Let’s talk about the planes

Update, June 4: Reuters has this recap from Jim McNerney’s appearance at an investors’ conference in which he says EADS could win the tanker competition on price–a key point of our column below.

Original Post:

Note: this is a very long column.

In a previous post, we lamented that the debate over the KC-X procurement seemed to be about everything BUT the attributes of the planes offered by Boeing (the KC-767 NewGen) and EADS (the KC-45, based on the Airbus A330-200).

The public relations campaign and the shrill political posturing has been about the WTO trade dispute between the US (Boeing) and the EU (Airbus) over illegal subsidies to both companies and whether these should be included in the Pentagon’s evaluation; about jobs; about extending the deadline to submit bids so EADS can do so; and about freezing Obama administration appointments in a particularly snitty move by an EADS Senator.

None of these has anything to do with how the USAF evaluates the plane. The USAF evaluates the equipment on the merits of performance, capabilities, life cycle costs, military construction costs (MilCon) and a bunch of technical requirements, 372 in all.

If the airplanes’ costs come within 1% of each other, another 93 discretionary criteria will be scored, including exceeding capabilities.

The reason we lament the [lack of] quality in the debate is because EADS and Boeing both offer, conceptually, good airplanes. The challenge is that they are essentially two different mission-capable airplanes trying to fit into one mission-capable category and evaluation.

The solution, we have said since the beginning of Round 2 in 2007, is that the USAF should buy both airplanes because they perform different missions and today’s Air Mobility Command and USAF require different capabilities than in the past.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, of course, says no dual-sourcing and in his mind that should end the debate. Of course, he also says no WTO consideration and that did not end the debate. On the contrary, the debate over the WTO led last week to a vote in the US House of Representatives that  WTO findings for all defense programs, for all sides, should be considered in the future. Action in pending in the Senate.

We think this is the wrong policy at the wrong time and for the wrong program, as we have written many times. Furthermore, we also believe there is a possibility Boeing could come to regret what it asks for and finally, there is the possibility that the Congressional action may not have all that much affect on the price issue anyway.

But let’s talk about the planes.

We aren’t going to get into the 372 criteria, but rather some over-arching issues. We’ll try to list advantages and disadvantages of each airplane to spur the discussion that we believe should be taking place, and which are relevant to the Air Force and Warfighter.

Size

There is no question: the KC-767NG is closer in physical size and fuel offload to the Boeing KC-135 than is the EADS KC-45.

In the Round 2 competition, Boeing issued illustrations over-laying the dimensions of the KC-767 on the KC-135 and the KC-30 (as it was then known) over both.These were effective illustrations that demonstrated just how much bigger the KC-30 is over the KC-135.

While the KC-767 and the KC-30/45 both require MilCon infrastructure improvements and more capable ground equipment than the KC-135, EADS likes to point out that the difference is the “delta” between the two in evaluating costs. We acknowledge this and note that outside the military, we don’t there are many if any people who have a real handle on how much MilCon will cost to accommodate either the KC-767 or KC-45. But the point is valid and one we thought Boeing failed to capitalize on in the 2008 competition (and so far, in this one).

Boeing Commercial Aircraft has a comprehensive airport-requirement section on its website to tell customers what is needed to support and service Boeing airplanes. Naturally the site doesn’t have Airbus airplanes on it, but we imagine BCA salesman have some kind of information on this.

We suspect that from a commercial standpoint, BCA has run all kinds of analysis for its airline sales team so they can make financial arguments of infrastructure requirements for Boeing vs Airbus. Absent information from the military, the commercial comparisons are a logical one.

Boeing Defense should run these calculations and estimates and use these in their advertisements and public relations campaigns. If their limited statements on this topic are to be believed so far, this number might be significant. If it is, then we think Congress–for whom all these PR, political and advertising campaigns are targeted anyway–might find the data worthwhile.

Airbus actually provided a great illustration during its Innovation Days to conceptually grasp the difference in airplane sizes.

Airbus was talking about the A330-300 and the advantages officials say the airplane has over Boeing’s 777-200ER in size and fuel economy.

Here is the illustration from Airbus, demonstrating how much lighter the A330-300 is compared with the 777-200ER.

We thought this was pretty effective. (This also illustrates why, among other reasons, Boeing was unlikely to offer a KC-777, given the difference between the 777-200 on which a KC-777 would be based and the A330-200.) So we did a little calculating of our own and crudely put together this illustration to demonstrate how much lighter the 767-200ER commercial model is than the A330-200HGW: the equivalent of the maximum take off weight of a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-50.

We can’t imagine the infrastructure costs delta will be 1%, a critical figure described previously.

On MilCon costs, the advantage ought to be Boeing’s. Why not talk about this?

Life Cycle Costs

This is an area where Boeing has the clear advantage; even EADS/Airbus (and, previously, Northrop Grumman) acknowledge this. The question has been over how great the advantage is.

During the 2008 competition, Boeing used the figure that the Boeing 767-200ER has a 24% fuel burn advantage over the A330-200. This number has been repeated in early press releases in this round. The figure comes from data filed by US airlines with the US Department of Transportation.

Airbus claims the difference is just 6%, but the company has never shown us the data to support this claim, nor has the company shown how the DOT data is incorrect. But that’s what the company claims.

Let’s give Airbus the benefit of being correct on this for purposes of this discussion. Six percent is still 6%, and when engaged in a price shoot-out where the low-bid wins, or where the competitors have to come within 1% before extra credit is given, 6% may as well be 24% or 124%; it ain’t 1%.

Furthermore, Boeing proposes putting winglets on the KC-767. On commercial 767-300ERs, the winglets have proved to lower fuel burn by 3.5%-4.5%. Add this to 6% and now the fuel cost advantage is about 10%. Add this to 24% and the advantage is about 28%.

And there isn’t a thing Airbus can do about it. Winglets aren’t available for the A330. (Update, 0930 PDT: We got a quick email from EADS pointing out the A330 already has winglets, which is true. But Airbus is putting a new-design winglet on the A320 family, which improves fuel burn by about 4%, and this solution isn’t available for the A330. This is what we mean when we say there isn’t anything Airbus can do about matching Boeing’s 767 winglet solution.)

Life cycle costs also include maintenance costs, parts, spares, etc., for which we don’t have data to make comparisons. There has been interesting Comment discussion on these items in previous posts the Reader can seek out, but for which we can’t begin to assess for accuracy. So we will stick with fuel.

With or without winglets, the life cycle cost on fuel burn on the KC-767 is better than the larger KC-45–and EADS knows it.

Advantage: Boeing. Why not talk about this?

Capabilities

This is one of those areas where the definition matters. Which airplane is more “capable”?

If you are talking about the ability to fly farther with greater fuel payload, great cargo payload and greater troop-carrying payload, and the ability to off-load more fuel, the answer is clearly the KC-45.

But are these greater capabilities needed?

In the 2008 competition, the USAF came to the conclusion the answer was “yes.” Readers will remember the famous line, the then-named KC-30 offered “more, more, more,” the USAF said in selecting the airplane.

The 2009 competition says “more” isn’t that important. The RFP uses the KC-135 as the baseline and if the contenders meet the baseline requirements, the low-priced airplane wins. Only if the prices are within 1% of each other with “more” be considered.

On this basis, the KC-767 has the advantage. It’s smaller than the KC-30/45. Boeing says it meets the baseline requirements. The pricing theoretically should be better. (More on this below.)

Advantage: Boeing.

Price

We’ve made a couple of references already to the importance of price. In the 2008 competition, Northrop Grumman submitted a bid of $184m per airplane. Published reports had put this number at about $172m, which was said to be about $12m-$15m less than Boeing. This suggested the Boeing bid was $184m-$187m. The subsequent GAO report upholding Boeing’s protest noted that absent the additional costs assessed by the USAF for risk factors (plus $5bn for Boeing, plus $772m for Northrop), the bids were essentially even.

This demonstrates why Boeing is so focused on getting the WTO finding about illegal Airbus subsidies into the equation. Boeing and its supporters assert the WTO found the A330-200 on which the KC-45 is based received $5.7bn in illegal subsidies. Spread over 1,086 airplanes ordered so far, this is $5.25m per plane Boeing believes should be added to the EADS bid price.

Let’s take this at face value.

Northrop said it bid $184m. This includes the Northrop mark-up and profit margin, which defense consultant Michel Murluzeau of G2 Solutions in Kirkland (WA) estimates to be 10%-15%. This Flight International Special Report on the tanker includes this observation. Thus, subtracting these percentages, you get the following bid price assumptions (using the 2008 numbers), in thousands:

So even adding back in the WTO penalty still provides a low price for Boeing to beat, lower than was bid in 2008.

Then take into consideration the lower Euro-to-Dollar exchange rate and Boeing’s uncertain development costs of the KC-767 NewGen–and finally, the prospect that Boeing will likely be found guilty of receiving illegal subsidies. Thanks to the legislation passed by the House last week, Boeing may well find itself faced with the prospect of these subsidy costs being added back into its bid price.

We talk in detail about these factors in this post.

Boeing’s Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, was CEO of the Defense unit in 2008. The major portion of the cost of the KC-767 comes from BCA. At the time, Scott Carson was BCA CEO, and we were told after the GAO protest was filed that Carson had not been willing to cut Boeing Defense a low price for the 767-200ERF (a conceptual airplane) needed by Albaugh at Defense. Now that Albaugh is at BCA, he has vowed not to be the person who loses the tanker competition twice and we expect him to be more aggressive on price than was Carson.

Boeing is also switching the 767 production line to a Lean line, which will reduce costs significantly.

Still, Boeing doesn’t truly know what its development costs will be since it is offering a conceptual airplane based on the troubled Italian tanker program, where structural and aerodynamic problems still have to be resolved before the airplanes can be delivered. These are now four years late.

EADS, with KC-30s in production, says it knows what its development costs are–there is less risk and greater certainty on a bid price for EADS compared with the Boeing challenge, EADS contends.

And the USAF fixed price component of the USAF contract worries Boeing (as it did Northrop). Because Boeing doesn’t have a good track record with the KC-767 International program and because it is offering a conceptual airplane that isn’t in production, the cost risk to Boeing has got to be high. Remember, the USAF added $5bn in 2008 to Boeing’s cost for these reasons. (This is not possible under the 2009 RFP.)

Boeing, as recently as May 20, reiterated its concern over fixed price and said it must prepare a “financially responsible” bid. Boeing even floated the idea that it might not bid, though it subsequently said it “INTENDS” to bid (emphasis is Boeing’s).

To use the apt analogy, What is the bottom line on price?

We think that even allowing for the WTO finding, EADS may well have the advantage on pricing.

Advantage: EADS

Past Performance

In 2008, past performance was a discriminating criteria and Boeing was marked down significantly because of the International tanker program. Past performance isn’t a discriminating factor in this round, although Evaluation Notices from the Air Force can accomplish much the same thing.

Boeing doesn’t have an in-production airplane and EADS does, which officials say is a major advantage. But the KC-30 is two years late to the launch customer, the Royal Australian Air Force. EADS, and the RAAF, acknowledged that six months of this was due to customer-requested change orders. This means the balance of the delay is due to EADS.

Last month, we asked the RAAF about some of the issues. Here is the e-mail interview, with answers provided by a spokesperson with the Australian Defense department.

1. We understand that the MRTT will now be two years late in delivery to RAAF. What is now the targeted delivery date, please?

Defence expects to achieve delivery of the first two aircraft by end-2010.

2. We understand that there continues to be issues with the aerial refuelling boom, specifically flight envelop issues. Please detail what these issues are and how these are delaying delivery.

The delay to delivery is primarily due to the additional time required for the conversion and testing of the whole of the military modifications for the first-of-type A330 MRTT; not the boom refuelling system per se.  Airbus Military has now completed important milestones in the final testing of the military avionics, underwing pod and boom refuelling systems.  A Supplemental Type Certificate for the A330 MRTT was granted by the European Aviation Safety Agency on 17 March 2010 for civil certification of the military modifications to the commercial A330 airliner.  Military certification and qualification testing is currently underway, including final testing and certification of the performance of the new boom refuelling system.  Based on the substantial testing conducted to date, the DMO does not anticipate that the boom will delay delivery and entry into service of the A330 MRTT.

3. Please identify any other issues with the MRTT that have to be resolved prior to delivery.

The test program is now entering the final certification and qualification stages after over 12 months of developmental testing of the new military avionics and refuelling systems.  At this stage of the program, there are no known technical issues that are anticipated to impact the completion of the military certification and qualification program.

When we were at the Airbus Innovation Days, a spokesperson for Airbus Military advised us that the two aircraft will be delivered in the third and fourth quarters. One of our peers attending the briefing was an Australian defense reporter, who says he has been told by a high-level RAAF source that there remain flight envelope issues with the refueling boom. Readers can see we asked RAAF about this (above) and the response. The Airbus Military spokesperson denied the report as well.

Conclusion

With this column, we have on a macro level tried to talk about the airplanes. To summarize, we think:

  • Boeing has a clear advantage on life cycle costs;
  • Boeing has the advantage on MilCon costs, probably beyond 1%;
  • Boeing has the advantage on the basic RFP requirements;
  • Boeing’s Jim Albaugh now runs BCA and knows what price is needed to win;
  • Boeing is going to a Lean production 767 line which will provide significant help on costs;
  • Boeing has a great advantage with the in-place production at Everett and a highly skilled IAM workforce (we think this is one of Boeing’s best talking points, by the way);
  • EADS may have the advantage on price, despite last week’s vote by the US House of Representatives;
  • EADS has the advantage of an in-production airplane, leading to greater certainty on cost than Boeing has;
  • Evaluation Notices can take into account risk and past performance factors, though not to the extent of the 2008 competition;
  • Boeing is disadvantaged by its past performance;
  • Boeing is disadvantaged by risk factors relating to offering a conceptual airplane;
  • EADS should be marked down in the ENs for delays to Australia;
  • EADS is disadvantaged by its proposed “greenfield” production site at Mobile (AL) (the weakest link in the EADS proposal);
  • EADS is at a great disadvantage over life-cycle costs;
  • EADS is disadvantaged over MilCon costs;
  • We think EADS may not be able to overcome the life-cycle and MilCon cost disadvantages;
  • Politically, EADS is at its greatest disadvantage.

A final word:

If the Senate concurs with the House and requires the Air Force to take into account the WTO findings on Airbus (and Boeing), and should per chance EADS still win on price (including life cycle and MilCon costs) and meeting the 372 pass-fail requirements, there will be no excuses Boeing and its supporters will logically be able to fall back on to protest this award. (Unless the USAF screws up yet again in the evaluation process, an outcome that can’t be ruled out.)

Boeing could still wind up being hoisted on its own petard. For all the effort to get the WTO factors considered, our analysis suggests it is a long shot that EADS could still win on price, but it might. Boeing is certainly worried EADS could. And that’s the ballgame.

81 Comments on “Let’s talk about the planes

    • Those are the little counterweights to reduce wing bending during the breakaway maneuver. 😉

      No winglet improvement is available for the A330

  1. If EADS wins on price, “dumping” will be alleged. I suspect this competition is headed for the same result as the last two go-arounds. If USAF wants a tanker this decade, sole source it to Boeing. Anything else won’t pass muster politically speaking.

  2. As I read the text of the amendment I got the distinct feeling they wanted the Complete Illegal subsidy to be accounted for in the acquisition in question.
    $5.7 billion over 179 planes – or equal to Boeing’s Engineering risk markup!

    Granted, that would be crazy – But breaking the rules of the WTO to include WTO findings in legislation is crazy to me, so I won’t guess where that horse stops.

    Also, You seem to omit the IFARA calculation from the life cycle fuel burn cost. Any percentage in fuel burn difference will be partly negated by an better IFARA score for EADS.

    Finally I think this excellent post underlines a point I made earlier. Boeing has many significant advantages over EADS. In my opinion there is no way EADS can win this bid (though Boeing can always loose). The next question then becomes: Why are they trying to further jack up EADS’s cost base…
    I can only think of their profit margin.

    Boeing will have significant positive cash-flow for the next few years with the 787 and 748 transforming from development to production. And EADS still has the riskiest part of the 350 development to go. The A400 will take a while longer and the A330 popularity will go to the 787/350.
    Boeing can outbid EADS. It could even accept no profit for the first 179, and get their profit in KC-Y/Z. (Surely the 777 is the only contender for the KC-10 replacement)
    Why don’t they?

    • Good point on IFARA.

      As to why Boeing is trying to jack up EADS cost base:

      1. Boeing is truly, truly offended by launch aid.
      2. The absence of Northrop and its mark-up is a significant cost reduction for EADS.
      3. The declining Euro has an impact favoring EADS.
      4. The fixed price contract is a concern for Boeing (as it was for Northrop), particularly given the uncertainties of its own cost-based risk factor.

      • 1) always possible and I would agree with this sentiment, but I can’t remember the last time a major company chose their principles over their own interests.

        2) Neither does Boeing suffer any Northrop mark-up.

        3) It most certainly does – But Boeing still sells aircraft and the US economy seems to rebound more vigorously than the EU. So whatever the benefit to EADS, it’s not decisive enough (yet).

        4) seeing how EADS is the only one of that lists that has felt (and feels) the sting of an fixed price contract (A400), And the fact that EADS gets most of it’s “subsidy” for the launch of a new product line rather than a derivative, I think the burden of a fixed price contract weights on EADS as much as on NG/Boeing.

      • 1. Boeing is truly, truly offended by launch aid.

        Understandably.

        Boeing has to prevent at all cost that any local
        politico gets the idea that RLI actually _is_ a successfull
        concept not only for the receipient but for the giver as well.
        Synergy.
        Otherwise they will loose getting essentially unattached
        gifts from local, national and international sources.
        Which certainly are nice but like any subsidy is an adicting
        suckling teat.

  3. How about a comparison of two-thirds of the air refueling receiver stations, namely the hose-and-drogue wing-mounted air refueling pods?
    Anybody?
    Anybody?
    Buehler?

  4. The MRTT as I understand it does not have a main deck cargo door and is not intended to carry main deck cargo.

    The KC-X varient of the MRTT will carry main deck cargo but is based on the passanger A330-200 not the -200F model.

    In order to create the -200F Airbus had to design an certify an extended nose gear to resolve the nose down stance of the standard version.

    Now if the -200F needs that extended nose gear can anyone tell me why the Airbus KC-X offering which will also carry main deck cargo doesn’t?

    • 767NG is based (as far as we know) on the pax 762 fuselage as well.
      putting the A33F door on an A330MRTT is perhaps easier than putting a freight door on the 762 AND adding the 763 wing?

      The extended nose gear is “just” to facilitate loading by providing a level floor, but the angle is not such that a burly AF soldier can’t load it…

      But you’re right – advantage Boeing.
      Why isn’t Boeing talking about that?

      • Because they want to appear heavily disadvantaged,

        the poor sods on the block unfairly set back by the
        rich cousing from beyond the big pond being denied
        a fair competition were they could bring their
        competitive excellence into the daylight?

      • Boeing are obviously reluctant to persue the cargo/pallet capability of its aeroplane, if important EADS holds the capacity trump card.

      • But the Boeing disadvantage in capacity (if any, how often foes a tanker carry cargo? – AFAIK none of the 330MRTT’s have main deck cargo doors) would be reduced if Boeing explained that to have an tilted cargo floor is not something you want (hence the nose gear extension on the 33F)

  5. To: ikkeman on June 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

    “But Boeing still sells aircraft and the US economy seems to rebound more vigorously than the EU.”

    That may be solely due to different bookeeping rulesets. the US is often said to be on the up
    ( while loosing height continuously ).

  6. In 1992, the US and Europe had an agreement. Whenever that agreement didn’t serve Boeing’s purposes anymore, which were to milk NASA, Boeing got it canceled then had the US sue Europe over the same subsidies they had agreed upon.

    In 2010, Boeing also agrees that the current tanker program is fair and square. Should EADS win, they’ll go the same way and find some reason why the tanker should be handed to them, no matter what.

    • and this year the WTO ruled the subsidies enjoyed by EADS/Airbus went above and beyond both this agreement and as such constituted a competitive advantage – Wheter to the tune of 5 billion or 50 million is as yet unknown, but those are the facts.

      In 2010 Boeing agreed the rules as laid out in the RFP were fair and transparent; They said nothing of the USAF’s handling of these rules.

      • Calling things facts do not make them facts systematically.

        WTO doesn’t have authority to rule if any party has gone beyond any agreement. It can decide (if called upon) if the content is within WTO provisions, but will not rule about how much of that content is legal or not.

        In other words, WTO can say that launch aid are actionable or prohibited subsidies (or not), but it cannot rule if 10% or 33% (as in the agreement) are the limit. WTO also did NOT rule if the EU had breached the agreement.

        WTO will also decide if R&D subsidies that Boeing received are legal, actionable, or prohibited, but will not say if the 3% of the US large commercial airplanes’ industry turnover (or 4% of Boeing’s turnover) is legal or not.

        The point is that the US government willingly accepted the agreement. Not only did it leave the agreement, but it also broke another rule within this agreement which was that no party could leave it without giving the other party a one-year notice.

        WTO also decided that no harm had been done to Boeing by Airbus from the repayable launch aids, something often forgotten by Boeing supporters.

        Finally, so far, and until both the US and the EU cases are ruled, appealed, and a final decision is made, the ONLY subsidy that has been found illegal by WTO is the Foreign Sales Corporation, from which Boeing was one of the major recipients.

        So, I am asking you, why did Congress forget about this fact, to which the EU can get compensated up to $4 billion?

      • I think we’re both right.
        As I understand, the WTO largely found the RLI/LA mechanism not to be actionable, but some of the terms of specific agreements were counter competitive. There was probably also government money to EADS/Airbus that was not part of RLI/LA that was found actionable.

        I didn’t know about the 1 year notification period. Hadn’t heard of it before.

    • The 1992 agreement came after the RLI aid so it wouldn’t have dealt with the A330 RLI which was provided in the late 1980s. Also the agreement was between the US government and the EU. Many observers in the US criticized the agreement in the 1990s as giving away too much to the EU, but I don’t really know what Boeing’s stance was at the time since in 1992 McDAC was also still in the business and it may have been made more in their interest, since they were the company Airbus was running out of business at the time. The Clinton administration made the deal in 1992 and when G.W. Bush came in Boeing backed the Bush administration in nullifying the agreement.

  7. Cannot wait for this contest to be over so we will not have to follow the pro and cons of the respective bidders.

    This is all the subject of a book to be written when the dust finally settles…if it ever does!

  8. About winglets on A330 and on 767 – and the differences

    First look at http://www.aviationpartners.com/blendedwinglets.html

    And therein is an interesting story- about how Boeing (MDC) miss-management nearly shot itself in the foot
    In the 1990’s, a few VERY talented BA engineers tried to convince BA to evaluate winglets of a different ( curled) design than the NASA/NACA style ( much like those used on the A330 ). MDC aerotypes, having pushed the MDC ‘ wedge” and spent a bundle on 737 new wings with little improvement squelched the deal.

    Thus was Aero-partners born.

    Around 2001- or so, During the birth of the 737 BBJ- it became a PR advantage to somehow differrentiate the 737BBJ from the commercial version. So an agreement was made to try them on a 737 as long as there was NO penalty. And also try the ” wedge” .

    The flight test data ( which I saw much later ) showed several percent improvement, and a basic ability to be refit on many- but not all models.

    And re the 737- the rest is history

    But thebn intransigence of the MDC crowd delayed things for years. And for the initial 767 tanker- lease program ( and the italian /japenese versions, they were not seriously considered AT THAT TIME )

    Airbus has only recently tried the aero-partners versions .

    However, there is another advantage to the ‘ curled” versions not widely known or discussed.

    By recovering some of the wingtip vortex energy, they also reduce the trailing vorticies,

    This would allow less separation for following aircraft during landing approaches, and if a large number of planes were so equipped, the shorter separation would allow higher thruput on a given runway . . .

    They **may ** also make for a smoother ‘ ride ‘ for relatively small aircraft ( fighters ? ) during the refueling operation !

    So why isnt Boeing putting out more in formation on the aero-partners winglets ?

    One has only to look at who in BA has been put in charge of the tanker- game.

    BTW- while they do produce significant benefits in many- most modes of commercial – altitude operation, the navy/boeing found that at low altitudes ( P-8 737 ) ***and*** severe icing conditions, they were not practical, so a raked wingtip was used instead. .

  9. I had a thought the other day. Boeing is still installing the door for the 767 lean line. If Boeing loses the tanker competition any chance of that space becoming another 787 line? All resources would go to 787, 737 replacement, and 777 replacement program. So would Boeing benefit from defeat?

    • My understanding is that Boeing is also significantly decreasing the footprint of the 767 line, with about half the space being dedicated to a 787 surge line and about half the space being dedicated to the lean 767 line. If Boeing loses they will likely just shut down the 787 surge line around 2012 or so as planned when the South Carolina line comes up to speed.

  10. There are two very different issues as I see it on the USAF Tanker Recapitalization, but no one is talking about the obvious, and cheaper one.

    That is reengining the KC-135Es to the KC-135R standard or a new version by including reengining the “E” in the E-8C reengine program. The USAF could reengine a KC-135E for less than $50 million USD each (actually closer to $35M to $40M each), getting a tanker that will last, at least, until 2040. There are about 100 KC-135Es available at DM for reengining, and for a cost of less than $5 billion USD. The USAF will get a tanker no less capable then the current KC-135R/T, which is the standard the KC-767NG and KC-30 will be graded on. To get the same number of tankers the USAF wants (179 tankers) then the USAF can also delay the planned retirement of KC-135Rs, which also have 30 + years of life left in them. The USAF will also get the first reengined KC-135E much, much faster than the current scheduled 2015 delivery for the KC-X, and without the need for an extensive flight test program.

    Yes, there could be a future unforseen fleet wide grounding of the KC-135, but the chances of that are no greater than any USAF airplane, including new builds like the KC-767NG or KC-30. It was not that long ago the USAF had the unforseen grounding of the F-15A/B/C/D fleet and those airplanes are a lot newer than the KC-135s with fewer hours on them.

    But, if a new tanker is really needed it needs to be Boeing’s offered KC-767NG. The reasons of the US economy and helping to put some people back to work far exceed anything the two EADS plants in Mobile, AL can ever do. Plus we, as a nation need to maintane our own military industrial infaststruture. For the EADS offer, the majority of engineering and production will be in the EU, not the US. History has shown the US the love/hate relationship we have had with Europe, perticularly France over the last 234 years. France will not hesitate to withhold critcally needed KC-30 parts the next time they have a “diplomatic disagreement” with a sitting POTUS.

    Finally the major differences between the KC-30 and the KC-767 is only a 20% fuel capacity for the KC-30 and the cargo capability. The much higher fuel comsumption of the KC-30 eats away at this advantage as the miles on the mission tick away. Unless EADS offers a tanker version of the A-330-200F, their airplane does not fit the cargo requirements of the RFP. No cargo door on the A-330 pax version, no on-board cargo handling equipment, and no cargo floor in it. Instead EADS relies on the underbelly cargo holds used by the airlines. The USAF does not load and unload cargo that way and will need to buy the ground support equipment needed to haul cargo. This equipment will no be compatable with other USAF cargo airplanes. Boeing has a cargo version of the B-767 in production and has been in service for some 15 years. The KC-767 will share the floor, cargo door, and cargo handling equipemnt aboard the aircraft as well as the current ground handling equipment the USAF already has.

    As far as past performance is concerned, comparing the international versions of the KC-767 to those of the A-330MRTT is not the whole story, as both are grossly late. But the KC-767J is flying operational missions and is going to fly in a “Red Flag” exercise beginning thios week. What about comparing the C-17 (deliveries to USAF and international customers on time, or ahead of time, and on or slightly under budget) and A-400 (more than 4 years late, grossly over budget, and will not have the initial capabilities the customer countries paid for). EADS has already had the bad taste of a fixed price, and we all watched how the handled it, by threatening its own customers to not produce it and throw EU citizens out of work. So, why should we trust EADS with a $35B to $40B contract with that kind of track record in their “unique” business model?

    This compitition will be decided on MilCon costs and LCC, Congress will see to that, or if EADS is selected, they may not fund the contract.

    How much will a hanger at each of the 11 bases cost for the KC-30? We already know the KC-767 will fit within the current hangers for the KC-135. Both airplanes require fuel pit modifcations and movings (from their current KC-135 positions), but the KC-30 requires taxiway, additional ramp improvements, and strenghtening, and a wider runway safety area. Were is that funding coming from?

    • Re-engining the KC-135 could probably meet all requirements in the current RFP. When the AF puts out a requirement for an critical system like AAR platforms and it can be met by a 50 y/o current system (more than halfway back to First Flight!) I tend to think there must be something wrong.
      However, the RAND study at the beginning of this saga indicated there were no long term cost benefits to keeping the KC-135 (but neither was it significantly more expensive). (http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG495/)
      Also, re-engining the 135 will do little or nothing for it’s availability. There’ll still be an unnecessary number of tankers in DM.
      Finally the IFARA scores indicate either new tanker will at least be 79% more efficient – how much do you hope to win with yet another round of new engines?

      I have a feeling fleet wide groundings only get more likely as time goes on.

      Don’t choose Boeing out of fear. Fear of what the French might do, Fear of what will happen to Boeing. ITAR takes care of the French, Boeing will survive.
      As to the employment, Good point. Why not make that part of an amendment to the defense bill. Minimum offset requirements, Minimum domestic content – Boeing does it all the time, all over the world. Get a couple of local companies on your team and give them some BTP work.
      No Boeing chose to include the WTO instead. Why?

      The higher fuel burn does cost more, But the IFARA score showed and will show it’s not that bad. When you need fewer a/c to do the mission, you save a whole lotta fuel. the difference was 6% last time around advantage EADS.
      Of course the KC-45 will have the 33F door. It won’t have a strengthened or level floor because neither are required. AFAIK, the 767AT didn’t have a cargo floor either.

      You’re blissfully unaware of the C-17 early history if you want to use that painful birth as a shining example. It is however proof of haw an ugly duckling can grow into a swan, it’s one of the best looking a/c.

      How big do you think the MILCON costs are going to be. In a 100 billion LCC cost program… 1%? at most.
      Also, the A330 can land at any (regular) airport the 767 can, at MTOW for both. At full fuel load, Both have better “Tanker airfield” availability than the 135. (http://www.leeham.net/filelib/BoeingAFABrief.pdf slide 10)
      Why would having more available airfields be a major plus when more fuel, better IFARA (taking into account reduced airfield compatibility) and higher flexibility are not?

    • Well Sir (or Madam),
      this claim of the C-17 being delivered on time and on budget might well hold true now (or the past few years) but back in the first years of this program, this was not the case and the C-17 had quite a few issues. For example, first flight a year behind schedule, a DOD threat of program termination in 1993 (resulting in a nearly $1.5 billion loss in the development program to MD), continuing cost overruns in 1994 while still unable to meet weight, fuel burn, payload and range specifications. Furthermore, “A January 1995 GAO report revealed that while the original C-17 budget was US$41.8 billion for 210 aircraft, the 120 aircraft already ordered at that point had already cost US$39.5 billion.” All of this can be found, with references, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-17_Globemaster_III . Just look at the Design Phase portion.
      The C-17 doesn’t sound like much of a winner to me back in 1995.

      Although by the mid 90s, it seemed that the problems had been resolved.

      Still, it does not sound all that different to the A400 (C-17 seems to have used up more cash but A400 is much further behind in schedule).

      • That is true for the C-17 program under MDD. But Boeing got the program on budget and on time within a year or so after the bought out MDD back in 1997. Sonce about 1998, oe so, the C-17 program has been very successful, You cannot blame Boeing for MDD’s problems prior to 1997.

    • “France will not hesitate to withhold critcally needed KC-30 parts the next time they have a “diplomatic disagreement” with a sitting POTUS.”

      KC135TopBoom, with all due respect, this is nothing but nonsense and scaremongering of the highest order on your part.

      There’ve been plenty of disagreements between France/EU on global security issues during the last couple of decades, yet France/Snecma have never withheld any parts whatsoever on the CFM-56 engines powering the 410 re-engined KC-135Es.

      “Finally the major differences between the KC-30 and the KC-767 is only a 20% fuel capacity for the KC-30 and the cargo capability. The much higher fuel comsumption of the KC-30 eats away at this advantage as the miles on the mission tick away.”

      Actually, the fuel capacity (in volume) of the A330 MRTT is about 50 percent higher than that of the “old” KC-767AT.

      The USAF requirements are 42,600kg (94,000lb) of fuel off-load at a 1,000nm (1,850km) mission radius after taking off from a 10,000ft (3,050m) runway.

      The “old” KC-767AT would have beaten the requirement by almost 12,000 kg while the A330 MRTT beats the requirement by some 25,000 kg; or at those parameters the A330 MRTT (~153,000 lbs) has about 27 percent greater fuel off-load capability than the “old” KC-767AT (~120,000 lbs).

      Also, do note that fuel capacity (volume) can be a relatively meaningless metric as it’s NOT a function of the Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption (TSFC). Most, if not all new long range wing designs have enough fuel volume built into the wing, even for growth version. So, in a sense the fuel volume is indirectly a factor (but not a very important one) in the Breguet Range Equation where Range= V/c x L/D x ln(Wi/Wf)

      V= airspeed
      C= propulsive efficiency (e.g.) in lb fuel/ lb thrust /hr
      L= lift
      D= drag
      Wi= initial weight
      Wf= final weight

      The fuel capacity of the A330 is massive (with the centre tank), due in part to the fuel volume requirements of the A340-300, while the KC-767 is fuel volume limited and needs three auxiliary tanks (KC-767AT) in the aircraft’s lower forward cargo hold.

      The aerodynamic efficiency (which is highly relevant to the fuel consumption) of the A330-200 is lower than that of the 767-200-ER/LRF by about 10-12 percent in cruise and 25 percent at take-off, initial climb and landing. Both aircraft have engines with about the same TSFC.

      The ABSOLUTE fuel consumption for the 767-200-ER/LRF is lower than that of the A330-200, and in rough first order approximation, I’ve previously estimated (earlier thread) this to be less than 20 percent. However, real life mission scenarios will, in all likelihood, reduce this figure to an average of around 10 (+) percent which, incidentally, is close to the differential in installed thrust settings between the aircraft.

      “Boeing has a cargo version of the B-767 in production and has been in service for some 15 years.”

      Actually, the 767-200 is not on offer, nor does it exist as a new built freighter. New built 767-300Fs continue to be produced at a low rate. The 767-200F is only available as a PTF conversion. Two+ years ago, Boeing offered (or intended to offer) the conceptual 767-200LRF in conjunction with the KC-767AT if the company had won the KC-X competition last time around.

      As for the A330 MRTT offer to USAF, according to the System Requirements Document (SRD), chapter 3.2.1.5.3 “The KC-X main cargo door opening height shall accommodate loading of a 463 pallet that includes 96 inches of cargo height in accordance with Air Mobility Command Instruction (AMCI) 24-101 Volume 11. (Mandatory)”.

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

      Since the lower deck height of the A330 is only 66 inches, EADS must offer the A330 MRTT with a main deck floor. Actually, your attempt to make this into a “major problem”, is pretty lame. EADS will, of course, offer the A330 MRTT with the A330-200F main deck cargo door, and thereby using the same upper forward fuselage panels as the A332F, while perhaps electing not to incorporate the forward 9g barrier wall between the courir and cargo bay areas, and/or electing not to incorporate the raised nose gear. As the SRD only requires the handling system to be compatible with and accommodate 463L pallets, EADS could install the same type of dual-rail system that is installed in the KC-135, and therefore not the full A332 cargo accommodation package.

      Conclusion: The A330 MRTT and the KC-767 (whatever version is chosen) will both (as a minimum) have to use systems and structures from the respective tanker versions of the “family”.

      “This compitition will be decided on MilCon costs and LCC, Congress will see to that, or if EADS is selected, they may not fund the contract.”

      Well, you forgot to mention the all important IFARA adjustment.

      “but the KC-30 requires taxiway, additional ramp improvements, and strenghtening, and a wider runway safety area. Were is that funding coming from?”

      Yes, the A330 MRTT may require some additional ramp improvements and strengthening over that of the KC-767 (depending, of course, on which airbase), but taxiway strengthening?

      As for “a wider runway safety area”, you should know, of course, that both the KC-767 and the A330 MRTT are twin engine aircraft with no outer engine infringing on the “safety area”. If the wingspan of the A330 MRTT is too wide, which I doubt very much, then you have to either slightly “move” the runway or the taxiway.

      • ““France will not hesitate to withhold ……””

        “KC135TopBoom, with all due respect, this is nothing but nonsense and scaremongering of the highest order on your part.”

        It certainly is a missconception that is easy to come by.

        The US has been using that lever beyond its fatique life
        leading to an international market that in select areas
        actively avoids US supplied or supplemented products.
        As it is a lot of the informational interpretations has its
        feet in the same muddy waters.

      • KC135, please keep your European phobia for the kiddy forum at SeattlePI.

        Even when we disagree on this forum, and we do, we do it on a courteous way. Your constant European bashing is not only irritating, it’s not even factual.

      • Correction:

        “The aerodynamic efficiency (which is highly relevant to the fuel consumption) of the A330-200 is lower than that of the 767-200-ER/LRF by about 10-12 percent in cruise and 25 percent at take-off, initial climb and landing. Both aircraft have engines with about the same TSFC.”

        NB: Should read:

        The aerodynamic efficiency (which is highly relevant to the fuel consumption) of the A330-200 is HIGHER than that of the 767-200-ER/LRF by about 10-12 percent in cruise and 25 percent at take-off, initial climb and landing.

      • Hmm, another error on my part.

        “There’ve been plenty of disagreements between France/EU on global security issues during the last couple of decades, yet France/Snecma have never withheld any parts whatsoever on the CFM-56 engines powering the 410 re-engined KC-135Es.”

        NB: Should read:

        There’ve been plenty of disagreements between France/EU on the one side AND THE US on the other side on global security issues during the last couple of decades, yet France/Snecma have never withheld any parts whatsoever on the CFM-56 engines powering the 410 re-engined KC-135Es.

      • OV-99
        A was a tad undecisive but you now have me totally convinced, I’m ready with cheque book in hand & I suggest with you across the table so presumably will be the USAF

  11. QUERY FOR KC135TOPBOOM

    Going back to GAO comments about breakaway issues with Airbus.

    I would think that the higher Gross-weight ( mass ) over a good part of a typical mission for the airbus would be generally detrimental regarding certain breakaway scenarios due mainly to a combination of thrust v weight( mass) , spool up times, and inertia effects being generally less for the airbus than for kc-135 and/or 767 variations. ?

    Comments ?

    • The Breakaway manuver issue is a major problem for EADS. Back in 2008, NG/EADS proposed the USAF change the emergency breakaway procedure to allow the KC-30 to dive after the Boom/Receptical seperation. That is stupid and dangerous. The current procedures have the tanker climbing after the Boom/Receptical are clear of each other to achieve vertical and horizontal seperation of the tanker and receiver. The receiver decends. Air Refueling is sometimes accomplished in very low visibility (moonless nights or in clouds/weather), and loosing site of each others airplanes can be deadly. EADS has not said anything about thier airplane being able to successfuly and safely accomplishing the breakaway manuver. The RAAF does not use all of the NATO refueling requirements, so the breakaway manuver does not appear to be a big issue for the 5 tankers they will eventually get. The USAF has a fleet of 415 KC-135R/Ts and 59 KC-10As, and plan to buy 179 KC-Xs. The breakaway manuver is required because the USAF will have a higher chance of needing it, and it is a required manuver for aircrew qualification.

      Another of the 372 RFP requirements is for the new tanker to be able “to refuel all current and future know fixed wing aircraft”. There is a real question of doubt the KC-30 can refuel the AC/MC-130, A/OA-10, or CV/MV-22. That capability for the KC-30 has yet to be seen, while the KC-767A/J has refueled an AC-130 and an A-10.

      • Actually, the KC-30 A330MRTT-version is designed to meet all of the ATP-56(B) NATO Air to Air Refueling mandatory requirements in the SRD (Yes, USAF refers to the ATP-56 in the SRD, and not some other kind of domestic/Boeing type standard), and will in all likelihood, get all of the required certification (and documentation) before Boeing’s forthcoming 2nd protest is filed with the GAO. 😉

        It’s extraordinary to claim to EADS would not design the A330 MRTT type tanker aircraft to be compliant with the ATP-56 AAR procedure, and since extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence, I would ask you to present some evidence/analysis/documentation/link for your claim that the breakaway maneuver should somehow be a problem for EADS.

        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 does sound like a relatively simple operational procedure (key words: Slow Climb). Key word here is “slow climb”. There’s seemingly no need for high risk and extreme piloting skills.

        On the other hand, I can’t really see that this should be a problem for the A330MRTT since the pilots can in worst-case scenario 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 continuous 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.

        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.

        “Another of the 372 RFP requirements is for the new tanker to be able “to refuel all current and future know fixed wing aircraft”. There is a real question of doubt the KC-30 can refuel the AC/MC-130, A/OA-10, or CV/MV-22. That capability for the KC-30 has yet to be seen, while the KC-767A/J has refueled an AC-130 and an A-10.”

        Actually, the CV/MV-22 refueling requirement is non-mandatory in the SRD:

        Quote:
        3.1.1.13.1 “KCX Refueling anticipated M/CV-22 at airspeeds as low as 190 knots KCAS and 10,000 ft altitude at tanker weights for 18,000lbs of fuel available to offload and 1,500 nm unrefueld radius range” (NON-MANDATORY).

        As for your other claims, where do you find them in the SRD? Exact quote(s) please!

      • Speaking of being able to refuel aircraft, can the KC-767 refuel Navy and coalition aircraft?

        The Japanese tanker can’t (no pods)
        The Italian tanker can’t (too much fluttering)
        Why would the USAF tanker be able to do it when the other “combat ready” Boeing aircraft can’t?

  12. Thanks – I * suspect* that IF one to load the Airbus with a reduced fuel load – say 30 percent less, that at a reasonable range after takeoff, then it could /may/might meet the USAF climb breakaway requirements. Again simply due to F=ma and KE = 1/2 mv2 issues. But then that would essentially reduce or eliminate the “bigger fuel offload” mantra of Airbus.

    And it is probably too late for them to properly incorporate the aero partners curved winglets, and a higher rated ( thrust) engine and . . . plus a few structural changes.

    Why Boeing doesn’t put out or emphasize such a comparison, which should be relatively easy to calculate/compare to KC 135-767- KC-11 etc still puzzles me. it doesn’t really take rocket science !

    • 135 10 45 767AT
      # 4 3 2 2
      T per 21634 52500 72000 63500
      MTOW 322500 590000 514000 400000
      MFUEL 200000 356000 245000 202000
      T total 86536 157500 144000 127000
      T/MTOW 0.27 0.27 0.28 0.32
      T/-FUEL 0.71 0.67 0.54 0.64

      So while the 767 does offer the best Thrust per pound at MTOW, Both beat the current a/c – at MTOW minus Max Fuel, Both are beaten by the current a/c.
      Maybe this puts to rest some of the fear? that the KC-45 won’t be able to execute a breakaway KC-135 style.
      The AF’s confidence that the KC-45 could have shown compliance to this requirement in the last round leads me to assume it’s more an certification issue than anything else.

  13. The trust to weight issue between the proposed KC-30 and the KC-767 and the other tankers isn’t very much different from each other.

    The KC-30 is being offered at a MTOW of up to 512,000 lbs and 2 X GE CF-6-80E engines with 74,000 lbs of thrust each (148,000 lb thrust total). That is a thrust to weight ratio of about 3.45:1

    The proposed KC-767NG may have a MTOW of up to 415,000 lbs (assuming it has the same weight of the 2008 proposed KC-767AT) and 2 X PW-4062 engines with 63,000 lbs of thrust each (126,000 lbs thrust total). That is a trust to weight ratio of 3.29:1, just slightly better than the KC-30.

    In comparison the KC-135R, the aircraft the KC-X is compared to, has a MTOW of 322,500 lbs and has 4 X F-108-100 (CFM-56-2B) engines with 22,000 lbs of thrust each (88,000 lbs of thrust total). That is a thrust to weight ratio of 3.66:1, more than both the KC-30 and KC-767.

    However the earlier KC-135A, which SAC flew for decades safely had a MTOW of 297,000 lbs and 4 X J-57-59W (JT-3C) engines with a dry thrust of 11,500 lbs each (12,400 lbs wet but a total dry thrust of 46,000 lbs). That left the KC-135A with a thrust to weight of an increditable 6.45:1. The KC-135A never had a problem performing the breakaway manuver.

    All of this means the KC-30’s inability to perform the manuver is related to either engine spool-up time (even though the engines are already at a very high rpm/thrust setting inflight) or aero-dynamic issues with the design.

    I might add that some 95% of the tanker missions flown by todays KC-135R/T and KC-10A are flown with less than full fuel tanks and less than their MTOW. I don’t see the KC-30 or KC-767 being used any differently as both the current USAF tankers land with well above thier fuel reserves. In the KC-135 flying a combat mission it has landed at the end of its missions with up to 75,000 lbs of fuel remaining.

    • it was actually never claimed that the 330 CANNOT meet the breakaway requirement, just that they hadn’t provided sufficient proof in the GAO opinion. The AF was convinced this requirement could be met without difficulty.

      • I do not believe (I might be wrong) that it is part of the actual 372 requirements.

      • But the A-330 is an FAA ADG-V airplane which requires a minimum runway width of 150′ (45m) and shoulders on each side extending another 50′ (15m), due to its 198′ wingspan. It also requires a runway safety area (RSA) to be 500′ wide, or 250′ to each side of the runway centerline. The FAA recommends a 200′ wide runway.

        The B-767, even with the -300F wing is an FAA ADG-IV airplane, with a wingspan of 156′ (without blended winglets which should add about 10′). Even with the winglets it is still an ADG-IV airplane. The RSA required is 440′ (220′ each side of the RWCL) and the runway can also be as little as 150′ wide, plus 35′ shoulders on each side. I might add the FAA classifies the KC-135 and KC-10 as ADG-IV aircraft too. One of the RFP requirements is for an FAA certified “off the shelf design”, which both the A-330 and B-767 fill. The 2008 KC-767AT was to be based on the “in development” B-767-200LRF, which is/was a freighter and had a cargo floor, cargo door, and on-board cargo handling equipment. I have no doubt Boeing is planning a similar design in the KC-767NG. Should the KC-30 be chosen again, it will be the second largest airplane in the USAF inventory, by wingspan, second only to the C-5, and longer than the E-4/VC-25 wingspan of 195′

        You are correct about the RAND KC-135 study. But they are a consulting firm and will tell the customer, in this case the USAF, only what they want to hear. That is the function of a consulting firm. If the USAF wanted to prove the KC-135 would be a front line combat asset until 2055, RAND would have said that it could do that, if that is what the USAF wanted to hear. Don’t forget the USAF actually provided all the reference material to the RAND Corp. to do the study. Even RAND said the KC-135 is safe to fly until 39,000 hours for the “R” model and 36,000 hours for the “E” model. KC-135s fly about 800 hours per year, up from the 450 hours per year prior to 9/11. Don’t forget the USAF recently sold 3 KC-135Es (that were stored at DM) to Chile through the FMS program. If they are unsafe to fly, why are we selling them to our allies?

        The current KC-135R/T fleet has a MCR of 85%-90% consistently over the last 8 years. That is higher than most other USAF aircraft types. The USAF standard is an MCR of 85%. Corrosion is the #1 maintenance problem for the KC-135, just as it is for other 50 + year old designs like the C-130, B-52, and U-2, as well as many “younger” airplanes. The KC-135 is on a 4 year depot cycle, which should have 25% of the fleet in depot during any given year, but it currently has about 19% in depot, according the USAF which tells me the KC-135 fleet is “healthier” than what we are lead to believe.

        This is not a competition that will decide Boeing’s survival. Without the KC-X contract, Boeing will survive and be profitable. I have no idea what the French government will, or will not do in the future, but the French have denied us before, remember the route the F-111s, KC-10s and KC-135s had to fly during Operation Diablo Canyon when France denied the USAF over flight rights?

        Why Boeing is choosing to fight using the WTO ruling, I have no idea. I agree with you using this argument makes no sense, to me.

        The GAO found the 2008 IFARA scores were grossly in error and not applied equally to each OEM in 2008. So I would not put a lot of creditability in it until the USAF applies the standards equally. The fuel burn difference of somewhere between 6% and 24% can easily be accurately determined. The FAA has those numbers, as well as DL, who operates the A-330-200/-300 along side of the B-767-300/-300ER. AA still flies the B-767-200ER so those fuel burn numbers should be on file with the FAA.

        Boeing, in their PR material should highlight the differences in maneuverability and defensive systems between the KC-30 and KC-767. This is something “Joe Six-pack” and Congress can understand (along with the jobs issue). Boeing has done some of this through their web site, but clearly not enough. The simulation of a KC-7A7 under attack by a SAM while refueling is very good, in my opinion. A breakaway call and maneuver followed immediately by maneuvers to defeat the missile threat is eye opening. EADS has done nothing in a PR sense to counter Boeing’s claims. Americans do not want to hear of dead or captured USAF tanker crews. The KC-767NG says it will have an armored cockpit for protection up to 7.62mm small arms fire. Again EADS has said nothing.

        In 2008, the USAF graded both designs with a total costs, including LCC, of just over $108B USD for 25 years. Now the requirement is for a 40 year life span. That should help Boeing with its claimed lower LCC. The USAF did not include MilCon costs in 2008, and the GAO took them to the “wood shed” for it, this year MilCon costs must be considered. I have no idea what those costs for each proposal will be, but logic says the smaller, light airplane should have a significant advantage here. The USAF has said the MilCon costs will be computed using the models of 11 USAF and ANG bases, in the US and overseas. It will be interesting to see those costs when they are released in Nov.

        Jim England, thank you, yes I flew the “water wagon” KC-135A/Q, as well as some time in NHANG KC-135Es and the KC-10A from 1970 to 1992. I have a lot of confidence and trust in not only the KC-135, but in Boeing’s experience of building great airplanes and great tankers, too.

        The issue of having more airfields available gives more flexibility too, by having more Booms in the air, which is the issue, not the total amount of fuel available from each individual tanker. You can park more tankers on fewer forward airfields if the tanker is smaller.

        Sorry I took so long to get back to everyone, we have had internet problems in my neighborhood all after noon.

        OV-099;

        “Actually, the KC-30 A330MRTT-version is designed to meet all of the ATP-56(B) NATO Air to Air Refueling mandatory requirements in the SRD (Yes, USAF refers to the ATP-56 in the SRD, and not some other kind of domestic/Boeing type standard), and will in all likelihood, get all of the required certification (and documentation) before Boeing’s forthcoming 2nd protest is filed with the GAO.

        It’s extraordinary to claim to EADS would not design the A330 MRTT type tanker aircraft to be compliant with the ATP-56 AAR procedure, and since extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence, I would ask you to present some evidence/analysis/documentation/link for your claim that the breakaway maneuver should somehow be a problem for EADS.

        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.”

        Actually it is “when the Boom Operator calls……”, that is the USAF procedure, which keeps it in line with ATP-56(B). The USAF RFP requires compliance with ATP-56(B). I know the RAAF KC-30 version does meet some of the NATO AAR Procedures, but I do not know if the RAAF required them, do you?

        EADS has said their offer “will comply with all 372 USAF requirements”. Does that mean the current versions do not? Yes, it does as the cargo requirements I pointed out. BTW, does any one know why the A-330MRTT has yet to refuel with the centerline drogue? The RAAF requires it, and so does the USAF.

      • “I know the RAAF KC-30 version does meet some of the NATO AAR Procedures, but I do not know if the RAAF required them, do you?”

        First, the RAAF A330 MRTT version (KC-30) is, in fact, the first A330 MRTT version. That’s why EADS is using the first unit as a prototype for the entire A330 MRTT program.

        2nd, the RAAF KC-30 will — when it’s received Spanish (NATO compliant ATP-56) military certification later this year — meet all of the same Australian National Annex requirements that the RAAF 707-338C tanker aircraft meets (ATP-56(B), Part 5 — Annex AA).

        “BTW, does any one know why the A-330MRTT has yet to refuel with the centerline drogue? The RAAF requires it, and so does the USAF.”

        Yes, I know the answer to that question! 😉

        The RAAF didn’t order their KC-30s outfitted with any fuselage centerline refueling units (RFU). The first A330 MRTT centerline drogue, the Cobham 805E FRU, is currently undergoing installation on the first UK A330 MRTT version (FSTA).

        RAF A330 MRTT:

        http://www.a330mrtt.com/Customers/UnitedKingdom.aspx

        RAAF A330 MRTT:

        http://www.a330mrtt.com/Customers/Australia.aspx

  14. Your practical experience and common tanker sense are a breath of fresh air here, Boomer. Welcome aboard. I’ll bet you even flew water-wagons. 😉

  15. RE thrust to takeoff weight

    I think most have missed the point

    Unless the tanker refuels the first aircraft during takeoff- that ratio essentially determines takeoff performance.

    The real issue is at xxx miles and altitude, where thrust is less and yyy amount of fuel has been burned, the AVAILABLE THRUST at zz altitude and speed versus the THEN mass ( weight ) is what determines the acceleration and breakaway capability.

    BTW- most readers probably missed the reference to the water wagons

    Early 707-tankers used water injection for takeoff- and the noise level was major !

    I worked about a mile from the renton field ( BOEING JET LAB ) in the 60’s, and when one took off- it essentially stopped all conversation inside

    Although lightly loaded, it was still amazing to realize that EVERY 707, 727, 737, and two 747’s have taken off from renton field- about 4800 feet as I recall.

  16. To: OV-099 on June 2, 2010 at 6:53 am

    You wouldn’t perchance have data on
    v2 @ mtow for both proposed tankers?

  17. Uwe, I haven’t got the exact data no, but the V2 for the A330-200 at 233 MTOW (20-deg C) should be around 167 knots. I haven’t got V2 data for the 767-200ER, but as the wing loading is about the same (a couple of percentage points higher), it should be slightly higher as the high-lift devices are not as efficient as the ones on the A330.

  18. . . . should be slightly higher as the high-lift devices are not as efficient as the ones on the A330. . .

    INTERESTING . care to support that comment. And take a look at the proven performance on takeoff improvements for the ‘ curved’ aeropartners winglets as compared to the NASA style ” flat” winglets on the A330. For real life examples ask Southwest airlines and Alaska Airlines about the improvements on the 737s

    And also one german chaarter airline whose name escapes me.

    The curved winglets have about the same percent performance improvements on takeoff and climb segments across all aircraft they have been installed on.

    As to the breakaway issue – please read carefully the GAO report as to why the Airbus answer was NOT deemed credible.

    As to the GE-Senmca- Engines ( CFM) consortium, lets not forget that at last look GE was/is a major U.S. based company that does considerable work for the U.S Military…

    EADS- while also supplying the U.S military on some items- not only has a poor track record, but will have total control over all major parts of the tanker.

    Its interesting that the ” mine is bigger than yours

    game is still in play. Please tell me why I should use a 18 wheeler to get my monthly supply of buy/groceries- especially when it doesn’t fit in my garage- and gets less miles/gallon than my 8 passenger van with fold down seats for cargo?

    I’ll admit it would look impressive in my neighborhood compared to the SUV’s to park a KW tractor trailer out front.

    But all the extra fees simply aint worth it !!!

  19. Hmmmm…”• 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.”

    lets see now – I believe without an increase in thrust, starting a straight climb ( no angle of bank ) would almost immediately reduce airspeed, how much thrust needed to maintain or accelerate depending on flight configuration at that time.

    Ditto in starting the breakaway in a banking situation, but I think some additional thrust over the zero bank angle requirements would be needed- again the amount being directly dependent on bank angle

    And in all cases, the amount ‘ extra ” being a function of weight and altitude.

    That the GAO was not happy with the AF or Northrup explanations, or changes needed which appeared to also involve structural mods IMHO IS SIGNIFICANT.

  20. Am I right in thinking that this competition is a lowest price shoot out on delivering a certain capability? Where capability is defined as the availability of a number of booms and quantity of fuel to offload?

    If so, EADS can supply a slightly smaller number of larger planes thus offsetting the lifecycle and milcon costs.

    This competition has had so many twists I am losing track.

  21. RE FF2- NO- you are 100 percent wrong

    Please read the actual RFP adn many many articles in which the quantity of planes and delivery schedules are specific

    The capability required is for each plane

    Only if the costs/price/bid (as defined) are within one percent will additional capabilities be scored

  22. OV-099;

    “As for “a wider runway safety area”, you should know, of course, that both the KC-767 and the A330 MRTT are twin engine aircraft with no outer engine infringing on the “safety area”. If the wingspan of the A330 MRTT is too wide, which I doubt very much, then you have to either slightly “move” the runway or the taxiway.”

    Do you know what the runway safety area is for? The RSA is not for the overhanging engines. It is not for FOD protection. The runway shoulders do that. It is usually a grassed area that will support the weight of an “occasional” aircraft runway excursion or transit in dry conditions, as well as the weight of ARFF vehicles. It should minumimize aircraft damage, and increwase the possibilities of a safe rescue of crew and pax. See FAA AC 150/5300. The DOD uses FAA airport design standards, and in some cases exceeds those standards.

    The width of a RSA is based on the wingspan of an aircraft, which defines its Aircraft Design Group. There are 6 ADGs the FAA, EASA, and ICAO uses. the width of the RSA is centered on the RWCL. The extended RSA is for all aircraft and extends 1000 beyond each runway end. In the USAF, this entire area is paved. Most commerical airports only pave the first 400′, it is always marked with yellow chevrons.

    The wigspan of the A-330/A-340 is 197′ 10″, which I rounded up to 198′. The wingspan for all versions of the B-767-200/-300 is 156′ 4″, not including the blended winglets, which adds about 10′. I rounded the B-767 wingspan down to 156′.

    As I said, if the USAF selects the KC-30, it will be the second largest airplane in the USAF inventory, by wingspan. The E-4B and VC-25A, which are B-747-200B airframes has a wingspan of 195′ 8″. The C-5A/B/C/M have a massive wingspan at 222′ 9″.

    • “The width of a RSA is based on the wingspan of an aircraft, which defines its Aircraft Design Group. There are 6 ADGs the FAA, EASA, and ICAO uses. the width of the RSA is centered on the RWCL”.

      KC135TopBoom, what are you smoking? 😉

      The Runway Safety Area width is the same (500 ft) for IATA Runway Categories I, II, III, IV, V, VI (i.e. A Category I runway with a width of 100 ft has the same runway safety area width as a Category VI runway with a width of 200 ft).

      “The extended RSA is for all aircraft and extends 1000 beyond each runway end. In the USAF, this entire area is paved. Most commerical airports only pave the first 400′, it is always marked with yellow chevrons”

      Yes, but what has the runway safety area length beyond the runway end to do with the wingspan? Come on, this is getting ridiculous.

      If there would be any additional runway restrictions for an A330 MRTT over that of a KC-767, it would have to be the distance between the runway centerline and the taxiway centerline. When you look at maps of the eleven USAF bases, it looks like the relevant centerline distances are more than enough. 🙂

      Now, whereas the A340-300 with an outboard engine centerline distance of 128 ft and 7.4 in, is only certified to operate from Category III runways (width of 100 ft and runway shoulder widths of 20 ft), the A330-200 with an engine centerline distance of 61 ft and 6 in, is certified to operate from Category I runways (width of 100 ft and runway shoulder widths of 10 ft). So yes, a twin engine LCA has fewer runway operational width constraints than a quad.

      Conclusion: The wingspan parameters for LCA are irrelevant to the runway safety area widths. The deciding factor is the ICAO runway category. Furthermore, it’s not a big deal that the wingspan is exceeding the runway width and shoulder x 2. Case in point: The A380 with a wing span of 261.65 ft and an outboard engine centerline distance of 168.64 ft, can operate from Category IV runways (width of 150 ft and runway shoulder widths of 25ft), and is certified to operate from Category V runways (width of 150 ft and runway shoulder widths of 35 ft).

      • I was an Airfield Operations Officer at DFW for many years before I retired. Keeping that airfield in compliance with all FAA and ICAO airport directives were my responsibility, perticularly when there was construction on the airfield. DFW uses a 500′ wide RSA on all 7 runways for all aircraft, but we could reduce the RSA (but needed to issue a NOTAM) for construction and airfield maintenance activities like equipment/sup[plies/construction material that needed to be stored/used, excavation within 250′ of the RWCL (usually for under ground utilities, boaring activities under the runway, etc.). In those cases the SW Regional FAA Office in Fort Worth would only allow us to reduce the RSA to 200′ each side of the RWCL, or 400′ total. That is the RSA required for ADG-III aircraft, or as ICAO called it Category III aircraft.

        I included the extended RSA information so those who do not fully understand the airport design standards could follow the conversation.

        BTW, the FAA will not allow A-380 operations on a 150′ wide runway equipped with 25′ shoulders at US airports. The runway must have 35′ shoulders if it is 150′ wide. The EASA and ICAO allow the A-380 to operate with 25′ shoulders, but not the FAA.

        But we are getting off track here.

        The minimum distance between a RWCL and a TWCL for ADG-IV and V aircraft, like the B-767 and A-330 is 600′. The minimum distance between two parrell taxiways is 400′ measured TWCL to TWCL. The TWCL to RWCL distance issue is what the FAA has with LAX, and forced them to move the south runway complex further apart. They still have the same issue with the LAX north runway complex, but as I understand it, there may not be enough room to construct some type of movement to the northern most runway (this is usually accomplished by making the runway wider adding concrete/asphalt to one side, moving the centerline in the direction of the new pavement and making a portion of the non-moved side either decommissioned pavement, or a very wide shoulder.

        I do not know all of the 11 bases, yet, the DOD is using for the MilCon study for the KC-X. But one of them is going to be Pease ANGB, NH (the former Pease AFB), PSM. The distance between the RWCL and TWCL there is some 1200′, so it meets the requirement.

        This is not to say the NHANG will be getting KC-Xs to replace their KC-135Rs though. I don’t think perminate basing for the KC-X has been decided, yet.

      • With all due respect KC135TopBoom, you still seem to be smoking something… 😉

        Quote: “The minimum distance between a RWCL and a TWCL for ADG-IV and V aircraft, like the B-767 and A-330 is 600′. The minimum distance between two parrell taxiways is 400′ measured TWCL to TWCL.”

        This is not correct. The runway centerline and taxiway centerline separation standard for aircraft categories C & D (aircraft approach speeds of (121 – 166) knots), is 400 ft for aircraft design group IV (767 etc.), while for aircraft design group V (A330 etc.) it’s dependent on the elevation of the airport.

        For aircraft design group V (A330 etc.), the standard runway centerline to parallel taxiway centerline separation distance is 400 ft for airports at or below an elevation of 1,345 ft; 450 ft for airports between elevations of 1,345 ft and 6,560 ft; and 500 ft for airports above an elevation of 6,560 ft.

        Since the elevation of DFW is below 1,345 ft, the runway centerline distance for cat. IV and V is the same, you were right that centerline separation distance is the same for the 767 and A330 at DFW, but the figure is 400 ft and not 600 ft.

        As for the minimum distance between the centerlines of two parallel taxiways; it’s not 400 ft for neither the 767 and the A330, but 198/215 ft for Category IV (767 etc.) and 245/267 ft for Category V (A330 etc.)

  23. “Am I right in thinking that this competition is a lowest price shoot out on delivering a certain capability? Where capability is defined as the availability of a number of booms and quantity of fuel to offload?”

    Capability is defined two ways in this contest. The first way is simply meeting the required 372 mandatory requirements. The way you define capability only applies to the Integrated Fleet Aerial Refueling Assessment (IFARA) model. The IFARA model will basically adjust the offerer’s price to reflect either getting more booms into the air or delivering more fuel with fewer sorties.

    In the last contest a mission effectiveness value of 1.79 was calculated for the KC-767 and 1.9 for the KC-30. Using those numbers in today’s contest would mean a $2 billion credit would be given to the KC-30. This however is a new contest so the numbers will be different from the last one. As KC135TopBoom pointed out the Life Cycle Costs adjustments (Fuel Burn + MILCON) should be larger than the IFARA adjustment, Boeing is claiming at least a $10 billion advantage here, but as always the devil is in the details.

    “If so, EADS can supply a slightly smaller number of larger planes thus offsetting the lifecycle and milcon costs.”

    The contest requires each offerer provide a price for 179 planes. Offering fewer aircraft is not an option. EADS offering price will be offset for greater capability by the IFARA model but they are going to have to live with the additional fuel burn and MILCON costs. The only way around this one would be to restart the A310 production line.

    FYI the contest works like

    Offerer’s proposed price

    – Price Adjustments:
    1. MILCON (advantage Boeing)
    2. Fuel Burn (advantage Boeing)
    3. IFARA (advantage EADS)

    = Final Adjusted Price, if the adjusted price is within 1% then the non-mandatory requirements come into play.

    • John, the number of Booms/tankers will be the same no matter which design is selected. It will be ‘up to’ 179 tankers. So the number of Booms/tankers is not effected by ther amount of fuel available per tanker. The KC-30 enjoys a 20% increase in fuel capacity over the KC-767, about 245,000 lbs to 202,000+ lbs. The requirement is to match, or evceed that off-load capabiulities of the KC-135R at 500 nm, 1000 nm, 1500 nm, 2000 nm, and 2500 nm plus RTB. EADS claimed in 2008 they exceeded the off-load requirements buy as much as 10% at each distance over the then KC-767AT, which itself exceeded that of the KC-135R. There is a chart in the SRD that shows the required off-loads at these distances. The only information I have seen this year from either OEM is that they exceed to off-load requirements at each distance over the KC-135R. By how much? Boeing, nor EADS has not said, publicly, so far unless I missed something from each.

      I view the 2008 statement from, then, NG/EADS as acknowledgement of the increased fuel burn, but they were not also clearly agreeing with Boeing that it was 24% higher.

      Don’t forget the KC-30 has a nearly 100,000 lb MTOW heavier than the KC-767AT/NG. It also has higher thrust engines and much more mass. Both offers feature engines that are about 20 year old technology, the GE CF-6-80E and PW-4062. What has not gotten a lot of press is the USAF retains the rights to reject the engine selection and only buy the airframe from the OEMs. That means the USAF can accept the engines offered (each proposal requires an engine selection), or can designate a new engine the USAF selects. That leads me to believe the USAF wants to consider newer technology engines, perhaps something like the RR Trent 1000 (it would have to be an engine bleed-air version and with no more than a 105″ diameter fan) or the GEnx-2B67 engine from the B-747-8.

      The USAF, if they decide on making their own engine selection must accept the higher costs for the new engines and the required flight testing. These higher costs will not be off-set by buying the KC-X airframe without engines, but will reduce the LCC of each offer. As of now the CF-6-80E nor the PW-4062 engines are in the USAF inventory. The closest engine would be the CF-6-50s on the VC-25A, E-4B, and KC-10A.

  24. Hmmm- looks like OV-099 called out the wrong person ( topboom ) on the wrong issue .

    Besides which, when will Ov-099 get around to explaining how many AF or other hangars available to the AF for kc-135, B52, KC-10, and the 767x will be able to be used by the Airbus entry?

    Note the b-2 was not included in the above comparisons since its wingspan ( 172 feet ) is less compared to the above. B-52 is about 185 feet and the probable wingspan of the 767 variant is around 170 to 180 feet

    • Don:

      Nobody knows which version of the 767 Boeing will offer. If we look at the drawings, the aircraft has winglets, which COULD indicate that it’s a 767-300. But nothing says that they won’t put the winglets on a 767-400 just to get more points with IFARA. In that case, your MILCON between the A330 and the 767 will probably be a wash.

      • Uhhh- Winglets add about 10 feet to wingspan

        If 767-400 at 170 basic wingspan is used- it still comes to 188-181 feet
        if other 767- basic is 156 plus 10 or 166 feet

        So IF -400 wing is used with winglets ( probable) it will still fit into a b-52 hanger

        a330 – 200 is 198 feet basic or -300 is 149 feet

        dash 200 will NOT fit into b-52 hangar !

        besides which – why would I buy an 18 wheeler just for load capacity if it wont fit into my garage ???

      • It will not be the wing or a tanker version of the B-767-400. The B-767-400 has a much longer wing, and is already equipped with raked wingtips, so winglets are not needed on the -400 wing. I mentioned the blended winglets installed on the B-767-300ER/ERF wing (Boeing said they will use the B-767-300ERF wing already) needed to have about 10′ added to the wingspan. That is Aero-Partner’s estmate, not mine or Boeing’s. The additional 10′ is because the blended winglet design adds an extension to the wing tip, then begins it curl upward.

      • KC135,

        Has Boeing said they will use the 767-ERF wing yet? I would agree with you that it would seem to make sense to me that they would use the 767-300ERF wing perhaps along with the 767-400 flaps that they proposed for the 767AT. Scott has already said Boeing has mentioned potential changes to the control surfaces on the wing to him for the 767NG which would at a miniumum indicate to me that the 767-400 flaps are being used as well. However, as of this point I haven’t seen anything from Boeing saying exactly what form the wing will take. I have seen statements indicated that it will use the Aeropartner’s winglets, but as to whether it will be a 200, 300, or even 400 wing I really haven’t seen anything.

  25. OV-099, you are sort of correct. The FAA regulations are very confusion as you must take all factors into accout. I think you and I are talking about two different things here. Your numbers are for airports only with non-precision approaches and can support a 34:1 approach slope. DFW, like all other major US airports (or most airports around the world) have precision approaches and a 50:1 approach slope. That means systems like ILS, MLS (not used at many airports), or approved GPS approaches. The ILS Glide Slope equipment critical areas must be protected (usually by adding distance seperation between runways and taxiways). Since the GS antenna is a fixed location, the critical area for it is also fixed, no matter what the weather or visiual conditions are. That is why the minimum seperation between a runway and taxiway is 600′ (most Cat. III ILS GS sytems have a critical area that is roughly 700′ wide and 1000′ deep) and is why airport design criteria requires that seperation. The Localizer critical area is different and usually centered on the runway (except an off-set LOC) and is usually 100′-300′ wide and 3000′ to 9000′ long, depending on what ILS Cat system it is (Cat. I, II, or III a/b/c).

    But this is getting way off the discussion at hand here. Can we please get back to discussing the two airplanes?

    • With all due respect, it seems to me that it’s you who is confused.

      E.g. According to the FAA AOSC decision document #04 (first link; page 2 in the pdf file), it’s stated that “the following runway/parallel taxiway separation standards will apply to all NEW runway / parallel taxiway construction projects. Airport improvement projects for which a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Environment Assessment (EA), Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) had not been issued prior to approval of AOSC Decision Document #01 on December 18, 2003 will be treated as new projects”.

      Link: http://www.faa.gov/search/?q=AOSC+decision+document+%2304&x=15&y=11

      i) Existing separation standards from AC 150/5300-13 will apply to:
      • All CAT I operations involving Group I-V aircraft
      • CAT II/III operations involving Group I-IV aircraft (400 ft runway /
      parallel taxiway separation standard)
      ii) For CAT II/III operations involving Group V aircraft or CAT I operations
      involving Group VI aircraft, a 500 ft runway / parallel taxiway separation
      standard will apply to any airport electing to proceed with construction.
      iii) For Cat II/III operations involving Group VI aircraft, a 550 ft runway / parallel taxiway separation standard will be applied for airports electing to proceed with construction at this time.

      Note: All separation distances are based on sea level. Distance adjustments for
      elevation will be applied to airports above sea level per AC 150/5300-13.

      “But this is getting way off the discussion at hand here. Can we please get back to discussing the two airplanes?”

      Yes, it did get off topic, didn’t it?

      However, if you really want to discuss the two airplanes, why did you start bringing in “the French” (as the bogeyman) into the equation?

  26. As a student of American History and a lover of my great nation the United States of America some of you people need to remember that if it wasn’t for the French we would not have a nation. They stopped the British fleet dead in the water with a blockade.
    By the end of September 1781 Washington is besieging Yorktown with an army of about 14,000 men (including 5000 French troops) and the French fleet is completing the blockade by sea. With no practical hope of any relief from New York, Cornwallis surrenders on October 19.

  27. Scott thanks for the post, very interesting. One point, though. In your weight comparison of the A332 to the B762, you chose to look at A332 HGW. This version will not be offered for the KC-X, it will instead be the 233T version, which MRTT, FSTA and the Freighter are based on. If then Boeing bases their offering on the B763, the difference will be smaller still.
    I fully agree that EADS has some big aces in its pocket, such as the weak euro. If it continues to tank, they can lock themselves at a good rate, further down the line. The one thing it doesn’t have however is political cover in the shape of Dicks & Co. Lobbying Power Machine.

    In other news:
    “EADS won’t reveal new tanker bid partner“
    http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2010/06/03/EADS-wont-reveal-new-tanker-bid-partner/UPI-31811275583007/

    Who could that be, I wonder? Ratheon or L3 still?

    • Boeing offering: We don’t know for sure but are convinced Boeing will offer the 767-200ERF (the “Frankentanker”) with the 787 cockpit and winglets.

      When the 2008 competition was getting underway, we asked Boeing why not offer a tanker based on the 767-300; the answer was that this larger airplane didn’t provide enough more capability. At the Farnborough Air Show in 2008, Boeing was asked why not the 767-400? The answer then was runway performance would be an issue. At that time the RFP required a 7,000 ft runway (which was also problematic for the 767-200ERF, BTW), but this requirement has been changed to 10,000 ft in the current competition. The rotation for the 767-400 equipped with a refueling boom was an issue.

      Boeing’s graphics show a 767-200-based fuselage.

      As for the new EADS supplier, we have a pretty good idea but we were told off the record so we can’t say.

      • As I understand the B-767NG offer (there is not a lot of publicly released information on it yet) it is some what based on the 2008 KC-767AT offer. That means it will have the B-767-200ERF or LRF fuselage, the B-767-300 ERF wing, cargo floor and door from the B-767F, PW-4062 engines, and the landing gear and flap/slat systems of the B-767-400ER. However, the Boom has changed from the, then, Boeing Gen. V Boom to an updated KC-10 style Boom (Gen. VI?). The avionics parkage was changed from the B-777-200LRF package to the B-787-8 package. Then of course the Aero-Partners blended winglets attached to the B-767-300ERF style wing. It will also have some other improvements over the KC-767AT, such as Comm/Nav systems, auto-pilot, cargo loading systems, more defensive systems, and the ability to use the MedEvac kits and airline seat kits from the C-17. Boeing says it will carry in excess of 202,000 lbs of fuel, but has not publicly said what the MTOW of the KC-767NG will be. This makes me thing it will be near or above the KC-767AT’s MTOW of 415,000 lbs. The KC-767NG, like the KC-767AT will also have advanced “smart tanker” technology over the current KC-135R/T.

        If the USAF decides on the GEnx-2B engines from the B-747-8F, it should not be a major effort for the engineers, as the B-767s from earlier designs also share the same engines of the earlier B-747s.

  28. I suspect we may get a minor surprise with the KC30 switching to the P & W engine or even the Trent 700 built entirely in the Allison plant.
    The GE engine has fallen badly behind the other two and GE have indicated that they will only enhance its performance if they get the KC30 contract.
    IMHO this represents an unnecessary risk factor to the KC30 offer.
    They are going to be scrapping for every possible way to reduce the fuel burn imbalance between the two airframes.

    • I have not heard that of GE and the CF-6-80E engine. I do not see EADS switching to the RR Trent 700 engine for their KC-X offer, even if these engines are assembled in the US, the US content of the KC-30 falls well below 50% and makes the KC-30 ineligible for consideration.

  29. I believe the 50 percent U.S figure does not apply in this case. even if it did, thre are so many ways of claiming U.S content, a la detroit, that the figure is meaningless.

    Besides which EADS has no doubt figured a way to cook the books on that issue if necessary.

    Someone said earlier – EADS cannot win, but Boeing can lose . . .

  30. If we are talking about performance, the real world news that the USAF is now unable to use Manas aircase for tanking operations will have a significant affect on tanking operations.

    The closure of this base effectively means the next nearest refueling base is in the UAE, (1,000miles away if you are allowed through Iranian airspace).

    This real world scenario would benefit the Airbus arcraft, with about 20% fewer ops to achieve the mission, with the advantage increasing as range increases (having to go round Iran).

    So much for putting more tankers closer to the action.

    • Could you be specific about the closure of this base? The base was to be closed in early 2009, but a new agreement was reached to keep it open. More recently, the overthrow of the local government put the operation of Manas in question but as far as we know, the base is still open.

      We were supposed to go on a KC-135 embed May 21 to Manas, a trip that was canceled by Secy. Gates’ office, due to the overthrow but USAF has advised us of a new tentative date.

      All this being said, your over-arching point is spot-on.

  31. Sorry I should have been clearer! It has effectively been closed to refueling operations.
    Due to problems with the fuel contracts, the ex president, and tax evasion (of the ex president, not the USAF).

    So they have cancelled fuel sales to the airbase (the USAF are stopping refueling operations to conserve fuel). The fuel contract is now up for renegotiation.

    Apparently, the contract for leasing the airbase is due for renewel in July, and has been agreed for another year. But after that, who knows. Which goes back to the point!

    • Well, the fuel contract should get renewed at Manas this month. According the the AFA, air refueling ops have not been stopped at Manas.

      http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2010/June%202010/0610world.aspx

      Manas Lease Extended

      The interim Kyrgyzstan government agreed to extend for one year the US lease of the Transit Center at Manas, a key logistical hub for US and allied operations in Afghanistan, according to press reports in mid-April. The lease was set to expire this summer.

      This news came in the aftermath of the political turmoil and violence that engulfed the Central Asian nation earlier that month, leading to the overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

      This instability had temporarily affected Manas operations. While Manas-based tankers were able to continue aerial refueling operations, the transit of US troops was halted for several days. But by April 12, the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city Bishkek announced that Manas had “resumed normal operations,” including troop transits.

  32. The obscurity of issues such as the political stability of a third-world backwater is making my head hurt. May I submit the proposition, based on international observation, that supply of jet fuel will seek to satisfy demand, even in Deadwood, Kyrgyzstan?
    Comparisons of air refueling technology, anyone?

    • Jim, you are right, if the demand for fuel, for tankers or any other aircraft is there, someone will meet that need. I might point out that Manas is not the only base the KC-135s operate from to support Afghanistan or Iraq. The USAF never bases all thier assets at one base. It would be to easy for enemy action, terrorists, bad weather, or an aircraft accident closing the runways and shutting down all operations.

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