EADS: decision within days on tanker

Update, March 29: Airbus CEO Tom Enders now says a decision will be made in two-three weeks.

Original Post:

Geneva, Switzerland: EADS will decide within days whether to pursue a bid on the KC-X tanker program, this column has learned.

The Pentagon has yet to officially decide whether to grant a 90 day extension so EADS can be fully briefed on what is necessary to make a bid, something that Northrop Grumman had previously done as the prime contractor. EADS needs to be brought up to speed on everything Northrop learned during the previous effort to bid on the tanker.

Contrary to the histrionics of those complaining about the prospect of a 90 day extension, this is not unknown in DOD procurement.

Indications are that the DOD will grant an extension.

43 Comments on “EADS: decision within days on tanker

  1. This is another stalling and or negotiating tactic or a chance to try to capitalize on political gain.

    It is quite evident to everyone in the know that they could never bid this successfully since their plane would either be too expensive or a redesigned one that could never gain approval.

    EADS is enabling France to posture and complain. The farce should not continue much longer

    • Evidently, you are not in the know.

      Any reasonably informed person “in the know” would recognize that the current production economics of the 767 (one per month) is inferior to the A330 (8 per month). In fact, even with all R&D written off, producing only one 767 frame per month is not really economically sustainable in the long term (i.e. The fixed production cost as a percentage of total production costs is significantly higher for the 767 than for the A330).

      Also, any reasonably informed person “in the know” knows that one of the reasons for the fact that “the bigger the plane, the higher the margins”, is that most systems and avionics on a LCA don’t scale similarly to the way LCA structures scale as an aircraft “grows”. For example, the cockpit systems and onboard avionics on a 747-8 doesn’t cost 6 times more than that of the 737-700, even though the list price is some six times higher on the larger aircraft. Similarly, on the 767 and A330, the costs of onboard systems and avionics are about the same while the engines are about 5 percent cheaper on the 767. However, one should note that the additional structure required on order to build an A330 (over a 767) is still among the cheapest parts of a LCA. Combined with an eight hundred percent higher production rate and the much higher production efficiencies achieved at that rate, it’s therefore not surprising that the current production costs of the A330-200 is in the same ballpark as the 767-200.

      “This is another stalling and or negotiating tactic or a chance to try to capitalize on political gain.”

      Nonsense

  2. EADS wants an extension to accomplish two things:

    1. Get the basic requirements of the RFP changed to favor the larger aircraft; and
    2. “Wait out” the democrat controlled congress.

    Gates testified before Congress the other day and declared that DOD “has no intention to change the requirements” of the tanker RFP. Will this influence EADS’ decision?

    • “Get the basic requirements of the RFP changed to favor the larger aircraft”

      No, as explained by Scott Hamilton and others, EADS wants to get the same briefing that was provided earlier (before final RFP) to NG (and Boeing) on the method USAF will use to score the total evaluated price (Offer +/-) IFARA, Milcon and fuel burn etc). Is that to much to ask for, or are you nervous that EADS might in fact be highly competitive on the KC-X bidding?

      Without NG in the game, EADS can basically offer the basic Australian KC-30 (with cargo door and raised nose gear if required) with a 51 percent US content (some existing systems outsourced to US tier 2 manufacturers) to the USAF at a lower price than last time around as NG is no longer around (and the required 10-15 percent profit margins). This means that very little developmental costs are required while Boeing on the KC-767 needs to develop that 1200 gallon-per-minute offload boom as a starter…..

      ” “Wait out” the democrat controlled congress.”

      Typical “grassy-knoll-type conspiracy theory. As I said, with all due respect, in an earlier response; Get a life! 😉

      • EADS is trying to stall for time. They can read polls as easily as anyone else. A 90 day extension, plus a 60-90 day evaluation period would put the award smack in the middle of the congressional elections. This is an obvious gambit. The bulk of tanker funding (assuming no protest, and that is probably too much to hope for) would probably require a supplemental. The Dems are watching their majority warily at this point.

        As to wanting the basic requirements changed, EADS has been quite vocal in the press since the RFP was released. The extension is merely the first step towards a “full court press” in lobbying for these changes.

      • It’s ludicrous to believe that EADS could put together a credible offer in the short time remaining until May 10. They need, among other things, a new US-based sub-contractor to do part of the work that originally NG had envisaged undertaking.

        This is a fact, but facts to seem to be subordinate to you as you seem to want the KC-767 to prevail at all costs. The way in which Boeing’s supporters argues indicates that they believe that it is of the “utmost importance” to force the DoD to basically run out the clock come May 10th.

        It would be interesting to observe how much clout Dicks, Tiahrt & company would have after a 2nd win by the KC-30. A congressional forced annulment of an EADS KC-45 contract based purely on protectionist reasons, would likely have a long term detrimental impact on US/EU trading relationship. Perhaps the executive brance of the US government would have a different view on the larger scheme of things than the narrow interests projected by primarily by the congressional delegations from Kansas and Washington.

        As to your last point, primarily it is NG which has been “vocal” in the press and not really EADS. Sure, they have reiterated the seeming fact that the RFP is essentially a price shootout, and not a best value competition, but this opinion has been shared by most observers. Stating that EADS is “lobbying” for this and that looks more like a disinformation campaign on your part, in order to smear the company as one which “is not to be trusted” (etc, etc…).

      • OV-99, give it a rest. EADS has not said they won’t compete if the requirements are not changed but they have been quite vocal in saying they want them changed. Here is a summary of EADS position from Aviation Week on March 23.

        “In their statement March 19, EADS reiterated its long-standing objections to the structure of the competition, which they say favors Boeing’s smaller 767 proposal over the Airbus A330-based option. “While this is a positive sign that the DOD seeks competition, it does not address EADS’ underlying concerns that the [request for proposals] clearly favors a smaller, less capable aircraft, and that the additional combat capability offered by our system may not be fully valued,” according to an EADS statement.”

        Obviouisly EADS wants to have the RfP changed and is still pushing the Pentagon to change them. SecDef Gates however, has been equally blunt that he won’t changed them. So at this point what we are really looking at the requirements will not change and the Pentagon is willing to grant an extension of between 30 to 90 days. Typically an extension of 30 to 45 days is easily grantable for most government contracts and regulatory activities. As the request extends in length of time though the more unlikely it is to be granted. In order to avoid being smack dab of the election, I personally think they will go for something in the middle say 45-60 days.

        As far as the Australian MRTT goes, how have plans changed with the departure of NG. NG said the curent Austrailian MRTT meets 80 percent of of the 372 mandatory requirements. Wether EADS or NG is the prime the Australian MRTT requires a number of changes to meet the mandatory USAF requirements. The cost to modify the Australian MRTT to meet these requriements is the same regardless of whether or not NG is the prime. The biggest difference though being that NG will no longer demand the profit level associated with being a prime contractor when they where only doing the work load of a subcontractor, so EADS can save on those costs and possibly accept a higher level of risk that NG was willing to do.

      • Hi John.

        Sorry, I can’t see that much of difference in what I wrote compared with your quote from AW&ST. EADS is just stating the obvious that this is not a best-value competition. No “threats”, or anything. Also, the word “Vocal” , as I interpreted it — NB: Not trying to start a semantic quibbling here 😉 — was used to imply that (the “evil”) EADS somehow intends to coherce the DoD in such a way that they eventually will get what they want (RFP changes). Now, NG was indeed “vocal”. Last year they threatened to pull-out, and then after the release of the RFP, they carried through with their “threat”.

        “Obviouisly EADS wants to have the RfP changed and is still pushing the Pentagon to change them.”

        Wanting something is different to realistically getting it. Clearly, EADS would’ve liked more of a best-value competition, but are realistic enough to realise that major changes to the RFP at this point in time is not realistic. Perhaps a few changes are, such as the requirement for training sorties and lots of touch-and-gos with a corresponding higher fuel burn (compared to when flying at altitude), which not only misrepresents actual operations, but also clearly favours a smaller and lighter frame in the fuel consumption department. Not giving a larger, more capable aircraft credit is one thing, but to directly handicap the bigger aircraft in an unrealistic training scenario where practising to land the vehicle (up to 8 times per sortie) is seemingly deemed more important than actual refueling excercises at FL250, is a whole different matter altogether.

        “As far as the Australian MRTT goes, how have plans changed with the departure of NG. NG said the curent Austrailian MRTT meets 80 percent of of the 372 mandatory requirements.”

        EADS can use more in-house developed military systems instead of the previous envisaged large scale use of NG’s military systems. One should note that EADS is a far more credible offeror now, than what it was in 2005 when it partnered with NG. That the DoD regards EADS as “qualified” to submit an offer as a prime contractor is a proof of that.

        “The biggest difference though being that NG will no longer demand the profit level associated with being a prime contractor when they where only doing the work load of a subcontractor, so EADS can save on those costs and possibly accept a higher level of risk that NG was willing to do.”

        Correct!

      • Following up on the story that a 90 day extension is not a political game plan, here’s the story from Reuters corroborating my earlier assertions:

        http://www.forexyard.com/en/news/ANALYSIS-EADS-nearing-decision-to-bid-for-tanker-work-2010-03-26T160426Z-US

        “What’s more, there is much to suggest that EADS will follow through with a bid, now that it has been granted prime contractor status by the Pentagon and is on the verge — according to several sources — of receiving a 90-day extension that would give it time to examine classified documents critical to a tender.”

  3. I believe EADS could put in a very competitive bid.
    Bearing in mind that their original price to NG would have carried a margin for EADS North America, a new price submitted direct would be lower due to the fact that no margin for NG has to be accounted for.
    The US content would be just as high, but probably at an overall lower price.
    Very bad new for Boeing, as it will definitely squeeze them on price more so than when NG gave out their previous bid price, which set a bench mark that probably will now be up to 15% lower.

  4. In my opinion, the only reason EADS is still in this game is to put pressure on the Boeing margins from this deal. Also this move would make DoD look ‘good’, as there will be a flavour of competition.
    If EADS do not realise that there is no hope in hell of getting even a part order from this RFP, they need their heads re-examined.

    • There is maybe no hope in hell but some hope in Congress cleaned by Health Care. So there is still hope for USAF to get the best aircraft available.

    • UKAir,

      I find myself agreeing with you! The Air Force wants a tanker, not a multipurpose transport. Both the 767 and A330 based designs are superb aircraft. I think we can both agree on that. But for the KC-X, I believe they want more of a tanker. And the political climate in America just will not allow an EADS award, especially after the WTO ruling. I think that EADS will see the cards dealt to them and fold.

      • “And the political climate in America just will not allow an EADS award, especially after the WTO ruling. “

        If DoD extents the deadline, we might hear something about the other WTO case against the US according to tax breaks. So, wait and read.

        “But for the KC-X, I believe they want more of a tanker.”

        Just try to find out if your belief coincides with what Air Force writes.

        – KC-X: THE NEXT MOBILITY PLATFORM —THE NEED FOR A FLEXIBLE TANKER –
        “Without the tanker fleet, there needs to be more airlifters in the system to accomplish the same velocity and capacity of cargo delivery.”
        http://www.amc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-070227-044.pdf

        – The Imperative for a New Tanker Now –
        “In some circumstances, it may be more efficient to employ air refueling aircraft strictly in an airlift role.”
        “Tanker augmentation of these airlift missions offers the potential to fully exploit the capabilities of the tanker fleet.”
        http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2009/October/Documents/Tanker%20Imperative%20Paper_Sep%2009.pdf

        Both aircraft may be equal at aerial refueling but for airlift the A330-200 is far better. But even according to aerial refueling you can find two statements within the GAO report:

        “[…] better aerial refueling efficiency (more pounds of fuel offload per pound of fuel used) than Boeing’s[offer];”

        “The SSET calculated a fleet effectiveness value of 1.79 for the KC-767, and a higher (superior) value of 1.90 for the KC-30.”

      • According to the link I submitted earlier, a major owner of EADS, through its subsidiaries, is going to plead guilty of a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It also states that Daimler, a major shareholder of EADS, bribed officials in 22 other countries. Compound this news with earlier news about BAE’s bribery and guilty plea, one wonders what kind of culture of EADS really has? And I read today that DOD is going to grant them prime contractor status and allow them access to classified information on the tanker bid!

      • Come on, this “linkage” of yours is utterly ridiculous.

        As for “linking” BAE and EADS; it’s equally as absurd. If this is supposed to be the “last stand” in preventing EADS to bid, then I’m afraid you’re fighting a “lost cause”.

    • The Chinese worried about bribery?? That’s like saying somebody is going to get skinny eating at McDonald’s.

  5. Interesting analysis from Reuters (quotes from Scott H. as well):

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKN2614563220100326?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

    “The prospect of a sole-source award to Boeing has also been worrying to some lawmakers and top Pentagon officials, given that an earlier sole-source deal with Boeing collapsed in the biggest Pentagon procurement scandal since the 1980s. Against that backdrop, U.S. defense officials offered EADS, coveted “prime contractor” status, or permission to lead a bid. This is not only more lucrative but puts the European company in an inner circle of strategic defense players on a top priority acquisition. EADS has so far only led projects for U.S. Army and Coast Guard helicopters.”

  6. Doesn’t it sound absurd that the US would contract with a EADS to build its Tanker. When Northrop was in the picture there was at least an American presence.

    Did EADS invite the US to bid on the A400?

    Underneath all this “logical” argumentation by OV-099 is an effort to present a convincing story that they can provide a better plane at a better price. This is sheer speculation and cannot be substantiated. In addition the RFP does not call for a multipurpose plane which EADS insists we need.

    It is really stretching the American Political and Military system to ask it to accomodate this request . Call it whatever you wish, EADS had the opportunity to bid. It chose to do it with Northrop. It also could have bid the contract alone. The time for the bidding is drawing to a close. There was no provision for an extension. This is all a ruse

    • As ever you are comparing apples to … sour grapes ?

      There are aquisitions that are open to competitive bidding.
      Then there are those that are not, Either way, usually selected
      on political reasoning.

      If you first announce open international competitive bidding
      and later try to reverse this via massively loading the selection
      process towards your preferred supplier you loose a lot of respect
      _and_ your position to intervene elsewhere from moral high ground.

      As it is the whole unpleasant process is demasking US Free Trade
      attitudes as being hard limited to serving self interest.
      No moral high ground there, a historic constant that gets more
      and more public exposure internationally. ( and the Reds where right all along 😉

  7. “Doesn’t it sound absurd that the US would contract with a EADS to build its Tanker. When Northrop was in the picture there was at least an American presence.”

    Well, EADS North America must demonstrate that there’ll be least a 51 percent US content in terms of work share value in case they win the contract. Plenty of American “presence” there.

    “Underneath all this “logical” argumentation by OV-099 is an effort to present a convincing story that they can provide a better plane at a better price.”

    A better plane with the price tag being in the same ballpark as the smaller, less capable plane. Better deal if you ask me. 😉

    “This is sheer speculation and cannot be substantiated.”

    If you want to believe that, fine.

    “In addition the RFP does not call for a multipurpose plane which EADS insists we need.”

    I’d suggest you read that RFP again. The DoD will give more credit to a larger multirole aircraft if the offeror’s bids are within 1 percent of each other. Also, the KC-767 is multirole as well. It’s just less capable.

    “It is really stretching the American Political and Military system to ask it to accomodate this request .”

    Not really. If anything, it’s “stretching” the special interest groups in Kansas and Washington. The American military industrial complex live fatly off exports. They’ll only feel the “stretch” in case tit-for-tat protectionism would be the name of a new transatlantic game.

    “Call it whatever you wish, EADS had the opportunity to bid. It chose to do it with Northrop.”

    No, as I’ve explained, they couldn’t do that last time around. Now, the KC-30 is much more mature, and EADS has gained additional credibility in the US on other programmes (UH-72A).

    “The time for the bidding is drawing to a close. ”

    Says who?

    Quote: “What’s more, there is much to suggest that EADS will follow through with a bid, now that it has been granted prime contractor status by the Pentagon and is on the verge — according to several sources — of receiving a 90-day extension that would give it time to examine classified documents critical to a tender.”

    http://www.forexyard.com/en/news/ANALYSIS-EADS-nearing-decision-to-bid-for-tanker-work-2010-03-26T160426Z-US

  8. Let me state first that I am Dutch, but I`d like to think I am neither pro Boeing nor pro Airbus.

    I have been folowing the posts on this website for quite some time now, and I really don’t understand what all the fuzz is about.

    If EADS think they can offer a more capable plane for the same money, let them! And if it turns out to be more expensive than the 767 well at least you’ve had some pressure on Boeing to keep the price down. A win-win situation for the American taxpayer I think.

    As of all the other arguments, they are all outdated:

    Buy american: both planes will be build in the US, and both planes will have an international subcontractor network.

    Jobs: Both planes will generate jobs inside as well as outside the US

    Illegal subsidies & bribes: I think nobody is innocent when it comes to this matter.

    Protectionism: maybe from the exception of France, everybody here in europe is flying a mix of american and european fighters, cargo planes, tankers, helicopters, etcetera, with the balance slightly to the american side. So to say that the europeans won`t buy american is nonsense.

    Its not about being pro-boeing nor pro-airbus, but about being pro-US. If EADS can make a more capable plane for the same price, GREAT. And if not, you get a cheaper plane that does what you want it to do, also GREAT.

  9. OV-099 It is clear that you are a professional and well versed in the agumentation of this Contest.

    There is no need to continue this discourse as I have my opinions and clearly wish Boeing to be the sole source contractor.

    We both know that there are many levels of both miltary and political influence working this bid. This is a long and unfortunate story. Referring to the past and the Procurement issue just touches on the complexity and difficulty of doing business in this area and its history.

    We both know the politics that brought/ assisted Northrop to win the Second Contest. It was no surprise that John McCain had several Northrop people on his Presidential Campaign Staff.

    So, in essence, this is thick with Lobbyists, Politicians and others who have been at the trough for quite a while. You may well be one of them.

    It is my humble opinion that the present RFP calls for a Tanker that Boeing can provide in size and mission that will justify the choice of the 767.
    This is what the USAF asked for. Why others should start informing us that this request is inadequate is just another form of intrusive politics.

    This will never stop if these accomodations continue. I think this story is long enough and should come to an end.

    There will be another contest for the Multipurpose Plane needs.

    • It’s fair enough in wanting Boeing to be sole source provider for the KC-X. The problem though, is that Pandora’s Box has long since been opened. If Boeing originally had offered the DoD a more “reasonable” price on those 100 leased tankers, and if Darleen Druyun & “friends” had been less tricky, the tanker recapitalization program would in all likelihood have remained a sole source programme for Boeing. When that initial “effort” failed so spectacularily, the most influential lawmakers had already demanded a competition for the new tanker aquisition programme. However, if the US at the time had had a national debate on what competition “means” and what exactly is essential to the national interests of the US regarding its industrial base, perhaps more lawmakers would have balked at “inviting” EADS into the game. “Expelling” EADS at this late point in the game would only backfire on the US.

      Quote:
      ————————-

      darleen repeatedly came at us on price througout the discussion. said she went back to KC-10 deal, and observed that we offered the green a/c at approx. 35% discount off of list price. noted that our webpage list price for a green 767 was “approx.- $100M (actually, its a range from $100-$112M). if this is her benchmark, we aren’t in too bad shape based onthe little i know.

      also noted that the SPO (bob marks) was around for and Involved in the KC-10 deal as well as for C-32 and Gulfstreamlease discussions – lots of experience.

      darleen told us several times to keep in mind that EADS proposed price on green A330 was $5 – $17 cheaper than green 767

      darleen is fearful/concemewd with sen. mccain, prospect of sasc hearings, etc, etc. [note: rudy, we can probably do ourselves alot of good and also help air aorce confidence by putting together a “mccain/sasc” strategy – led by sen. roberts, etc, etc. in general, i just think the air force hopes to see and hear more vocal tanker support coming from hili — particularly some “counter battery” fire every time sen. mccain attacks the program or the air force]

      pogoarchives.org/m/cp/cp-04012002-AEllis.pdf

      ————————-

      Now, when one looks at Boeing’s outsourcing strategies during the last three decades or so, I’m not so sure that it’s really in the “best interest” of the US industrial base to keep Airbus out. What one easily forgets, is the fact that US based aerospace sub-contractors are competing with tier-2 manufactureres from Asia (especially Japan), all of whom are subsidized to an extent that is basically unheard of in Western Europe (Government grants, no RLI). On the 787, Boeing had no problems taking full advantage of this, so one can easily argue that this strategy is to the detriment of US suppliers. Airbus, on the other hand, has gradually grown the US content of their aircraft to the extent that an A380 with GP-7200 engines are close to a 50 percent US-made content level. In fact, European-based suppliers have for some time been complaining about their level of competitiveness vs. US-based suppliers.

      “It is my humble opinion that the present RFP calls for a Tanker that Boeing can provide in size and mission that will justify the choice of the 767.
      This is what the USAF asked for.”

      USAF essentially asks for a KC-135NG. The operating empty weight (OEW) of the KC-767 is about twice as much as that of the KC-135. This means that in a pure tanker configuration (not multirole), the KC-767 is less fuel efficient than the 50 year old KC-135 (not counting operational and maintainabillity issues). Why can’t Boeing or Airbus offer the USAF a PURE narrowbody lightweight tanker? Because they haven’t got one. Both offer multirole aircraft. The question therefore is whether the DoD should go for more multirole bang for the buck, or choose a platform they’re also not really asking for.

    • For heavens sake when will people cease calling this a contest, it’s not, it’s a selection process.

      Where & when it performs much of the rest of the world embraces US defense hardware in this procurement process it would appear we have a credible European (Not French) alternative to a proposed less capable US product, seemingly the EU option is available at a competitive price & at a more opportune EIS date, whilst the home build product is offering modifications & technology thats still embryonic.

      The last selection was clear when the USAF’s choice was for the NG/EADS airframe, the USAF understands it’s requirement best & there was a clear reason for this choice, it’s capability. To allow sentiment & patriotical allegiance to interfere is tantermount to burying our heads in the sand to an inferior US design.

      In it’s impartial manner Lehamnet, agrees with the last USAF choice.

  10. OV-099: You did not respond to the question as to whether US Contractors were invited to bid on the A400

    • The A400M programme started originally as the Future International Military Airlifter (FIMA) group, initially set up in 1982 by Aerospatiale, BAE, Lockheed, and MBB to develop a replacement for the C-130 and C-160. However, Lockheed left the group in 1989 because of the uncertainty (at the time) over the timescale of US DoD requirements and the lack of US governmental participation.

      Military clean slate developmental programmes are usually paid for with the help of public funds. However, in contrast to the US, new cutting edge programmes in Europe are usually not competitively bid but rather developed as a joint undertaking between nations and companies. The work share of the A400M is split in accordance with each partner country’s share of the total 180 original orders. If the US had chosen to support Lockheed in the FIMA group, US companies (not only Lockhed) would have been eligible to participate in the A400M programme.

      As for the engine selection, P&W lost out to the Europrop consortium primarily because the perceived need in Europe to avoid all US technology export restrictions.

      Finally, quite a few KC-30 detractors have been trying to make a big fuzz out of how US contractors were supposedly denied to bid on the A400M programme. As I’ve indicated, the US could have chosen to sole source the tanker from the very beginning. Perhaps it was not done that way because the KC-X tankers will not be cutting edge technology.

      Now, the main difference between the A400M (+ JSF, F-22, C-17, Eurofighter, Rafale etc) and the KC-X, is that the DoD didn’t want to pay some USD 10-15 billion to develop a custom made tanker. So, you see there’s a difference between buying already developed hardware and to be part of a group that developed that hardware.

      Finally, since the worlds airlines have already paid for the development of the 767 and the A330, the DoD is actually getting a partially “subsidized” tanker.

  11. “As I’ve indicated, the US could have chosen to sole source the tanker from the very beginning. Perhaps it was not done that way because the KC-X tankers will not be cutting edge technology.”

    You are quite right that the US could right the RfP to favor only an American aircraft as the Europeans wrote the A400M RfP so as only the EADS design could be considered. However, in the case of the KC-X It was not done because of a desire for a more technologically advanced aircraft. If that was the case the DoD would have simply written the RfP for a 777, which is newer and more advanced than either the A330 or the 767, or at least you can certainly make the case the GE-90s are a step beyond the CF6s and PW4000s used by the A330 and 767 lines.

    The last RfP was largely written as it was because of internal US politics and political pressure of Senator McCain and the Alabama political delegation. The Pentagon was originally going to factor launch aid into the decision until they received a letter from John McCain saying don’t. They also only added the IFARA which allowed the KC-30 to win after you guessed it, another letter from Senator McCain. Later on the USAF leadership itself saw the advantages of a larger tanker and actively worked to select the KC-30.

    So in some respects EADS has gained something by shedding Northrop in that they can submit a slightly cheaper bid (but not too much, it is the same basic aircraft after all), but they have also lost something. Namely, NGs political support and cover. Ultimately this entire process has been driven by politics from the original bid in 2002, to the decision to change the contest in the last round to favor a larger tanker. Ultimately, politics will also decide this contest and it’s a little surprising to me that EADS backers have not picked up yet on how much politically weaker an EADS only bid is as opposed to an NG/EADS bid.

    “Finally, quite a few KC-30 detractors have been trying to make a big fuzz out of how US contractors were supposedly denied to bid on the A400M programme.”

    Most US detractors have been focused on the engine decision. It is a more clear cut example of discrimination since as you mentioned the A400M specs were written to rule out either a C-130 or C-17. Also, the P&W engine was submitted by P&W Canada, so it was not subject to US export restrictions, the engine was also the preferred choice of EADS as indicated by comments from Gallois saying if we hadn’t been forced to buy the Europrop we would have been better able to meet our milestones.

    • “If that was the case the DoD would have simply written the RfP for a 777, which is newer and more advanced than either the A330 or the 767”

      Sorry, the 777 is not more advanced than the A330. They both belong to the same generation of technology. The Trent-700 first flew on the A333 in 1994, one year before the GE90-76B. The GE90-115B for the 77W incorporated some newer technologies, but the Trent-700 has also undergone evolutionary upgrades during the last 15 years. It’s notable that neither engines incorporate i.e. contra-rotating spools (etc).

      The 767 belongs to a previous generation of technology.

      “The last RfP was largely written as it was because of internal US politics and political pressure of Senator McCain and the Alabama political delegation.”

      The last RFP was written as a best-value competition, which btw, is the norm for DoD and all new governmental acquisition programmes. As the DOD refined its final requirements last time around, most observers as well as Boeing and its supporters (no complaints put forth) saw nothing obvious in the KC-X RFP that would inherently bias the contract award in favour of any platform
      that could be offered by the competitors. Only after the award did all hell break loose.

      “The Pentagon was originally going to factor launch aid into the decision until they received a letter from John McCain saying don’t.”

      Source?

      “So in some respects EADS has gained something by shedding Northrop in that they can submit a slightly cheaper bid (but not too much, it is the same basic aircraft after all)”

      Actually, being granted prime contractor status by the DoD on KC-X is a huge breakthrough for EADS in the US.

      Also, I would agree with Andrew (above) that EADS can offer a KC-30 at a price at least 15 percent below the NG offer last time around.

      “but they have also lost something. Namely, NGs political support and cover. Ultimately this entire process has been driven by politics from the original bid in 2002, to the decision to change the contest in the last round to favor a larger tanker. Ultimately, politics will also decide this contest and it’s a little surprising to me that EADS backers have not picked up yet on how much politically weaker an EADS only bid is as opposed to an NG/EADS bid.”

      As I’ve said, the Pandoras box is open. The process forward will be based on merit alone. The Congress can only stop the KC-30 (assuming an EADS contract award) by refusing to fund the programme. In return, that would in all likelihood lead to a trade “war” with the EU.

      “It is a more clear cut example of discrimination since as you mentioned the A400M specs were written to rule out either a C-130 or C-17.”

      Not true at all. There’s a clear gap between the C-130 and the C-17. Lockheed was in from the start, but the US chose not to participate any further in the programme, perhaps because of a “not invented here” philosophy and not wanting to be just a”partner”, as well as not being the one calling the shots. I’d suggest that you do some research on your own on the A400M and just listening to the talking points of the most prevalent KC-30 detractors.

      “Also, the P&W engine was submitted by P&W Canada, so it was not subject to US export restrictions, the engine was also the preferred choice of EADS as indicated by comments from Gallois saying if we hadn’t been forced to buy the Europrop we would have been better able to meet our milestones.”

      Again, P&W Canada couldn’t provide an engine free of IFARA restrictions as quite a few of the components would have been manufactured in the US. However, if Canada had joined the consortium and agreed to pay for its share of the total development costs (engine/airframe), P&W could have been the prime engine contractor. What Gallois is saying is not necessarily 100 percent correct. The PW-180 engine was still a pretty risky undertaking, and the likelihood in avoiding problems with the engine full authority digital engine control (FADEC) development wouldn’t have been that high.

  12. Once again, there is a tit for every tat…and visa versa.

    It really boils down to politics and that will be the ultimate decider. All this technical talk is secondary.

    Its just how this particular world is run…and OV-099 must certainly know that.

    • “It really boils down to politics and that will be the ultimate decider. All this technical talk is secondary”

      Too late. Merit will decide who’ll win. As I’ve said, Congress can only stop a KC-30 becoming the KC-45 by refusing to fund the programme. That will in return lead to a nasty trade “war” with the EU. I’m not sure that you understand the ramifications of such a dispute if it was to happen.

      • OV-099

        I hate to say it but merit is in the eye of the beholder. As you pointed out before politics was the determining factor in the selection of the A400M and how European Air Force’s criteria were designed around it. It will be no different in this case. If merit was the real guide the Pentagon would have re-engined the KC-135Es in 2002 and waited until a true next gen tanker in the form of the 787 was available. Neither the 767 or A330 deserve to win on merit. They are both yesterday’s aircraft when compared with the 787 and new generation composite jets, A350 included when it flies.

        But given that the Air Force has pretty much defined it’s criteria as being a modernized KC-135 with fuel off-load capabilities closer to KC-30, Boeing’s 767NG will come closest to filling the bill. In other words what the USAF is asking for is a KC-135 that would take off with something closer to 225,000 lbs of fuel vs. the 200,000 lbs it now does (Note: it would only need this amount because it is more fuel efficient than the KC-30 and at 1000 nmi 225,000 lbs should be about equal to the 248,000 lbs carried by a KC-30). Boeing’s KC-767NG in the contest will magically gain back the 220,000+ lbs capability that it was designed for when they called it the KC-767AT. Given that with it’s winglets and other potential improvements it will be at least 25 percent more efficient than the KC-30 it will very nicely ace all of the major AF contract requirements, Fuel Burn, MILCON, and it will likely at least equal the KC-30 in the IFARA adjustment. Unless EADS offers the KC-30 for really really cheap there is practically no chance of a win on merit unless the DoD suddenly reversed itself and counted the KC-30s real assets of greater cargo and pax capability.

        In the end politics will rule the day, the 767NG specs will be almost perfectly designed around the current RfP and the DoD will get what it wants, a politically acceptable tanker win, based on objective criteria, that just so happened to be designed around the 767NG.

  13. John, if it is the Pentagon, and not Dicks and Tiahrt you’re talking about, then merit is certainly in the eye of the beholder.

    “If merit was the real guide the Pentagon would have re-engined the KC-135Es in 2002”

    Re-engined?

    Sorry, but all of the remaining KC-135s flying have long since been re-engined with F108 (CFM56-2) engines.

    The maintainability problems with the KC-135s are certainly not caused by the propulsion system, but rather structural corrosion (etc). If you want to argue for keeping the KC-135 fleet operational longer than currently planned, at least you should know the facts. OK?

    “and waited until a true next gen tanker in the form of the 787 was available.”

    USAF likes to bolt “things” on to their aircraft during their operational lifetimes. It’s easier to do this on a metallic fuselage than on a fuselage made up of CFRP. Also, military operations are more “rough” than civilian ones, which means that such things as “ramp rash” would likely occur more frequently. CFRP does not like “ramp rash” or any other impacts for that matter.

    As you may grasp, it’s not at all clear that the military wants a first-generation CFRP based fuselage at his point in time. Perhaps they’ll wait a couple of generations…..

    ” Neither the 767 or A330 deserve to win on merit. They are both yesterday’s aircraft when compared with the 787 and new generation composite jets, A350 included when it flies.”

    Nonsense.

    Now, it’s the 767 that is “yesterday’s” aircraft. The A330 is still in its prime. 🙂

    “In other words what the USAF is asking for is a KC-135 that would take off with something closer to 225,000 lbs of fuel vs. the 200,000 lbs it now does (Note: it would only need this amount because it is more fuel efficient than the KC-30 and at 1000 nmi 225,000 lbs should be about equal to the 248,000 lbs carried by a KC-30).”

    Sorry, but the fuel offload at 1000 nm is 153000 lbs for the KC-30, 100000 lbs for the KC-135 and 117000 lbs for the former KC-767AT.

    “Given that with it’s winglets and other potential improvements it will be at least 25 percent more efficient than the KC-30 it will very nicely ace all of the major AF contract requirements”.

    LOL, that’s some pretty skewed figures from a Boeing ppt.

    The A330-200 is between 7-9 percent more fuel efficient (as a function of payload) than the 767-200.

    Since the A330 is a larger airplane than the 767, the fuel consumption is higher. In cruise at FL350, it’s around 20 percent higher. However, due to the much bigger and more modern wing on the A330, the fuel consumption during take-off and initial climb (higher fuel burn) is closer to half that (less thrust required, lower wing loading, better lift/drag capability etc).

    “Fuel Burn, MILCON, and it will likely at least equal the KC-30 in the IFARA adjustment. ”

    No, the KC-767 will not “equal” the KC-30 in the IFARA adjustment.

    “Unless EADS offers the KC-30 for really really cheap there is practically no chance of a win on merit”

    As I’ve already explained, the production cost of the A330 and 767 are in the same ballpark while the KC-30 will require much less new development compared to the “latest” KC767 offering. EADS doesn’t really have to go lower for the “green” airframe than what Airbus is doing for a customer buying around 50 frames.

  14. “Sorry, but all of the remaining KC-135s flying have long since been re-engined with F108 (CFM56-2) engines. ”

    Nope, you are wrong here, over 800 were built and 161 KC-135Es were not re-engined (check Wiki if you want verification). The remaining KC-135Es have been retired to Davis-Monthan AFB for storage and could still be re-engined. The frames have around 12,000-14,000 hours on theme which is about half their useful life, if they had been re-engined starting 2002, it would have been quite easy to put KC-X off until 2020 or even later. The USAF estimated it would have cost approximately $24 M per airframe to re-engine.

    “USAF likes to bolt “things” on to their aircraft during their operational lifetimes. It’s easier to do this on a metallic fuselage than on a fuselage made up of CFRP.”

    Most new USAF aircraft incorporate a large amount of composites. The B-2 was the first large primary structure composite aircraft in the world. A composite fuselage would have saved a large amount of money over a 50 year life span in inspections and maintenance. There may be an issue with composite airframes but it is an option, and given the lifespan of a typical tanker it could be a very good one. I am not sure that KC-787 would not be a good idea. However, the USAF will not be willing to make a determination until the type has seen a few years of service. Hence, why I believe re-engining the remaining KC-135Es would have been a good idea.

    “Sorry, but the fuel offload at 1000 nm is 153000 lbs for the KC-30, 100000 lbs for the KC-135 and 117000 lbs for the former KC-767AT.”

    Old data, wait until the new contest takes place. Boeing listed 120,000 for the old KC-767AT vs 153,000 EADS listed for the KC-30. A delta of 33,000 lbs. Under the old rules Boeing’s fuel burn was revised up and the fuel load capacity revised down substantially. The numbers are all projections of course, but I’m betting a KC-767 with 20,000+ lbs more fuel at take off + substantially better fuel burn numbers than what the USAF allowed last time will greatly improve the off-load (remember the AF will not be conducting the engineering risk review this time that they did for the last contest).

    We’ll need to wait and see what comes out of this, but given that you’ve never served in the US military I doubt you know the meaning of the words commander’s intent. If the commander wants a certain approach to be taken (e.g. I want a larger more capable airplane), commander’s intent can have a ripple effect in all aspects of an evaluation. Given that General Lichte of AMC wanted the larger aircraft a great many numbers were revised downward for the KC-767. The only way of course to prove either of our points is to wait until actual data is released, but I am confident the KC-767NGs number’s will look very different from the old AT even if they are fundamentally the same aircraft. Again, give this a little time, but I feel that I will be born out on this, you of course are free to disagree, and only time will tell who is right.

    “The A330-200 is between 7-9 percent more fuel efficient (as a function of payload) than the 767-200.”

    And this number is a commercial number for passengers and cargo? The number you are citing has no relevance to non-bulky cargo, e.g. fuel. Fuel off-load is what counts not efficiency numbers for pax or cargo. You can cite any irrelevant number you want, but it does nothing to hide the fact that a 767-200ER frame weighs approximately 83,000 lbs less than a A330-200 frame. That 83,000 lbs of structure is essentially dead weight that counts against fuel burn, maintenance costs, life cycle and production costs for the A330. Unless EADs can change the RfP to take into consideration what the extra weight get’s you; more cargo and more pax, the Boeing fuel burn numbers will be more far more relevant for this contest.

    “As I’ve already explained, the production cost of the A330 and 767 are in the same ballpark while the KC-30 will require much less new development compared to the “latest” KC767 offering. EADS doesn’t really have to go lower for the “green” airframe than what Airbus is doing for a customer buying around 50 frames.”

    You know this for a fact? Has EADS given you access to their production costs? You also fail to consider that the under US government regulations the government does not allow customers to bid below cost and they will correct for abnormally low bids. In determining the correct cost for green airframes they will likely use published prices as part of their determination. The published price for a Boeing has the basic list price for the basic B-767-200ER at $127.5M-$139.0M (2008). and Airbus lists the average price for the basic A-330-200 at $191.4M (2010).

    Additionally, have you factored in the $600M cost of the new assembly site in Alabama. Most of that needs to be charged to the EADS bid as well. Even if Airbus was willing to take the cost risks and offer a really low-ball bid it could be legally impossible for them to come withing 1% of the 767 frame cost.

    • “Nope, you are wrong here, over 800 were built and 161 KC-135Es were not re-engined (check Wiki if you want verification). The remaining KC-135Es have been retired to Davis-Monthan AFB for storage and could still be re-engined.”

      I wrote “all of the remaining KC-135s FLYING” (i.e. KC-135-R/T). Key word is “flying”. The last KC-135E retired in September of last year.. Under an earlier modification program, a re-engined KC-135A, with the TF-33-PW-102 engine, was designated the KC-135E.

      “The frames have around 12,000-14,000 hours on theme which is about half their useful life, if they had been re-engined starting 2002, it would have been quite easy to put KC-X off until 2020 or even later. The USAF estimated it would have cost approximately $24 M per airframe to re-engine.”

      Actually, the KC-135 fleet has only reached one third of its lifetime flying hour limit. Under this standard, the remaining KC-135 fleet could be operational for another 100 years. This clearly demonstrates the absurdity of the situation. On the other hand, if you’re using multirole aircraft, they can be worn out over a period of 30 to 40 years which is the “normal” way of doing it. The most successful airlines in the world today, have long since figured out that at one point it’s not only cheaper to recapitalize an aging fleet instead of trying to keep modernising it, but that it’s more profitable as well.

      The KC-135s are between 45 and 50 years old. Maintenance costs are increasing, with airframe corrosion being the worst problem. For example, the amount of depot maintenance work on these aircraft doubled, and the overhaul cost per aircraft tripled, between 1993 and 2003. USAF has predicted a significant growth in these expenses through 2017 (KC-X initial operational capability). Also, the operations and support costs are predicted to grow at a rate of about 6.2 percent per year until 2017; from $2.2 billion in 2003 (2003 dollars) to $5.1 billion (2003 dollars) in 2017, or an increase of over 130 percent.

      This is a bad deal for the taxpayers, but a good deal for the contractors (NG now, Boeing until last year).

      “Most new USAF aircraft incorporate a large amount of composites. The B-2 was the first large primary structure composite aircraft in the world.”

      Not relevant. A flying wing bomber is a totally different configuration than a tube and wing airliner. Also, the B2 fleet remains a maintenance headache due in part to the stealth coating. They are almost as well “protected” on the ground as the Space Shuttle orbiters. No new systems have been “bolted on” to the outer surfaces of the aircraft.

      A typical tanker and/or freighter on the other hand, must endure operations in a significantly rougher environment on the ground. And as I said, USAF wants to “bolt” new systems on the airframe over the life of the aircraft. It’s much less complicated to do this on an aluminium frame than on a composite frame. If you bolt new hardware to the outer surface of composite aircraft which was not taken into account at the time the original aircraft design was frozen, you may have to change some of the unidirectional layers in the CFRP composite to better withstand the added axial compressive loads. That’s not a cheap undertaking.

      “Old data, wait until the new contest takes place. Boeing listed 120,000 for the old KC-767AT vs 153,000 EADS listed for the KC-30. A delta of 33,000 lbs. Under the old rules Boeing’s fuel burn was revised up and the fuel load capacity revised down substantially.”

      AS for fuel offload capacity (NOT fuel load capacity) supposedly being revised down substantially: FALSE!

      The old KC-767AT’s fuel offload at a 1000 nm mission radius and the old 7000 ft runway requirement was 94,000 lbs.

      Under the new rules, the runway requirement is “only” 10,000 ft (less demanding).

      So, as I stated, the fuel offload at 1000 nm, AND a 10,000 ft RUNWAY REQUIREMENT, is 153000 lbs for the KC-30, 100000 lbs for the KC-135 and 117000 lbs for the former KC-767AT.

      The MTOW for the old 767AT was 412,000 lbs, or about the same as the MTOW of the 767-300ER. Due to winglets and added structure in the wing due to the requirement for more stiffness to solve the fluttering problems with the refueling pods, the Boeing KC Next Gen wing will be internally different, and heavier, from any 767 wing apart from the 767-400 wing. If the Next Gen shall have the same offload performance as the old AT, operating empty weight will grow, as will MTOW.

      “You can cite any irrelevant number you want, but it does nothing to hide the fact that a 767-200ER frame weighs approximately 83,000 lbs less than a A330-200 frame. That 83,000 lbs of structure is essentially dead weight that counts against fuel burn, maintenance costs, life cycle and production costs for the A330.”

      This just shows how little you know about aerodynamics. As increased wing span reduces drag, that extra “dead weight” of the bigger A330 wing; (i) reduces fuel burn; (ii) improves engine maintenance costs due to the excellent lift/drag capability allowing the engines to run “less hot” during take-off and climb; (iii) improves the life cycle costs of the engines due to the previous point; (iv) due to the significantly CHEAPER (to buy and to maintain) single-slotted flaps on the trailing edge of the wing, the life cycle costs are reduced as well for the movable surfaces when compared to the 767, where SIGNIFICANTLY MORE EXPENSIVE double-slotted flaps are placed on the inboard part of the trailing edge of the wing; (v) and, finally, that extra “dead weight” of the A330 doesn’t really add that much to the costs of a “green” frame off the assembly line (about 10-15 percent more for an A330-200 than for a 767-200).

      “The published price for a Boeing has the basic list price for the basic B-767-200ER at $127.5M-$139.0M (2008). and Airbus lists the average price for the basic A-330-200 at $191.4M (2010).”

      LOL. Don’t base your conclusions on “list prices”.

      Both OEM’s typically sell their frames to the airlines with a 40 percent discount (+/-). Also, do note that the A330-200 is in high demand, while the demand from the airlines for 767-200s are non-existent. So, as one should know, one supplier (Airbus) can hike their prices, while the other one (Boeing) must dump theirs.

      “Additionally, have you factored in the $600M cost of the new assembly site in Alabama. Most of that needs to be charged to the EADS bid as well.”

      At least half of the cost accounting can be attributed to the A332F (nr of sales in the time period it takes to deliver 179 tankers should easily > 179)
      .

      “Even if Airbus was willing to take the cost risks and offer a really low-ball bid it could be legally impossible for them to come withing 1% of the 767 frame cost.”

      I’m not talking about “green” frame costs (no engines, no seats/IFE/internals, no avionics, no landing gear, no APUs; which last time in 2008 accounted for less than 25 percent of NG’s final offer), but the total evaluated price of the offers. EADS can go low, but according to Financial Times Deutschland ”EADS doesn’t plan to propose a “dumping” price” (Enders).

      http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=aWBtKq1PzLpQ

  15. OV-099,

    Why do you keep spliting hairs.

    I originally said reengine the KC-135s starting in 2002. Why go off on this useless tangent, just respond to what I said. If you think that re-enginging the KC-135s in the 2000s and flying them for another 20+ years until a KC-787 production line could be set up in 2020 is not a good option just say so and give an explanation.

    So, as I stated, the fuel offload at 1000 nm, AND a 10,000 ft RUNWAY REQUIREMENT, is 153000 lbs for the KC-30, 100000 lbs for the KC-135 and 117000 lbs for the former KC-767AT.

    Depend’s on which numbers you use, Boeing’s are 120K and NGs where 153K. The point was all of the old data is gone, irrelevant and thrown out the door. The only people who have been wrong in this contest are those who insist the last one was relevent

    “The MTOW for the old 767AT was 412,000 lbs, or about the same as the MTOW of the 767-300ER.”

    Since you are a stickler for exact data the number assigned by the USAF was 400,000 lbs. So right there the KC-767NG just gained 12,000 lbs of fuel. Thanks for acknowledging my point, being that the 767NG will have more fuel offload assigned in this contest than the last one. You just acknowledged this by pointing out that the USAF shorted the MTOW by 12,000 lbs in their engineering risk analysis.

    Before we go on to far just consider this at 412,000lbs MTOW a 767-200ER would be able to lift 231,000 lbs of fuel. A KC-45 adds about 1,000 lbs in it’s conversion to a tanker. Assuming Boeing can come close and then add a few more thousand for strenghting the wing, winglets and other changes all of the sudden a 220,000 – 225,000 lbs fuel load becomes very feasible. There is really no reason to doubt that Boeing can’t meet their original 220,000+ lbs orginally advertised fuel load. Feel free to disagree but we’ll only have a few months to wait and see what the numbers are.

    “As increased wing span reduces drag, that extra “dead weight” of the bigger A330 wing”

    Not all of that dead weight is the wing, a great deal, if not most is associated with the uneeded fusalage size. Also, the 767 is much smaller it deosn’t need as much wing; in the critical measurement of wing span to length the 2 aircraft are very close .98 (767) to 1.025 (A330), when the winglets are added the 767 will actually have a greater realative span than the A330 of 1.044.

    “improves engine maintenance costs due to the excellent lift/drag capability allowing the engines to run “less hot” during take-off and climb; (iii) improves the life cycle costs of the engines due to the previous point”

    Nice, but you again failed to factor in size. The KC-30 at MTOW is about 24 % heavier than a KC-767, yet has a 27% larger wing, once you add the winglets, both aircraft wil have essentially the same wing loading at MTOW so there is really no big advantage for the A330 here. Size does matter.

    Also, lifecycle costs include a lot more than just engine maintenance resulting from hot takeoffs. Boeing estimated that KC-767 will cost 22 percent less to maintain than the KC-30. You can certainly dispute their numbers, but it is very unlikely the larger aircraft costs less to maintain.

    “At least half of the cost accounting can be attributed to the A332F (nr of sales in the time period it takes to deliver 179 tankers should easily > 179)”

    Are you sure, with only 67 firm commitments. The A330 will also be superceeded by both the 787 and A350 by the time planes started rolling off the production line in about 2014. They could charge some of the A330F off to the new plant but half would be a stretch, the USAF is more than free to adjust their numbers in the same way they adjusted Boeing’s price numbers in the last round.

    • John, with all due respect, do I have to [edited] feed you on the absurdity of the idea of re-re-engining KC-135Es to replace already re-engined, and slightly younger KC-135-R/T frames? You see, that was the inference one could draw from your initial assertion that “if merit was the real guide the Pentagon would have re-engined the KC-135Es in 2002″.

      If, however, you meant that re-engined KC-135Es were/are needed in addition to the present fleet, I would have assumed that you were familiar with the fact that the DoD has conducted three recent studies that have reached similar conclusions about the required size of the Air Force’s air refueling fleet (a requirement of 500-600 KC-135R)

      Current tanker fleet :

      415 KC-135 R/T
      59 KC-10A (= 115 KC-135R equivalents at IFARA 1.95)

      => 530 KC-135R equivalents in current USAF tanker fleet.

      Conclusion:

      1) No urgent, or real need for a larger tanker fleet. No need, therefore, to re-re-engine KC-135Es.

      2) The “idea” of Re-re-engining KC-135Es (instead of procuring new KC-X tanker), replacing KC-135Rs is nothing but absurd.

      “Since you are a stickler for exact data the number assigned by the USAF was 400,000 lbs.”

      KC-767AT was based on a new proposed 767LRF (long range freighter) model from Boeing that was supposed to have the same 412,000 lbs MTOW as the 767-300ER. This hybrid-type aircraft was to be made up of the 767-200 fuselage, the 767-300ER wing and the 767-400 cockpit and lift devices (flaps).

      “So right there the KC-767NG just gained 12,000 lbs of fuel.

      Nonsense.

      “Thanks for acknowledging my point, being that the 767NG will have more fuel offload assigned in this contest than the last one.”

      [edited]

      It looks like the 767 Next Gen tanker will be a whole different animal than the KC-767AT. There is little point for Boeing to go make another frankentanker since the minimum fuel offload requirements at 1000 nm (10,000 ft runway) is “only” 94,000 lbs. Therefore, the Next Gen looks much more like a slightly tweaked 767-200ER with a MTOW of 395,000 lbs.

      “You just acknowledged this by pointing out that the USAF shorted the MTOW by 12,000 lbs in their engineering risk analysis.”

      Nonsense

      “Not all of that dead weight is the wing, a great deal, if not most is associated with the uneeded fusalage size.”

      [edited]

      As you do seem to have little engineering insight, I’d suggest that you read this paper: “Analytical Fuselage and Wing Weight Estimation of Transport Aircraft”. You might learn something. 🙂

      http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=699566&id=2&as=false&or=false&qs=Ns%3DHarvestDate%257c1%26N%3D4294789456%2B302

      On pages 19 and 22 in the pdf document, you’ll find Table 4 (Fuselage weight breakdowns for eight transport aircraft) and Table 5 (Wing weight breakdowns for eight transport aircraft).

      For (i.e.) the 747, the actual total structure weight for the fuselage is 72,659 lbs, while the actual total structure weight for the wing is 88202 lbs; or the wing of the 742 is about 1,22 times heavier than the fuselage of the 742.

      Interestingly, on the 787-8, the wing is about 1,34 times heavier than the fuselage. The trend is clear for all to see, and that is that the steadily increase in wing span for each new generation of large commercial aircraft, and the associated increase in lift/drag ration more than compensates for the added structural weight.

      The Piano-X model of the Boeing 787-8
      http://www.lissys.demon.co.uk/samp1/index.html

      Mass Breakdown…………..lbs…….% MTOW
      ________________________________________
      wing group……………….60038……….12.61 %
      ..(struct.box…51372)
      ..(flaps…………4865)
      ..(slats…………2398)
      ..(spoilers………662)
      ..(ailerons………357)
      ..(winglets………384)
      fuselage group………….44917………….9.44 %
      stabiliser…………………..5158…………..1.08 %
      fin…………………………..2138…………..0.45 %
      undercarriage…………..18605…………..3.91 %

      Now, as you should be able to have figured out at this point; the wing is the heaviest (and strongest) structure of an aircraft. [edited]

      Now, obviously the fuselage of the KC-30 is heavier (by about 6 metric tones) than the 10 meter shorter KC-767AT that also has less fuselage circumference. If those 6 extra tones are needed (or not), must surely be in the eye of the beholder…. 😉

      Interestingly, if Airbus removes 10 meters of fuselage from the KC-30, you’ll have an A310-sized vehicle with an A330 wing, and most of the fuselage “weight advantage” for the 767 would be gone. It would be interesting to see the cost-benefit analysis for such a modification.

      “Also, the 767 is much smaller it doesn’t need as much wing; in the critical measurement of wing span to length the 2 aircraft are very close .98 (767) to 1.025 (A330), when the winglets are added the 767 will actually have a greater realative span than the A330 of 1.044”

      Nonsense. Your “critical measurement” is a relatively meaningless metric.

      Aerodynamic efficiency is measured by the maximum lift:drag ratio. The A330-200 wing has a lift:drag ratio that is more than10 percent better than that of the
      767-200 during cruise, and more than 20 percent better during take-off and
      landing.

      “Also, lifecycle costs include a lot more than just engine maintenance resulting from hot takeoffs.”

      For the nth. time you don’t know what you’re talking about. Allowing the engines to run “less hot” during take-off and climb, doesn’t mean aircraft performance from hot and/or high airfields, but that the engines of the A330-200 doesn’t have to be “throttle-pushed” and run at hotter temperatures and that the operator consequently doesn’t have to “kill” the maintenance costs for the engines.

      “Boeing estimated that KC-767 will cost 22 percent less to maintain than the KC-30. You can certainly dispute their numbers, but it is very unlikely the larger aircraft costs less to maintain.”

      LOL. 22 percent is an inflated figure.

      BTW, all of your “numbers” are always from Boeing. Little independent analysis on your part it seems.

      “Are you sure, with only 67 firm commitments. The A330 will also be superceeded by both the 787 and A350 by the time planes started rolling off the production line in about 2014. They could charge some of the A330F off to the new plant but half would be a stretch, the USAF is more than free to adjust their numbers in the same way they adjusted Boeing’s price numbers in the last round.”

      A 787-8 freighter will have little, or no performance advantage over an A332F with its 69 tonne payload capability, and I can’t see it being much cheaper either. However, it’ll have slightly more volume on the main deck.

      An A350-900 freighter with a 90 tone+ max. payload will compete with the 777-200F and its 101 tone max. payload.

      Also, all of the A330-200Fs will be assembled in Mobile (If EADS wins). A production run of only around 200 new A332Fs until 2030 is a pretty pessimistic forecast. So, even under the most pessimistic forecast EADS should easily be able to demonstrate to USAF that charging about half of those $600 million to the KC-30 would be reasonable.

    • We’ve been gone for a week and haven’t been able to pay a lot of attention to the debate going on here, but we did see in OV-099’s reply several references that we feel crosses the line of avoiding engaging in personal barbs. We edited these out.

      A reminder to all posters: we recognize that the tanker issue in particular engages passions on both sides and we’re absolutely fine with debating the issues as vociferously as you choose. We do not, however, tolerate entering into personalities. OV-099 is a particularly valuable contributor to our columns due to his technical knowledge and research ability, as are others. We try to catch anything that smacks of personalities and given our absence in the last week, if we’ve missed any, that’s on us. But we’re back now, so we merely admonish posters to be sure and avoid crossing the line of standards we set for this blog.

  16. I see that many of the KC-30 proponents are still arguing the greater capability (fuel, pallets, passenger) should be the reason why the USAF pick its horse as the winner. After all, the first award pointed that as the reason why the KC-30 was selected. However, what lead to that selection was not following the selection as the USAF RFP prescribed itself. Boeing rightfully protested and that protest was found to have merit.
    Now in take-2, the USAF reworked/refined the RFP, the selection process, and the requirements. Some suggest that the USAF wrote the RFP to give Boeing the edge. I don’t buy that conspiracy theory. Knowing tanker operations as I do (I’ve flown the KC-135 for the USAF all over the world for the last 20 yrs), and what is needed to replace the KC-135, I can tell you we don’t need anything more than a replacement to the KC-135. Getting a little more than the 135 is fine, but we don’t have the $$$$ for a lot “more, more, more”. The take-2 RFP is correct to deemphasize the non-refueling capabilities and to focus on refueling first and foremost. What matters most to the USAF these days is “booms in the air”. Since you cannot be in more than one place at a time, and you can only have one boom on a tanker; therefore a smaller and cheaper tanker is better than a larger more expensive tanker. Afterall, with the new ability to be refueled itself – the KC-45 will have unlimitted fuel capacity. I believe that premise is what lead the USAF take-2 re-write, and what lead NG to decide not to bid. The USAF is far different than the other air forces that have selected the 330 for its tanker. It is preposterous to suggest that the USAF should follow their lead.
    The USAF just released (in an unclassified form) its Mobility Capabilities & Requirements Study 2016. It found that it has more than enough strategic airlift (C-5, C-17), and more than enough tactical airlift (C-130, C-17, C-27). It also found that its CRAF capacity greatly exceeded its needs. However, when it came to tankers (KC-135, KC-10, KC-130), it came up short in 2 of 3 scenarios. Further, it found that: “a modernized fleet would require fewer aircraft to meet the same demand (lower depot/greater capability)”. I believe this MCRS influenced the shape of take-2 KC-X RFP. (see section I, page 8)
    http://www.airforce-magazine.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/TheDocumentFile/Mobility/MCRS-16_execsummary.pdf

    The USAF doesn’t need additional capabilities/capacity for carrying passengers or cargo. It does need new tankers, and it needs to preserve as much capital as it can in the process. These are two very different airplanes. While the 330 may be a better passenger airliner or cargo aircraft than the 767, the USAF doesn’t need that. The USAF would be wrong to look at each aircraft and try to write an RFP that gives each an equal chance of winning. That’s rigging the bid. Instead, I believe, the USAF has written an RFP for what it needs and what it is willing to/not pay for.

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