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This is a discussion on USAF News and Discussion within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Well there seems to be *some* belief online that there is a chance for the KC-30 simply due to the ...


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Old January 7th, 2015   #31
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Well there seems to be *some* belief online that there is a chance for the KC-30 simply due to the current projected numbers for the KC-46 and the current fleet size it's replacing.

It probably comes down to how much Northrop Grumman wants to push it.
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Old January 8th, 2015   #32
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Originally Posted by Volkodav View Post
Why do I get the feeling that the USAF would have been happier with the KC-30?
In service with allies already, larger, more capable, previously selected by the USAF, better value for money.


The USAF wanted Boeing all along. The initial attempt to replace the KC-135s with leased Boeing aircraft got caught up in a scandal that saw a Pentagon employee and a Boeing employee go to jail. The procurement then got caught up in a complex web of special interests complicated by an out of control John McCain and a DOD staff that was angry at Boeing and wanted to steer the procurement to Airbus. Boeing, which has very strong support on Capitol Hill, fought back and managed to beat off McCain and the DOD staff that was antagonistic to it. The USAF, all along, wanted Boeing and finally got their way. I doubt seriously that the Pentagon element that wanted Airbus could ever have gotten that procurement through the US House or the Senate, for that matter.
Whether the KC-30 is more capable than the KC-46 is a question that is arguable. The USAF will says it isn't.
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Old January 8th, 2015   #33
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The USAF wanted Boeing all along. The initial attempt to replace the KC-135s with leased Boeing aircraft got caught up in a scandal that saw a Pentagon employee and a Boeing employee go to jail. The procurement then got caught up in a complex web of special interests complicated by an out of control John McCain and a DOD staff that was angry at Boeing and wanted to steer the procurement to Airbus. Boeing, which has very strong support on Capitol Hill, fought back and managed to beat off McCain and the DOD staff that was antagonistic to it. The USAF, all along, wanted Boeing and finally got their way. I doubt seriously that the Pentagon element that wanted Airbus could ever have gotten that procurement through the US House or the Senate, for that matter.
Whether the KC-30 is more capable than the KC-46 is a question that is arguable. The USAF will says it isn't.
Well considering the number of air forces that don't have a nationalistic interest in either manufacturer that have selected new strategic tankers in the last decade or so have pretty much all selected the Airbus. Also in spite of the USs traditional preference for a local product and it was only after political interference (not to mention a rewriting of the specification to specifically favour the 767 and disregard the strengths of the A330) that the original decision in favour of the KC-30 was overturned.

The other factor is how many commercial airlines are buying 767s these days? The A330 is still selling and so is the 777, it screams to the cynical (such as myself) that the only reason the 767 was ever considered was a politically motivated form of economic stimulus, specifically targeted to keep the 767 line going following, first the downturn in airliner sales following 9/11, then the GFC.

It was rumoured that what the USAF was actually after, before politics and industrial life support took precedence, was a smaller faster, tactical tanker, that would also go on to replace the KC-135 / 707 airframe in most if not all of its various specialist roles such as ELINT, AEW&C, specialist ISR etc. the sort of missions the 737 is falling into now, or the -135 is being life extended for.
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Old January 8th, 2015   #34
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Well considering the number of air forces that don't have a nationalistic interest in either manufacturer that have selected new strategic tankers in the last decade or so have pretty much all selected the Airbus. Also in spite of the USs traditional preference for a local product and it was only after political interference (not to mention a rewriting of the specification to specifically favour the 767 and disregard the strengths of the A330) that the original decision in favour of the KC-30 was overturned.

The other factor is how many commercial airlines are buying 767s these days? The A330 is still selling and so is the 777, it screams to the cynical (such as myself) that the only reason the 767 was ever considered was a politically motivated form of economic stimulus, specifically targeted to keep the 767 line going following, first the downturn in airliner sales following 9/11, then the GFC.

It was rumoured that what the USAF was actually after, before politics and industrial life support took precedence, was a smaller faster, tactical tanker, that would also go on to replace the KC-135 / 707 airframe in most if not all of its various specialist roles such as ELINT, AEW&C, specialist ISR etc. the sort of missions the 737 is falling into now, or the -135 is being life extended for.
Other air forces bought the KC-30 because there was no US alternative. The US was mired in a years long squabble between the DOD, USAF, Congress and the courts. In essence, there was no alternative to the KC-30. That doesn't make it superior to the KC-46.
Your "rumors" about the USAF wanting a smaller, faster tanker are erroneous. The USAF never wanted that.
The 767 was selected (with 787 displays and upgraded PW engines) because it is a proven freighter with many cost advantages. Often overlooked is that the USAF really likes the KC-10 refueling boom/system.
It will be interesting to see which tanker South Korea and Poland choose.
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Old January 8th, 2015   #35
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Other air forces bought the KC-30 because there was no US alternative. The US was mired in a years long squabble between the DOD, USAF, Congress and the courts. In essence, there was no alternative to the KC-30. That doesn't make it superior to the KC-46.
Your "rumors" about the USAF wanting a smaller, faster tanker are erroneous. The USAF never wanted that.
The 767 was selected (with 787 displays and upgraded PW engines) because it is a proven freighter with many cost advantages. Often overlooked is that the USAF really likes the KC-10 refueling boom/system.
It will be interesting to see which tanker South Korea and Poland choose.
Italy selected the KC-767 in 2002 and Japan in 2003, all aircraft have been delivered and are currently in full service, so is very much a contemporary to the KC-30.

The USAF project is an evolution of this design which was also the subject of the original planned lease deal that was delayed by questions on its value for money (sorted out by a compromise buy / lease deal) then derailed by corruption claims when it was discovered that not only had inappropriate (corrupt) negotiations taken place but the A330 tanker design was a better fit to the specification than the Boeing KC-767A.

The smaller faster tactical tanker was being speculated about in specialist aviation and defence publications pre 9/11. The discussion, as I recall, was of a mix of large strategic tanker transports and smaller faster, more survivable, tactical tankers. It was discussion and speculation not a requirement or specification and disappeared altogether once the lease deal for 100 KC-767As was announced following the 9/11 attacks and the damage done to Boeings order books.
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Old January 8th, 2015   #36
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Italy selected the KC-767 in 2002 and Japan in 2003, all aircraft have been delivered and are currently in full service, so is very much a contemporary to the KC-30.

The USAF project is an evolution of this design which was also the subject of the original planned lease deal that was delayed by questions on its value for money (sorted out by a compromise buy / lease deal) then derailed by corruption claims when it was discovered that not only had inappropriate (corrupt) negotiations taken place but the A330 tanker design was a better fit to the specification than the Boeing KC-767A.

The smaller faster tactical tanker was being speculated about in specialist aviation and defence publications pre 9/11. The discussion, as I recall, was of a mix of large strategic tanker transports and smaller faster, more survivable, tactical tankers. It was discussion and speculation not a requirement or specification and disappeared altogether once the lease deal for 100 KC-767As was announced following the 9/11 attacks and the damage done to Boeings order books.
.
The KC-767 is hardly the KC-46a.
Speculation in trade publications is hardly the same as USAF desires, needs or requirements. One shouldn't equate speculation in trade publications, most often by people with an agenda or a product to sell, with the USAF requirements process.
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Old January 8th, 2015   #37
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But the KC-767 is certainly an alternative to the A330 MRTT. The development problems & delays which the Japanese & Italian models had, particularly the wing pod problems of the Italian variant, have all been solved. Thanks to the USAF selection of KC-46 & the large civilian fleet, any buyer of the KC-767 knows it'll not have an orphan aircraft. But even so, there's been no sale of a new-build 767 tanker to anyone except the USAF (a highly politicised choice) since 2003, while there have been six sales of the A330 MRTT, & it's been selected in five other cases (including twice by the same country).

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Other air forces bought the KC-30 because there was no US alternative. The US was mired in a years long squabble between the DOD, USAF, Congress and the courts. In essence, there was no alternative to the KC-30..
Untrue. As Volkodav said - & see above.

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The USAF wanted Boeing all along. The initial attempt to replace the KC-135s with leased Boeing aircraft got caught up in a scandal that saw a Pentagon employee and a Boeing employee go to jail.
Different times. The A330 MRTT wasn't ready then. Airbus had never built a boom. The KC-767 should have won on its merits, but Boeing & the USAF jointly ran such a crooked process that once it came out, it wasn't politically possible to go through with the purchase except via re-competing - & by the time that was done, the A330 MRTT was ready to compete, & won on its merits, until the political fix went in, changing the requirement to favour the 767, as Volkodav said.

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It will be interesting to see which tanker South Korea and Poland choose.
Poland has chosen A330 MRTT, in a consortium with Norway & the Netherlands. They want four between them. Announced 19th December.

Last edited by swerve; January 9th, 2015 at 08:34 AM.
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Old January 13th, 2015   #38
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Didn't EADs promise a U.S. production line for the MRTT if there bid was successful? The Pacific pivot should favour a larger tanker especially considering that the USAF likes their large KC-10s. A KC-777 or KC-747-8F would have been interesting but perhaps unaffordable.
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Old January 13th, 2015   #39
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Didn't EADs promise a U.S. production line for the MRTT if there bid was successful? The Pacific pivot should favour a larger tanker especially considering that the USAF likes their large KC-10s. A KC-777 or KC-747-8F would have been interesting but perhaps unaffordable.
The KC-10 was actually selected over a 747 based option back in the 70s. I agree that 747, 777 and of course the A330 based tankers would be closer to the KC-10 the USAF likes than the KC-46 so who knows what will happen with future buys. Hopefully it wouldn't be too expensive or risky to migrate systems designed for the KC-46 to the 777, which ironically would vindicate the original KC-30 selection.
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Old January 13th, 2015   #40
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Didn't EADs promise a U.S. production line for the MRTT if there bid was successful?
Indeed they did.

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The Pacific pivot should favour a larger tanker especially considering that the USAF likes their large KC-10s. A KC-777 or KC-747-8F would have been interesting but perhaps unaffordable.
Good point. Perhaps the biggest selling point of KC-45 was that being bigger, it could deliver more fuel at longer ranges than KC-46, & if it was wanted by the customer, additional tanks could be fitted in the cargo hold to increase that advantage - though AFAIK no A330 MRTT has shown any interest in that option, so it's not been developed beyond the concept stage.
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Old February 6th, 2015   #41
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Northrop Grumman to change planned offering for T-X program

Northrop Grumman has dropped it's plan to offer BAE's Hawk trainer for the T-X (T-38 replacement) program. They will instead offer a Scaled Composites (a NG subsidiary) designed "clean-sheet" advanced jet trainer.
Scaled Composites will assemble the prototype aircraft at their Mojave, California facility, and are eyeing to conduct the first flight by the end of the year.
Northrop Pivots To Clean-Sheet T-X Trainer | Defense content from Aviation Week
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Old March 26th, 2015   #42
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General Dynamics has withdrawn as the prime contractor for Alenia Aermacchi's M-346 Master/T-100 bid in the USAF T-X trainer replacement program.
It is not know if GD will retain it's role as the systems integrator for the M-346 Master/T-100 bid.
Alenia Aermacchi spokespeople have yet to provide comments on the recent development.

General Dynamics Withdraws as T-100 Prime Contractor
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Old March 26th, 2015   #43
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Anyone heard anything more on the Boeing / SAAB Gripen proposal?
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Old March 26th, 2015   #44
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Anyone heard anything more on the Boeing / SAAB Gripen proposal?
Boeing/Saab aren't offering the Gripen. They will be bidding a clean-sheet design.
Boeing and Saab Sign Joint Development Agreement on T-X Family of Systems Training Competition
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Old September 16th, 2015   #45
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USAF airborne Laser program

USAF Gen Carlisle has stated he wants high energy lasers on board AC130j models by 2020 and the tech exists to do it.


"I want a high-energy laser on an AC-130J gunship by the close of this decade," Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, commander of the Air Force special operations command said Sept. 15 at the Air Force Association conference. "The technology is ripe [for doing this]. I have the space, I have the weight and I have the power on an AC-130J to put a high-energy laser on an aircraft."

Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, Air Combat Command commander, echoed the comments saying, "I believe that we will have a directed energy capability in a pod that can be mounted on a fighter aircraft very soon." He told reporters that he expected the technology would be ready by 2020, though he is pushing for an even shorter timeline.

"First move is let's get into a defensive capability to ensure that I can fight my way to the target, I can fight on the target and I can fight my way off the target — that's our job," Heithold said. The situations in which AC-130s can operate have been shrinking due to a growing threat environment. A directed energy weapon would broaden that operational area and allow the service to "zap" incoming enemy missiles, he said.

In an offensive capacity, the Air Force can use directed energy weapons to disable airplanes, vehicles and communications without an adversary's knowledge, providing a strategic advantage for the warfighter, Heithold said. Looking at past missions "had we … been able to disable a node somewhere without anybody knowing we had disabled that node, we would have had more success with the mission."







Directed Energy Weapons on Aircraft by 2020, Air Force Officials Say - Blog
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