Friday, July 25, 2008

Tanker Selection Breaks More Laws

Not satisfied with breaking just procurement law, by favoring the KC-30, the Air Force may also be breaking the laws of physics.

An article written by Jed Babbin, and published today by Human Events, claims that selecting the KC-30 goes against Newton’s Second Law of Motion and simple geometry. Mr. Babbin states:
According to the General Accountability Office decision overturning the contract award to Northrop-Grumman/EADS for the Airbus 330 tanker, “…there is no documentation in the record setting forth an analysis of whether Northrop Grumman’s proposed aircraft has sufficient operational airspeed when refueling the [deleted by GAO] to initiate an emergency breakaway procedure.”

What the GAO is saying, in its lawyerly language, is that the facts show that the Airbus 330 cannot reach a sufficient speed to pull away from one or more aircraft it’s supposed to refuel. And if it can’t, there could be a mid-air collision
Mr. Babbin then goes on to discuss another area the GAO found fault with the Air Force, overrun:
According to the GAO decision, despite the fact that the Air Force had told Northrop Grumman that the Airbus apparently couldn’t accelerate quickly enough and reach the speed set by Air Force standards to perform an overrun, the Air Force disregarded its own mandatory guideline to keep the Airbus eligible for the contract. And, as the GAO decided, they had no reasonable basis to do so: “…the record does not establish that the [Air Force] had a reasonable basis for concluding that Northrop Grumman’s proposed solution would allow its aircraft to obtain the requisite overrun airspeeds to satisfy this…requirement.”
Mr. Babbin then explains how the size of the A330 could hinder operations:
If the runway is a few feet narrower than the NATO standard, if the Airbus isn’t lined up with its right wheels on the farthest edge of the runway and if a lot of other ifs, the U-turning Airbus gets its nose off the runway and probably gets stuck.
We hope that the KC-30 team has all the documentation that the GAO says is lacking on these issues. Because, somewhere in the final frontier and beyond the grave, we know Scotty is saying, "Ya can't change the laws of physics!"


Anonymous said...

You all should go read some of the Lies that are being posted over on freerepublic about the KC-x and Gen Handy. go to search and type in GAO Tanker. there are a few good posts but at least 4 have drank the KOOL AID. I have seen both KC-x entry here at the 1st proposed base adn i will say, Boeing was by far the best to deal with. EADS/NG popusssss twits.
The ground crews got to see some of the plans both offerd. The end game is The crew chief and specialist types got a better brief from Boeing and all wanted it to be our next tanker. We had NG on a contract here before, we have Boeing here and GE and Lockhead. guess who did a better job at customer service, technical service and completion of work on time.


Tanker cc..

Anonymous said...

I read the 20+ comments to the article. Although I consider myself a strong supporter of the KC-767, the pro KC-30 crowd did a credible job of hacking up the article. (I'm a rocket scientist, so my Aerodynamics are really really rusty but not completely gone.)

Links definitely show that the turn radius for the A330 is OK for standard runway widths -- unless the pilot and ground crews choose too shallow of a turn angle...

The pro KC-30 folks also showed, if you had some background to understand it, that the article took to simplistic a view of F=ma. What everyone really needs to know is how much engine thrust (T-cruise) is needed to fly at the cruising speed during refueling and how much higher is the maximum engine thrust (T-max) capability. So if the Air Force breakaway and overrun maneuvers require a certain well-know acceleration (a) and we know the mass (m) of the KC-30 during these maneuvers, then we know the Force (F) required to do the maneuver: F = ma. So if T-max minus T-cruise is less than F, then the KC-30 is not capable of meeting the requirement and should be disqualified.

The pro- KC-30 folks also made it clear that the GAO report clearly states that the Air Force failed to get the necessary documents and facts to show that this was an issue -- so officially nobody really knows if the KC-30 is meeting the requirement or not. It's just another example of a failed procurement process.

Something I did not see addressed by the comments on the article was the stall speed. I think a fully-fueled KC-30 can not fly as slow as a fully-fueled KC-767, especially the changed-wing design that Boeing proposed for this RFP. So I would like to hear the arguments showing that the KC-30 can always re-fuel a Special Ops or Marine V-22 coming back from a mission, nearly out of fuel but overloaded with men and equipment.

(Does anybody know if the V-22 is the slowest plane required to be refueled by the RFP?)

retiredheyboom said...

This may be "piling on", but, on a google search of "AIRBUS TREES" we see the early videos of the an airbus on a low approach fly through the trees. Amazingly, not all on board were killed. Many reports have lots of different causes. What would happen if a boomer or receiver pilot called for a BREAKWAY and the Airbus Computer says NO!

Anonymous said...

This may be "piling on", but, on a google search of "AIRBUS TREES" we see the early videos of the an airbus on a low approach fly through the trees.

Of course, it helps if the pilot knows what he's doing!

In "direct law" mode, any Airbus plane will do exactly what the pilot tells it to.