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Air Force close to deciding on commercial tankers

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posted on Mar, 7 2020 @ 06:47 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Right, but those are produced overseas right now. RR builds the engines for the Global Hawk fleet here, though, at Indianapolis, and they are in the process of expanding their footprint at a cost of close to a billion dollars as part of their bid to build the F130 here for the B-52 project (and presumably in that case, the two you already mentioned). With that kind of investment, it'd be hard to rule out a bid for another relatively high-volume line producing Trents for the government tankers-- and if that happened, you can get your fingers in other government pies strengthening your bids for ABMS platforms, etc , and you simultaneously open the window for better/faster support for commercial carriers for your product.
edit on 7-3-2020 by RadioRobert because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 7 2020 @ 07:00 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

That's an interesting facility. They're expanding it for the B-52 program, as you said, but from what I've read, it's going to be a FACO. The actual engine components will be produced overseas, but assembly and final checks will happen there.



posted on Mar, 7 2020 @ 09:35 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

RR employs thousands of workers here, and has large, modern facilities with empty space to fill. I wouldn't rule them out of anything based on their status as a "foreign" company. It's probably moot, sadly, because I can't see much desire at Fort Fumble to admit the KC-X program was a disaster worth reversing.



posted on Mar, 7 2020 @ 10:02 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Have they ever though? I think the only way it happens is Congress forcing the issue. And that's going to depend on the RVS fix that's due this month. They're talking a pretty major redesign though. Everything from wiring to the cameras.



posted on Mar, 8 2020 @ 01:06 AM
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Here’s a thought...why not have window or two fitted underneath the aircraft and have a crew member “fly” the boom to the receiver aircraft....😇a reply to: Zaphod58



posted on Mar, 8 2020 @ 07:01 AM
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Interesting that both Zaph and RRobert think RR would have a serious shot at it. I had forgotten the B-52 contract and the assembly line. From what I have seen commercially the Trent powered A-330 is pretty bullet proof and not a bad engine to work on. I mused to the CF-6 80E1 and while reliable, they can be a pain to work on and have there little gripes with vibration induced issues.

I would expect EADS to partner with either NG or LM for a contract and frankly really hope they would have a shot at it. The MRTT has actually turned out to be a great aircraft that seems to e getting better. I honestly dont think the USAF can loose by splitting the buy.



posted on Mar, 8 2020 @ 09:53 AM
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a reply to: Silentvulcan

You know what's really funny? Long before it ever flew, I said something about how it would be useless if there was a camera problem. I was told repeatedly that the camera system was pretty bulletproof and there wouldn't be any issues with it.



posted on Mar, 8 2020 @ 09:59 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

They'd almost certainly go back to NG if they reopen the bidding.



posted on Mar, 8 2020 @ 10:51 AM
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The old saying of KISS sometimes is the best policy...a reply to: Zaphod58



posted on Mar, 8 2020 @ 11:25 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

I wouldn't say Rolls is a favourite, but I certainly wouldn't rule them out.

LockMart and EADS semi-recently pitched an unsolicited bid to USAF for 330MRTT tankers, so my money would fall that way. My guess is they would pitch a service by a company owned/operated by LockMart maybe with a rider for cargo missions and/or Civil Reserve fleet status when not being contracted by the AF, Navy, Marines, or other alphabet customer. That would let you have a relatively large fleet on hand at short notice, but that could support itself financially in various ways outside simply tanking requirements. CRAF basically subsidizing a commercial fleet they can contract from. Maybe 80% of the company stays contracted to the DOD and other government agencies more or less full-time with another 20% freelancing the cargo market, but available to be recalled to service quicky. Since the government has a higher demand for air cargo than assets, generally, the MRTT would open up some options there, too. And the CRAF money keeps them afloat while times are lean.
If I had an extra couple billion on hand, I'd probably already be doing this.

Northrop probably has it's hands full at the moment, but you never know. If the AF decides it wants to actually acquire a tanker fleet, it'd be a different scenario. EADS will just look at the contractor with the best deal who has facilities and capabilities ready and slack to take up, or who is willing to spend to make it happen.



posted on Mar, 27 2020 @ 03:57 PM
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The Air Force is expected to complete the feasibility study this month, with an eye towards contract solicitation in June. The initial contract would cover 5,000 hours over 1,100 sorties. They'd eventually like to see 21,000 hours for exercises, 2,100 hours for test and evaluation, 2,190 hours for foreign military sales support, and 900 hours for Coronet support.

Companies would need one boom and drogue equipped aircraft, and can expect to fly three sorties a day. IOC would be 12 months after award with AFMC testing. At two years they'd be certified for F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, B-1s, and B-52s. At FOC, they'd be certified on F-22s, F-35s, A-10s, C-130s, P-8s, C-17s, RC-135s, E-3s, and E-8s. Longer term they could see OCONUS support missions, including exercises, CORONET missions, and flying training units.

www.airforcemag.com...



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