USAF Finally Accepts Its First KC-46A Tanker, But The Design Still Needs Years Worth Of Fixes

Discussion in 'Military' started by Daryl Hunt, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Daryl Hunt
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    Daryl Hunt Gold Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I stated that it will be decades before the KC-135 will be taken out of service. And here is why.

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    The U.S. Air Force has accepted the first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker, an important milestone for the troubled program. However, the initial batch of aircraft will still have serious problems with their remote vision and refueling boom systems, meaning that the planes remain years away from reaching their full operational potential.

    Foreign Policy was the first to report on the agreement between the Air Force and Boeing to proceed with the deliveries of the aircraft, citing anonymous sources, on Jan. 10, 2019. Defense News then reported that the Chicago-headquartered planemaker had agreed to fix the remaining deficiencies and that the Air Force’s top leadership reserved the right to withhold full payment for the planes – up to $1.5 billion in total if the service docks the company for each of the 52 aircraft in the first batch of planes – until it sees real progress.

    “The KC-46A is a proven, safe, multi-mission aircraft that will transform aerial refueling and mobility operations for decades to come,” Leanne Caret, President and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said in a subsequent press release. “We look forward to working with the Air Force, and the Navy, during their initial operational test and evaluation of the KC-46, as we further demonstrate the operational capabilities of this next-generation aircraft across refueling, mobility and combat weapons systems missions.”

    Boeing says that now that the Air Force has accepted the KC-46A in its present state, the company will begin delivery of four of the tankers to the premier 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas as early as February 2019. After those planes arrive, another four will go to the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

    The acceptance and up-coming deliveries are a big deal for the KC-46A program, which has been mired in delays and controversy since Boeing won the Air Force’s KC-X competition in 2011. That decision itself followed nearly a decade of earlier, scandal-ridden Air Force attempts to procure a new tanker aircraft. Notably, in 2004, Darleen Druyun, a Boeing executive who had previously been the Air Force’s top procurement official, went to federal prison after receiving a conviction on corruption charges relating to an earlier tanker program.

    The Air Force was supposed to have received a fleet of 18 KC-46As, the first tranche in the total initial buy of 52 aircraft, by the end of 2017 and reach an initial operational capability with the type shortly thereafter. Between 2011 and 2017, continuing technical difficulties, which you can read about in more detail here, repeatedly pushed this schedule back. This continued into 2018, leading to an unusually public spat between the two parties over the program’s progress. Boeing’s contract is firm, fixed-price, and that company has already had to pay more than $3 billion of its own money to cover cost overruns.

    Boeing had expected the Air Force to finally accept the first KC-46 in December 2018, but this was reportedly delayed by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ resignation. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is a former Boeing executive and has had to recuse himself any dealings related to the company, further lengthening the process for the Pentagon to formally approve the Air Force’s plans.

    But Boeing and the KC-46A are hardly out of the woods. As noted, the company was supposed to have delivered 18 aircraft in total back in 2017 and it is unclear whether it will completely fulfill that part of its contract by the end of this year.

    Beyond that, the aircraft the Air Force is getting now still have serious problems that neither the service nor Boeing expects to be completely resolved for at least another three to four years. The first of these is related to the refueling boom at the rear of the aircraft.

    Aircraft that use this aerial refueling method must work with the tanker to force the probe at the end of the boom into a receptacle on their own plane. If the receiving aircraft can’t generate enough thrust, it might not be able to successfully establish the link and there is a risk that the connection might fail inadvertently in the middle of refueling.

    The KC-46A’s boom has a so-called “thrust resistance” of 1,400 pounds, according to Defense News. This is higher than the maximum threshold of certain U.S. military aircraft, including the A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft.


    Read more at USAF Finally Accepts Its First KC-46A Tanker, But The Design Still Needs Years Worth Of Fixes
     
  2. H B Lowrie
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    H B Lowrie BANNED

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    US military spending is by and large corporate welfare.
     
  3. Manonthestreet
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    Manonthestreet Platinum Member Supporting Member

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    One area of Trump failure. Too much equip we are buying doesn't work yet we keep buying it. F-35...LCS, this tanker....King Stallion....Ford Class.....DDG 1000......Stop it all until it works or screw ya we'll find someone who knows how to produce a working product.
     
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  4. H B Lowrie
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    H B Lowrie BANNED

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    Not a Trump failure. An american failure, goes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back., Ike warned of this, no one has yet listened, utterly bipartisan, corporate welfare war economy. And we will not vote our way out of this one. Ever.
     
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  5. Manonthestreet
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    Manonthestreet Platinum Member Supporting Member

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    And it needs to stop,,,,,you would think an outsider business person would be all over this...keep it we'll go to war with all crap and get our ass kicked
     
  6. H B Lowrie
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    H B Lowrie BANNED

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    Our economic system runs on it. Funding the beast economically cannibalizes society at home. We don't war to win, we're under no threat, we war to occupy the planet and manage resources and access to markets on behalf of the Wall Street/donor/"job creator" class.
     
  7. Manonthestreet
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    Manonthestreet Platinum Member Supporting Member

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    At some point we may have to war to win or else...….
     
  8. H B Lowrie
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    H B Lowrie BANNED

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    I would suggest that time may well have passed. Once a society becomes this lopsided in terms of wealth redistribution and generational wealth versus generational poverty, things eventually devolve into either rebellion or a police state. The empire is at its end and the power structure knows full well that the collapse is likely to be violent. The economic system is unsustainable on its current trajectory and capital no longer requires the workforce it once did to generate profit margin growth. This will require societal “management” on the part of power structure. This is why police departments have been militarized and trained by the Israeli military in population subjugation and control. That’s why we’ve been incrementally desensitized to the murdering of fellow unarmed citizens in the streets by police in a society with the most expansive incarceration/detainment apparatus ever known to humankind. Our mass surveillance state is world renowned, and largely privatized. And now we beg the system to wall us all in with our guns and our spite for one another.

    Might be a good time to review the fate of other populations this power structure has "managed" in its past.
     
  9. Daryl Hunt
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    Daryl Hunt Gold Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    It's difficult to tell where you are from. You might be from Russia but I suspect Iran.
     
  10. Daryl Hunt
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    Daryl Hunt Gold Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    While the other guy's location is suspect, your's is pretty clear, comrade.
     

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