Corporate Website updated wk/8-19

(Due to technical difficulties, our update on the Corporate Website was temporarily requiring a password to access this week’s Commentary. This was resolved at 0900 PDT.)

Our Corporate Website has been updated for the week of August 19. Today we talk about–what else, these days–the USAF KC-X program.

With all the talk about the prospect of Boeing offering a tanker based on the 767-400 or 777-200F, we pull together thoughts about this and a table comparing the KC-135, KC-767AT, KC-30, a “KC-764,” a KC-777 and the KC-10.

We also talk about the prospect of Boeing doing a “no-bid” in response to the Amended Draft RFP, or filing a protest against the Final RFP, which is expected this week. And there is more.

Byran Corliss of the business magazine Washington CEO (as in Washington State, not that “other Washington,” as we say here on the West Coast) has a short commentary that is inflammatory to locals but absolutely true. He writes that Boeing doesn’t need the tanker business. (Boeing has acknowledged that, financially, it would be small potatoes, but officials do want the business.) Corliss also comments on the current labor negotiations. Corliss used to cover Boeing for The Everett Herald before joining CEO.

5 Comments on “Corporate Website updated wk/8-19

  1. Scott,

    You might want to change the title of your weekly update. It has 747-400 in the title instead of the intended 767-400.

  2. Scott,
    Good paper, well balanced. Re-check your ranges on the KC-135 & KC-10. From the USAF fact-sheets available at, the KC-135 has a max range of 11,015 statute miles (9,572 NM) without cargo, and the KC-10 (full fuel load – w/o cargo) of 11,500 statute miles (9,993 NM). I know that for the KC-10 and KC-135, they have to t/o with less fuel than max fuel when carrying cargo. I don’t know about the 767, 777, or 330.

    What about the protest that was upheld on the KC-30’s seeming inability to demonstrate that it could perform the breakaway and overrun procedures for the fast moving USAF receiver aircraft. Near as I can tell, NG could not provide documentation that the KC-30 could attain those speeds, or accelerate as quickly as required. Is the 330 not certified to fly that fast? Has it not been tested at those speeds?

    Size has two measures in my mind. MTOW being one, and wingspan/length being another. I like to point out that the footprint (wingspan x length) of the KC-10 is smaller than the KC-30, yet the KC-10 can carry more than 100,000 pounds of fuel than the KC-30. Footprint does play into tanker operation, just as much if not more than MTOW limitations. If you look at how much fuel each aircraft carries per square foot of footprint, you get a very interesting comparison.
    (In order of size of footprint)
    KC-135 – 11.22 lbs/sqft
    KC-767AT – 8.13 lbs/sqft
    KC-10 – 11.86 lbs/sqft
    KC-330 – 6.55 lbs/sqft

    To make an analogy, suppose they were looking to replace the C-130 transport. One bidder bid a plane a little bit larger than the C-130 and could carry the same number of pallets as the C-130. The other bidder bid a plane slightly larger than other USAF other transport – the C-17. However, this larger aircraft bid could not carry as much as the C-17 – by a large margin. It did however carry 25% more than the C-130. I think most of us (other than the bidder and their supporters) would say that the larger plane doesn’t get you enough given its larger size, especially when we have planes that large already that can carry so much more. In my eye’s it’s the same thing with the KC-30 and the KC-10. I’m not getting enough additional fuel given that it is physically larger than the KC-10. For the KC-30’s size, I should be getting as much fuel as the KC-10

  3. We noted the still air, no cargo range of the KC-135 and KC-10, as noted by GasPasser, and not only believe this methodology to be irrelevant but the other airplanes use payload-range calculations, so that’s what we looked for and found for the -135 and -10. We tried to do an apples-to-apples to the extent possible with full payloads.

    As for the other questions related by GasPasser, we’ve not pursued these in our research.

  4. Scott,
    Would it then be safe to assume that either/both the KC-767 & KC-30, when fully loaded with fuel (as proposed) and zero pax/cargo are not at MTOW? If that is true for the 767AT, then it seems to me that Boeing has the ability to increase it’s fuel carrying capability pretty easily (at the expense of runway TO performance and underdeck storage). By trading cargo capacity for fuel capacity would Boeing not get higher scores in the amended RFP than if they changed nothing?

    After all, tankers are tankers first and pax/cargo haulers 2nd. We’re not freighters or airliners that happen to be able to pass gas. We’re gas stations that happen to be able to haul pax and/or cargo.

  5. Well, gosh, does Airbus need the A330 work much either – it too is selling many commercial airliners.

    As for range of aircraft, do ensure the various versions of the KC-135 are kept separate as range is highly leveraged on the engine type.

    The original, turbojet.
    The E model, re-engined and upgraded with parts from scrapped 707-300C airliners.
    The R model, re-engined with the CFM-56 as used on 737-300 and later models, and on the DC-8 70 series (re-engined 60 series).

    As for tanker need, sure would have helped if USAF had replaced the 8 B-52 engines with 4 of the 757 types (IIRC, both Rolls and Pratt proposed that – which might eliminate refuelling on many B-52 missions).

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