Boeing has built nearly 2,000 tankers in its history and has currently produced four KC-767 tankers each for Italy and Japan.
These are flying and transferring fuel through the BOOM now...Airbus is a baby in this technology.
Who would you trust your brain surgery to...a new doc just out of med school or one who has performed over 2000 surgeries. you take the new kid I'll take the experienced professional.
That is not a competition ..... that is a "telenovela" .....
After the Russian Ilyushin Il-98 bid, we can now expect the Brasilian Embraer KC-390 bid .....
Beware "The Russians are coming" and so are the " Men in their little white coats" to take the dreamers away.
Gee, it sure is nice to see that no one is playing favorites on this issue :)
Both, from my point of view, are fine aircraft, and both are capable aircraft. However, what it comes down to is which one is the best one that meets USAF mission requirements? I can see that some people here have strong feelings on this. Three times the USAF has issued an RFP (request for proposal) that contained the aircraft requirements. The first time, Boeing offered a lease agreement which the USAF stupidly went for. Putting that aside, the 767 met or exceeded the requirements. I read the first one before the second one was issued, but I believe the second one essentially mirrored the first, until NGC complained. Why did they complain, because they knew the 330 would not be selected because it was too big. NGC stated they would no-bid unless the USAF changed the RFP to reflect or take advantage of some of it’s offerings (carry more fuel, and cargo and Pax). Believing that competition would ensure a competitive price, The USAF complied (caved) and adjusted the RFP. Boeing, knowing how the USAF used tankers, and what the original RFP wanted, believed that even with the changes, they would win. But , as we all know, they didn’t. The problem is, Boeing should have complained at the outset, but did not. We all know about the protest. Anyway, the USAF puts out another proposal that is fairly similar to the first one, and once again, NGC says that it does not favor their aircraft and will no-bid unless the USAF changes it. The USAF makes 230 changes and NGC says it wasn’t good enough so they decide not to bid.
Now, having served on an air refuelable aircraft in the USAF, and worked as a scheduler that scheduled tankers, I have a pretty good feel for how the USAF uses tankers. WE DON’T USE TANKERS LIKE AUSTRALIA AND THE UK. For the mission they perform, I believe the UK and Australia made the right choice. However, the USAF does not use tankers in the same manner and I believe the 767 is a better choice. The USAF has a world-wide commitment that they do not have. The USAF needs to use far more airfields that they do. The USAF does not use tankers as a cargo or people mover like they do. 75% of the KC-135 support equipment can be used to support the 767. Not much of it can be used to support the 330 (much of the equipment would have to be replaced). The 767 can use many more runways than the 330. I don’t buy the argument that the 767 is “old technology.” Both are based on a 70’s designed fuselage. The current 767 proposal will have 787 avionics and a state-of-the-art boom. Now, having said I favor the 767, I do believe that the 330 is a viable if not great choice to replace the KC-10. I believe the USAF has a need for a mix for different missions. There are times that the best support aircraft is the KC-10 and not the KC-135. I think it could be that way for the 767 and 330.
The US seems to be going out of their way to get EADS to submit an competitive entry in the USAF KC-X replacement tanker program.
I can't imagine that EADS are going to submit an entry into a competition that they are in ,all likelehood, going to loose. It doesn't make any sense.
Therefore, I suspect there must be something in it for EADS so as to encourage them to submit an bid e.g. a sweetener of some description.
Truth hurts, yeah? Perhaps 90% of the reason the UK has so many aircraft manufacturers....oh wait, they don't have any.
The truth is the US cannot have a competition for the tanker replacement program due to there being no other aircraft manufacturer in the US to provide a competitive bid.
Boeing is the one and only maker of large transport type aircraft in the US all the other competitive companies have been bought out or taken over by Boeing.
Of interest is there was more competition between aircraft manufacturers in the old state controlled communist Soviet Union compared to that that now exists in the free and competitive enterprise market championed by the US of A.
Truth be told Boeing did what was right to stay in bussiness, In Fact, they Saved McDonell Douglas from going the way of AMC (remember the Pacer?) and other large companies...Saveing Thousands of American Jobs....Same with Lockheed
McDonell Douglas And Lockheed could not compete...Not because of Boeing but because of Airbus and there constant government subsidies......Which allowed them to UNDERBID the american companies so much that they took huge ammounts of the market share... The claims against Airbus through the WTO (The Major claims) were found to be valid. Just last Month the full report came out to proove the claims by Boeing.Now... granted the Airbus Co has a counter claim....However theirs will be found to be unfounded by International trade agreements....Boeing used NO Govt funds for developing OR building new aircraft, Boeing did recieve STATE tax breaks...but those tax breaks were available for ALL aerospace companies Big (BOEING) and small in the state...so it will not be accepted by the WTO as unfair....ALSO the tax breaks did not harm Airbus as do the LOW INTEREST loans Airbus recieves. Loans that in fact Airbus is not required to repay if a new plane does not profit, Boeing uses its own money to develop new aircraft and the Loans Boeing takes out are repaid at market rate REGARDLESS of new plane profit or not.The Airbus A330 (their platform for a tanker) Was heavily subsidized....So To give them a contract is to reward them for breaking the rules and undercutting American workers and their families.One More thing...Sarkosi (pardon the spelling) of France has Cried out that the US is practiceing protectionism.....Who the hell is he to make such a claim He is the KING of protectionism..... France has Bought less than a dozen aircraft from the US.....How many Airbus aircraft are flown by American airline companies Several hundred. I for one say TOO DAM**D BAD. Boeings Platform better meets what the RFP asked for and for that reason we buy Boeing, Where would you like YOUR tax $$$$ to end up?
The bottom line is for a competition you must have two or more players and, at present there is not a second US aircraft manufacturer of large aircraft to enable a competition to take place.
If there is a honest desire within the US DOD to have a competition for the KC-X then the only option is for EADS to participate as it is the only other manufacturer of large aircraft in the western world. The only other country that could provide an airframe is Russia and they are apparently not interested.
If there is only one entry in this competition then the buyer is at the mercy of the seller, the buyer has no option but to accept what ever is offered they have no choice.
One other option is for a company to refurbish and modify suitable second hand B767's to KC-X specifications. Although this option is very unlikely to be taken seriously it would however provide a second competitive option for the KC-X competition and, therefore keep the only new US airframe manufacturer, and the likely competition winner, honest.
Oh GIVE ME A BREAK!!!! The Air Force wants a MEDIUM Tanker Not A Larger Tanker/Transport/Cargo Plane.
The RFP plainly states this and the A330 is too damned BIG. whereas the 737 is a Medium Tanker. The last contest between NG/Airbus and Boeing was overturned on VERY Valid Issues....Of course the Boeing Co filed an appeal ITS not good Bussiness to allow a contract to be awarded FALSLY and that is what would have happened if Boeing had NOT appealed, The AirForce selected a plane that was Incorrectly graded in the analysis.PLAIN and SIMPLE they took the Bigger Plane without fully considering the requirements of the RFP in fact they skewed many of the requirements to fit the AIRBUS A330 JUST to KEEP it in the Competition. Boeing is King of the Tanker Biz...Theyve been doin it for 60+ years!
And dont cry that Protectionist BS either. In the past 10 years France has Purchased only 11 Boeing Jets, Germany....130 and the Britain 65.
HOWEVER airlines in the US have Purchased over 500 Airbus Jets. This info is avail at both Manufacturers websites.Shush up and get informed!!!!!
Nope we wont need to use the Tanker to get soldiers there....MORON.... we have transport aircraft DESIGNED for that task. Just face it The Boeing Tanker fits the bill for what the US AIRFORCE RFP asked for in the first place. And why will the US NOT prchase the M/T440 (IF Airbus gets it into production before they bankrupt all of Europe)???...Cause were not gonna pay for a subsidized aircraft that will not be anything but a KC130 knockoff.
I think you will find that the reason why the likes of France,Germany and the UK have ordered smaller amounts of Boeings compared to the US ordering Airbus aircraft is due to the fact they are all buying smaller Airbus's which are superior to what Boeing is offering! Look at the A320 family compared to the 737 is the last ten years as an example. More A320 family orders than 737 because it is quite simply a better aeroplane. The 737 orders are falsely high as it is due to Ryanair(European might i add) ordering them and getting them at not much more cost per aeropane than a Tato Motors Nano! Luckily Airbus wouldnt lower themselves that much just to get an order!
The best aircraft that Boeing have built in recent years is the 757 and they are doing nothing with it! I am not anti boeing but am getting fed up with this US anti-European(French) rubbish.
As to your comment about Boeing doing it for 60+ years, who invented the true form of air-air refuelling? The Brits thats who! Wno are involved with Airbus? The Brits thats who! So i think you will find that our history in refuelling goes back further abit like our heritage!
Wow I'm blown away by the above,
If a major and very successful Company, which has a very long history for the design and manufacture of a fine and wide range of products, has to resort to dubious tactics to get a contract signed and has to call upon its political supporters to have the result of a contest against a younger and less experienced challenger overturned should be beware of the newcomer because, if the newcomer is given the opportunity to re-compete, it will be by learning from their mistakes be competing from a position of significant strength.
Also,as the USAF is the primary user of the Boeing boom refueling system, it is no wonder Boeing has 60 years of experience with this aerial refueling technique but, it does not mean it is the only company that can design and manufacture flying boom refueling systems. The female to male probe and drogue system as used by the majority of aerial refueling equipment users, and although the result is the same, the design and technology used by the various manufacturers can and do vary significantly so therefore, there is also more than one way for a flying boom aerial refueling system can be designed, manufactured and operated by the main user, the USAF.
Bigger is not always better but, it certainly helps.
The B757 is probably one of the best aircraft designs to come off the Boeing drawing boards, Its a pity they are not developing its potential.
Victor Again I see that You like many others is talkin out of yer @##.. You said --who invented the true form of air-air refuelling? The Brits thats who! Well let me EDUCATE you. On June 27, 1923, at an altitude of about 500 feet above Rockwell Field on San Diego’s North Island, two U.S. Army Air Service airplanes became linked by hose, and one airplane refueled the other. While only seventy-five gallons of gasoline were transferred, the event is memorable because it was a first. The summer of 1998 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the use of this elementary technique of range extension. The airplanes were de Havilland DH–4Bs, single-engine biplanes of 4,600 pounds. First Lt. Virgil Hine piloted the tanker; 1st Lt. Frank W. Seifert occupied the rear cockpit and handled the fueling hose. Capt. Lowell H. Smith flew the receiver while 1st Lt. John Paul Richter handled the refueling from the rear cockpit. This was the FIRST Air to AIR. I Am not ANTI-european especially against the Brits who Through history have Always stood by and With the US..Now the French are another story we save their butts countless times and they constantly snub their noses at the US... and now Sarkozy whinnin about how the US is committing Protectionism PLEEEEASSSE. "Kettle callin the pot black"
You are correct with regard to the first aerial refueling being carried out on April 20 1923 but, it would appear that most of the research into the development of a viable aerial refueling system was carried out in England by Alan Cobham and his company, Flight Refueling Ltd, which was established in 1934. They eventually developed the probe and drogue system which is the system in world wide use.
It wasn't till the introduction into USAF service of the huge fuel hungry jet engined bombers that SAC chief Gen. Curtis Le May pushed for a aerial refueling system to enable the transfer of large quantities of fuel at high flow rate. To meet this requirement Boeing developed the flying boom which, only USAF aircraft use.
The only two US manufacturers of probe and drogue aerial refueling systems that I know of were Fletcher Sargent and Douglas who both manufactured self contained buddy store aerial refueling systems and used the probe and drogue system. This is the method used by the US Navy and the Marine Corps and, probably the Coast Guard if they use aerial refueling to extend search times.
Absolutely Thank you....
It is enjoyable reading posts submitted by someone who has knowledge of that about which we are discussing rather than those that fire off a bunch of blather, distotions and garbage just because they dissagree with the opinions or in this case the decisions.
I will have to read on Sargent impact in this field as I must confess I am not informed enough on it.
Sargent Fletcher was formed in 1940 and was purchased in 1994 by Cobham PLC (Flight Refueling Ltd's parent company) which probably makes it the largest manufacturer of aerial refueling buddy stores and external drop tanks.
Cobham/Sargent Fletcher claim they have manufactured more than 2000 buddy stores and a very large quantity of external fuel tanks.
They are currently involved with the development of the F-35 and no doubt will be also be involved with Boeing's KC-X..
I note that during the first Exercise Desert Storm there were major problems with the USN aircraft being unable to get fuel from the flying boom KC-135 tankers and USAF aircraft being unable from the USN probe and drogue tankers.
This thread is very entertaining and Informative. I would like to say the massive confusion is basicly Boeing's AND the USAF's own fault. The sole source contract was thrown out due to collusion between the two parties in which a USAF general went to jail. The Senator was perfectly justified to demand a competition, because the USAF/Boeing screwed the sole source process. (You shouldn't cheat when you know your going to win, or Egos should be kept in the parking lot.)
As to Airbus, They were caught in the USAF trying to cover their a** and again screwing the RFP to include another compeditor (I might reference the CSAR helicopter program but I won't), let's just say the USAF has had a bad decade and let them start over.
Buy the D*** 767 to replace the 135.... Compete the KC-10 with BOEING and AIRBUS. Then may the best plane win!
With the KC-X competition getting more messy as time goes, I believe the USAF now has the opportunity to restructure its aerial refueling services.
To that end I believe savings could be made in the USAF aerial refueling budget by using a large aircraft, e.g. A330/B777 or maybe even larger B747 or A380, in a hub and spoke operation.
The very large tanker aircraft would operate from a centralised point refueling the smaller tankers which in turn operate the spokes by taking the fuel to the front line.
This method may not need any lesser number of aircraft but would allow for improved operational efficiencies by using the savings which would be gained through the scale of size which would better match tanker requirements to specific refueling task requirements.