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  • #16
    Originally posted by Verbal View Post
    You mean the 747-8F.

    The design of the 747-8I is ahead of schedule.
    Does that mean the 747-8I is progressing as expected or that there was ample padding in the schedule?

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Sabre View Post
      Does that mean the 747-8I is progressing as expected or that there was ample padding in the schedule?
      The whole 747-8 program schedule got pushed back by six months about a year ago. So based on the current schedule, the Intercontinental is ahead of schedule. Maybe.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Verbal View Post
        The whole 747-8 program schedule got pushed back by six months about a year ago. So based on the current schedule, the Intercontinental is ahead of schedule. Maybe.
        Would that be a definate maybe?

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Highkeas View Post
          I forcast on a split buy with quantities to be apportioned each year based on cost.

          If I was writing the KC-X requirements I would like to see a much commonality commonality as possible with other USAF aircraft for AFE spares and GSE.
          Disagree on the splt buy. More aircraft types in your inventory means a spares inventory on each type, and different training regimes. One type makes more sense than two.

          Commonality with other USAF aircraft - hmm - bit of a limited choice there -the only airframes large and fast enough to do the job in the existing inventory are the C-5 and C-17's. Both types would probably lose their rear ramps in any conversion to fit the boom. Both types would need much modification and the C-5 is out of production anyway (as will the C-17 shortly).

          KC-10 is out of production. as are any of the many 707 derivatives. C-40 is still in production (737 700) but is too small. C-32 (757) is out of production and possibly too small as well - besides the USAF only have 4 - not much of a saving to be made there. About the only existing aircraft in the inventory that is still in production, large enough and with the added bonus that the tanker conversion has already been made is the VC-25 (747 - 'Airforce one'). But its probably too big and again a very limited fleet (2) to make much of a difference on.

          I suppose a bomber based conversion may be possible - converting B52's into K-52's but many old airframes would need to be reactivated for this to occur. Not cost effective.

          About the only synergies that are realistically possible are to use the same CF6's that the C5M's use. BUT IMHO, that should not be stipulated up front as the competing bidders may have a better solution proposed.

          No, this will be a big enough buy that it should be chosen based on merit, THEN in the future when say the C32's are replaced, they should be chosen with a view to being common to this large tanker fleet.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by SYDCBRWOD View Post
            the VC-25 (747 - 'Airforce one'). But its probably too big and again a very limited fleet (2) to make much of a difference on.
            While true there are only 2 VC-25's, there are 5 more 747's in the USAF fleet with the possibility of 6 more being added. Still too small of a number to make any difference for the KC-X program.

            VC-25 based off the -200 x2

            E-4B based off the -200 x4
            *Expected to be replaced in 2015, so this might play into the tanker development, the reason the USAF took the 747 here was Boeing had 2 airliner orders canx, and Boeing proposed the aircraft as a deal for the replacement package for the EC-135J.

            YAL-1 based off the -400/F x1
            * If all testing goes well there will be 6 more produced.
            -Not an Airbus or Boeing guy here.
            -20 year veteran on the USN Lockheed P-3 Orion.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Verbal View Post
              You mean the 747-8F.

              The design of the 747-8I is ahead of schedule.
              Until they begin to experience problems with cheap composites
              Proudly serving WTF comments since 2004

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              • #22
                Northrop Declines Tanker Bid on ‘Financial Burdens’
                By Gopal Ratnam and Alison Fitzgerald



                Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Northrop Grumman Corp., the third- largest U.S. defense company, said it won’t bid for the $35 billion Air Force refueling tanker program unless the draft request for proposals is changed, citing “financial burdens.”
                The Pentagon has declined to amend the request and didn’t plan to “substantially” address Northrop’s concerns, Chief Executive Officer Wes Bush wrote in a Dec. 1 letter to Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter. “As a result, I must regrettably inform you that, absent a responsive set of changes in the final RFP, Northrop Grumman has determined that it cannot submit a bid,” he wrote.
                Northrop and partner European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. were vying against Boeing Co. to build the refueling tankers. The competition was restarted in September after Boeing successfully protested the award to Northrop and EADS last year. Northrop’s withdrawal may be a negotiating tactic, a Credit Suisse analyst said.
                The Pentagon’s request shows a “clear preference” for a smaller tanker than the modified Airbus A330 that Northrop plans to offer, and continuing to compete for the tankers would impose “contractual and financial burdens on the company that we simply cannot accept,” Bush wrote. Northrop spokesman Randy Belote confirmed the letter was sent to Carter.
                “The Department regrets that Northrop Grumman and Airbus have taken themselves out of the tanker competition and hope they will return when the final request for proposals is issued,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in an e-mail. “The Department wants competition but cannot compel the two airplane makers to compete.”
                ‘Posturing Move’
                Northrop’s threat to abandon the bid may be “merely a posturing move,” Robert Spingarn, an analyst at Credit Suisse in New York, wrote in a note to clients today. “We see Northrop’s letter as part of a negotiation process because Northrop has concluded it would have to bid the current RFP at a massive loss in order to win.”
                Northrop’s decision to pull out is a “familiar tactic intended to pressure the Pentagon into expanding the specifications of the tanker beyond its stated requirements,” Representative Norm Dicks, a Democrat from Washington, the home of Boeing’s manufacturing hub, said in a statement today. “I sincerely hope the Air Force will not yield to this pressure.”
                If Northrop and EADS choose not to bid, the Pentagon has the “full authority to issue a contract” to Boeing, Dicks said.
                179 Tankers
                The Air Force plans to buy 179 tankers starting in fiscal 2011, at the rate of about 15 planes a year. The contract award may be announced by June 2010, Carter said in September. Whitman said today the final bid request probably will be issued in January.
                Northrop has said the Air Force gave pricing data to Boeing from the previous tanker competition, compromising Northrop’s competitiveness. Northrop has said it asked the Pentagon for Boeing’s price information and was denied.
                Both competitors “have suggested changes to the request for proposals that would favor their offering,” Whitman wrote in the e-mail. “But the Department cannot and will not change the warfighter requirements for the tanker to give advantage to either competitor.”
                Boeing is “focused on constructive engagement with our customer in order to offer an advanced tanker that meets their need,” spokesman William Barksdale said in an e-mail.
                ‘A Sham’
                “The draft request for proposals is practically a sole source contract to Boeing,” Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, said in an e-mail. “It’s a sham. If the Air Force wants a true competition - one that aims to procure the best product for our warfighter -- it must fundamentally alter the current framework.” Northrop has said it would build an assembly plant in Alabama if it won the tanker competition.
                “The Obama administration has corrupted the tanker selection process with a blatantly unfair competition,” Alabama Governor Bob Riley, a Republican, said in a statement. “The question is why is this RFP so radically different than the one Northrop Grumman won last year?”
                .
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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Highkeas View Post
                  I forcast on a split buy with quantities to be apportioned each year based on cost.

                  If I was writing the KC-X requirements I would like to see a much commonality commonality as possible with other USAF aircraft for AFE spares and GSE.
                  Personally, I think European air forces - particularly those from countries with an interest in Airbus - missed a trick by ordering the F-35 before this was sorted. There should have been an element of "quid quo pro". France obviously can't be involved, but Germany and the UK can be.

                  I think a split order really is the best option, not least because it creates the seeds of an aeronautical industry in a part of the country (Alabama) not usually associated with aviation, plus all of the industries that go with that. And let's face it, Alabama is not one of the wealthier states.

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                  • #24
                    [QUOTE]I think a split order really is the best option, not least because it creates the seeds of an aeronautical industry in a part of the country (Alabama) not usually associated with aviation, plus all of the industries that go with that. And let's face it, Alabama is not one of the wealthier states./QUOTE]

                    But what about commonality?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by akerosid View Post

                      I think a split order really is the best option, not least because it creates the seeds of an aeronautical industry in a part of the country (Alabama) not usually associated with aviation, plus all of the industries that go with that. And let's face it, Alabama is not one of the wealthier states.
                      Disagree, that's putting politics ahead of need. This aircraft should be selected on merit, not on the need to provide jobs elsewhere. No split buy, this will mean two sets of planning guidelines, two sets of spare parts inventories, restrictions on cross posting crew and maintainers etc. For the sake of politics, you are saddling the airforce with operational and cost imposts. Remember, this is about defence of your nation, not re-electing polititians.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by SYDCBRWOD View Post
                        Disagree, that's putting politics ahead of need. This aircraft should be selected on merit, not on the need to provide jobs elsewhere.
                        I tend to agree with you, but this is loaded very much against the non-US bidder anyway. And if you end up with one supplier this time round, the Pentagon (and American taxpayer) is going to be charged a higher unit price due to the lack of a competitive bid.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by ced ampo View Post
                          But what about commonality?
                          We do already have KC-135s and KC-10s, for what it's worth.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by SYDCBRWOD View Post
                            Disagree, that's putting politics ahead of need. This aircraft should be selected on merit, not on the need to provide jobs elsewhere. No split buy, this will mean two sets of planning guidelines, two sets of spare parts inventories, restrictions on cross posting crew and maintainers etc. For the sake of politics, you are saddling the airforce with operational and cost imposts. Remember, this is about defence of your nation, not re-electing polititians.
                            Yes, but you can refuel two birds with one tanker (to mix a metaphor rather outrageously!) ... you still get the tankers; they'll each be able to refuel all the different types that need to be refuelled and on top of that, you'll "spread the love around" ... from Washington and states that are already well established in aviation, to others that aren't.

                            This is something which only happens one in a generation, if even that. Does the USAF REALLY need so many tankers and if you're going to spend that amount of money, why should it go to one provider; it should be spent in a manner which creates as much economic growth as possible.

                            I appreciate that the new competition is loaded in Boeing's favour, BUT let's bear in mind the cost DISADVANTAGE, over the 40+ year lives of these aircraft, of having the air force being totally reliant on one manufacturer. That's just asking to be screwed, one way or another. I'm not saying that as an anti-Boeing statement; Boeing clearly has experience in this field, BUT if a company has a complete monopoly on what will ultimately be an order worth over $100b, shouldn't there be some element of trying to keep the supplier on its toes; now, you can introduce all kinds of provisos in the contract, but really, there's no better way to do that than having competition.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by akerosid View Post
                              Yes, but you can refuel two birds with one tanker (to mix a metaphor rather outrageously!) ... you still get the tankers; they'll each be able to refuel all the different types that need to be refuelled and on top of that, you'll "spread the love around" ... from Washington and states that are already well established in aviation, to others that aren't.

                              This is something which only happens one in a generation, if even that. Does the USAF REALLY need so many tankers and if you're going to spend that amount of money, why should it go to one provider; it should be spent in a manner which creates as much economic growth as possible.

                              I appreciate that the new competition is loaded in Boeing's favour, BUT let's bear in mind the cost DISADVANTAGE, over the 40+ year lives of these aircraft, of having the air force being totally reliant on one manufacturer. That's just asking to be screwed, one way or another. I'm not saying that as an anti-Boeing statement; Boeing clearly has experience in this field, BUT if a company has a complete monopoly on what will ultimately be an order worth over $100b, shouldn't there be some element of trying to keep the supplier on its toes; now, you can introduce all kinds of provisos in the contract, but really, there's no better way to do that than having competition.
                              I'm confused that you seem to think there is no competition? That is the whole idea of the DoD issuing a blanket request to manufacturers to provide their model at the best price upfront. If the Dod is smart, the contract is signed for a fixed price, the larger the number of airframes the lower the cost etc.

                              Having two types of airframe in operation - how does that reduce costs? If the spare parts for one type of airframe get too expensive, its not as though you can just stop flying half your fleet, sell them and buy more of the cheaper type? That's just bizzare logic. The spares for these aircraft apart from the booms, pods and military avionics are going to be available on the open market for decades to come - probably longer for the A330 than the 767 given that it's the newer design. The same argument that is being run for the F136 engine program does not apply here. If Boeing for example tries to jack up the cost of spares, this would become immediately transparent as the commercial operators running 767's would be getting a cheaper price. Fine. Government either applies pressure through any one of the dozens of ongoing contracts/ programs or simply tells Boeing not to bother in future looking for any further DoD business.

                              Part of the initial runoff is future operating costs. This is easier to estimate than just about any other platform the airforce operates, as both types are in commercial service, so there are millions of flying hours on each type that can be used to assess costs. I would think based on the fact that both types are operated by airlines the world over that the operating costs in terms of airframe maintenance etc would be similar.

                              You haven't addressed the issue of having to have crews (aircrew and maintenance) converted to each different type, nor the need for different planning parameters given the different sizes of the aircraft.

                              Finally, what you are suggesting is that the US military put logic behind them to ensure that Uncle Sam spreads the largesse around? Weird. As a warfighter, I'd be hoping the DoD purchased the best piece to enable me to do my job in defence of my country, not used my organisation as a form of state sponsored welfare.

                              You may have noticed that the DoD has not issued an RFP for operating two types, just one because that is the gold medal solution. If they are forced to acept a compromise because of political interferance, that's not a good precedent to set.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by HalcyonDays View Post
                                We do already have KC-135s and KC-10s, for what it's worth.
                                Precisely why the USAF needs to choose one aircraft - winner takes all to replace the 135's, not a split buy.

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