Skip to comments.Pentagon Issues New Tanker Bid Parameters
Posted on 08/07/2008 10:02:08 AM PDT by Yo-Yo
The Pentagon plans to take extra capabilities - including added fuel offload capacity - into account as it scores revised proposals from Boeing and Northrop Grumman/EADS that could lead to $35 billion in work replacing aging KC-135 tankers.
The Defense Department will consider "value over threshold" when reviewing the revised offers, said Shay Assad, director of defense procurement and acquisitions policy, during an Aug. 6 briefing at the Pentagon.
This could put Boeing's 767-200LRF-based proposal at a disadvantage as its cargo, passenger and fuel offload abilities are hampered by its size compared to the larger Airbus A330-200 design proposed by Northrop.
Today, a revised draft request for proposals (RFP) for the KC-X refueling tanker was provided to both teams, kicking off the recompetition of the controversial program.
The new draft RFP is intended to provide "clear and unambiguous insight into the relative order of importance" of various capabilities, including fuel offload, cargo and passenger capacity and survivability, among other aspects. Assad did not identify the capabilities in order of importance, and DOD officials did not publicly release the draft RFP, breaking with typical protocol, which calls for solicitations to be posted publicly online. The draft was, however, sent to Congress and is already drawing criticism because it may favor the larger A330 offering. (Click here (6.1-meg pdf) and here (1.2-meg pdf) for the documents).
For instance, an aide to Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) argued there is an obvious change inserted into the system requirements document in the revised tanker RFP that "clearly" favors the larger Airbus aircraft "even though it is not necessarily connected to any real-world use of tanker."
The congressional Government Accountability Office found that in the earlier competition the Air Force did not clearly articulate how it would score attributes that surpassed the threshold requirements for the system. This, among other irregularities, called into question the Northrop Grumman/EADS North America win of a $1.5 billion development contract for the new refueler Feb. 29.
Both teams will have about one week to discuss the draft RFP with the Office of the Secretary of Defense. By mid-month, a final RFP will be released and contractors will have about 45 days to submit their revised proposals. Source selection should be finished by the end of the year with a final winner announced by New Year's Eve, Assad said.
The existing contract with Northrop Grumman will remain in stop-work status until a winner is selected. If Northrop Grumman again prevails, its contract will be revised and restarted. If, however, Boeing wins this new competition, Northrop's contract will be terminated, he said.
The Pentagon does plan to shift the life-cycle cost estimates from an expected useful life of 25 years to 40 years on the aircraft, Assad says. And, it will take into consideration the cost of fuel and anticipated fuel burn rates of each aircraft throughout those years.
OK, try to outline life-cycle costs 40 years out. How are you possibly going to predict what structural repairs, avionics and engine upgrades, and new mission adaptations will be required in 40 years
Easy for Boeing they still have planes flying that old. EADS will have a problem with it as there planes do not last even close to that long.
Acutally its a formula derived from maintenace records showing trends and life cycles of equipment engines gear ect.
As for this new RFP its gonna get hammered down by congress before it gets off the ground already congress had a bill that states it must be on the original RFP and no extra credit. also takes into account work force and foreign content.
On conventional construction, yes, but much of the new planes are composites and there just isn’t that much data on composite aging.
Well the 767 has been flying in commercial service for 26 years, so some of the structural repairs are probably already known. On the other hand, new build 767's probably already have modifications to correct deficiencies in the original design, so they may have different issues 40-60 years down the line.
At this point it really does look like the Airbus is the aircraft the Pentagon brass wants, and it’s going to make sure it gets it.
As a refueler put it to me in explaining this, “They need to put a different criteria first as it is the most important: can it perform the mission as well as the current craft?” This apparently eliminates the Airbus offering as it does not have the acceleration to handle any problems in a fueling. You will see more accidents/crashes/loss of life with the Airbus plane.
It will be interesting to see if NG/EADS addresses the Boeing objections that the KC-30 can't perform overspeed maneuver for certain (redacted) aircraft, how it fleshes out it's required depot level maintenance support, and it's ability to refuel all USAF aircraft and UAVs, including the V-22 Osprey.
I just read that Boeing can’t meet the deadline in submitting the new specs for the larger plane. This brings to mind the question: then why re-open the bidding process and waste all the taxpayers monies?
Yes, especially when you consider that 6 of the 8 KC-135 crashes were mid-air collisions with other aircraft.
There’s no way that Boeing could bid the 777 for this deal. If the KC-30 is too big, then the 777 would be even bigger. The 777-200 has something like 550,000lbs max takeoff weight, where the A330-200 has a MTOW of 466,000. Think of all those airfields with weak tarmac that couldn’t handle the KC-30, let alone a “KC-777.”
If DOD no longer wants the aircraft they asked for the original RFP is supposed to be withdrawn & a new one issued.
I don't know the lot sizes they forecast but not all potential AC are guaranteed - could go with minimum buy today from Boeing and issue new RFP for larger follow on birds. The Boeing AC fits original RFP and a new one would allow both parties to go bigger. However, smaller lots mean higher unit costs and only buying minimum number might be a penalty in itself. Also, any mix, each of fewer aircraft, will add considerable strain on logistics (but AF isn't too good at admitting to that.)
The problem with that is Northrop-EADS already has the bird flying now to meet the follow on order RFP and can deliver from 2014. Even if Boeing got an order today it couldn't restart its design work for the KC-767AT and deliver until 2015. Interim aircraft delivered after the full spec aircraft - that makes a kind of sense
Boeing readies new bribes.
Boeing readies new bribes
Better go look to see who spent more in bribes, payoffs ect. its not Boeing.
Corrupt EADS. selling out a American Tanker contract to a Foreign company is selling out AMERICA Industry and jobs.
On conventional construction, yes, but much of the new planes are composites and there just isnt that much data on composite aging.
Not much composite on the KC-767 but what is there they can use there knowledge from the C-17 program.
Different types and they don't have any 40 year old 767-200LRF tankers that have been flying that long.
EADS will have a problem with it as there(sic) planes do not last even close to that long.
That claim is based on what, a guess? Over 200 A300s, which had a 35 year production run, are still in service.
The only tanker certified to refuel the V-22 is the KC-130; not the KC-10 or the KC-135. Boeing’s claim that their paper proposal tanker can and the existing Airbus cannot is more Seattle BS. What UAVs currently have in-flight refueling capabilities?
That claim is based on what, a guess? Over 200 A300s, which had a 35 year production run, are still in service
Prove it.. how many scarebuses that old are flying.
Over 200 A300s, which had a 35 year production run, are still in service
not very many that old still flying...
V-22 refueling was an objective KPP, not a threshold KPP. From the KC-X SRD:
184.108.40.206.1.10 The aircraft should be capable of aerial refueling all current USAF tanker compatible tilt rotor receiver aircraft using above criteria (OBJECTIVE, KPP #1).
220.127.116.11.5.2.7 While engaged, the KC-X should be capable of maneuvering throughout the entire refueling envelope, in accordance with applicable air refueling manuals and standard agreements, of any compatible current and programmed tilt rotor receiver aircraft (OBJECTIVE, KPP #1).
What UAVs currently have in-flight refueling capabilities?
Obviously, none yet. Again from the KC-X SRD:
18.104.22.168.1.11 The aircraft should be capable of aerial refueling all current and programmed USAF tanker compatible receiver aircraft using the above criteria at its maximum inflight gross weight (OBJECTIVE, KPP #1).
62 KC-135 were lost at all. Only 4 due to aerial refueling. The most spectacular loss was at Palomares, Spain.
The boom of KC-45 got a greater envelope than the proposed Boeing boom. What can be done faster - retract a boom or accelerate an aircraft?
The Australian KC-30B made several certification test flights equipped with boom and refueling pods.
The speed limits for 767 I know of are without refueling pods.
The Italian KC-767A got problems with buffeting wings due to the wing pods. One solution was to reduce speed. I don't know Boeing's final solution.
I don't think Boeing has the final solution. However, since the KC-767AT uses the -300 wing, it may not have the flutter problem - or it could be worse. We won't know until the prototype flies.
Meanwhile, EADS has completed boom testing on the A310MRTT test aircraft, and is moving to validating the boom on the first Aussie KC-30B.
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