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KC-767 vs KC-30 (A330 MRTT)


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KC-46 ... ci si affida ad un ritocco del software ...


The US Air Force believes a software reprogramming could solve some deficiencies discovered earlier this year on the Boeing KC-46 tanker, following initial findings from testing earlier this month.
Though testing is ongoing, early data indicates that reprogramming could fix a high-frequency transmit and an “uncommanded boom extension” on KC-46, Gen Carlton Everhart, commander of the USAF Air Mobility Command, said last week.
During aerial refueling, HF transmitting must be turned off to avoid electrical sparking between the boom and receiver.
The air force discovered the problem in 2016 but needed additional test data to confirm that when transmitting is turned off, it stays off.
Recent tests have shown Boeing can maintain the same radio on KC-46, leaving room for a software fix.
Fonte: flightglobal.com ... USAF floats software solutions for KC-46 issues ...

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Il KC-30 della RAAF abilitato al rifornimento in volo del B-52H ...


A Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport refuels an Edwards B-52 Stratofortress in the skies over California this past September.
The test sortie was conducted by members of the RAAF Air Warfare Centre Aircraft Research and Development Unit, 86 Wing and the 418th and 419th Flight Test Squadrons.
Fonte: edwards.af.mil ... Allies in the sky ...

 

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KC-46 ... la soluzione del restante problema sembra essere ormai prossima ...

Boeing is continue to work with USAF officials to find a way to resolve the third major deficiency with the tanker hardware and software .....
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.
Fonte: flightglobal.com ... DUBAI: KC-46 trims major deficiencies to one ...

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Nonostante la persistenza di qualche problema ... Boeing spinge il KC-46A sul mercato medio-orientale ...

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.
Edited by TT-1 Pinto

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Vola il primo KC-46A destinato all' Air Force ...

Boeing’s first KC-46A tanker slated for the US Air Force operational fleet made its maiden flight this week, pushing the aircraft closer to a newly-delayed, 2018 delivery.
While Boeing has flown six other test articles, the newest 767-2C-based aircraft will be one of the first 18 inducted into the service next year.
The USAF had expected Boeing to deliver the first KC-46 by the end of 2017.
According to a Government Accountability Office report released in March, Boeing is expected to deliver the first 18 aircraft by February 2018, a seven-month slip from the previous delivery date.
The Cobham wing aerial refueling pods (WARPs) will still be delivered separately in October, Boeing confirms.
Un programma tormentato dai ritardi ... defensenews.com ..... "Boeing will miss 2017 delivery goal for first KC-46 ...

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Dalla pagina dei contratti del DoD del 22 Dicembre 2017 ...

The Boeing Co., Defense, Space & Security, Seattle, Washington, has been awarded a $288,681,573 firm-fixed-price contract for one KC-46A aircraft for Japan.
The face value is not-to-exceed $19,786,279.
This contract provides for non-recurring engineering, integrated logistics support and one KC-46A aircraft modified to the Japan foreign military sales (FMS) configuration.
Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington, with an expected completion date of Feb. 28, 2021.
This contract involves 100 percent FMS to Japan, and is the result of a sole-source acquisition.
FMS funds in the amount of $278,590,571 are being obligated at the time of award.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8609-18-G-0002/FA8609-18-F-0006).
Il commento di flightglobal.com: Japan KC-46 acquisition moves forward ...

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KC-46 ... i problemi ancora da risolvere ...





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.

--- --- ---

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.

--- --- ---

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 ...

The government-industry team has identified a solution and expects to implement the fix in May 2018 ...






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Il programma continua ad accumulare ritardi ... e la situazione provoca il disappunto della signora Wilson ...
moment_01.jpg
Dal sito dell'AFA ...

Wilson Slams Boeing Over KC-46 Program ...
Boeing has been “overly optimistic in all of their schedule reports” on the KC-46 tanker, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told a House Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday.
Air Force Undersecretary Matthew Donovan visited the Boeing facility in Everett, Wash., earlier this month, saying at the time that Boeing needed to “double down on providing the necessary resources and engineering talent to push the last 10 yards and get this program over the goal line.”
In her testimony Tuesday during a session on the Fiscal 2019 budget request and acquisition reform, Wilson said she expects the company to be late with deliveries of the plane.
“We have asked them to put their A-Team on this to get the problems fixed and get the aircraft to the Air Force,” she said.
She also told the hearing that in this case, one of the frustrations with Boeing “is that they’re much more focused on their commercial activity than they are on getting this right for the Air Force and getting these airplanes to the Air Force.”
Boeing, in a statement emailed to Air Force Magazine late Tuesday, said, "There is no greater priority at The Boeing Company right now than the delivery of the KC-46. Boeing has continued to demonstrate its commitment to deliver the tankers as soon as possible and believes in our partnership with the US Air Force."
- Steve Hirsch
Altre fonti ...

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Nuova tegola ...

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.

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Nonostante i vari problemi che continuano ad affliggere il programma ... Boeing mira a future operazioni di rifornimento in volo senza che vi sia intervento alcuno da parte del membro dell' equipaggio cui tale compito è normalmente demandato ....

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.
--- --- ---
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 ...
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 ...

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Sia quel che sia ... Boeing e USAF si trovano tuttora in disaccordo ... :incazz:



Boeing, U.S. Air Force At Odds Over KC-46 .....


Lara Seligman - Aviation Week & Space Technology - May 14, 2018


If you ask Boeing, it is on the cusp of delivering a game-changing tanker capability to the U.S. Air Force.

But if you ask the Air Force, Boeing has to resolve significant design flaws and is far from completing the required flight testing.

More than seven years after contract award, the aerospace giant and its U.S. government customer are at loggerheads over the new KC-46 refueling tanker’s delivery timing and what work remains for Boeing to do.

The daylight between Boeing and the Air Force on the KC-46 refueling tanker was on full display during interviews with officials from both in the past few weeks.

During a media visit to Boeing’s Everett, Washington, facility May 3 and an interview with Air Force KC-46 program manager Brig. Gen. Donna Shipton May 9 at the Pentagon, officials presented contradictory information on the long-delayed aircraft.

This is not the first time the two parties have clashed on the KC-46.

Until last December, Boeing was promising to deliver the first of 18 required tankers by the end of 2017, although the Air Force was projecting it would not receive the aircraft before mid-2018.

Today, Boeing Defense CEO Leanne Caret pledges delivery of all 18 KC-46s will occur by year-end.

But the Air Force now expects delivery in May 2019, 21 months later than originally planned, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office.

In the meantime, Boeing has racked up more than $3 billion in pre-tax charges on the program, including an additional $81 million in the first three months of this year.

Shipton attributes the delay to Boeing’s slower-than-anticipated pace in accomplishing the required test points.

Progress has been impeded by a series of technical challenges over the course of KC-46 development, she says.

There are currently two deficiencies the Air Force characterizes as “Category 1 - Urgent,” meaning the problem is not a safety issue but “has no known acceptable workaround” (as opposed to “Category 1 - Emergency,” meaning the problem presents a safety risk).

The most pressing issue is improving the Rockwell Collins Remote Vision System (RVS), an advanced sensor suite that allows the crew to operate the refueling boom remotely from near the cockpit.

In certain flight conditions, shadows or glare from the Sun can distract the boom operator, according to Mike Gibbons, Boeing’s KC-46 vice president and program manager.

The Air Force is concerned that this can cause contact outside the receptacle, the formal term for what happens when the boom accidentally scrapes receiver aircraft.

“Learning will continue to take place once the aircraft is delivered. However, if limitations were to exist with the KC-46, they can’t be passed on to a 19-year-old boom operator to figure out,” says Air Mobility Command spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Karns.

“This is more than an aircraft; it is a weapon system.”

Boeing recently began flight tests on a software “enhancement” to the RVS that it expects will reduce the number of such incidents, Gibbons says.

The software upgrade sharpens the image displayed to the operator and eliminates the glare, he notes.

But the Air Force takes issue with the word “enhancement.”

The change is a “fix,” says Shipton.

“Something that’s an enhancement means that it’s gotten better above the requirement. We didn’t believe that the original system was going to meet the requirement, so for us this is a software fix because it fixes what we saw as a deficiency in the system in order for them to get to an acceptable level of performance.”

For the Air Force, the rate of “undetected” contacts outside the receptacle on the original RVS was excessive and did not meet the requirement that “the [air refueling operator (ARO)] shall have sufficient visual cues to safely refuel a receiver in all ambient lighting and background conditions.”

The rate should be zero - any time there is contact outside the receptacle, it needs to be recorded, according to the Air Force.

Further, the contract also includes an “equivalency requirement” stating that the KC-46 must be able to refuel all receivers that are compatible with the KC-135, with no restrictions or modifications to the receiver envelope, Shipton adds.

When the undetected contact issue was discovered, the Air Force was concerned that the KC-46 equipped with the original RVS would not be able to meet that requirement - including refueling stealth aircraft with low-observable coating that might be damaged.

“We did not believe that there was sufficient visual acuity in order for the ARO to safely aerial refuel on the old baseline,” Shipton says.

Boeing, by contrast, asserts that the original system met the Air Force’s requirement.

“We are very happy with our camera system; it is a state of the art camera system,” Gibbons says.

“Contact outside the receptacle, which has also been termed ‘boom scraping’ in some cases, actually is, unfortunately, a phenomenon that occurs in the fleet today and in test. As long as you have a person in the loop, you will end up in some conditions where you will end up contacting outside the receptacle.”

Sean Martin, Boeing KC-46 chief air refueling operator, moreover contends that the shadow and glare issue occurs in only 5-8% of tanking operations.

But that rate is too high for the Air Force.

“We can’t have the 5% with restrictions because there may be very important missions where we have to refuel in those lighting conditions where a KC-135 can do it today but a KC-46 can’t,” says Col. John Newberry, KC-46 system program manager.

Boeing and the Air Force are also clashing over the results of their comprehensive joint study of the legacy fleet.

Gibbons says the data shows that the rate of undetected contacts on the KC-46 is in the same range as on the existing KC-135 and KC-10 tankers.

But Shipton disputes this, saying that, to her knowledge, Boeing has not yet delivered the results of the study to the Air Force.

Either way, Boeing is paying to upgrade the RVS software and will deliver the first aircraft with that modification in place, officials say.

The two parties also differ over the delivery schedule for the 18 aircraft contractually required by October.

Boeing officials said during the media visit that the company could deliver all 18 tankers in quick succession.

But Shipton says the two parties have agreed on a schedule after first delivery of accepting aircraft at a rate of three per month, or about every 10 days, which is a “surge” for the Air Force.

The number of tankers the Air Force can accept at once is limited by the government’s rigorous acceptance process, as well as by the number of aircrew and maintainers that are trained on the aircraft, she says.

There may be opportunities to increase that rate, but not until at least after the first three aircraft are delivered, Shipton says.

“What we have said to Boeing is: first, let’s get to three; let’s show that we can do three repeatedly, and then we will look at potentially trying to do more,” Shipton says.

If you do the math, the three-per-month rate means Boeing is already late for the October deadline.

The Air Force and Boeing are united in working to expedite delivery of the first tanker.

The program is considering changing a contractual requirement to certify eight receiver aircraft on the new KC-46 baseline before delivery to just three, Shipton says.

All eight would be required by the start of initial operational test and evaluation, the aircraft’s final test period, she says.

Today, Boeing has 34 tankers in some stage of production and is about 95% complete with flight testing, according to company officials.

The KC-46 program also has submitted the required flight-test data and reports to the FAA for review in advance of the expected Supplemental Type Certificate award, the last of two FAA certifications necessary for delivery.

But there is still a lot of work to be done before first delivery, says Shipton.

The KC-46 must also obtain a Military Type Certificate, which is based on the FAA certifications and requires additional flight tests.

If Boeing does not deliver the first tanker by October, it would be the second time the company has missed the Required Assets Available deadline, originally slated for August 2017.

To compensate for the delay so far, Boeing is providing additional training for KC-46 aircrew and maintainers above the contractual requirement.

If the aircraft maker misses the deadline again, the Air Force will likely require additional compensation.




Fonte: aviationweek.com ... Boeing, U.S. Air Force At Odds Over KC-46 ...

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KC-46 ... e Boeing continua a pagare di tasca sua ... in questo caso per colpa della pandemia ... 😷

Quote

Boeing must pay another $151 million out of pocket for the KC-46 program, the company announced in an earnings call July 29. 
This time, the company incurred the extra cost because the coronavirus pandemic is slamming the aerospace industry.
Parts and work for the new tanker are turning out to be more expensive than Boeing had budgeted for because commercial jet production has slowed during the pandemic, in turn shrinking the bulk manufacturing that was expected, the company announced in its second-quarter earnings report (*).

... airforcemag.com ... Boeing Reports Another $151 Million KC-46 Charge ...

(*) ... boeing.mediaroom.com ... Boeing Reports Second-Quarter Results ...

🇺🇸

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MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) ... la Francia ne ordina altri tre ...

fg_3671997-jdw-7817.jpg?sfvrsn=5de1cd41_

Quote

Florence Parly, ministre des Armées, se félicite de la commande par la Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) le 25 août 2020 de 3 avions Airbus A330 annoncés le 9 juin dernier dans le cadre du plan gouvernemental de soutien à l’industrie aéronautique. 
Le montant du marché s’élève à 200 millions d’euros. 
Les deux premiers appareils seront livrés dès la fin de l’année 2020 et le troisième en 2022.
Ces trois A330 seront convertis à terme en avions militaires MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) Phénix. 
Ils complèteront alors les 12 MRTT attendus d’ici à 2023, portant la flotte des MRTT de l’Armée de l’air à 15 appareils, conformément à l’objectif final inscrit dans la Loi de programmation militaire (LPM).

 ... defense.gouv.fr ... Le ministère des Armées commande trois avions A330 dans le cadre du plan de soutien à l’industrie aéronautique ...

🇫🇷

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La NATO ordina un nuovo esemplare ...

Quote

Airbus has received an order for an A330 MRTT (multi-role tanker/transport) from the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), which is acting on behalf of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency
The aircraft adds to eight that are already on contract for the Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF). 
The ninth aircraft is the first of three options in the existing contract to be taken up.
The MMF has six participating nations (Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Norway), each of which “buys in” to the program in terms of annual flying hours. 
Luxembourg, along with the Netherlands, launched the MMF program in July 2016 and has now decided to increase its annual allocation from 200 to 1,200 flying hours. 
The extra requirement justifies the acquisition of an additional aircraft.

... ainonline.com ... NATO Adds Ninth A330 Tanker/Transport ...

 

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