Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tanker News 23 July

The following tanker related items caught our eye:

Denver Post: Boeing to Display KC-767 Tanker Demonstrator
Key Passage:
The Boeing Company will display its KC-767 Advanced Tanker technology Demonstrator from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mountain time on July 23 and 24 at the American GI Forum National Conference in Denver to showcase why the KC-767 is the best aircraft for the U.S. Air Force's KC-X aerial refueling program.
The tanker ground game continues on as Boeing builds grassroots support for their tanker by touring organization conferences across the country.

Washington Post: The McCain Budget Plan
Key passage:
Balance the budget requires slowing outlay growth to 2.4 percent...The roughly $470 billion dollars (by 2013) in slower spending growth come from reduced deployments abroad ($150 billion; consistent with success in Iraq/Afghanistan that permits deployments to be cut by half -- hopefully more), slower discretionary spending in non-defense and Pentagon procurements ($160 billion; there are lots of procurements -- airborne laser, Globemaster, Future Combat System -- that should be ended ...
So the campaign's senior economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin names three Pentagon procurements that should be cut and guess what? They are all Boeing programs. Coincidence or more grist for the temper and grudge rumor mill?

KC-30 Press Release:Tanker Boom Completes In-flight Contact
Key passage:
The test mission fulfilled several key flight and program milestones for the KC-45's all-electric, fly-by-wire Aerial Refueling Boom System, including sustaining one of the tanker-to-receiver aircraft contacts to simulate large offloads. The continued successful testing of the ARBS is further indication of the boom system's maturity and readiness for the U.S. Air Force's next generation KC-45 Tanker.
One observation and several questions are in order: 1) It looks like the Air Force is going to have to pry the KC-45 designation from the EADS crew's cold, dead hands. They seem to have grown quite fond of improperly referring to themselves as the KC-45. 2) If we are to believe the KC-30 hype that it is ready now, then why do they keep announcing all these new tests? 3) Is that not an A310 based tanker in the photo and not an A330 tanker like they are trying to sell to the US Air Force? 4) How much outside EU nation support is EADS getting free of charge? There is a stop work on the US tanker work. And, since Australia is not a NATO country, we know they are not supporting this testing with their military aircraft. So who is footing the bill? Or, is this another type of government subsidy beyond the Airbus ones being protested at the WTO or the Katrina bonds that were funneled to them?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

3) Is that not an A310 based tanker in the photo and not an A330 tanker like they are trying to sell to the US Air Force?

And what about the latest Boeing ad? It's not the same model 767 proposed to the USAF. It's not the same boom that's going to be used on the KC-767 and they forgot to mention it was a few years late (and still not production ready, fact check that one as I'm only 90% sure).

Boeing can no way say "Built, Tested, Flown and Delivered". That ad should simply say "Designed". The most recent Boeing ad is a blatant lie as there are major differences between the Japanese and US tankers.

EADS can afford to build these green A330's in preparation because if for whatever reason they don't end up going to the USAF then they'll get purchased one way another because the A330 is a hot commodity right now, unlike the 767 which is winding down production.

But the fact that EADS/NG have a boom built and being tested on a test bed aircraft (the A310 like you acknowledged) and have green planes ready for militarization has shown more promise than anything Boeing has demonstrated. EADS/NG are actually demonstrating their refueling stations in the air, refueling real planes! They re-fueled an AWACS just the other day (http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/northrop-grumman-kc-45-tanker-boom/story.aspx?guid={F4DFF9E1-BCFA-47DF-A83B-6D8D7F7D0A9B}&dist=hppr).

All of this hype Boeing is trying to build by putting people in the back of a tractor trailer and letting them use a simulator does not demonstrate that they can effectively build and get these tankers out the door.

Anonymous said...

This is REALLY starting to piss me off!! First the whole 'We are ready now' load of bull, then the 'Paper Airplane' propaganda campaign, now the refusal of EADS/NG to stop referring to their offering as the KC-45!! Doesn't ANYONE at the Air Farce or the Pentagon have the cojones to stop these BLATANT LIES and reel in NG?? I've tried emailing my Congressmen and women, all you get is a 'form letter' back thanking you for your input. What a joke!

John S. said...

"And, since Australia is not a NATO country, we know they are not supporting this testing with their military aircraft."

What brings you to that conclusion? Australia bought KC-30B tankers, equipped with booms for their US boom refuelled aircraft such as the F-111C and C-17, and in the near future the F-35A JSF.

One would have to assume that since Australia bought a boom equipped refueling aircraft, Australia wants a working boom.

The EADS boom testing to date HAS BEEN FOR THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE KC-30Bs, not for the US KC-X. Testing of the boom started before a winner of the KC-X was even announced last February 29th, and will continue regardless of any KC-X Stop-Work order.

Other than that, keep up the good work on the KC-X.

Tanker War Blog said...

John S.,

We think you are reading much more into our statement than intended.

In the press release it states that the aircraft being refueled is of NATO country origin. Also, the boom is on a German A310.

So who is paying for use of these aircraft?

We do not state Australia is not supporting/paying for some portion of the testing, we only say AUS military aircraft (AWACS, F-16s) are not the ones being refueled or the ones doing the refueling during the testing.

Our point is that certain EU nations seem to be supporting this testing with at least the use of their military aircraft; if not with direct funding. We question if this is a form of subsidy.

Maybe EADS has worked out some sort of reimbursement plan. We have our suspicions, but we don't really know the answer.

Thanks for visiting,
TWB

Anonymous said...

"Boeing can no way say "Built, Tested, Flown and Delivered". That ad should simply say "Designed". The most recent Boeing ad is a blatant lie as there are major differences between the Japanese and US tankers."

Check your facts there BUB! Those two aircraft ARE IN SERVICE with the Japanese Air Defense Force!! I know, my site delivered them to the customer months ago. Those planes were indeed Designed, Tested, Flown, AND DELIVERED! And don't get me started on EADS programs that are YEARS behind schedule, INCLUDING the MRTT program!!

Anonymous said...

"But the fact that EADS/NG have a boom built and being tested on a test bed aircraft (the A310 like you acknowledged) and have green planes ready for militarization has shown more promise than anything Boeing has demonstrated. EADS/NG are actually demonstrating their refueling stations in the air, refueling real planes! They re-fueled an AWACS just the other day"

So, let me get this straight, EADS flying a prototype boom on an A310 test bed shows MORE progress then two delivered and IN SERVICE KC-767 tankers to the Japanese Defense Force? I'm not sure how your math works but flying test beds do not equal operational aircraft in my book. EADS/NG is in no way shape or for "demonstrating their refueling stations in the air, refueling real planes"!

Anonymous said...

The tankers delivered to Japan are not the same 767 configuration that is being proposed in the USAF contract. The boom on the Japanese tankers is not the same boom being proposed on the USAF tanker.

The tanker 767 configuration proposed by Boeing for the USAF has never been built. The boom they proposed has never been built. The Boeing ad gives a false portrayal and for those not in the know would think that tanker is no different than the USAF tanker but when in fact it is.

If it took as many years and delays as it did to get Japan those two tankers then how long will it take for Boeing to actually build a USAF proposed tanker and build a boom? If Japan and Italy are any indication it's going to be a few years before the USAF has anything to work with.

EADS/NG at least has the proposed boom built (yes, for Australia as noted above) and it's being tested (successfully too) and has green aircraft ready to be militarized.

These are all facts that cannot be denied and ignored.

Anonymous said...

"The tanker 767 configuration proposed by Boeing for the USAF has never been built."

If this is true for Boeing than I say:

The tanker KC30 configuration proposed by EADS/NG for the USAF has never been built!

YOU HAVE NO POINT!! One BOOM on an A310 aircraft is NOT an operational weapons system! True, the tankers for Japan and Italy are not the EXACT same configuration than the proposed USAF plane, but it's a heck of a lot closer than what EADS/NG have.

THESE sir, are the facts that can not be denied or ignored.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of BOOMS, lets do a quick scorecard:

Boeing: 5 Generations of FIELDED AND OPERATION BOOM TECHNOLOGY.

EADS/NG: 0

I really don't understand all this preoccupation with EADS having a prototype boom that meets USAF requirements. When did that become a requirement in the RFP? Why would it have ANY bearing WHATSOEVER as to which aircraft offered the better value to the American tax payer? IT DOES NOT! It's the exact same mentality that awarded the KC30 EXTRA CREDIT for offloading more fuel when the requirements document specifically said, and I quote, 'no extra credit is to be given for exceeding the threshold.'.

Can we please move past 'who has the bigger boom' please?

Anonymous said...

Can anybody provide a link to the "in service" KC-767J?

Facts:
EADS can provide a green aircraft without cargo door and floor right now according to its proposal.
No B767-200LRF is flying right now. Will we see an aircraft flying within one year? Does Boeing have any commercial orders?

Boeing has a 5th generation boom. I'm not quite sure about "in service".

EADS is testing its ARSB or whatever its called.
Does Boeing anything to get its 6th generation boom real?

In my opinion its easier putting a boom on another aircraft than exchanging wings and cockpit.

Anonymous said...

Then lets discuss delivery.

Why did it take so long to deliver the Japanese tankers and when will Italy see theirs?

More importantly, when would the USAF see theirs?

Boeing has had an extremely poor showing lately: Japan, Italy, Dreamliner.

Anonymous said...

"Can anybody provide a link to the "in service" KC-767J?"

You BET I can! http://boeing.com/ids/globaltanker/program/japan.html

"EADS can provide a green aircraft without cargo door and floor right now according to its proposal."

What are they going to use for a BOOM! Again, having a prototype boom has NOTHING to do with the RFP or the proposals submitted by both companies.

"Boeing has a 5th generation boom. I'm not quite sure about "in service"."

Oh, it is! I see KC767 Tanker fly EVERYDAY with this boom! You should also find video at the web site above showing it actually passing fuel high above the Kansas prairie!

"In my opinion its easier putting a boom on another aircraft than exchanging wings and cockpit."

Obviously you are not in aviation. The method proposed by Boeing for production of the USAF KC-767 is tested and proven. One needs only to look at the BBJ variants of the 737 or the new P8A Poseidon for evidence of this. EADS/NG proposes building their tanker in a factory that does not exist with a work force that does not exist. The KC-767 would be built on an EXISTING production line with trained and seasoned work force.

You tell me who is closer to having a production USAF bird in the air; Boeing or EADS?

Anonymous said...

Who is closer to having a production USAF bird in the air?

EADS/NG hands down. The Air Force even stated EADS/NG would have 12 in the air by the time Boeing had 4.

Grumman has 2, soon to be 3 green aircraft on hand. They will do the tanker modifications on them prior to the Mobile plant being built with final touches added at one of their US plants, most likely in Florida. The boom they proposed is finishing its testing phases and that will be good to go.

How is that so difficult to see?

Boeing currently has no planes built. Boeing needs to first build the boom and then put it through testing.

Boeing was 2 years late with Japan and the US will see the same thing. Who knows if Italy will ever even see a tanker!

Anonymous said...

"The most recent Boeing ad is a blatant lie as there are major differences between the Japanese and US tankers."

If you had bothered to READ the ad, you would have noticed that Boeing states, and I quote from the ad;

"And the KC-767 tanker we’ll build to the unique
specifications of the U.S. Air Force will be even more advanced."

No 'blatant lie', just the truth. To bad EADS/NG have no concept of the meaning of truth. You want to read REAL 'blatant lies', read their trash.

Anonymous said...

EADS/NG proposes building their tanker in a factory that does not exist with a work force that does not exist.

I'm not sure that many people understand the lag time, expense, or uncertainty of getting a production line from scratch up to the point it can be certified. The same can be said for the workforce.

Right now, EADS is touting their A330 MRTT based upon sending two (2) A330s to Australia for Quantas to convert to tankers. The 767 was already well past that developmental point in Nov. 2006.

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2006/07/11/207660/pumped-for-action.html

Anonymous said...

"EADS/NG hands down. The Air Force even stated EADS/NG would have 12 in the air by the time Boeing had 4."

This is the same Air Force who:

Couldn't add; Boeing WAS the cheaper proposal
Couldn't apply their own selection criteria
Couldn't properly calculate MILCON costs
Told one competitor one thing and the other another
LIED to one competitor about meeting requirements
ETC, etc, etc

Forgive me if I do not have the utmost confidence in what the Air Force says right now.

"Boeing was 2 years late with Japan and the US will see the same thing."

Wow! The US will see the same thing eh? Please, can I have some winning lottery numbers since you can see into the future? We can get into a poo flinging contest about delayed programs if you like, but the fact is the EADS MRTT is behind schedule, the M400 is behind schedule etc, etc, etc. Neither company is perfect. I would certainly give the home team with 75 years of experience the benefit of the doubt in this one.

"Who knows if Italy will ever even see a tanker!"

I do, and they will, by the end of the year. There are two birds on my tarmac now in the finally stages of modification and the WILL be delivered.

Anonymous said...

"Boeing was 2 years late with Japan and the US will see the same thing."

So - how's the A380 coming? Ever get those wiring harnesses stretched long enough to fit the fuselages? How many years behind is that thing? And the A400M? And the A350? Oh, that was never built at all, was it? Going to be the A350XWB if they ever get the CAD program standardized, I guess?

Tell me, when the KC-30 and the A350XWB are late, are the EADS execs going to sell their stock (again) before they release that information? The ones who haven't already been arrested for insider trading that is.....

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

So - how's the A380 coming?

It's in service in case you didn't notice. About as late as the 787 will be (if Boeing can stick to their most recent schedule, latest evidence suggests they're already struggling!)

And the A400M?

Rolled out and being prepared for first flight. It will not be as late as Italian and Japanese tankers, or Australian Wedgetails.

The ones who haven't already been arrested for insider trading that is.....

Hmm, at the time of writing, more Boeing execs have seen the inside of prison cells than EADS execs.

Anonymous said...

And the A400M?

Rolled out and being prepared for first flight. It will not be as late as Italian and Japanese tankers, or Australian Wedgetails.

A-400 with its underpowered engines Millions over budget.

The japan and Italy planes are flying and PASSING fuel. Japan has 2 DELIVERED. THE A330MRTT for RAAF sitting on a ramp doing NOTHING.

Right.

Wedgetail.. Seems its a problem with NORTHROPS end Not BOEINGS. SYSTEM INTEGRATION.

Boeing execs in jail yes, because EUROPE does not hammer there execs might let the bag out that they too are involved. remember France and Germany fund EADS unlike Boeing who funds themselves.

Tanker CC

Anonymous said...

And the A400M?

Rolled out and being prepared for first flight.


SUUURRRRE IT IS

Further delay to the Airbus A400M military transport now seems inevitable. “There’s an obvious risk of slippage,” Carlos Suarez, head of EADS Military Transport Aircraft (MTA), said here at Farnborough. The first A400M ceremonially rolled out from the brand-new final assembly line building at Seville, Spain, on June 26. Officially, the program is running only six months late; the first flight will be in “late summer” and first delivery in April 2010.

The most pressing concern to date has centered on flight certification of the aircraft’s powerful TP400 turboprops–the largest ever to be developed outside Russia.

Ultimately, the A400M program holds much promise. But the current problems leave Airbus and EADS significantly exposed, since the contract involves a fixed price. “We made a mistake, and we’ll never do that again,” Suarez frankly admitted last April.
The company has already made a E1.4 billion ($2.25 billion) provision in its accounts.
Suarez said that it was not wise to launch two challenging projects in parallel–meaning the engine as well as the airframe. “One should ask, was the schedule viable,” he mused.


http://www.ainonline.com/news/single-news-page/article/a400m-program-delays-likely-as-concerns-mount/

As long as we are 'musing', one might wonder if they haven't bit off more than they can chew trying to get the A400M out when they still have severe problems with both the A380 and A350XWB programs. Not to mention designing and building their first refueling boom.

Anonymous said...

The japan and Italy planes are flying and PASSING fuel. Japan has 2 DELIVERED.

And how late were they?

Wedgetail.. Seems its a problem with NORTHROPS end Not BOEINGS. SYSTEM INTEGRATION.

Who is the primary contractor? You'll be telling me next that 787 delays are not Boeing's fault either. :-D