Thursday, July 17, 2008

NG/EADS to receive Cease and Desist Order

Air Force Magazine online is reporting that NG/EADS will no longer be able to refer to its KC-30 tanker as the KC-45A in advertisements and press releases. An Air Force spokesperson told the Daily report that:
USAF created the nomenclature KC-45A to refer to its next tanker aircraft, but now that the KC-X competition is back up for grabs, neither Boeing nor Northrop Grumman can claim the KC-45A designation—not yet, at least. The Air Force has not yet notified Northrop Grumman to quit calling its airplane the KC-45A, “but the Air Force will do so and we expect that they will [comply],” the spokeswoman said.
The KC-30 team though remained defiant; if not delusional. Randy Belote, Northrop’s VP for communications, was quoted as saying yesterday, "As winner of the KC-X program and while under contract for the KC-45, we have no plans to change the name or nomenclature of our tanker.”

Also, Air Force Magazine online reports that the naming of the KC-45 has been delayed and put on hold due to the the recent shake-up of Air Force leadership:
The rumored top name for the new tanker is “Expeditor II,” which honors the Beech C-45 Expeditor of the World War II era. The nickname would seem to echo the KC-45A designation chosen for the new aircraft (see item above), but the original Expeditor was a relatively small transport specializing in light loads and small airfields, while the two KC-X contenders—Boeing’s KC-767 and Northrop Grumman’s KC-30—are based on widebody airliners.
It seems strange that the Air Force would choose a name associated with a small transport aircraft, but their whole fixation on more pallets and cargo for a tanker has always been beyond comprehension.

We will not be too hasy in our judgment though. Maybe the Airmen on the flightline know what they are doing. When the KC-767 is eventually chosen as the new tanker, naming it the "Expeditor II" might make sense as it can use a lot more of those "small airfields" than the KC-30.

FYI: in case you missed last month's name the KC-30 contest, proceedings and results can be viewed on TAnchorman's blog.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boeing has now confirmed that it will challenge the new RFP if it is changed to give credit for additional size above and beyond that for which the original RFP specified no additional credit would be given...the RFP that was the basis of the Boeing decision to go with the 767 platform rather than the 777.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/boeingaerospace/2008056020_farn17tanker.html

In my humble opinion, they not only have a valid point...this contract should not be decided by a "bait and switch" changing of a fundamental part of the RFP, but a valid legal point as well. MORE IMPORTANTLY, they have the political clout to pull it off.

If the DOD procurement people believe that they can make that change to the RFP and claim it is not a whole new program, they are badly mistaken.

Their realistic options are to recompete with essentially the same RFP and, since the failure to follow that RFP was one of the major factors permitting them to select the KC-30, the likely effect of actually following the source selection criteria they initially used would almost certainly result in the selection of the KC-767, OR they can essentially acknowledge that this is a whole new ball game, and set back the timetable yet again, giving Boeing time to prepare a 777 proposal.

Those may not be the options they want, but those are most certainly the options they've got. If they think any different, they are deceiving themselves.

It's not just a matter of fundamental fairness, it's not just a matter of legalities... DOD just plain doesn't have the political clout to pull off the bait and switch.

Anonymous said...

Container compatibility.

You know, the USAF mobility system lives and dies with the 463L pallet. Their so-called "comfort" pallets for deploying troops are all 463L based, their special support packages for medevac are all 463L based, their load plans are all 463L based. As a retired commander of a unit that was on mobility, I can tell you for sure that the vagaries of airlift when you went to war meant that you might have C-130s, you might have KC-135s, C-141s, KC-10s, C-5As, C-17s...., sometimes you didn't really know until they showed up on the ramp what aircraft would deploy you. The only thing you knew for sure is that you were going to be building 463L pallets. Of course, the A330 wasn't designed for the standard 463L pallet.
http://www.airbus.com/en/presscentre/pressreleases/pressreleases_items/07_01_17_A330-200F_go_ahead.html

It's "standard pallet" measures 96"x96"x125" (why not metric, I wonder), versus the 88"x108" footprint of the 463L pallet.

http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/ar/misc/463L.html

This brings up a number of questions:

1. Will the standard stuff even fit on the A330?
2. Will the USAF need to keep supplies of both types of pallets available? One for Airbus, one for everyone else?
3. Are you going to need to keep double the number of load plans?
4. How about the netting? Is 463L compatible netting compatible with the A330 pallets?

This may not sound like a huge problem if you've never been on mobility, but let me tell you, little things like this can be absolute show-stoppers in a situation where you are trying to move resources as quickly as possible. And improvising won't due when each pallet averages 4 tons of material and all too often the people doing the palletizing will be the same people deploying with the gear.

Anonymous said...

Container compatibility.
This brings up a number of questions:

1. Will the standard stuff even fit on the A330?


Yes, 32 463L master pallets against 19 on KC-767.

2. Will the USAF need to keep supplies of both types of pallets available? One for Airbus, one for everyone else?

No, the KC-45 system by Telair supports civilian and military pallets.

A 767 supports only the smaller civilian LD2 and LD8 ULDs and not the bigger LD3, LD6 and LD11.
A KC-767AT can't use LD2 or LD8 at all. The lower cargo compartment is used for additional fuel tanks.

Anonymous said...

If Boeing and the Senators from the states of Kansas and Washington are so worried about the jobs lost due to the USAF tanker contract going to NG/EADS, why not have Boeing bring all the 787 jobs that they sent out all over the world on the 787 program.

I don’t see the Senator complaining about all those jobs being farmed out to other countries. Oh, it’s ok because Boeing is doing it. Plus the state of Washington gave Boeing millions in tax incentives to keep the 787 assembly in Washington.

Anonymous said...

If Boeing and the Senators from the states of Kansas and Washington are so worried about the jobs lost due to the USAF tanker contract going to NG/EADS

It's more than that, Boeing is now headquartered in Chicago, Obama's hometown.

This project has at this time literally ZERO possibility of being completed in time for a contract to be signed under this administration. Democrats are even less inclined to let these jobs flow overseas than the Republicans are.

I simply can't see a President Obam moving so far from the Dem position on Free trade as to let this contract go to EADS, perhaps the reason that the government leaders of France, Germany, and Great Britain have been lobbying Bush so hard.

The only way this gets done under the Bush administration is to go back to the original RFP and judge it by it's stated criteria. If that happens, the 767 gets it. The GAO report made that abundantly clear.

If Obama becomes President, the contract most likely goes to Boeing as well. The dems owe too much to the US Aerospace workers unions.

The only way I see this going to Airbus is if McCain wins and even then it may not get funded, if the dem majority is big enough. Currently there is less than a billion dollars programmed in the 2009 budget for this....a budget that has yet to be approved. My guess is we'll get a continuing resolution until after the Presidential race is decided.

wakeupamerican said...

if McCain wins become a US prsident. Boeing will no longer win a single bit from DOD.

Anonymous said...

The only way this gets done under the Bush administration is to go back to the original RFP and judge it by it's stated criteria. If that happens, the 767 gets it.

GAO made clear that factors were missing for assessing several areas.
I think Air Force won't give extra credit for more fuel capacity but will give credit for a better efficiency.

The RAAF KC-30B made several flights for certification. I think overrun speed is not a case anymore.

Lifetime costs won't differ about $40 billion due to fuel costs. You would need more KC-767 to do the same as a fleet of 179 KC-45 can do.

roynapoleon said...

The container compatibility post by that anonymous provides interseting info to help clarify importnace re # of pallets. If each 463L pallet is/can be loaded to 4ton (8000lbs) then the ability of the A330 airplane to hold 32 of them is moot as that totals up to up ~250000lbs. Airbus toutsan empty weight of the A330 of somewhare betwen 240-270,000 lbs with a max takeoff weight of 515000lbs. The mods to make it a tanker will add several 1000lbs to that empty weight, which results in it being able to carry very little fuel. Of course neither manufacturer will agre to any apples to apples comparison. It was stated the 767 airplane can hold 19 pallets (~160000lbs). The767 empty weight is around 200000 or a bit less, again the tanker mod will add 1000lbs to that number. is aw somewhere Boeing was touting the KC767AT as having a max takeoff weight of "over 400,000lbs". When someone uses phrasing such as that they mean its JUST over 400000lbs. So again the Boeing can only carry a small amount of fuel, looks like perhaps a bit more than the A330. But this is not unusual; most civil transports are designed this way, you nearly always have to trade cargo and fuel, you never can carry full fuel and max allowable weight cargo.