FighterJock

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It would be heavily ironic if they just get the KC-767, it would give the same capability as the KC-46, but without all the mishaps, and delays.

Was the KC-46 not based on the 767 airliner anyway? It would certainly be interesting to see what route the USAF take with the Bridge Tanker.
 

totallyaverage

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Joking or not, the USAF has no interest in buying a tanker that has less offload capability than the KC-135R. The KC-767 has dramatically less fuel offload capability compared to the Stratotanker.

The 767-2C airframe was created rectify that problem, which Boeing recognized in the aftermath of the initial KC-X competition. The KC-46 is a much heavier aircraft than the KC-767, or the Advanced Tanker that Boeing bid for KC-X Round 1.

The baseline KC-767 also wouldn't meet USAF survivability requirements either, particularly in regards to EMP protection that is a major part of the KC-46 program.
 

TomcatViP

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View: https://youtu.be/PYZErjj22rE
The first Boeing KC-46A tanker built for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) recently refueled another KC-46A aircraft in the skies over Washington state.

The Japan-bound tanker also successfully received fuel in return.

“Refueling with the first Japan KC-46A is an important milestone for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force,” said Jamie Burgess, KC-46 program manager. “KC-46A is the world’s most advanced air refueling aircraft and has already transferred more than 42 million gallons of fuel to other aircraft globally through its boom and drogue systems.”

Japan is the KC-46 program’s first non-U.S. customer and is scheduled to receive its first aircraft this year.
 

DWG

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Waaaaait a minute. I thought JASF had KC-767s ? Why do they buy KC-46s, even more considering all the trouble they have ?

Politics

On top of which Boeing wouldn't want to be seen having customers who won't buy the aircraft USAF bought, so KC-767 vs KC-46 would be priced to encourage KC-46, not KC-767.

And that would actually be valid business and engineering wise as the only 767s being built are -200/-300 hybrids the KC-46 is based on, not the -200ER the KC-767 uses. I suppose the JASDF could have gone out and found some second-hand -200ERs, but it's unlikely to have been economic even if Boeing wasn't already committed to KC-46 production.
 

isayyo2

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So Boeing managed to create two different tankers with nothing in common, from the same aircraft - the 767.
:confused:
I'd imagine pilot training and at least sommmme parts have commonality. Japan can have a common training pipeline for KC-767, E-767, and now KC-46s. Their refueling hose & drogue systems will prove useful for their new F-35Bs and MV-22s, the original KC-767 are boom only.
 

TomS

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Waaaaait a minute. I thought JASF had KC-767s ? Why do they buy KC-46s, even more considering all the trouble they have ?

As mentioned above, the KC-46 has considerably more fuel. On bare numbers, it's 96 tons versus 72 tons. The difference in "give" is probably even larger.
 

totallyaverage

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The KC-46 also has more defensive capabilities than the KC-767, including a RWR (ALR-69A), LAIRCM, improved redundancies and fuel tank protection, as well as an autonomous threat avoidance system. Which may have factored into Japan's decision to buy them in 2016. Unfortunately I don't have any documentation regarding Japan's decision to buy the aircraft.

Makes some sense that they did though, seeing as the alternative was the A330, and split fleet buys are disliked for many reasons. The KC-46 does result in a semi split fleet, with many individual differences, but basic parts commonality is still appealing. The KC-46 should also fit existing JASDF infrastructure, unlike the A330 which would require significant amounts of new construction.

So Boeing managed to create two different tankers with nothing in common, from the same aircraft - the 767.
:confused:

Boeing designed the aircraft to meet USAF requirements. Which included equivalent or improved fuel offload capacity and improved defensive capabilities over the KC-135R. The KC-767 was designed to lesser requirements.

The requirements for KC-X Round 2 were totally reasonable, but Boeing underbid and proceeded to manage the program incredibly poorly.

So Boeing managed to create two different tankers with nothing in common, from the same aircraft - the 767.
I'd imagine pilot training and at least sommmme parts have commonality. Japan can have a common training pipeline for KC-767, E-767, and now KC-46s. Their refueling hose & drogue systems will prove useful for their new F-35Bs and MV-22s, the original KC-767 are boom only.

The KC-46 has a different cockpit than the KC-767, using the avionics from the 787. So there will be differences in pilot training.
 
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DWG

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The requirements for KC-X Round 2 were totally reasonable,

Well, reasonable in meeting Congress's clear signals that DoD shouldn't allow Airbus to win again, leading them to take out all the plus points that had advantaged the A330 in the original assessment.

but Boeing underbid

Which means that even with the assessment weighted towards them, Boeing weren't convinced KC-46 was good enough to win on its own merits.
 

TomcatViP

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Hard to say when their strategy proved to be resounding success on the Navy UAS tanker and USAF T-X.

Regarding Airbus, at the time, none of the technologies specific to the tanker version had flown, making pricing as awkward as any under-bidding.
 

DWG

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Regarding Airbus, at the time, none of the technologies specific to the tanker version had flown, making pricing as awkward as any under-bidding.

Neither had the Boeing advanced boom, and look where that ended up.
 

FighterJock

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Regarding Airbus, at the time, none of the technologies specific to the tanker version had flown, making pricing as awkward as any under-bidding.

Neither had the Boeing advanced boom, and look where that ended up.

Which reminds me, what fighters/bomber or cargo aircraft is the KC-46 cleared to refuel so far? I thought it was limited to the types of aircraft that it could refuel.
 

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Regarding Airbus, at the time, none of the technologies specific to the tanker version had flown, making pricing as awkward as any under-bidding.

Neither had the Boeing advanced boom, and look where that ended up.

Which reminds me, what fighters/bomber or cargo aircraft is the KC-46 cleared to refuel so far? I thought it was limited to the types of aircraft that it could refuel.


The KC-46 is certified, with varying restrictions, to refuel the B-52, C-17, F-15, F-16, F-35A, HC/MC-130J, E-3G, C-5M, RC/TC-135, F-22, B-1B and other KC-46 planes.

That's the bulk of the fleet (assuming the restrictions aren't crippling). The big problem child right now is the A-10, which apparently can't properly engage the boom because it's just too damn slow.

The KC-46 also seems to be cleared to fuel the Super Hornet and possibly other Navy aircraft using the centerline hose and drogue unit.
 

totallyaverage

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The requirements for KC-X Round 2 were totally reasonable,

Well, reasonable in meeting Congress's clear signals that DoD shouldn't allow Airbus to win again, leading them to take out all the plus points that had advantaged the A330 in the original assessment.

but Boeing underbid

Which means that even with the assessment weighted towards them, Boeing weren't convinced KC-46 was good enough to win on its own merits.
The second RFP also deleted requirements where Boeing beat EADS, such as basing requirements where the 767's smaller size gave it an advantage.

That RFP deleted hundreds of requirements and omitted any subjective evaluation of performance, which was one thing that GAO based their decision to overturn the selection of EADS on. Keep in mind that according to GAO, the Boeing bid satisfied "far more" of the RFP's desired features than EADS did.

The second RFP listed 372 mandatory requirements that a bid had to meet to be deemed compliant. These requirements would be evaluated against only the RFP, not each other; capability baseline was the KC-135R. If any two bids were within 1% on cost, an additional 93 requirements would be evaluated on a points system and compared.

Boeing underbid for a couple reasons. They felt they could take the hit in the near term and make it back later, and prevent EADS from winning on the back of any European subsidies, which EADS ultimately did not receive (and it would have been asinine for the company to think they could have gotten away with that anyway).

As for refueling clearances, the aircraft is cleared to refuel the F/A-18E/F/G via the centerline drogue system without any restrictions on operational missions. It is cleared to refuel the C-17, B-52,and other KC-46 on operational missions with certain restrictions.

Other aircraft certified for refueling, but not yet cleared for operational missions, are the C-5, HC/KC-130J, RC/TC-135,F-15, F-16, F-22, F-35A, and B-1B with varying restrictions. Certification for the V-22 is pending, and other aircraft such as the F-35B/C have not begun testing as if yet.

The Wing Aerial Refueling Pods are in operational test and should be delivered "soon," after they receive FAA certification, which turned out to be very problematic to receive and delayed all testing for several years.
 

isayyo2

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Since we're reaching back into history I thought I'd dig up some article and slides for everyone to enjoy.

From Flight Global 2006 (Surprisingly not pay-walled) https://www.flightglobal.com/pumped-for-action/68317.article
It is a sight some at Boeing have dreamed of since 1991, when the concept of a 767-based aerial refuelling tanker was first mooted. That year saw the final deliveries from the 707 production line and with it the symbolic dismantling of the cradle that produced hundreds of KC-135s. But it was not until February 1995 that Boeing officially announced the 767 tanker/transport, spurred on by interest from Japan, which earlier selected the twinjet as the basis for its airborne warning and control system.

Boeing put a permanent team in place to begin early development of what was to become the KC-767A tanker/transport in 1999. Launched by an Italian air force order for four aircraft in October 2002, and bolstered by a long-anticipated order from Japan the following March, the first aircraft rolled out in February 2005. Now, with flight tests near the halfway mark, the company is keenly aware the high-profile programme is under the microscope.

From a 2010 KC-45 slide show https://leehamnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/kc-45-press-lunch-slides-7-08-10.pdf
Screen Shot 2021-08-23 at 4.53.37 PM.png

And just for fun, a KC-777 slide circa ~2007 https://bemil.chosun.com/brd/files/BEMIL085/upload/2007/05/KC-777.pdf
Screen Shot 2021-08-23 at 4.54.38 PM.png
 

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DWG

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The second RFP also deleted requirements where Boeing beat EADS, such as basing requirements where the 767's smaller size gave it an advantage.

However it clearly deleted more requirements that favoured KC30 as the more capable aircraft - you just have to look at the reversed assessment to see that. NG (teamed with Airbus) took one look at the revised criteria and walked away from the contest, though Airbus decided to go it alone (there was value to Airbus over and above the contract value itself in winning, which wasn't true for NG, so the risk assessments would be different).

Boeing underbid for a couple reasons. They felt they could take the hit in the near term and make it back later, and prevent EADS from winning on the back of any European subsidies, which EADS ultimately did not receive (and it would have been asinine for the company to think they could have gotten away with that anyway).

Boeing knew very well that it gets an equally significant subsidy value (and Boeing's subsidy isn't repayable, while Airbus has to pay back launch aid), and that it would lose when the case got to WTO (as it did). Boeing gets a considerable propaganda value within the US from claiming its opponent is unfairly subsidised, but other than the US subsidy subsidising Boeing's underbidding, I'm not sure that Boeing underbidding on the grounds Airbus gets launch aid makes financial sense. (But then the whole subsidy fight since 2004 has been much more about propaganda value and Boeing lobbying than about monetary value).
 

TomcatViP

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Didn't they reach litigation? So, how can you present the facts so lightly.
Moreover, the doc above posted by @isayyo2 is an EADS (Airbus) document. I would like to see the flying refueling boom as it was in 2010

In 2005, the RAAF expected deliveries to begin in 2008 and end in 2010.[11] Deliveries fell two years behind schedule, partly due to delays in developing the boom.[12]

Source: wiki

Concurrent with acceptance of the first aircraft, DMO and Airbus Defence and Space agreed the principles of a
commercial settlement which, amongst other things, included a plan for remediation of all non-conformances, a
program of improvements to the Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and a re-baseline of the Contract
Milestone Dates. The commercial settlement was signed concurrently with acceptance of the third aircraft
(A39-004) in November 2011.
The prototype aircraft (MRTT#1) was accepted on 29 December 2011
[...]
The ARBS Qualification flight test program was successfully completed in July 2014 with Contractual
acceptance of the ARBS achieved in December 2014 as per the exit criteria for milestone 26A (Boom
Acceptance).
While delivery of an operational boom refuelling system has been significantly delayed, the capability impact
is not considered significant provided FOC can be achieved prior to the JSF aircraft entering RAAF service.
The United States has also provided approval for the Electronic Warfare Self Protection system to be
installed and tested (safety of flight and airworthiness only) in Australia, which will be completed by FOC.
See attached file
 

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totallyaverage

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However it clearly deleted more requirements that favoured KC30 as the more capable aircraft - you just have to look at the reversed assessment to see that. NG (teamed with Airbus) took one look at the revised criteria and walked away from the contest, though Airbus decided to go it alone (there was value to Airbus over and above the contract value itself in winning, which wasn't true for NG, so the risk assessments would be different).

And in the evaluation of the first RFP the Air Force completely ignored the requirements weighting stated in the RFP, crediting NG better for meeting requirements that the RFP weighted lower than the requirements Boeing met. The evaluation also credited NG for exceeding the fuel offload KPP when the RFP plainly stated that an offerer could not be credited for exceeding that KPP. These were two of the eight reasons GAO sustained Boeing's protest.

The Air Force evaluation also:

  1. Ignored the NG proposal's inability to meet both the required overrun and breakaway speeds during refueling operations in accordance with Air Force refueling procedures
  2. Conducted unequal discussions between the two bidders: after informing Boeing that they had fully satisfied the KPP regarding Net-Ready Capability, they later decided that Boeing had only partially satisfied the objective, and failed to inform Boeing of this change as required by acquisition regulations. On the other hand, NG was evaluated to only partially satisfy this KPP, and recieved continuous communication to address the matter.
  3. Ignored NG's refusal to commit to standing up initial organic depot capability within two years of delivering the first FRP aircraft.
  4. Made several errors calculating the military construction costs of the proposals that falsely concluded that NG would be cheaper over its life cycle.
  5. The evaluation improperly increased Boeing's non-recurring engineering costs, despite not finding said estimates to be unreasonable or improbable.
  6. It was also found that the assumptions behind the software models that the evaluation used to increase Boeing's projected costs were not substantiated to be reliable indicators of cost growth.
This is all lifted from the GAO protest decision, attached below. The second KC-X competition sought to eliminate the pitfalls that overturned the first, hence the RFP structured around mandatory requirements with no subjective evaluation unless the bidders were extremely close on cost. Which they may well have been, had Boeing not gone all-out to win.

Boeing knew very well that it gets an equally significant subsidy value (and Boeing's subsidy isn't repayable, while Airbus has to pay back launch aid), and that it would lose when the case got to WTO (as it did). Boeing gets a considerable propaganda value within the US from claiming its opponent is unfairly subsidised, but other than the US subsidy subsidising Boeing's underbidding, I'm not sure that Boeing underbidding on the grounds Airbus gets launch aid makes financial sense. (But then the whole subsidy fight since 2004 has been much more about propaganda value and Boeing lobbying than about monetary value).

The Boeing board was fully convinced that the subsidies threat was real. And yes, Boeing lost their subsidies case at the WTO...but so did Airbus. And is it really surprising anymore that Boeing's upper management would make a bad call based on personal biases and incomplete information?
 

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FighterJock

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US Air Force 157th Air Refueling Wing held the first KC-46 elephant walk at an Air National Guard Base in history on Sep. 8 at Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire.

View attachment 663958

Now that is better news for the KC-46, instead of all the negative news that we have been getting recently, the KC-46 doing it's first elephant walk down a runway. :cool:
 

Wyvern

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Conspirator

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dang..... with all the mishaps i feel like a KC135 could do better
 

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6746160e-99e1-48dc-8a83-6c78257560dd-1920-1080.JPG
 

FighterJock

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*sigh*
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SybJ55IuBz8&ab_channel=WhitesnakeTV

Who saw that one coming? Certainly not me that's for sure, Lockheed trying again with the A-330 tanker to go up against the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus. Let's see what happens this time round.
 

TomcatViP

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It's sad to see that a renown aerospace publication such as Flight global fail to see than an heavier a/c needs more fuel to fulfill the same mission:
KC-46 and MRTT have the same offload of fuel at mission range.
LMXT will embark 12t of extra fuel to offer better capacity as requested in the KC-Y RFI.
Question that FG should have assessed: how much less the KC-46 will need to embark as extra fuel to reach the same increase in capacity?


EDIT:
seems they made some modification. My bad if I jumped on the gun too quickly.
 
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Archibald

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Lockheed trying again with the A-330 tanker

Wasn't it Northrop Grumman ? And didn't this led to the Alabama, Mobile plant - except for A320s rather than tankers ?

Airbus "Hey Air Force - I have a bridge (tanker) to sold you..." :eek::eek:
 

FighterJock

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Lockheed trying again with the A-330 tanker

Wasn't it Northrop Grumman ? And didn't this led to the Alabama, Mobile plant - except for A320s rather than tankers ?

Airbus "Hey Air Force - I have a bridge (tanker) to sold you..." :eek::eek:

I can blame The Drive report that I read for that mix up Archibald, I did not look into it further.
 

Anduriel

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The boom system is used by the air force because it has more mass flow capability, which is better suited to large aircraft. I don't know the numbers off the top of my head, but if you tried refueling a B-52 or a C-5 with a probe and drogue, it would take a geological era (ok, maybe a bit of hyperbole...).
Russia uses probe and drogue system on Tu-160, Tu-95, and other heavy planes.
 

Archibald

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Lockheed trying again with the A-330 tanker

Wasn't it Northrop Grumman ? And didn't this led to the Alabama, Mobile plant - except for A320s rather than tankers ?

Airbus "Hey Air Force - I have a bridge (tanker) to sold you..." :eek::eek:

I can blame The Drive report that I read for that mix up Archibald, I did not look into it further.

Well to your credit it's rather confusing. Why Lockheed in place of Northrop Grumman ?
 

Wyvern

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Well to your credit it's rather confusing. Why Lockheed in place of Northrop Grumman ?
Possibly because Northrop Grumman is busy building the B-21 Raider, of which it is reported the first five have entered the final phase of production.
 

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Also, I think LMCO has the large transport aircraft experience where NGC does not, LMCO has tanker experience with C-130 variants and in general, probably more influence.
 
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