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[*] posted on 11-9-2017 at 02:15 PM
Air Tankers


MSPO 2017: IAI Offers Poland MMTT-Class Aircraft

At MSPO 2017, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)-Bedek confirmed that it has answered Poland’s RFI (Request for Information) regarding a MMTT (Multi-Mission Tanker/Transport)-class aircraft, which Warsaw wants to procure for the Polish Air Force.

IAI-Bedek confirmed that it has offered Poland a conversion of a standard Boeing B767-300ER into a modern MMTT-class aircraft which is configured simultaneously for air refuelling operation, cargo transport, VIP/passengers transport and ISR duties. As IAI-Bedek said, an upgraded aircraft includes a special cargo door and built-in cargo pallet capabilities. Passenger seats and consoles can be easily installed or removed when needed. Due to its versatility, IAI calls its aircraft a ‘smart tanker’. According to the company, configuration change can be made in 2-3 hours. The maximum range of the aircraft is 11,000 kilometres. In operational configuration the range is smaller – for a transport variant (200 soldiers with full equipment) the range is reported to be close to 8,000 kilometres, while for a fuel variant (35 tons of fuel) it is 3,600 kilometres. For a cargo variant (36t ), the reported range is 5,400 kilometres.

For air-to-air refuelling, an aircraft can be equipped with one point flying boom, two points hose and drogue three points hose, and drogue or three points combi-hose and drogue with a flying boom. The final options depend on Polish requirements, IAI’s official told Mil-Tech during MSPO 2017. For air-to-air operations, IAI’s aircraft is equipped with the fly-by-wire solution.

An important element of IAI-Bedek’s offer is the fact, stated by the company’s official, that a standard B767-300ER is not only converted but also refurbished, which means that its service life is reset. This means that a MMTT aircraft based on even an old B767-300ER can serve in operational service for at least 30 years.

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[*] posted on 27-9-2017 at 02:33 PM


Germany, Norway sign for five A330 tankers

26 September, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Craig Hoyle London

Germany and Norway have formally added a further five Airbus Defence & Space A330 multirole tanker transports to a multinational programme launched earlier this year by Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Airbus on 29 September announced its receipt of a firm order from Europe's OCCAR defence procurement agency for the additional aircraft, which will increase the partner nations' pooled fleet of the type to seven units. "All seven are expected to be handed over between 2020 and 2022," the company says.

Signed in Bonn, Germany, as a contractual amendment to the previous two-nation commitment, the new arrangement includes the provision of an initial two-year support package. "It also includes four additional options, to enable other nations to join the grouping," says Airbus.

"The aircraft will be configured for in-flight refuelling, the transport of passengers and cargo, and medical evacuation flights," the airframer says.


Airbus Defence & Space

The European/NATO multinational multirole tanker transport fleet (MMF) is the result of a European Defence Agency programme initiated in 2012.

Airbus Defence & Space's head of military aircraft, Fernando Alonso, describes the MMF construct as “one of Europe’s most important collaborative programmes, and a model for the future European defence projects which are expected to be launched in the coming years”.

Germany's air force currently operates four A310 tankers and a single transport – which Flight Fleets Analyzer records as aged between 28 and 30 years, while Norway lacks its own in-flight refuelling capability.
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[*] posted on 14-11-2017 at 06:23 PM


DUBAI: KC-46 trims major deficiencies to one

12 November, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Stephen Trimble Dubai

Only one deficiency...........ohhh yeah, our boom will swat your Fighter out of the skies! Sheeeeeesh...............:no: :no: :no:

Boeing’s long-troubled KC-46A tanker development programme is nearing resolution, with only one outstanding deficiency expected to remain after this month, the company’s top defence executive says.

The programme entered this year with three “Category 1” deficiencies in US Air Force acquisition terminology. The first of those has been resolved and the second is expected to be approved by the USAF later this month, says Leanne Caret, chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

Boeing is continue to work with USAF officials to find a way to resolve the third major deficiency with the tanker hardware and software, Caret says.

The last remaining item is a concern that the remotely operated refuelling boom can make contact with the receiver aircraft outside the receiver area without the contact being detected.

The USAF awarded Boeing a $4.9 billion contract nearly seven years ago to modify the 767-2C commercial freighter into the KC-46 military tanker. Boeing expects to deliver up to 179 KC-46As to the US Air Force, replacing a fleet of aging Boeing KC-135s.

But the company has reported billions in losses on the fixed-price development programme, as a range of unexpected problems arose during the development stage.

The Middle East remains a critical piece of Boeing’s export strategy for the new tanker, Caret says.
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[*] posted on 14-11-2017 at 06:29 PM


DUBAI: Boeing pitches KC-46 tanker to Middle East

13 November, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Leigh Giangreco Dubai

Even as Boeing’s KC-46A struggles with testing and meeting schedule, Boeing is already marketing the next-generation tanker to potential customers in the Middle East.

There is high demand for tankers in the turbulent region, with the US Air Force currently supporting Saudi Arabia combat operations in Yemen with air refuelling.

During the Dubai air show, Boeing courted countries looking to switch or augment their tanking capabilities, says Gene Cunningham, vice president of Global Sales for Boeing Defense.

“When you look at things like tanking capability, there’s almost never enough and assets are being used and shared across the region,” he says. “In many cases I think you’ll find customers would be trying to add capability and not substitute.”

But Boeing could struggle with its tanker pitch because new testing issues continue to slow progress on the KC-46 and cause the programme to fall behind the USAF’s schedule. Boeing has narrowed down the number of critical deficiencies on KC-46, but the company has still taken a $329 million hit to cover the costs of several design changes on its first tranche of production aircraft.

Boeing could also face tough competition from Airbus, which has existing ties in the region. The company has delivered its A330 tanker to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

When asked how Boeing would reassure Middle East customers that the tanker could meet schedules, Cunningham said the aircraft’s performance for the USAF would reassure potential buyers.

“The airplane that will be released to the Us Air Force is going to make those performance and operational elements work for the operator. I think the issues you’ve seen in the testing process are exactly that, issues that are being resolved as we move forward with the programme,” he says. “Put the airplane out there, show it in operation, and the performance will speak for itself.”
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[*] posted on 2-12-2017 at 10:52 AM


France receives its first A400M fitted with pods for midair refuelling

By: Pierre Tran   9 hours ago


The latest A400M will be flown to the air base at Orleans, south of Paris, in the next few days. (Airbus)

PARIS ― France’s procurement office has revealed it received its 12th A400M airlifter, which is the first in the European program to be fitted with two underwing pods for in-flight refueling of fighter jets.

“The Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) took delivery Nov. 22, 2017, the 12th A400M Atlas military transport aircraft, to be handed over to the Air Force,” the DGA said in a Nov. 30 statement. The A400Ms already in service will have the fuel pod added as they undergo a retrofit over time.

The latest A400M will be flown to the air base at Orleans, south of Paris, in the next few days. France is due to receive a further three A400Ms by 2019, as set out by the 2014-19 military budget law.

The A400M program still poses problems in fitting capabilities and cutting costs, Airbus said Oct. 31 in its nine-month financial results.

“However, achievement of the contractual technical capabilities and associated costs remain highly challenging,” the aircraft company said. The A400M program also faces “challenges” in winning export orders on time, cutting costs, industrial efficiency and commercial exposure, “which could impact the program significantly,” Airbus said.

Talks continue with client nations and OCCAR, the European procurement agency, to “de-risk” the program, the company said.

Airbus Defence and Space is working to deliver two key capabilities sought by France, namely in-flight refueling of helicopters and dropping paratroopers from doors on both sides of the fuselage.

Airbus has signed a contract with Cobham for the British firm to build a hose for helicopter refueling, with a test flight expected toward the end of 2018, an Airbus spokesman said.

Test parachute jumps have been made out the fuselage doors, backed by detailed computer modeling on the aerodynamics, he said. Work continues on increasing weight and various pallets for cargo airdrops from the rear ramp.

Work on finding solutions to meet those and other requirements has eaten into Airbus’ cash pile, prompting the company to ask client nations to put a cap on financial penalties for failing to deliver the capabilities. Germany, for instance, withholds 15 percent of cash as the aircraft fails to meet the contracted capacities.

A planned meeting of ministers in London of seven client nations and Airbus was postponed to February from mid-November, Reuters reported. That meeting is to discuss the company’s request for fines to be capped.

Airbus has so far this year delivered 17 A400Ms, with expectations for 20 shipped by the end of 2017. The company delivered 17 units last year, three short of the target.

Airbus last year booked a charge of €2.2 billion (U.S. $2.6 billion) to cover financial penalties and slow deliveries.

The company has asked a reset of the financial penalties from the client nations Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey. Malaysia is also a customer.

The A400M is designed to offer three-point aerial refueling, with two underwing pods and a central hose and drogue system from the fuselage.
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[*] posted on 3-12-2017 at 11:38 AM


Boeing will miss 2017 delivery goal for first KC-46

By: Valerie Insinna and Aaron Mehta   26 minutes ago


KC-46A AV8B Milestone C

Gee, what a surprise...........NOT!

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.

As such, the company will not be subject to a fee — a minor point of consolation for Boeing, which has already had to pay $2.9 billion pretax , or about $1.9 billion after tax, because of the numerous cost overruns and delays associated with the program.

Boeing has already missed its original deadline in August 2017 to deliver the first 18 KC-46s, and first delivery has also slipped a couple times since then.

Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the Air Force’s uniformed head of acquisition, said the service has been made aware that Boeing will not be able to deliver the first tanker until 2018.

“We’ve said all along that we thought it would be later than what they have been predicted, but the point on it is that Boeing is still very committed to the program,” he added. “They are a great partner, they are definitely committed and are throwing resources at the program to get it to go forward, and we’re doing everything we can to provide the resources to make them successful at getting it done as quickly as they can.”

Bunch said the Air Force had expected to accept the first KC-46 in March, but now “we think it may be a little later than that,” he said.

The Air Force plans to purchase 179 KC-46s during its program of record, and Boeing is hoping to rake in international sales once the program moves out of the test phase.

While Boeing still has a considerable amount of testing required before it can deliver a certified KC-46, the company is also facing challenges in resolving several category-one deficiencies that cropped up this year.

The Air Force has resolved one issue, which occurred when the flow of fuel suddenly stops, causing the KC-46 boom to push forward into the receptacle of the receiving aircraft.

“We’ve worked through the engineering and we’ve done the systems engineering analysis and that one is solved,” Bunch said.

Another problem — which involved ensuring that the high-frequency radio remains off during refueling, even during a systems failure — is slated to be resolved “reasonably quickly” after further testing, he said.

However, the Air Force has still not been able to identify the root cause of why the boom seems to be scraping the receiving aircraft during a refueling, and more testing needs to be done to determine whether the problem is occurring more with the KC-46 than with legacy tankers.

“We’re trying to observe and collect data,” Bunch said. “All of that engineering analysis and those data collections from flight, and all of that, is still something the team is working on.”
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[*] posted on 20-12-2017 at 01:09 PM


Contract Signing Ceremony Another Milestone for MRTT Fleet

(Source: NATO Support and Procurement Agency; issued Dec 18, 2017)

A signing ceremony for a contract award related to the Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) Programme was held on 17 December, in Rehovot, Israel.

The US$ multi-million supplemental agreement to the contract was awarded to Elbit Systems to supply Directed Infrared Countermeasures self-protection systems to the Airbus A330 MMF fleet. The contract will be performed over a four-year period.

NSPA’s General Manager Mr. Peter Dohmen participated in the signing ceremony and the NSPA delegation included Mr. Andreas Zuschke, Principal Project Officer (MMF) from NSPA’s Aviation Support Programme and Mr. Adrian Kenn, NSPA’s Senior Procurement Officer. From Elbit Systems, Mr. Elad Aharonson, General Manager Elbit Systems – ISTAR Division, participated in the signing ceremony and the delegation included Mr. Sasson Meshar, VP Airborne Optronic & Laser Systems, Mr. Arnon Bram, Senior Director Head of DIRCM Systems Business Unit and Mr. Ziv Ashkenazi, Senior Director Head of Regional Marketing – ISTAR.

Colonel Jan der Kinderen represented the MMF Nations as Chairman of the MMF Steering Group.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 22-12-2017 at 12:15 PM


Boeing KC-46 receives 767 certification

21 December, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

The Boeing has received an amended type certificate for the 767-2C that serves as the baseline aircraft for conversion into the US Air Force KC-46A tanker, the company says.

Boeing expects to deliver the first KC-46 to the air force next year but first must receive two certifications from the US Federal Aviation Administration. In addition to the amended certification for the 767-2C, the programme is still working on qualifying for a supplemental type certification for the modifications required to convert the aircraft into a military tanker.

“We continue to make good progress on the STC effort – 83% complete at present -- and have moved into the FAA flight testing phase,” Boeing KC-46 programme manager Mike Gibbons says in a statement.

Prior to the 767 certification, Boeing completed a series of ground and flight tests focusing on the aircraft’s avionics, autoflight and environmental control systems, as well as its new fuel system.

Boeing has six KC-46 test aircraft supporting the certification effort. So far, KC-46s have refueled four different fighters -- F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B and A-10 -- and three airlifters or tankers, including the C-17, KC-10 and other KC-46 aircraft.

In a report last spring, the Government Accountability Office attributed some of the KC-46 programme’s schedule delays to delayed FAA certifications.
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[*] posted on 27-12-2017 at 02:18 PM


Boeing scores big with F-15, KC-46 contracts with foreign militaries

By: Valerie Insinna   4 days ago

They've managed to sell ONE to Japan! (who already operate 767-based aircraft) zzzzzzzzzzzzzz :no: :no:

WASHINGTON — Two major contracts announced Friday, including a long-awaited F-15 sale to Qatar and the first-ever international KC-46A tanker sale, will give Boeing a reason to celebrate this holiday season.

The first contract, worth up to $6.1 billion, includes 36 new F-15 fighter jets for Qatar. The Air Force also awarded a separate deal to Boeing for one KC-46 for Japan with a price tag of about $289 million.

The F-15QA order is critical for Boeing, as it will extend the F-15 production line into the next decade. However, it appears to be smaller than initially predicted.

The U.S. government and Qatar finalized the F-15QA deal in June, then estimating a total value of $12 billion for 36 jets. When the deal was approved by the State Department in November 2016, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency estimated a total value of $21.1 billion for 72 jets — not an unusual circumstance, as the final agreed-upon contract award often is lower than DSCA’s initial estimates.

Boeing’s first sale of the KC-46 marked an important symbolic victory for the beleaguered tanker program, which has lagged in development and international sales compared to its closest competitor, the Airbus A330.

Friday’s deal could signify the start of greater international buy-in to the program, something that Boeing officials see as critical for making the program profitable and the U.S. Air Force sees as important for enhancing interoperability with partner nations.

“We are excited to partner with Boeing as we assist Japan in advancing its aerial refueling capabilities,” said Brig. Gen. Donna Shipton, program executive officer of tankers for the U.S. Air Force. “This is an important step in strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and will enhance our interoperability with both nations flying KC-46s.”

Boeing’s agreement with Japan includes one KC-46, the non-recurring engineering work necessary to build it to Japanese requirements and logistics support, according to the contract announcement. Work is expected to be complete in 2021.

Importantly, the parties entered into a firm, fixed-price agreement for the KC-46, similar to Boeing’s current contract with the U.S. Air Force. That means that if Boeing is responsible for cost overruns, the company will have to pay for them.

The U.S. Air Force plans on buying 179 KC-46s. Boeing is contractually obligated to deliver the first 17 certified tankers to the service next October.

Over the past several months, the tanker has run into technical issues — including a still unsolved problem with the tanker’s boom, which sometimes scratches the surface of the receiving aircraft.

However, the program is making progress in other areas. The Federal Aviation Administration has certified the 767-2C, the modified 767 commercial plane that forms that basis of the KC-46, Boeing announced Thursday. The program still has to attain one final certificate for the aircraft’s military-specific equipment from the FAA.

The State Department approved the KC-46 sale to Japan in September 2016, then estimated to have a value of $1.9 billion.
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[*] posted on 27-12-2017 at 03:12 PM


Qatar is an odd bird. I see they are buying F-15, Rafale AND Typhoon all in reasonable numbers... If one were replaced with a Sukhoi or a current Chinese fighter I could perhaps understand diversifying your supplier base, but 2 Eurocanards in the same service?

Why? Dodgy contracting no doubt, but that is a ludicrous force structure.




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 27-12-2017 at 03:28 PM


Politics mate, by buying from the USA, the Brits and the French, they think they can get some political support from all three nations against Saudi and Other Gulf States aggression and dislike of the current Qatari regime..............as mentioned previously, either the planes will need some form of Contractor support and/or they only use a proportion of the fleet...................I think they'll use a heavy Contractor presence for Maintenance Support, with the majority, if not all, of the planes flown by Nationals.
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[*] posted on 4-1-2018 at 05:05 PM


Belgium Allocates €258M to Euro Tanker Fleet

(Source: Belga news service; published Dec. 23, 2017)

(Published in French and Dutch; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

The Council of Ministers decided Friday (Dec. 22) to allocate 258 million euros to the Belgian participation in a fleet of European tankers, an amount that corresponds to the value of an aircraft Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport), the Ministry of Defense has announced.

The aircraft will be configured for in-flight refueling missions of all current and future fighter jets.

This Belgian decision will therefore increase from 7 to 8 aircraft the European fleet being prepared for the Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport (MMF) program for the benefit of the European Union and NATO, and to compensate for one of the main shortcomings of European armies.

Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have already placed a firm order for seven Airbus A330-200 MRTTs, built by Airbus Defense and Space (ADS), a subsidiary of the European group Airbus.

The eight tankers are acquired and operated according to the European principle of "pooling and sharing", said the Minister of Defense, Steven Vandeput (N-VA), in a statement.

The MMF program will be funded by five countries, which will have exclusive exploitation rights for these NATO-owned aircraft, according to a pooling agreement.

The aircraft will be configured for in-flight refueling missions of all current and future fighter jets (US F-35 Lightning II, French Rafale and European Eurofighter), passenger and freight transport, and medical evacuation.

The delivery of the first seven aircraft is expected between 2020 and 2022, according to Airbus.

But Belgium should be able to resort quickly - before the delivery of the 8th aircraft, which should be operational by 2025, according to Mr Vandeput – to the A330 MRTT "pool" for missions to refuel its F-16 or for medical evacuation, according to Mr. Vandeput's entourage.

The MMF program was initiated by the European Defense Agency (EDA) in 2012. The European Organization for Co-operation in Armaments (OCCAR) manages the acquisition phase of the MMF as the executing agency of the contract for NSPA, a NATO agency. At the end of this phase, NSPA will be responsible for the complete management of the fleet life-cycle.

At least some of these aircraft will be registered in the Netherlands and based in Eindhoven (southern Netherlands) to replace the current KDC-10 tankers of the Dutch air force, with an advanced base in Cologne (Germany). Costs and personnel will be allocated according to the number of flying hours required by each country, under the supervision of the European Tactical Transport Command (EATC, based in Eindhoven),

The "strategic vision" for the Belgian army by 2030 endorsed in June 2016 by the Michel government plans to invest in such a device to the tune of 300 million euros in the period 2024-2027.

Proven in combat, the A330 MRTT is equipped with an Airbus Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS), and two underwater tube / basket refueling pods. Both systems are used to refuel in flight all types of aircraft (combat or transport) in service in the West.

According to the Defense, this type of aircraft totals 56 firm orders by eight countries. France has ordered nine copies - out of a total need expressed of twelve aircraft - with a first delivery scheduled for 2018. This model has also been selected by India and Qatar.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 6-1-2018 at 07:15 PM


Boeing Still Working To Repair Major KC-46 Defects

Jan 4, 2018

Lara Seligman | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report


KC-46: Boeing

Boeing is still working to fix three deficiencies related to the refueling process of the KC-46 Pegasus that must be resolved before the troubled tanker can enter service, the U.S. Air Force says.

The most worrying issue is a tendency of the tanker’s rigid refueling boom to scrape the surface of receiving aircraft. This is of particular concern for stealth aircraft such as the B-2 bomber, F-22 and F-35 fighter, if the boom causes damage to low-observable stealth coatings.

The industry-government team is currently collecting flight test data to determine how the rate and severity of these incidents compares with international norms, Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Emily Grabowski says. This data will inform a decision on whether changes to the remote camera used for aerial refueling are needed, expected by March 2018, she said.

The camera system in the KC-46 was the best the market offered in 2012 when the aircraft was being contracted, but is not the latest technology, Air Force spokesman Col. Christopher Karns told Aviation Week in September. The remote camera is critical to the refueling process in the new tanker as the KC-46 boom operator sits near the front of the aircraft and operates the boom remotely. In legacy tankers like the KC-135, the boom operator guides the boom from the back of the plane, where he can see the receiver aircraft and the boom itself.

Boeing spokesman Chick Ramey downplayed the issue, noting that “contacts outside the refueling receptacle do happen in the current tanker fleet as well.

“We have confidence in our design and in our camera system, and we are working with the USAF to ensure that the KC-46 contact rate is within normal bounds,” Ramey continued.

Another deficiency is related to the KC-46’s high-frequency (HF) radios, which use the skin of the aircraft as an antenna and sometimes causes electrical sparks and arcs. The Air Force wants to make sure those radios are fail-safe and can never transmit during the refueling process, for fear of any sparks causing fires.

A Boeing spokesman told Aviation Week in December that the company had resolved the problem. But Grabowski said the deficiency report is still open, and development of options to address the issue are expected to take until sometime in January.

The final problem—uncommanded boom extensions when disconnecting from a receiver aircraft with fuel flowing—has been downgraded from Category One, the most serious, to Category Two, Grabowski said. The government-industry team has identified a solution and expects to implement the fix in May 2018, she said.

Boeing is contractually obligated to deliver 18 full-up tankers to the Air Force by October 2018. But the company has still not delivered the first aircraft.

In a recent piece of good news, the FAA on Dec. 21 granted Boeing an amended type certificate for the KC-46 baseline aircraft, the 767-2C, an aerial refueling derivative of its 767 freighter. The company still needs to obtain a supplemental type certificate for the military and aerial refueling systems that turn the 767-2C into a KC-46.

Still, despite the hiccups, delays and charges to Boeing, the deal is considered relatively low-risk for the Air Force. The service’s financial obligations are capped at $4.9 billion, thanks to the fixed-price terms of the contract. The overall program is valued at about $44 billion for 179 tankers.

“Boeing and the Air Force will resolve the CAT 1 items and complete the remaining KC-46 requirements,” Ramey said.” Our recent successes last month, to include first flight of the first delivery aircraft and receiving the Amended Type Certificate, help us move closer to delivering the world’s most capable tanker to the U.S. Air Force.”
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[*] posted on 16-1-2018 at 01:39 PM


Airbus tops up A330 tanker backlog

15 January, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Craig Hoyle London

Airbus closed 2017 with the formal receipt of an order for five A330-200s to be adapted to the multirole tanker/transport (MRTT) configuration to equip a future pooled European fleet.

Confirmed as Airbus announced its commercial orders data for last month on 15 January, the order – from the company's defence unit – increases to seven the number of A330 MRTTs to be acquired under a multinational initiative championed by the European Defence Agency.


Airbus Defence & Space

The five-aircraft commitment follows an initial order for two tanker/transports, placed via Europe's OCCAR defence procurement agency following an agreement with Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and was enabled by the addition of Germany and Norway to the multinational MRTT fleet programme. Airbus Defence & Space had announced its receipt of a contract for the five tanker/transports last September.

Deliveries will run between 2020 and 2022, although numbers could be increased to 11 aircraft, pending the addition of further nations.

Belgian media reports in late December indicated that Brussels has also confirmed its intention to participate in the initiative, and its inclusion would boost the fleet size to eight aircraft.

Meanwhile, Airbus Defence & Space detailed the status of two other A330 MRTT contracts in mid-December. The company confirms that deliveries will commence for Singapore and South Korea this year, and refers to "imminent entry into service for both countries".

Singapore has ordered six MRTTs, while South Korea will introduce a four-strong fleet of the type. The nations will follow Australia, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the United Arab Emirates in fielding the adapted widebody, which is also on order for the French air force.
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[*] posted on 27-1-2018 at 01:53 PM


Russia marks maiden flight of Il-78M-90A tanker

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

26 January 2018


A screenshot taken from a video of the first flight of the Il-78M-90A tanker, which took place on 25 January. Source: UAC

The maiden flight of the new Ilyushin Il-78M-90A aerial refuelling tanker for the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) took place on 25 January.

The 35-minute flight took place out of the Aviastar-SP production facility located in Ulyanovsk, approximately 600 km east of Moscow.

The Il-78M-90A (previously referred to as the Il-478) is based on the new Il-76MD-90A (Il-476) transport aircraft, which is itself a modernised version of the Soviet-era Il-76 ‘Candid’ airlifter. The new tanker version shares the avionic, structural, and powerplant improvements of the upgraded transport aircraft.

These enhancements include a digital ‘glass’ cockpit as well as modernised flight, navigation, and communication systems.

Structural improvements comprise a modified wing and reinforced landing gear. The engines have also been updated, giving the aircraft a 60-tonne payload (up from 40 tonnes for the baseline Il-76/78) and a 12% reduced fuel consumption.

The VKS is expected to buy 34 of the new tankers to replace its current Il-78s. The Il-478 can carry 91 tonnes of fuel in its main tanks, plus another 36 tonnes in an auxiliary tank in the cargo hold to give 127 tonnes of transferable fuel.

(210 of 393 words
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[*] posted on 1-2-2018 at 07:20 PM


Delhi hopes to be third time lucky with new tanker RFI

01 February, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com Bangalore

India’s ministry of defence has issued a fresh request for information for six mid-air refueling tankers, following two abortive earlier attempts.

This time the requirement specifies that the tanker aircraft be powered by two turbofan engines, ruling out the Ilyushin IL-78.

Concerns about high acquisition costs derailed earlier attempts to procure an airborne tanker. As a result the latest RFI includes the option of procuring a suitable used aircraft, which can be modified for the tanker role.

Airbus Defence and Space, the winner of two earlier competitions with its A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT), says it is aware of the new RFI, and will “examine the requirement”.

Boeing, which did not participate in the two earlier competitions, is in the fray this time around.

“We received an RFI from India for aerial refueling tankers and have briefed the Indian air force about the KC-46’s capabilities,” says Boeing India president Pratyush Kumar.

Given that the RFI says that converted jet is possible, IAI Bedek is likely to offer its Boeing 767 multi mission tanker transport (MMTT) conversion.

Despite the release of a fresh RFI, a procurement decision could be years away. Twelve years have passed since the original tanker procurement tender was issued in 2006.

The air force presently operates a fleet of six IL-78s that entered service between 2003 and 2004 and are due to enter major overhaul starting this year. The IL-78 fleet suffers from poor serviceability rates (49% in the 2016 financial year) as sourcing of spares from Russia and the Ukraine for the aircraft has proved troublesome.
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[*] posted on 1-2-2018 at 07:42 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  

Despite the release of a fresh RFI, a procurement decision could be years away. Twelve years have passed since the original tanker procurement tender was issued in 2006.


Ah, Indian defence procurement at its finest, and they still haven't signed up for anything!




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[*] posted on 7-3-2018 at 07:44 PM


Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker Delayed Again

Mar 6, 2018

Lara Seligman | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report


Boeing

The U.S. Air Force is predicting that Boeing won’t deliver the first KC-46 tanker until late 2018, casting doubt on the defense firm’s ability to meet a contractual deadline that, if missed, likely would result in significant penalties.

Boeing’s master schedule currently pegs first aircraft delivery to the fleet in the second quarter of calendar year 2018—already months behind schedule. But after a joint schedule risk assessment, the Air Force now believes delivery is more likely to occur in late 2018, according to spokeswoman Capt. Emily Grabowski.

“The Air Force will continue to work with Boeing to develop schedule mitigations, where appropriate, to expedite the program,” Grabowski said. “These potential delays will not result in additional program cost to the taxpayer.”

Boeing is on tap to deliver 18 full-up tankers to the Air Force by October, a longstanding contractual deadline. Boeing likely will suffer significant penalties if it misses the deadline, adding to the $2.9 billion in pretax fees, or about $1.9 billion after tax, the firm has already racked up on the program.

The way the fixed-price contract is structured, responsibility for cost growth rests squarely on Boeing’s shoulders. This means that the firm, not the government, will absorb 100% of the overall cost overrun.

The top issues slowing progress are the same as they have been for the past year—achieving airworthiness certifications and getting through flight tests, Grabowski said.

Although the FAA late last year granted Boeing an amended type certification for the tanker derivative of the 767-2C, the company still has not obtained a crucial supplemental type certification for all the military and aerial refueling appendages that turn that 767-2C into a KC-46.

And Boeing has yet to correct a major problem: a tendency of the tanker’s rigid refueling boom to scrape the surface of receiving aircraft. This is of particular concern for stealth aircraft, such as the B-2 bomber, F-22 or F-35 fighters, if the boom causes damage to low-observable stealth coatings.

The industry-government team currently is collecting flight test data to determine how the rate and severity of these incidents compare with international norms, Grabowski previously told Aviation Week. This data will inform a decision on whether changes to the remote camera used for aerial refueling are needed, expected this month.

That fault is the only open “Category I deficiency”—the most severe kind—on the KC-46, Grabowski said.

Two other open deficiencies have been downgraded to Category II, Grabowski noted. One is related to the KC-46’s high-frequency (HF) radios, which use the skin of the aircraft as an antenna and sometimes cause electrical sparks and arcs.

The Air Force wants to make sure those radios are fail-safe and can never transmit during the refueling process, for fear of any sparks causing fires.

Risk on this front was found to be “acceptable,” but the system still does not meet specification requirements, Grabowski said. The Air Force expects Boeing to come up with a long-term fix to completely eliminate risk.

The Air Force also expects Boeing to implement a minor software update this spring to address the last open deficiency, uncommanded boom extensions when disconnecting from a receiver aircraft with fuel flowing, Grabowski said.

“We worked closely with the U.S. Air Force on the updated KC-46 Schedule Risk Assessment and discussed a range of delivery dates,” Boeing spokesman Chick Ramey said. “While there is always risk on any development program, we’re relying on our partnership with the Air Force to help mitigate those risks, complete KC-46 testing and deliver 18 game-changing tankers to them as quickly as possible.”
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[*] posted on 30-3-2018 at 05:21 PM


Has Boeing Been Neglecting KC-46?

Mar 30, 2018

Lara Seligman | Aviation Week & Space Technology

After years of delays and technical setbacks for Boeing’s KC-46A tanker program, the U.S. Air Force is running out of patience with the aerospace giant.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson ripped Boeing in front of the House Armed Services Committee during a March 20 hearing, complaining that the manufacturer is more focused on its commercial business than “on getting this right for the Air Force.”

As if in response, Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, is reorganizing its defense business. In a move Boeing says has been in the works for several months, the company will stand up two new divisions starting April 2: Commercial Derivative Aircraft, and Missile and Weapon Systems, spokesman Todd Blecher confirmed March 29.

Simultaneously, Boeing will eliminate a “Development” business unit created in 2015.

- Boeing is standing up a new division focused on commercial derivative aircraft
- USAF projects Boeing will not deliver the first KC-46 until late 2018
- USAF has identified three Category 1 and two Category 2 deficiencies that must be resolved
- USAF asked Boeing in March “to put their A team on this”

The Commercial Derivative Aircraft unit, to be based in Seattle, will handle the KC-46, the U.S. Navy’s P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and the new Air Force One, all of which derive from Boeing commercial jetliners. The Missile and Weapon Systems unit will be based in Huntsville, Alabama.

“The organizational move reflects the fact that tanker is progressing toward delivery and its transition to a production effort is more than a development one,” Blecher wrote in a March 29 email to Aviation Week.

The move appears designed to reassure the Pentagon that Boeing is laser-focused on delivering the beleaguered KC-46 as well as other commercial-derivative aircraft.

“I think there’s a perception that the company sees its future as more commercial jetliner-oriented and they prioritized resources accordingly,” says Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group. “This sends a message that they are determined to fight that impression.”

But Boeing has a long way to go to get the KC-46 back on track.

The Air Force recently added two new Category 1 deficiencies—the most severe type—to the KC-46’s growing list of problems. The two new technical issues could further delay fielding of the aircraft, the first of which will not make it to the fleet until late 2018 at the earliest, the Air Force estimates.


The first KC-46A that Boeing is slated to deliver to the Air Force took flight for the first time on Dec. 7, 2017. Credit: Boeing

This delay jeopardizes Boeing’s ability to meet a contractual deadline to deliver 18 operationally ready tankers to the Air Force by October, a date that has already slipped from the original target of August 2017.

Boeing was late to acknowledge that the first KC-46 would not be delivered by the end of 2017, a longtime internal goal. So the Air Force believes it has reason to be skeptical that the pending deadline will be met.

“Boeing is saying they are going to deliver in the second quarter of 2018. The Air Force thinks it is more likely to be late 2018. And Boeing has been overly optimistic in all of their schedule reports,” Wilson told lawmakers.

A major contributor to the slippage is that flight-testing to obtain the required FAA certification for KC-46 has not gone as expeditiously as Boeing anticipated, Wilson said. And the two new deficiencies will likely add to the delay.

Air Force Undersecretary Matthew Donovan visited Boeing’s St. Louis plant in early March for a “deep dive” into the KC-46 problems, Wilson notes.



“We have asked them to put their A-team on this to get the problems fixed and get the aircraft to the Air Force,” Wilson says.

This comment, as well as the recent reorganization, raises the question: Why wasn’t Boeing’s “A-team” already working on the KC-46 program?

A look at Boeing’s overall earnings for 2017 may provide some insight. The Boeing Commercial Airplanes division contributed more than 60% of the company’s overall revenue for 2017. Of the overall $93.4 billion in revenue the manufacturer reported that year, Boeing Commercial Airplanes contributed $56.7 billion—more than twice the $21 billion from the Defense, Space and Security division and more than four times the $14.6 billion from the Global Services division.

During that time, Boeing delivered 763 commercial aircraft, including the first 737 MAX, launched the 737 MAX 10 and completed first flight of the 787-10, according to a press release on the company’s most recent earnings report. On the defense side, the only noncontractual achievement the company touted was the maiden flight of the first KC-46 to be delivered to the Air Force.

So was Wilson correct in suggesting that Boeing is not prioritizing KC-46? Aboulafia says it’s a real possibility, given that Boeing does not have unlimited engineering resources.

“It could be under-resourced,” Aboulafia says. “[Boeing] put in a very aggressive bid, which is what the Air Force wanted, and it makes the company liable for most of the overruns at this point.

So do you under-resource and continue to take hits on a pay-as-you go basis?” he asks.

Aboulafia notes that although the contract stipulates that Boeing bears responsibility for any overruns, the penalty for not delivering aircraft on time “was not really well defined.”
Of course, it is also possible Boeing simply continues to underestimate the requirements, Aboulafia says.

Right now the delay is manageable, especially since the Air Force is not on the hook for any cost overruns, but “endless problems and no clear solutions” will eventually lead the Air Force to look more closely at the contract, Aboulafia says. It is unlikely at this point that the Air Force will cancel the contract and rebid the tanker program or cut short the work, but Boeing could see penalties spike.

Boeing, for its part, maintains that delivery of the KC-46 is the company’s top priority. A company spokesman says, “Boeing has continued to demonstrate its commitment to deliver the tankers as soon as possible and believes in our partnership with the U.S. Air Force.”

But the proof will be in the pudding. It remains to be seen whether the shift is merely symbolic or if additional money will be invested in resolving KC-46 challenges.

“We’ll see if they back up the reorganization with the necessary product development resources and engineering resources,” Aboulafia says.
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[*] posted on 2-4-2018 at 09:48 AM


Translation

USAF: Boeing is ignoring the Pegasus in favour of their commercial sales because they actually make money off them, whereas they have so badly messed up the Pegasus that they won't see any profit from this program for decades.

Boeing: Yeah well busted, we're kinda sorry, kinda. We're restructuring to give the appearance of taking the USAF seriously, but we're not really because we have the Air Force's nuts in a vice, they desperately need tankers and our tame senators and congresscritters will ensure that the Air Force will NEVER be allowed to buy the Airbus bird, even if it actually works and is in service.

USAF: &%$@!





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[*] posted on 19-4-2018 at 05:41 PM


New software flaw requires FAA intervention to avoid KC-46 schedule slip

19 April, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Stephen Trimble Washington DC

AND another delay...........good luck with getting the FAA to give you a waiver, especially with your track record! :no::no:

A newly-discovered software flaw could trigger another schedule delay for the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus unless the US Federal Aviation Administration approves a temporary waiver from certification requirements.

In a document submitted to the FAA on 26 March, Boeing requests a time-limited exemption from the FAA’s supplemental type certification criteria for the 767-2C, the commercial aircraft model on which the KC-46A is derived.

If approved, the exemption would expire after 30 June next year, but by then Boeing plans to deliver a permanent fix for the software problem. Meanwhile, Boeing has proposed using a third crew member in the cockpit to mitigate any hazard from the problem while the exemption is in effect.

A “delay of FAA action on this petition” would put off the supplemental type certification of the 767-2C and “its entry into service”, Boeing says in the document.

The FAA responded to Boeing’s petition 19 days later, but did not immediately approve the exemption. Instead, Paul Siegmund, manager of the FAA’s airplane and flight crew interface section, asked Boeing to provide more details.

After Boeing provides those details, the FAA will publish Boeing’s petition in the Federal Register for a 20-day comment period.

Despite the need for an exemption, Boeing isn’t concerned about the impact on the schedule for the KC-46A.

“We are working this in concert with the USAF and are confident the FAA will grant an exemption,” Boeing tells FlightGlobal.

Boeing informed the USAF programme office of the new problem in February, the USAF says.

Since then, “the programme office has been working with Boeing to ascertain impacts and potential options” the air force adds, noting any extra costs caused by schedule delays are Boeing’s responsibility.

The software flaw affects the aircraft only when the KC-46A is on-loading fuel in-flight into the centre fuel tank.

In Boeing’s view, the problem is highly unlikely to cause a safety hazard. As fuel is onloaded into the tank, three separate functions embedded in a fuel flow controller must fail at the same time and continuously. If they do, however, an overpressure could develop in the centre fuel tank with catastrophic results, Boeing says.

But that discovery alone wouldn’t force Boeing to petition the FAA for an exemption. The certification problem for the 767-2C is based on a small detail. All three software functions that could fail operate on a single processor, according to Boeing.

The FAA’s certification rules mandate that such an aircraft use an automatic and independent system for monitoring fuel onloading to prevent an overpressure condition, Boeing’s document says.

Boeing now plans to develop, certificate and deploy such an automated monitoring system within a year. Until then, Boeing will require that the USAF assign a third crew member to monitor the fuel gauges when the aircraft is onloading fuel, according to the document.

The USAF accepts Boeing’s proposed mitigation as “manageable in the short-term”, the service tells FlightGlobal, adding, “the Air Force understands the timeline Boeing has presented to incorporate the necessary changes to remove the [proposed exemption]”.
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[*] posted on 4-5-2018 at 09:25 AM


Autonomous refueling considered for KC-46A upgrade plan

03 May, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Stephen Trimble Seattle

Although the delivery of the first KC-46A Pegasus is still months away, Boeing is about to launch a follow-on development programme, with potential upgrades including autonomous refueling, improved survivability and new communications systems, says the company’s programme manager.

The US Air Force will signal a contract with Boeing for follow-development of the KC-46A later this year, Mike Gibbons told reporters during a 3 May media tour of the company’s Seattle area production and test facilities.

Boeing’s first task under the contract will likely be to work with the USAF to develop a five-year roadmap of potential upgrades for the new, 767-2C-based tanker fleet, he adds.

Among the top candidates for the roadmap is the addition of an autonomous refueling capability, allowing the KC-46A to refuel other aircraft without a human operator directly controlling the operation, he says.

“We are working on the side with the autonomous features so we can work on that with the next phase,” Gibbons says.



Autonomous refueling seemed a distant capability when the KC-46A contract was awarded to Boeing in February 2011, but the the field is rapidly advancing. The US Navy plans to award a contract by the end of the year for the MQ-25A Stingray, an unmanned aircraft designed to refuel manned, carrier-based fighters. Boeing’s Phantom Works and Autonomous Systems units are participating in the competition for the MQ-25 contract, Meanwhile, Airbus last year demonstrated an autonomous refueling system on the company’s A310 testbed.

In 2011, the USAF decided to take a more conservative approach to replacing a fleet of aging Boeing KC-135E tankers.

Boeing had proposed a helmet-mounted display for the refueling operator, but the USAF preferred a more traditional console-based display. The USAF also required Boeing to allow operators to manually select the contrast and brightness levels for the display, rather than use software to select the scene automatically, Gibbons says.

The follow-on development contract puts autonomous refueling technology back on the table for the KC-46A. The aircraft is already equipped with several of the necessary features of such a system, including a camera-based remote vision system to visualize the receiver aircraft and a fly-by-wire boom with digitised flight controls.

As Boeing and the USAF embark on follow-on development, the company expects to evaluate additional sensors, such as LIDAR to augment the remote vision system and differential GPS to pinpoint the positioning between the refueling boom and the receiver aircraft, Gibbons says.
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[*] posted on 5-5-2018 at 07:12 PM


Boeing pushes back on the KC-46 program’s bad reputation with the Air Force

By: Valerie Insinna   16 hours ago

VIDEO at source: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/05/04/boeing-pushes-bac...
Boeing Defense CEO Leanne Caret insists the company will deliver tankers on time. (Jeff Martin/Staff)

SEATTLE — Boeing has now racked up more than $3 billion worth of pretax charges on the KC-46 due to cost overruns and schedule delays, but the head of its defense business told reporters Thursday that the program’s problems are, for the most part, in the rearview mirror.

Last week, the company disclosed another $81 million-pretax penalty on the program in its financial report for the first quarter of 2018.

Leanne Caret, the CEO of Boeing’s defense sector, put a positive spin on the cost growth, saying that the expense indicates the work that is being done to get the product right as the company sprints toward a contractual obligation to deliver 18 certified tankers this year.

“The charges we took are tied to the certification efforts and the test efforts as we continue to finish up towards first delivery,” she said Thursday during a media visit to the company’s KC-46 production facilities in Everett, Washington.

According to the terms of Boeing’s fixed-price development contract with the U.S. Air Force, the company is responsible for any costs over the $4.9 billion award.

“I think what you’re seeing is that the amount of charges has continually decreased over time, again showing there has been no new technical issues,” Caret said. “But we are still in a development program, and I want to make certain that the capability we’re delivering to the war fighter meets their intent. So we’ll do the right thing as we move forward, as we have historically.”

The past several months have been difficult ones for the KC-46 development program as Boeing comes down to the wire in its efforts to deliver the first tanker this summer.

Caret has also maintained that the company can meet the “required assets available” obligation, or RAA, to deliver a total of 18 certified KC-46s and nine refueling pods this year — although the actual deadline is in October.

“This isn’t about one aircraft, and then we’re going to get started on another one,” she said. “We have an entire fleet of tankers here, and as we head toward the first delivery, we’re going to be able to start really ramping up and getting these to the customers the way we need.”

But the Air Force is more pessimistic, saying that its assessments show that the first delivery will likely not occur until the end of the year, with RAA occurring some time next spring.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has been publicly dismissive of the Boeing’s progress, telling lawmakers that the company has perhaps been too focused on its lucrative commercial business to give the tanker program the attention it deserves.

“One of our frustrations with Boeing is they’re much more focused on their commercial activity than on getting this right for the Air Force and getting these aircraft to the Air Force. And that’s the message we took to them in Seattle last week,” Wilson told lawmakers in March.

Boeing obviously sought to combat that perception during its media trip, in which reporters spoke with the men and women fabricating the refueling booms, installing the wiring, flight testing the aircraft and performing quality control at its Everett Modification Center. There, reporters saw four KC-46s awaiting the final touches inside, another seven tankers outside the facility and eight KC-46s about 40 miles away at Boeing Field.


Unfinished KC-46 Pegasus aircraft sit awaiting modification at Boeing's Everett facility near Seattle, Wash. (Jeff Martin/Staff)

In total, Boeing has 34 KC-46s in some stage of production, and the first four aircraft planned for delivery have already flown and are in storage.

Caret, who took the top Boeing defense gig in February 2016, told reporters that she wanted them to understand the magnitude of work being accomplished in Washington state and the passion of the company’s workers.

Overall, the picture she gave of the program’s trajectory was sunny — and sometimes at odds with the Air Force perception of Boeing continually overselling how quickly it will be able to fulfill its delivery obligations. She downplayed tension with the Air Force, saying that she was “totally in line with them in terms of their sense of frustration” on the program.

Although Air Force leaders have said they are dissatisfied with Boeing’s performance, Caret said Boeing had not made any “specific change” to production efforts because the company had already devoted its full resources to its No. 1 program.

“The real disconnect is working through flow times,” she said. “There’s a lot of paperwork associated with delivering a system such as this, working through our paperwork, working through the FAA and the military paperwork and making sure all of those flows align, and that’s what we’re in conversations with the government on, and it’s collaborative.”

In order to be fully certified, the KC-46 must receive an amended type certificate for the aircraft’s commercial systems and a supplemental type certificate for its military-specific systems. So far, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued an ATC, and the aircraft in April wrapped up the testing necessary for the STC.

The next step will involve additional flight tests with the C-17, F-16 and KC-135 to ensure those aircraft can receive fuel from the KC-46, as well as closing out a key deficiency with the aircraft’s remote visual system that must be corrected before delivery.

So does that mean the Air Force should be doing more to make receiver aircraft available and to expedite the testing process?

“This is a team sport,” Caret said. “We all collectively need to make certain that we’re doing all the proper analysis, that we’re having the right conversations. So I feel very comfortable with our relationship with the U.S. Air Force and the transparency that we have.

“We collectively work together to look at every opportunity, likewise every risk to make sure that there’s a balance going forward and we’re doing the right thing for the war fighter.”
Check back with Defense News on May 7 for an in-depth look at Boeing’s plans to fix ongoing KC-46 technical issues.
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[*] posted on 10-5-2018 at 06:46 PM


Boeing to produce first KC-46 without post-build modifications this month

Pat Host, Renton, WA - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

10 May 2018


One of two Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker aircraft in production at a company facility in metropolitan Seattle, Washington. Source: IHS Markit/Pat Host

Key Points

- Boeing will soon produce its first KC-46 that will not require post-build modifications
- Many of these modifications were related to wiring issues

Boeing in May will, for the first time, produce a KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker that will not require post-build modifications, according to a company official.

KC-46 vice-president and program manager Mike Gibbons told reporters on 3 May here at a company facility that the aircraft, tail number 1149, will proceed to the company’s finishing centre, where the refuelling boom and classified military avionics will be installed prior to checkout.

Gibbons said Boeing had been modifying aircraft post-production to rectify issues it found during flight test or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification, or simply other problems that needed to be fixed. He said this had cost a lot of money as Boeing was working a hot production line while also completing development.

Boeing spokesperson Charles Ramey said on 9 May that these re-work issues were mostly related to wiring, which he said have evolved to incorporate producibility improvements in later blocks of aircraft. He said all prior aircraft had some post-build modifications, but the amount of these decreased over time.

“We are incorporating design and process improvements in line, especially to reduce wiring complexity at critical junction regions on the aircraft,” Ramey said. “[We] have also incorporated 3D production illustration to improve wire bundle installation.”

Ramey said Boeing, moving forward, does not expect to have to make post-build modifications, but just completing the finishing centre/military systems install work. Ramey said that aircraft 1149 appears to be one of the first 18 aircraft that will be delivered, but that Boeing and the US Air Force (USAF) were still working on a final plan as to when certain aircraft will be delivered.

(318 of 431 words)
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[*] posted on 10-5-2018 at 09:34 PM


A text book case of a god-almighty frak up.



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