Flightglobal: Northrop Grumman, in partnership with EADS, will not offer a bid for the $35 billion KC-X tanker contract, citing a US Air Force request for proposal (RFP)...Author: Jon OstrowerDate: 08 March 2010Read the full article
Author: Jon Ostrower
Date: 08 March 2010
Read the full article
It will be very interesting to see if EADS go it alone and offer a competitor to the Boëing "New Gen" KC-X based on the 767-200.
Depending on whom one believes the rules, as set, are designed to enable Boeing to win. But, now Northrop Grumman has announced they are not submitting an proposal it leaves the US Government with a problem in that they have stated they want a competitive tender process to get the best buy.
It is obvious that if EADS goes it alone and enters a proposal they will need to down size and to more of a direct competitor in size to the 767 based "new gen" tanker. The best option will be to develop a variation of one their older wide body twin jet aircraft or, remove some of the size from the A330 to bring into line with the 767 size. If their A330 based tanker is as good they say then it should be able to get the same advantages by using the same systems as used their current tanker albeit in a smaller airframe.
The problem will be do EADS have the willpower and motivation to develop another aircraft albeit a variation on an existing aircraft, when they are having significant difficulties with the A380 and the A400M or, do Boeing as the sole US manufacturer of large aircraft get the contract handed to them on a plate.
Unless EADS preserved the tooling and infrastructure for the 310 (which I don't believe they did), it would be cost-prohibative to resurrect it, not to mention that the state of the art has moved on since the 310 days...it would be like starting a new airframe design from scratch, and you'd be going up against a competitor who has a production line in place. A split buy would make more sense, especially with the increasing age of the KC-10s.
I guess this is a pointless discussion now that both Northrop and EADS have both indicated they are not putting forward a KC-X proposal to compete against the Boeing "NewGen" proposal.
I would suggest that in the future the USAF will take advantage of their allies A330 MRTT's to make up for any shortfall in the Boeing KC-X capabilities and performance because of the lack of size.
I suggested the A310 for only for its size but my idea was to reduce the size of the A330 MRTT fuselage to get it into the weight range of the Boeing KC-X.
Airbus have in the past shortened and lengthened their designs to meet market requirements so why couldn't they do the same to the A330 MRTT?
The whole issue is quite simply a case of a spoilt brat of a kid (Boeing) spitting out its dummy and going running to its mummy and daddy( US Government) to help it out by moving the goalposts!
Isnt it funny that Armor Holdings which is now owned by BAE lost a massive deal recently with the US for replacement trucks(upto 23,000) to the US owned Oshkosh! BAE successfully won an appeal but the contract was still awarded to Oshkosh last month! I am sure if Armor holdings were still US owned they would have won as they had the better product apparently!
The US may have helped themselves out with these deals but i am sure these will both turn out to be own goals!
where twice the try to offer a shortened A330 (the A330-100, a A330 with a A310 wing
in the mid 90’s, and the “shrink only” A330-500, with even an order for 15 by
CIT). But both used to be quiet heavy (10t heavier than necessary…).
would expect the US to refuse the European tankers even if they get them for
Size was never a critical requirement in the KC-X competition. The ability to offload more fuel than the current KC-135 was a major point, and the KC-767 carries 20% more fuel than the Stratotanker. If size was such an issue, Boeing stated that they would offer a tanker based on the 777, which would be a larger and more capable aircraft than the A330 MRTT. However, the requirements still do not have a minimum size requirement for the aircraft, and Boeing decided to go with the proven KC-767, which is already in service with the JASDF and Italian Air Force.
If the KC-767 was that good us Brits would have bought it over the A330! Unlike the Americans and the French recent British Governments have not been into protectionism. I wish we were more into it but because we arent you can pretty much say that we buy the best equipment in the business.(the Jury is out on the A400M though! Abit like the 787!) All we need to do now is buy some French Rafales to fly off our carriers which i think would be a great idea!
The KC-767 will carry more fuel than the KC-135 but will off load it at a higher rate. This suggests that the US are basically getting a replacement that is in essence a KC-135 in a new body i.e. it may look different but under the skin it is the same as the existing. I'm sure the KC-45 MRTT operators will get a lot of contract work from the US military taking advantage of the extra capacity.
Rafales or marinised Typhoons/ would look good on the new UK carriers together with a new Harrier based on the current 4 poster engine and designed to a similar spec and role as the A-10. Who needs the increasingly expensive JSF (the American's A400M equivalent)
The USAF will contract out tanker work because the KC-45 has extra capacity? You're delusional! You think all the KC-135's and KC-10's are going to be retired the day the first KC-767 enters service? You think they'll sacrifice operational capability and rely on their, so called, allies mighty, shiny, so much, much more superior KC-45's? Also, what's the total number of A330 MRTT / KC-45 orders? It's less than 30! Who's going to need who's excess tanker capability?
The KC-135 fleet has an average airframe age of between 12,000 and 14,000 hours. The fatigue life of the Stratotanker is between 36,000 and 39,000 hours; a number very few aircraft would reach, with current annual hourly usage, before the year 2040. So, on average, they've reached 33% of their fatigue life.
If the USAF wanted all that extra tanker capacity, don't you think that they would have included that in the KC-X requirements? Don't you think Boeing would have offered a KC-777? The USAF stated what they wanted, and the KC-767 meets or exceeds those requirements.
The KC-767's smaller footprint allows more tankers in fewer bases, and puts more booms in the sky allowing fighter strike packages to meet demanding targeting requirements. The KC-767 is derived from the most fuel efficient wide-body aircraft in service today and burns an estimated 24% less fuel than its competitor, saving approximately $10 billion in fuel costs over the life cycle of a 179 aircraft fleet.
enough, the US
will never really „outsource“ their tankers and buy from the guys with the big
ones. Somebody should tell that, by the way, OMEGA Air Refueling, that means their
business case has now ground. Sorry for that, that was polemic.
thing I never understood: “The KC-767's smaller footprint allows more
tankers in fewer bases, and puts more booms in the sky…”
But, they buy 179 airframes (well later more, but in the first place). Means
a maximum 179 booms in the sky, isn’t it? Well plus KC135 and KC10, but that’s
in both cases.
Oh, yes the footprint on the airbase.
767 Frankentanker: l = 48,5m/b =
51,9m (+ winglets)
330 MRTT: l = 58,4m / b = 60,3m
But, let’s think, how do I
get all my soldiers to the base?
With an aircraft!
So let’s rent one or take
another 767 from the Civil
Reserve Airlift Fleet, because the KC767 has no seats left, because of all the fule in the belly and the cargo on the main deck.
Oh, but this funny
Airbus has 30% more seat capacity, plus a full available belly cargo space and
still can refuel my fighter en-route. Means I have in total less aircraft on
the airbase and lot’s of additional capacity? For the same price tag per
Well, no, stupid me, who need that?
The USAF in the last competition
But, the politicians know better what the troops need!
Using the mighty
777 airframe? YES, why not! Larger, more modern, in-production; makes sense.
there are the bloody 21% Japanese work share; making it not really “All American”…
BTW, how many percent on the 767 are build by the Japanese and Italians?
Let us just
look forward what will happen! And I suggest the US just buy some A400M and we all
like each other again ;-)
The only reason the Boeing 767 is the designated airframe is because Boeing after a very successful production run were unable to attract orders due to the introduction into service of newer and more modern aircraft e.g. 777, 787, A330. To extent the production run it was decided, by someone probably in sales supported by the unions, that the 767 would make an ideal KC-135 replacement and with strong political support have achieved their aim and the 30 year old 767 will remain in production for the foreseeable future.
As there is a significant number of used 767's available on the second hand market maybe the US could save a considerable amount of the taxpayers money by converting some of these into pre loved KC-767's
You're correct. The 767 is old technology, isn't wanted by any airline, is a flying scrapyard, and, apparently, too small to do anything well. However, the 767 has more orders, over the last three years, than God's Golden Chariot; the A380. Pretty good for being unable to attract any orders, yes?
It's funny that you mention anything about saving taxpayer money. Airbus A380 and A400M have a combine $6.7 billion in EU taxpayer subsidies. Maybe Airbus could save some EU taxpayer money and buy some used Tupolev aircraft.
If it wasn't for the long suffering taxpayer I suspect there wouldn't be an innovative aircraft industry that would produce anything that vaguely resembles anything like there is on the market today. The Russians rely on old Soviet designs, the Chinese rely on copying the old Russian designs and only the European or American aircraft manufacturers have produced innovative designs albeit with a very high cost to long suffering taxpayer via direct or indirect subsidies.
Re: the used Tupolev aircraft, the Western allies would have major problems supporting the major conflicts they are involved in because of a lack of transport aircraft and consequently rely very heavily on the ready availability of the former Soviet Union military transport aircraft such as the An124, An225, Il76, Il86/96, the various Tupolev passenger aircraft and the wide range of helicopters to help them out of a potentially awkward position .
Well said Victor! Why the hell are we in the UK and Europe still buying American. The Rafale is a proven carrierbourne machine and I'd wager is way better than the F-35(when will it get into service?) in all aspects exept for stealth. It is available now and lets admit it.....the french know how to build excellent combat aircraft. As for the so called tanker contact, the USAF initially picked the better airframe.
Yes, they indeed did pick the better aircraft initially. It was back in 2002, and it was the KC-767! And if it wasn't for the interference of Senator John McCain, the United States Air Force would be flying NEW 767-based tankers this very day. Now for some basic aeronautical facts. The 767 may have been DESIGNED 30 years ago, but with upgrades to avionics and powerplants, is still a viable contender today. Now for the A330.. stretched A300 (A300 designed 40 years ago), with fly-by-wire technology from the A320 (25 year-old technology) and an improved wing (courtesy of British Aerospace inovations)... add to this the proposal that the NG/EADS KC-45A would use the A340 wing... talk about a FRANKENTANKER!!! At least the KC-767 is all 767 as far as the airframe, powerplants and systems are concerned! As far as when an airplane is designed - SO WHAT? What matters most is when the plane is built. A plane rolling out of the factory TODAY is a new airplane -- zero-time, zero-cycles. New airplane smell and all that... be it Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, or anyone else. And yes, the Rafale is one sleek looking machine... Typhoon looks a little too boxy... and maybe there's a place for the A400M in the USAF... that is all.
It doesn't matter what aircraft Boeing won with, as the majority here are Airbus supporters and cannot stand the fact that the USAF chose a superior aircraft which happens to be made by Boeing. Airbus could have offered a lump of coal, and these guys would have thought it should have won, simply because it was made in Eurostan by Airbus.
French combat aircraft? Seen much combat, have they? The UK buys American because they offer superior products and, besides, the UK has no worthwhile aircraft industry. The Brits have no choice but buy foreign aircraft....including Airbus from Eurostan.
What planet are you from? Planet America! I forget that America is the best at everything and the rest of the world looks up in awe at them!
Well, just to stay with the
* in 2002 there was no
competition and no selection on capabilities or prices. There was the idea of a
sole source lease deal, with the only American company capable of. And than
they screwed it their self because they where greedy (screwing a save deal, just
because you like to have even more money is kind of art… Well let’s hope they don’t do it
* ALL A330-200/-300 have
the same wing as the A340-200/300 series. That was a idea to save costs at the
time there where developed. Smart or not, like it or not, but that's like it
is. What the challenge or disadvantage fort he 767 choice will be; the A330
MRTT is available and working. The 767 Next Gen Tanker will be a patch work of
-200 fuselage with -400 wing and -300 (designed for) winglets and now the 787
cockpit. Looks like a batch of work to be done for the engineers. And, let’s
stay honest (and not polemic) the timeframe the business people sell at the
moments are quiet challenging for the engineers (787: 3+x years; A400M: 3+x
years; A380: 3+x years; 767-200 tanker (for Japan
3+x years; 330 tanker: 3 years; 737 wedge tail4+x years…and so on).
By the way, I tried to find
out more about the foreign involvement on the “All-American” 767 production and
found the following:
“…Fuji is responsible for the construction of
the wing and body fairings and the main landing gear doors. Kawasaki manufactures the forward and central
sections of the fuselage, the exit hatches and wing ribs. Mitsubishi is
subcontracted to manufacture the rear section body panels and the rear doors. …”
And now the funny part:
manufactures the wing centre sections, the lower centre fuselage and the
fuselage bulkheads. …” :-)
To be found on: http://www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/boeing767_300f/
If we are to be honest, let's refer to the report of the DoD Inspector General enpaneled to review the last bid process that Boeing challenged after the award to EADS/NG. They found that not only was Boeing given different and substandard requirements to base th bid on, the Airbus offered by NG/EADS could not comply with the favorable requirements they were given. The airframe was substandard and the aircraft could not meet the required performance parameters. Hence, the bid was flawed from the start and the IG was correct in ordering a rebid.
One can surmise that being forced to deal with a leveled playing field, NG/EADS realised they did not have the ability to deliver as previously promised and chose to exit the process. Otherwise, they should have had no problem resubmitting what they claimed was a superior product.
Perhaps it was when they found out that they would not be able to invoice the excessive cost overruns that would have occured with a substandard aircraft. We shall never know.
Well, used Tupolews for the Europeans? What do you think about new Ilyushins for the USAF?
Give it a rest. The Air Force WANTS & NEEDS a MEDIUM Tanker That is what the ORIGINAL RFP stated!!!! That is what THIS RFP stated!!!! Boeing has offered a MEDIUM Tanker and the N/G-Eads Team Still Only have a LARGE tanker. It does not fit the RFP in most respects....It was only selected last time due to John McCains insistance that The AirForce adjust the RFP several times to get it closer to what the A330 offered...It NEVER should have won in the first place...Its A GOOD LARGE Tanker but TOO BIG for what the AirForce Needs. I aint against haveing the brits get a little bit of our bussiness..(the french Hell no) but perhaps when we go to bid on the KC-10 Replacement the A-330 could bid against the B-777.
A split by would be rediculous...Too expensive. Why do that just to satisfy a company or country. I say the best option is go with the B767 and keep a watchdog on the cost and scheduale.
No country should be REQUIRED to change their requirements for their military equipment Just to keep Politicians happy.
If you dont have what a customer wants then tough. Move on.
Speaking as one who has the knowledge of % foriegn work on 767.
The 767 is ONLY 15%-20% Foriegn built depending on configuration options delivery requirements.