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2009-06-17 Home Front: WoT
Boeing and Airbus Prepare (Again) for Tanker Battle
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Posted by Steve White 2009-06-17 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6481 views ]  Top

#1 Will Airbus warranty their flight control system?
Posted by tipover 2009-06-17 00:54||   2009-06-17 00:54|| Front Page Top

#2 Ah, great. We get to do it again because the result came out wrong. Never mind that Boeing was corrupt as hell and their product sucked, it's all about USA vs. Europe jingoism.
Posted by gromky 2009-06-17 07:35||   2009-06-17 07:35|| Front Page Top

#3 I don't like protectionism.

Let Airbus compete freely in the U.S. and Boeing freely in Europe.

Result: Best quality
Posted by European Conservative 2009-06-17 11:40||   2009-06-17 11:40|| Front Page Top

#4 Tornado, Eurofighter, A400M, NH90. Should I go on?
Posted by ed 2009-06-17 11:55||   2009-06-17 11:55|| Front Page Top

#5 You guys ever deal with the USAF procurement folks? I'm talking about the whole chain, from requirements to contracts. In my experience, they are nothing but screw ups, especially at the requirements end of the chain. While Boeing probably had their own set of issues, I am hesistant to place the blame squarley upon them.
Posted by remoteman 2009-06-17 12:44||   2009-06-17 12:44|| Front Page Top

#6 I agree with EC. If the Airbus is the better tanker then that's the one the USAF should buy.

It's the whole process of figuring out which one is 'better' (they're both going to do the job, we already know that) that is so sordid.
Posted by Steve White 2009-06-17 13:11||   2009-06-17 13:11|| Front Page Top

#7 Ed, the EADS tanker was much much better than the POS 767 Boeing originally offered. Stop being stupid.

Boeing is only now doing what it should have done to begin with: make a longer-legged, higher capacity, modern airframe, modern avionics tanker, based of the 777, in stead of trying to force the original POS 767 design on the USAF mainly in order to keep their 767 assembly lines open.

Ed, contrary to your ignorant snarks, the original Boeing offer was NOT what the USAF asked for, and it was not up to spec, nor did it conform to what the USAF needed operationally, The EADS tanker did - and would have been 45% American made parts from Grumman (engines, avionics primarily), and assembled in a plant in Alabama.

The good news is that Boeing *is* going to offer a competitive and possibly superior aircraft (IUt is a larger aircraft and will lift more, meaning it will probably win on merits).

Let the competition be fairly done and give our military the best aircraft we can get that fits the requirements.

The only reason this was such a CF in the previous iteration, was that Boeing management was too damned arrogant and thought they could force whatever THEY wanted onto the Airforce.
Posted by OldSpook 2009-06-17 13:18||   2009-06-17 13:18|| Front Page Top

#8 No Oldspook. Sending $40 billion (or $22 billion if you like) to Europe when a perfectly good aircraft are made here is irresponsible. In addition, at least another $40 billion will be spent on parts for those aircraft. In addition to the addition, there are 600 tankers (another $100 billion + spares) that need to be replaced. Whoever gets this contract has the leg up for following purchases.

Whether you think the A330 or B767 is immaterial. The Air Force asked for a tanker to replace the KC-135. THAT was the requirement to meet. A larger cargo volume did not figure into the RFP. It was EADS/NG that cried late in the game, after the aircraft were submitted, that they would take their ball and go home unless the Air Force changed the requirements in favor of the larger A330, btw whose airframe is 33% more expensive, burns more fuel and is more expensive to operate.

That is what the GAO said violated procurement rules and voided the award. Now Boeing is going to do to EADS what they did EADS did. They are going to submit a plane even larger and higer performing than the A330, costs more and burns more fuel. Let's see the Air Force wiggle their way out of this.

As for being stupid, do you think weakening the only industrial sector that still shows a trade balance is stupid? Do you want to see the aircraft industry go the same way as cars, electronics, chemicals, medical equipment? Europe sure does not. That is why I mentioned those pan-European aircraft projects. Let's take the latest examples:
A400M - $200-225 million for 40% of the payload, less speed and range of the C-17 ($200M).

NH-90 - $25m for slightly less specs that the UH-60M ($12M).

Let's not mention the decade late Tornado and Eurofighter or a whole host of other European weapons that cost 2-3X for less performance but are bought because they are designed and made in Europe by Europeans. Remove the beam before we talk about the moat.
Posted by ed 2009-06-17 13:54||   2009-06-17 13:54|| Front Page Top

#9 STICK TO THE TOPIC. If you want to talk helicopters, etc, go start another article.

Ge your facts straight about the issue at hand and stop your off topic whinging about other issues. IT DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE WE ARE DISCUSSING TANKERS - not helicopters for the president, etc. The issue HERE is TANKERS. And I am all about getting the best we can for people on the line. The EADS was it, the 767 was not. Can you get that into your thick skull past your blinders?

Don't blame the Euros for showing up with a better plane that met the USAF needs - blame Boeing for not showing up with a plane that could have done so easily to begin with.

"perfectly good aircraft are made here "

And there's your problem. The 767 was NOT "perfectly good". It would have forced the USAF into changing strategy and operations with its shorter legs and lesser capacity, it would have reduced the flexibility of the expeditionary air forces with its lower cargo capacity, and it was a much older design which means it was less efficient, and higher time/labor/cost to maintain.

So you completely missed the point: Had Boeing put the effort into a 777 instead of a 767 solution, the mess would never have happened. 777 bigger, better lift, better efficiency, better legs, better avionics, better (more modern) design than the 767. But its going to take Boeing a couple of years to fully flesh out the design to the point where they can produce it. EADS is less capable than the 777 but more than the 767, and is ready to go to production NOW. So we are stuck, and will likely have to split the contract - the current tanker fleet is falling apart.

Understand now? You're wrong about the original Boeing offer, for what seem to be idiotically blind jingoist reasons. Admit it, you were wrong, Boeing deserved to lose, and you move on to the 777 which is what should have been there all along. The problem is immediately obvious to juat about anyone willing to think: Boeing management blew this, and our Armed Forces will suffer due to delays cause by Boeings incompetence. And that's what has me pissed -- our armed forces are losing capability due to bungling by Boeing.
Posted by OldSpook 2009-06-17 19:11||   2009-06-17 19:11|| Front Page Top

#10 STICK TO THE TOPIC. If you want to talk helicopters, etc, go start another article.

Ge your facts straight about the issue at hand and stop your off topic whinging about other issues. IT DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE WE ARE DISCUSSING TANKERS - not helicopters for the president, etc. The issue HERE is TANKERS. And I am all about getting the best we can for people on the line. The EADS was it, the 767 was not. Can you get that into your thick skull past your blinders?


Technological and economic patriotism too complex a topic for you? It's been part of the pan-European identity building process (as is fostering anti-Americanism, the external enemy). That Europeans will spend 2X for less capability in order to provide independence from America and export revenue too much to grasp? Don't respond to my comment then later claim I'm off topic. Want to see a real thick head? Look in the mirror.

Don't blame the Euros for showing up with a better plane that met the USAF needs - blame Boeing for not showing up with a plane that could have done so easily to begin with.

It isn't what the Air Force asked for. They asked for a straight replacement for the KC-135. There is very good reason they did that, which I will explain later. The B767 is that replacement, the A330 is not.

"perfectly good aircraft are made here "

And there's your problem. The 767 was NOT "perfectly good". It would have forced the USAF into changing strategy and operations with its shorter legs and lesser capacity, it would have reduced the flexibility of the expeditionary air forces with its lower cargo capacity, and it was a much older design which means it was less efficient, and higher time/labor/cost to maintain.


EXACTLY the opposite is true. The B767 profile matches the 135's within a few feet. It has about 10% greater payload, but being a widebody, more cargo volume. That means, like the KC-10, both the B767 and A330 can self deploy with their crew. No advantage either way. But because the A330 costs 1/3 more, for the same cost that means 4 B767s for every 3 A330s. That means fewer refueling probes in the air (very important). The A330s though do burn more fuel, the single biggest operations cost.

What the B767 can do, and the A330 can't, is use the current flightline profile and hangers. The A330 does not fit and will require new infrastructure like more tarmac and new hangers. You know those really big and really expensive buildings off the flight line will have to be replaced. That means fewer aircraft can be bought.

Tarmac space is also at a premium during overseas ops. Think Saudi 1991 or Bagram. That means fewer A330s can be deployed. (KEY) The most important factor in air refueling is the number of probes/drogues in the air. That determines the number of aircraft that can be refueled which determines the size of the strike packages that can be supported. Otherwise the Air Force would have been flying B747 refuelers for the last 30 years. The B767 win hands down both in cost, support and flightline requirements.

So you completely missed the point: Had Boeing put the effort into a 777 instead of a 767 solution, the mess would never have happened.

Not really. Boeing's been working on the B777 proposal all this time. The critical refueling gear directly transfers from the B767 program. The 777F requires much less airframe modification than the passenger A330. The critical factor in getting planes in the air was EADS/NG whinging that delayed the contract awarding for a year, then the cancellation for improprieties.

The Air Force RFP did not ask for a A330 or B777 size aircraft. The RFP asked for specs circumscribed by the KC-135. The B777 is TOO LARGE for a tanker and will decrease total air refueling capacity. The A330 less so. Boeing submitted the right plane the first time.

777 bigger, better lift, better efficiency, better legs, better avionics, better (more modern) design than the 767. But its going to take Boeing a couple of years to fully flesh out the design to the point where they can produce it.

Not really. Boeing been working on the B777 proposal all this time. The critical refueling gear directly transfers from the B767 program. The KC-135R fleet is good to 2040. The E's will have to be SLEP'd to R specs.

EADS is less capable than the 777 but more than the 767, and is ready to go to production NOW. So we are stuck, and will likely have to split the contract - the current tanker fleet is falling apart.

Understand now? You're wrong about the original Boeing offer,


You are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG about tanking, hence you do not understanding the basis for the original Air Force request. All 3 tankers can service the SAME number of receiving aircraft.

The A330 STILL hasn't off loaded any fuel. It's not ready for primetime.

for what seem to be idiotically blind jingoist reasons. Admit it, you were wrong, Boeing deserved to lose, and you move on to the 777 which is what should have been there all along. The problem is immediately obvious to juat about anyone willing to think: Boeing management blew this, and our Armed Forces will suffer due to delays cause by Boeings incompetence. And that's what has me pissed -- our armed forces are losing capability due to bungling by Boeing.

Wrong. It is Air Force bungling and political meddling that threw discipline and requirements out the window. EADS/NG bitching and maneuvering caused a year delay in awarding the contract. A year (now 3 or 4) that is lost. The B777 tanker is exactly the WRONG tanker because the number of refueling probes/drogues determines the air refueling capacity.

In the end, the Air Force will get B777 tankers that have twice the fuel/cargo capacity of the B767 but 1/2 the airframes (2X cost). That means effective air refueling capability is cut in half. Had the Air Force any balls to enforce the original RFP on the original timeline they could have B767 tankers in operation. Just like the Japanese and Italians.
Posted by ed 2009-06-17 22:46||   2009-06-17 22:46|| Front Page Top

23:31 JosephMendiola
23:30 JosephMendiola
23:24 ed
23:23 JAB
23:21 JAB
23:21 JosephMendiola
23:12 Pappy
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23:02 ed
23:00 Pappy
22:59 ed
22:46 ed
22:20 eLarson
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21:59 Frank G
21:52 Classer
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21:04 Cyber Sarge
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