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Boeing KC-46 Pegasus

kitnut617

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sferrin said:
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.
Weren't they all converted civilian aircraft ---- ?
 

Airplane

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kitnut617 said:
sferrin said:
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.
Weren't they all converted civilian aircraft ---- ?
As I recall they were new build specifically for the AF. That's what I remember.
No one here knows anything about this subject? Usually you ask a question about why a plane was terminated and you get a lot of people chiming in.
The only thing I could learn online was from Wikipedia and sequestration nearly retired all of them but it was spared the budget axe.
If we had bought 300+ back in the 80s/90s we would have been better off and saved money.
 

marauder2048

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At a guess: KC-10 was a SAC program and competed with many other SAC (and Air Force) programs which had equal or greater strategic priority in the 80's.
By 1992, you were into the PCW budget drawdown and SAC's reorganization. In the meantime, the DC-10 had gone out of production.
 

sferrin

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marauder2048 said:
At a guess: KC-10 was a SAC program and competed with many other SAC (and Air Force) programs which had equal or greater strategic priority in the 80's.
By 1992, you were into the PCW budget drawdown and SAC's reorganization. In the meantime, the DC-10 had gone out of production.
I'd hoped at the time that they'd start converting MD-11s. They could have probably get a few (or more) early retirees.
 

TomS

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The end of the KC-10 program also coincided with the KC-135R re-engine programs, which probably made those tankers a lot more competitive with the KC-10 on deployment "drags."

Plus, the DC-10 commercial production line was switching to MD-11, so the cost to keep producing legacy KC-10s would probably have gone up considerably. Either support a production capability for DC-10 unique parts or convert new production to a "KC-10B" configuration based on the MD-11 at some non-trivial cost. And there were apparently reasons the MD-11 was a bad basis for a tanker:

http://www.avgeekery.com/why-wasnt-there-a-md-11-based-tanker/
 

Boxman

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The US was lucky to get sixty KC-10A it got.

By the time Jimmy Carter left office, only 12 KC-10s were funded and the plan was to buy no more than 20(!). This was after the Carter Admin. knocked down the number down from ~90 (as planned just before Ford left office) to ~40, and then down to 20 by the time JC left office.

Of course, Carter loses the 1980 election to Reagan and ultimately 60 were procured - which was closer to the initial plan (~70), when the Advanced Tanker and Cargo Aircraft (ATCA) program was conceived in the late-60s/early-'70s.

With respect to the KC-10A and KC-46A, I'm still gobsmacked over the USAF choosing to go with the P&W engines for the KC-46, rather specifying a GE CF6-80-variant as used by the E-4B, VC-25A, C-5M, and KC-10A already. I understand there may be a lower procurement cost up front, but it just strikes me as madness to create a whole new training, spares, and maintenance infrastructure for a new type of engine, when there was already one in place for the ~450+ engines already in service of a type that was perfectly suitable for the KC-X program.
 

Airplane

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Boxman said:
The US was lucky to get sixty KC-10A it got.

By the time Jimmy Carter left office, only 12 KC-10s were funded and the plan was to buy no more than 20(!). This was after the Carter Admin. knocked down the number down from ~90 (as planned just before Ford left office) to ~40, and then down to 20 by the time JC left office.

Of course, Carter loses the 1980 election to Reagan and ultimately 60 were procured - which was closer to the initial plan (~70), when the Advanced Tanker and Cargo Aircraft (ATCA) program was conceived in the late-60s/early-'70s.

With respect to the KC-10A and KC-46A, I'm still gobsmacked over the USAF choosing to go with the P&W engines for the KC-46, rather specifying a GE CF6-80-variant as used by the E-4B, VC-25A, C-5M, and KC-10A already. I understand there may be a lower procurement cost up front, but it just strikes me as madness to create a whole new training, spares, and maintenance infrastructure for a new type of engine, when there was already one in place for the ~450+ engines already in service of a type that was perfectly suitable for the KC-X program.
The whole of the defense procurement process is illogical. The lack of commonalty of the engines is just dumb. But what was the point in procuring so few advanced tankers when there were hundreds of tankers needing replacing?. Granted by 1985 a sizeable portion of the fleet was only 20 years old, but it was the golden age of the Reagan military build up. Considering the Extender has a drogue line to refuel more than USAF equipment, to buy so few was dumb.

All good info. I was always curious about the Extender.
 

overscan

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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?
It was a bigger aircraft and seen as complementary to the KC-135 fleet rather than a replacement I think.
 

CJGibson

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The UK MoD looked into acquiring the 10 ex-Laker Airways DC-10s for use as tanker transports around 1982/3. Opted to bail out British Airways and buy their TriStars.

This has become a rather interesting thread, especially the posts on the MD-11 and its non use as a tanker.

Chris
 

NeilChapman

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What I can find about 5-W's of KC-10

1972 - KC-135's deployed to Southeast Asia - not enough capacity.
1973 - Not enough tankers to support C-5 runs to Yom Kippur war. Israeli's were in a bad bind.
1973 - Advanced Cargo Tanker Aircraft Program
1977 - Boeing loses (yea!) MD winds - $28M awarded for production, tooling, non-recurring expenses

http://www.gao.gov/assets/130/125104.pdf
"the KC-10A is the equivalent of as many as 5 KC-135's."
"The program unit cost of the KC-10A is about $47 million."

1978 - $148M for first 2 KC-10's, balance of non-recurring expenses & spare parts awarded
1979 - $178M for next 4 KC-10's
1980 - 1st KC-10 Extender flying - Mods from DC-10-30CF. 88% commonality w/commercial jet
1981 - First Delivered to USAF
1981 - $284M for next 6 KC-10's - 5 in USAF Inventory
1982 - $196M for next 4 KC-10's - 11 in USAF Inventory
1983 - I think 24 purchased - 18 in USAF Inventory
1984 - - 25 in USAF Inventory

Lot's of good reading about KC-135/KC-10 decision making process in this report
https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/99th-congress-1985-1986/reports/85-cbo-018.pdf

https://books.google.com/books?id=IaH4-wFP_vsC&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=kc-10+FY84&source=bl&ots=FjK0zkJwg0&sig=z1UA4-P3OHNCDHWZWXyJ-IsWGLU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLxf2KhNvWAhXDayYKHYDiDcQ4ChDoAQgtMAI#v=onepage&q=kc-10%20FY84&f=false

CBO Report - "Purchasing 48 KC-10's would equal the capabilities offered by re-engining 288 KC-135A's"

1985 - - 36 in USAF Inventory
1986 - - 46 in USAF Inventory
1987 - - 56 in USAF Inventory
1987 - Gorbachev, Perestroika
1988 - - 58 in USAF Inventory
1989 - Malta, Gorbachev - H.W. Bush - "Cold War is Over"
1990 - - 59 in USAF Inventory
1990 - German Reunification
1992 - RNAF purchases qty 2 DC-10-30CF from Martinair - one crashes before delivery - third purchased and converted by MD&KLM
2010 - Contract to Boeing to upgrade 59 KC-10's
2013 - KC-10's MCR is 87%

Chronology of Tanker and Airlift Events - sobering reminder of how fundamental airlift/tanking is to US power projection.
http://www.amc.af.mil/Portals/12/documents/AFD-150827-032.pdf

Summary: What I see is that there were options to purchase 60. KC-10 had serious cargo capacity advantages as well as tanking capability. Boeing won the marketing battle for re-engining 135's over new purchase of KC-10's. Plus - there was now "world peace." ???

How short-sighted was that boondoggle? KC-10's were ~$50M a piece. Twenty-seven years later the USAF alots Boeing $4.9B for EMD for KC-46 (also based on a jet already in production) and they blow through that by over $2B. Forty years earlier MD did the same thing for $28 Million. That's the equivalent of ~$115M today according to the inflation calculator.

If there is a war in the Pacific they're going to wish they had the extra 150k lbs of fuel and cargo capability of the KC-10. The Pacific gas station is Guam and you can guess the oppositions plan for that farm.
 

bobbymike

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First KC-46 Tanker-to-Tanker Refueling Completed

A joint Boeing-USAF test team recently used one KC-46A to refuel another KC-46A for the first time. During a four-hour flight, the two tankers took turns refueling each other, reaching the aircraft’s maximum transfer rate of 1,200 gallons per minute. The tankers transferred a total of 38,100 pounds of fuel over the course of the flight, according to a Boeing press release. The successful test marked another milestone for the KC-46 as it moves through its certification process. The Air Force expects first deliveries of the Pegasus sometime next year despite recent concerns that the tanker’s boom could scrape stealth coatings off some receiving aircraft.

—Wilson Brissett
 

Flyaway

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/dubai-boeing-pitches-kc-46-tanker-to-middle-east-443215/
 

Flyaway

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Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker Delayed Again
Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
The U.S. Air Force is predicting that Boeing won’t deliver the first KC-46 tanker until late 2018, casting doubt on the defense firm’s ability to meet a contractual deadline that, if missed, likely would result in significant ...
http://m.aviationweek.com/defense/boeing-s-kc-46-tanker-delayed-again?
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/faa-clears-obstacle-to-kc-46a-delivery-in-october-450906/

On 2 August, the FAA approved Boeing’s exemption from the safety requirement, allowing the aircraft to be used on operational flights as scheduled after October.

The FAA’s approval requires the USAF to operate the KC-46A in domestic airspace with another crew member in the cockpit to physically monitor the pressure in the centre fuel tank during an in-flight refueling.

The exemption expires on 30 June, but Boeing plans to release a new software update that fixes the problem by then, the FAA says.
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeing-defense-grows-revenue-despite-another-kc-46a-453147/
Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s third quarter revenue grew 13.5% to $5.7 billion year-over-year, despite its KC-46A Pegasus tanker programme struggling with another delay and highest costs.

Boeing had anticipated delivering its first KC-46A aerial refueling tanker to the US Air Force on 27 October, but now says five unresolved category-1 deficiencies, including two related to sunlight glare on the camera that guides the aircraft’s refueling boom, mean it will not be delivered until sometime in November or December. The Chicago-based aerospace manufacturer was contracted to deliver the first batch of 18 KC-46s by August 2017, but missed that deadline after production issues.

Growing revenue in the defence division was primarily driven by increased sales of government satellites, KC-46A tankers and F/A-18 fighters, as well as unnamed weapons products, Boeing says. In September, the USAF awarded Boeing a $2.9 billion contract for 18 additional KC-46A tanker aircraft, bringing the total number of tankers ordered to 52.

[snip]
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeing-receives-contract-to-build-japan-a-second-kc-454251/

Interesting.
 

Archibald

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Can somebody explain me why aerial tankers offload a maximum of 1500 gallon / minute of kerosene ? How was this number fixed ? it seems to be similar for all three generation of tankers - KC-135, KC-10, KC-46. Is it a technical limit ?
 

Hobbes

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They standardized the boom interface to make sure any tanker could refuel any aircraft. You don't want to rebuild your entire fleet when a new tanker is introduced.
 

LowObservable

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Consider that the plumbing on the receiver has a limit too. So (hypothetical) if you decided that your new tanker could deliver 2,500 gal/min and your new airplanes could receive that, you'd need a rate setting on the tanker so as not to overload the receiver, and sooner or later someone would set it wrong.
 

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https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-news/2019/01/10/boeing-delivers-first-kc-46-but-fixes-to-technical-problems-still-years-away/
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-accepts-boeing-kc-46a-air-tanker-after-years-of-454933/
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/kc-46a-debuts-as-boeing-reveals-rapid-delivery-plan-455277/
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-boeing-plays-catch-up-with-kc-46a-deliveri-455375/
 

Grey Havoc

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Via HP&CA: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-stops-boeing-kc-46-deliveries-for-second-time-a-457160/
 

kitnut617

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If all this FOD is being left inside these few USAF aircraft, what about the thousands of civilian aircraft rolling off the production line ?
 

Grey Havoc

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A good question, though it has been suggested that this is the result of deliberate sabotage.
 

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Here are my photos from Le Bourget back in June of McConnell's finest at static at the Boeing chalet area. Not sure if it is the fifth production model.

Cheers

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