USAF News and Discussion

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Hi NG
Can you expand on this please what was the issue that got Boeing upset and when with the RAAF being the launch customer for wedgetail
The RAAF are continuously upgrading the software on the Wedgetail and it's being lead by the operators on the Sqn, not procurement specialists in Canberra. Initially Boeing thought that they were being cut out because the normal procurement process wasn't being followed. However when it was explained to them what was happening and they saw for themselves, they soon saw the logic of the idea and now are quite enthusiastic about it. There's a series of articles on Second Line of Defence about the RAAF practice of using the Wedgetail 5th Generation Domain in general. It's way ahead of its peers.
 

t68

Well-Known Member
The RAAF are continuously upgrading the software on the Wedgetail and it's being lead by the operators on the Sqn, not procurement specialists in Canberra. Initially Boeing thought that they were being cut out because the normal procurement process wasn't being followed. However when it was explained to them what was happening and they saw for themselves, they soon saw the logic of the idea and now are quite enthusiastic about it. There's a series of articles on Second Line of Defence about the RAAF practice of using the Wedgetail 5th Generation Domain in general. It's way ahead of its peers.
Ah gotcha, my misunderstanding thought it had something to do along the lines of the source code drama with the F18 Hornets as the US refused to give the information to the RAAF on the the threat library. I remember there was a kerfuffle that if I remember correctly Kim Beasley said we had to break in to get the information
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Well this positive assessment of the B-21’s progress by Smith is encouraging. Maybe NG might be the NGAD fighter prototype builder. Successful progress on all military programs is essential, any significant cluster f-ups will be an opportunity for Congressional defence cutbacks.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
A USAF Sqn has worked out how to load five AGM-158 JASSM onto a F-15-E Strike Eagle increasing the payload from two missiles. It has to do with the manner of loading the missiles onto the aircraft. An Eagle with five JASSM is an angry bird indeed.

 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
The USAF has announced its intention to start replacing the F-22 from around 2030. By that time the USAF will be structured around the F-35, F-15EX, late-model F-16s, and the Next Generation Air Dominance fighter.

Not surprising when you think about it. They were intended to be air dominance fighters and don't really have a back up role. Once they are in the position where they can no longer dominate the air-space then they just become hugely expensive to operate and maintain liabilities. Somewhat ironic that the aircraft it was intended to replace will continue to soldier on with a new variant.

More interesting is that they are also looking at a clean sheet design to replace the F-16. I would have thought that the F-35 would be the obvious replacement but I am thinking the USAF want something cheaper to acquire and operate.

 

Terran

Active Member
The article doesn’t actually firmly state a clean sheet F16 replacement. It states that General Brown suggested one which it true. As to F22 that will depend on how the next fighter works out.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Looks like Tanker War 2.0 between Airbus and Boeing is going to breakout over the USAF KC-Y programme. Also of interest is that some US Senators have called for the cancellation of the KC-46 program because of Boeings failures.

 

MrConservative

Super Moderator
Staff member
Looks like Tanker War 2.0 between Airbus and Boeing is going to breakout over the USAF KC-Y programme. Also of interest is that some US Senators have called for the cancellation of the KC-46 program because of Boeings failures.

And some US Senators wanted to cancel the C-17 in its early years and others the F-35.

Just throwing it out there but maybe next time they should look at doing it old school with a KC-46B - with the bloke lying down in the back and get rid of this hybrid 2D/3D RVS and the technical over-reach that has eventuated with the bloke in a comfy chair up watching a screen on the main deck. Take time to get RVS 2.0 sorted.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
And some US Senators wanted to cancel the C-17 in its early years and others the F-35.

Just throwing it out there but maybe next time they should look at doing it old school with a KC-46B - with the bloke lying down in the back and get rid of this hybrid 2D/3D RVS and the technical over-reach that has eventuated with the bloke in a comfy chair up watching a screen on the main deck. Take time to get RVS 2.0 sorted.
Or they could've have gone with the KC-45 / A330MRTT originally like they planned and had none of this trouble. It's doing pretty well with the RAAF, the RAF and its other users.
 

MrConservative

Super Moderator
Staff member
Or they could've have gone with the KC-45 / A330MRTT originally like they planned and had none of this trouble. It's doing pretty well with the RAAF, the RAF and its other users.
Or had gone with a straight forward B762 tanker that was cancelled by Donald Rumsfeld even before that!
 

Terran

Active Member
Or they could've have gone with the KC-45 / A330MRTT originally like they planned and had none of this trouble. It's doing pretty well with the RAAF, the RAF and its other users.
Problem with that logic is it forgets that A330MRTT is not what would have bought built had NG+EADS won. KC45 may have been derived from the A330MRTT but would have had critical differences to those used by the RAF and RAAF.
First KC45 would have assembled in the US in a new production facility in Mobile Alabama. The assumption that people make on this is that the hypothetical new line wouldn’t have had QC issues. Groundbreaking for the KC-45 Tanker Manufacturing Facilities Set for June 28 - Northrop Grumman

Second the USAF mandated a specific construction of the boom. That boom design meets thrust standards but has issues with A10 and the USAF had to pay out of its pocket to replace it, as it was their mistake.That design would likely have been in production KC45 meaning we would still be talking about delays. Here’s why Boeing is getting $55.5M to fix a problem with the Air Force’s new tanker

Farther the GAO found that the KC45 decision had holes in it. Points of misleading math, leading questions and other points that lead not just to the protest but reaward. StackPath

Additionally it forgets issues that the RAAF had in its A330MRTT program including years of delays. Particularly those delays included the Boom. A Boom that would have been required by the USAF, was by Australia but not by the RAF whom doesn’t have booms. They even had to rewrite the software as recently as 2018 to fix issues fueling F15s. Has Airbus fixed midair refueling problems with the F-15 jet?
Of course before this were two other boom incidents where the boom literally flew off. In 2011 and 2012
The A330MRTT wasn’t fully rated with a Drogue system until 2013 even then it was buggy Bloomberg - Are you a robot?

My point here is, to assume that KC 45 would have escaped issues is more than a bit revisionist. First it forgets that A330MRTT was quite troubled. Second It assumes that all the issues would have been solved for KC45 well neglecting the differences. The latter is much the same logical fallacies that people whom question why KC767 doesn’t have the same issues as KC46. A330MRTT has currently about the same number of units built as KC46. That means that had KC45 been put to production all the same problems likely double as those of its mother due to not every A330MRTT being Boom equipped.
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Although the KC-45 could have had some developmental problems as well, it’s larger size would have been advantageous for the “Pacific Pivot” despite necessary base modifications and Airbus would have kept a close eye on QC with its first big contract. Concerning this new acquisition, an Airbus win would certainly be incentive for Boeing to get its $hit together on the KC-46.
 
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