HOTR: Lockheed Martin’s LMXT rebranding has lots of competition

By the Leeham News Team

Aug. 12, 2021, © Leeham News: Lockheed Martin’s rebranding of the Airbus A330 MRTT aerial refueling tanker has some competition that already uses the name: LMXT.

The UK band LMXT.

LNA’s background includes branding. Other than the obvious “LM” means Lockheed Martin, we couldn’t see where “XT” comes from.

“XT” is on a lot of cars. The full acronym is on a warehouse management system, solar storage, a solar tube battery and a car charger.

A government in Maryland uses it as shorthand for Legacy Mixed-Use Transit Oriented Zone. It’s used for something called Lively Middleclass Xenial Tolerant (we can’t figure this one out.)

But our favorite is the acronym stands for Little Mix Tribute Rock Band, a UK group.

LNA can’t wait to see the band’s logo show up as nose art on the airplane formerly known as the A330 MRTT.

This is truly a gift for Boeing’s counter-campaign. The LMXT (the airplane, that is) and Boeing’s KC-46A tanker will square off in the US Air Force’s KC-Y Bridge Tanker competition for 140-160 orders.


30 Comments on “HOTR: Lockheed Martin’s LMXT rebranding has lots of competition

  1. I hope that odd and unfortunate choice of name is not part
    of another “designed to fail” faux-competition..

    “Re-branding™” itself gives me an odd feeling.

  2. Well what we need is a Wyoming type round up.

    Get out the hot irons and put that new Brand on them thar A330MRTs!

    I can just see it, the panel with Brand Here.

    From the same folks that brought us F-35 concurrent production. Yeee Hah, Yippeee Kayyaya yay etc

  3. Think the X stands for 4WD and T for Turbocharge in the car world. Looks like Airbus takes the project as a tool to design new systems for a new A330neo MRTT or if it finally comes to an UN/NATO agreement not to use civil aircrafts as a base for military ones reducing the risk for shooting down airlines in a mix-up situation, hence Airbus has the electric Flying wing design in works that could evolve into a new “Multi Role Tanker Transport” MRTT and not make an airliner from it.

    • claes:

      You have got to be kidding about mixing up Civilian Airlines and tankers.

      The risk of shoot down is purely in country and the 4 I can think of off the top of my head were deliberate in that people were pushing the launch button regardless.

      Tankers are not going to fly directly over contested territory, they stand off.

      Its the civilian airlines (actually their passengers) that operate over contested or heavily armed areas that have gotten the short end of the stick.

      None of it has anything to do with tanking aircraft.

      • No TW, there is a big concern in USAF about vulnerability of tankers because of short range of fighters meaning tanker is close to hostilities.

        (An unusual case is in Afghanistan right now, besides C-17s evacuating people there are airliner type aircreaft making many flights. I don’t know whether they are US utility aircraft (737s and 757s) or civilian charters (who often carry military people and cargo for the US military).)

        • Of course in Afghanistan the US still controls the sky though with risk of rockets.

          Media report that C-135 tankers are in the sky, one use is to refuel C-130 tankers which refuel helicopters (a speed match, the Herc is fast – 350kias).

          And an electronic eavesdropping aircraft with translators and real-time communications is airborne. I don’t know if it has a good ground-detection radar. I presume it can jam communications, and has missile warning and defense capability.

  4. Does it matter? It’s not like Airbus can win this even if Boeing puts up a cardboard box with a duct-taped jerry can and some space for an airman to sit and flap their hands really hard.
    Or even if they actually win, Boeing can always call their tame congressmen and have the whole thing thrown out and competition restarted.

    • @JS

      That’s the dictionary definition of an ‘aircart’, the proud invention of Boeing, TM

    • JS – “duct-taped jerry can”? That’s the one; Boeing DTJC it is!

      • I would like to remind people that it was not congress that overturned the last Airbus A330MRT bid, it was an independent agency called the GAO.

        In simplest terms, the USAF put out an RFP. Said RFP is a legally binding document. All parties that bid can question, propose changes to said RFP, but once you bid on a final RFP, then you bid on its terms.

        If there is an area you can get a credit for (booster in the bid) it has to be in the RFP. If its not there, you cannot alot a contract that does so. Its every bit as illegal as going 120 in a 60 mph speed zone.

        The USAF in its infinite stupidity gave Airbus credit where it was not in the RFP in two major areas and a several less major.

        The GAO ruled that the USAF violated the RFP and had to re-do it.

        The final bid was adhered to and Boeing took it by 10% lower price.

        You should also keep in mind Airbus had not build A330MRT yet, nor had any passed into full service (we know the Australia took 5 years to get full operational status for the A330MRT and it was a less tech spec than the KC program.

        No A330MRT has been built to that KC spec, though they have added features that lop off areas of the spec.

        Reality is that you are trying to bid a larger heavier aircraft that uses more fuel and takes more ramp space than the 787 does.

        The USAF says it does not need the fuel capacity for day in day out ops and rarely uses the cargo capacity that the A330 offers.

        While Boeing has been pathetic on the KC-46 into service, it is overcoming its self inflicted wounds. One of those was a result of a USAF spec on the boom response. USAF is paying for that fix as they caused it.

        Its now been cleared for additional operations.

        By the time this comes up for bid it will have fully corrected the problems.

        None of the problems are a bad air frame. They are the add on features and those can be and are being fixed (and not disagreeing at all that most should not have happened)

        • GAO isn’t an independent agency. GAO’s mission is to serve the Congress and the American people by collecting, analyzing, and reporting on information about federal programs and services.

          They are serving congress, not independently telling them they see it wrong.

          Here is the 2017 GAO report pushing FAA to increase Boeing self certification, delegate more, streamline the FAA further & keep bureaucratic foreign authorities out of the way. A disastrously subjective, patriotic & incorrect advise, pleasing Boeing/congress, shortly before the MAX crashes. That’s GAO.

          • @Kees Burger

            Thanks for this reminder that GAO like FAA etc are the opposite of ‘independent’ and hell bent on encouraging BA as others (no mention of pharma) to ignore all restraint and reason in a race to produce poorly made product

            Such corrupt administration is a key indicator of a banana republic

            Just as Congress itself has fulminated against administrative failure, pointed out the disastrous results of such, and in particular the FAA, but notoriously failed to do anything much

            Neither has the Executive

          • I agree that the GAO is less than objective.

            Our circumstances, here in the Exceptional
            Nation, are looking more and more like
            the USSR’s in the late 80s: sclerotic, ossified,
            self-serving (for the Very Few, I mean).

            should be fine.

        • Thanks TransWorld.

          Utter incompetence in evaluation of bids.

          You miss that the KC-10 is far larger than the C-135/KC-46A, for good reason – heavy bombers need a lot of fuel.

          Note USAF are retiring a large chunk of the aging KC-10 fleet. I don’t know the life of its structure or equipment, certainly Bendix autopilot is questionable. (AA had a protocol to dispatch with downgraded autopilot, including a disk on the main panel that was rotated to say Land 3, Land 2, etc as appropriate for the dispatch.)

          So USAF have an opportunity to shift strategy or not, my reading of the RFI suggests they plan to give themselves flexibility.

  5. Surely, surely, X is to indicate (imply?) ‘experimental’ and T likewise ‘tanker’ and the whole ‘re-branding’ exercise little more than the usual pulling-the-wool-over-the-eyes charade designed to obscure a product’s true history — indeed, identity? The LMXT tag rather reminds of all those labels Boeing used to promote possible, maybe, perhaps-one-day 747 developments.
    Around the end of 2001 an ‘Air International’ writer mused on one commentator’s calculation that Boeing 747-variant nomenclature had (so far) used more than 20 different IDs “of the GTXLR variety.” Lo and behold, true to form, a few weeks later at Asian Aerospace in Singapore Boeing revealed the 747QXLR: wonderful!

    • No, in this case it was X, Y and Z which is used in the US for a sequence.

      KC-Y is supposedly the KC-10 replacement. As there are 70 of those (maybe fewer, I think some have been retired) than the A330 would be the logical replacement.

      KC-Z is some future undefined tanker, supposedly stealth but more a place holder for USAF to think about.

      Due to the higher numbers, its really looking like an extension of the KC-X and the numbers never make sense as they are replacing 420 KC-135.

      Where its pointed we will see when the RFP is released though we probably will get an idea before that.

      • Transworld – I am entirely familiar with the KC-X, -Y, and -Z nomenclature to identify different elements (generations, even) of the omnipresent tanker requirement. My reference to X was in the conext of LM’s use of the LMXT brand. Obviously they don’t wish casual observers to mistake this apparently new animal for an earlier beast.

  6. LMXT=
    Lockheed Martin eXtreme Tanker.
    Lockheed Martin eXperimental Tanker.
    Little MiX Tribute band. They are one of several “Tribute Bands” to the original band “Little Mix”. Warning, their well made videos are borderline pornographic.

    Hope the girls don’t sue. Even mega corporations come up second best to Grrl Power.

    The term”X” is cool on its own. I would think an A330-800 neo with GEnX engines would have rather extreme performance. The fuel of lading capabilities would be very good. My guess is LockMart/EADS is going in with an neo option.

    • GEnX engines aren’t an option on the A330neo, and I don’t think the A330neo wing is as easy to convert to carrying hose pods as the original A330ceo wing was (it had hard points for 4 engines, because it was also used on the A340).

      However on that theme, I’m wondering if a US engine is an option on the MRTT – GE and P&W both did engines for the A330ceo (on which the MRTT is based). A US engine would make it more “American”, even if the RR Trent 700 would be the best one to go for.

      I think that Airbus should buy the rights from the band to use one of their tracks as the “boot up jingle” for the aircraft. I’m assuming that aircraft have such a thing, and it would be a memorable quirk if they did.

      • “I think that Airbus should buy the rights from the band to use one of their tracks as the “boot up jingle” for the aircraft. I’m assuming that aircraft have such a thing, and it would be a memorable quirk if they did.”

        There you go Mathew.

        Aircraft systems do have to boot up, pilots checking other things during that time including verifying what first displayed screen says. (With EICAS on 757/767 they had to verify that airplane and engine models were correct, as same p/n could be sued widely, individual aircraft wiring or equivalent told the computer what models to use.

  7. I think in the background, lobbyists have begun the effort to have congressmen make clear to the USAF that any KC-Y capacity requirement surpassing KC-46 capability (e.g. KC10 fuel off capacity) will not get a congress majority behind it.

    UIf I were Airbus I would not spend to much energy on this “contest”..

  8. Miles Z — alas it’s not easy to hear what the HOTR singer is ‘singing’ behind all the drums, guitars etc etc, er, sound — if indeed there’s a ‘message.’

  9. ROFL

    Hey, you expect marketing types to
    – do their homework (hint – Internet search)
    – think
    – be real (‘branding’ is ‘words make reality’ nonsense, common with neo-Marxists of course, but just buzzspeak which is a hallmark of shallow people)
    You’d be naïve. :-o)

    Dunno what they want X in XT to stand for perhaps big as in MAX, I’d use B for Big to highlight an advantage assuming USAF finds big tankers useful but KC-10s aging. Or WB to highlight capacity for cargo which is a requirement for tankers these days.

    As for XT in automobiles, usage varies with marketing whim, XL can mean longer thus larger as in the stretched Ford SUV, or just fancy trim.

  10. “LNA can’t wait to see the band’s logo show up as nose art on the airplane formerly known as the A330 MRTT.”

    Right, fighter airplanes need lots of love from those tankers.

    And the heart logo would tweak SWA’s nose. :-o)

    Just do not put that photo of the group on – they are ugly!

    • Keith – “…fighter airplanes need lots of love from those tankers.” Now consider what the ‘X’ might be intended to imply…
      In truth, of course, much such use of the letter is almost always an attempt to add mystique, usually through interpretation as ‘experimental’ (read secret, futuristic, etc etc). Gilbert & Sullivan had something to say about that in The Mikado, I seem to remember.

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