NEW VIDEO: Who wins KC-X battle of the B-roll?

Northrop Grumman KC-45 partner EADS North America showed new video of the Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) during a press conference last week. They kindly provided me the video. Now we can decide: which potential KC-X bidder has released the better B-roll? (And, of course, should this be factored into the US Air Force’s evaluation of the 373 mandatory requirements, or 94 nice-to-haves?)

A330 MRTT



KC-7A7

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87 Responses to NEW VIDEO: Who wins KC-X battle of the B-roll?

  1. aeroxavier 17 December, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    i see 2 vid : one real and one ficticious after that one good plane and one sensible good plane .
    the pentagon have doubt?
    american capitalism…is good for american

  2. Scoreboard 17 December, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

    In the competition of the show reels the winner has to be Airbus – they are showing real aircraft in action, rather than simulations.

    But I thought with B-roll you were referring to a Puget Sound manoeuvre – now that should be in the evaluation. After all imagine the Red Arrows or Thunderbirds performing along with their tankers in formation!

  3. warfighter 17 December, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    interesting bias showing through by trimble trying to paint airbus has having a real tanker and boeing not. But, unfortunately he either chooses to ignore reality, has been paid by airbus, or doesn’t have a clue what the truth is. He should have been clear as to how many boom equipped tankers airbus has ever delivered. Answer: (0), zero, nada, none, never has and based on their only experience with military airplanes (a400), probably never will. ready now. what a bunch of marketing smoke and mirrors bs. Ask the same question for boeing? Answer: over a thousand.

  4. Stephen Trimble 17 December, 2009 at 8:48 pm #

    I’m sure I’m going to regret asking this, but can you explain how I’m showing bias by presenting both B-roll videos, side-by-side?

  5. hankster 17 December, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    Truth stings a bit, eh warfighter? KC7A7 is a paper tanker with a paper boom, while KC45s are waiting now for the go ahead to have booms installed.

    Split Buy FTW! The Air Force flight lines will fill with KC45s while Boeing runs later and later delivering.

  6. warfighter 17 December, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    You are comparing apples and oranges.

    for Airbus you are using their Australian Tanker, (NOT their KC-X Tanker) and for Boeing you are using their KC-X Tanker.

    If you want a true comparison to boeing you have to use a B-roll for NG/Airbus KC-X Tanker which neither the film or Tanker exists.

    The reason Airbus is complaining so loudly about the USAF RFP is because they don’t have a tanker that comes close to meeting the USAF Requirements. That also is why NG is also complaining about fixed price, because they have admitted they have a huge development effort just to create a USAF Tanker. So, NG/Airbus will end up having a create new tanker just like boeing. The reason boeing has an advantage is that they have tanker that really work and have been delivered, airbus does not.

    Or, another way you can show apples to apples is compare the airbus australian tanker with the boeing Japan 767 tanker. But, it should be pointed out, while boeing has actually delivered the japan 767 tankers, airbus has never delivered anything yet.

    All airbus has for a boom equipped tanker is just a prototype (which you have film of) that they are using for marketing purposes. The aussies have not paid Aribus millions because the Aussie tanker is years behind schedule. airbus has not met it’s contractual milestones and the delivery timing is really just a hope and a prayer. Just like the A400. Airbus knows how to build commercial airplanes, but is completely new to making military airplanes and they are high up on the learning curve.

    northrop and airbus claims of having ready now tanker is purely marketing smoke and mirrors.

  7. matt 17 December, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    What the hell is a b-roll?

    Is this the battle of video marketing?

  8. Stephen Trimble 18 December, 2009 at 12:21 am #

    When you put it like that, you’ve got a point. Of course, my purpose was not to compare like-for-like as tankers, but as promotional videos released during this competition. Let the record show that I am happy to post live video of Boeing’s tanker on this blog as soon as the company sees fit to release it.

    Also, b-roll means “background” roll, and is a term used in the trade.

  9. adk 18 December, 2009 at 3:50 am #

    Warfighter, Boeing’s track record in Australia isn’t all glory either (think Wedgetail).

    I agree with hankster, do a split buy. Here’s why:

    - The A330 and B767 are both good planes, but they each have distinct advantages. The B767 is good for tight spaces, while the A330 will carry more fuel and cargo to Asia. Surely, both are useful attributes.
    - So many tankers will be needed in the end that having two MRO chains really should be that bad when quantities will ultimately be measured in the hundreds and both aircraft are based on commercial platforms to begin with.
    - Surely, it’s in the USAF’s best interest to have two viable competitors to ensure best value and minimize the impact of any potential fleet-wide grounding (as unlikely as that might be).
    - Multiple assembly lines in the U.S. will create/maintain aerospace jobs when we need them most.

  10. adk 18 December, 2009 at 4:13 am #

    Oops, I meant to type:

    “…really shouldn’t be that bad…”

    Sorry…

  11. Producer 18 December, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    Interesting, officially B-Roll is real footage. There’s no real footage of the in the Boeing piece except the pilots in the simulator. So as far as battle of the B-roll, Northrop wins hands down. Understand it’s the MRTT but in air boom and drogue refuelings vs. a paper design, not a tough decision there from a risk perspective.

  12. warfighter 18 December, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    Fact:

    Airbus Aussie tanker featured in the video doesn’t have armor protection, integrated full night vision, a cargo door, a cargo floor, centerline hose and drogue, military self awareness, electromagnetic hardening, military secure communications and electronics, military 463 L cargo handling system, RF Self Defense Systems and many many other military requirements that are absolutely needed to allow it to function as a true American Military Airplane.

    The Aussie Tanker is a very basic and simple Tanker and not at all suitable for the American Warfighter. Maybe for training missions in the continental US, but that would be about it.

    That is why “ready now” is a complete and absurd joke on the American Public.

    The airbus KC-X tanker won’t be ready for many….many….many years.

  13. warfighter 18 December, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    sorry adk,

    I couldn’t disagree more. The reasons include:

    1. it would result in the equivalent of two “sole source” contracts, with double the normal concerns and issues with a single sole source contract.

    2. it would double the initial and very significant upfront costs (billions) for EMD in the next few years, when the American Taxpayer is already in budget trouble.

    3. Double the logistics and maintenance costs in the exact same timeframe for both tankers instead of staggering them by the original plan with KC-X. KC-Y, and KC-Z, which would be done sequentially instead of in parallel.

    4. We don’t need to introduce a Large Tanker and a Medium Tanker at the same time.

    5. Same result for american jobs could be done with increasing the annual buy from 12 per year to 24 or 36, without the 4 items above.

    6. Split buy is the solution for whiners, not winners.

  14. aeroxavier 18 December, 2009 at 6:28 pm #

    brain made in USA

  15. warfighter 18 December, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    facts are facts.

    truth in advertising will prevail, I hope.

  16. Chetstuff 18 December, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    Agree with adk …………. that’s the way USAF buys its jet engines keeping GE and PW in continuous compettition to hold down price increases and gain on tech advancements the other competitor might not offer. it’s worked well for many years, why not apply same procurement strategy to the hundreds of tankers that will be needed.to replace 50+ year old 135′s; the KC-10s aren’t spring chickens either, however, I seem to remember they were obtained under a “total package” leasing agreement wherein the airframes aren’t owned by USAF.

  17. warfighter 18 December, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    Chetstuff,

    I agree 100% with your logic.

    Unfortunately, the logic doesn’t apply in the Tanker case.

    The engine competitive engine purchases you’re talking about are incremental buys for a few engines at a time. The annual or multi-year competition holds the cost down.

    In the case of USAF Tanker, the entire 179 will be firm fixed price from the beginning. There won’t be any incremental buys, so there is no reason to maintain 2 competitors.

    I expect Airbus will still end up competing for the USAF Contract and there will still be a competition to establish VERY good firm pricing for all 179 airplanes for the American taxpayer.

  18. tiopepe 18 December, 2009 at 7:49 pm #

    Nice to see that “Warfighter” works for marketing at Boeing.
    Just simply change your source of information, you got it all wrong ; if you go to reliable web sites ; you would know the following facts :
    -The Australian KC-30A MRTT is not a marketing prototype but the first (MSN747) out of five ordered aircraft ;
    -The Royal Australian AF chose the A330 because it’s the best option. Everybody knows that it is one of the most demanding air force of the world (they usually buy the best equipments mostly US made such as JSF, Super Hornet…). Same reason for some other close-allies such as UK, UAE and Saudi Arabia ;
    -The boom and wing pods developed for the RAAF A/C are the same ones proposed to the USAF (unlike KC-767) ;
    -EADS has experience on tankers (French Transall Tankers, Canadian/German A310 MRTT, VC10 conversion and now A330 conversion) ;
    -KC-767 is a good training tanker – indeed it is either a tanker or a transport A/C but not both roles during the same sortie or with very poor performance. Indeed it needs additional fuel tanks to fulfil the USAF KC-X requirement. The KC-45A can refuel aircraft (111 tonnes of fuel) and transport pallets/personnel (45 tonnes payload) during the same sortie ;
    -It’s true that EADS faced some problems with some aircraft programmes but what about the 4-year late delivery of the KC-767 to the JSDF? The Wedgetail? The 787? The Italian 767 (closest proposed version for KC-X) which is also 4-year late onwards!!!!
    -The first two KC-45s are on hold to be converted into tanker/transport ;
    -The RAAF KC-30A is not the same as KC-45 version but they both are A330-200, they both have DAS (the antennae can be seen on the video), same engine, same avionics, same lower deck compartments for mil pallets, same aerial refueling systems…can you tell which version your company will propose to the USAF? KC-767A? J? Frankentanker?
    -It would be quite interesting to see videos of hose and drogue refuelling made with Boeing KC-767
    -The idea of having less capable tankers on the ramp and operate them from small airfields just doesn’t make sense: few more capable KC-45As equal dozens of single-role and much less capable KC-767s. Regarding runway lengths can you tell me what are the runway length of the bases from where the USAF tankers operate for Iraq and Afghanistan?
    This second round is just a waste of time, meanwhile the USAF is struggling to operate 60 year old tankers…
    The videos are quite clear: the KC-45 is the right one which is ready now although the KC-767 can be quite a good video game!
    Actually it’s a pity that Boeing made a huge mistake when they chose the 767 over the 777 as their tanker aircraft…

  19. warfighter 18 December, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    tiopepe,

    From EADS CASA in Spain I’m guessing.

    Ya just completely blew your objective credibility when you stated “The videos are quite clear: the KC-45 is the right one which is ready now”.

    As stated before, the airbus KC-45 is not even close to being “ready now”, just read the list of all the military features which required make a fully functional and operational Tanker that can be forward deployed in real wartime conditions. The Aussie tanker has none of those.

    I’m not dissing the aussies, but it’s a fact that that the aussies just bought a simple tanker that could receive and pass fuel, haul a little cargo in the a330 lower deck, and that is it. oh, and they do have an elementary IR defensive system,

    Unless of course, you mean airbus is “ready now” to falsely claim that the simple basic A330 tanker currently in test and validation mode is the same Tanker the USAF has determined they need to be an American Military Airplane.

    And, as far as your claim “The boom and wing pods developed for the RAAF A/C are the same ones proposed to the USAF”. Again, not true, the airbus boom and wing pods are not “developed”, they are still IN development and test mode. They are currently being tested and are many years from being fully functional and operational.

    As your probably fully aware of, eads casa has found many issues and problems that they are struggling to fix, regardless of the false claims and press releases that they passes a few pounds of fuel. There will be many changes that have to be redesigned to the entire refueling system, but especially to the boom, before it will ever be considered “developed”.

    THAT is why the aussies have refused to pay any progress payments to airbus for the entire refueling system (and boom specifically) and why airbus is busy trying to get the aussies to take early delivery WITHOUT an operational refueling system as soon as possible.

    That way they can “claim” they delivered the a330 mrtt to the Aussies, even though it wouldn’t be operational as a tanker. But, it will be able to carry a little cargo in the lower deck.

  20. warfighter 18 December, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    oh, and 2 clarifications.

    1. I don’t work for boeing, but I do know quite a bit about Tankers and other Military Aircraft.

    2. I was being facetious about the airplane in the video being a “prototype”. I know it is the first of 5 a330 mrtts being produced for eventual delivery to the Aussies and it is specifically being used as a flight test and validation airplane to continue the redesign and development of the airbus refueling system.

    However, it is absolutely being used for airbus marketing to try claim that the have a “real” Tanker. The thing that fries my cookies is that i KNOW right now it is just a a330 passenger airplane with a non-deliverable refueling system. So far from being either a “real” operational tanker or the KC-X tanker as the earth from the moon.

    But, unfortunately, so far the american public is swallowing that hogwash.

  21. aeroxavier 18 December, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    wikipedia no tnx .
    but if you search only in american site that’s normal you imagine that, because american make everytime fake info of foreign country and corporation. i’m sure in 2003 you arbored one flag of USA and crying “stop irak,they have massiv destruction weapon” but this is for that to many people was ignorant

  22. tiopepe 18 December, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    Warfighter,
    From Spain but not EADS Casa. I am just an aviation enthusiast and particularly interested in the KC-X competition.
    I haven’t blown my credibility by saying the KC-45 is the right…look at the title of the article
    “NEW VIDEO: Who wins KC-X battle of the B-roll?”
    I’m just answering the question and I justify it.
    Regarding the Aussies let me remind you that they belong to the very small group of powerful allied air forces (US, UK, France, NL, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Canada). They regularly train with NATO/US/Asian AF and they deploy their fighters and troops all over the world: Afghanistan, East Timor, Iraq…
    So let me tell that they’re gonna have combat ready A330 MRTTs! Correct me if i’m wrong but they are fitted with quite an advanced defensive system made in the US!
    They will be able to carry some 300 passengers (people necessary to operate a fighter detachment) and at the same time able to refuel the fighters – isn’t just great?
    Boeing must choose between tanker or transport because of the tiny 70 tonne fuel capacity (to reach this small figure you need to fit additional fuel tanks which disables the lower deck capacity).
    You claim that the European made AAR systems are in development phase. You’re right! But isn’t as well the case for your wing pods and boom? I still haven’t seen any photo nor video of operational refuelling of Japanese fighters nor probe-equipped fighters!
    I have never heard of any development problem ; just look at the facts: F-16 (day/night), AWACS, BOEING F-18 (two at the same time) done so far what about Boeing? Is the KC767 able to refuel USMC and USN A/C or are there still wing pod problems?
    I think Boeing made a terrible mistake and gambled on the wrong aging platform (just to maintain the 767 FAL).
    The KC-777 would have been a great one with superior performance and capabilities but now it’s too late!
    Despite what Boeing marketing does with the 7A7 concept which is just an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink and unrealistic…Italian and Japanese were due to be delivered in 2006…4 years late..the A330 MRTT is technically superior (but not politically I admit).
    Boeing has invented everything in AAR, but as in commercial airplanes – The child (Airbus) is overtaking his father (Boeing)…
    These are just the cold facts and it is quite annoying as a European to see that the USAF needs a 3 round competition to choose a tanker ; that Boeing is trying is best to show that its late/less capable/italian-japanese-american/life cycle cost expensive tanker is the best option. Most European AF will buy the JSF because technically it is the most advanced fighter programme.
    Nobody puts it into question.
    The most powerful need the best, that is why the strongest, the USAF needs the best equipment. You’ve never seen in modern history, the US having less capable equipment than its allies nor potential ennemies and when not available in the country you guys export it and do an American version: Boeing/BAe Goshawk-Harrier, Lockheed/Alenia C-27J Spartan, Lockheed/EADS Ocean Sentry, UH-72 Lakota, HH-65 Dolphin…

  23. ptque 18 December, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    Northop Grumman/EADS wins the b-roll video battle. Truthful content or not. Both Boeing and Northrop Grumman/EADS are spinning and it’s getting more and more difficult to find the real answers. Northrop Grumman/EADS clearly have the lead regarding the potential development of a new USAF tanker. If you were to remove all the politics, we wouldn’t be discussing this. Northrop would have the contract and would be on it’s way to building the next tanker. I AM american and a taxpayer, and I beleive in free enterprise. Fair competition is good for everyone.

  24. MHalblaub 18 December, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    @warfighter
    “As stated before, the airbus KC-45 is not even close to being ‘ready now’,”
    Closer than any KC-767AT or KC-7A7. Boeing got lately problems fixing wings to a fuselage. Boeing has to develop much more than NG/EADS.

    “and they do have an elementary IR defensive system,”
    LAIRCM is produced by NG. Guess which competitor will have less integration problems.

    “the airbus boom and wing pods are not ‘developed’, they are still IN development and test mode.”
    Boeing’s boom is currently in the paper mode. Boeing’s wing pods are still not operational for Italian tankers.

    How long will it take Boeing to get to the point NG/EADS is right now?

  25. warfighter 18 December, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    tiopepe,

    I think you’re misreading my intentions and my opinion regarding boeing.

    I’m certainly not in any position to defend their actions, history developing military airplanes, or choice of airplane for tanker. and, I do not choose to try.

    The only thing I’ve said about boeing is that they have delivered over a 1000 boom equipped tankers (fact), that the video shown is of the boeing KC-X tanker (fact), and boeing has delivered 767 japan tankers that are now operational (fact).

    everything else I’ve talked about is related to airbus in 4 categories.

    1. the video comparison isn’t fair because it is comparing the airbus aussie tanker video (NOT the tanker airbus is going to have to develop for the USAF) with a boeing tanker video (which, like airbus, is going to have to be developed). BOTH COMPETITORS HAVE PAPER TANKERS RIGHT NOW.

    2. the configuration of aussie tanker and why it isn’t even close to what the USAF needs for an american war machine which needs to be used in in a in-theatre, forward deployed, high threat environment.

    3. that the general american public is so unbelievably gullible and susceptible to good marketing, as reinforced by aeroxavier above with “stop irak,they have massiv destruction weapon”, I agree the Iraq war was a mistake and the american people were fooled by the administration’s hogwash. But, currently the american public is just as gullible believing the airbus marketing hogwash, that they actually believe that airbus has a “real” tanker that they can offer to the USAF to meet it’s minimum warfigher requirements….right NOW. They do not. Hence my frustration with the outright lie that they use: “ready now”.

    4. that airbus is, as you say, “a child” when it comes to making military airplanes, which I agree 100% with. They are in the toddler stage and they don’t really have a clue what it really takes to design and produce functional and operational military airplanes. both the aussie tanker and a400 are prime examples. They will learn, but they are not even close to being competent yet.

  26. warfighter 19 December, 2009 at 12:06 am #

    Stephen,

    I now believe your intentions were honorable.

    However, the problem is that when you showed both videos without the context that one was a video promotional basic and simple tanker and the other was a full up tanker that meets the American warfighter requirements.

    That leaves your audience to “assume” that airbus has a tanker that is just waiting for booms to be attached and delivered to the USAF, as hankster has done.

    Unfortunately, that assumption is completely and totally wrong.

  27. ptque 19 December, 2009 at 12:43 am #

    warfighter,

    RE: #1 I like your thinking. “Ready Now” IS very misleading and untrue, but suggesting that both competitors have paper tankers is not accurate either. Northrop Grumman chose the A330 airframe because EADS has already successfully developed a tanker variant with it. No need to show a drawing because the airframe already exists.

    RE: #2 The militarization of the A330, Aussie MRTT version is not at all far off from USAF requirements, and Northorp Grumman has a wealth of experience building militray aircraft. The Japanese 767 tanker doesn’t meet USAF spec either, otherwise Boeing would have bid it. At this point Boeing cannot show a suggested airframe because it doesn’t exist yet (only in concept). Thier offering back in 2007 was based on parts of various 767 models that have not been used together, hence the name frankentanker. This only suggests that Boeing is further behind the development curve than NG/EADS.

    RE: #3 Couldn’t agree with you more regarding the general public’s knowledge of what trully is going on. A tanker that already exists that meets minimum requirements? I’d like to see it.

    RE #4: Let’s not forget that Northrop Grumman is the prime (EADS is the critical partner), and Northrop Grumman has designed some of the most advanced military war systems to date. Certainly not a child to anyone.

    I haven’t been to DC to watch the circus act of Boeing and NG commercials but I’m sure it would make for great entertainment.

  28. warfighter 19 December, 2009 at 12:48 am #

    Both boeing and airbus will have many years before they can produce the first KC-X tanker. the difference in “closeness” is so small it is irrelevant. That’s why “ready now” is total bs.

    Northrop zero experience in tankers and almost zero experience in producing a military airplane by modifying a commercial one. The only experience is jstars, which was a disaster. That’s why northrop’s role in KC-X is to install the “made in america” label when airbus finishes with it.

  29. warfighter 19 December, 2009 at 12:55 am #

    airbus is developing a tanker with the a330, and is years away from delivery.

    boeing has developed and delivered a tanker with a 767.

    both are in the same predicament that the USAF has demanded a tanker that is not a simple basic tanker like the ones that both have done already, but one that can fight a war on day one.

    that means a large number of requirements that are not in either the airbus tanker or the boeing tanker. the requirements aren’t that hard to do and most can be satisfied with existing systems, but it will still take both companies many years to design, test, and validate their new tanker since neither have one that fits the bill today.

  30. nico 19 December, 2009 at 1:55 am #

    Warfighter is sure taking a beating! Sorry but I can’t really help him because Boeing hasn’t shown us anything great lately.Yes they have a great record, magnificent past but they are late with the 787,747-I,Wedgetail and they can’t deliver the oh so simple Japanese/Italian KC767.They sure haven’t shown a lot of competency.I can’t believe(trust?) Boeing to deliver a KC767 that is made of the -200/-300,-400 cockpit plus all the gizmos you say all so vital to the American warfighter.You really believe that they are going to deliver on time and budget? Do you really believe the first one delivered to the USAF will have all that stuff on board? I think as a taxpayer we’ll be lucky if we get the SIMPLE tanker, shoot I would gladly settle for an Italian KC767 with no frills.

    Maybe a KC135 crew chief might read this and answer: does the -135 have a self defence system? I’ll have to check on that one.

    Couple of things I don’t like: why are we going to spend more than $200 million on an airplane that’s at the end of its production run? Isn’t the tooling paid for? How sustainable is this airplane in 20/30/40 years when so many are going to retire from airlines? Shouldn’t the taxpayer get a little break from Boeing or is that the cost of all the options that the US warfighter can’t live without? And spare me, I was in the military.

    And last but not least, and i hope if Warfighter reads this, please don’t have a heart attack, I wish you no harm:)…why are we buying new tankers?
    Why don’t we buy old MD11s, early 777s, and retiring 767 that are being replaced by 787s?

    This discussion probably doesn’t really matter because we going to get the KC767, mainly for political reasons, not military or technical reasons.

  31. adk 19 December, 2009 at 1:59 am #

    warfighter,

    Ignoring your potentially eggnog-fueled ad hominem attack masquerading as point #6, I’ll just say that if cash-strapped United Airlines can (and just did) order 25 B787s and 25 A30XWBs (with options in both cases), then surely the USAF can handle two tankers. Goodness knows they’ve managed to handle multiple cargo aircraft, multiple fighters, etc in the fleet.

  32. hankster 19 December, 2009 at 8:09 am #

    On and on we go, but here’s the one BIG thing to remember:

    The Air Force wanted the KC-45. And the only reason they aren’t on the verge of having them is the work of the Boeing employees on Capital Hill.

    Instead, the Air Force gets to keep waiting. Keep thinking about the reason they have to keep waiting. Boeing. Boeing. Boeing.

    Keep up the good work, Boeing…

  33. warfighter 19 December, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    2nd try.

    ptque,

    eads has NOT already successfully developed a tanker variant with the a330, they are “in the process” of developing a tanker variant with the a330. they are many years from being “successfully developed” and they currently have significant problems in getting tanker equipment fully operational. they have only conducted a few flight that have initially passed fuel in TEST mode.

    if it were “successfully developed” the aussie air force would be flying tanking missions with it. They are not and won’t be for at least 2-3 more years.

    you probably “think” airbus has successfully developed their tanker because that is what their propaganda is designed to do. and, they are EXCELLENT at propaganda.

    and again, the aussie a330 mrtt is not close to the new USAF requirements. see previous reply above. the magnitude of difference is huge including technical, structural, and aerodynamic changes hence the whining by airbus and northrop about the new requirements.

    Paper airplane is a old term meaning that the product does not currently exist and is not “on the shelf”. It refers to a configuration that is only on paper at this point in time. airbus has an airplane that exists, they have tanker mission equipment in development, but those two things do not make a USAF KC-X Tanker. there are many, many more significant requirements that need to be integrated into the a330 before it can be tested, demonstrated, and delivered to the USAF.

    boeing (with it’s 767 japan tanker) and airbus (with it’s a330 aussie tanker) are virtually the same boat with how far they have to go to create a tanker that meets the USAF requirements. neither has an “off the shelf” tanker that is “ready now” and both are going to have to propose paper airplanes.

    Northrop is has experience building ships, systems and bombers, but they have zero (ie. no) experience in modifying commercial airplanes for military use that have to be certified to commercial FAA requirements.

    Northop has never done this kind of Program before, the closest experience is jstars, using old 707s which was a disaster for the USAF. jstars was way over budget and the program was plagued by problems. And,jstars airplanes wouldn’t even come close to a FAA requirements.

    unless you live in mobile, alabama (where they are trying to not see the truth) you just have to open your eyes to the reality that the KC-45 is not a northrop tanker, it is an airbus tanker.

    fact:

    Qantas Defence Services is following airbus manufacturing planning and installing airbus tanker equipment in australia on 4 of the 5 aussie tankers.

    Northrop brings the exact same function to the KC45. The only other things northrop brings to the table is LAIRCM, their politicians, and northrop marketing.

    Northrop has a very minor role in the KC-45, just like Qantas, they will be installing the aribus tanker equipment according to airbus manufacturing planning direction.

    northrop is prime in name only. airbus is running the show. northrop is fine with the arrangement, not only because they have no experience in converting commercial airplanes, but also because airbus is assuming all the program financial risk and northrop gets their name on a tanker.

    If you’re going to call the KC-45 a Northrop Tanker, you should be calling the a330 mrtt in the video the Qantas Tanker, the situations are analogous.

  34. danny 19 December, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    let’s get this behind us, we need a tanker which one i think is the KC-45 that’s my call. its a shame boeing is a good second rate aircraft. sorry just my call people. we need and we needed it 2yrs ago,

  35. warfighter 20 December, 2009 at 1:45 am #

    Interesting.

    I don’t care whether boeing or airbus win the KC-X competition.

    All I have done is lay out the facts regarding the airbus tanker and northrop’s role, all of which are easily verifiable with a just little research on the internet.

    The conclusion that most of you have jumped to is that I’m pro-boeing and have tried to get me to defend boeing.

    I personally agree 100% with nico.

    There are hundreds of 767-300s, A310s, and dc-10s that airlines would love to get rid of and replace with new 787s and a350s. They would all be just fine airplanes to turn into USAF Tankers. The military mission equipment costs substantially more than the airplane itself and is much more important to the warfighter that than the airplane that holds it.

    Sorry, but i can only conclude that most of you participating in this thread fall into one of 3 categories.

    1. European citizens, like aeroxavier and tiopepe, who don’t care about the truth and will try to reinforce the lies. The will say the european tanker is the best choice regardless of facts because they know that the KC-45 will bring tens of thousands of jobs to Europe.

    2. Mobile alabama citizens, who also don’t care about the truth and will reinforce the lies. They will say the KC-45 tanker is the best choice because it will bring a few thousand jobs to mobile alabama.

    3. Gullible americans, who are extremely susceptible to very sophisticated advertising and marketing and don’t take the time to check ANY facts.

  36. AIR VET 20 December, 2009 at 3:38 am #

    WARFIGHTER_ YOUR HEAD IS UP IN THE AIR TOO HIGH! YOUR SUFFERING FROM A LACK OF 02! FIRST BOTH ITALIAN AND JAPENESE TANKERS “DELIVERED” BY BOEING HAVE YET TO REFUEL EVEN A WASH BUCKET. THE ITALIAN GOV. JUST FIGNED BOEING HOW MANY MILLION FOR NON PERFORMANCE OF CANTRACT? THE JAPS ALSO. THE NORTHROP BIRD HOWEVER HAS REFUELLED MOST OF THE U.S. STABLE OF WARBIRDS. AIRBUS HAS DELIVERED TANKERS TO MOST OF OUR ALLIES- KEEP THIS IN MIND! THE AIRFRAME IS A MATURED STRUCTURE- NOT A CARTOON, WITH DESIGN ENGINEERING TO FOLLOW. ALL WORK ON THE U.S NORTHROP BIRD WILL BE DONE IN THE U.S, AS WAS THE ENINEERING. YES THE BASIC AIRFRAME IS MADE IN FRANCE, AND UNDER U.S. LAW, ALLIES ARE TREATED AS THE SAME AS U.S. MADE. CAN BOEING SAY THE SAME ABOUT THEIR RUSSIAN ENGINEERING; OR THEIR SUBCONTRACTING TO CHINA FOR SUB ASSEMBLIES? WHEN DID EITHER BECOME ONE OF OUR “ALLIES”. hOW MANY U.S. JOBS DID GO OVER TO RUSSIA AND CHINA? HOW MANY MORE WILL BOEING SEND THERE? THE NORTHROP BIRD WILL KEEP 80K+ JOBS IN THE U.S. AND HECK- I CAN’T STAND IT- EVEN GIVE OUR ALLIES SOME WORK, SORRY NOTHING FOR RUSSIA OR CHINA.

  37. warfighter 20 December, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    correction to earlier submittal.

    Interesting.

    I don’t really care which tanker the USAF picks for KC-X.

    I agree 100% with nico. There are hundreds of older 767s, a330s, dc-10s, and 777s that airlines would love to sell and get new 787s and a350s. Any of them would make fine USAF Tankers. The airplane itself a minor element in a military tanker. The mission equipment costs 2-3 times more than the airplane and is way more important to the warfighter.

    But, a number of you have assumed that I support boeing because I provided uncomfortable facts about the airbus tanker and northrop’s role in KC-45.

    I can only assume that is because most of you contributing to this thread are in one of 3 categories.

    1. European citizens, like aeroxavier and tiopepe, who will always claim the KC-45 is the best tanker for the USAF because you “know” that it will mean tens of thousands of european jobs.

    2. Alabama citizens, like hankster, who will always claim the KC-45 is the best tanker for the USAF because you “believe” it will mean around 1 thousand jobs for mobile, alabama.

    3. Average American citizens who are extremely susceptible to excellent advertising and marketing and don’t bother to check the facts or truth behind the stories put out by northrop, airbus, and their paid consultants and supporters.

  38. warfighter 20 December, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    hankster,

    you’re probably not going to want to hear or believe this.

    but actually, the real reason that the there is a new competition has little to do with politics.

    The real reason is because of one really big issue that couldn’t be ignored when it was analyzed by the gao.

    The real reason there is a new competition is because the previous usaf acquisition team was inexperienced and the pervious pentagon acquisition leaders were inconsistent.

    first they said they wanted a simple basic tanker.

    then the said they wanted a full up, fully loaded tanker and identified over 800 military requirements. they told the bidders the winner would be chosen based on how many of the many of the 800 they could satisfy.

    Northrop proposed the simple basic aussie tanker which was and still is in development, with just a couple of minor new items added because they were threshold requirements. The northrop tanker didn’t even come close to meeting half of the 800 requirements the USAF said they would pick the winner on.

    Boeing proposed an all new tanker that met almost all of the 800+ requirements.

    the USAF picked the simple basic airbus aussie tanker.

    the GAO told the usaf you can’t tell one bidder your going to evaluate and decide the winner on one set of requirements and then pick the other based on a different evaluation and a different set of requirements.

    an inconvenient fact for the airbus supporters, but a fact that can be easily checked out with just a little investigation on the internet.

  39. warfighter 20 December, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    nico,

    answer to your question, “does the -135 have a self defence system?”

    no, not really.

    but, the usaf has said they want the KC-X to occasionally haul some cargo and passengers into high threat combat areas where the C-17 flies. So, they are now requiring similar armor and self defense systems.

  40. warfighter 20 December, 2009 at 7:23 pm #

    air vet,

    you entire response is wrong, every “point” incorrect, and completely deluded.

    classic example of your delusion is: “THE NORTHROP BIRD HOWEVER HAS REFUELLED MOST OF THE U.S. STABLE OF WARBIRDS”

    first, northrop doesn’t have a tanker, airbus does (although it is still in test and development”

    second, the only actual refueling that I’m aware of has been with a couple of F/A-18As with hose and drogue and F-16s with boom, and all were done was in test mode. There may have been others and I would be very interested if you could point to a source on the internet that documents it.

    You can read about the VERY FIRST refueling accomplished with their boom (again, just in test mode) which was done not even 2 months ago on October 22.

    http://blog.flightstory.net/1390/a330-mrtt-first-time-boom-refueling-of-f-16/

    unless you can point to even one fact to support your ridiculous rant, you should do a little research about what you are saying or say nothing at all because you look foolish when you make stuff up.

    please show one fact that even suggests that “northrop bird has refueled most of the us stable of warbirds”.

    you also might first just start by learning how to spell the word refueled.

  41. warfighter 20 December, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    poor ol’ AIR VET,

    he is a classic example of a southern alabamian who doesn’t have a clue what the real situation is.

    but, he’ll make up all sorts of nonsense to try knock boeing and sing the praises of northrop with absolutely no facts or data every chance he gets, because he thinks “Hey, A’m a gonna be build’en a big ‘ol aro-plane just down the street”.

  42. warfighter 20 December, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    tiopepe,

    I apologize for including you in an earlier note about european citizens.

    I don’t think that you “don’t care about the truth”. Your previous emails have been factual and enlightened with well articulated points.

    It was an unfortunate and inappropriate comment by me.

    I’m sorry.

  43. nico 21 December, 2009 at 12:22 am #

    Thanks Warfighter, didn’t know that it was part of the requirement. i think since we are buying new, we should just get the simple tanker first and get a spiral upgrade for all options later on.

    What really drives me crazy isn’t who is pro boeing or pro airbus, it’s the mass of people out there who don’t give a damn. If you are an American taxpayer, this is your money. Pretty sad that you only find this defence stuff on a blog because you get zero coverage and info through regular media.

  44. Matt 21 December, 2009 at 12:51 am #

    The Air Force wanted the KC-45. And the only reason they aren’t on the verge of having them is the work of the Boeing employees on Capital Hill.

    Instead, the Air Force gets to keep waiting. Keep thinking about the reason they have to keep waiting. Boeing. Boeing. Boeing.
    ========================================

    The Boeing employees in the GAO that determined the USAF screwed up?

    They’d probably have some 767 tankers flying now if those the big people (at Boeing and the USAF) in the contract in 2003 weren’t a bunch of unethical bums.

  45. Basher12 21 December, 2009 at 2:59 am #

    In case anyone can’t figure it out, “warfighter” is a Boeing blogger. Take his posts for what they are, Boeing marketing. Just FYI.

  46. ptque 21 December, 2009 at 3:26 am #

    Nico,

    Very well said. It’s terribly difficult to get answers when those reporting the news do not consider TRUTH to be the #1 decision factor in what they report. Perhaps if they threw in some apparent corruption and some infedility, people would listen. You would think that a $35 billion dollar contract would be good enough considering the horrible state of the economy. Instead, I scour the internet looking for legitimate threads. How sad.

    I know that warfighter is getting picked on quite a bit, but the attempt to classify those who oppose his opinions or his research into 3 categories diminshes his credibility. And I BTW do not fit in any of those categories. However, I greatly appreciate his contributions to this blog none the less. He has opposed my comments which I can’t verify as truth or not. Just interesting, but some are in stark contrast from what I have researched. I have been following this “story” since the last bid fiasco I know that BOTH sides are playing up the politics and spinning. So far, I have heard mostly from warfighter is his praise of the excellent marketing and spnning that Northrop has done. Have we forgotten how Boeing and thier Washington and Kansas government repesentation were spinning this into a “buy American” competition? I won’t attempt to try and compare which is the bigger lie (“buy American” or “Ready Now”) because it doesn’t really matter. It IS politics that has turned this into a huge mess. Both sides know very well that they do not stand a chance of winning the bid unless they play the game. The sad truth to all this is that it’s the taxpayer and our American military who will potentially lose big in all this.

  47. ptque 21 December, 2009 at 3:52 am #

    “The northrop tanker didn’t even come close to meeting half of the 800 requirements the USAF said they would pick the winner on”. Wow, what report were you reading? With regard to the requirements published in the RFP, there were barely ANY differences beteween the NG and Boeing bids. Both were about the same as far as satisfying the basic requirements with the exception of survivability in threat situations, which I think Boeing edged out NG. The USAF got its hand slapped by the GAO for considering additional capabilities that they did not say in thier RFP would be considered as a bonus. NG proposed the larger aircraft providing great range and more efficient fuel offload. In other words you can’t give out extra credit for exceeding requirements if you do communicate it in the RFP.

    Warfighter. The reason why so many blogers beleive you to be a Boeing backer is because of stuff like this. Boeing protested citing well over 100 issues, and the GAO considered less than 10 (I think 9 is the magic number) of those 100+ issues to be valid. From my understanding, it only takes one to overturn an award. Nearly all of you oponions have been void of any Boeing critique which would make anyone suspicous of the information you share.

  48. ptque 21 December, 2009 at 3:53 am #

    Certainly smells that way. That’s unfortunate.

  49. warfighter 21 December, 2009 at 4:41 am #

    I agree.

    The american media really only wants to report a story if they can get a sensationalistic angle. They love to stoke the fires of airbus vs boeing because they think heating up the rivalry makes good headlines.

    They don’t care to report the “facts” as they really are, they always want to spin them in to something more controversial.

    Unfortunately, to get the real story on just about anything these days it takes alot of work to sort through the bs.

  50. Fox 21 December, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    Warfighter is factually correct in all of his assertions regarding the two tankers.

    The ignorance and hypocrisy of the pro-airbus crowd is astounding.

  51. warfighter 21 December, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    Basher12,

    the true facts about airbus and northrop are uncomfortable, aren’t they?

    So, with airbus tanker still in development, having passed fuel through the boom for the first time 60 days ago, and is not ready now to deliver it to the aussies (and won’t be for quite awhile).

    and with northrop not having a tanker and their technical role on KC-X is minor, like qantas on the aussie tanker.

    what do northrop and their supporter mean by Ready Now?

    Ready now to do what?

  52. mcfly0570 21 December, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    there was a guy, some 70 years ago named Himmler. His job was propaganda, and he said that if you repeateed the same lie long enough, people end up believing it.

    that’s what warfighter is doing…

    presenting boeing and airbus as being on the same level which is simply not true…

    He hammers everything he can on Airbus, all while presenting Boeing as much better proposal than it is, and then, trying to keep his credibility, says “I don’t care who wins”…

    well, anyone who reads any of your posts does know he does care…

    But then again, he’ll come back, again and again, repeating ad nauseum the same false statements about how beautiful beoing is and how retarded airbus people are, but that he doesn’t care, and so on, and so on… just as himmler said… just repeat lies until people start believing them…

  53. Stephen Trimble 21 December, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    I think it’s a little early to bust out the Nazi references. Let’s play nice!

  54. warfighter 21 December, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    replying to your reply to me:

    ignoring your potentially eggnog-fueled ad hominem attack masquerading as point #6, I’ll just say that if cash-strapped United Airlines can (and just did) order 25 B787s and 25 A30XWBs (with options in both cases), then surely the USAF can handle two tankers. Goodness knows they’ve managed to handle multiple cargo aircraft, multiple fighters, etc in the fleet.

    You are right on the money and I agree 100% with you. The USAF can indeed handle inducting both an airbus tanker and a boeing tanker. It isn’t a capability issue, it is a cost issue.

    I wasn’t questioning USAF ability to do it, just the cost which would be extremely expensive for the american taxpayer specifically in the years 2010-2014, right at the same time when we still will have tax burden of afghanistan, iraq, health care, and all the other cash expenditures that the administration is trying to push through.

    The american taxpayer would have double the tanker development costs as well as double the i logistics costs at the same time dealing with one of the largest budget deficits in history.

  55. warfighter 21 December, 2009 at 5:42 pm #

    mcfly0570,

    boeing has a huge set of it’s own problems including all the points made earlier including late delivery with the italy and japan tankers, problems with the 787, and wedgetail.

    But, if you have the courage, jut check out any of the statements I’ve made about airbus and nothrop.

    If you can back up your claim that “repeating ad nauseum the same false statements”, point to one source that my statements are not true.

    I’d be more than happy to change my opinion, if you can provide any evidence.

  56. warfighter 21 December, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

    I know it is hard to get the straight story when you’re dealing with airbus and I’m sure that is leading some of you to believe that airbus is farther along than they really are based on their press releases and vocal supporters.

    Let me give you just one of many examples that you can check out for yourself.

    Check the airbus website for the A330 MRTT below, you’ll notice the second to last paragraph that airbus claims it has a large cargo door it can carry 34 military 463L pallets and even military vehicles.

    http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/a330_200/specs.html

    They way they word it would lead anybody to believe that it is already developed and ready now. You would also assume that the A330 MRTT in the video has that capability if you didn’t know any better. And, northrop and airbus have both implying that it is already developed and “ready now”.

    now take a look at the facts and see what really is the condition of the A330 MRTT today that is in development and test and represented by their flight test vehicle in the video.

    check out:

    http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/a330_200/specs.html

    You find in the Cargo specs there is no cargo door, it can’t carry military 463L pallets, and it can’t carry any cargo on the main deck only in the lower deck. And, even in the lower deck it can only carry light weight nato pallets and civilian pallets and no military vehicles or military pallets.

    There is a huge difference between a military 463L pallet and a civilian pallet in the amount of weight it needs to be able to hold.

    And there is a huge difference between a freighter airplane and passenger airplane and an even larger difference between a passenger airplane (like the Aussie Tanker) and a Military cargo airplane. They are so dramatically different that the FAA requires that boeing and airbus have separate model for passenger and freighter airplanes because they have dramatic different, technical, weight and aerodynamic properties. It takes years to develop a new military cargo airplane with full 463L capability.

    I know that a fact like this is uncomfortable for staunch airbus and northrop supporters, but if any of you reading this are really looking for objective truth about this situation it takes research and work to ferret it out. You can’t get it from northrop and airbus press releases and advertisements.

    this is just one of many reason why “ready now” is just not true.

  57. warfighter 21 December, 2009 at 9:49 pm #

    OOOPSSSSS.

    the first line in the note above should have been:

    http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/military_aircraft/a330_mrtt

    SORRY

  58. MHalblaub 21 December, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

    Both boeing and airbus will have many years before they can produce the first KC-X tanker. the difference in “closeness” is so small it is irrelevant. That’s why “ready now” is total bs.
    I guess close is about 5 years late according to Boeing’s tanker legacy with Italy.

    Aircraft:
    Boeing: draft
    EADS: Already flying.

    Boom:
    Boeing: draft
    EADS: tested

    Wing pods (NON-MANDATORY):
    Boeing: none
    EADS: tested

    Northrop zero experience in tankers and almost zero experience in producing a military airplane by modifying a commercial one.
    Therefore NG got EADS as partner.

    That’s why northrop’s role in KC-X is to install the “made in america” label when airbus finishes with it.
    NG is quite experienced with US Air Force electronic systems e. g. B-2 Spirit, LAIRCM… NG will get a bare Airbus to put all the avionic systems in. That is not a small part of such an aircraft.

    this is just one of many reason why “ready now” is just not true.
    Boeing: “Maximum capability at lowest price … And it is mission ready on day one.”
    When is “day one”? Delivery date for KC-767 to Italy was 2005.

  59. ptque 22 December, 2009 at 1:24 am #

    With regard to NG’s role, it IS quite significant, which even warfighter later agreed with, although I don’t think he realized he did… his words –> “The mission equipment costs 2-3 times more than the airplane and is way more important to the warfighter.” He stated this but in an earlier blog he stated that NG’s role was quite minor and would be happy just to be able to slap thier name on the plane. Anyway, these are just one person’s opinion, and I don’t mean to pick on him but he’s all over this blog. It’s hard not to. NG’s past performance is quite significant.

  60. nico 22 December, 2009 at 1:27 am #

    To Warfighter, not really sure the cargo conversion is your best argument. passenger to cargo conversion is pretty well understand these days, i don’t think that would be a big problem for either Boeing or Airbus. By the way, has Boeing done that kind of military cargo conversion on a B767? I think New Zealand air force fly B757 but it might be a simple conversion.I am not really sure what version of MRRT did Germany, Canada buy. Might have been A300 or A310,maybe? not sure but I guess Airbus could use some of that data. Boeing hasn’t done all that much PTF on the B767 so I think both companies have about same amount of experience in regards to the cargo door/conversion problem.

    One thing that does hurt Boeing in my view, is they have lost a couple of bids. Australia, RAF, UAE, maybe Saudi AF,and maybe a few I forgot, it is starting to add up….

  61. Fox 22 December, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    It was Goebbels, not Himmler, whose job was propaganda and it was Goebbels who practiced the “Big Lie” technique of propaganda.

    If your knowledge of tankers is comparable your knowledge of history then you’d best refrain from publicly commenting on the subject. Reread my point above about the astounding ignorance of the pro-Airbus crowd.

    Rather than hurl nebulous insinuations and comparisons to Himmler, the Nazi’s, and “lies”, why don’t you post some factual information to refute warfighter?

    As long as warfighter’s facts are correct (leaving aside the jibes), it hardly matters WHO he is.

  62. MHalblaub 22 December, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    As long as warfighter’s facts are correct (leaving aside the jibes), it hardly matters WHO he is.

    One of the best lying techniques is to tell almost the whole truth.

    Example by warfighter:
    Northrop zero experience in tankers and almost zero experience in producing a military airplane by modifying a commercial one.

    He missed to mention that EADS got the experience.

  63. warfighter 22 December, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    a330 mrtt tanker equipment is all eads, with the exception of LAIRCM.

    not, sure how you draw the conclusion that the northrop has a large amount of work to do except install the eads equipment at the direction of eads manufacturing planning. Just like qantas is doing on the a 330 mrtt in australia.

    can you please document, why you think the northrop role is significant?

  64. warfighter 22 December, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    you’re right, commercial passenger to commercial freighters are well understood.

    however, commercial passenger to military cargo is not that easy, doable, but not easy.

    military 463L pallets need to weigh up to 10,000 lbs, commercial pallets are around 2,500 lbs.

    but, again the main point is this nortrhop and airbus ready now nonsense.

    it will take airbus at least 2 years to design, manufacture, produce, assembly, fly, test, validate, and deliver just the cargo part of the KC-X.

    and, as you pointed out, passenger to freighter is well understood, so that part of the airbus KC-X won’t be the longest part of their development.

    the boeing italian 767 tanker does have a military cargo door and floor. so that is one check in their column. but, that one check in the boeing column is not near enough to outweigh all their other problems. they are not ready now either.

  65. warfighter 22 December, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    look, the statement below is true:

    Northrop zero experience in tankers and almost zero experience in producing a military airplane by modifying a commercial one

    I don’t know how you got the idea that I have missed that airbus (eads) is the lion’s share of the KC-X, they do. Northrop’s KC-X role is the same as qantas has on the a330 mrtt, follow airbus direction to install the eads military equipment. plus northrop brings their political supporters and marketing to the party.

    airbus has lots of experience in building commercial airplanes and they build very good ones. the a380 is a marvel of technical engineering.

    but, as tiopepe pointed out, eads is a child when it comes to military aircraft. they have only delivered a couple of extremely simple hose and drogue a310 tankers to germany and canada. and that’s it. oh, and even being extremely simple they were many years late delivering and even later getting to operational status. not, unexpected for a first try.

    the only other airbus large military airplanes are the a400 and the a330mrtt and both of those are still just in the development phase and years away from delivery. they are learning the hard way that it’s not easy to do military aircraft. It is EXTREMELY hard. the demands of the warfighter are not the same as the demands of a woman sitting in row 13.

    oh, also airbus has done a couple of small cargo/troop planes, the c-212 and c-235/295. but, those are so basic in capability, you’d hardly call them a military aircraft.

    If you don’t believe me, search the internet. if you can find that they have finished development and delivered any other large military aircraft, post it here.

  66. warfighter 22 December, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    about northrop tanker not meeting even half of the 800 and boeing meeting most.

    I think I had read that somewhere a couple of years ago, but it might have been in a blog. I can’t find any evidence of it.

    I stand corrected.

    thanks

  67. warfighter 22 December, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    Yeah, I did feel bad about some of those jibes right after I hit the submit button.

    especially AIR VET.

    After he yelled at be in capital letters YOUR HEAD IS UP IN THE AIR TOO HIGH! YOUR SUFFERING FROM A LACK OF 02!. I overreacted.

  68. warfighter 22 December, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    a correction.

    commercial pallet max weight 3500, not 2500.

    http://www.worldnetlogistics.com/_containerinfo(air).asp

    military 463L pallet max weight still 10,000

    http://vrr-aviation.com/products/air-cargo-pallets/HCU6E-military-pallet

    what that max weight difference means is a brand new, totally redesigned cargo floor. a big deal. again, not rocket science, but lots of time and money.

  69. aeroxavier 22 December, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    wow warfighter you have write all comments here
    you staff for someone?

  70. warfighter 22 December, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    When you are old as I am and retired there isn’t much else to do.

  71. warfighter 22 December, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    not much to do, at least until the wife gets out her honey-do list.

  72. Ore Jones 22 December, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    Warfighter, from the link you provided:

    http://www.worldnetlogistics.com/_containerinfo(air).asp

    It seems that the A300, the A310 and the A340 (hence the A330, because they share fuselage section) are capable of carrying 96×125 in pallets with a max weight of 15,000: the AMP-Container. Code: AMP

    Thus, I do not understand your assertion that the A330 is not able to carry a mere 88×108 in pallet of only 10,000.

  73. warfighter 22 December, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    sorry, I may have needed to be a little clearer.

    the airbus 2+ year development that i was referring to relates to what airbus needs to do for the main deck, not the lower deck.

    KC-X requires main deck military cargo, specifically 463L military pallets.

    the A330 mrtt in the video has a main deck isn’t even near strong enough to do that, it is just a passenger deck. Airbus has to design a completely main deck. Even their A330 Freighter does not have a floor strong enough to hold full weight 463L military pallets.

    I think what you’re referring to is a heavy weight lower deck pallet. If they tried to put that pallet at full weight on the main deck, it would soon become a lower deck pallet because the main deck wouldn’t hold it.

    The lower deck is much stronger than the main deck on the a330 passenger airplane.

  74. EG 22 December, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    Never fear, whith our vaunted procurement system ensuring the selection process and having been ably overseen by our dedicated congressmen, the tanker will be over budget, overweight, under capable, and over due

  75. nico 23 December, 2009 at 12:09 am #

    and don’t forget, lined their pockets. Great post,EG!

  76. warfighter 23 December, 2009 at 1:08 am #

    responded once, but it didn’t seem to go through, don’t really know why. but, I’ll try again.

    I should have been clearer when I said that airbus will have at least a 2+ year development period because of the KC-X cargo requirement reinforcing why I say northrop and airbus can’t possibly have a tanker that is ready now.

    The KC-X requires that 463L military pallets be able to be carried on on the main deck.

    the airbus a330 tanker in the video has a passenger deck which isn’t strong enough to carry 10,000 lb 463l pallets. the a330 passenger deck is much less capable than the a330 freighter deck, also currently in development and test. and even the a330 freighter isn’t strong enough to carry 10,000 military 463L pallets. the a330 freighter floor would also require redesign to make it strong enough.

    airbus and northrop claim that they have 2 KC-30 sitting in storage. both of those have passenger decks.

    as to your question,

    the pallet you referenced is for the lower deck, which has a much stronger floor that the main deck. one way you can easily tell is that the lower deck has a low ceiling and you’ll notice all the pallets listed are under 162 cm.

    That is why the USAF has required 463L pallets on the main deck. you can only store half height 463L pallets in the lower deck.

  77. warfighter 23 December, 2009 at 1:26 am #

    more info if you are interested in military 463L pallets.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/55-17/ch16.htm

    you will notice that the full height 463L pallet is 96 inches. That is the standard height for military pallets.

    the a330 mrtt lower deck can’t fit anything above 65″ because the ceiling is too low.

    right now you will hear airbus and northrop claiming that the KC-45 can carry military 463L pallets in the lower deck. but it is a half-truth. yes, they can, but only shorties.

    the average person wouldn’t know enough to ask the question, are they standard height 463L military pallets?

    and of course, airbus wouldn’t dare only just provide enough information to let the average person assume the wrong thing, would they?

  78. MHalblaub 23 December, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    ”Northrop’s KC-X role is the same as qantas has on the a330 mrtt, follow airbus direction to install the eads military equipment. plus northrop brings their political supporters and marketing to the party. “

    As you have mentioned before the KC-X is not comparable with the A330MRTT delivered to RAAF. The KC-30 was flown to Brisbane for modifications. The bare KC-45 without avionics and engines will be towed to the NG facility. NG has to install the military equipment due to security issues as you should know.

    “eads … have only delivered a couple of extremely simple hose and drogue a310 tankers to germany and canada. and that’s it. oh, and even being extremely simple they were many years late delivering and even later getting to operational status. not, unexpected for a first try.”
    Italy is still waiting since 2005 for a tanker with a boom and two simple wing pod refueling systems.

    “the only other airbus large military airplanes are the a400 and the a330mrtt and both of those are still just in the development phase and years away from delivery.”
    “oh, also airbus has done a couple of small cargo/troop planes, the c-212 and c-235/295. […] If you don’t believe me, search the internet. if you can find that they have finished development and delivered any other large military aircraft, post it here.“

    You already mentioned the A310MRTT. What about the Atlantic and C-160? What is large according to your logic and what is real military?

    “the demands of the warfighter are not the same as the demands of a woman sitting in row 13.“
    You remember the general’s word: “More!”

  79. dallas 23 December, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    MHalblaub,

    I don’t understand.

    Are you agreeing with warfighter that the KC-45 is not comparable to the A330MRTT? I thought from your previous note you implied that the KC-45 was flying, tested, and ready now.

  80. MHalblaub 23 December, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    ”the airbus a330 tanker in the video has a passenger deck which isn’t strong enough to carry 10,000 lb 463l pallets. the a330 passenger deck is much less capable than the a330 freighter deck, also currently in development and test. and even the a330 freighter isn’t strong enough to carry 10,000 military 463L pallets. the a330 freighter floor would also require redesign to make it strong enough.”

    http://www.fzt.haw-hamburg.de/pers/Scholz/dglr/hh/text_2008_02_14_GMF.pdf

    On page 14 you can see that how much a A330-200F can carry. Mind the sentence “Capability included in basic aircraft.” The aircraft is already flying. Have you seen a 767-200F flying?

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/55-17/ch16.htm
    you will notice that the full height 463L pallet is 96 inches. That is the standard height for military pallets.
    the a330 mrtt lower deck can’t fit anything above 65″ because the ceiling is too low. ”

    And as you can see from the link you posted. Each aircraft got its own restrictions. Just 65´´. Seems enough for RAAF.

    This is interesting:
    “The peacetime ACL of the C-5 based on 3,500 NM is 130,200 pounds, and its wartime ACL based on 3,500 NM is 151,400 pounds.
    The peacetime ACL of the C-17 based on 3,500 NM is 135,000 pounds.
    The peacetime and wartime ACL of the KC-10 based on 4,000 NM is 100,000 pounds.”.

    That’s less than a A330-200F (141,000 lbs at 4,000 NM).

    ”That is why the USAF has required 463L pallets on the main deck. you can only store half height 463L pallets in the lower deck. “

    Can you tell me how Air Force is going to assess this feature?

  81. warfighter 23 December, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    MHalblaub,

    The biggest problem having a exchange with you (and a few others on this thread) is that you either choose not to or really don’t understand what development of a military system entails. A330MRTT just flying means little. passing a little fuel in an initial test mode means little. A330 Freighter flying means little if that isn’t the airplane airbus is using for KC-X .

    Developing and DELIVERING a military airplane isn’t easy and the entire process takes many years. Even after the military airplanes are delivered it takes more years for the military customer to test and validate they are getting what they paid for before it ever becomes Operational. Operational is the really the key word in this whole topic.

    Airbus was supposed to deliver the aussie tanker in 2008. They ran into significant problems and then said 2009 (conveniently after the USAF was supposed to decide). Then the continued to run into the same problems and now are saying 2010 (conveniently, just after the USAF is supposed to decide). But, they still have significant problems with the refueling system and will be lucky to deliver to aussies in 2011 or 2012. The Aussies won’t get an Operational A330MRTT until 2012 or 2013.

    Ready Now is a sad joke on the american people.

    you’ve made too many questions and comments to reply back to all. and a number are irrelevant to the debate.

    I’ll try to hit a few and then I’m done with this thread.

    It’s not rewarding trying to discuss facts, when others are discussing innuendo.

    And, too frustrating to deal with people who as mcfly0570 pointed out earlier “he said that if you repeateed the same lie long enough, people end up believing it.” He said that about me, but the reality is northrop airbus and their supporters have said “ready now” so many times that there are folks that believe it without even having the slightest clue to what it means.

    1. northrop will have a facility in mobile doing essentially the same thing that qantas does in australia. yes, there will be security required for some KC-X equipment, but the majority of the installation is all airbus a330MRTT equipment and most of the other new equipment will likely be designed and produced by eads. not all, but some. northrop has to show some part of the deal for political reasons.

    2. the C-160 wasn’t an airbus airplane, it was done by Transall (a european company) and production ended in 1972. Nothing to do with airbus, unless your going to try claim that every military airplane ever produced in Europe is an airbus airplane. No clue what the atlantic was, but it doesn’t list as an airbus or eads airplane anywhere.

    3. whether the aussies care if they get a little lower deck cargo has nothing to do with the USAF requirements. The USAF needs the capability to carry full weight and full height standard military 463L pallet on the main deck.

    4. It should be easy assessment for them. the KC-X main deck cargo floor should be capable of carrying 10,000 lb 463L military pallets anywhere on the floor (period). You’re not suggesting that airbus would try to weasel out an not give the USAF an airplane that couldn’t carry 10,000 lb 463L pallets, are you?

    Last comment for this thread:

    This whole exchange started because I was trying to explain why it wasn’t a fair comparison to compare videos of the airbus aussie tanker (not KC-X) and the boeing KC-X tanker. And, that led to discusson that the statement “READY NOW” repeated over and over again by northrop, airbus and their supporters just wasn’t true.

    but, it is a futile discussion if the minds are closed.

    so long and farewell.

  82. mcfly0570 27 December, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    Small remark:

    the atlantic is a breguet built aircraft. breguet having been absorbed by dassault, you can, more or less, consider it as dassault aircraft by now..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breguet_Atlantic

    talking about pallets’ weight the aircraft should be able to carry… the main floor of the 330 cargo carries something like 15000lbs pallets (a message a few above yours stated it), so I guess that 10000lbs pallets should be manageable for them.

    What I find strange about your argument about airbus’s lack of room to accomodate military pallets and load in general, is that you clearly seem to argue in favor of boeing’s design which is smaller and has significantly less payload capability.

    What’s more, when USAF chose the airbus offer, boeing managed to cancel that decision by claiming that “they didn’t know that a bigger plane would be more interesting for the USAF”… yet, today they still keep proposing the 767, so, with no increase in size of the aircraft nor in its carrying capabilities.

    If teh USAF chooses again the Airbus design, what will they say to contest the decision? “geee… you’re serious? we thought you were joking.. let’s play again…”?

  83. puppethead 29 December, 2009 at 3:01 am #

    Why do all 179 planes have to be identical? Simple supply-standard variations will mean that #1 and #179 will have noticeable differences anyway, even if it’s just upgraded RAM chips in their avionics. If they need them urgently, how about 3 blocks (NG version):
    KC-45A – tanker + pax – equivalent to the RAAF KC-30A standard
    KC-45B – tanker + cargo – A330-200F with beefed-up floor, etc, to handle those full-size/-weight 463L pallets
    KC-45C – hardened tanker – for when you need to get up close and personal.

    Development would be incremental – by the time any orders are placed, the full KC-45A standard should be operational with the RAAF/RSAF/UAEAF, and the A330-200F should be up and running with the cargo lines. Development of the KC-45B would be concurrent, enabling a smooth switch-over from A to B production. Likewise C-model development and B to C production switch-over.

    As for Boeing’s equivalent, the Italian KC-767 would cover the block A scenario, but I’m not sure how it would go as a freighter, due to its smaller fuselage. Perhaps Boeing would have to offer a 767/777 combination, but whether a split buy is from one manufacturer or 2, it’s still a split buy, plus the KC-777 would take longer to get to B-model standard (starting today) than the KC-45 (it could possibly reach B-model standard around the same time as the KC-45, given concurrent development of all systems/structures refuelling, cargo and defensive). Regardless of bias, the KC-45 must be seen as closer to fruition than the USAF-standard KC-767 or KC-777, as it is currently flying at a much closer fit to the spec than either the KC-767 or the paper KC-777. Hell, I just wish they could a) make a decision and b) make it stick!

  84. dallas 29 December, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    Mcfly0570,

    he said that the 15,000 pound pallets could only go in the lower deck and not on the main deck of the airbus tanker.

    from the reports about the Air Force RFP it looks like they don’t want a large tanker to replace the KC-10s. Sounds like they want a medium tanker to replace the KC-135s.

  85. MHalblaub 5 January, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    Dear warfighter,

    You made several unsupported claims:
    „They [EADS] ran into significant problems […]they still have significant problems with the refueling system and will be lucky to deliver to aussies in 2011 or 2012. The Aussies won’t get an Operational A330MRTT until 2012 or 2013.”

    Can you explain what kind of problems that may be?
    The Aussies were so dissatisfied that they ordered a fifth aircraft.

    “Ready Now is a sad joke on the american people.”

    I think in no way better than “combat ready KC-7A7 in action”.
    (http://www.unitedstatestanker.com/).
    In the video linked to that statement you’ll see a CGI of a flying KC-7A7 without a cargo door on main deck. At 1:30 you can see that the cargo loader nearly scratches the engine. I’ve never seen before a main deck cargo door located that close to front of an engine or the wing root.

    “It’s not rewarding trying to discuss facts, when others are discussing innuendo.”
    OK, I’ll try to find some facts.
    “1. northrop will have a facility in mobile doing essentially the same thing that qantas does in australia. […]northrop has to show some part of the deal for political reasons.”
    Can you give me figures about the value of the parts delivered by EADS from Europe, the value of parts delivered from within the US, the value of the work done by EADS workers in Mobile, the value of the mission equipment NG is going to install and the value of the engines? Then a can better estimate what “some part” is.
    “2. the C-160 wasn’t an airbus airplane, it was done by Transall (a european company) and production ended in 1972”
    The C-160 Transall was built by a consortium including Aérospatiale and Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm. Both companies were merged with CASA to EADS. KC-10 never was a Boeing aircraft, was it? When did Boeing build the last KC-135?

    “No clue what the atlantic was,”

    The Breguet Atlantic is a long-range reconnaissance aircraft. Many companies of the consortium having built the aircraft merged to EADS.

    “3. The USAF needs the capability to carry full weight and full height standard military 463L pallet on the main deck.”

    I think that’ll be no problem for both aircrafts.

    “4. It should be easy assessment for them. the KC-X main deck cargo floor should be capable of carrying 10,000 lb 463L military pallets anywhere on the floor (period).”
    That capability would be nonsense (full stop). A KC-7A7 can just carry 12 full weight pallets and a KC-45 about 15 full weight pallets. To fly an unbalanced aircraft is irresponsible. Neither a C-130 nor a C-5 can carry full weight pallets all over the aircraft.

    “And, that led to discusson that the statement “READY NOW” repeated over and over again by northrop, airbus and their supporters just wasn’t true.”
    In my opinion the NG offer is years closer to “combat ready” or “ready now” than the offer by Boeing.

    Happy New Year @all!

  86. ptque 6 January, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    The interesting thing about all this conversation is that none of this really matters very much when it comes down to deciding a winner. The current RFP is structured to where the lowest cost bid wins. No consideration for weighting superior capability. You simply need to meet all the necessary requirements so that you will be considered compliant and come in at an overall lower cost than you competitor. Neither company would be silly enough to invest the amount of money to chase a big contract and produce a non-compliant bid. There’s way too much at stake here. Both companies have a wealth of experience producing products for the military. It will come down to cost and believability (can they do what they said they can do for the advetised price). I mention believability because that is where Being failed during the last go-around. I doubt they will make that mistake again. I can elaborate if anyone is interested. Considering the political nature of the situation, your’re probably better off just flipping a coin. Sad.

  87. Mary Horsely 17 November, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

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