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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Weapons of War > Air Power

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Air Power A place to discuss the implements of War in the Air!

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  #1  
Old 26 Aug 15, 22:17
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KC-46A Mid-Air Refueler

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Aug 25, 2015 @ 2:27 PM
The Badass Behemoth That the Air Force Will Use for Mid-Air Refueling
By Alexander George
The plane that the U.S. military has been using for mid-flight refueling, the KC-135 Stratotanker, is five freakin' decades old. Some of the models on active duty are pushing 60 years. Time for an upgrade.

Behold, the KC-46A Pegasus, the result of 15 years of development. Pretty, it ain't. It's based on the Boeing 767, but with matte gray paint covering the layers that protect its highly combustible cargo from attack. But it'll have the full suite of defensive measures, like missile launch detectors, and can carry 18 fuel pallets per mission. That means the two 94-inch Patt & Whitney engines are flying up to 415,000 pounds of airplane.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/mili...air-refueling/
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  #2  
Old 26 Aug 15, 22:21
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Interesting point: In order to keep the KC 135 flying, the USAF bought up every old 707 they could get their hands on as they came out of civilian service. They took the engines off, the only part they really wanted, and for years had the planes sitting at AMARC at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson.
At the time there was a company on Kolb Rd that specifically got the airframes as the Air Force would sell them, chop them up then put the scrap through a large induction furnace to make aluminum ingots.
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Old 28 Aug 15, 17:58
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An interesting result of all the KC wrangling going on over the years. Don't really get the 3D camera boom management as the Mark I is still way better at image processing than 3D cameras. Maybe for IFR/night advantages? And why no boom pod? Did the AF actually ask for it this way? Seems like just another point of failure. The dual mode refueling (boom and drogue) is nice though.
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Old 02 Sep 15, 10:47
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Not everyone happy with Boeing over it: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...-fumbl-416287/
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Old 03 Sep 15, 20:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
Not everyone happy with Boeing over it: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...-fumbl-416287/
Reading your linked article (the piece WRT to the KC-46A programme) makes me think back to the whole "Cooke-Craige" fiasco, which wasted such a pile of precious defense dollars in the 50's and 60's. It would appear that little has been learned in the interim. If readers are unaware of, yet interested in the above mentioned "Cooke-Craige" production scheme? google it up.
Some of the figures of wasted money, incompatible "fleets" of aircraft produced and the like are truly eye-watering.
A stellar example is the XB-70 Valkyrie project. Under the dictates of "Cooke-Craige" all of the tooling, jigs and production processes were fully funded, to allow for future assembly line production of the aircraft. As we know? North American delivered TWO flying models (both different), 20001 and 20207. All of the "preproduction" investment went off to the scrapheap when this project (along with the XF-108) was canceled.

As an example of one that proceeded forward under "Cooke-Craige", look at the F-102/F-106 (WS 201).
After all of the aerodynamic problems had finally been "solved" there still remained the Hughes weapons system to be "debugged". Done as it was (incrementally during the production run) saw some ADC FIS units equipped with as many as FOUR DIFFERENT versions of the "Ultimate Interceptor" on their flight line during the IOC phase. A maintenance nightmare for the "yerks" tasked with maintaining an ACTUAL operational capability...

The money wasted would fill several Olympic sized swimming pools with "Benjamins"...the mind boggles. After all of this? They capped F-106 production at 300 units...with Billions invested into the program.

And yet it persists.

Crazy.

Cheers, Ron
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Old 03 Sep 15, 20:34
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I think it's safe to say that there will never be an end to the military's demand for newer and better toys. If nothing else, they have to preserve their need for huge budgets.

Interesting approach to a problem though....don;t try for better abd better fule economy - just built bigger flying gas tanks.
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Old 04 Sep 15, 05:32
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Quote:
I think it's safe to say that there will never be an end to the military's demand for newer and better toys. If nothing else, they have to preserve their need for huge budgets.
There is an element of that, but TBH I am sure that most services would like their magic new toys for free. Many pieces of kit are new in some sense or other, produced in small numbers and may prove to be less than ideal; there is risk in procurement, which is why governments are trying to pas this on to industry.

3 trends of interest is the increased use of COST / MOTS except where a very particular capability is required; the use of contracted servicing and support so that the military simply has to use the thing and attempts (not that new) to design modularity and longevity into something so that it can get heavier / larger / do different things as time progresses.

Fact is that civil aerospace is far more lucrative that defense so Boeing - while it wants to stay in both - is more interested in the 787 than the KC-46.
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