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KC-46A Info

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StoleIt    337
9 minutes ago, Azimuth said:

Buddy of mine who is involved in the -46 program flew on the Aussie's KC-30 during Mobility Guardian.  He told me that "Boeing has a lot of catching up to do."  The fucking camera system on the KC-46 is in black/white whereas the KC-30 is in color.

Yeap, and the boom can't tell when/if he hits outside the receptacle. Genius design and the solutions Boeing offered up are far more entertaining.

Hopefully an IOTE guy can chime in but it sounds like another huge delay.

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3 hours ago, Prosuper said:

Not too much of a fan of the boomer not having to look at his receivers through his Mark 1 eyeballs.   

 

You can thank the Air Force for that one.

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Azimuth    353
2 minutes ago, MC5Wes said:

I thought it was using the 3D glasses like the Japanese 767.

 

Just in black and white.

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7 hours ago, Prosuper said:

Use the 737 top half of the fuselage mated with the new tooled 707 lower half add body tanks and plumbing. Use same landing gear as the R model. Try and slap some sense into engineers and procurement to use the KISS method. Not too much of a fan of the boomer not having to look at his receivers through his Mark 1 eyeballs.   

Dude, what?  No.

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SurelySerious    416
33 minutes ago, Azimuth said:

Just in black and white.

So we took technology already on the shelf developed for a partner nation...and made it worse?

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Tonka    115
6 hours ago, Azimuth said:

Buddy of mine who is involved in the -46 program flew on the Aussie's KC-30 during Mobility Guardian.  He told me that "Boeing has a lot of catching up to do."  The fucking camera system on the KC-46 is in black/white whereas the KC-30 is in color.

Catching up is valid, but the KC-30 is not amazing either... and it was late too.  It still has problems... Here it says it just reached FOC after they contracted for the aircraft in 2005?

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/181585/raaf-declares-final-operational-capability-for-kc_30a-tankers.html

It still doesn't have an impressive list of receivers yet.  Don't get me wrong, it is light years ahead of the KC-46, but I wouldn't buy the KC-30 either.

 

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Sprkt69    83
12 hours ago, Right Seat Driver said:

You can thank the Air Force for that one.

Was it another plan to save 10s of dollars by spending millions?

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Azimuth    353
12 hours ago, Tonka said:

Catching up is valid, but the KC-30 is not amazing either... and it was late too.  It still has problems... Here it says it just reached FOC after they contracted for the aircraft in 2005?

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/181585/raaf-declares-final-operational-capability-for-kc_30a-tankers.html

It still doesn't have an impressive list of receivers yet.  Don't get me wrong, it is light years ahead of the KC-46, but I wouldn't buy the KC-30 either.

 

Both the USAF Booms that I know (one retired, one that did the exchange to Australia) that flew on it, love it.  YMMV.

Edited by Azimuth

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Clark Griswold    506

Just my two cents but I felt a dual buy of KC-30s and KC-46s was actually the right option.  Former POTUS and SECDEF didn't think so but it had some merit, IMO...

http://blog.al.com/live/2009/08/why_two_tankers_may_be_better.html

The conventional arguments against it (fleet commonality, economy of scale, etc..) are great but when you have in reality only one supplier for a type of system, things get FUBAR.  

Giving Boeing actual competition in the heavy military aircraft market for USAF contracts would probably incentive their behavior / performance in the right direction, they have the US heavy military market cornered and they know it, they need a true competitor to keep them on point.

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sforron    36

In this situation, isn't all of the (financial) risk on Boeing at this point? The amount the gov will pay for development has a hard cap, and Boeing's delays have cost the company hundreds of millions as it exceeds that cap.

Buying two models might make sense if you have enough volume (or maybe something like we did in WWII, with multiple manufacturers building a common plan and competing on production efficiency), but does anyone really think the -46 buy is going to end up being nearly enough to replace the -135 in any significant sense? I doubt it.

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Heavywanabe    14
26 minutes ago, sforron said:

In this situation, isn't all of the (financial) risk on Boeing at this point? The amount the gov will pay for development has a hard cap, and Boeing's delays have cost the company hundreds of millions as it exceeds that cap.

Buying two models might make sense if you have enough volume (or maybe something like we did in WWII, with multiple manufacturers building a common plan and competing on production efficiency), but does anyone really think the -46 buy is going to end up being nearly enough to replace the -135 in any significant sense? I doubt it.

What i was told is that its just a gap filler until they develop something to replace all the 135's with. But the 135 was also just suppose to be a filler...... 

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StoleIt    337
40 minutes ago, sforron said:

In this situation, isn't all of the (financial) risk on Boeing at this point? The amount the gov will pay for development has a hard cap, and Boeing's delays have cost the company hundreds of millions as it exceeds that cap.

Buying two models might make sense if you have enough volume (or maybe something like we did in WWII, with multiple manufacturers building a common plan and competing on production efficiency), but does anyone really think the -46 buy is going to end up being nearly enough to replace the -135 in any significant sense? I doubt it.

From what I call of the original plan, the KC-X, Y, and Z. The KC-Y was supposed to be a second buy of the X to completely phase out the remaining KC-135s. And the KC-Z was supposed to be a larger KC-10 replacement.

But, we can see that ship has sailed since now the KC-46 is replacing the KC-10...so instead of using 1 KC-10 for a coronet we will need 3x -46s. Oh yea, and there will be less KC-46s at Travis and McGuire then there are KC-10's.

I'm sure this will all work out great, though.

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Azimuth    353
18 minutes ago, Heavywanabe said:

What i was told is that its just a gap filler until they develop something to replace all the 135's with. But the 135 was also just suppose to be a filler...... 

Filler? The -135 was built to keep up with SAC's new jet powered bomber, the B-52. The prop KC-97's weren't cutting it.

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Heavywanabe    14
25 minutes ago, Azimuth said:

Filler? The -135 was built to keep up with SAC's new jet powered bomber, the B-52. The prop KC-97's weren't cutting it.

The 135 was considered a interim tanker. Meaning literally a temporary gap filler until something else could be developed. 

This is what the 46 is also being called. Boeing is already working on a clean sheet design tanker. The link below has some neat history on the 135.

http://www.amc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/147243/development-of-the-modern-air-refueling-aircraft/

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sforron    36
24 minutes ago, Heavywanabe said:

Boeing is already working on a clean sheet design tanker.

Given they've spent ~10 years already turning an already mass produced cargo jet into a tanker (when a tanker version already existed), I can see that "clean sheet" development program providing job security for Boeing engineers for decades to come. At what point does someone say, "screw the KC-Y/Z, just build whatever you've got" because the -135s are getting harder and harder to maintain? Better replacement KC-46s that work (presumably) now, than KC-Zs that are 20% better but take 30 years to hit the flightline.

1 hour ago, StoleIt said:

From what I call of the original plan, the KC-X, Y, and Z. The KC-Y was supposed to be a second buy of the X to completely phase out the remaining KC-135s. And the KC-Z was supposed to be a larger KC-10 replacement.

But, we can see that ship has sailed since now the KC-46 is replacing the KC-10...so instead of using 1 KC-10 for a coronet we will need 3x -46s. Oh yea, and there will be less KC-46s at Travis and McGuire then there are KC-10's.

I'm sure this will all work out great, though.

I feel like having the KC-46s replace the -10s for an indeterminate period of time really kills the argument that there's a need for a "large" tanker versus a want for one. If we can do without a large tanker for the 20 years it's going to take to get the KC-Z, do we really need one? Obviously less effective/efficient on certain missions, but if we can work around it somehow and also streamline the fleet into one model, is there a need for a new development program?

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Clark Griswold    506

Related to the discussion of KC-X/Y/Z

Articles on stealth tanker / cargo aircraft...

http://www.nridigital.com/global-defence-technology/july-2017.html?wv=s%2FGlobal%20Defence%20Technology%2F3adead8f-dcd8-5ed1-849a-2e4cab33b0ce%2FGDT1707%2Ftankers.html

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/7012/the-air-force-desperately-needs-a-stealth-tanker

This discussion and these articles on a more "tactical" tanker raise the philosophical point of what is it exactly or mainly we want our air refueling aircraft to do?

To support CAPs near the fight thru LO or some self-protection in an A2AD environment?  To get aircraft to the theater with all their associated equipment and manpower in one quick movement?  To do conventional AR, strategic alert, cargo movement, aeromedical evacuation, etc... to an acceptable level in one platform with the lowest possible support cost and the right logistical footprint?  

All of these questions will drive different requirements, designs and costs and I think that they have not been really considered, we just take AR for granted and want it to do what it has been doing for 60+ years but cheaper, more with less and maybe with some new cool stuff.  

We're stumbling in this next attempt at acquisition / update of a current capability because we haven't really decided what that capability should be in the 21st century.

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magnetfreezer    113
7 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

This discussion and these articles on a more "tactical" tanker raise the philosophical point of what is it exactly or mainly we want our air refueling aircraft to do?

 

Avoid clouds, the sun, and neutral borders? 

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HU&W    603

How hard can it be to take an existing design, made for an airline industry that values efficiency, and stick a boom on it?  We somehow figured out how to do it 50 years ago. 

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Heavywanabe    14
25 minutes ago, HU&W said:

How hard can it be to take an existing design, made for an airline industry that values efficiency, and stick a boom on it?  We somehow figured out how to do it 50 years ago. 

Interesting enough the 707 was actually developed as a tanker first, then converted to a civilian airliner. 

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Clark Griswold    506
7 hours ago, magnetfreezer said:

Avoid clouds, the sun, and neutral borders? 

Understood but sometimes a tanker has to do what a tanker has to do...

But I think you get my point about what is it exactly the tanker is supposed to do as that will drive design, cost, etc...

Just my two cents but the 46 like the 35 for all of its flaws is a major part of the future AF and V1 on this project was 30 knots ago... let's mitigate the problems / limitations due to adapting an airliner to a military mission and press forward by acknowledging problems with the KC-46 total concept:

- We need to buy more keep lowering costs and while not planned, going ahead with a KC-46 buy of 325 aircraft to replace 425 KC-135s .  This will also give the medium size tanker force fleet commonality and lower logistical costs while putting new iron on the ramp.

- Acknowledge the KC-46 is not a suitable replacement for the KC-10 or Heavy / Strategic tanker mission, even when employed in numbers that can deliver the same capability for an assigned mission.  The AF and the Joint Team need a lower density high capacity heavy tanker / cargo aircraft for quick response and movement of initial forces into theater or for operating at extreme AR ranges (1000+ nm).   While this might be rewarding sub-par performance, a KC-777 with the same but improved AR systems from the KC-46 is a logical compliment and round out to the the USAF's AR force.

- Study and determine if a Tactical Tanker is worth the effort, if the CAF determines it is, let them define the requirements and fund that project.  

A future AR / Mobility strategy:

Robust  modern Medium AR capability, Focused Heavy AR / Mobility capability and limited Tactical AR capability to expressly compliment some assets .

Medium AR covered by the KC-46.

Heavy AR / Mobility covered by a KC-777.

Tactical AR covered by two systems - a KC-X LO system to compliment night 1 strikers with AR pre / post ingress AR and EW while on mission and a SOF focused AR / ISR unmanned system to compliment and support the MC-130s.

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Azimuth    353
7 hours ago, magnetfreezer said:

Avoid clouds, the sun, and neutral borders? 

Be on time, don't fuck up the rendezvous by having the WSO's try to do it.

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Homestar    360
10 hours ago, magnetfreezer said:

Avoid clouds, the sun, and neutral borders? 

Look, you can have two of those things. But three?

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sforron    36
5 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

A future AR / Mobility strategy:

Robust  modern Medium AR capability, Focused Heavy AR / Mobility capability and limited Tactical AR capability to expressly compliment some assets .

Medium AR covered by the KC-46.

Heavy AR / Mobility covered by a KC-777.

Tactical AR covered by two systems - a KC-X LO system to compliment night 1 strikers with AR pre / post ingress AR and EW while on mission and a SOF focused AR / ISR unmanned system to compliment and support the MC-130s.

I just don't see it realistically happening. The KC-46 might, just might, get produced in numbers large enough to replace the KC-135 (though I bet it will be more like a 3:5 basis rather than 1 for 1), but I really don't see Congress funding that, and then the development and production of two more tanker models. They like things that are all-purpose and "efficient."

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Clark Griswold    506
4 hours ago, sforron said:

I just don't see it realistically happening. The KC-46 might, just might, get produced in numbers large enough to replace the KC-135 (though I bet it will be more like a 3:5 basis rather than 1 for 1), but I really don't see Congress funding that, and then the development and production of two more tanker models. They like things that are all-purpose and "efficient."

You're probably right but one can hope.

My take on going all KC-46 is that it puts a fire under the ass of the USAF / Congress / Boeing to fix its problems and get it right.  

We're not going to have the same tanker force that was built to enable air delivered part of the Strategic Mission, get the fighters across the pond if the bear came over the hill and still have some to spare.  

But if we want a tanker force to get us to the fight and keep us in the fight if the dragon comes out in the Pacific and have some to spare for contingency X, the current buy won't cut it and a KC-46 only fleet won't do it.  We need a big tanker to go with the medium tanker.  

If development is a problem, go with a KC-30 / KC-45 since EADS has done that work in lieu of developing a KC-777 but negotiate a reciprocal buy of US systems to grease the political skids.

We buy 50 KC-30s at 180 mil a pop they (Europeans) buy 9 billion in US systems produced systems.  Germany needs to be on the build up and France has a backlog of defense spending, let's make a deal and get new iron on both sides of the pond.

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