Saturday, March 22, 2008

V-22 Refueling Issue Continued

We have received a great number of e-mails and comments on the V-22 refueling issue. In this post we will address some of the comments, summarize questions that seem to be still unanswered, and specify those issues on which we have conflicting information.

1) An anonymous post took us to task for declaring, "that the Marine Corps and the Special Operations community are up in arms," when no official statement has been made by either organization. Upon checking with our sources they have asked that we not get them out in front of their high headquarters on this issue and that we simply state that a number of people within those organizations were very surprised to learn the EADS aircraft could not refuel the V-22. We have since made that edit to our previous post.

2) Another e-mail asked under what flight parameters can the Boeing tanker refuel the V-22. The answer is that we do not know exactly. None of us at Tanker War Blog are refueler pilots but since the Air Force slide says, "throughout entire flight envelope," we are under the assumption that it can refuel the V-22 under all conditions. (Note: if you are a tanker pilot and want to help us with posts please e-mail us at tankerblog@gmail.com to offer your services.)

3) Mr. F. You from Alabama sent a comment that we can not post due to his very colorful language, but he did make a claim that we will reverify. Specifically he stated that the ability to refuel the V-22 was not part of the evaluation process. We were given the impression that it was. Since we do not currently have the source document stating V-22 refueling was, or was not, a discriminator we feel we owe it to our readers to research this and get back to you with an update. [Update: See John S. comments below. He provides the link to the source document where tilt rotor refueling is listed as an Object KPP (a disciminator that is desirable but not mandatory).]

4) A number of you felt that this issue was a bit of a red herring. From what information we have been given to date we don't believe this to be the case, but if it turns out to be a non-issue we will be glad to post such findings. We continue to believe EADS has enough faults that we don't need to manufacture any for them.

5) A number of others asked what was the specific reason the EADS aircraft could could not refuel the V-22. We are currently still researching this. Some have commented that it was due to stall speed, several people sent us that it was due to the turbulence of a larger aircraft, one person told us it was due to the refueling attachment (drouge?). The truth is we don't the reason know for sure yet, but we hope to have a clearer picture soon. [Update: NG now claims that their aircraft can also refuel the V-22. The only problem is that the Air Force has not changed their postion that it can't. Our view remains that until the Air Force says the NG/EADS aircraft can refuel the V-22 the issue is still very open.]

3 comments:

John S. said...

The entire KC-X bid document package is here:

http://www.fbo.gov/servlet/Documents/R/1543915/289982

Go to almost the bottom of the page, and download the zip file under "Solicitation 01" (The link says "all files.")

Unzip the file, then the actual list of requirements is a Word document titled "SectionJAttachment1R2_1KC-XSRD-20070125.doc"

There you will find the list of mandatory requirements that must be met (Threshold Key Performance Parameter or KPP) and those performance parameters that are desirable but not mandatory (Objective KPP.)

You will note that under Key Performance Parameter #1, as stated in the following paragraph, refueling tiltrotor aircraft was an objective, but not a threshold requirement for the KC-X.

"3.2.10.1.1.10 The aircraft should be capable of aerial refueling all current USAF tanker compatible tilt rotor receiver aircraft using above criteria (OBJECTIVE, KPP #1)."

Scott Hamilton said...

As a result of your blog, I asked NGC whether the KC-30 can refuel the V22 and the answer is "Yes."

scott hamilton

Anonymous said...

It's not the drouge refueling system as that is already currently in use on MC-130H's, if that can't refuel v-22's, whats the point of trying to refuel them.

source: http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/kc30tanker/


Just a point, prehaps the Northrop Grumman KC-30 simply never had any simulations, systems intergration, etc. about wether it could refuel, v-22's. That cost money and may not have been in the NG budget (this could mean the capability could be added on latter).

Boeing has done the intergartion possibly to help the v-22 (boeings own product) against other VTOL aircraft in future contracts (when is the army replacing its Blackhawks with a new aircaft?).