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Naval Air Refueling Needs Deferred in Air Force Tanker Plan



 
 
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  #21  
Old May 15th 04, 02:54 AM
C Knowles
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They have already changed their mind and said that, well, maybe with the new
alloys, it's possible after all (Air Force magazine.) I would think that
with the possibility of supplying hundreds of KC-7E7s, they could make it
work. After all, the KC-135 and 707 are two very different airplanes, both
built at the same time, each benefiting from the other.
Curt


"sameolesid" wrote in message
om...
Guy Alcala wrote in message

...

company big bucks). We need to see if it makes more sense to buy 7E7s

at the
_start_ of their production cycle, rather than 767s at the end of

theirs.

I forgot to put in the link about what Boeing has said about the
unsuitability of the 7E7 in the tanker role...Of course they could be
lying thru their teeth in order to keep the 76 alive....

http://www.afa.org/magazine/april2004/0404watch.asp
However, a senior Boeing official said the 7E7 would be ill-suited for
tanker duty.
"The E in 7E7 stands for efficiency," he said. The efficiency comes
from the use of "very lightweight materials" to achieve long range.
The 7E7 will have too much flex in its wings and fuselage to be a good
tanker, the Boeing official said. "For a tanker, you want a really
rigid, sturdy platform, like the 767."



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  #22  
Old May 15th 04, 02:54 AM
C Knowles
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

They have already changed their mind and said that, well, maybe with the new
alloys, it's possible after all.
Curt

"sid" wrote in message
m...
Guy Alcala wrote in message

...
unlike the military, missing production and/or performance guarantees

cost the
company big bucks). We need to see if it makes more sense to buy 7E7s

at the

...Boeing has already stated that the 7E& is unsuitable for the tanker
role due to the extensive use of composites and tight design margins
in regards to weight.



  #23  
Old May 15th 04, 03:52 AM
Guy Alcala
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Guy Alcala" wrote in message
.. .
Sorry for the delayed reply -- it's been a busy week.

Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Guy Alcala" wrote in message


snip, trying to keep the length down to a reasonable level)

In
various conflicts we've had help from Canadian and Spanish Hornets,

plus
the
RAF, AMI, KDF, RNAF, Luftwaffe etc. They've helped us with _their_
multi-point
tankers on occasion.

And that help has been appreciated. But that does not really imply that

we
have to optimize *all* of our aircraft to perform multi-point refueling
right *now*.


I never said they _all_ had to be optimized right _now_, but I can see no

reason
not to buy new tankers set up that way from the start, as our need for

drogue
tanking is clearly inceasing (cf. the proposed USAF F-35B buy).


That reason would be (another) delay in delivery. Why do you think it will
be such a major fiasco if the first forty 767's delivered come in without
the multi-point capability? IIRC the first contract is projected to cover
that number of delivereies. Letting a spiral handle the multi-point
capability in the subsequent 60 aircraft is not acceptable?


This assumes we need 767s at all, so I'll try and consolidate the discussion
below instead of handling everything piecemeal.

snip lead-in re 135 age versus 767

Firstly, "only a few years ago" was before we (again) had to surge

tanker
support for two recent operations--that eats into remaining lifespan
(operating hours for the tanker force being about a third higher than

they
were pre-9/11).


Yes, an increase from an average utilization of 300 hours/yr. to 435

hrs/year.
Even at the latter rate the KC-135Es have a fatigue lifespan of 82 years

(36,000
hrs., vs. 39,000hrs for the KC-135Rs), and they're just a bit over halfway
through that.


You are forgetting the corrosion problems with the E models--corrosion tends
to reduce fatigue life, too, IIRC from my long-ago materials science
classes...


Corrosion is an issue with any a/c -- certainly the KC-135Rs as well, which
(after all) were 135As before, just as the Es were.

It sounds to me like the only way you are going to get that long
a life from the E's would be if you also replaced some structural components
(meaning you are going even further than the old R model mods, IIRC).


Why is corrosion and fatigue on the Es supposedly so much more serious than the
Rs, when they all started out as 135As?


Second, if you are going to replace the engines (and
associated controls), you are talking about a sizeable investment

(witness
the never-ending debate over the wisdom of reengining the B-52's, C-5's,
etc.) right there. Then you have to remember that the E models have also

not
undergone other avionics updates due to their age/limited lifespan
remaining, so if you want to keep them around you are going to have to

do
the whole PACER CRAIG thing, etc. In other words, turn them all into R
models--which does not sound like a real wise investment.


We don't know that's the case, as we haven't done the assessment. Indeed,

the
Defense Science Board just came out (see

http://www.airforcetimes.com/story.p...25-2904714.php

with a report that apparently says that upgrading some Es into Pacer Crag

Rs may
well be the most cost effective solution, while we take a couple of years

to do
a proper tanker requirements study. We apparently never finished the one

we
started in 2001, and we're now talking about doing one that will run from

2004 -
2006. What the DSB has said is that there is no need to imminently

replace the
Es - we've got time to look at our options. If you google on news and

search

defense science board tanker

you'll come up with several sources that provides sniuppets of detail. Th

e
actual report isn't available yet on the DSB website, apparently because

it
hasn't yet been briefed to Congress.


Wait a second--spend *more* money on trying to upgrade E's, while doing
*another* study to determine if/when/how we replace the E's?


What do you mean, _trying_ to upgrade the Es? We know perfectly well how to
upgrade them -we've got 400+ prototypes in service, after all, with the R&D all
paid for.

That sounds
like a fine...bureaucratic solution? Even the GAO was saying in the 1990's
that the USAF needed to get off its duff and start planning the replacement
of the KC-135E fleet.


Sure. It didn't say what to replace them with.

Studies are great--unfortunately, they have a tendancy
of becoming an ends-unto-themselves. We have a good proposal that the USAF
has supported--it puts new airframes into the mission much more quickly than
if we follow the "usual" method of purchasing new aircraft (of course, you
could use the F/A-22 or F-35 model...which would mean if we started that new
study right now, we might plan on seeing some new tankers around what...2015
at best?), and it takes advantage of an existing excess production
capability/inventory at the only US company currently building aircraft of
that class--sounds like a good plan to me.


Who says we need new airframes _right_ now? As we both agree, buying more pods
and converting more Rs to carry them is the best solution in the short term to
the navy/Allies problem, while converting Es to Rs _may_ be the best solution
for increasing our tanker force in a hurry. Or it may not be, butsince the USAF
never did an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA), we don't know.

It is beyond argument that the E models are the anchormen when it comes

to
MC rate (about 78% for the E models, versus 82% for the R models, based

upon
GAO figures for May 2003). Without reengining, and taking them up to the

R
standard, this MC rate difference will only grow--it drops below 75% and

I'd
think the USAF leadership will really start to howl. Corrosion

maintenace is
another (growing) concern, and it will eat up more and more money as we

try
to stretch out the E model's lifespan.


The corrosion problem is apparently under control. See the URL above.

From
what I recall of the GAO report, the O&M costs for the Es was averaging

$4.6
million a year vs. $3.7 million for the Rs


That is an additional $130 million bucks each *year* in operating cost (not
exactly chump-change...but even that is a "lowball" figure...). What would
be the operating cost of the 767? Less than the 135R (two engines versus
four, better fuel economy, more maintenance friendly subsystems, less
likelihood of inspection-and-repair work, more stringent (and more frequent)
inspections, etc.), that is for sure. So your operating cost per year
differential measured against the 767 is going to be greater. Add in the
cost of bringing those E's to a full PACER CRAIG R model level, and the cost
is going to be significant, to say the least. Not a wise investment plan,
IMO. If you managed your personal auto program in this manner, then you


would still be driving (only--no newer cars allowed) a 1960's era car, and
one which you had paid to drop new engines in, along with paying to modify
the emissions system to keep it in compliance (like the noise requirements
the KC-135's face), and here in 2004 you would be saying that instead of
buying a new vehicle, you'd be better off paying to essentially completely
rebuild the one you have and drop *another* new engine in it, along with
updating the other systems in the dash, maybe a new trannie to be compatible
with that new engine, etc. I don't think you would endorse such a plan (I
made the mistake once of trying to extend the life of a noble little Nissan
pick-up at the 170K point by dropping a *used* engine in it, and that was
*not* cheap--and I found that within 10K more miles I was *had* to break
down and buy a new vehicle).


If most people maintained their cars the way that the military does its tankers,
and only drove them 1/10th as much as the average 'driver', then upgading
themwith new componenets might well be the most cost effective solution for the
long-term. The numbers I have seen quoted for the E to R (plus Pacer Crag)
conversion vs. new 767 comparison imply that the conversion is indeed the most
cost-effective option, but without knowing every assumption made I'll withhold
judgement.

As to corrosion, in March 2003 the USAF's Deputy C/S for
Installations/Logistics testified before Congress: "Within the air refueling
fleet, the KC-135E-models have experienced the most maintenance and
corrosion problems and are more costly to maintain. With an average
aircraft age of 43 years, the KC-135E fleet is the oldest combat weapon
system in the Air Force inventory. It is also the oldest large fleet of
heavy jet aircraft in aviation history...The second critical measurement
that defines aircraft life is physical age. In this fleet, corrosion is a
function of age. Accurately predicting the extent of corrosion is difficult
and this lack of predictability severely limits the ability to efficiently
sustain aging fleets...the KC-135 is particularly challenging since its
1950s design, materials, and construction did not consider corrosion
prevention measures...The most critical KC-135 tanker metric is age, and the
most pressing KC-135 problems are corrosion and stress corrosion
cracking-both age related. Stress corrosion cracking is one of the most
difficult structural failures to predict." Are you saying that all of these
problems have been solved since that date?


Apparently they've been ameliorated to a considerable extent, so that this is no
longer a driving factor. And again, why is the E's corrosion problem supposedly
so much worse than the Rs, when they started from exactly the same airframe?

snip old ground

One of the things I object to is the assumption, without any analysis,

that the
767 buy is essential (the DSB says it isn't),


Well, the DSB also says the corrosion problem is something we can easily
discount,


Actually, I believe what they said was that the facility responsible for dealing
with it has learned to handle it so well that they are able to do the work much
quicker and cheaper than expected. I can't find the quote, unfortunately, but
I'm still looking.

and has apparently decided that *outsourcing* the tanker mission,
or buying second-hand aircraft, is the way to go. Outsourcing may be great
for the RAF, etc., but the USAF is another story, IMO. Then there is the
"spend the money on already used aircraft" approach--wonderful! As if
tossing more money down the O&M pit for the E model is not enough, we should
take the money we have and buy older airframes than we can afford? (And yes,
we can afford new tankers under the current deal being offered)


They've said that it _may_ be the way to go, and:

"The report by the Defense Science Board says that, contrary to Air Force
claims, corrosion of the aging tanker fleet is "manageable" and several
options exist to refurbish the fleet.

If officials are willing to tolerate increased maintenance costs, "you can
defer major near-term . . . investments" to replace the tanker fleet, the
report said.

"There is no compelling material or financial reason to initiate a
replacement program prior to the completion of" a lengthy analysis of
alternatives and other studies, the report said. "

[Quoted from the Oregonian's Web page, May 13th. Sure will be nice when we get
access to the actual report, rather than summaries of it flitered through the
news media]

or that it's the most
cost-effective solution (we don't know). Another thing that worries me

about
rushing into a 767 buy is that we'll be buying an a/c that is essentially

out of
production except for the USAF. The KC-135s were bought at the opposite
extreme. These a/c are going to last us at least 50 years, so spares are

going
to be a real problem down the road, as the commercial operators are

already
starting to look for replacements. Italy and Japan won't have a problem,
because they're each only going to buy airframes in the single-digits so

they'll
be able to buy adequate spares from cannibalised airframes, but the USAF

is
talking about buying at least 100, possibly with more to come.


The biggest things you have to buy spares for are the avionics (which are
more plug-and-play than they were in the 135 era), and engine related
systems. There are a lot of 767's that will remain in service in the
civilian sector for decades to come--they will need spares too, and in the
end they become another source for spares for the KC version. I don't see
this as a deal-breaker.


Given that airlines are already looking to replace their 767s ( a 20-year old
design, let's remember) with the next generation, and given that world oil
production is predicted to peak sometime in the 2007 (the pessimists) -- 2040
(the optimists) period, considerably improved fuel consumption may well drive
the mass replacement of older a/c, just as the post 9/11 slump did. It's
definitely an issue.


When the 767 deal was first mooted, it was really the only in-production

(US)
a/c in the size class available in the proper time frame. That is no

longer the
case, as the 7E7 will be entering service in 2008 (this is a commercial

a/c, and
unlike the military, missing production and/or performance guarantees cost

the
company big bucks). We need to see if it makes more sense to buy 7E7s at

the
_start_ of their production cycle, rather than 767s at the end of theirs.

Which
is better suited for the role?


Is the extra M0.05 in cruise a major advantage?


Not likely.


Depends on the specific mission, and more importantly, what percentage of the
mission spectrum does that particular mission occupy. There are missions now
where the faster KC-135 is better suited than a KC-767 would be, and others
where the latter comes out ahead.

Does the higher composite content significantly decrease the corrosion

issues
down the road?


Maybe, but doubtfull, as corrosion awareness was better incorporated into
the 767 manufacture than it was in the 135.


And will be even more incorporated into the 7E7, especally since (AFAIK) there
is no corrosion of composites yet known.

How about the 20% better fuel efficiency?


Sounds good, but then again you have to examine the interval between the
time the 767 would be available and the (elsewhere not mentioned, AFAIK) 7E7
tanker version (expect what, a five or six year period at best before the
first tanker 7E7 could be available?)...I'll be kind and use a five year
period, at 131 E models costing maybe $2 million each more per year in
operating costs than the 767, that works out to around $1.3 billion in extra
operating costs? That is a hell of a lot of gas...


Check out how much the KC-767 tankers cost.



Respective runway and
ramp space requirements? PFI vs. military? Etc.


Lose the outsourcing option from the get-go, IMO. Won't work for an
organization with the scope of tanking requirements that the USAF has.


Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Air bridge and training tanking doesn't require
military crewing. It's certainly an option worth looking at for at least some
tanking requirements, if not all.

snip lead-in, about fewer a/c to provide the same number of drogues

That does not necessarily hold true. If the requirement to provide
hose/drogue capability in-theater is 8that* important in a given case,

you
send the KC-10's and multi-point 135R's forward, and use the other

aircraft
(i.e., these pre-improvement 767's) to handle the usual airbridge

su[pport
operations into the theater.


I think KC-10s are too important as deployment tankers early on in a

conflict to
use them in the tactical role. After all, that's what we bought them for,
precisely so we could get to the Middle East from the US non-stop, if we

were
refused landing/overflight rights. Let's face it - being on good terms

with
Portugal (Lajes) and Spain (Moron) has become more important to us than

ever.
Besides, KC-10s take up a lot of space, and need stronger runways than

135s or
767s (don't know how the 7E7 stacks up), which may limit its deployment

options.

I said, "If the requirement to provide hose/drogue capability in-theater is
*that* important". We have the capability of providing substantial
hose/drogue capability if we have to--if we really need more, then buy more
kits for the existing R's. No matter how you cut it, the decision to not
initially provide multi-point capability in the first forty 767's is not
going to be a critical, or even serious, failure in terms of our operational
capability.


We agree that buying more kits for the Rs and/or modifying more than 45 Rs to
use them is probably the best idea in the short-term.

So what you really seem to be saying is that
the 767's, even without initial multi-point capability, offer an

improvement
to the current level of support that can be afforded to the USN?


Yes, they do, but the question remains, are 767s rather than upgraded Es

and
later 7E7s the best way to go; what's the best mix, what % of tankers

need to
do which roles, how will the advent of UCAVs affect the need for tankers

and the
type mix, what effect will USAF F-35 buys have, etc. This needs to be

properly
studied.


Again with the neverending studies? :-)


What never-ending study? The USAF failed to do such a study in the first place,
especially an AoA. The latter was predicted to take about 18 months, but the
head of AQ&L (Wynne) says they'll probably push it and complete it by December
or so.

snip lead-in about buying multidrogue capability up front rather than adding it
later

Whoah there, hoss. If the R&D is being picked up elsewhere (by virtue of
those foreign sales you mention), that advantage does not go away

because we
dicide not to implement the multi-point system up-front. That R&D effort

is
still applicable. And you are avoiding the fact that it will slow the
delivery timeline if we have to go with this optimization up-front.


I'm aware that the R&D will still apply, I'm worried about the materiel

costs,
which are only going to go up. If we need the capability, then let's just

buy
it and get the purchase out of the way, instead of paying inflated prices

later.

Even if it delays entry further, meaning you are also going to be paying
that higher O&M cost for the remaining E's even longer...?


If that allows us to make a better decision for the long term, sure. We can get
upgraded Es (Pacer Crag Rs) into service faster than we can get 767s.

If that means we buy a/c at a slower
rate (and more refueling pods), good.

Good? I disagree. So does the USAF, from what I have read.


The DSB doesn't, and Rumsfeld said that he was waiting on a couple of

reports,
including theirs, before making a decision.


I am not as impressed with the summary of the DSB report as you are (but
then again, I tend to weigh the advice of the folks actually tasked to fly
the missions a bit more than I do the DSB, GAO, etc).


Seeing as how the DSB works for the Pentagon, and Rumsfeld is the guy who tasked
them to do the study back in February, I put a bit more weight on their advice
than you do. Especially since opponents of the 767 deal (McCain to thefront)
believed that the DSB was much too cosy with the military and Boeing (the DSB
Chairman had to recuse himself because he was also a paid Boeing consultant and
had been mentioned in internal company e-mails back in Dec.2002/Jan. 2003 as
willing to help push the deal), and fully expected them to support it. I
believe McCain's words were something along the lines of a "fox guarding the
chickens." So yeah, when even they come out and say they that we've got time to
do the study and the corrosion is manageable, I'm inclined to believe them.

We plan to be operating from more austere
bases, which tend to be somewhat limited in ramp space, so anything we

can
do
that limits that is a plus. That was indeed one of the USAF's

arguments
against
the A330 -- that it took up too much ramp space while providing no

more
refueling stations than the 767. They considered the A330's somewhat
greater
offload irrelevant for the tactical refueling mission; they were

concerned
with
the number of booms/drogues on station while minimizing the ground
footprint. If
that logic is valid, then buying dual rather than single-point

capability
is
even more valuable as a way of minimizing the ground footprint. See
below.

In the long run, yes. But is it worth slowing delivery up-front even

further
than it already has been slowed?


According to the DSB, we have the time.


The DSB that claims, contrary to what the USAF LTG testified last year, that
the corrosion problem is readily in-hand...?


the DSB's claim is based on the USAF unit doing the corrosion controls data,
let's remember. The situation isn't static, and they've gotten better at it
since last year.

And thinks out-sourcing tanker
requirements is a fine idea?


They're saying it's a viable option, it should be looked at in an AoA, and we've
got the time to do so. No more, no less.

I am not buying into either, at this point.


Until the AoA is actually done, we have nothing to base a decision on other than
"because I think so," which IMO is a pretty poor way to spend billions of
dollars.

snip

But they oddly don't have a problem with the USMC buying C-130J's to

augment
their current tanker fleet.


Of course not, because a KC-130 (any flavor) clearly isn't a replacement

for a
jet tanker. It meets USMC needs for a STOL tanker/transport that can also
refuel helos (AFSOC too), and for countries that also operate C-130s it's

a
relatively cheap, easy way to get some A/A tanking capability; it's

certainly
better than nothing, as Argentina can attest. But it's a relatively

inefficient
tanker for fast jets, lacking range, speed, cruise altitude, and offload
capability.


I remain unconvinced that AMC would throw a hissy fit if the USN wanted to
include a secondary tanking capability to its C-40B's.


More likely, they'd suffer a rupture from laughing at the USN devoting such a
large proportion of its budget to paying the NRE for so few a/c of such limited
performance (as tankers).

Personally, I doubt the USAF would have put up a
fight if the USN had said they wanted to incorporate a secondary

refueling
capability in their C-40B's; just as the USN has been strangely silent

over
the USAF talking about recreating an in-house stand-off jamming

capability.

There is no way in hell that the USN would pay the R&D NRE for a tanker

mod for
their C-40s, with all their other needs.


Exactly. So the lack of multi-point refuelers must not be such a critical
one, eh?


Since no one else is even considering buying 737s as tankers, and the navy is
only buying a few (somewhere between 5 and 8, as best I can tell), the navy
would have to be nuts to make that kind of investment for so few a/c, even
assuming that they would be reasonable tankers. Given their limited
payload/range and performance, I have my doubts they would be, but it's moot.

fuel to forward bases

As to fuel availability, I was referring to the ready availability of

the
JP-8 in bulk form--and it won't necessarily be there (always) in the
quantity you want at those "remote" bases you refer to unless we haul it

in
ourselves.


JP-5 presumably, if they're refueling navy a/c that are operating from

CVs. At
least, that's my understanding, but maybe some of the KC-135 people here

can
comment.


I thought we had standardized on JP-8 across the force--ISTR this came up
before, but I can't remember the final outcome.


I believe either here or on s.m.n. someone stated that a/c couldn't be struck
below if they;d beenfueledwith JP-8, until they had been refueled several times
with JP-5. For land ops (training) the navy has gone to JP-8.

Regardless, be it JP-5 or
JP-8, you can't count on it being available in a remote operating location,
in the volume required, unless you plan on being able to haul it in
yourself.


Sure, which is why you'll need a tanker (the ship variety).

Usually meaning by ship. A second ship can haul quite a few
pieces of ordnance, right?


Sure, but getting fuel to an airfield is relatively easy (pipelines);

moving
ordnance tends to require a lot more handling and surface transport.


Lots of trucks available for lease out there in the world, even in a lot of
"remote" areas (any remote are having a pipeline capability likely has a
decent truck inventory available in the general area)--or you could use a
transportation company (60 line haul tractors and 120 40-ton trailers) from
the Army (one of our TC companies that was attached to my old BN HHD did
exactly that to support B-52 operations out of Saudi Arabia during ODS). If
none of this is doable in your opinion, then IMO you have just shot your
"gotta have multi-point capability" in the foot as well, since it would mean
that we can't plan on being able to operate the tankers within range of the
receivers in the first place.


Moving ordnance by truck requires offload from ships and lots of handling
equipment (Ro-Ro helps here), whereas every airfield of adequate size to handle
a jet tanker will already have a fuel delivery system in place. We'd only need
(assuming it's not a military field) to supply the fuel, not the delivery
system. Even assuming that the logistic infrastructure exists to move the
ordnance, it's still relatively slow, and requires a lot more organizational
effort to get things going than just pulling a tanker up to a pipeline terminal
and starting to pump.

If you are tied to getting basic resources into
the TO, you might as well be "in for a penny, in for a pound". And yes,

the
use of PGM's has resulted in a drastic reduction in the volume of

ordnance
that has to be transported into the TO (ISTR Franks noting that during

OEF
we were effectively engaging as many targets per day as we did during

ODS,
with about 10% of the average daily sortie rate compared to the earlier
conflict). As we move towards use of the 500 pound JDAM, and even moreso

the
SDB, the need for ordnance (in terms of volume/weight) will shrivel even
further.


PGMs certainly help, but the problem is the variety of A/G ordnance that

may be
required. A/A, there's two types of missiles and gun ammo. A/G, even

with PGMs
there's lots of different kinds, and the usage rates are far higher.


I'd think if we have the ability to provide both categories of support
within the confines of a CVN and supporting TAKO (isn't that the acronym?)


for the assualt predicated, we also have the ability of transporting the
same quantity of fuel and ammo to an airfield on dry land.


In what time frame, and why would you want to move them again, when the CV
already has the infrastructure in place, lacking only sufficient tankers to
reach the targets? Down the road, sure we can start to bring in ordnance for
land-based air, but early in a conflict we've usually got the navy plus long
range USAF assets.

The increasing
use of PGM's even makes it a realistic option to deliver ordnance to the
base by air--something that was unrealistic in the dumb-bomb age (witness
the poor ability to do so over The Hump for the B-29's trying to operate out
of China during WWII).


They certainly allow us to start some level of sustained ops sooner, but we'll
need ship-transported ordnance quantities if we're having to deal with major
attacks.

snip

I'd posit that using the basing options we already have in-hand (Guam,

Diego
Garcia, Fairford, and CONUS), the B-1, B-52, and B-2 can acheive this

pretty
much anywhere in the world *now*.


In that case, let's dump the fighters altogether ;-)


No, but consider maybe the option of letting the CVN provide only the
fighter and EW support (both requiring less tanking support than if they had
to provide the complete strike package), and you acheive even greater
tonnage of ordnance delivered per strike, and reduce that hose/drogue
requirement to boot... :-)


Certainly worth looking at, although the navy might object to having to convert
all their shiny new F-18Fs to F-18Gs already;-)

snip

As I have said a couple of times, I
do
see a use for the CVN's--but barking that they just *have* to have every
tanker in the USAF at their beck-and-call does not do much to support

the
argument that they are such a critical resource, does it?


No one (or at least, not I) is claiming that they every USAF tanker has to

be
available to support the USN, but clearly, an increase is required. IIRR,

the
GAO report stated we used 150 KC-135s in OAF and OIF; given the large

percentage
of USN/Marine plus allied sorties in both of those ops, having at best

only 40
KC-135s with dual point drogues seems to be inadequate.However, if the

tanker
requirements study says we don't need more, I'll accept it, but the study

needs
to be _done_.


Then your cheapest, and quickest, solution goes back to merely buying more
multi-point kits for use by additional 135R's.


And I've already said that I'm in agreement with this, especially so we can look
at if we even need the KC-767 vs. some other option. We apparently have 33
drogue kits for 45 KC-135Rs, so upping the number of kits to more closely
approximate the KC-135R MC rate, rather than the .73 rate indicated by the
above, should certainly be looked at for starters. Converting some Es to Rs and
adding the drogue kits at the same time won't take any Rs out of service.

snip

And are getting ready to relocate our NATO-assigned assets further east,
too, to places like maybe Hungary and Rumania, etc. In the Pacific we

have
Guam, the ROK bases, Okinawa. Diego Garcia in the IO is the one that is
truly the most limited in terms of ramp space, but the bases in

the -stans
you mention make it a bit less critical than has been the case in the

past.

The $64 million question being whether those bases will be available to us

when
we need them. Last I checked there'll all in muslim countries with

regimes that
are more or less unstable. Given our current unpopularity in the muslim

world,
I don't think we should count on such bases being available.


Then we adjust, and we have the CVN's as insurance--with those additional
modified R models, if needed.


Agreed that more Rs is likely the best answer in the short run.

snip

Provided we have sufficient space for all those tanker a/c in theater,
fine, but
it's still wasteful to use two a/c and crews to do the job of one. Of
course,
if you're cycling flights of two constantly through the tankers, no

big
deal,
but gorilla packages are another matter. And we may well need to help
tank our
allies (assuming we have any). Many of them are buying their own
multi-point
drogue tankers now, which helps both of us if they're along for the

ride.

That last bit is true. But I think you may be forgetting that during
contingency operations we tend to have to operate a number of tanker

tracks
a long way from the TO (i.e., the Atlantic air-bridge, or a Pacific

version,
depending upon where the TO is), so those 767's could be a major

contributor
without even having to enter the local airspace. The real issue is how

long
we can drag out the 135E fleet; there are 131 of them remaining in

service
now, with engines that were stripped from old commercial transports some
fifteen or twenty years ago as an "interim" fix, corrosion concerns, and
obscelescent avionics. Their MC rate can only really continue to drop,

which
is why yes, we can replace 131 aircraft with 100 newer aircraft and come

out
in pretty good shape.


Or it might make sense to upgrade them all to 135R/Pacer Crag; I read one

quote
somewhere of the cost savings going that route compared to the 767 buy --

AIR
it was a couple of billion dollars over the life of the deal. But that

all
needs to be studied so we know.


Argh! More study?


No, the same one that the USAF shoud have done back in 2001, but didn't.

Hell, just go ahead and plunk down the money and make them
all R's--we'll continue to pay the higher operating cost (even the R is
going to cost more to operate than the 767) for the next forty years--unless
wings start falling off, or the operating budget gets cut (not like that has
not happened, and rather recently (1990's) too), etc. Personally, I don't
see that as the best option.


I'm sure the operating cost will be higher, but then the purchase cost is a hell
of a lot lower. Fuel burn between a 135R and a KC-767's probably a wash;
CFM-56s in one and CF6s in the other, with the total thrust higher in the case
of the CF6s.

Guy

  #24  
Old May 15th 04, 04:03 AM
Guy Alcala
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sameolesid wrote:

Guy Alcala wrote in message ...

company big bucks). We need to see if it makes more sense to buy 7E7s at the
_start_ of their production cycle, rather than 767s at the end of theirs.


I forgot to put in the link about what Boeing has said about the
unsuitability of the 7E7 in the tanker role...Of course they could be
lying thru their teeth in order to keep the 76 alive...


Thanks for the link, and yeah, I'll be interested to see if miraculously the 7E7 is found to be an ideal solution for
tanking, if the 767 dies.

http://www.afa.org/magazine/april2004/0404watch.asp
However, a senior Boeing official said the 7E7 would be ill-suited for
tanker duty.
"The E in 7E7 stands for efficiency," he said. The efficiency comes
from the use of "very lightweight materials" to achieve long range.


As opposed to the 767, where the '6' apparently stands for inefficiency, which uses super-heavy materials to achieve
short-range;-) And of course, strengthening the 7E7 wherever it might be necessary for the tanker role is absolutely
impossible from an engineering standpoint;-) Watch this space to see if the world (or at least Boeing's part of it)
suddenly turns upside down.

The 7E7 will have too much flex in its wings and fuselage to be a good
tanker, the Boeing official said. "For a tanker, you want a really
rigid, sturdy platform, like the 767."


I can't speak for the 767, but the wings of the 757 I took a ride in flexed noticeably, if not in BUFF league. Couldn't
say for the fuselage. Not that such an eyeball observation has any validity whatsoever in engineering terms.

Guy

  #25  
Old May 15th 04, 04:14 AM
Kevin Brooks
external usenet poster
 
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"sameolesid" wrote in message
om...
"Kevin Brooks" wrote in message

...

Argh! More study? Hell, just go ahead and plunk down the money and make

them
all R's--we'll continue to pay the higher operating cost (even the R is
going to cost more to operate than the 767) for the next forty

years--unless
wings start falling off, or the operating budget gets cut (not like that

has
not happened, and rather recently (1990's) too), etc. Personally, I

don't
see that as the best option.

Still clinging to the past I see Brooks


Well, you seem to be changing--your ID, that is. You still get plonked,
though.

Brooks



  #26  
Old May 15th 04, 05:19 AM
Guy Alcala
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Posts: n/a
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C Knowles wrote:

They have already changed their mind and said that, well, maybe with the new
alloys, it's possible after all (Air Force magazine.)


To quote Gomer,"Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!";-) Got a link? I can't find it
in the current (May) issue online.

I would think that


with the possibility of supplying hundreds of KC-7E7s, they could make it
work. After all, the KC-135 and 707 are two very different airplanes, both
built at the same time, each benefiting from the other.


You'd certainly think so.

Guy


  #27  
Old May 15th 04, 06:25 AM
Kevin Brooks
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"Guy Alcala" wrote in message
. ..
Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Guy Alcala" wrote in message
.. .
Sorry for the delayed reply -- it's been a busy week.

Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Guy Alcala" wrote in message


snip, trying to keep the length down to a reasonable level)

In
various conflicts we've had help from Canadian and Spanish

Hornets,
plus
the
RAF, AMI, KDF, RNAF, Luftwaffe etc. They've helped us with

_their_
multi-point
tankers on occasion.

And that help has been appreciated. But that does not really imply

that
we
have to optimize *all* of our aircraft to perform multi-point

refueling
right *now*.

I never said they _all_ had to be optimized right _now_, but I can see

no
reason
not to buy new tankers set up that way from the start, as our need for

drogue
tanking is clearly inceasing (cf. the proposed USAF F-35B buy).


That reason would be (another) delay in delivery. Why do you think it

will
be such a major fiasco if the first forty 767's delivered come in

without
the multi-point capability? IIRC the first contract is projected to

cover
that number of delivereies. Letting a spiral handle the multi-point
capability in the subsequent 60 aircraft is not acceptable?


This assumes we need 767s at all, so I'll try and consolidate the

discussion
below instead of handling everything piecemeal.

snip lead-in re 135 age versus 767

Firstly, "only a few years ago" was before we (again) had to surge

tanker
support for two recent operations--that eats into remaining lifespan
(operating hours for the tanker force being about a third higher

than
they
were pre-9/11).

Yes, an increase from an average utilization of 300 hours/yr. to 435

hrs/year.
Even at the latter rate the KC-135Es have a fatigue lifespan of 82

years
(36,000
hrs., vs. 39,000hrs for the KC-135Rs), and they're just a bit over

halfway
through that.


You are forgetting the corrosion problems with the E models--corrosion

tends
to reduce fatigue life, too, IIRC from my long-ago materials science
classes...


Corrosion is an issue with any a/c -- certainly the KC-135Rs as well,

which
(after all) were 135As before, just as the Es were.

It sounds to me like the only way you are going to get that long
a life from the E's would be if you also replaced some structural

components
(meaning you are going even further than the old R model mods, IIRC).


Why is corrosion and fatigue on the Es supposedly so much more serious

than the
Rs, when they all started out as 135As?


I'd assume they are both going to exhibit corrosion problems, but didn't the
R's go through a significant IRAN as part of their upgrade? The USAF, per
those comments from the three-star last year, seems most concerned with the
E's.



Second, if you are going to replace the engines (and
associated controls), you are talking about a sizeable investment

(witness
the never-ending debate over the wisdom of reengining the B-52's,

C-5's,
etc.) right there. Then you have to remember that the E models have

also
not
undergone other avionics updates due to their age/limited lifespan
remaining, so if you want to keep them around you are going to have

to
do
the whole PACER CRAIG thing, etc. In other words, turn them all into

R
models--which does not sound like a real wise investment.

We don't know that's the case, as we haven't done the assessment.

Indeed,
the
Defense Science Board just came out (see

http://www.airforcetimes.com/story.p...25-2904714.php

with a report that apparently says that upgrading some Es into Pacer

Crag
Rs may
well be the most cost effective solution, while we take a couple of

years
to do
a proper tanker requirements study. We apparently never finished the

one
we
started in 2001, and we're now talking about doing one that will run

from
2004 -
2006. What the DSB has said is that there is no need to imminently

replace the
Es - we've got time to look at our options. If you google on news

and
search

defense science board tanker

you'll come up with several sources that provides sniuppets of detail.

Th
e
actual report isn't available yet on the DSB website, apparently

because
it
hasn't yet been briefed to Congress.


Wait a second--spend *more* money on trying to upgrade E's, while doing
*another* study to determine if/when/how we replace the E's?


What do you mean, _trying_ to upgrade the Es? We know perfectly well how

to
upgrade them -we've got 400+ prototypes in service, after all, with the

R&D all
paid for.


No, no, no--that was not what I meant. My point is that at this point
tossing *more* money into the upgrade of the E models seems a bit
shortsighted, when that same money (along with the savings accrued from
cheaper operating costs) could go towards purchasing new-build airframes. We
did not have that option (or the money to make it happen) available back
when the original R program started--we do now.


That sounds
like a fine...bureaucratic solution? Even the GAO was saying in the

1990's
that the USAF needed to get off its duff and start planning the

replacement
of the KC-135E fleet.


Sure. It didn't say what to replace them with.


Nope. The USAF has said what they want to replace them with--you have no
trust in the USAF?


Studies are great--unfortunately, they have a tendancy
of becoming an ends-unto-themselves. We have a good proposal that the

USAF
has supported--it puts new airframes into the mission much more quickly

than
if we follow the "usual" method of purchasing new aircraft (of course,

you
could use the F/A-22 or F-35 model...which would mean if we started that

new
study right now, we might plan on seeing some new tankers around

what...2015
at best?), and it takes advantage of an existing excess production
capability/inventory at the only US company currently building aircraft

of
that class--sounds like a good plan to me.


Who says we need new airframes _right_ now? As we both agree, buying more

pods
and converting more Rs to carry them is the best solution in the short

term to
the navy/Allies problem, while converting Es to Rs _may_ be the best

solution
for increasing our tanker force in a hurry. Or it may not be, butsince

the USAF
never did an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA), we don't know.


Upgrading to R's does not do a great deal towards "increasing our tanker
force"--it instead is more of a "spend some money now to reduce O&M costs in
the long run, and keep the force from being *reduced* as E models break". Of
course, the 767 option does ptretty much the same thing--albeit with an even
greater reduction in operating costs, and a significantly better possibility
of future upgrades (at what point does it become impractical to keep trying
to modernize a 43 year old airframe?).


It is beyond argument that the E models are the anchormen when it

comes
to
MC rate (about 78% for the E models, versus 82% for the R models,

based
upon
GAO figures for May 2003). Without reengining, and taking them up to

the
R
standard, this MC rate difference will only grow--it drops below 75%

and
I'd
think the USAF leadership will really start to howl. Corrosion

maintenace is
another (growing) concern, and it will eat up more and more money as

we
try
to stretch out the E model's lifespan.

The corrosion problem is apparently under control. See the URL above.

From
what I recall of the GAO report, the O&M costs for the Es was

averaging
$4.6
million a year vs. $3.7 million for the Rs


That is an additional $130 million bucks each *year* in operating cost

(not
exactly chump-change...but even that is a "lowball" figure...). What

would
be the operating cost of the 767? Less than the 135R (two engines versus
four, better fuel economy, more maintenance friendly subsystems, less
likelihood of inspection-and-repair work, more stringent (and more

frequent)
inspections, etc.), that is for sure. So your operating cost per year
differential measured against the 767 is going to be greater. Add in the
cost of bringing those E's to a full PACER CRAIG R model level, and the

cost
is going to be significant, to say the least. Not a wise investment

plan,
IMO. If you managed your personal auto program in this manner, then you


would still be driving (only--no newer cars allowed) a 1960's era car,

and
one which you had paid to drop new engines in, along with paying to

modify
the emissions system to keep it in compliance (like the noise

requirements
the KC-135's face), and here in 2004 you would be saying that instead of
buying a new vehicle, you'd be better off paying to essentially

completely
rebuild the one you have and drop *another* new engine in it, along with
updating the other systems in the dash, maybe a new trannie to be

compatible
with that new engine, etc. I don't think you would endorse such a plan

(I
made the mistake once of trying to extend the life of a noble little

Nissan
pick-up at the 170K point by dropping a *used* engine in it, and that

was
*not* cheap--and I found that within 10K more miles I was *had* to break
down and buy a new vehicle).


If most people maintained their cars the way that the military does its

tankers,
and only drove them 1/10th as much as the average 'driver', then upgading
themwith new componenets might well be the most cost effective solution

for the
long-term. The numbers I have seen quoted for the E to R (plus Pacer

Crag)
conversion vs. new 767 comparison imply that the conversion is indeed the

most
cost-effective option, but without knowing every assumption made I'll

withhold
judgement.


I don't buy that. My personal experience was in the more mundane area of
military trucks (we used various models in the combat engineer units). As a
company commander (late eighties/early nineties) I had dump trucks in my
unit that were manufactured in the late sixties and had pretty low mileage.
Somewhat like the KC-135 fleet, but a bit younger. Guess what? We still had
problems resulting from *age* (sometimes less use is not a *good* thing for
mechanical equipment, especially anything that has hydraulics), and we soon
(not long after I gave up command) faced a "train wreck" in terms of
supportability (the Army found it uneconomical to continue carrying the
spare parts inventory for the oldest trucks)--with no replacements
immediately available. Not unlike the situation facing the KC-135, IMO. If
the military services managed equipment like civilian entities do ( run it
to the point of best return in terms of depreciation, then unload it and buy
new equipment), the KC-135 would have been gone long ago, before corrosion
(among other factors) ever became a serious concern. That would be one
extreme, IMO--the other being what we are doing, in acting as if the KC-135
(or the B-52, for that matter) will be able to fly forever. We stretched the
KC's by doing the R conversion a few years back, when there was no option to
buy new airframes. Now there is an alternative to our continuing to slap
hundred-mile-an-hour tape on old equipment in hopes of keeping it viable
forever, and "carpe diem" would be an advisable course of action IMO. Again,
at what point do you stop tossing money into trying to keep the E models
viable, and instead commit that money to recapitalizing the fleet?


As to corrosion, in March 2003 the USAF's Deputy C/S for
Installations/Logistics testified before Congress: "Within the air

refueling
fleet, the KC-135E-models have experienced the most maintenance and
corrosion problems and are more costly to maintain. With an average
aircraft age of 43 years, the KC-135E fleet is the oldest combat weapon
system in the Air Force inventory. It is also the oldest large fleet of
heavy jet aircraft in aviation history...The second critical measurement
that defines aircraft life is physical age. In this fleet, corrosion is

a
function of age. Accurately predicting the extent of corrosion is

difficult
and this lack of predictability severely limits the ability to

efficiently
sustain aging fleets...the KC-135 is particularly challenging since its
1950s design, materials, and construction did not consider corrosion
prevention measures...The most critical KC-135 tanker metric is age, and

the
most pressing KC-135 problems are corrosion and stress corrosion
cracking-both age related. Stress corrosion cracking is one of the most
difficult structural failures to predict." Are you saying that all of

these
problems have been solved since that date?


Apparently they've been ameliorated to a considerable extent, so that this

is no
longer a driving factor. And again, why is the E's corrosion problem

supposedly
so much worse than the Rs, when they started from exactly the same

airframe?

Again, age and , I suspect, a pretty extensive (and comparitively costly)
IRAN process during the upgrade. Can we conquer the corrosion process in the
E model? No doubt we can--but would it be worth the cost of doing so for a
43 (or more) year old airframe?


snip old ground

One of the things I object to is the assumption, without any analysis,

that the
767 buy is essential (the DSB says it isn't),


Well, the DSB also says the corrosion problem is something we can easily
discount,


Actually, I believe what they said was that the facility responsible for

dealing
with it has learned to handle it so well that they are able to do the work

much
quicker and cheaper than expected. I can't find the quote, unfortunately,

but
I'm still looking.


Hopefully this corrosion revelation came after the LTG quoted above gave his
testimony--a quick google on the subject did not give me any hits on sites
that indicate the corrosion problems are licked.


and has apparently decided that *outsourcing* the tanker mission,
or buying second-hand aircraft, is the way to go. Outsourcing may be

great
for the RAF, etc., but the USAF is another story, IMO. Then there is the
"spend the money on already used aircraft" approach--wonderful! As if
tossing more money down the O&M pit for the E model is not enough, we

should
take the money we have and buy older airframes than we can afford? (And

yes,
we can afford new tankers under the current deal being offered)


They've said that it _may_ be the way to go, and:

"The report by the Defense Science Board says that, contrary to Air Force
claims, corrosion of the aging tanker fleet is "manageable" and several
options exist to refurbish the fleet.


Manageable at what cost?! Ask the DSB members how many of them are driving
even twenty year old cars that they find economical to periodically strip,
inspect, repaint, and replace corroded parts as necessary--I'll bet it won't
be many, if any. That they are proposing outsourcing the tanker role seems
to me to be unrealistic for the USAF, and is indicative of a study probably
done by "experts"--not the flying kind, or the kind that even manage the
fliers, but the other kind (what we used to sarcastically define as, "an
expert is an SOB from out of town with a briefcase". Again, at what point do
you think it is unwise to keep dumping money down the tube in an effort to
keep the 135E viable, versus using that same money to help purchase new
airframes with lower operating costs and greater potential for future
upgrade?


If officials are willing to tolerate increased maintenance costs, "you can
defer major near-term . . . investments" to replace the tanker fleet, the
report said.


Guy, that is a telling statement. I suspect the USAF folks are as afraid of
that statement as I would have been when I was on the green suit
side--because they know that when the money does get short, the first thing
that usually ends up getting cut (or really stre-e-e-e-tched) is usually the
O&M money. Those "increased maintenance costs" (for an aircraft that is
already the most expensive in its class, the E model?) represent an
increased chunk of a finite pool of O&M money. Not to sound like a broken
record, but at what point is enough enough, where you start using that money
to instead buy into newer, less costly (to operate and maintain) airframes?


"There is no compelling material or financial reason to initiate a
replacement program prior to the completion of" a lengthy analysis of
alternatives and other studies, the report said. "


Hooray! "There is no compelling material or financial reason (of course,
you'll have to foget about that whole "increased maintenance costs" part of
what we just said), so like the bureaucrats we be, let's study it...and
study it...and analyze what we studied, and then study it some more...while
you guys keep paying out those "increased maintenance costs" you should be
oh-so-happy to "tolerate", not to mentioon having bitten the bullet and sunk
the requisite funds into belatedly upgrading the E models to R as (if?) you
secure the funding to do so..."?


[Quoted from the Oregonian's Web page, May 13th. Sure will be nice when

we get
access to the actual report, rather than summaries of it flitered through

the
news media]

or that it's the most
cost-effective solution (we don't know). Another thing that worries

me
about
rushing into a 767 buy is that we'll be buying an a/c that is

essentially
out of
production except for the USAF. The KC-135s were bought at the

opposite
extreme. These a/c are going to last us at least 50 years, so spares

are
going
to be a real problem down the road, as the commercial operators are

already
starting to look for replacements. Italy and Japan won't have a

problem,
because they're each only going to buy airframes in the single-digits

so
they'll
be able to buy adequate spares from cannibalised airframes, but the

USAF
is
talking about buying at least 100, possibly with more to come.


The biggest things you have to buy spares for are the avionics (which

are
more plug-and-play than they were in the 135 era), and engine related
systems. There are a lot of 767's that will remain in service in the
civilian sector for decades to come--they will need spares too, and in

the
end they become another source for spares for the KC version. I don't

see
this as a deal-breaker.


Given that airlines are already looking to replace their 767s ( a 20-year

old
design, let's remember) with the next generation, and given that world oil
production is predicted to peak sometime in the 2007 (the pessimists) --

2040
(the optimists) period, considerably improved fuel consumption may well

drive
the mass replacement of older a/c, just as the post 9/11 slump did. It's
definitely an issue.


But you find the improved fuel consumption of the 767 versus the R models,
and especially the E models, to be a non-issue?



When the 767 deal was first mooted, it was really the only

in-production
(US)
a/c in the size class available in the proper time frame. That is no

longer the
case, as the 7E7 will be entering service in 2008 (this is a

commercial
a/c, and
unlike the military, missing production and/or performance guarantees

cost
the
company big bucks). We need to see if it makes more sense to buy 7E7s

at
the
_start_ of their production cycle, rather than 767s at the end of

theirs.
Which
is better suited for the role?


Is the extra M0.05 in cruise a major advantage?


Not likely.


Depends on the specific mission, and more importantly, what percentage of

the
mission spectrum does that particular mission occupy. There are missions

now
where the faster KC-135 is better suited than a KC-767 would be, and

others
where the latter comes out ahead.


Sorry, but I can't buy that the extra five one-hundredths mach is going to
be an issue either way.


Does the higher composite content significantly decrease the corrosion

issues
down the road?


Maybe, but doubtfull, as corrosion awareness was better incorporated

into
the 767 manufacture than it was in the 135.


And will be even more incorporated into the 7E7, especally since (AFAIK)

there
is no corrosion of composites yet known.


But you have been claiming that corrosion is not a problem withthe 135 any
longer--now you want to use corrosion as a deciding point between the 767
and an aircraft that has yet to even fly, much less become available in a
tanker form?


How about the 20% better fuel efficiency?


Sounds good, but then again you have to examine the interval between the
time the 767 would be available and the (elsewhere not mentioned, AFAIK)

7E7
tanker version (expect what, a five or six year period at best before

the
first tanker 7E7 could be available?)...I'll be kind and use a five year
period, at 131 E models costing maybe $2 million each more per year in
operating costs than the 767, that works out to around $1.3 billion in

extra
operating costs? That is a hell of a lot of gas...


Check out how much the KC-767 tankers cost.


You were talking gas, right? OK, lets be more realistic and say that if we
canned the 767 proposal and started from scratch, we'd likely not see a new
tanker enter the inventory until 2011 or so. That would be six years to the
*start* of replacing the E models. Of course, that pretty much forces you
into converting those to R's--GAO estimates the cost for that to be some
$3.6 billion. If we work *really fast* to do that, we can maybe get it done
over about a four year period, so for the last two years of that period up
to 2011 we can use the cheaper O&M cost of the R model ($3.7 million per
year per aircraft) which is (we'll assume, based upon KC-10 operating costs,
which would likely be a bit more than the 767) maybe $1.5 mil per year
greater than the 767 cost. Two years times 131 aircraft times $1.5 mil is
about $400 mil. Of course, we have that earlier period (four years)when the
E's (or the ever decreasing number remaining of them as they undergo upgrade
to R) are still flying as is, and that would add maybe another $600 mil. Say
a billion bucks total versus the operating cost of the 767's (yeah, I know
we would not get all of the 767's delivered in lump sum, but I am trying to
keep this simple and fair as well, so I am not going to figure the post-2011
additional operating cost of the 135R's versus 767 into the mix to try and
keep things even). That is a total of $4.6 billion you have just dumped into
keeping the 135E's flying just until 2011. At $200 mil per 767, that is the
equivalent of some 23 new 767's right there--over half of what the USAF is
asking for in the first lot. If you go the lease route with the first forty
tankers, you could cover a significant part of the overall lease cost with
that money. And you are getting an aircraft that carries more fuel to boot.




Respective runway and
ramp space requirements? PFI vs. military? Etc.


Lose the outsourcing option from the get-go, IMO. Won't work for an
organization with the scope of tanking requirements that the USAF has.


Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Air bridge and training tanking doesn't require
military crewing. It's certainly an option worth looking at for at least

some
tanking requirements, if not all.


I am not crazy about the idea of having a portion of the tanker force
unavailable for use in the T/O (and no, this is not the same as my below
posit regarding using the 767's for these roles--those 767's could just as
well extend to the T/O where they provide full capacity tanking to USAF
assets, even with their (initially) marginal USN tanking support
capability).


snip lead-in, about fewer a/c to provide the same number of drogues

That does not necessarily hold true. If the requirement to provide
hose/drogue capability in-theater is 8that* important in a given

case,
you
send the KC-10's and multi-point 135R's forward, and use the other

aircraft
(i.e., these pre-improvement 767's) to handle the usual airbridge

su[pport
operations into the theater.

I think KC-10s are too important as deployment tankers early on in a

conflict to
use them in the tactical role. After all, that's what we bought them

for,
precisely so we could get to the Middle East from the US non-stop, if

we
were
refused landing/overflight rights. Let's face it - being on good

terms
with
Portugal (Lajes) and Spain (Moron) has become more important to us

than
ever.
Besides, KC-10s take up a lot of space, and need stronger runways than

135s or
767s (don't know how the 7E7 stacks up), which may limit its

deployment
options.

I said, "If the requirement to provide hose/drogue capability in-theater

is
*that* important". We have the capability of providing substantial
hose/drogue capability if we have to--if we really need more, then buy

more
kits for the existing R's. No matter how you cut it, the decision to not
initially provide multi-point capability in the first forty 767's is not
going to be a critical, or even serious, failure in terms of our

operational
capability.


We agree that buying more kits for the Rs and/or modifying more than 45 Rs

to
use them is probably the best idea in the short-term.

So what you really seem to be saying is that
the 767's, even without initial multi-point capability, offer an

improvement
to the current level of support that can be afforded to the USN?

Yes, they do, but the question remains, are 767s rather than upgraded

Es
and
later 7E7s the best way to go; what's the best mix, what % of tankers

need to
do which roles, how will the advent of UCAVs affect the need for

tankers
and the
type mix, what effect will USAF F-35 buys have, etc. This needs to be

properly
studied.


Again with the neverending studies? :-)


What never-ending study? The USAF failed to do such a study in the first

place,
especially an AoA. The latter was predicted to take about 18 months, but

the
head of AQ&L (Wynne) says they'll probably push it and complete it by

December
or so.


I was referring to your DSB folks..."studies" was the term they used. As in
"more than one".


snip lead-in about buying multidrogue capability up front rather than

adding it
later

Whoah there, hoss. If the R&D is being picked up elsewhere (by

virtue of
those foreign sales you mention), that advantage does not go away

because we
dicide not to implement the multi-point system up-front. That R&D

effort
is
still applicable. And you are avoiding the fact that it will slow

the
delivery timeline if we have to go with this optimization up-front.

I'm aware that the R&D will still apply, I'm worried about the

materiel
costs,
which are only going to go up. If we need the capability, then let's

just
buy
it and get the purchase out of the way, instead of paying inflated

prices
later.

Even if it delays entry further, meaning you are also going to be paying
that higher O&M cost for the remaining E's even longer...?


If that allows us to make a better decision for the long term, sure. We

can get
upgraded Es (Pacer Crag Rs) into service faster than we can get 767s.


And pay some $3.6 billion for the privaledge of then having the longest
serving remaining KC-135's committed to an even longer period of service.
IMO, not a wise course of action--only to be used if the 767 deal gets
trashed due to both Boeing's stupid handling of what should have been a done
deal by now and the involvement of politicos-with-axes-to-grind, like
McCain. IMO, if that is the way it plays out, we will see the conversion to
R's, then a mindset of, "What? You want a *new* tanker, after we just sank
all of that money into upgrading those last E models? Maybe next year we
might authorize a *study*..." set in, leaving the USAF in the lurch with an
open-ended KC-135 tanker force, and the BUFF's being replaced before they
are.


If that means we buy a/c at a slower
rate (and more refueling pods), good.

Good? I disagree. So does the USAF, from what I have read.

The DSB doesn't, and Rumsfeld said that he was waiting on a couple of

reports,
including theirs, before making a decision.


I am not as impressed with the summary of the DSB report as you are (but
then again, I tend to weigh the advice of the folks actually tasked to

fly
the missions a bit more than I do the DSB, GAO, etc).


Seeing as how the DSB works for the Pentagon, and Rumsfeld is the guy who

tasked
them to do the study back in February, I put a bit more weight on their

advice
than you do. Especially since opponents of the 767 deal (McCain to

thefront)
believed that the DSB was much too cosy with the military and Boeing (the

DSB
Chairman had to recuse himself because he was also a paid Boeing

consultant and
had been mentioned in internal company e-mails back in Dec.2002/Jan. 2003

as
willing to help push the deal), and fully expected them to support it. I
believe McCain's words were something along the lines of a "fox guarding

the
chickens." So yeah, when even they come out and say they that we've got

time to
do the study and the corrosion is manageable, I'm inclined to believe

them.

Then we will have to agree to disagree on this point.


We plan to be operating from more austere
bases, which tend to be somewhat limited in ramp space, so

anything we
can
do
that limits that is a plus. That was indeed one of the USAF's

arguments
against
the A330 -- that it took up too much ramp space while providing

no
more
refueling stations than the 767. They considered the A330's

somewhat
greater
offload irrelevant for the tactical refueling mission; they were

concerned
with
the number of booms/drogues on station while minimizing the ground
footprint. If
that logic is valid, then buying dual rather than single-point

capability
is
even more valuable as a way of minimizing the ground footprint.

See
below.

In the long run, yes. But is it worth slowing delivery up-front even

further
than it already has been slowed?

According to the DSB, we have the time.


The DSB that claims, contrary to what the USAF LTG testified last year,

that
the corrosion problem is readily in-hand...?


the DSB's claim is based on the USAF unit doing the corrosion controls

data,
let's remember. The situation isn't static, and they've gotten better at

it
since last year.


You left out that whole "tolerate higher maintenance cost" part of the DSB's
corrosion solution--I don't think that is a "minor" part of the equation
here, though the DSB apparently does given the off-hand way they worded that
statement.


And thinks out-sourcing tanker
requirements is a fine idea?


They're saying it's a viable option, it should be looked at in an AoA, and

we've
got the time to do so. No more, no less.


If you "tolerate higher maintenance costs" you have that time.


I am not buying into either, at this point.


Until the AoA is actually done, we have nothing to base a decision on

other than
"because I think so," which IMO is a pretty poor way to spend billions of
dollars.


DSB did not say they *thought* keeping the E models would be more expensive
than what we are already paying--they said we would have to tolerate higher
maintenance costs, period, while the "studies" (plural) take place.


snip

But they oddly don't have a problem with the USMC buying C-130J's to

augment
their current tanker fleet.

Of course not, because a KC-130 (any flavor) clearly isn't a

replacement
for a
jet tanker. It meets USMC needs for a STOL tanker/transport that can

also
refuel helos (AFSOC too), and for countries that also operate C-130s

it's
a
relatively cheap, easy way to get some A/A tanking capability; it's

certainly
better than nothing, as Argentina can attest. But it's a relatively

inefficient
tanker for fast jets, lacking range, speed, cruise altitude, and

offload
capability.


I remain unconvinced that AMC would throw a hissy fit if the USN wanted

to
include a secondary tanking capability to its C-40B's.


More likely, they'd suffer a rupture from laughing at the USN devoting

such a
large proportion of its budget to paying the NRE for so few a/c of such

limited
performance (as tankers).


Then the critical USN "requirement" that led off this thread...must be more
of a "desire" than it is a "requirement".


Personally, I doubt the USAF would have put up a
fight if the USN had said they wanted to incorporate a secondary

refueling
capability in their C-40B's; just as the USN has been strangely

silent
over
the USAF talking about recreating an in-house stand-off jamming

capability.

There is no way in hell that the USN would pay the R&D NRE for a

tanker
mod for
their C-40s, with all their other needs.


Exactly. So the lack of multi-point refuelers must not be such a

critical
one, eh?


Since no one else is even considering buying 737s as tankers, and the navy

is
only buying a few (somewhere between 5 and 8, as best I can tell), the

navy
would have to be nuts to make that kind of investment for so few a/c, even
assuming that they would be reasonable tankers. Given their limited
payload/range and performance, I have my doubts they would be, but it's

moot.

They (C-40A--I goofed with the "B", which is one of the USAF models) are
replacing the C-9 in the USN; from what I gather, the plan is to replace 27
C-9's, and I doubt that 8 C-40's can do that. I read where one of the
military lobbying groups noted that the CNO wants to procure three per year
(unspecified total delivery). I am not sure the 737 would make a superior
tanker, either--my point was more in the line of, "If the USN is *really*
worried about tanking capability for its aircraft, why have they not moved
to increase their own in-house capability beyond buddy tanking and C-130's,
especially when they have recently begun procuring a new dedicated land
based logistics support aircraft?" In other words, this a BIG priority for
them--as long as somebody else is footing the bill, that is. Otherwise, the
priority seems to be somwhere down in the weeds...


fuel to forward bases

As to fuel availability, I was referring to the ready availability

of
the
JP-8 in bulk form--and it won't necessarily be there (always) in the
quantity you want at those "remote" bases you refer to unless we

haul it
in
ourselves.

JP-5 presumably, if they're refueling navy a/c that are operating from

CVs. At
least, that's my understanding, but maybe some of the KC-135 people

here
can
comment.


I thought we had standardized on JP-8 across the force--ISTR this came

up
before, but I can't remember the final outcome.


I believe either here or on s.m.n. someone stated that a/c couldn't be

struck
below if they;d beenfueledwith JP-8, until they had been refueled several

times
with JP-5. For land ops (training) the navy has gone to JP-8.

Regardless, be it JP-5 or
JP-8, you can't count on it being available in a remote operating

location,
in the volume required, unless you plan on being able to haul it in
yourself.


Sure, which is why you'll need a tanker (the ship variety).

Usually meaning by ship. A second ship can haul quite a few
pieces of ordnance, right?

Sure, but getting fuel to an airfield is relatively easy (pipelines);

moving
ordnance tends to require a lot more handling and surface transport.


Lots of trucks available for lease out there in the world, even in a lot

of
"remote" areas (any remote are having a pipeline capability likely has a
decent truck inventory available in the general area)--or you could use

a
transportation company (60 line haul tractors and 120 40-ton trailers)

from
the Army (one of our TC companies that was attached to my old BN HHD did
exactly that to support B-52 operations out of Saudi Arabia during ODS).

If
none of this is doable in your opinion, then IMO you have just shot your
"gotta have multi-point capability" in the foot as well, since it would

mean
that we can't plan on being able to operate the tankers within range of

the
receivers in the first place.


Moving ordnance by truck requires offload from ships and lots of handling
equipment (Ro-Ro helps here), whereas every airfield of adequate size to

handle
a jet tanker will already have a fuel delivery system in place. We'd only

need
(assuming it's not a military field) to supply the fuel, not the delivery
system. Even assuming that the logistic infrastructure exists to move the
ordnance, it's still relatively slow, and requires a lot more

organizational
effort to get things going than just pulling a tanker up to a pipeline

terminal
and starting to pump.

If you are tied to getting basic resources into
the TO, you might as well be "in for a penny, in for a pound". And

yes,
the
use of PGM's has resulted in a drastic reduction in the volume of

ordnance
that has to be transported into the TO (ISTR Franks noting that

during
OEF
we were effectively engaging as many targets per day as we did

during
ODS,
with about 10% of the average daily sortie rate compared to the

earlier
conflict). As we move towards use of the 500 pound JDAM, and even

moreso
the
SDB, the need for ordnance (in terms of volume/weight) will shrivel

even
further.

PGMs certainly help, but the problem is the variety of A/G ordnance

that
may be
required. A/A, there's two types of missiles and gun ammo. A/G, even

with PGMs
there's lots of different kinds, and the usage rates are far higher.


I'd think if we have the ability to provide both categories of support
within the confines of a CVN and supporting TAKO (isn't that the

acronym?)

for the assualt predicated, we also have the ability of transporting the
same quantity of fuel and ammo to an airfield on dry land.


In what time frame, and why would you want to move them again, when the CV
already has the infrastructure in place, lacking only sufficient tankers

to
reach the targets? Down the road, sure we can start to bring in ordnance

for
land-based air, but early in a conflict we've usually got the navy plus

long
range USAF assets.

The increasing
use of PGM's even makes it a realistic option to deliver ordnance to the
base by air--something that was unrealistic in the dumb-bomb age

(witness
the poor ability to do so over The Hump for the B-29's trying to operate

out
of China during WWII).


They certainly allow us to start some level of sustained ops sooner, but

we'll
need ship-transported ordnance quantities if we're having to deal with

major
attacks.

snip

I'd posit that using the basing options we already have in-hand

(Guam,
Diego
Garcia, Fairford, and CONUS), the B-1, B-52, and B-2 can acheive

this
pretty
much anywhere in the world *now*.

In that case, let's dump the fighters altogether ;-)


No, but consider maybe the option of letting the CVN provide only the
fighter and EW support (both requiring less tanking support than if they

had
to provide the complete strike package), and you acheive even greater
tonnage of ordnance delivered per strike, and reduce that hose/drogue
requirement to boot... :-)


Certainly worth looking at, although the navy might object to having to

convert
all their shiny new F-18Fs to F-18Gs already;-)

snip

As I have said a couple of times, I
do
see a use for the CVN's--but barking that they just *have* to have

every
tanker in the USAF at their beck-and-call does not do much to

support
the
argument that they are such a critical resource, does it?

No one (or at least, not I) is claiming that they every USAF tanker

has to
be
available to support the USN, but clearly, an increase is required.

IIRR,
the
GAO report stated we used 150 KC-135s in OAF and OIF; given the large

percentage
of USN/Marine plus allied sorties in both of those ops, having at best

only 40
KC-135s with dual point drogues seems to be inadequate.However, if the

tanker
requirements study says we don't need more, I'll accept it, but the

study
needs
to be _done_.


Then your cheapest, and quickest, solution goes back to merely buying

more
multi-point kits for use by additional 135R's.


And I've already said that I'm in agreement with this, especially so we

can look
at if we even need the KC-767 vs. some other option. We apparently have

33
drogue kits for 45 KC-135Rs, so upping the number of kits to more closely
approximate the KC-135R MC rate, rather than the .73 rate indicated by the
above, should certainly be looked at for starters. Converting some Es to

Rs and
adding the drogue kits at the same time won't take any Rs out of service.

snip

And are getting ready to relocate our NATO-assigned assets further

east,
too, to places like maybe Hungary and Rumania, etc. In the Pacific

we
have
Guam, the ROK bases, Okinawa. Diego Garcia in the IO is the one that

is
truly the most limited in terms of ramp space, but the bases in

the -stans
you mention make it a bit less critical than has been the case in

the
past.

The $64 million question being whether those bases will be available

to us
when
we need them. Last I checked there'll all in muslim countries with

regimes that
are more or less unstable. Given our current unpopularity in the

muslim
world,
I don't think we should count on such bases being available.


Then we adjust, and we have the CVN's as insurance--with those

additional
modified R models, if needed.


Agreed that more Rs is likely the best answer in the short run.

snip

Provided we have sufficient space for all those tanker a/c in

theater,
fine, but
it's still wasteful to use two a/c and crews to do the job of one.

Of
course,
if you're cycling flights of two constantly through the tankers,

no
big
deal,
but gorilla packages are another matter. And we may well need to

help
tank our
allies (assuming we have any). Many of them are buying their own
multi-point
drogue tankers now, which helps both of us if they're along for

the
ride.

That last bit is true. But I think you may be forgetting that during
contingency operations we tend to have to operate a number of tanker

tracks
a long way from the TO (i.e., the Atlantic air-bridge, or a Pacific

version,
depending upon where the TO is), so those 767's could be a major

contributor
without even having to enter the local airspace. The real issue is

how
long
we can drag out the 135E fleet; there are 131 of them remaining in

service
now, with engines that were stripped from old commercial transports

some
fifteen or twenty years ago as an "interim" fix, corrosion concerns,

and
obscelescent avionics. Their MC rate can only really continue to

drop,
which
is why yes, we can replace 131 aircraft with 100 newer aircraft and

come
out
in pretty good shape.

Or it might make sense to upgrade them all to 135R/Pacer Crag; I read

one
quote
somewhere of the cost savings going that route compared to the 767

uy --
AIR
it was a couple of billion dollars over the life of the deal. But

that
all
needs to be studied so we know.


Argh! More study?


No, the same one that the USAF shoud have done back in 2001, but didn't.

Hell, just go ahead and plunk down the money and make them
all R's--we'll continue to pay the higher operating cost (even the R is
going to cost more to operate than the 767) for the next forty

years--unless
wings start falling off, or the operating budget gets cut (not like that

has
not happened, and rather recently (1990's) too), etc. Personally, I

don't
see that as the best option.


I'm sure the operating cost will be higher, but then the purchase cost is

a hell
of a lot lower. Fuel burn between a 135R and a KC-767's probably a wash;
CFM-56s in one and CF6s in the other, with the total thrust higher in the

case
of the CF6s.

Guy



  #28  
Old May 15th 04, 10:16 AM
Guy Alcala
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Guy Alcala" wrote in message
. ..
Kevin Brooks wrote:

"Guy Alcala" wrote in message
.. .
Sorry for the delayed reply -- it's been a busy week.

Kevin Brooks wrote:


snip corrosion lead-in

You are forgetting the corrosion problems with the E models--corrosion

tends
to reduce fatigue life, too, IIRC from my long-ago materials science
classes...


Corrosion is an issue with any a/c -- certainly the KC-135Rs as well,

which
(after all) were 135As before, just as the Es were.

It sounds to me like the only way you are going to get that long
a life from the E's would be if you also replaced some structural

components
(meaning you are going even further than the old R model mods, IIRC).


Why is corrosion and fatigue on the Es supposedly so much more serious

than the
Rs, when they all started out as 135As?


I'd assume they are both going to exhibit corrosion problems, but didn't the
R's go through a significant IRAN as part of their upgrade?


Not that I can find, but that's not definitive. Boeing replaced the lower wing
skinsof 746 C/KC-135s, but that seems to have been applied to all models in
service. All I can figure is that the old nacelles and struts (from 707s) may be
causing the difference, which would go away if they were upgraded to Rs (which
get new struts and nacelles as well as engines).

The USAF, per
those comments from the three-star last year, seems most concerned with the
E's.


See above, or possibly just because the Es were less effective than the Rs, so
sure, say they're falling apart because of corrosion so we can buy new a/c.
You've got to come up with some justification.

snip

Wait a second--spend *more* money on trying to upgrade E's, while doing
*another* study to determine if/when/how we replace the E's?


What do you mean, _trying_ to upgrade the Es? We know perfectly well how

to
upgrade them -we've got 400+ prototypes in service, after all, with the

R&D all
paid for.


No, no, no--that was not what I meant. My point is that at this point
tossing *more* money into the upgrade of the E models seems a bit
shortsighted, when that same money (along with the savings accrued from
cheaper operating costs) could go towards purchasing new-build airframes. We
did not have that option (or the money to make it happen) available back
when the original R program started--we do now.


Actually, we don't have the money at the moment, which is why the whole lease
thing was suggested. But look at it another way -- might it make more sense to
upgrade some/all Es to Rs at far lower cost than than buying 767s, while we
perhaps decide to skip the 767 generation entirely and buy either a 7E7 tanker,
or even a BWB one around 2015 or so, if the latter a/c is more suitable in the
long term? Considering the difference in cost between upgrading an E to a Pacer
Crag R vs. buying new KC-767s, it's going to take a considerable time (a couple
of decades, I imagine) for the O&M cost advantage of the latter to overcome
purchase cost advantageof the former, assuming that it ever does (at least one
source claims that it won't).

That sounds
like a fine...bureaucratic solution? Even the GAO was saying in the

1990's
that the USAF needed to get off its duff and start planning the

replacement
of the KC-135E fleet.


Sure. It didn't say what to replace them with.


Nope. The USAF has said what they want to replace them with--you have no
trust in the USAF?


The USAF said what it wanted to replace them with in 2001, when they had no
other US choice, and still haven't justified the _need_ to replace them now, vs.
other options. The assumptions have changed, as has the situation.

Studies are great--unfortunately, they have a tendancy
of becoming an ends-unto-themselves. We have a good proposal that the

USAF
has supported--it puts new airframes into the mission much more quickly

than
if we follow the "usual" method of purchasing new aircraft (of course,

you
could use the F/A-22 or F-35 model...which would mean if we started that

new
study right now, we might plan on seeing some new tankers around

what...2015
at best?), and it takes advantage of an existing excess production
capability/inventory at the only US company currently building aircraft

of
that class--sounds like a good plan to me.


Who says we need new airframes _right_ now? As we both agree, buying more

pods
and converting more Rs to carry them is the best solution in the short

term to
the navy/Allies problem, while converting Es to Rs _may_ be the best

solution
for increasing our tanker force in a hurry. Or it may not be, butsince

the USAF
never did an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA), we don't know.


Upgrading to R's does not do a great deal towards "increasing our tanker
force"--it instead is more of a "spend some money now to reduce O&M costs in
the long run, and keep the force from being *reduced* as E models break". Of
course, the 767 option does ptretty much the same thing--albeit with an even
greater reduction in operating costs, and a significantly better possibility
of future upgrades (at what point does it become impractical to keep trying
to modernize a 43 year old airframe?).


You'd better ask Bufdrvr (or the Air Force) about that one;-) However, I
disagree with your premise - upgrading Es to Rs does indeed increase our tanker
force, both by improving MC rates, and by increasing offload and reducing runway
length requirements, just as the KC-767 would. The E is restricted by lack of
thrust in the amount of fuel it can lift off many runways, compared to the R or
a 767 (Boeing claims the 767 can lift the same fuel load from a 4,000 foot
shorter runway). The A model was even worse, of course, being essentially
useless during DS from most runways in the middle east. Hot and/or high has
become pretty typical for us, so tankers that have trouble operating from such
fields are essentially operationally useless (which is what the USAF general
claiming that we needed the 767 to replace the Es said).

snip

The corrosion problem is apparently under control. See the URL above.
From
what I recall of the GAO report, the O&M costs for the Es was

averaging
$4.6
million a year vs. $3.7 million for the Rs

That is an additional $130 million bucks each *year* in operating cost

(not
exactly chump-change...but even that is a "lowball" figure...). What

would
be the operating cost of the 767? Less than the 135R (two engines versus
four, better fuel economy, more maintenance friendly subsystems, less
likelihood of inspection-and-repair work, more stringent (and more

frequent)
inspections, etc.), that is for sure. So your operating cost per year
differential measured against the 767 is going to be greater. Add in the
cost of bringing those E's to a full PACER CRAIG R model level, and the

cost
is going to be significant, to say the least. Not a wise investment

plan,
IMO. If you managed your personal auto program in this manner, then you


would still be driving (only--no newer cars allowed) a 1960's era car,

and
one which you had paid to drop new engines in, along with paying to

modify
the emissions system to keep it in compliance (like the noise

requirements
the KC-135's face), and here in 2004 you would be saying that instead of
buying a new vehicle, you'd be better off paying to essentially

completely
rebuild the one you have and drop *another* new engine in it, along with
updating the other systems in the dash, maybe a new trannie to be

compatible
with that new engine, etc. I don't think you would endorse such a plan

(I
made the mistake once of trying to extend the life of a noble little

Nissan
pick-up at the 170K point by dropping a *used* engine in it, and that

was
*not* cheap--and I found that within 10K more miles I was *had* to break
down and buy a new vehicle).


If most people maintained their cars the way that the military does its

tankers,
and only drove them 1/10th as much as the average 'driver', then upgading
themwith new componenets might well be the most cost effective solution

for the
long-term. The numbers I have seen quoted for the E to R (plus Pacer

Crag)
conversion vs. new 767 comparison imply that the conversion is indeed the

most
cost-effective option, but without knowing every assumption made I'll

withhold
judgement.


I don't buy that. My personal experience was in the more mundane area of
military trucks (we used various models in the combat engineer units). As a
company commander (late eighties/early nineties) I had dump trucks in my
unit that were manufactured in the late sixties and had pretty low mileage.
Somewhat like the KC-135 fleet, but a bit younger. Guess what? We still had
problems resulting from *age* (sometimes less use is not a *good* thing for
mechanical equipment, especially anything that has hydraulics), and we soon
(not long after I gave up command) faced a "train wreck" in terms of
supportability (the Army found it uneconomical to continue carrying the
spare parts inventory for the oldest trucks)--with no replacements
immediately available. Not unlike the situation facing the KC-135, IMO. If
the military services managed equipment like civilian entities do ( run it
to the point of best return in terms of depreciation, then unload it and buy
new equipment), the KC-135 would have been gone long ago, before corrosion
(among other factors) ever became a serious concern.


I agree that too little use can sometimes be almost as bad as too much. By
that logic, then, you're recommending that the Air Force have fewer tankers but
fly them more, so let's just stick with the Rs we have and fly them till their
wings fall off, then buy all new in 15 years or so. By that point the
procurement bow wave of the F-22 and F-35 should have died down freeing up some
money, and who knows, we may not even need conventional tankers by then.

That would be one
extreme, IMO--the other being what we are doing, in acting as if the KC-135
(or the B-52, for that matter) will be able to fly forever.


No doubt they'd be chasing the DC-3s that are still in commercial service ;-)

We stretched the
KC's by doing the R conversion a few years back, when there was no option to
buy new airframes. Now there is an alternative to our continuing to slap
hundred-mile-an-hour tape on old equipment in hopes of keeping it viable
forever, and "carpe diem" would be an advisable course of action IMO. Again,
at what point do you stop tossing money into trying to keep the E models
viable, and instead commit that money to recapitalizing the fleet?


I agree that the Es aren't particularly viable per se, but for operational not
cost reasons, so let's make them Rs and see what we want to _buy_ (if that makes
the most sense) when we can afford to.

snip

The most critical KC-135 tanker metric is age, and
the
most pressing KC-135 problems are corrosion and stress corrosion
cracking-both age related. Stress corrosion cracking is one of the most
difficult structural failures to predict." Are you saying that all of

these
problems have been solved since that date?


Apparently they've been ameliorated to a considerable extent, so that this

is no
longer a driving factor. And again, why is the E's corrosion problem

supposedly
so much worse than the Rs, when they started from exactly the same

airframe?

Again, age and , I suspect, a pretty extensive (and comparitively costly)
IRAN process during the upgrade. Can we conquer the corrosion process in the
E model? No doubt we can--but would it be worth the cost of doing so for a
43 (or more) year old airframe?


If it's worth it for the 42 year-old Rs, then it's worth it for the 43 year old
Es, at least if we make them Rs. I don't hear the USAF complaining about the
Rs, so the corrosion issues would seem to be due to the different engines plus
the slight difference due to age.

snip old ground

One of the things I object to is the assumption, without any analysis,
that the
767 buy is essential (the DSB says it isn't),

Well, the DSB also says the corrosion problem is something we can easily
discount,


Actually, I believe what they said was that the facility responsible for

dealing
with it has learned to handle it so well that they are able to do the work

much
quicker and cheaper than expected. I can't find the quote, unfortunately,

but
I'm still looking.


Hopefully this corrosion revelation came after the LTG quoted above gave his
testimony--a quick google on the subject did not give me any hits on sites
that indicate the corrosion problems are licked.


The DSB only began their study in February of this year, so yeah, their data is
recent. I'll keep trying to find the quote, or else hopefully the actual report
will get put up soon.

and has apparently decided that *outsourcing* the tanker mission,
or buying second-hand aircraft, is the way to go. Outsourcing may be

great
for the RAF, etc., but the USAF is another story, IMO. Then there is the
"spend the money on already used aircraft" approach--wonderful! As if
tossing more money down the O&M pit for the E model is not enough, we

should
take the money we have and buy older airframes than we can afford? (And

yes,
we can afford new tankers under the current deal being offered)


They've said that it _may_ be the way to go, and:

"The report by the Defense Science Board says that, contrary to Air Force
claims, corrosion of the aging tanker fleet is "manageable" and several
options exist to refurbish the fleet.


Manageable at what cost?! Ask the DSB members how many of them are driving
even twenty year old cars that they find economical to periodically strip,
inspect, repaint, and replace corroded parts as necessary--I'll bet it won't
be many, if any. That they are proposing outsourcing the tanker role seems
to me to be unrealistic for the USAF, and is indicative of a study probably
done by "experts"--not the flying kind, or the kind that even manage the
fliers, but the other kind (what we used to sarcastically define as, "an
expert is an SOB from out of town with a briefcase". Again, at what point do
you think it is unwise to keep dumping money down the tube in an effort to
keep the 135E viable, versus using that same money to help purchase new
airframes with lower operating costs and greater potential for future
upgrade?


When its no longer the most cost-effective option which achieves the operational
goals, just like any such choice should be made. I've owned four cars in my
life, a '65 Chevy Impala bought new by my Dad, and still running great on the
original engine 23 years later with 240,000 miles on it when I sold it, as no
longer meeting my 'operational' needs; a '69 Datsun 2000 roadster which I bought
used in '78 and drove for several years because it was fun, but not worth the
money (by me) to fix up; an '88 Subaru 4Wd wagon bought new (which replaced the
Chevy), which lasted me for 14 years and which I'd still be happily driving now
if it hadn't been stolen, and my current car (another Subaru), which I'll drive
until it no longer meets my needs or becomes so unreliable to operate that its
more trouble than it's worth, and there's something new that's so much better
that it's worth laying out the money upfront. In short, I expect to get 20 or
more years out of a car. Now, I drive far less than the average driver, and
most of the miles I put on are easy ones on the interstate rather than stop and
go commuting (kind of like the Air Force's tankers), so such lifespans can be
expected.

If officials are willing to tolerate increased maintenance costs, "you can
defer major near-term . . . investments" to replace the tanker fleet, the
report said.


Guy, that is a telling statement. I suspect the USAF folks are as afraid of
that statement as I would have been when I was on the green suit
side--because they know that when the money does get short, the first thing
that usually ends up getting cut (or really stre-e-e-e-tched) is usually the
O&M money. Those "increased maintenance costs" (for an aircraft that is
already the most expensive in its class, the E model?) represent an
increased chunk of a finite pool of O&M money. Not to sound like a broken
record, but at what point is enough enough, where you start using that money
to instead buy into newer, less costly (to operate and maintain) airframes?


See above, and after you've done a proper Analysis of Alternatives to see just
what the most cost-effective solution is, which is what the DSB says we have
time for. They're not saying you can go on forever, they're saying we don't
have to rush out and buy a new 'car' tomorrow; we've got the time to study
Consumer Reports as well as Car and Driver, go to Edmunds.com, take some test
drives, figure out what our needs really are (as opposed to what we'd like to
have), look at several different ways we might meet them, and then see which is
the cheapest. Works for me.

"There is no compelling material or financial reason to initiate a
replacement program prior to the completion of" a lengthy analysis of
alternatives and other studies, the report said. "


Hooray! "There is no compelling material or financial reason (of course,
you'll have to foget about that whole "increased maintenance costs" part of
what we just said),


Oh come now, Kevin. Putting an extra $500 into my old car every year to keep it
running while I spend more time deciding whether it makes more sense for me to
buy a $25,000 dollar car next year, or wait another year or two so I can decide
if the really neat $30,000 hybrid gas/electric SUV that will be available then
is a better fit for my long terms needs, is not "forgetting about that whole
'increased maintenance costs' part of what we just said." We all have to make
such decisions all the time, at least those of us whose last name isn't Gates
(and I bet he makes them too).

so like the bureaucrats we be, let's study it...and
study it...and analyze what we studied, and then study it some more...


For at most, 18 months, and it seems more likely, to the end of this year, a
study that we should have done back in 2001 but didn't.

while
you guys keep paying out those "increased maintenance costs" you should be
oh-so-happy to "tolerate", not to mentioon having bitten the bullet and sunk
the requisite funds into belatedly upgrading the E models to R as (if?) you
secure the funding to do so..."?


See above. If you can come up with $2 billion a year for the 767 lease, you can
sure as hell come up with only $130 million a year instead (compared to the
KC-135R costs) for the Es extra O&M, even if you decide to leave them completely
unmodified.

snip

The biggest things you have to buy spares for are the avionics (which

are
more plug-and-play than they were in the 135 era), and engine related
systems. There are a lot of 767's that will remain in service in the
civilian sector for decades to come--they will need spares too, and in

the
end they become another source for spares for the KC version. I don't

see
this as a deal-breaker.


Given that airlines are already looking to replace their 767s ( a 20-year

old
design, let's remember) with the next generation, and given that world oil
production is predicted to peak sometime in the 2007 (the pessimists) --

2040
(the optimists) period, considerably improved fuel consumption may well

drive
the mass replacement of older a/c, just as the post 9/11 slump did. It's
definitely an issue.


But you find the improved fuel consumption of the 767 versus the R models,
and especially the E models, to be a non-issue?


I'm not sure that the 767 has a fuel consumption advantage over a 135R across
the spectrum of tanker roles (it has a small offload advantage owing to higher
gross weight), but of course it's an issue, one to be properly analysed to see
just _how much_ of an issue it is, or is likely to become. In other words,
let's do this using our brains rather than just going on gut feeling.

snip

Which
is better suited for the role?

Is the extra M0.05 in cruise a major advantage?

Not likely.


Depends on the specific mission, and more importantly, what percentage of

the
mission spectrum does that particular mission occupy. There are missions

now
where the faster KC-135 is better suited than a KC-767 would be, and

others
where the latter comes out ahead.


Sorry, but I can't buy that the extra five one-hundredths mach is going to
be an issue either way.


Certainly can be, depending on how fast your fighters have their best cruise at,
at what altitude, and what their best tanking speed is. M0.05 works out to
about 30 knots true at typical tanker altitudes (25-35,000 feet). If that
higher cruise speed allows the fighters to tank significantly higher or faster,
i.e. without having to drop down out of their best cruise envelope or at speeds
that put them on the back side of the drag curve, I think you'll agree that will
give a significant decrease in fuel offload required, improve range, decrease
transit time, or what have you. For deployment tanking or when transiting
to/from distant tanker tracks, higher speed gives you better utilization because
you get more trips per unit time. In emergencies, a tanker getting there a
minute or two earlier may well be the difference between saving or losing an a/c
(at say $40 million each, that could buy a lot of fuel).

And there are obviously missions where it makes no difference whatsoever, or
where the slower speed may be preferable -- time spent loitering on tanker
orbits probably being one such, and the likely better takeoff and landing
performance being another. So let's look at the tradeoffs.

Does the higher composite content significantly decrease the corrosion
issues
down the road?

Maybe, but doubtfull, as corrosion awareness was better incorporated

into
the 767 manufacture than it was in the 135.


And will be even more incorporated into the 7E7, especally since (AFAIK)

there
is no corrosion of composites yet known.


But you have been claiming that corrosion is not a problem withthe 135 any
longer--now you want to use corrosion as a deciding point between the 767
and an aircraft that has yet to even fly, much less become available in a
tanker form?


Kevin, when did I ever say that corrosion is not a problem? I said that the DSB
said it's currently manageable, and not a major driving issue _now_. At no
point did I ever say or imply that it would _never_ be an issue. Of course you
want to consider how it might affect life-cycle costs and utility, for the 767
and 7E7 just as much as with the 135. My '88 Subaru had a bit of rust on the
drivers side A-pillar; it wasn't a major issue at the time, but it might have
become one at some point, which would have factored into my decision as to when
to replace it.

How about the 20% better fuel efficiency?

Sounds good, but then again you have to examine the interval between the
time the 767 would be available and the (elsewhere not mentioned, AFAIK)

7E7
tanker version (expect what, a five or six year period at best before

the
first tanker 7E7 could be available?)...I'll be kind and use a five year
period, at 131 E models costing maybe $2 million each more per year in
operating costs than the 767, that works out to around $1.3 billion in

extra
operating costs? That is a hell of a lot of gas...


Check out how much the KC-767 tankers cost.


You were talking gas, right?


I was talking total cost, purchase/lease plus O&M for comparable capability.

OK, lets be more realistic and say that if we
canned the 767 proposal and started from scratch, we'd likely not see a new
tanker enter the inventory until 2011 or so. That would be six years to the
*start* of replacing the E models. Of course, that pretty much forces you
into converting those to R's--GAO estimates the cost for that to be some
$3.6 billion.


No, it doesn't, although it might be the best choice to do so. Remember,
currently, the KC-135E fleet costs ca. $131 million (your figure) per year more
than a comparable number of 135Rs to operate. So, multiplying $131 million x 7
(to get us from here to 2011) is only an extra $917 million, vs. the $3.6
billion for the conversion, minus the incremental savings from the improved
operating costs ca. $1 million per conversion/yr. For the sake of argument,
let's assume that the average number of conversions available is half the fleet
over that period, so the conversions save an average of $65 million per year on
O&M, or $455 million over the whole 7 year period. So the total net cost looks
like $917 million (keep the unmodified Es) vs. $3.15 billion (upgrade them all
to Rs and reap the O&M savings), to the start of replacement date.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that the E vs. R O&M disadvantage doubles
for that period, which still only costs us $1.834 billion vs. $3.15 billion. In
2011, we start discarding them and replacing them with whichever a/c we decide
to replace them with, having saved ourselves somewhere between $1 - $2 billion
in the meantime.

In this simplified calc I haven't bothered to take account of the operational
advantages of an R over an E, which would of course need to be factored in, but
it does show that under certain conditions keeping the Es as they are while
waiting to buy a tanker better suited to our long-term needs, may be the
preferred solution.

If we work *really fast* to do that, we can maybe get it done
over about a four year period, so for the last two years of that period up
to 2011 we can use the cheaper O&M cost of the R model ($3.7 million per
year per aircraft) which is (we'll assume, based upon KC-10 operating costs,
which would likely be a bit more than the 767) maybe $1.5 mil per year
greater than the 767 cost. Two years times 131 aircraft times $1.5 mil is
about $400 mil. Of course, we have that earlier period (four years)when the
E's (or the ever decreasing number remaining of them as they undergo upgrade
to R) are still flying as is, and that would add maybe another $600 mil. Say
a billion bucks total versus the operating cost of the 767's (yeah, I know
we would not get all of the 767's delivered in lump sum, but I am trying to
keep this simple and fair as well, so I am not going to figure the post-2011
additional operating cost of the 135R's versus 767 into the mix to try and
keep things even). That is a total of $4.6 billion you have just dumped into
keeping the 135E's flying just until 2011.


Er, no. As I understand it, you've converted them to Rs and kept them flying
until then.

At $200 mil per 767, that is the
equivalent of some 23 new 767's right there--over half of what the USAF is
asking for in the first lot. If you go the lease route with the first forty
tankers, you could cover a significant part of the overall lease cost with
that money. And you are getting an aircraft that carries more fuel to boot.


Or you could take the $1 to $2 billion you saved by keeping the Es unmodified
and just start buying 767s (or what have you) outright, also saving yourself the
interest on the lease. We're talking about paying $2 billion per year on the
lease, which would buy 10 767s each and every year. As it was Boeing claimed
the lease was only going to allow us to start replacing 135Es about 3 years
earlier than otherwise. In short, I think the lease stinks, as we don't _need_
the new a/c right away (whatever type), so leasing instead of buying makes no
sense, especially as were going to keep the a/c for so long.

Respective runway and
ramp space requirements? PFI vs. military? Etc.

Lose the outsourcing option from the get-go, IMO. Won't work for an
organization with the scope of tanking requirements that the USAF has.


Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Air bridge and training tanking doesn't require
military crewing. It's certainly an option worth looking at for at least

some
tanking requirements, if not all.


I am not crazy about the idea of having a portion of the tanker force
unavailable for use in the T/O (and no, this is not the same as my below
posit regarding using the 767's for these roles--those 767's could just as
well extend to the T/O where they provide full capacity tanking to USAF
assets, even with their (initially) marginal USN tanking support
capability).


We have a portion of the tanker force that is unavailable for use in the T/O
now, according to an AF general -- the 135Es. There will always be tankers that
are involved with routine duties outside the T/O.

snip

Yes, they do, but the question remains, are 767s rather than upgraded

Es
and
later 7E7s the best way to go; what's the best mix, what % of tankers
need to
do which roles, how will the advent of UCAVs affect the need for

tankers
and the
type mix, what effect will USAF F-35 buys have, etc. This needs to be
properly
studied.

Again with the neverending studies? :-)


What never-ending study? The USAF failed to do such a study in the first

place,
especially an AoA. The latter was predicted to take about 18 months, but

the
head of AQ&L (Wynne) says they'll probably push it and complete it by

December
or so.


I was referring to your DSB folks..."studies" was the term they used. As in
"more than one".


Because there are several still underway as we speak, looking at various issues,
most of them ordered by the SecDef. The AoA is one of them, and almost
certainly the most important.

snip

I'm aware that the R&D will still apply, I'm worried about the

materiel
costs,
which are only going to go up. If we need the capability, then let's

just
buy
it and get the purchase out of the way, instead of paying inflated

prices
later.

Even if it delays entry further, meaning you are also going to be paying
that higher O&M cost for the remaining E's even longer...?


If that allows us to make a better decision for the long term, sure. We

can get
upgraded Es (Pacer Crag Rs) into service faster than we can get 767s.


And pay some $3.6 billion for the privaledge of then having the longest
serving remaining KC-135's committed to an even longer period of service.


So? The Rs are only a year younger on average, and yet no one's raising a big
fuss about them hanging around until 2040. So we convert the Es, and maybe
start retiring them a few years earlier.

IMO, not a wise course of action--only to be used if the 767 deal gets
trashed due to both Boeing's stupid handling of what should have been a done
deal by now and the involvement of politicos-with-axes-to-grind, like
McCain.


Just which axe is McCain grinding, other than the one (widely shared) that the
lease makes no fiscal sense, and is essentially driven by the wish to give
Boeing a bailout?

IMO, if that is the way it plays out, we will see the conversion to
R's, then a mindset of, "What? You want a *new* tanker, after we just sank
all of that money into upgrading those last E models? Maybe next year we
might authorize a *study*..." set in, leaving the USAF in the lurch with an
open-ended KC-135 tanker force, and the BUFF's being replaced before they
are.


If that winds up with us having equal or greater capability at equal or lesser
price, I'm all for it. Given the choice between multipoint-capable Rs now and
single point 767s (or whatever) later, I'd take the Rs, unless the economics are
are shown to go the other way. So far, I've seen no evidence that they do,
which is why I want to see an AoA done.

snip

I am not as impressed with the summary of the DSB report as you are (but
then again, I tend to weigh the advice of the folks actually tasked to

fly
the missions a bit more than I do the DSB, GAO, etc).


Seeing as how the DSB works for the Pentagon, and Rumsfeld is the guy who

tasked
them to do the study back in February, I put a bit more weight on their

advice
than you do. Especially since opponents of the 767 deal (McCain to

thefront)
believed that the DSB was much too cosy with the military and Boeing (the

DSB
Chairman had to recuse himself because he was also a paid Boeing

consultant and
had been mentioned in internal company e-mails back in Dec.2002/Jan. 2003

as
willing to help push the deal), and fully expected them to support it. I
believe McCain's words were something along the lines of a "fox guarding

the
chickens." So yeah, when even they come out and say they that we've got

time to
do the study and the corrosion is manageable, I'm inclined to believe

them.

Then we will have to agree to disagree on this point.


Fair enough.

snip

In the long run, yes. But is it worth slowing delivery up-front even
further
than it already has been slowed?

According to the DSB, we have the time.

The DSB that claims, contrary to what the USAF LTG testified last year,

that
the corrosion problem is readily in-hand...?


the DSB's claim is based on the USAF unit doing the corrosion controls

data,
let's remember. The situation isn't static, and they've gotten better at

it
since last year.


You left out that whole "tolerate higher maintenance cost" part of the DSB's
corrosion solution--I don't think that is a "minor" part of the equation
here, though the DSB apparently does given the off-hand way they worded that
statement.


See my reply to you where you made much the same point, above.

And thinks out-sourcing tanker
requirements is a fine idea?


They're saying it's a viable option, it should be looked at in an AoA, and

we've
got the time to do so. No more, no less.


If you "tolerate higher maintenance costs" you have that time.


Yes, and lower acquisition costs.

I am not buying into either, at this point.


Until the AoA is actually done, we have nothing to base a decision on

other than
"because I think so," which IMO is a pretty poor way to spend billions of
dollars.


DSB did not say they *thought* keeping the E models would be more expensive
than what we are already paying--they said we would have to tolerate higher
maintenance costs, period, while the "studies" (plural) take place.


And the questions we need to answer are whether that is cheaper than leasing
767s, buying them outright, buying something else down the road, converting Es
to Rs, or what have you. Makes sense to me - it may cost us a bit more right
now, but may save us a bundle down the road. Exactly the opposite applies with
leasing rather than buying 767s.

snip

I remain unconvinced that AMC would throw a hissy fit if the USN wanted

to
include a secondary tanking capability to its C-40B's.


More likely, they'd suffer a rupture from laughing at the USN devoting

such a
large proportion of its budget to paying the NRE for so few a/c of such

limited
performance (as tankers).


Then the critical USN "requirement" that led off this thread...must be more
of a "desire" than it is a "requirement".


No, it just means that you spend your money wisely, and buying a few "KC-40s" of
limited performance and very high cost is anything but that.

Personally, I doubt the USAF would have put up a
fight if the USN had said they wanted to incorporate a secondary
refueling
capability in their C-40B's; just as the USN has been strangely

silent
over
the USAF talking about recreating an in-house stand-off jamming
capability.

There is no way in hell that the USN would pay the R&D NRE for a

tanker
mod for
their C-40s, with all their other needs.

Exactly. So the lack of multi-point refuelers must not be such a

critical
one, eh?


Since no one else is even considering buying 737s as tankers, and the navy

is
only buying a few (somewhere between 5 and 8, as best I can tell), the

navy
would have to be nuts to make that kind of investment for so few a/c, even
assuming that they would be reasonable tankers. Given their limited
payload/range and performance, I have my doubts they would be, but it's

moot.

They (C-40A--I goofed with the "B", which is one of the USAF models) are
replacing the C-9 in the USN; from what I gather, the plan is to replace 27
C-9's, and I doubt that 8 C-40's can do that. I read where one of the
military lobbying groups noted that the CNO wants to procure three per year
(unspecified total delivery).


I've been unable to find a definitive total number either. 5-8 I'm pretty sure
of, but beyond that everything seems tenuous. Kind of like how many tankers the
USAF needs, of what type, and when;-)

I am not sure the 737 would make a superior
tanker, either--my point was more in the line of, "If the USN is *really*
worried about tanking capability for its aircraft, why have they not moved
to increase their own in-house capability beyond buddy tanking and C-130's,
especially when they have recently begun procuring a new dedicated land
based logistics support aircraft?" In other words, this a BIG priority for
them--as long as somebody else is footing the bill, that is. Otherwise, the
priority seems to be somwhere down in the weeds...


The only way to settle this is to wait and see how the USAF reacts if, after
selecting whatever new tanker they pick, the USN says "hey, we want some of
those for ourselves, and here's the money." Myabe the USAF will say "you're
welcome, and thanks so much for helping out with the R&D." Or maybe they'll get
all territorial; it's not as if turf wars are dead just because we've been
fighting real ones.

Guy

  #29  
Old May 15th 04, 11:54 AM
Guy Alcala
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Guy Alcala wrote:

Kevin Brooks wrote:


snip

But you find the improved fuel consumption of the 767 versus the R models,
and especially the E models, to be a non-issue?


I'm not sure that the 767 has a fuel consumption advantage over a 135R across
the spectrum of tanker roles (it has a small offload advantage owing to higher
gross weight), but of course it's an issue, one to be properly analysed to see
just _how much_ of an issue it is, or is likely to become. In other words,
let's do this using our brains rather than just going on gut feeling.


Just had a look at AFPAM 10-1403, which among other things lists military and CRAF
a/c types for various roles and missions. Fuel burn for generic planning purposes
of a KC-135R is listed as 10,921 lbs./hr. A CRAF B-767 (sub-type unstated) is
listed as
10,552 lb./hr. A tanker version would have more drag (boom, receptacle and various
fairings, never mind wing pods), so fuel burn of the two types appears to be
essentially equal.

Guy

  #30  
Old May 15th 04, 09:22 PM
sameolesid
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Guy Alcala wrote in message ...
Guy Alcala wrote:

Kevin Brooks wrote:


snip

But you find the improved fuel consumption of the 767 versus the R models,
and especially the E models, to be a non-issue?


I'm not sure that the 767 has a fuel consumption advantage over a 135R across
the spectrum of tanker roles (it has a small offload advantage owing to higher
gross weight), but of course it's an issue, one to be properly analysed to see
just _how much_ of an issue it is, or is likely to become. In other words,
let's do this using our brains rather than just going on gut feeling.


Just had a look at AFPAM 10-1403, which among other things lists military and CRAF
a/c types for various roles and missions. Fuel burn for generic planning purposes
of a KC-135R is listed as 10,921 lbs./hr. A CRAF B-767 (sub-type unstated) is
listed as
10,552 lb./hr. A tanker version would have more drag (boom, receptacle and various
fairings, never mind wing pods), so fuel burn of the two types appears to be
essentially equal.

Guy


Real world fuel burn for a 767-200 planned for a transatlantic this
afternoon (15May) is 10,450 lbs per hour. Of course thats without pods
or a boom.
 




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