs. Significant cost growth occurred again, with another contractor in financial jeopardy. The A-12 program was particularly problematic, resulting in cancellation of the program and decades of litigation.




The pendulum again swung back toward cost-based contracts in the 1990s before fixed price development contracts again gained traction in the 2000s. The one constant across these decades and acquisition approaches was the presence of cost growth during development. RAND analyses of development cost growth across the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s found no significant change in cost growth across these decades. And a recent study by the Institute for Defense Analyses found no significant relationship between the type of contract and cost growth.




The prognosis is not hopeful .Looking across a wide range of weapon system acquisition case studies conducted over several decades at RAND, we are unable to find examples of fixed price contracts successfully reducing costs to the DoD associated with developing complex weapon systems. Sooner or later, through one mechanism or another, the government has ended up paying for much of the cost growth originally absorbed by the contractor, often during the production phase (or the program was cancelled or significantly cut back).

This does not necessarily mean that KC-46A will follow in the footsteps of prior programs, but the historical perspective does highlight the challenge the Air Force faces and suggests ways that it can shape its approach to the KC-46A program moving forward. In particular, experience suggests that the Air Force should pay particular attention to the following:

Hold The Line On System Requirements.

To date, the Air Force has successfully prevented changes to KC-46A system requirements, timing and funding to avoid opening the contract to further negotiation that could lead to higher costs to the Air Force. This should continue to be a high priority for Air Force leadership, requiring the buy-in of the Air Force’s operational and life cycle management communities and the other Services that depend on USAF tankers. Should new operational requirements become necessary, the Air Force should assess the cost implications of re-opening the contract during the development phase versus upgrading the system through a modification program in the future. If they choose, OSD leadership and Congress could also play a stabilizing role in the near term by deliberately avoiding new guidance that delays the current schedule or changes authorized quantities.

Don’t Save Now To Pay Later.

The DoD acquisition system naturally emphasizes near-term costs more highly than relatively uncertain future costs. Boeing’s recent development losses will increase its incentives to find opportunities for close-in savings. The Air Force will need to evaluate the effects of such development cost reduction initiatives on the costs associated with operating and supporting the system over its multiple decades of service life. Experience has shown that operating and support costs can be substantial, even when one accounts for their timing in the future.

Red Team Future Production Pricing Vulnerabilities.

In the past, some programs have seen development losses recouped during production.As the Air Force enters negotiations for future production lots and sustainment activities, it will want to understand the details of mechanisms through which Boeing could potentially seek to recoup development losses later in the KC-46A life cycle. This includes careful analysis of the underlying costs of the system and the opportunities for cost improvement throughout production. While the cost of future production lots is capped, the challenge for the Air Force will be to limit contractor attempts to recoup development losses by driving production costs all the way to the not-to-exceed prices.

Each of these recommendations sounds simple and intuitive, yet they have proven challenging time and time again in execution of large and complex military system acquisition programs. Given the importance of the KC-46A program within its overall investment portfolio, the Air Force cannot afford to waver, and key stakeholders in OSD and Congress could play a critical role in bolstering and enabling the Air Force’s efforts to limit cost growth."

Laura Baldwin, a senior economist, Mark Lorell, a senior political scientist, and Obaid Younossi all are defense experts at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/09/rand-finds-little-hope-fixed-price-deals-control-costs/?utm_campaign=Breaking+Defense+Daily+Digest&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=22068735&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8Kj4gYakM0M35tCcAuSpcR1OthIrUoY_WF-KwqmBPOcc7lP7LTV7-bGQqEf9Ei7L7gUsowtqz022C7UPcais8G-PpduQ&_hsmi=22068735
Would multi year defense budgets help?
 

NeilChapman

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Airplane said:
Would multi year defense budgets help?
Yes. The advantage of multi-year defense budgets would be no CR's. No new projects can be started under a CR.
 

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Lets try and focus this discussion on the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus please.
 

Airplane

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I don't want to go off topic, but with regards to the new tanker, what was the story with with the KC-10 Extender? Why didn't it replace the legacy tankers 25+ years ago? Why was it terminated after, what, 60 copies?
 

sferrin

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Airplane said:
I don't want to go off topic, but with regards to the new tanker, what was the story with with the KC-10 Extender? Why didn't it replace the legacy tankers 25+ years ago? Why was it terminated after, what, 60 copies?
Very good question as they're always in high demand.
 
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