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    The USAF KC-46 tanker program

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    JohninMK

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    The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  JohninMK on Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:10 pm

    Thought this, as a massive procurement program, deserved its own thread. Especially as there will be hiccups on the way as, like the F-35, there looks as if there is going to be some concurrency with R&D overlapping production.

    If past performance is any indication of future schedules, the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker programme won’t go as planned, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester.

    Based on the tanker replacement programme’s history, its current schedule is “aggressive and unlikely to be executed as planned,” Michael Gilmore wrote in his annual report. In a prime example of schedule delay, the US Air Force had planned to complete 66% of testing by the end of the engineering, manufacturing and development phase. By the beginning of low-rate production last August though, Boeing had completed only 30% of EMD testing, the report states.

    When Gilmore’s office approved a test and evaluation master plan in November 2016 that would support KC-46’s entrance into low-rate production that August, it did so with lingering concerns about leaving enough time to correct discrepancies between the end of developmental testing and the beginning of initial operational test and evaluation, he writes.

    “Execution of the current schedule assumes historically unrealistic test aircraft fly and re-fly rates,” Gilmore writes.

    Though the programme is on track to become an effective aerial refueling platform, several capabilities still require correcting or additional testing. During testing last January, Boeing discovered higher than expected axial loads on the tanker’s refueling boom. That pushed Boeing’s scheduled low-rate initial production decision from June to August while Boeing redesigned the boom control system.

    Boeing implemented a hardware-based solution for the refueling issue, which involved inserting two bypass valves in the fly-by-wire-controlled boom to relieve the aerodynamic pressure. However, the current boom represent a prototype rather than a production-ready design.

    Last year, the KC-46 successfully refueled a USAF A-10, allowing the programme to move ahead toward initial production. Boeing also demonstrated aerial refueling with the the US Navy’s F/A-18 and AV-8B using the centreline and wing drogue systems and the KC-46 as a receiver aircraft. The company also completed refueling demonstrations on the C-17 airlifter and F-16 using the aerial refueling boom. But Gilmore notes Boeing has only performed daylight refueling operations and none of the aircraft have been certified as receiving platforms.

    Several key tests for aircraft survivability remain, such as an electromagnetic pulse test which have been delayed until April 2017. Before initial operational test and evaluation closes, program managers also plan to correct at least some of the many cybersecurity vulnerabilities discovered during a second operational test.


    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/kc-46-schedule-unlikely-to-go-as-planned-433181/
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    George1

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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  George1 on Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:03 am

    Boeing Receives $2.1Bln Order to Build More KC-46 Pegasus Air Tankers

    Boeing has been awarded a more than $2 billion contract to build 15 KC-46 military air refuelling tankers.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Boeing has been awarded a more than $2 billion contract to build 15 KC-46 military air refuelling tankers, two spare engines and five wing refuelling pod kits, the US Department of Defense announced.

    "The Boeing Company [of] Seattle, Washington, has been awarded a $2.1 billion… for KC-46 Lot 3 production," the announcement stated on Friday.

    The contractor will provide 15 KC-46 aircraft, data, two spare engines, and five wing refueling pod kits, the Defense Department added.

    The KC-46 Pegasus is a wide-body, multirole tanker that can refuel all US, allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refuelling procedures.

    Assembly of the first 19 Pegasus tanker planes under a $2.8 billion US Air Force contract began in August 2016.

    https://sputniknews.com/us/201701281050094889-boeing-build-pegasus/


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    JohninMK

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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  JohninMK on Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:59 pm

    15 February, 2017 SOURCE: Flightglobal.com BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

    Initial operational test and evaluation on the Boeing KC-46A tanker will begin in January 2018 at the earliest, US Air Force officials tell FlightGlobal.

    In a 10 February interview at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, KC-46 programme manager Col. John Newberry told FlightGlobalthat testing will begin pending the results of a US Air Force IOT&E readiness review in the fall of 2017.

    Last year, the Pentagon’s top weapons tester estimated a May 2017 start for IOT&E and an April 2016 Milestone C date. But after Boeing discovered higher than expected axial loads on the refueling boom last May, the programme was forced to rebaseline its schedule. When Milestone C shifted from its expected April 2016 date to August, it initiated a domino effect that pushed other programme events, such as IOT&E, further out.

    The air force negotiated the timeline for the updated schedule within the last month, Brig Gen Duke Richardson, programme executive officer for the service’s tanker fleet, tells FlightGlobal. Delivery of the initial 18 aircraft is projected for February of 2018, rather than the August 2017 date announced last May. The spare engines and Cobham-made wing aerial refueling pods (WARPs) will be delivered in October 2018 as expected.


    More at https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/kc-46a-tests-delayed-until-january-2018-434228/
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    George1

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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  George1 on Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:21 pm



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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  JohninMK on Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:51 pm

    It doesn't get any better



    24 March, 2017 SOURCE: Flightglobal.com BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

    The Boeing KC-46A tanker’s costs have decreased by $7.3 billion, or about 14%, since its initial estimate but the programme could see future delays, according to a Government Accountability Report released this week.


    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/kc-46-costs-come-down-but-delays-loom-435562/
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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  JohninMK on Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:32 am

    Boeing has received a $59.2 million US Air Force contract to provide interim contracting support for the KC-46 long-range, next generation aerial tanker, the Department of Defense said in a press release.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Work on the contract will be performed worldwide in support of KC-46 and is expected to be completed by March 24, 2018, the release added.

    “The Boeing Company [of] Seattle, Washington, has been awarded a $59.2 million modification… for interim contracting support for the KC-46,” the release stated on Monday.

    The Air Force's KC-46 modernization program to replace one-third of the aging US aerial refueling fleet, remains more than a year behind schedule with the prospect of extra delays due to air-worthiness certifications issues, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report last week.
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    max steel

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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  max steel on Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:08 pm

    Air Force General Wants a Cloaking Device for His Aerial Tankers


    The U.S. Air Force’s military transport chief is tapping Silicon Valley, the defense industry and the Pentagon’s new innovation office in search of electronic cloaking technologies out of “Star Trek” to shrink the profiles of aerial tankers on enemy radar.

    “I’ve got airplanes with big fat bodies and long wings,” General Carlton Everhart, head of the Air Mobility Command, said Tuesday in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. “I’ve got first-generation tankers refueling fifth-gen fighters. The enemy doesn’t have to look for the fighter -- he just has to look for me.”

    Everhart said he’s spoken with technology companies, defense contractors, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and military service laboratories on an idea still in its earliest stage: Retrofitting tankers as old as the 1950s-era KC-135 and as new as Boeing Co.’s KC-46 with technology to alter the plane’s radar image, or waveform, so it appears to be “either in a different location in the air” or “reduced or disappears altogether: Now you see me, now you don’t.”

    “I asked industry for a cloaking device and they all laughed -- they said you’ve been watching too much” science fiction. “I said, ‘Listen to me -- this is what I want -- something that would be able to change the waveform.”’

    “I’m piggybacking off industry,” Everhart said “If I put it in the military acquisition system, it would be 50 years before I get it out because of the regulations that we have.”

    Pilot Shortage

    Based in Illinois, the Air Mobility Command moves U.S. forces and equipment around the globe, fuels planes in midair and provides evacuation of wounded or endangered troops. On other topics, Everhart said:

    *The Air Force and commercial airlines have a concern in common: finding enough pilots to replace a generation nearing retirement age. Everhart is convening a conference May 18 at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland with representatives of 23 civilian airlines, top service officials and representatives of the National Guard and Air Force Reserve to discuss working together on recruiting and training.

    The Air Mobility Command has a shortage of 300 pilots currently, and that threatens to grow far worse by 2021 as 1,600 more pilots become eligible to leave the service. “We are in direct competition for the same product” and “I cannot outspend the airlines,” he said. “So I’ve got to be complementary with them.”

    * His command’s tankers fly 40 percent of aircraft sorties over Iraq and Syria against Islamic State terrorists. Air Force statistics indicate KC-135 and KC-10 tankers performed 81,000 aerial refueling operations last year, up from 29,000 in 2014 when operations began that August.

    “Everyone says this is a shooting war, but we are providing them all that gas,” Everhart said. Last year, Everhart’s aircraft flew the equivalent of 66 years, he said.

    * He wants to equip his tankers with lasers that can destroy ground-to-air missiles instead of just using the intense beams to blind the missile’s warhead as current defensive systems do.

    * He said he’d use some of the added money that President Donald Trump has proposed for the fiscal 2018 defense budget to bring up to flying status eight C-5M transports stored at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and Travis Air Force Base in California. They’re languishing over a lack of maintenance after $105 million had been spent on each to refurbish.

    * The Air Force program office is reviewing the current KC-46 tanker schedule with Boeing in light of a 14-month delay in delivering the first 18 aircraft by August. The latest schedule calls for delivering 20 by October 2018. The first transport is scheduled for delivery in September, and Everhart says he intends to fly it.

    “What is in the art of the doable -- are we going to meet all the milestones?” Everhart said. He said he told Boeing “I’m a very, very demanding customer.”
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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  George1 on Wed May 03, 2017 1:08 am

    The scheduled delivery of 179 next generation aerial tankers is critical for the air campaign in the Middle East and Afghanistan, as well as other theaters, the Commander of US Transportation Command Gen. Darren McDew told Congress on Tuesday.

    https://sputniknews.com/military/201705021053213037-us-air-refueling-tankers/


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    JohninMK

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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  JohninMK on Wed May 03, 2017 12:08 pm

    George1 wrote:
    The scheduled delivery of 179 next generation aerial tankers is critical for the air campaign in the Middle East and Afghanistan, as well as other theaters, the Commander of US Transportation Command Gen. Darren McDew told Congress on Tuesday.

    https://sputniknews.com/military/201705021053213037-us-air-refueling-tankers/
    Think that guy must be planning for another 10 years there.

    The first 18 aren't scheduled until next year and 179 are not even ordered yet.
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    JohninMK

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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  JohninMK on Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:47 pm

    As they say 'deliveries move to the right'.

    08 June, 2017 SOURCE: Flightglobal.com BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

    The US Air Force expects Boeing to deliver the first of its KC-46A tankers in the "late spring" of 2018, several months after a previously planned date during September 2017.

    Following an annual KC-46A schedule risk assessment earlier this week, the USAF determined that slower-than-expected progress in the flight test programme and Boeing’s ability to achieve US Federal Aviation Administration certifications would delay the first delivery by several months. Boeing plans to secure the remaining design approvals in July, the service said on 8 June.

    Although Boeing has argued that the USAF never set September as a concrete timeline, the service's military deputy for the assistant secretary of the air force for acquisition says the date was outlined in the programme's schedule after its last re-baselining.

    "I’m not frustrated," Lt Gen Arnold Bunch told reporters on 7 June. "Well, I don’t like delays. Boeing is throwing resources and doing everything they can to pull it back, they’re doing everything they can to try to execute, that’s the part I’m very upbeat about."

    Boeing believes it could speed up testing after receiving the remaining design approvals from the FAA, and achieve first delivery by December 2017, with required assets available delivered by 2018.

    The air force’s official assessment pushes the programme’s schedule further to the right, after also announcing delivery delays last year. Citing complexities associated with qualification and certification of the aircraft’s centreline drogue-and-wing aerial refuelling pod systems, the service projected first delivery would move from March 2017 to August 2017, with the last of an initial 18 aircraft to be handed over in January 2018.

    In a May roundtable with reporters outside Seattle, Washington, Boeing officials said it would deliver the first tanker by the end of 2017. The USAF had announced a KC-46A delivery ceremony set for 15 September in a Federal Business Opportunities notice earlier this year, but Boeing's programme manager described this as a planning date.

    "There’s uncertainty to when that date is," Mike Gibbons said. "The air force was planning on a potential date that could have been as early as September. It’s likely that we will deliver later than that, probably late this year."

    Boeing officials agree with the USAF that risks still exist, but say they are working closely with the service to deliver aircraft.

    "Regarding test points, we expect to be much more efficient during the second half of testing now that the design has stabilised," Boeing says. "The majority of developmental testing is complete, which reduces risk to the certification and verification testing. Additionally, we recently added a sixth aircraft [a second low-rate initial production example] to the flight test programme, which will help with test efficiency and improve our ability to complete ground and flight test points going forward."

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    GarryB

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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  GarryB on Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:28 am

    But hang on... hasn't this fiasco been going on for the best part of a decade... and none of the economic problems the Russian ship builders had to go through...


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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  JohninMK on Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:37 pm

    GarryB wrote:But hang on... hasn't this fiasco been going on for the best part of a decade... and none of the economic problems the Russian ship builders had to go through...

    Yes, but think of the profits being racked up (I am absolutely convinced that the costs Boeing claim they are absorbing are for real and not just on paper Smile )!
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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  GarryB on Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:43 am

    But where is the talk of Boeing not knowing how to build planes any more, where is the sky going to fall first...


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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  JohninMK on Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:07 pm

    Seems that there are still a few 'issues'.

    Just in: @AirMobilityCmd's Gen Everhart says @BoeingDefense probably won't deliver KC-46 until 2018 #ASC17 h/t @AMC_CC


    https://twitter.com/laraseligman/status/910123110724227075
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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  GarryB on Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:33 am

    Wow.... another delay... perhaps America can't make aircraft any more?


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    10 Biggest Aerial Refueling Aircraft's...

    Post  Anonymous Fighter on Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:35 pm

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    JohninMK

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    Re: The USAF KC-46 tanker program

    Post  JohninMK on Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:34 pm

    First one expected by USAF in March



    SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Boeing will miss its self-imposed goal to deliver the first KC-46 tanker to the Air Force by the end of the year, the head of the company’s defense business told Defense News in an exclusive interview.

    “We’re not going to be delivering a tanker this year,” Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense and Security, said Saturday on the sidelines of the Reagan National Defense Forum. “This has been a focus of mine since I’ve taken over this role. The team has been persistent, they have a lot of grit, they’re continuing to drive it,” she said. “We are extremely close, we will be delivering those in 2018 and there is no doubt in my mind that this is a great franchise for the Boeing Company and we are delivering an incredible capability to the United States Air Force and to the world.”

    Boeing is contractually required to deliver 18 certified KC-46s and nine refueling pods by October 2018 or face additional penalties, but is not bound by the terms of its fixed-price contract with the Air Force to hand over the first aircraft by a certain date.


    https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/reagan-defense-forum/2017/12/03/boeing-will-miss-2017-delivery-goal-for-first-kc-46/

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