Boeing eyes international sales with KC-46A deliveries near

Part 2. LNC visited the Boeing KC-46A Everett Modification Center last month. Part 1 appears here.

July 5, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s contract with the US Air Force for three dozen KC-46A tankers is but the tip of the iceberg.

Installing the refueling boom on a KC-46A tanker at the Everett Modification Center. Boeing photo.

The USAF’s initial plan is to acquire 179 KC-46As, which was part of the KC-X tanker competition Boeing won after a bitter contest with Airbus and the competing KC-30/KC-330 airplane, based on the commercial A330-200. (For simplicity, LNC will refer to the Airbus as the KC-30.)

There are more than 400 ancient Boeing KC-135s that have to be replaced. Boeing figures it will eventually see the initial 179 aircraft requirement expanded to cover the balance of the KC-135s, although due to budget constraints, last year there were reports the procurement will stop and 179 and the KC-135s will be upgraded.

Then there is the international market. Airbus so far is far and away the winner in this sector. It’s sold 57 to eight customers (including NATO); 29 are in operation. The first one entered service in 2011.

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One Boeing, lessons learned from P-8, KC-767 find their way in KC-46A

Part 1. Part 2 will appear July 5.

Boeing KC-46As in the Everett Modification Center for military systems installation. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

July 3, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s development of the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker for the US Air Force is behind schedule and over budget, but production is underway and 34 tankers have been built.

Deliveries are running more than a year behind the original schedule. Boeing is already in production on a fourth tranche of tankers even before the next contract is signed, which is expected this summer.

Finally, after several delays, Boeing and the USAF announced the first tankers will be delivered in October, about 18 months behind schedule.

“In partnership with the U.S. Air Force, our team has made great progress on the KC-46 Tanker,” Boeing said in a statement. “With first delivery now set, the men and women of the Air Force know when they will start receiving this warfighting capability. The KC-46 is a top priority for The Boeing Company, and we have the best of Boeing working to ensure the U.S. Air Force gets their tankers as quickly as possible.”

LNC visited the Everett Modification Center (EMC) this month, speaking with officials of the program, who explained progress on the tanker line.

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Southern state coalition bid likely for Boeing NMA assembly site

June 27, 2018, © Leeham News: A coalition of four Southern US states that joined to win the US Air Force tanker contact site location for Mobile (AL) will likely link up again to bid for the assembly line of the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Aircraft, officials of three of the states said yesterday.

The Aerospace Alliance includes Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

An official of an economic development commission for Charleston (SC) said Charleston will also likely throw its hat into the ring.

The comments were made at the Leeham Co./Airfinance Journal Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference yesterday in Mobile. The conference continues today.

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Pontifications: Honoring John McCain

By Scott Hamilton

May 28, 2018, © Leeham News: Today is Memorial Day in the USA, the holiday which honors US Armed Forces who died in active military service.

It seems fitting today to think about US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is dying of the same brain cancer that took the life of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

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Hawaiian orders 787, cancels A330-800; Embraer ponder electric plane, not a jet

March 6, 23018 © Leeham Co.: It’s official: Boeing and Hawaiian Airlines announced an order for 10+10 787-9s. It’s a letter of intent and purchase rights.

The airline also confirmed it canceled an order for six Airbus A330-800s.

 

LNC was the first to report the transactions Feb. 20.

Separately, Embraer confirmed it’s looking at an airplane smaller than the E175, but denied a report originating in another media that it’s a small jet.

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Challenges facing Boeing in 767-300ER passenger restart

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Introduction

Nov. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The clock is ticking toward the end of the year for Boeing to decide whether to restart the 767-300ER passenger line.

Officials want to decide by year-end.

Restarting the line isn’t as easy as one might think. Boeing is building the 767-300ER freighter and it has the tooling for the passenger model. Boeing has several challenges to resolve before any green light for the restart.

Summary
  • There is a space problem at Everett, where the 767 is assembled.
  • Restarting the passenger supply chain is an issue.
  • And, as ever, so is cost.
  • Does Boeing simply restart the line without upgrades, or are upgrades included, which will increase the cost to produce the airplane?
  • Closing the business case on the NMA.

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Boeing’s tactical option for MOM sector

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Introduction

Aug. 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It’s not a done deal yet—the business for the so-called Boeing 797 remains a challenge. But the consensus is that Boeing will launch the program next year, for an entry-into-service around 2025.

Boeing 797 concept. Source: Boeing.

Yet there are airlines that say they don’t want to wait that long for a new airplane.

What are their choices?

  • Acquire the Airbus A330-200. It’s available now. Fuel is cheap and is expected to remain so well into the next decade.
  • Acquire the A330-800. It’s fairly cheap. It’s about 10% less expensive to operate on a per-trip basis than the A330-200. The new engines will serve as a hedge against rising fuel prices for an indefinite future.
  • Acquire the Boeing 787-8.
  • Airbus ponders an A321neo+.
  • There’s another option that is not readily apparent.

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Business case for NMA remains uncertain

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Introduction

July 17, 2017, © Leeham Co.: We’re half way through 2017. Boeing reported orders through July 11, a week ago. Airbus won’t update its July orders until the end of the month.

Through July 11, Boeing reported 116 net wide-body orders: 15 for the 767, 33 for the 777 and 75 for the 787. Net cancellations of -7 for the 747 are included in the net 116 figure.

The 15 767s were not commercial models, however, but 767-2C tankers for the USAF.

Over at Airbus, none of China’s 40 commitments announced July 5 for 40 A350s are in the June summary, and won’t be in the Orders tally until the commitments turn into firm orders. Through June, airbus had net 26 widebody orders: three A330-200s and 29 A350-900. There were cancellations of four A330-800s and two A380s.

If the 40 China A350s were included, this would bring Airbus to 66 widebody orders, still well short of Boeing’s YTD figure.

Summary
  • Airbus product gap widens as A330-200/800 stalls.
  • Boeing 787 strength comes from 787-9; 787-8 remains minor player.
  • Middle of the Market business case still unproved.

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Look for more KC-46A tanker orders soon

Feb. 8, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing last month received a $2.1bn order for 15 more KC-46A tankers from the US Air Force, bringing the total so far to 34.

Look for more orders in the coming months.

Boeing has Letters of Intent for 152 more with delivery dates beginning in 2018, according to the Ascend data base.

Extending the line

The aerial refueling tankers are based on the 767-200ER, which is no longer offered by Boeing in a passenger version.

Boeing expects 400 sales of the tanker over the life of the program. Using the current LOIs as a base, the USAF commitment extends to 2028. At the current production schedule planned, the 767 line could be active until 2042.

But the USAF isn’t the only customer for the 767.

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Boeing receives first contracts for KC-46A production

Aug. 18, 2016: Boeing received the first two contracts for production of the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker, the company announced.

From the press release:

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