EADS Commisions Report to replace Air Force Tankers

In an effort to update everyone on what is going on with Boeing and EADS, I started searching for information relating to the two aircraft. I believe that anyone can say anything, and often DO, to make what they have to sell, the product of choice. Just take a look at Microsoft and Apple. Apple has the better product but Microsoft has the better advertising. So, most of us have PCs not Apples. Nice to know things are changing in that area at least.

In the case of Boeing and EADS, it has come to my attention that in 2005 EADS commissioned a study to find out if its aircraft could meet the needs of the US Air Force. Now, just how impartial can this study have been? Talk about improprieties! In the report:

Although other commercial derivatives may possess the physical prerequisites to serve as replacement candidates, the technical modification process and certification requirements preclude their consideration in the short-term.

The procurement of air refueling tankers to replace the aging fleet of KC-135s is one of the most important acquisition decisions facing the Department of Defense (DOD). In September 2004, the original version of the Advanced Tanker Program: Operational Assessment (OA) was published to broaden the base of
analytic work informing decision-makers. The report was initially commissioned by EADS North America (EADS-NA) to analyze the operational effectiveness of its tanker offerings relative to the KC-135 and likely commercial derivative aircraft. EADS-NA engaged CAS, Inc. to conduct an objective operational assessment.

Now, just how fair could this contest have been if EADS COMMISSIONED the report??? Does anyone smell anything funny here? Like Fish?

Second, the original OA adhered closely to the configuration and
expected tanker performance of the KC-767 as described in the lease proposal.

Cancellation of the KC-767 lease proposal provides an opportunity to expand the scope of analysis to look at a wider range of configurations and expected tanker performance among several commercial derivative aircraft. Finally, statements by key DOD decision-makers have reinvigorated the potential for a KC-135
replacement tanker competition. This has resulted in a significant increase in the volume of information available in the public domain, making it possible to expand and fine tune the original operational assessment performance among several commercial derivative aircraft. Finally, statements by DOD decision-makers have reinvigorated the potential for a KC-135

These events resulted in several changes to the original analysis,
Boeing 767 and A330 aircraft.
upon which this edition builds. Throughout this document, terminology and assumptions have been updated to reflect current operational vocabulary and policies. Moreover, this version evaluates a wider range of possible tanker configurations for the

Me thinks there was a plot here….. It seems highly suspicious that they would wait until the contract was canceled. Which also brings up WHY was it canceled? I didn’t find ANY answers to that question.

Finally, statements by key DOD decision-makers have reinvigorated the potential for a KC-135 replacement tanker competition. This has resulted in a significant increase in the
volume of information available in the public domain, making it possible to expand and fine tune the original operational assessment.

Can you say *special interest* groups, lobbyists, etc? Oh, I can!

Given the magnitude of the impact on national security and the fiscal implications of the USAF tanker procurement, it is critical for the DOD to understand its options. It remains the desire of both CAS, Inc. and EADS-NA that the analysis and accompanying operational vignettes foster a continuing dialogue, ultimately
leading to a stronger analytical foundation in support of the KC-135 replacement decision.

Critical for the DOD or critical for EADS? I looked up but, could not find, any information on Cas, Inc. or Thomas P. White. Only one paper came up in regards to those searches. There are several CAS, Inc listed on google. While there are many Cas, Inc. listed on google, I didn’t want to put in a link that was incorrect. Sorry……

In order to understand the suitability of commercial derivatives as KC-135 replacements, the study commissioned by EADS North America (EADS-NA) evaluates the performance of the selected set of aircraft against US Air Force and Joint Service missions and requirements. This version of the OA expands on an earlier one by considering various potential configurations of the Boeing 767 and
A330 that could be offered for tanker service by Boeing and EADS-NA, respectively.

There are 3 phases for this report.

Phase I, the analysis establishes the operational context and
defines key tanker roles and missions, providing a general understanding of performance factors most critical to individual missions and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each candidate aircraft. At this phase, all factors are weighed equally.

Phase II provides a more nuanced understanding of each aircraft’s
capabilities by weighing key performance factors against various mission areas (e.g., combat employment, Global Strike bomber support).

Phase III models the performance of each aircraft within real-world operations, adding a more objective dimension to the findings of Phase II.

OK, now I am going to skip a WHOLE lot of the document here because what we are really interested in are the results. Remember that the EADS/Northrup Grumman A330 is larger than the Boeing KC-767. My understanding was that Boeing gave the Military the best deal for the size, not that they didn’t have any other planes. My question here would be, does Boeing have a plane that compares with the A330? Since this study was commissioned by EADS, it seems to me the results are skewered in favor of the A330. But that is ONLY my opinion………..

Table 6: Scoring Criteria
Score Definition
0- Aircraft has limitations in operational capability
1-Capability is not significantly greater than that of the KC-135R
2-Capability significantly exceeds that of the KC-135R
3-Capability significantly exceeds that of any other aircraft evaluated

Now the chart simply would not copy here, so as best as I can I will write out the data for you. Here is how the two planes compare:

On Range Offload: (I assume this to mean how far the refueler can go to offload its fuel.) Someone correct me if I am wrong.

Boeing KC-767 E was 2

EADS A330 E was 3

Rapid In-flight transition, Boom and Hose/Drogue refueling:
Boeing KC-767 E was 2
EADS A330 E was a 3

Multi-point Refueling:
Boeing KC-767 E was 2
EADS A330 E was 2

Missions/Mission Endurance:
Boeing KC-767 E was 1
EADS A330 E was 3

Primary Force Extensions:
Boeing KC-767 E was 2
EADS A330 E was 2

Escort Features:
Boeing KC-767 E was 2
EADS A330 E was 3

Refueling Envelope:
Boeing KC-767 E was 1
EADS A330 E was 1

Cargo Capability:
Boeing KC 767 E was 2
EADS A330 E was 3

Passenger Capabilities Missions:
Boeing KC-767 E was 2
EADS A330 E was 3

Aeromedical Capability:
Boeing KC-767 E was 2
EADS A330 E was 2

Secondary Seamless Mission Transition:
Boeing KC-767 E was 2
EADS A330 E was 3

I just get the feeling that with EADS sponsoring this study, they knew in advance what would be needed and so were able to supply it. A friend once told me that if it looked and smelled like a fish market, it probably was. And I just can’t shake that feeling that if *I* knew more, I’d be able to figure out what is wrong with this study. Sadly, I am neither a techi nor have I any background in Aviation. So I am useless on this study.


A little visual aide to help you see some of the effects of the scoring. Anyway, it does appear that the EADS A330 outscores the Boeing KC-767. I still think though that if the Military is REALLY interested in saving money, (ya, right!!!) they should use that one reader’s suggestion and use old aircraft that still have Lots of life left, refit them and use those for their needs. See my previous article for comment and details: Boeing, The Military Contract, A Continuing Saga. HOWEVER, WHY does the military need such a wide area to cover with these planes? WHY, if the United States of America is NOT a war, do we need these huge planes? I say stick with American ingenuity, keep the DOD AMERICAN!

I also found this article to be of interest: From Reuters

Northrop Grumman KC-30 Tanker Carefully Designed to Meet or Exceed Key Performance Parameters Designated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for America’s Next Generation Tanker

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) — Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) stated today that its KC-30 Tanker was carefully designed to meet or exceed all KC-X Tanker Replacement Program Key Performance Parameters, or KPPs, designated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). KPPs in nine key areas were reviewed and approved by the U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC). The JROC is chaired by the Vice Chairman of the JCS,
with representatives from all Combatant Commanders, all the Service Departments, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. This process ensures all new major weapons systems meet the requirements and concept of operations planned for joint and coalition warfighters.

Tim Paynter
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
(321) 961-1101

So, I’m just throwing this all out there for you. You see what you think. If someone is able to connect the dots better than I, I’d appreciate hearing from them!


~ by justmytruth on March 17, 2008.

18 Responses to “EADS Commisions Report to replace Air Force Tankers”

  1. Thanks. When my computer is working again I’ll be checking out the link with interest.

    Come back soon…

  2. FYI integritypays is correct. All the alternatives were carefully studied. Here is the link http://www-tc.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/tanker_rand.pdf The protest was upheld on 8 of over 100 areas.

  3. I’m pretty sure it isn’t even a blip on their radar. What ever happened to good old American ingenuity? This is only one plan and I can’t take credit for it. A fan of Lou Dobbs came up with it, someone with Aviation experience, I have none. I’m also a fan of his. But I am for the United States of America, any time any place any way. If the idea is good I hope it gets passed along and I don’t care who gets credit for it.

  4. There is some merit in your suggestion regarding refitting old DC-10s or used 767s. Problem is numbers of available aircraft. While there are many used aircraft, to avoid a huge logistical nightmare, you would need to focus on a set of commonly configured aircraft. If you are going that route, you would probably try to get the most capable aircraft. I would estimate that 50 to 100 commonly configured DC-10s could be procured for conversion to tankers. After acquisition and conversion cost, you would probably cut in half the amount of up front expense when compared to new KC-767s or KC-30s. However, the operating and support costs would quickly erase your initial savings, as these older aircraft would be more costly to maintain, and the AF would be the sole buyer for spares in a manner similar to the KC-135s. You could probably solve a small portion of your problem in this manner, betting that by the time these refitted aircraft are themselves ready to retire, your total refueling requirement would have diminished from the present level, or technology would have reduced the need for refueling, increased dramatically the potential aircraft performance, or altered the scenario all together. At any rate, it is worth consideration and I hope that the AF has carefully weighed this option.

  5. But we are having this discussion. Nor do any of your arguments take into account the fact that the United States has a case against EADS right now in the world court. I agree that big business is all for the mighty buck, (can’t say the dollar any more), and I am not excusing Boeing for misconduct in the past. Why doesn’t the Air Force not simply take some of McDonnell Douglas DC10s and their 767’s and refit them and save us all about 35 to 40 billion dollars? Now there is a plan I can go with and you won’t need Boeing or EADS.

  6. If Boeing had acted within the law during their first opportunity, which by the way was sole source to Boeing, we would not be having this discussion. Likewise, if Boeing had used their second opportunity to develop a proposal for the best aircraft at the best price, it would be NG who would have to decide whether or not to protest. As it is now, Boeing is adding further proof that they have been in it all along not for the good of the AF or for the benefit of our airmen, but for the buck. Acting illegally during the first KC-767 deal cost the AF several years of worry over whether or not the KC-135s will continue to be flyable. Protesting this KC-767 deal, after losing four out of five scored areas and tieing on the fifth, stands to delay the KC-135 replacement even further. Lastly, even if the 80,000 number is Boeing’s claim, before you reprint it as the Gospel, you should do some research to determine if it has any validity. Using the government’s formulas for estimating job impact, the number is closer to 25,000 jobs, with the impact of Boeing and NG being almost a wash.

  7. 80,000 was Boeing’s figure. But the names you have thrown out here are for old cases. What has that to do with this matter? I am open to doing more research or tracking more information down if it is on this situation. But improprieties of the past do not make them guilty today. And ya, I do know how that sounds. Like a leopard changing its spots right?

  8. I’m sorry, but the latest report is dated June 7, 2005 That seems to be a few years off don’t you think?

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