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USAF RFP for KC-X , third time lucky?

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posted on Sep, 28 2009 @ 10:41 AM
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www.defense-aerospace.com...



WASHINGTON --- Senior Department of Defense and Air Force officials announced the rollout of the KC-X Acquisition Program at a Pentagon briefing Sept. 24. Air Force leaders are seeking a replacement for the KC-135 Stratotanker that has been a stalwart of the tanker fleet for more than 53 years.

Today, the department is announcing its acquisition strategy for a replacement aerial refueling tanker fleet for the aging KC-135 and KC-10 fleet, said William J. Lynn, deputy secretary of defense. He termed the search to be a "best value" competition, not one based solely on cost. "We tried to play this straight down the middle," Mr. Lynn said.



oh the timing...... well here we are , the third time the USAF wants a new tanker , and the third time they wont get one - the in fighting and politcal BS are all happening full swing.



in alternative news , the A330-200F is coming in at 1/2 ton UNDERWEIGHT , with potentially more to come off!




posted on Sep, 28 2009 @ 11:07 AM
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reply to post by Harlequin
 


I think you're more than likely correct about the USAF needing, but not getting, a new tanker aircraft. I have a sad feeling that the KC-X is going to go the way of the DD-X...the project is going to get delayed, goals and requirements are going to shift, costs are going to climb, and by the time all is said and done, if we get anything at all actually built, it'll be too scarce to matter and to expensive to risk.

As for the whole "Boeing vs Airbus" fiasco, I can see problems with giving the contract to either company. Giving the contract to Boeing might mean a less effective tanker in terms of overall fuel capacity, range, and / or unit cost (I haven't seen the most recent figures on any of those stats, so I can't give hard numbers one way or t'other), but has the advantage of domestic production (it makes me nervous when our military has to rely on another country for a vital defense asset), and long experience (Boeing obviously has the track record of building successful tanker planes...one can safely bet that they know how to design and build good ones). Giving the contract to Airbus might give us a cheaper tanker with better range and payload...that might have subtle operational drawbacks that prove telling in service. (To cite an historical example, the B-24 Liberator had better range, speed, and bomb load than the B-17, and yet the B-17 continued in production and seemed more popular with crews despite the -24's better 'on-paper' performance). There's also the rather scary thought that with airliner sales dropping, and no pending military contracts, we might lose Boeing, and with it, the knowledge base accumulated over decades. That institutional 'how to' is a priceless asset that can't be easily replaced...just ask NASA about that problem!

Now, if we could get a deal to license-build the Airbus tanker at US plants, that might represent a 'best-of-both-worlds' solution....but good luck with a side order of fried karma trying to sell that idea to the political hacks who have the final say on the deal....



posted on Sep, 28 2009 @ 12:40 PM
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reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


that was the original deal


defense-update.com...



Furthermore, the program will support more than 25,000 jobs in the USA. According to Northrop Grumman the manufacturing and support infrastructure for the KC-45A will create a new 'aerospace manufacturing corridor' in the Southeastern USA, creating 2,500 new jobs in and around Mobile Alabama, where the new aircraft will be assembled



and the A330-200F , the entire production line would have gone to mobile as well - another few hundred aircraft as well.


given that 777 freighters are being parked `new build` with 0 flight hours - then i can see boeing biting the bullet and pitching it in the competition - 179 frieghter sales guarenteed at cost minus would be a bonus to them



posted on Sep, 28 2009 @ 12:54 PM
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reply to post by Harlequin
 


Is N-G just doing assembly of parts made overseas by Airbus? I don't like the idea of having to import our tankers. When I think of license-build agreements, I'm thinking of local parts manufacture *and* assembly.

I'm also rather pessimistic about *any* tanker deal, to be honest (as I mentioned above). I don't think the folks in DC (in either party) are interested in funding much of anything for the military, but none of them have the...ahem...spherical anatomy to just come out and say that. So instead, the RFPs wil keep getting bogged down in details, mission creep, and general bovine byproducts until some Vigilant Defender of the Public Purse can scream about cost overruns and contract delays, then the project gets axed for inefficient management.



posted on Sep, 28 2009 @ 01:16 PM
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It was actually much more than that. N-G stood to gain the production of *every* A330 freighter, even the civil ones, with the KC-45 contract so Boeings action was a major blow to them.



posted on Sep, 28 2009 @ 03:17 PM
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reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


you know that the 787 is made in more countries around the world then assembled in the USA dont you?


www.seattlepi.com...


been like this for the `made in america` boeing aircraft since the 767



posted on Sep, 28 2009 @ 05:30 PM
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reply to post by Harlequin
 


Yah...and I don't like it.
Call me an old-fashioned overly-paranoid so-and-so if you like...God knows I've been called worse.

Just as a 'by the bye', don't take me for a pro-Boeing person in the 'tanker wars'...personally, I think we need *some* new tanker aircraft, and it's not in our national interest to keep postponing the inevitable. Would I *prefer* a 'made-in-the-US' plane for the role? Yep. Given that one isn't available (from Airbus or from Boeing), may the better plane (not necessarily the cheapest or the most politically expedient) win, and do so as quickly as possible. The current tanker fleet is tired, and the C-130 crews are probably getting nervous, wondering if the tanker job is going to get added to the -130's resume, just like everything *else* has over the last few decades!



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 04:00 AM
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sitelife.aviationweek.com...


^^ they allready do with the KC-130j



whats silly is that more of the KC-45a will be made in america than any boeing offering



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 02:43 PM
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and so it begins:


news.yahoo.com...



WASHINGTON (AFP) – Northrop Grumman Tuesday accused the Pentagon of being "unfair" over the aerospace giant's competition with Boeing for a new mammoth contract to replace the US Air Force's aging aerial tankers.

Northrop charged that the Defense Department gave the company's key pricing information from a previous tanker competition to Boeing while access to comparable pricing data from the rival was denied




thats smells like a run to the GAO when this has finished.....



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 05:07 PM
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The KC-X competition has been looking more and more to me as a method by which the government can keep Boeing from going bankrupt while simultaneously keeping them in check. The following is a theory which contains a subtle piece of logic which suggests a serious flaw in the argument which I shall reveal at the end, but bear with me through the logic.

----------------------------------------------------

Consider Boeing's precarious position. They invested money and time into the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition until they were shot down in 1991. They put even more money into the X-32, an entry into the Joint Strike Fighter competition before flopping in 2001. The F-15 series, now the property of Boeing after the merge with McDonnell Douglas in 1995 has reaching the end of its life. The F-18 is slowly reaching that stage as well with the originals on the chopping block for the F-35, and the Super Hornets not selling in huge numbers.

Problems continue on the civil front with the monopoly on superheavy aircraft in the form of the 747 having disappeared with the rise of the A380. Add in the increasing pressure from the opposite extreme size from companies like Embraer, Bombardier, and Sukhoi. Mix in the heaping amounts of trouble with the 787 and funds necessary to keep it going. Stir lightly and allow to simmer for 20 minutes on stove.

You get the idea. Boeing is in a particularly bad position, and if they go belly-up the US aerospace ecosystem (if you will) is going to take a huge hit, even if Boeing agglutinates with another company the turnover will be extremely slow. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Boeing needs some help. It would therefore be reasonable to assume that the government can see this, and would want to give them a contract so as to save Boeing's arse.

Now, the moderately observative would say "But the competition winner was Northrop and EADS. Ergo: me right, you wrong," to which I would reply "A-ha! But you are of much shorter height than average, and your faces are exceedingly ugly," followed immediately by pointing out that this was quickly overturned. This could easily be a scare tactic to motive Boeing to giving the US government a better product at a better price for fear of bankruptcy. It's better to make a little profit than chance for a bit more and lose the entire contract. This does nothing but good for the government since they get a better value by giving Boeing the time and the motivation to provide such.

The cancellation of the RFP for the new administration only gave Boeing more time to refine their offering. This latest post by Harlequin suggests further that the administration is attempting to favor Boeing while still making them earn the contract by giving one side information denied the other. This could, again, easily be a way of prompting Boeing to provide better value for the government while still staying in business.

This large amount of coincidences that conveniently come to Boeing's aid at the expense of Northrop and EADS suggests to me that this could perhaps be, as described initially, a way to toss Boeing a bone while still forcing them to give some value back.

----------------------------------------------------

With all that logic and evidence in there, I rather got caught up at the time in trying to make connections without realizing that there was, in fact, a severe flaw which essentially beats down the argument. It goes thus:

How can we assume that the US government is capable of devising, agreeing upon, and successfully carrying out such a complex and clever plan when they clearly can't find their arses with their own hands?


Pr0



posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 09:51 AM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
sitelife.aviationweek.com...


^^ they allready do with the KC-130j



whats silly is that more of the KC-45a will be made in america than any boeing offering


Is there anything the C-130 *can't* do? :-D
Why is it that seemingly every one of our most versatile, effective aircraft date from the 1950s (B-52, C-130, KC-135)? I'm almost expecting to hear that we're restating production on the F-4 Phantom, for the love of Kelly Johnson!! :-D :-D



posted on Oct, 2 2009 @ 01:09 AM
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Originally posted by Brother Stormhammer
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Why is it that seemingly every one of our most versatile, effective aircraft date from the 1950s (B-52, C-130, KC-135)? I'm almost expecting to hear that we're restating production on the F-4 Phantom, for the love of Kelly Johnson!! :-D :-D


Don't forget that Lockeed Electra derived P-3 Orion. First Flight in 1959.

en.wikipedia.org...



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