So’s your old man

More mirthful back-and-forth between Boeing and EADS.

Boeing today fired off a rebuttal ad to the EADS “Get Real” ad published right after it got back into the KC-X tanker competition.

Boeing also posted this message on its website:

Standing Up for the Truth

May 25

The Boeing Company has taken our tanker technology trailer to 14 cities in 12 weeks to demonstrate why the NewGen Tanker is the best choice to replace the critical but aging Eisenhower-era KC-135 fleet. We appreciate the many visitors who have made time to hear our story and share their thoughts. While taxpayers do not decide which tanker will be selected, each and every voice needs to be heard on this issue. It is a significant economic decision that will impact America’s national security.

While the cost of the contract is estimated at approximately $35 billion, the value of providing future men and women who selflessly serve this nation with the most advanced tanker ever created is priceless. That is why this KC-X choice should become very personal to each and every citizen.

Let me share an example. Our Boeing trailer team showed up one Tuesday morning in Toledo, Ohio, to set up for another stop on our tour. We were met by a nice couple eager to check out the NewGen Tanker technology. They had been following this acquisition effort for years and were more than willing to express their opinions. More than anything else, they wanted us to clearly lay out why we have the best airplane and why the men and women working at existing facilities and on our supplier team should make this fleet here in America.

An important part of telling our story is setting the record straight when our competitor distorts the truth. We owe that to the many people who don’t have time to research the facts and hold them accountable. We owe that to the men and women who fly, fight and win in the United States Air Force. And we owe that to the incredible Boeing employees who build military and commercial jets for the world.

That’s why we are running a new ad. Our initial NewGen tanker advertising described the merits of our offer. But the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) took a different tactic and began attacking our airplane and the ability of Americans to deliver.

While we have no desire to go tit-for-tat, we will not accept a complete distortion of the truth. To borrow a line from the ad, “America’s warfighters and taxpayers deserve the real facts, the real story, and the best choice — the Boeing NewGen Tanker.”

EADS responded with this from its website:

EADS North America KC-45: The Real Tanker

Going Negative

When companies get desperate, they do desperate things. The Boeing ad campaign has pivoted.  No longer content to show concept art portraying what its U.S. tanker might one day look like if it ever gets built, Boeing today suggests in a full page Washington Post ad that EADS North America is actually the company that doesn’t have a working tanker – while showing our tanker in flight, refueling an F-16.

Contrast that with Boeing’s ads for its NewGen tanker, which label as “Combat Ready” an artists conception of a plane that has never been built or flown.

The Facts

Boeing’s NewGen tanker only exists on paper, and is profoundly different than any tanker it has ever built. The Boeing Corporation’s last tanker delivery to the U.S. Air Force was in 1965. Boeing has delivered – years late – four 767 tankers to Japan that do not come close to meeting U.S. requirements. Boeing is more than four years late providing a tanker to Italy, because it lacks fully functional refueling systems.

Don’t let Boeing distract you. Only EADS North America has a tanker that is flying and refueling today that meets Air Force requirements. When that changes, we’re sure Boeing will share a photograph of the tanker they are trying to sell the Air Force.

In the meantime, you can watch video of our real tanker in action – the same platform the Air Force will get, with the same refueling systems – at kc-45now.com.

65 Comments on “So’s your old man

  1. Why is it that I feel like taking a shower after hearing Boeing and EADS go at it, let alone the various politicians (on both sides of the “pond”)? If it weren’t for the needs of the war-fighter, I’d say the airframers are not even deserving of a split-tanker buy. Maybe that potential Russian bid makes sense….

  2. Neeener neeneer neener – I cant hear you !

    or the cliched P88888ing contest

    In reality- a split buy would make sense, except for the timing
    Tell me again why we should borrow money from China to support EADS jobs ???

    • Because you’d be importing at least the second largest aerospace company, the one that has (according to some) driven both Lockheed and Douglas out of the commercial aerospace swindle. You’d import a FAL for one of the most successful airframes in production today with large potential for future expansion.

      You would arguably get the best platform to support a critical armed forces requirement in a timely fashion. More flexible, better commonality with allied forces… but let’s agree to disagree.

      • Yes Ikkeman… Myself and many others (I’ll venture to say most Americans) on this and other websites strongly disagree with you on this issue.

  3. The frenzied nature of colourful exchanges which if correct blatently highlights the inadequate state of Boeings proposed tanker project.

    Hardly can it be called tit-for tat as the inherant airframe & project weaknesses EADS have raised issue with have not been denied by Boeing

    Casting aside patriotisem or enthusiasem for a home grown design, the reality of a working credible IFR available in good time seems to leave only one choice & it’s not American

  4. Maybe the Boeing and EADS CEOs could settle it with a cage match? Maybe rock, paper, scissors?

    • OK, with our completely warped way of looking at things, we cannot resist:

      Boeing/USTR will file a complaint with the WTO that EADS’s use of paper and scissors was illegally subsidized and penalties should be incurred. Boeing/USTR will also assert that the machinery used by EADS to extract the rock was illegally subsidized. Therefore Boeing will argue that the rock, paper and scissors should be acquired from US sources, providing more jobs and supporting the US economy rather than this stuff being built by the lackey Europeans.

      EADS North America will claim it’s just as American as Boeing and its workers in Alabama are as American as those in Washington State (and even Kansas). EADS NA supply chain will support 48,000 jobs and any job figures Boeing uses are bogus. EADS NA will also claim that its paper can cover more rocks than Boeing’s paper and that because its scissors are sharper and larger, European scissors can do more paper-cutting than Boeing’s.

      European rocks are older and of better quality than American rocks, EADS NA will say.

      Boeing will retort that American rocks have better aerodynamics when thrown, and can be thrown more accurately because there are no fancy things attached to the rock that permit the rock to have ultimate control over its flight envelop.

      Have we missed anything?

      • Yep – Your mamas tanker (kc-45) **doesn’t ** wear combat boots !

      • Warped or not your Rock, Paper & Scissors, script is almost of Monty Python status, thank you Leehamnet, I haven’t chuckled so much for ages.

  5. Yo- phil(bert)

    . . Hardly can it be called tit-for tat as the inherant airframe & project weaknesses EADS have raised issue with have not been denied by Boeing
    >>

    Please educate us all re the inherant weaknesses of the Boeing design

    And be sure to include the analysis of the EADS version in then last contest by the GAO regarding ability to refuel and lack of ability to accelerate as part of the breakaway problem.

    Thank you

    • The boeing design is less complete and has higher inherent risk associated to the extre engineering hours that it requires (as was indicated in the last round by the 5 billion the USAF added to the Boeing proposal, and is still to a lesser extend, valid)

      The USAF stated they were confident these requirements could be met by the NG/EADS team without undue risk.
      Come on, Breakaway speed and minimum flight speed are just certification numbers. And the GAO only found fault with procedural issues, nothing technical such as breakaway and min flight speed.
      Don’t muddy the waters.

    • Don, as for the breakaway maneuver, it seems to no longer be a requirement in the latest Systems Requirement Document (SRD) — at least I can’t find any reference to it in the SRD. If you have information to the contrary, could you please provide a link?

      On the other hand, I can’t really see that this should be a problem for the A330MRTT since the pilots can (due to the flight control protections of the aircraft) aggressively and very confidently apply maximum sidestick deflection, roll to 67 degrees of bank while achieving a continous 2.5g load factor. A pilot in a KC-135 and/or KC-767 attempting to maneuver to the same parameters will take more time to achieve such a maneuver while at the same time having difficulty in maintaining the said parameters. Finally, the pilots might find themselves in more danger by exceeding the limits of the aircraft and/or their own abilities.

      • re breakaway- AFIK- the requirements in this area for the current game are the same as previously, and buried in one of the AF documents, and partially classified( since the details re numbers, rates, etc ) were redacted in the GAO report.

        In that report was also a discussion as to why the ‘ assurance’ by EADS/ northrop was npt considered valid. had to do with structural issues as I recall, plus the game of ” top speed” in level or climbing attitude.

        IMO- as discussed previously months ago, is that the issue was/is really one of acceleration- or in simple terms thrust to weight ( mass) ratio at a given altitude and air speed.

        After all, if an existing Kc-135(x) can meet the requirement, including the 1100- 1200 gallons/minute, with a smaller payload and existing boom, it **MAY** well mean that the EXTRA SIZE and tankage of the EADS version actually works against meeting the acceleration needed for breakaway. Need someone who is experienced in passing gas to intelligently discuss that issue – that aint me ;-PP

      • Ok Don, forget all about the GAO. They are totally irrelevant (thus far) to the current RFP.

        Now, if you look at the SRD could you please point out where supposedly the mandatory, and/or non-mandatory requirements for the breakaway maneuver are?

        System Requirements Document (SRD):

        https://www.fbo.gov/download/253/2538827bd21adb15bed0d01bab0f2dde/Sect_J,_Atch_1_-_SRD_24_Feb_10.pdf

        KC-X Tanker Modernization Program

        https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=e65e1ab7f225d6454f5fa8a10556cbfa&tab=core&_cview=1

        I’ve a hard time making sense of that last paragraph of yours. 😉

      • re ov99 – and the breakaway requirement

        Suggest you read closely the SRD document you referenced, in which you will find a ref to document ATP(56).

        if you look up that document – available on the internet
        ATP 56 (B) and go to page 4-17 part 2 change 1- at top of page you will find para 408 BREAKAWAY .

        ALSO REFERENCED SEVERAL TIMES EARLIER IN SAME ATP DOCUMENT.

        It describes the conditions/performance the tanker must meet

        paraphrased – Increase power, accelrate, and climb ….

        airspeed is not allowed to decrease below that indicated at start of climb

        +++

        ALL of which relates to in simple terms thrust to weight issues since in this universe F = m times A

        M is mass- basically weight divided by gravity

        Without adequate reserve thrust immediately available at a given airspeed, starting a climb will typically result in a near immediate decrease in airspeed . . .

        I’m sure there are somewhere some exact figures – which may well be classified for certain aircraft/ receiver combinations

        FWIW to even infer that such requirement was dropped is absurd IMHO

      • Well, the ATP-56(B) NATO Air to Air Refueling Procedures publication is available at the RAF website.

        http://www.raf.mod.uk/downloads/airtoair56b.cfm

        It’s pretty silly to believe that somehow the A330 MRTT don’t comply with NATO requirements.

        “It describes the conditions/performance the tanker must meet. paraphrased – Increase power, accelrate, and climb ….
        airspeed is not allowed to decrease below that indicated at start of climb”

        I see, you practice the fine art of selective quoting.

        It’s pretty telling that it’s stated that: If the Boom Operator calls “clear to climb”, the tanker will begin a slow climb maintaining established AOB…….

        And you haven’t even bothered to mention the required receiver actions (i.e. not the tanker).

        Quote:

        408 Breakaway. Whenever a ‘Breakaway’ call is made, the receiver and tanker will perform the following actions:

        TANKER ACTIONS

        Initial Actions. The tanker is to maintain heading or established AOB (Air order of Battle) and assigned FL/altitude/height and

        Subsequent Actions.

        a) Drogue Tankers

        • Some nation’s tankers will accelerate up to the drogue limiting speed for probe and drogue AAR operations

        b) Boom/BDA

        • The tanker is to increase power and accelerate

        • If the Boom Operator calls “clear to climb”, the tanker will begin a slow climb maintaining established AOB. It is imperative that the airspeed is not allowed to decrease below that indicated at the start of climb.

        c) Post Breakaway – All Tankers

        • To regroup the formation, when the situation permits, consider rolling wings level

        • Calling the roll-out heading on R/T

        Also, in the Combined Parts of ATP56 (USA):

        http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafcms/mediafiles/79F3B524_5056_A318_A81A9D570C8E6A5B.pdf

        Quote:

        408 Breakaway Procedures. The conditions that require a breakaway include but are not limited to excessive receiver closure rates, receiver or tanker engine failure, and excessive fuel leak. When an emergency condition exists that requires immediate separation of aircraft, the tanker will call “BREAKAWAY, BREAKAWAY, BREAKAWAY” preceded by the tanker call sign and hose assignment pertaining to the receiver required to breakaway. Simultaneously, the tanker will turn on the lower anti-collision light (if refuelling un-aided). The receiver will effect a disconnect, manoeuvre clear of the astern position and await further instructions from the tanker.

      • And the RAF/nato certification for the Airbust tanker meeting ALL nato aircraft was granted when ?

        And the USAF buy in to that same modified set ( change 1 and 2 and ???) is contained where ?

        For example B-2 ?

        SR-71 ?

        Airplane XX ?

        Where has Airbust/EADS stated that its tanker now flying DOES meet ALL U.S requirements ?

        Where has EADS stated their tanker IS approved by the Aussies and does meet FAA standards ?

      • Don, isn’t this much ado about nothing on your part?

        The A330-MRTT is still undergoing flight testing. I thought you knew that. Of course, I could have categorically stated that the A330 MRTT has not yet received military certification for the hose-and drogue refueling system and ARBS. However, what I said is not much different than to say, for example, that the 787 is meeting all the FAA and EASA requirements; even though the aircraft has not yet been certified. What is certain though, is that the A330 MRTT already meets the ATP-56(B) NATO Air to Air Refueling mandatory requirement in the SRD, and will in all likelihood, get all of the required certification (and documentation) before Boeing’s forthcoming 2nd protest is filed with the GAO. 😉

        Last time around, the GAO didn’t (and couldn’t) do a technical analysis of the KC-767 and A330 MRTT. They looked at the documents provided by Boeing which included (Boeing-skewed) information about the A330 MRTT that was not part of the RFP, while NG could only provide information that was part of their offer. That’s how the GAO works (i.e. the protester has an advantage over the winner). Also, as you may recall, the GAO wanted the USAF to reopen discussions with the offerors, and only then could NG provide the necessary paper work. What the GAO essentially said was that both offerors met the technical requirements, but that they did have a problem with some of the documentation presented by NG.

      • AOB stands for angle of bank. For instance if you were refueling while in a turn, and then needed to “break away”, the tanker will remain in the turn without changing the AOB.

        Tanker acceleration is key in the breakaway, the tanker needs to quickly accelerate from the AR speed to breakaway speed while in level flight to hopefully avoid a possible mid-air collision (being struck by the reciever). Once the boom has observed that the reciever is well clear of the tail of the tanker, he will give the pilots a “cleared to climb” call. The tanker will climb while at breakaway speed (or continue to accelerate to breakaway speed while in the climb).

        From what I recall last time around, NG wanted the AF to change its procedures for a breakaway because it’s tanker could not meet (or was not certified) the AF breakaway speed requirements at the AR altitudes.

    • Angle of Bank does sound more reasonable. 🙂

      “Tanker acceleration is key in the breakaway, the tanker needs to quickly accelerate from the AR speed to breakaway speed while in level flight to hopefully avoid a possible mid-air collision (being struck by the reciever)”.

      Well, according to the NATO AAR Procedures it is stated that:

      • If the Boom Operator calls “clear to climb”, the tanker will begin a slow climb maintaining established AOB. It is imperative that the airspeed is not allowed to decrease below that indicated at the start of climb.

      This sounds like a relatively simple operational procedure (key words: Slow Climb). Could you please explain this discrepancy? You’re using the words “quickly accelerate” while NATO is using “slow climb”. There’s seemingly no need for high risk and extreme pilot maneuvers. What is clear though is that BOTH the KC-767 and the A330 MRTT may have a problem with one engine out when carrying a lot of fuel. Certainly, quadjets/trijets like the KC-135 and KC-10, will have higher performance margins with one engine out in a breakaway situation.

      “From what I recall last time around, NG wanted the AF to change its procedures for a breakaway because it’s tanker could not meet (or was not certified) the AF breakaway speed requirements at the AR altitudes.

      However you want to spin how things transpired last time around, I don’t think this time around, that Boeing would believe for one minute that EADS’ offer would not comply with the NATO AAR procedures.

  6. How is it that everyone appears to be so hung up on a “My tanker is bigger than yours” complex?
    When the long pole in the tent of either manufacturer, is the ability to supply the operator with a reliable external store, that is not based on a first generation hydraulically operated kluge that is both heavy, leaky and super draggy.
    Check on the axial 24″ dia. reel store that was flown both on the Northrop F-20 and Douglas A-4, it was the first electrically controlled store, 24″ dia and utilized a recessed R.A.T.
    So who ever wants to rely on a single source supplier with an obsolescent design, check other sources before you spend all your money!

    • Oh, we can’t pass this one up, either.

      Since when are men NOT concerned about “mine is bigger than yours”?

  7. What? Are you suggesting Mr. Brindle, that both Boeing and EADS be dragged by competition, kicking and screaming, from 1950s air-refueling stores’ technology into the 1970s in one fell swoop?
    Oh, for late twentieth-century ARS technology.

    [Size does matter; likewise drag.]

    • I don’t think Boeing is (should) be scared to loose. It should not be possible to offer a fixed number of larger, more expensive a/p and operate them sub-optimally and still be cheaper.

      What Boeing is afraid of is their profit margin. They’re only fighting EADS on the financial side – nothing technical.

      • As I’ve outlined extensively in earlier threads, the commercial production is highly relevant to the manufacturing costs of any military derivatives. Also, I’ve stated that the list price of the airframes is a pretty meaningless metric. In this case, the A330 is in demand while the 767 is not. Consequently, Airbus can price their product higher in the market place.

        Now, I’ve estimated that the production cost of an A330-200 (with a total annual output of 80+ frames) is in the order of USD 5-7 million more than a 767-200. Engine costs, for example, are about the same (same thrust/size class) while the FBW system on the A330 is lighter and requires less maintenance than the cables and pulleys on the 767.

        I’ve also estimated that for the KC-45, the flyaway cost for a green non-modified airframe is likely to be in the order of some 40 percent of total contractual cost per frame. Consequently, if EADS’ offered flyaway cost is USD 184 million (same as NG’s offer last time around for the first 68 KC-45 tankers), the extra costs for the larger frame would only be at a level of 2.7 – 3.8 percent of the total offered flyaway cost per frame. Since the A330 MRTT is significantly closer configuration-wise to the KC-X than any KC-767 model, it’s pretty clear that those 2.7 to 3.8 percent of added cost would, in all likelihood, be “eaten up” by the significantly less development required for the EADS offer.

        “What Boeing is afraid of is their profit margin. They’re only fighting EADS on the financial side – nothing technical.”

        Who ever talked about “technical”? 😉

        Boeing seems to be running scared that EADS is, in fact, highly competitive, and that EADS don’t have to “dump” their price offer in order to stay competitive. Of coures, Boeing is “worried” about the profit margins, but that’s really no excuse for being so nasty that they’re now portraying EADS as a possible “threat” to US national security.

      • Estimating the build cost of an 45% heavier (OEW) aircraft to be at most 10% more expensive seems… optimistic. That’s 45% more mass that needs to be transported, produced, assembled.
        Also, while flying the same mission (payload/range) as specified in the evaluation requirements of the RFP, the A330 will burn more fuel.
        Maintenance costs may be a toss up, I don’t know. Easy to replace/repair but error prone pulleys vs. complex integrated digital architecture.
        MILCON certainly disfavors the A330, though I don’t think it’ll be a significant portion of the final TEP.

        Then there are 767’s flying, Boeing has a strong history of mix-and-matching their models and has a strong line of commercial derivative a/c. They also have the type certificate for the only 1200 GPM refuel system in the business (or do the Russians have one also?).
        And they “only” need to beat the EADS offer by about 1.87 million dollar per airplane (~350 million for 179 a/c)

        No, I cannot believe EADS can win – though Boeing can loose of course.

      • Again, 🙂 the fixed production cost as a percentage of total production costs is significantly higher for the 767 than for the A330 due to the much higher output of A330s (currently 800 percent higher). Also, all of the parts and systems from Tier-1 and Tier-2 suppliers on the A330 can be supplied to Airbus cheaper than the equivalent parts and systems on the 767 due to the economies of scale that arise when the cost per unit falls as output increases.

        As I’ve indicated, the engine costs are about the same (same thrust/size class) and assuming in a rough first order approximation that the cost of the landing gear on both frames are about the same (A332 is 25 percent heavier at MTOW), and that all of the avionics and systems on board are about equal in costs as well, then what we have, is essentially some 30 000 kg of added structure on the A330-200 over the 767-200 (according to the MWE (Manufacturer’s Weight Empty), and not OEW); or about $167 -$233 per kilogram. Putting this into perspective, we can see that this dollar figure per kilogram cost is some 6 to 7 times higher than the price for aerospace grade titanium (very expensive material) and some two orders of magnitude higher than the typical price for aerospace grade aluminium.

        True, MILCON favours the KC-767, but the IFARA favours the A330 MRTT.

        It’s my understanding that Boeing is offering a FBW boom with a 1200 gallon per minute offload capability. The KC-10 boom is not FBW.

        “And they “only” need to beat the EADS offer by about 1.87 million dollar per airplane (~350 million for 179 a/c)”

        Not true. Please do note that the Total Proposed Price (TPP) in the flowchart in Section M, Evaluation Factors for Award (in the RFP), represents the total system lifecycle costs (R&D, acquisition price of the production lots, operations & support, and finally, disposal). Last time around this figure exceeded USD 100 billion, and this is the figure that will be multiplied by 1.01 (101 percent). This means that Boeing must beat EADS on total system lifecycle costs (per frame) by at least $5.6 million per unit (assuming TPP of $100 billion).

      • Frankly scarlet . . . I fail to see any real credible arguments regarding REAL costs of Airbus being lower or equal to Boeing. An awful lot seems to be missing. 1) The 767 airframe was U.S MIL- certified years ago – NOT true for airbus
        2) Most of the tooling and production methodology and special equipment and machinery have long since been amortized for both airframes.

        3) Most of the development work and ALL of certification to both FAA and U.S and Foreign mil standards for a tanker has been done for the 767- not true for airbus

        4) The airforce was roundly critized for the 5 billion addition to the boeing bid without credible justification

        5) the analysis regarding costs/subsidies I was involved in a decade ago IMO is still valid – and probably somewhat supported by the WTO ruling as to amounts and percentages

        6) like it or not BA has much more experience in tankers than Airbus

        7) If Airbus wins, and later the french- as is their wont- go on strike to delay delivery or hold up critical equipment, the U.S would be powerless to intervene. If the same thing were to happen in the U.S – the Government could/would intervene on the basis of national security- assuming of course that the union people involved on the 767 tanker line would actually strike/walkout to the extent it affected national security.

        All of which still leads me to believe that the ONLY way eads could win is by a major- significant LOWBALL- which is somehow adjudged credible !

        +++++

        For those who missed my earlier posts on related costs – I’ve copied an extract below.

        Airbus Countervailing Duty Position Paper [ AUG 2001 ]

        . . .
        In order to fill out the petition, the Committee gathered data from various sources, including: Boeing Annual Reports; the first European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) (formerly France’s Aerospatiale Mantra, Germany’s DASA, Spain’s CASA, and Britain’s BAE Systems) Annual Report for 1999/2000; statistical surveys conducted by the European Aerospace Industry (EAI) for 1997 – 1999; information from both Boeing’s and Airbus’ websites; numerous press accounts; and informal discussions with industry representatives. The Boeing Company has neither helped nor hindered us, nor have we had access to any Boeing proprietary data. As SPEEA represents workers within the industry, and not the industry itself, actual sales prices, contract information, profit margins, discounts, and lease information are closely held by the respective companies and were not available to us; however, these can be requested by the ITA and ITC.
        The L&PA Committee has made the following observations which lead to our belief that Airbus, through a variety of methods, is effectively selling their products below cost. Raw material, engines, avionics, landing gear, and similar parts cost the same for Boeing and Airbus. Assembly techniques, automation, certification, process controls, and computer-aided design techniques are essentially the same, and have no inherent cost differences. Additionally, labor costs are higher for EU countries, with differences from 15% higher in 1995 to about 5% in 1998. Finally, the EADS annual report shows that for the year 2000, Airbus’ share of EADS net consolidated profit was zero.
        We then compared the published selling prices of Boeing and Airbus commercial airplanes from 1998 – 2000, omitting figures for the Boeing 747. For 1999, the average cost of all airplanes sold by Boeing was $59 million per plane, whereas the average cost for Airbus was $46.4 million per plane. We then compared two comparable models of aircraft, the A320 and the 737-800. Figures reflected an average 737-800 costing (conservatively) about 10% more than the A320.
        Therefore, how can Airbus, with equal material and subassembly costs, higher labor costs and arguably lower productivity, and admittedly zero profits, still undercut Boeing prices by at least 10 percent? Our determination is that Airbus is selling most, if not all aircraft models into the U.S. at 10 25% below cost. Note: this does not include special lease, financial, or maintenance agreements, which even further harm our workers.
        In conclusion, the overall affect of the governmental subsidization of Airbus has caused distortions in international trade that support United States governmental action. Therefore, the SPEEA L&PA Committee is recommending the SPEEA Council and Executive Board take action to file the petition for countervailing duty relief with the United States Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission.

        +++

      • Don, I was primarily talking about the A332 and 762 and not the tanker derivatives. And yes, most of the tooling and production methodology and special equipment and machinery have long since been amortized for both airframes. However, you forgot to mention that the tooling and production methodology for the A330 is more advanced and requires less manpower and that quite a lot of the 787 production methodology is patterned after the A330 production setup.

      • Groooan —- Please provide some credible numbers such as from AECMA which show ” EU” productivity better than that of the U.S over say a five or 10 year time period

        I note when you start losing on one issue, you pull out another straw- person . .

        For example the discussion about breakaway had to do with tanker capability – so why bring receiver aircraft issues into the conversation ?

        Other than to make a much longer post..

        And for the yo yo who talked about the f-35 and 1200 gpm boom – grow up ! Flow rates are controllable and specifically limited by a variety of methods, including venting issues

        Instead of rock paper and scissors, perhaps we should be measuring how high the pile of bullpucky each side can make.

        There are lies, damm lies, and EADS profit numbers !

      • OV-099, take note:

        Boeing is going to remake its 767 production line into a Lean Line as it puts the 787 surge line in the forward part of the 767 bay. The aft part will become the 767 production line, using Lean production techniques. This will reduce actual production costs by about 20%, not taking into account CPI (consumer price index) increases, labor changes, etc. These savings will be computed into the bid for the KC767. We’ve written about this previously.

        Boeing also plans to increase the 767 production from one to two per month, with a capacity to go to (we think) 5/mo, which is well above the current production forecasts even with the KC-X program.

      • Don, Re breakaway:

        Both 767 and 330 meet the same takeoff performance requirements i.e. single engine positive climb at MTOW. Both can do climbs to high altitude.
        Is there any credible reason to assume the a330 could not meet this requirement other than the fact it was never part of it’s certification?

        1) the currently proposed 767 model was never certified for anything. Both are commercial derivative a/c, with the 767 apple falling a bit further off the tree. I’m sure neither will require significantly more effort than the other to achieve certification.

        3) The AUS 330 are supposed to be quite close. We’re still waiting on the Italian 767, let alone the actual proposed tanker assembly.
        Again, mostly a toss up I think (especially on a 35 billion program)

        4) The AF had plenty reason to add to the Boeing cost – past experience and the cost/schedule risk engineering entails.

        5) but has no bearing on the current competition.

        6) Boeing delivered it’s last tanker to the AF in 1965 – how many people work at Boeing that actually remember that year? Boeing has been building a/c for much longer than EADS has as well – that doesn’t translate into solidly better a/c (anymore) either, why does it matter more for an tanker than a transport?

        7) Under ITAR rules, all design and production data and information must be in solidly US hands – that means that when the French go on strike to make a point to the US, they’re basically handing the A330 type certificate to the Americans.
        Stop beating the “National Security” Bush – it’s fear mongering at it’s worst and I’m sure you can do/know better

        The problem with measuring the height of that pile of bullpucky is that both sides will claim most of the pucky actually comes from cows, not bulls and should thus not be included.
        And where in your lies list would you place Boeing Spin?

      • “Groooan —- Please provide some credible numbers such as from AECMA which show ” EU” productivity better than that of the U.S over say a five or 10 year time period”

        Yawn, you do like to make this into a wider EU/USA “clash”, don’t you?

        If you look at the productivity per hour, a simple google search will get you this:

        Quote:

        The first point I make in my paper is that you have to look behind the basic figures, and then you realise that two things have happened. One is that the productivity (i.e. production per hour) in Europe was roughly thirty per cent lower than in the US in 1970. If you look at today’s situation, and particularly the EU-15, you can see that the productivity gap has nearly entirely been made up. There are even some EU countries where productivity is higher than in the US, like in France. The catch-up vis-a-vis the US has been tremendous, with a productivity growth nearly double that of the US.

        http://www.euractiv.com/en/innovation/mit-professor-challenges-perceptions-us-vs-eu-productivity/article-128521

        “I note when you start losing on one issue, you pull out another straw- person . .”

        Actually, what typically characterizes someone who’s “losing on the issues” is the tendency to resort to adolescent name-calling such as “scarlet” and “airbust”.

        “For example the discussion about breakaway had to do with tanker capability – so why bring receiver aircraft issues into the conversation ?
        Other than to make a much longer post..”

        Long posts, eh? That’s pretty rich coming from you who repeatedly post astoundingly long (and repetitive) comments regarding the same old story: “Airbus Countervailing Duty Position Paper” (etc).

        As for the receiver aircraft; that was mentioned in just one sentence. Nothing more, nothing less.

        What I did though, was to cut and paste all of the requirements for the required tanker actions, and thus demonstrating to the readers that you indeed had chosen to resort to selective quoting from the document(s). 😉

      • . .) Under ITAR rules, all design and production data and information must be in solidly US hands – that means that when the French go on strike to make a point to the US, they’re basically handing the A330 type certificate to the Americans. . .

        +++ And of course it would only take a few weeks for Boeing to produce and deliver their version of the tanker – ????

        Riiiiiiiigggghhttt !

  8. I personally like this line from Boeing, “While the cost of the contract is estimated at approximately $35 billion, the value of providing future men and women who selflessly serve this nation with the most advanced tanker ever created is priceless.” Are they tryiing to say that the competition should not be a price shootout or that they should be allowed to charge more?
    Let’s now look at this claim of “most advanced”. The airframe they are basing this on first entered service in 1982. That in itself is not so bad. I am also pretty certain that it is not fly by wire. That is definitely a far cry from “most advanced”.

    One last comment. Boeing isn’t about having the biggest anymore. They are now focused on being “right sized”.

  9. I got a great idea, the Air Force should ask the bidders to bring what they got and refuel a large assortment of AF, Navy and Marine aircraft, you know, a drive before you buy.

  10. I am starting to feel if not look like the subject in the “scream” painting.
    I had asked a simple question as to why both potential suppliers of the suggested aircraft, both paper and real, why had both parties chosen to go with only one single source of ARS Pod, Store, whatever?
    I was trying to point out the apparent idiocy of designing two aircraft from two sources with one only choice of wing-store!!!
    And one other blood curling fact is the prospect of hooking up to a boom which is rated at 1200 gpm offload capability if Boeing is to be believed, I can just imagine what a fuel inflated F-16 looks like. (Blowfish?)

    • KC-10 has 1200 gpm system… no overinflated F16 spotted yet 😉

      in fact, the USAF is so happy with this capability they added it as an mandatory requirement for this competition…

  11. Scott, the production cost for both OEMs is a moving target, and both OEM’s have been using lean manufacturing techniques for some time now (Boeing: 737 and 777, Airbus: A320, A330/A340 and A380).

    However, I would argue that the sub assembly production method pioneered by Airbus (now being copied by Boeing on the 787), is inherently more susceptible to lean manufacturing advances, than the typical “old” production method where in a massive final assembly line/facility, a LCA is typically put together from smaller parts (i.e. fuselage and wing panels etc.) that’s delivered directly to the FAL.

    As for the KC-X, EADS can use current production data while Boeing will have to convince the Pentagon that they can indeed achieve what they’re promising.

    The first new built 767-300F was delivered 15 years ago, but apparently, only 83 frames have been sold. This sales volume compares very unfavourably to the A330-200F (66 orders since programme launch in early 2007). There’s little, or no reason to believe that now suddenly, the 767-300F can compete effectively with the new A330-200F.

    Sure, Boeing can sell a few more civilian 767 frames, but it looks like most of the remaining non-freighter versions in the order backlog only are there due to them being a part of a compensation package for 787 delays. Even a production output of two per month at the end of the decade (including the tanker) would be a rather optimistic production assumption for the 767 line.

  12. I’m sorry dave- I cannot do that . . .

    Air France Flight 296 was a chartered flight of a newly-delivered fly-by-wire Airbus A320-111 operated by Air France. On June 26, 1988, as part of an air show it was scheduled to fly over Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport (ICAO code LFGB) at a low speed with landing gear down at an altitude of 100 feet, but instead slowly descended to 30 feet before crashing into the tops of trees beyond the runway. Three passengers died. The cause of the accident is disputed, as many irregularities were later revealed by the accident investigation. This was the first ever crash involving an Airbus A320.

    . .A320 operation anomalies

    Third-party investigations into the crash dispute the official findings.[2] Captain Asseline asserted the altimeter read 100 feet (30 m) despite video evidence that the plane was as low as 30 feet (10 m). He also reported that the engines didn’t respond to his throttle input as he attempted to increase power. The month prior to the accident, Airbus posted two Operational Engineering Bulletins indicating anomalous behaviour noted in the A320 aircraft. These bulletins were received by Air France but not sent out to pilots until after the accident:
    [edit] OEB 19/1: Engine Acceleration Deficiency at Low Altitude

    This OEB noted that the engines may not respond to throttle input at low altitude.
    [edit] OEB 06/2: Baro-Setting Cross Check

    This OEB stated that the barometric altitude indication on the A320 did not always function properly.

    These malfunctions could have caused both the lack of power when the throttle was increased, and the inability of the crew to recognize the sharp sink rate as the plane passed 100 feet into the trees.
    [edit] Investigation irregularities

    According to French Law, the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder are to be immediately retrieved by the police in the event of an aircraft accident. However, the recorders were taken by the civil aviation authorities and held for 10 days until they were finally confiscated. When the recorders were returned, they had been physically opened and the magnetic tape had been tampered with. It could not even be verified that they were the original recorders. The four seconds of recording immediately prior to the crash were missing. In view of this, a judicial report alleged that the aircraft’s flight recorders could have been tampered with shortly after the crash.[3]

    ++++

    ” missile at 7 oclock low ”

    “Turn! ! Dive !

    “I’m sorry crew- our computer will NOT allow you to exceed our pre programed hard limits “

    • and what about the Helios 737 that went down because someone forgot to set the pressurization control knob to the correct position. The associated alarm was not distinguished from another, much more common alarm
      Or the 737 that landed short of Schiphol because one altimeter indicated teh aircraft was below sea level (and even below schiphol altitute). When the pilots pushed the throttles forward the autopilot assumed pilot error and again retarded thrust.

      Both faults could have been captured and corrected by a little more automation.

  13. About france and national security issues – care to talk about overflight /

    example as to french attitudes

    http://www.barthworks.com/aviation/sr71france.htm

    Many interesting (and unconfirmed) stories have come out regarding the SR-71. In one story, an SR-71 was flying over France, returning to its base at Mildenhall, England, when an error light illuminated in the cockpit, ostensibly, an oil pressure drop to just below nominal.

    It wasn’t an emergency situation, but just to be safe, the pilot throttled back and reduced altitude. The RSO contacted French air traffic control for permission to descend through 60,000 feet, into controlled airspace.

    The French controller denied the request unless the aircraft could provide a reservation number. Not having a “reservation number,” and out of options, the SR-71 descended into French controlled airspace.

    France scrambled interceptors which came up to the “low and slow” SR-71. The French pilot flew along side and demanded a reservation number to fly in controlled airspace. The SR-71 RSO told the pilot he had just given the French pilot the number out of his window (the middle-finger sign). The SR-71 pilot throttled up and the Blackbird roared away from the French fighters, leaving the French pilots astonished at the acceleration and speed of the Blackbird.

    ++++

    http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj96/spr96/wsiegl.html

    1986 Spain, France Overflight denied France and Spain did not grant overflight rights to UK-based F-111s participating in strikes against Libya

    1966 France France’s withdrawal from NATO’s united military structure forces the US to shut down all bases in France, including nine major air bases.

    Of course spain and others also from time to time deny overflight for political reasons

    • about the US and global security.

      They sold F-14’s to Iran and put Saddam on his throne. They trained the taliban and threw stingers at them to use on the Russians.
      They used torture and imprison anyone they like away from US soil to get out from under their own laws.

      But of course, when France sticks up for one of it’s former colonies and their own interests – they are a threat to US national security…

  14. about the libya raid . .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Libya

    For the Libyan raid, the United States was denied overflight rights by France, Spain and Italy as well as the use of European continental bases, forcing the Air Force portion of the operation to be flown around France, Spain and through the Straits of Gibraltar, adding 1,300 miles (2,100 km) each way and requiring multiple aerial refuelings. The attack lasted about ten minutes. Several targets were hit and destroyed, but some civilian and diplomatic sites in Tripoli were struck as well, and the French embassy was reportedly only narrowly missed,[5] when a number of bombs missed their intended targets.

    ++

    Think about major assemblies of our tankers being made in france

    Pity they missed the embassy . . .

    • yeahbut think of all the extra range and extra fuel capacity on the KC45. Maybe if the tanker were made by EADS, France and Spain wudda said yes….

  15. Don, apart from quoting from HAL 9000 in your endless tirade against the A330 MRTT, Airbus and EADS, why don’t you talk about the pros of Boeing’s offer for a change?

    • I am sure BA can do a better job of providing data as to advantages of the 767 tanker than I can.

      besides which – I find it difficult to respond to some of your off the wall statements such as . . . . Initial Actions. The tanker is to maintain heading or established AOB (Air order of Battle) and assigned FL/altitude/height and

      Air order of battle ? In that context ??

      I somehow think/believe that gaspasser has a better understanding of the term AOB in context than you do .. he claims – and I believe the correct term in context is ANGLE OF BANK …

      I find it even more amusing that on a different thread in the seattle PI online, I have been accused of being an Airbus/EADS shill !

      #518710
      Posted by unregistered user at 5/15/2010 3:57 p.m.
      “3) The issue of a quantity of civil aircraft converted for military use re subsidies has not been clearly addressed”

      The intent however is clearly there for a subsidized bid. If the rulings are good for commercial aircraft, then it follows that they must be good for commercial aircraft used for something else, since the object of the rulings is the creation of the aircraft itself, not its future use.

      Mr Shuper comes clearly across as an EADS supporter.

      +++++

      Posted by unregistered user at 5/16/2010 3:22 p.m.
      “Mr Shuper comes clearly across as an EADS supporter”

      This is bizarre. Shuper has been on the Airbus subsidy case since 2001. He has been critical of Boeing’s failure to pursue the case then and he thinks mamagement is incompetent but saying he is pro-EADS is a stretch.

      ++

      In any case – I think the whole concept- subject of this particular thread has been essentially missed.

      The Airbust/EADS tanker does NOT wear combat boots and will require some major changes to do so , including EMP hardening above the normal civilian requirements for FBW.

      I think even the most jaded of posters would agree that cables and pulleys, ( as backup or part of the design ) with control columns instead of side arm controllers are not really affected by electronic counter measures.

      AS to reliability and maintainance – 50 plus years of service in 707-b52 ,etc no doubt has improved the design and just how to maintain and rig such ancient devices dont you think ??

      Orvilee and Wilbur made em work , including bending the wings.

    • “I am sure BA can do a better job of providing data as to advantages of the 767 tanker than I can.”

      Well, the problem is, as Scott pointed out 4 posts ago; “Why aren’t they talking about their airplane?”

      The fact of the matter is that Boeing recently is talking a lot more about EADS’s tanker than what they themselves have on offer, which is pretty sad really.

      As for you not choosing to talk about the pros of the KC-767; that’s certainly one of the most lame excuses that I’ve seen for some time, especially from a person who’s continuously questioning the technical viability of the A330 and A330 MRTT.

      “besides which – I find it difficult to respond to some of your off the wall statements such as . . . . Initial Actions. The tanker is to maintain heading or established AOB (Air order of Battle) and assigned FL/altitude/height and Air order of battle ? In that context ??”

      Hmm, except for the words inside the parentheses, all this was cut and pasted from the NATO document. As for the context of the words inside the parentheses; I’m glad to have provided some amusement to you. 😉

      “I find it even more amusing that on a different thread in the seattle PI online, I have been accused of being an Airbus/EADS shill !”

      Well, that’s not surprising as intelligent utterances in the comment section on that blog are few and far between.

      “The Airbust/EADS tanker does NOT wear combat boots and will require some major changes to do so , including EMP hardening above the normal civilian requirements for FBW.”

      LOL

      Neither tanker offer is “wearing” combat boots. At least the KC-30 is flying, and those EMP hardened systems that are good enough for the Australians, but not “quite good” for USAF, can quite easily be replaced by off-the-shelf A400M systems.

      “I think even the most jaded of posters would agree that cables and pulleys, ( as backup or part of the design ) with control columns instead of side arm controllers are not really affected by electronic counter measures.”

      LOL

      USAF first went FBW with the F-16. In fact, modern fighters can’t fly without a computerized flight-control system. There’s plenty of radiation-hardened chip around which were developed for defense and space related activities.

      With all due respect Don, but I have to say that you sound like a luddite bemoaning the advent of computerized flight-control systems; a technology which helped propel Airbus into pole position.

      “AS to reliability and maintainance – 50 plus years of service in 707-b52 ,etc no doubt has improved the design and just how to maintain and rig such ancient devices dont you think ??”

      Again, you’re sounding like a luddite. 😉 Now, you should note that the KC-135/707/B-52 were designed at a time where most, if not all structures were developed more robustly. Today’s Large Civilian Aircraft (LCA) do have significantly less “robust” structures than those overbuilt aircraft of half a century ago. When one considers the enormous safety margins involved in modern LCAs, overbuilding an aircraft means more weight than needed to do the job (waste of weight), and correspondingly higher fuel burn.

  16. Boeing will win!
    Why?
    They use feet, pounds and gallons.
    The most advanced industrial nation in the world you may recall found metrication too difficult.
    So sorry, but A330 is metric.
    Boeing can organize a class of 65 reunion to collate and collect all their expertise in Tanker production.
    Maybe will have to hire two telephone booths to make room.

  17. In other news:

    http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/05/28/342483/airbus-military-reveals-work-on-sigint-a320.html

    Military certification for KC-30A expected in July. The two examples currently flying have passed 250t of fuel during certification and testing, according to Airbus.

    The tirades and tired nonsense posted by Don are getting old. Posting unattributed Wikipedia articles about contentious arguments from 22 years ago is not really advancing the debate, I would have thought.

    But then again, it appears there is nothing many Boeing supporters fear more than to discuss the actual merits of the bid by the home team. So they resort to Debating Club 101 tactics, smear, obfuscate, confuse, patriotic rallying cries. But on no account whatsoever talk about the facts.

    Sad, and the reason why I all the more enjoy reading intelligent contributions from people like John here.

  18. Andreas,

    Thanks for your compliment, I think everyone has their own viewpoint as to what should happen in this contest and Don takes a very trade orientated viewpoint. For myselft I’m not making any bones that I support Boeing, for two reasons: 1) The KC-767 is an appropriate KC-135 replacement (I don’t believe the A330 however is) and; 2) I tend to think that US taxpayer dollars should go to promote US based manufacturing, as a German (or at least that’s what you appear to be) I assume I think you would agree that the German government has had very good results by strongly supporting German Industry even when they may have been technologicaly behind their contempories. However, with strong support German industry usually caught up with and/or surpassed their competion.

    As I’ve said though right now we are in the preliminaries and they are purely political. I just think it is a mistake to read any of the back forth now as a real test of the strength of the bids. In other words the number Boeing was looking for was 410 to 8. That was the vote of the US House of Representatives last night to require the DoD to include the WTO ruling in the contest in the so called Boeing Bill, and I don’t really think for Boeing this is primarily about the KC-X. Rather it is about all commerical derivatives.

    About two years ago Tom Enders (Definitely my favorite Aerospace executive) said, “that 10 years ago we wouldn’t have even been allowed to compete for this contract”. What this dance is really about is turning back the clock 10 years. If the Druyun scandal and John McCain said to the Air Force you had better run a 50/50 competion if you want to get this funded, the politcs now say you had definitely better not run a 50/50 competition if you want to get this funded. Given that US politics largely works by precendence this sends a powerful message for this contest and all the contest that will follow for derivatives of civilian hardware which is what Boe ing and for that matter possibly Lockheed and maybe even NG now really want. Lockheed of course is looking at future competition from the A400M, which EADS will be pitching heavily to the USAF.

    PS Believe it or not I was born in Germany also, even weirder the name on my Deutsch Birth certificate is Andreas not John.

    • John/Andreas

      I am actually disinterested. Haven’t lived in Germany for 16 years now. I think the US soldiers should get the best solution as quickly as possible to support them in their campaigns. Regardless of where it happens to be manufactured. I have a strong aversion to NATO soldiers being put in danger because of support for the home team, regardless of which home team that is (so I believe for example that politicians should have allowed the A400M to come with a PW engine). Industrial politics should not be conducted with the lives of your soldiers.

      I agree on your political analysis, but for the reasons above I think it is a possibly tragic mistake.

      Drop me a line through my blog (http://crusaderproject.wordpress.com) if you are in the DC area and want to go for a drink in a few weeks.

      All the best

      Andreas

      • Andreas,

        That would be a while I have a side trip I will be making Khandahar very shortly. Jeez they even closed down the TGI Friday’s on base I just don’t know what I’ll do with myself.

        John

  19. To: don on May 27, 2010 at 6:13 am

    You could ask the Chineese for help in setting
    up a copy shop in no time if the per definition
    so much more productive US workforce can’t
    cope with the task 😉

    uwe, who’s been off the web for some time
    and is wondering if Boeing shouldn’t better
    throw that money into product developement
    that currently is sunk over washing dirty linnen
    on every blog in sight.

  20. RE UWE – You seem to think I’m a paid blogger or supporter of Boeing.

    Others accuse me of being a Airbus/EADS shill

    Since neither is the case, I must be doing something right !!

    Yes – I do think BA management is imcompetent and still ( since the McDummy buyout ) has a significant korporate Kulture of mendacity as described by a federal judge over a decade ago

    yes – I do believe Airbus is not much better in the mendacity game

    yes I believe the best plane is/will be the 767 tanker

    yes I believe there is and has been way to much political posturing involved

    yes I believe there should be a level playing field – but it will only happen a millenia AFTER the pope gives birth to twins !

    meanwhile – please pause and consider what this weekend means to the thousands whose families are reminded of the ultimate sacrifice made by family member(s) in OUR behalf

    • Don,
      yes I have been thinking about your affiliation if any. still undecided 😉

      “meanwhile – please pause and consider what this weekend means to the thousands whose families are reminded of the ultimate sacrifice made by family member(s) in OUR behalf”

      Looking in from the outside let me observe that personal sacrifice certainly has high value.
      But it does not neccessarily rub off onto what these persons do.
      If the US had instead of handing out vitriolic contempt heeded the reservations
      most other nations had about the armed adventures kicked of in the last decade
      the world would be a much friendlier place today. As a nation the US has irresponsibly squandered the sacrifice of US (and allied) armed forces members
      and their families while putting the torch to civilisations worldwide.

      Driven by pure Angst.

      Thinking that the moral value of personal sacrifice sanctifies the deeds done
      in reverse, that you can not retreat from war because you would devalue
      actions and death already taken, is the fire that kept the nightmares that
      were WWI, WWII and other recent conflicts burning brightly.

      • OK, I think we are beginning to get off the point of this column, people. If we want to talk about unnecessary wars, there are plenty of European wars in the past we can point to as well over centuries of history before the US even existed. But that’s hardly the point.

        Let’s acknowledge that servicemen and women serve and sacrifice for their respective countries and for what they believe in; let’s honor this service; this is what Memorial Day in the US is about, for us Americans, and that is the point we believe Don was making.

        Let’s get back to the topic at hand. These columns are not intended to be forums for this kind of debate.

        Watch for new postings on Tanker tomorrow.

  21. . . . .Let’s acknowledge that servicemen and women serve and sacrifice for their respective countries and for what they believe in; let’s honor this service; this is what Memorial Day in the US is about, for us Americans, and that is the point we believe Don was making.

    EXACTLY RIGHT

    THANK YOU

    And thanks to ALL for their service

    Side note to end this thread

    A distant relative on my wifes’ was a doctor in the Canadian army in WW 1

    He wrote a now famous poem

    ” In flanders fields . . .”

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