Tanker face off at Farnborough

Boeing and EADS held tanker briefings this week–Monday for Boeing, Tuesday for EADS.

Boeing offered up top program officials while EADS offered up two American crewmen from its test flight program, a pilot and a boom operator. Boeing’s briefing was a standard presentation followed by Q&A; most of the briefing was taken up by the formal presentation.

EADS was an interactive briefing with reporters after a few brief remarks, with nearly the entire session devoted to Q&A.

Boeing

Chuck Johnson, with the mouthful title of VP of Mobility, C3/Networks & Support Systems and Government Operations, provided the briefing.

Video and information is available at United States Tanker, the Boeing website for the KC-767.

Johnson started by going through an overview of the procurement process and, mercifully, only one slide about the WTO dispute and the relationship to the tanker bid. (Longtime readers o this column know that we believe both sides sinned and the WTO dispute has no place in the tanker competition.)

Then Johnson got to the meat of Boeing’s argument about why its KC-767 proposal should win. While of course touching on the themes of combat ready, long-time experience and better flight control system, the greatest emphasis came down to size matters and operational cost.

In these, Boeing has effective and compelling arguments (though ones EADS still disputes) because this round of competition was crafted by the Air Force to be a replacement for the Boeing KC-135 rathern than a modernization of the tanker refueling fleet with greater cargo and troop carrying capabilities.

As in the 2008 competition, Boeing displayed effective slides dramatically showing the size differences between the KC-135, KC-767 and EADS’ KC-45, and there is just no getting around the fact the KC-45 is much larger physically than the airplane to be replaced. And “replaced,” as we noted above, is the key word.

Boeing’s Johnson then shifted to the theme of cost. Boeing, as in 2008, continues to press home the lower fuel burn by the KC-767 over the KC-45–a figure of 24%, by calculation of the outside consultant hired by Boeing in 2008 to assess the numbers. Although Northrop Grumman, when it was the prime contractor bidder in 2008, made a weak attempt to refute this figure, EADS so far is ignoring the issue other than a hand-waving dismissal that Boeing is wrong and EADS won’t play in Boeing’s sandbox on this point.

Since the Air Force runs its own analysis, officials will make their own determination. But Boeing’s campaign on this point (and others) isn’t aimed at the Air Force, it’s aimed at Congress where the money for the tanker is appropriated, and EADS so far is forfeiting this game. At its peril, we think. Boeing is hammering home the fuel burn issue effectively in the absence of any rebuttal.

A few more details were discussed, but go to Boeing’s tanker site for this.

EADS

While EADS is foregoing rebuttal on fuel, offering up a boomer operator and a pilot from the KC-30A RAAF flight test program was a brilliant move and served as a rebuttal to several of Boeing’s previously stated assertions about the superiority of the KC-767 flight control system and maneuverability compared with the KC-45.

Pilot Scott Johnson was a military pilot for 28 years, including eight as pilot-in-command of the KC-10. He’s also flown the KC-135 and is now commanding the KC-30A, which EADS says is about 90% identical to the requirements of the USAF RFP. The basic plane, of course, is identical.

Pete Arbaulders has 26 years in the USAF, all as a boom operator on KC-135s, KC-10s and now the KC-30A.

 There were a few slides but since this was an interactive format, as far as we can tell no presentation material has been posted on the EADS tanker site, KC-45 Now.

EADS’ Johnson, in response to questions, refuted Boeing’s assertions that the KC-45’s fly-by-wire and flight envelope systems are detriments to the pilots compared with the manual flight control system of the KC-767. Johnson said he has performed break-away maneuvers, both in simulated emergencies and five or six times during testing when the boom operator called for actual break-aways.

“The[other] airplane got smaller, that’s all I cared about,” Abraulders said somewhat light-heartedly, the point being criticism leveled at the KC-45 in this regard is in his view unfounded.

Pilot Johnson said he’s performed break-aways in the KC-135, KC-10 and the KC-30 and the latter performs better than the other two.

Johnson also praised the fly-by-wire system as more stable during refueling operations and refuted the flight maneuverability assertions by Boeing.

“I don’t see the argument,” he said. “This is certainly sufficient to perform the maneuvers. The flight control protection laws are a fantastic thing to have. I don’t see any difference in maneuverability.”

He noted that the fly-by-wire system is the same technology on the Boeing C-17.

All-in-all, having the two test crew was  highly effective. Boeing so far is pounding the stuffing out of EADS on operating cost and size, but EADS won this face off in our opinion by having the crew available for an unconstrained interactive briefing.

We’ve asked some follow-up questions to Boeing and are awaiting these responses.

63 Comments on “Tanker face off at Farnborough

  1. Perhaps Boeing will bring in my hubby to refute his EADS-paid colleagues? 🙂

    • He couldn’t.
      He would need some comparative experience first 😉

  2. It’s good to see that facts still have a role in this discussion.

  3. I agree it is good to have the facts presented by both OEMs. But, it seems to me that EADS failed big time here. Getting the Pilot and Boom Operator to brief, and take questions from reporters is easy. To bad there were no qualified or former Boom Operators or Pilots there to ask the real tough questions, like why is the KC-30 still delayed? What are the actual flight limits of the Boom, and can it still make contacts at the extreme limits of the flight envelope? What is the delayed engine spool-up time for the KC-30 during a breakaway? How well is the Boom control at low air refueling airspeeds while refueling the AC/EC/HC-130, A-10, or CV/MV-22?

    These questions need to be asked to Boeing and EADS. I hope the USAF asks them.

    There are many other questions, too.

    • Hmm, Boeing had the chance to send some moles, right?

      MY guess is Boeing dosn’t see value in making an ass
      of themselves in a Q&A over in hostile land.

      As Mr. Leeham noted their current vision is working on
      those other preceived advantages (and/or some subterranean
      activities that haven’t sprouted into daylight yet ).

      • We don’t know who “Mr. Leeham” is–but maybe “Mr. Hamilton” knows…. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

      • “.. cautiously optimistic?”

        That is italian for “won’t happen” 😉

      • On Day 4 of the Air Show, we had a hallway conversation with Bill Barksdale, spokesman for the Boeing tanker program. Barksdale said “We’re ready to go” with the final acceptance process with the Italians. Although Barksdale wouldn’t confirm it (we had the sense he hasn’t been authorized to do so yet, and we have the question in to him), we’ve been told delivery of KC-767I #1 is slated for January.

    • KC135TB, Do you really expect either OEM to discuss such sensitive details of their proposals with anyone that hasn’t signed an non-disclosure?
      B won’t even tell IF their plane will be assembled from different models.

      As to your concerns about the operational capabilities of the EADS offer – They’re all part of the requirements, so the AF has you covered on those.

    • A couple of these questions were asked, TopBoom.

      *Acceleration in a break-away is faster than with the KC-135 and KC-10;

      *The FBW boom is also flight-envelope protected (as is the plane) and can maintain contact within this protection–which is programmable.

      *We specifically asked about the refueling of the V-22. It turns out James Darcy, now EADS’ tanker spokesman, was employed by the Navy in 2008 as a spokesman and when this issue came up as a result of the GAO finding, Darcy was called by the media to comment. Darcy said then neither the KC-767 nor the KC-30 (as the KC-45 was then known) could refuel the V-22 because the V-22 wasn’t certified to be refueled by either.

      *We also specifically asked about the combat maneuverability, with the responses noted in the main posting above.

      *We have written previously about the delays to delivery to RAAF. EADS did reveal at this press conference deiveries are now scheduled for October and November for the first two RAAF airplanes. This will be nearly three years late.

      • . . . “Darcy was called by the media to comment. Darcy said then neither the KC-767 nor the KC-30 (as the KC-45 was then known) could refuel the V-22 because the V-22 wasn’t certified to be refueled by either. . . ‘

        GREAT NON ANSWER. Of course not – and it wont be until either one flys.

        is the V-22 certified to be refueled by KC 135 or KC-11 ?

      • Darcy’s point was that at that time the V-22 wasn’t certified for aerial refueling at all.

      • DonS,

        I think there’s an minimum refuel speed and such in the requirements – The AF has meticulously defined within which limits the KC-X must be able to perform any of it’s missions. This should cover your fears, either KC-X can refuel the V-22, or the AF in it’s “Infinite Wisdom” decided they don’t require KC-X to be able to do it.

  4. I’m not sure how much value having the pilot and boom operater added here. Boeing has had quite a few pilots and boom operators testify to suitability of their product so far. In fact all the USAF pilots and boom operators on this forum such as KC135topboom and Joanne speaking for her husband have been pretty outspoken Boeing advocates. The fact that EADS can get get two of their employees to extoll the value of their product is not really that convincing.

    What both sides so far have not adequately addressed is how their products really stack up against each other in terms of the critical USAF criteria of

    1) Offered Price: Both claim they will be lower than last time but that’s really about it. Boeing has improved their manufacturing process and setup and EADS has gotte rid of NG. But beyond this people must simple guess at who can offer the cheaper plane. All I know is that Boeing’s offer was $10 million less than NG/EADS so it’s probably a wash or advantage Boeing.

    2) Fuel Burn: Boeing’s 24% number comes from a commercial 767-200ER, but how about the heavier, but winglet and 767-400 control surface equipped 767NG, should it still be about 24% better than an A330-200?

    3) MILCON: Has anyone provided more info on what additional facilities the A330-200 will need to have built or rebuilt.

    4) FUEL OFFLOAD: Boeing has so far only said their offering this time will substantially exceed the KC-X requirements. This means Boeing is proposing that the KC-767NG will carry substantially more than the KC-767AT at take off since the AT just exceeded the requirements. In order to substantially exceed Boeing’s tanker will need to carry something closer to 220,000 to 230,000 lbs at takeoff (as they originally proposed for the AT) vs the 202,000 lbs + the USAF gave credit for. Well how much does Boeing claim the KC-767 can take off with? This and any estimated fuel burn are the critical Boeing performance numbers and so far they are being mum on what the actual numbers are.

    • Value:

      The persons presented have comparative experience.

      That goes quite a bit beyond “everything not from home
      must be sub par” .

    • “In fact all the USAF pilots and boom operators on this forum such as KC135topboom and Joanne speaking for her husband have been pretty outspoken Boeing advocates.”

      Two out of how many pilots and operators? These Boeing advocates prefer a product that doesn’t even exists today without any proper specification.

      “1) […] Boeing has improved their manufacturing process and setup and EADS has gotte rid of NG.”

      Pardon? Why didn’t Boeing used this “improved” manufacturing process for the 988 B767 already delivered or for pricing during the last competition? Any shareholder has to wonder.

      “2) Fuel Burn: Boeing’s 24% number comes from a commercial 767-200ER, but how about the heavier, but winglet and 767-400 control surface equipped 767NG, should it still be about 24% better than an A330-200?”

      Not this b…t again!
      The Boeing study claims an A330-200 burns 24 % more fuel per hour than a B767-200ER. The B767-200ER isn’t 24 % better than an A330-200. Simple math will tell you it’s just 19 % according to the Boeing study ( 1 / 1.24 ).

      The offered KC-767AT was about 17,000 lbs heavier than the 767-200ER. Just about the weight for a B767-300ER or -300F.

      What about the engines used for comparing CF6-80C2 (767-200ER) and CF6-80E1 (A330-200). Now the KC-767NG is offered with PW4062? Several variants exist for CF6-80E1.

      “3) MILCON: Has anyone provided more info on what additional facilities the A330-200 will need to have built or rebuilt.”

      On page 23 of the actual Boeing presentation “Akrotiri AB” is mentioned. Lock up for “Chania internal airport” at Google Earth and compare the two pictures. Ramps and taxiways visible on the presentation are not visible on Google Earth. Seems USAF got enough money to improve air bases to actual needs of KC-135. On the other side Boeing used a picture by Google Earth of 2004 of Bagram AB. You won’t see the second runway finished in 2006 and other improvements. You just see one C-17 and several C-130 but no KC-135.

      BTW none of these bases are relevant to the MILCON evaluation.
      Search for Sect_L,_Atch_17_-_MILCON_Evaluation_Plan_24_Feb_10.pdf

      “4) FUEL OFFLOAD: Boeing has so far only said their offering this time will substantially exceed the KC-X requirements. This means Boeing is proposing that the KC-767NG will carry substantially more than the KC-767AT at take off since the AT just exceeded the requirements”

      Just Boeing spin.

      “In order to substantially exceed Boeing’s tanker will need to carry something closer to 220,000 to 230,000 lbs at takeoff (as they originally proposed for the AT) vs the 202,000 lbs + the USAF gave credit for. “

      USAF won’t give a dime for any pound of fuel exceeding the limits. So why should Boeing offer more? Just in case Total Evaluated Price of both others remains within 1 % non mandatory requirements are valuable.

      • I would say two unpaid knowledgeable individuals are worth more than two paid individuals anyday. The fact is that EADS pilot and operator are paid salesmen and they will say whatever the boss at EADS wants them to say, overall they are of about zero value.

        “Not this b…t again!
        The Boeing study claims an A330-200 burns 24 % more fuel per hour than a B767-200ER. The B767-200ER isn’t 24 % better than an A330-200. Simple math will tell you it’s just 19 % according to the Boeing study ( 1 / 1.24 ). ”

        Oh come on, are you are playing stupid division games now? Does it matter if it is 19% or 24%? Tell you what grab the Fuel Burn calc sheet in the contest, assume a 40 year life cycle for each aircraft plug in the numbers. If you use a 24% delta the credit to Boeing is around $18 billion plus, if you assume 19% the number is smaller but still in excess of $10 billion. The devil is in the detainls and the USAF will make different assumptions than mee, but the fuel burn is worth a lot more than the IFARA or any other adjustment in this contest.

        “Seems USAF got enough money to improve air bases to actual needs of KC-135. On the other side Boeing used a picture by Google Earth of 2004 of Bagram AB. You won’t see the second runway finished in 2006 and other improvements. You just see one C-17 and several C-130 but no KC-135.”

        Yes the USAF does has money, and any extra money they need to spend will be counted against the EADS entry. Even a few hundred million could make a difference in this contest. Afterall the difference in MPLCC in the last contest was only $300 million. If it wasn’t for the $300 million differnce Boeing would have won the MPLCC category, the mission capability category and NG/EADS would have won only the IFARA category and according to the GAO Boeing would have had a high probility of winning the entire contest. Again it was just $300 million in costs that made the difference.

        “”USAF won’t give a dime for any pound of fuel exceeding the limits. So why should Boeing offer more? Just in case Total Evaluated Price of both others remains within 1 % non mandatory requirements are valuable.”

        You need to go back and review the IFARA adustment. The USAF will indeed give credit for the aircraft than offload more fuel using fewer sorties in the IFARA model. If this isn’t the case why did the NG/EADS entry have a greater IFARA score during the last round? The fact is Boeing will be getting $ billions in credits for having the lower fuel burn and lower MILCON costs, Boeing says at least $10 billion. EADS needs to balance this out with a higher IFARA score that is obtained by having a greater fuel offload and thus needing fewer tankers for a deployment mission. If the USAF accepts that a KC-767NG can carry 20,000 lbs or more fuel than the AT could it is likely that with it’s lower fuel burn and ability to get more booms in the air in tactical scenarios that the KC-767NG would equal the IFARA score for the KC-30 and remove the only real advantage the KC-30 has in this contest.

      • “Oh come on, are you are playing stupid division games now? Does it matter if it is 19% or 24%?”

        Oh, I thought the whole thing is about money.

        Sometimes Boeing PR department states B767-200ER consumes 24 % less. Then A330-200 would guzzle about 31 % more. Quite a difference in fuel burn I would estimate.

        “Tell you what grab the Fuel Burn calc sheet in the contest, assume a 40 year life cycle for each aircraft plug in the numbers.”

        Isn’t it odd then you look at the different profiles to calculate fuel burn or aircraft wear? Why isn’t the IFARA factor evaluated for fuel burn rates? If USAF needs less aircraft to do the job then why USAF accounts still the same number for fuel burn? Can you ask any tanker pilot or boom operator if they perform on average more than 8 takeoffs per mission?

        USAF calculated during last competition that one KC-767AT replaces 1.79 KC-135 and one KC-30 replaces 1.90 KC-135. 179 KC-30 replace 20 KC-135 more than a fleet of KC-767AT. USAF then needs about 50 crews less, has about 20 KC-135 less to maintain, saves fuel for about 20 KC-135. Where does USAF account these savings?

        Is this equivalent to the IFARA adjustment of about $1.6 billion for about 10 KC-767AT? NO!

        Use the Fuel burn calc sheet.
        Put in 1.6 in column “Cumulative a/c deliveries” for 2010 and add 1.6 for each following years until you reach 19.2. For all over years use 20 until 2040. Estimate retirement of 20 additional KC-135 aircraft in 12 years. Fuel burn for KC-135 is about 2,650 gal/hr.

        You can add more columns for crew members. 2.5 crews per aircraft with 3 crewmen paid $100,000 a year.

        You can add more columns for maintenance. Just $7,000,000 for each KC-135 every 5 years or $1.4 million per year for depot level maintenance costs.

        The spread sheet tells me savings could be over $2 billion.

        Within the fuel burn calculations I can see many good reasons for EADS to call GAO in case EADS loose.

        I’ll expect a split buy after the next competitor calls GAO.

        “You need to go back and review the IFARA adustment. The USAF will indeed give credit for the aircraft than offload more fuel using fewer sorties in the IFARA model. If this isn’t the case why did the NG/EADS entry have a greater IFARA score during the last round? “

        A smaller more fuel efficient aircraft could do better but the old B767 isn’t so fuel efficient as Boeing tries to tell everybody.

        Here is an article about why cargo costs won’t be accounted.
        http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj09/fal09/isherwood.html
        “Cost per hour per cargo pallet”
        C-17 / KC-767 / KC-45
        $1,672 / $658 / $344

        “If the USAF accepts that a KC-767NG can carry 20,000 lbs or more fuel than the AT could it is likely that with its lower fuel burn and ability to get more booms in the air in tactical scenarios that the KC-767NG would equal the IFARA score for the KC-30 and remove the only real advantage the KC-30 has in this contest.”

        Can Boeing provide reliable date for KC-767NG before November 2010?

      • CORRECTION:

        According to this source

        http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL34398.pdf

        “annual maintenance will rise from $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $3 billion in 2040” for 550 aircraft or $3.8 million per aircraft and year.

        Savings for retiring 20 KC-135 earlier will raise to over $3 billion.

    • And just how much experience do Top Boom, Joanne’s husband and Gaspasser have on the EADS product? These 2 fellows working for EADS have flown the exact same aircraft as the aforementioned and have the added experience of flying the “other” aircraft.
      Even though they are paid employees of the company, that kind of experience makes a difference when it comes to points of views.
      Not having experienced something and nonetheless condemning it as a bad or inferior could give objective observers the feeling that certain people may be close minded.

    • John, the “value” of having a pilot and boom operator available to the press (who admittedly have varying levels of knowledge and sophistication on the topics at hand) is that *at long last* we get to talk to someone other than flaks and program managers–and in this case an uncontrolled (more or less), free wheeling environment of back-and-forth Q&A. It was extremely refreshing, and in the aforementioned hallway conversation with Bill Barksdale referenced above, even Bill acknowledged EADS pulled off a good one.

  5. A cunning ploy by EADS to have american IFR pilots who have literal hands on awareness of existing USAF IFR hardware to convincingly dispel Boeing’s media rhetoric concerning aspects of the KC 45’s manoeuvrability & breakaway capability.

    To counter EADS Boeing seem to be preparing an ever more complex solution for this procurement process, which begs the question when will it fly & EIS thats probably ten years hence.

  6. I agree with Phil. Bringing in a pilot who says “I have flown plane X and I think it’s great!” is neither here nor there.

    But if the pilot says “The competitor claims you can’t do this manoeuver. They’re talking nonsense. I know because I have done it”, it’s a powerful statement.

  7. To: John on July 22, 2010 at 4:13 am

    “The fact is that EADS pilot and operator are paid salesmen and they will say whatever the boss at EADS wants them to say, overall they are of about zero value.”
    Well, since Mr Powell’s UN speech we know that lying for your employer is expected behaviour in the US.
    You may find that this is (much)less pronounced in other places. (And even though allegations to the contrary are strewn about with gay abandon at every setback experienced.)

  8. @John

    “I would say two unpaid knowledgeable individuals are worth more than two paid individuals anyday. The fact is that EADS pilot and operator are paid salesmen and they will say whatever the boss at EADS wants them to say, overall they are of about zero value.”

    Depends on the view you hold of the integrity of former USAF officers when it comes to procuring kit that their ex-fellows may have to go to war in. I only know Army types, and those I know I’d trust to be honest over lying for their employer. Be that as it may, the point here is that Boeing made a claim about something the KC-30 could not do, and these guys refute it quite comprehensively. If you don’t trust their word, the only way to get to the bottom of it is for the USAF to put its jockeys into the seat of a KC-30 and to have a go at trying those maneuvers.

    • Andreas,

      My father is a 20 year USAF veteran, I have over ten years with the USN. My father would tell you very clearly never trust the USAF when it comes to procurement he had just a little too much experience with them. He had over 4 years of experience with the USAF in the procurement/manpower realm and he is the person who told me the standard Pentagon procurement joke at the time about the three D’s. The Army is Dumb, The Navy is Defiant, and the Air Force is Devious. When it comes to billion dollar contracts, no I don’t trust paid spokesmen for Boeing or Airbus no matter what their background is, you’ve always got to corrabate what they say with other sources of information. In this case their really isn’t any way to corrabate unless the RAAF is going to speak up on the issue.

      Also, these guys did not refute Boeing’s claim as TopBoom pointed out. The claim is that the EADS tanker can’t perform manuevers at certain speeds. The pilots said it performs nicely under standard proceedures, but what about all procedures? How many times has a company said are product is safe but then neglet to say except for when used under the following conditions? I would not say they have refuted Boeing’s claims at all so much as sidestepped them. The same can be said for Boeing they are currently sidestepping the actual configuartion of their tanker. Fortunately it is a lot easier to take guesses on the KC-767 configuration. As far as Boeing’s claim that the KC-30 can’t safely refuel all aircraft at all speeds. The questions is still open and the USAF will need to make the determination. My guess is they will decide it can, but EADS presentation did absolutely nothing to shed light on the small number of situations where Boeing says the KC-30 does not meet USAF requirements.

      • about not being able to refuel ALL aircraft. If you check the GAO report on the previous fiasco- contract-bid- it was the GAO which stated their concerns that Northrup had NOT given a satisfactory or believable response to that item even after being asked to confirm certain related issues. The air force appeared to have ‘ overlooked ‘ that weak response at the time.

        AFIK- Boeing simply pointed out that issue – which was buried in the GAO evaluation.

      • The GAO specifically states on first few pages it does not in any way offer any kind of technical comment on the contents of the evaluation or the results thereof. They only comment on procedural items.

        The GAO found the AF had expressed concerns about the low speed and other performance aspects of the NG/EADS offer. Some of these concerns (e.g. the low speed one) were never satisfactorily answered by NG/EADS and the AF still rated their (non-existent or incomplete) answers as acceptable.
        This is what triggered the GAO, as they should.

        This of course in no way confirms any deficiency in the EADS offer, though it does hint. However, the new competition has a comprehensive set of requirements. Low speed and breakaway performance are part of the set and I’d say it’s pointless and rather tiring that some people keep bringing up doubts about the ability of either competitor to fulfill any requirements. They must to be eligible to win, therefore both will comply.

    • Andreas, excellent idea “If you don’t trust their word, the only way to get to the bottom of it is for the USAF to put its jockeys into the seat of a KC-30 and to have a go at trying those maneuvers.”. In fact, the USAF should also test the Boeing 767AT. Oh wait, it does not exist yet.

  9. Taxpayer,

    The USAF in this case is simply evaluating performance data for the 767-200 and the A330-200 both of which have been flying for a long time. As of this time we really don’t know what data the USAF demanded in the last contest to prove the aircraft could peform all required manuveurs. Only that the GAO considered the information provided by NG/EADS to be inadequate. The information will likely be forthcoming this time around, but there is no need to be to sarcastic on this one. I simply pointed out that getting two paid experts to say there’s no issue here is generally not considered good enough in any government evaluation period, and as far as swipes at US integrity go I really only have two words, British Petroleum. Corporate Ethics leave’s something to be desired no matter which country you hail from.

    The simple fact is that both companies will need to provide sufficient data to USAF this round to prove their aircraft can meet all 372 requirements and the testimony of two EADS employees no matter how qualified they may be doesn’t cut the mustard. In the end this issue will probably be a non-starter as I don’t see either aircraft failing to meet the mandatory requirements.

    • I suspect that BA has reasonably good data on the italian and Japanese tankers flying. It is obvious that the NG tanker will have winglets- which are not on either. The general performance advantages of aeropartners winglets have been well demonstrated on various other BA aircraft and are at least 3 percent- up to 7 percent in fuel burn and or range and or takeoff performance.

      The bids are in – and it would not surprise me if BA outfitted a similar 767 with winglets between now and november IF they had any serious questions.

      BTW- the aeropartners winglets work much better than the NASA/NACA style used to date on airbust aircraft.

      • Dawwwwwn,

        in case you haven thought of it yourself, your constant little name calling (Airbust, Too Loose etc.) is quite tiring and annoying. In addition, for someone of your apparent age (based on some of your claims), it is extremely childish.

        I cannot speak for others, but I tend to ignore comments from someone that displays such behaviour.

      • You’re (conveniently) forgetting the NewGen tanker is (probably) based on an amalgamation of several 767 types flying today, with the Winglets a total unknown. The Italian and Japanese versions are not representative.
        (what is the fatique impact of adding big, moment introducing fins on your wingtips – maintenance, What is the benefit of adding winglets for the relative short missions the AF requires, what is the weight penalty)

        What surprised me is that BA hasn’t done a risk-reduction project on the Boom, the only technical part where the BA offer scores low in my book. Just adapt an KC-10 system to an 767 mock up fuselage.

    • John raises valid points in his various posts, but we will point out that EADS offered up a pilot and boom operator while the GAO offers up—lawyers. Need any more be said?

    • Based on this post of yours John, all I can ask is, then why all of the hot air?!

  10. There has been a lot of debate over the computerized flight control system and the “law” and “alternative law” controls on the A330, with Boeing touting its “ultimate control” to the pilot for the KC-767.

    We reported above that the EADS pilot said the KC-45 has the same system that is on the C-17. We thought at the time, OK, this is interesting. Boeing doesn’t talk about this.

    But what really caught our attention were the flying maneuvers of the Airbus A400M during the show. As Airbus CEO Tom Enders noted (see our Odds and Ends posting), Airbus brings airplanes to fly. And fly the A400M did. The pilots stood the airplane on its wing, flew it in circles, virtually straight up and almost everything but a barrel roll.

    Goll-eee, we thought, if the A400M can do that, what about the KC-45? We asked an Airbus spokesman (not EADS), and he said it was all in the computer programming. He didn’t know if the KC-45’s FCS had been programmed for more extreme manuevers but his point was that it could be.

    • I understand Airbus limits the control to 60 degree bank on the civilian models, but to 120 degrees on the A400M. My guess is that the software could be reprogrammed for the A332, but whether the plane is built to withstand the forces is a different question.

      I have no idea whether a 767 could do a 120 degree bank with the pilots living to tell about it, or indeed what the maximum bank that’s structurally possible for either type would be.

      • Any maneuver that stays inside the allowable airframe loading
        should be doable. ( keep g-loads positiv, fuel feed ? ). See that barrel roll
        that was done by ?Johnson? in the dash 80, an all positive g
        manuever ?
        Hmm, LH is rumored to have lost one 720B to aerobatics in the sixties?

  11. of course almost any aircraft can be computer limited and programed to do airshow manuvers. However-

    FBW is used on many modern military fighters to enhance and allow manuvers that would be normally impossible by other than a VERY concentrated effort and experienced pilot. And in those same aircraft, they have ejection seats when things go wrong !

    The issue of course is what happens with EMP, bullets, or such honk things up. Without backup ‘ cables’, even the c-17 or airbus or . . . will be a goner.

    It would seem to me that significant FBW can be ADDED to the 767 and be an advantage for normal operations. And if or perhaps WHEN murphy crosses the wires, or gets in to the ” i’m sorry . . i cannot do that ” mode reversion to cable becomes available. How much leverage for control does one have with a sidearm controller as compared to a control column ?

    • You don’t add FBW. FBW replaces! It is all in the wires, see?

      You have:
      ::pilot input,sensors:: — ::computer[current law]:: — ::flight controls::

      At any moment in time ONE of a set of different (purpose,sophistication) laws
      is active. The most basic one being a conventional translation of pilot input to
      flightcontrols as in a conventional plane. But still it is FBW, no mechanical connection. FBW is not servo assists.

      elsewhere on efficiency gains of various wing end gimmicks:

      There certainly is a dependency on gimmick design but the wing you fit them on has similar or greater influence. winglets fix an inefficiency in the wing design.
      If a design exhibits this fault to a lesser degree your potential gain decreases.
      The best wingenddevice is a longer wing!

    • Because modern (FBW) airliners/fighters tend to drop out of the sky much more than the good old (ancient) non-FBW type.
      Because all safety conscious airframers won’t touch that new-fangled computers stuff with a 10-ft pole.
      Because every time I switch on the microwave at home airliners start dropping out of the sky
      Because the space odyssey is just fiction

      that was a dumb comment DonS

  12. Scott Johnson and Pete Arbaulders’ experiences are narrow and quite subjective. They only give a glimpse of the aircraft’s fit into the USAF arsenal and their primary use as refueling tankers, that is, if they’re accurate.

    So, why does anyone care?

    This is a do or die proposition for Airbus Military. Losing to the USAF means their MRTT is a very distant second place in the world of tankers. And, it puts their investment in jeopardy.

    A win is not just a foot into the Pentagon’s door, but vindication of their entry, as, today only small minor air forces have ordered, air forces which can consider re-fueling a minor role in current affairs.

    And, I personally feel there can be no fairness in this comparison. It’s more a campaign about who’s aircraft can best fit the USAF use paradigm, or who can best convince the USAF they should change and adopt a new one for the sake of the sale.

    At the end of this show, the two camp’s presentations are meaningless. Isn’t business done at any trade show media fodder as we should expect all due diligence complete and finalized outside the show light’s glare?

    Hopefully, those 373 master requirements plus the extras will have to do. And Scott Johnson and Pete Arbaulders’ experiences have no influence but to feed blogger’s egos.

  13. To: leehamnet on July 22, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    But didn’t we just see him leaving the HamLeet
    with his sidekick Mr. Scott ;-?

  14. To: ikkeman on July 23, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Unexpected wing flutter seems to have been one issue with the Italian tanker.

    your 2nd paragraph:
    Boeing sees this competition as a “communications task”. So you won’t see any “getting physical”.

  15. Boeing claims to have solved the wing flutter issue that interferred with the wing mounted refueling pods. If I had to take a guess though I would say the winglets are as much about improving airflow around the wingtips and minimizing wing flutter as they are about improving fuel efficiency on the 767. Right now Boeing has said the one remaining issue with the Italian tanker is flutter issues with the centerline drogue. They claim to have a fix but again the status won’t be known until the tankers are delivered. The same though can be said for the KC-30s centerline drogue, until the RAF accepts their tankers you can’t really say we have a working centerline drogue.

    • Mayhap the flutter is one driver behind the assumed 767-300 wing. Bigger/Heavier is usually less sensitive to flutter.
      Also, adding dampening mass (also known as winglets) at the tips may help rather than exacerbate flutter

    • “The same though can be said for the KC-30s centerline drogue, until the RAF accepts their tankers you can’t really say we have a working centerline drogue.
      ” – you couldn’t say that even if/when the RAF (sic!) accepts their tankers, since those would be centreline drogues. 😉

      Fortunately enough we won’t have to wait that long, since the RAAF is likely to accept their tankers long before then. The naming of the central fuel offtake is probably going to be Bruce, thus eliminating any trans-Atlantic spelling confusions once and for all.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f_p0CgPeyA

      • But the RAF tanker won’t begin flight testing until next quarter, so the KC-X contest will be over well before the RAF tanker is delivered.

    • From this source:
      “Delivery of the 2nd aircraft from Toulouse, France to Getafé, Madrid, Spain (Sept 09); Introduction to Service (Oct 2011); Air-to-Air Refuelling in-Service-Date (Mar 2014); Full Service Delivery (Jul 2016).”

      So I can imagine test flights with the fuselage refueling unit before October 2011.
      The unit itself is not the problem:
      http://www.cobham.com/media/65621/ADV10603.pdf

      An installation seems quite easy for the RAF tanker.
      A KC-45 got a boom on the center line of the tail. So the integration will be different. Maybe right in front of the boom or somewhere aside like on KC-10.

  16. Yes, the RAF tanker is the one with the centerline drogue. The RAAF tanker just has two wing pods and no drogue. So you’ll need to wait until the RAF tanker enters service for EADS to certify their centerline drogue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.