Discussion:
A330 vs B767
(too old to reply)
matt weber
2008-07-10 20:08:08 UTC
Permalink
US Military has re-opened the bidding for the air tanker project.
From a performance point of view, does the 767 have any advantages over
the A330 ?
In other words, does the younger age of the 330 make it cheaper to
operate despite being bigger than the 767 ?
At the end of the day the cost of operation now is largely fuel.
Fuel use depends upon operating weight, and the A330 weighs a lot
more than a 767.
The question is can you use the extra lift capacity on the A330 for
the planned missions.
Where the procurement went wrong was Boeing was told the extra lift
capacity was of no value to the Air Force,
and would not be part of the evaluation criteria. In reality it was
part of the evaluation criteria, and that is part of why the GAO
upheld the Boeing Protest, and recommended re-tendering.

If the extra lift capacity is an issue, you might well see Boeing
offer a 777 based solution instead of a 767.
Would the runway performance of the 767 be significantly better than
that of the 330 ?
probably. Airbus products tend to be underpowered. Thrust to weight
ratio is worse on an A330 than it on 767-300ER with typical 60,000
pound thrust class engines.
Any chance Boeing might now pitch the 787 instead of 767 ? Or is the 787
still too young and order book too backlogged for Boeing to pitch a 787
based tanker ?
.

The odds on the 787 being offered are quite low. The Backlog is huge,
and it is a 'not ready for prime time' product.
Part of the deal is the Airforce wants a proven airframe with
reasonably prompt delivery. Most of the KC135's are older than the
pilots flying them by a comfortable margin.

T
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JF Mezei
2008-07-10 21:20:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by matt weber
Fuel use depends upon operating weight, and the A330 weighs a lot
more than a 767.
The question is can you use the extra lift capacity on the A330 for
the planned missions.
Thanks, that summarizes things a lot better. I had an image of the 767
being fairly heavy not only because being older but also because of its
overbuilt wings, as well as having older generation engines.
Post by matt weber
If the extra lift capacity is an issue, you might well see Boeing
offer a 777 based solution instead of a 767.
Does the military need both sizes (707 and DC10), or would having only
DC-10 size (DC-10 and 777) do the job ?

I get the impression that initially, this contract was about preserving
767 assembly jobs (since the 767 is essentially dead as commercial
aircraft, the military contract would have kept that assembly line on
life support).

Seems to me that the 777 would be a better proposition for Boeing since
it would allow it to close the 767 line and focus on current production
models.

With the 330 on its way out, it seems odd to see Airbus build a new
assembly plant for it. I guess they can financially justify it, but it
wouldn't be the most optimum use of resources. But then again, Airbus
doesn't have a viable twin-aisle class aircraft yet so it can only pitch
the 330.


From a refueling duty point of view, would the 777 with its mega twin
engines, the 330 with it normal twin engines, or a 340 with 4 tiny
engines make a big difference in terms of turbulence behind refueling
aircraft ?

Or does the fact that the refueled aircraft fly just a tad below the
refueling aircraft make the engine wake irrelevant ?

.
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matt weber
2008-07-11 19:10:52 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 10 Jul 2008 17:20:10 -0400, JF Mezei
Post by JF Mezei
Post by matt weber
Fuel use depends upon operating weight, and the A330 weighs a lot
more than a 767.
The question is can you use the extra lift capacity on the A330 for
the planned missions.
Thanks, that summarizes things a lot better. I had an image of the 767
being fairly heavy not only because being older but also because of its
overbuilt wings, as well as having older generation engines.
Post by matt weber
If the extra lift capacity is an issue, you might well see Boeing
offer a 777 based solution instead of a 767.
Does the military need both sizes (707 and DC10), or would having only
DC-10 size (DC-10 and 777) do the job ?
The problem is the KC135''s really are reaching end of life. Many are
close to 50 years old at this point. The D10 is out of production.
Post by JF Mezei
I get the impression that initially, this contract was about preserving
767 assembly jobs (since the 767 is essentially dead as commercial
aircraft, the military contract would have kept that assembly line on
life support).
Seems to me that the 777 would be a better proposition for Boeing since
it would allow it to close the 767 line and focus on current production
models.
Yes and no. Part of the game with the 767-200 based solution was its
tarmac foot print, which is only very slightly larger than the
KC135 footprint The KC135 footprint is roughly 131x 136 feet, the
767-200ER is 156 x 159 feet. It would apparently fit into most of the
spaces on the tarmac marked off KC135's. The A330 footprint is
roughly 200 x 200, and the 777 footprint is roughly 200x210.
Apparently the 767-200 based solution would fit in the existing 'shelters'..

The theory was the 767-200 based solutions was simple, and required
minimal changes on the ground to support. The Air Force is already
dealing with the CF6 in the KC10. It was supposed to be quick
solution to the aging KC135 fleet problem.
Post by JF Mezei
With the 330 on its way out, it seems odd to see Airbus build a new
assembly plant for it.
In defense contracts, there is almost always what is called an offset
involved. A certain (usually large) portion of the total cost of the
contract has to be spent in buying country. The local assembly
solves the offset problem, and the reality is the aircraft will be so
heavily modified from the commercial product, it probably didn't make
sense to set up a separate production line for it in Europe with the
value of the Euro and the European Social Contract.

One of the hazards is these contracts often get ended quite suddenly
and uncremonious by the DoD or Congress unfunding the program, or the
total run is cut way back. Laying off employee in Europe is difficult
and expensive compared to the US. The way you avoid Congress
unfunding the program is to spread out sub contracts into as many
Congressional districts as you can. I think Rockwell managed to place
subcontractors in the B1B program in over 400 congressional
districts! That virtually guaranteed that Congress would not defund
the program. There were 400 Congressman, and all 98 out of 100
senators who had constituents that benefited from the program.


The message is clear. You want to spend as much of the money as you
can in the USA, and you want to scatter the subcontracts for the
program in as many different Congressional Districts as possible to
create the broadest support for the program at budget time.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Defense Procurement.
Post by JF Mezei
I guess they can financially justify it, but it
wouldn't be the most optimum use of resources. But then again, Airbus
doesn't have a viable twin-aisle class aircraft yet so it can only pitch
the 330.
From a refueling duty point of view, would the 777 with its mega twin
engines, the 330 with it normal twin engines, or a 340 with 4 tiny
engines make a big difference in terms of turbulence behind refueling
aircraft ?
Hard to know. Somebody will have to find out. However wake turbulence
is one of the reasons the big tanker in the USAF inventory is a DC10
based instead of 747 based.

A340 has lower fuel economy, higher maintenance costs, and lower
reliability because of the extra engines. It also weighs about 7 tons
more to carry the 2 extra engines and associated
wiring,control,plumbing etc....
Not to mention that the A340 has very poor high/hot takeoff performance.
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w***@googlemail.com
2008-07-16 20:52:32 UTC
Permalink
Hi, not a regular, but:

the A330 has the same wing with 4 hardpoints as the A340.
The Airbus KCnn uses the outboard engines hardpoints
to mount the refueling pods.

The first KC30 is about due to be delivered and is in
final tests.

In contrast the less similar KC767 (to the Boeing KC45 proposal:
different combinations of airframe and wing parts )
for Italy and Japan seems to be well behind schedule with no
fast entry into service in sight.

Airbus has ( sic ) large (cost) problems with producing in
EuroLand and selling in dollar. They would be very happy to
manufacture in the US.
This wish ran into heavy opposition in the EU.
The KC45 production would work as bait against (or for
depending on viewpoint ;-) this.

Airbus would then not only do the KC45 conversions
in the US but additionally look into moving freighter
conversion there as well.

The way I have understood the procurement decision one
central point was that Airbus is deemed to be able to
deliver predictably earlier.

In contrast the expectations on early delivery by
Boeing are seen as extremely low.

Changing the proposed aircraft over to being based on
another type would create more and unpredictable delays.


wid
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JF Mezei
2008-07-17 19:29:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by w***@googlemail.com
The first KC30 is about due to be delivered and is in
final tests.
different combinations of airframe and wing parts )
for Italy and Japan seems to be well behind schedule with no
fast entry into service in sight.
But delaying the project by forcing a re-bit which would take months if
not a full year my greatly reduce these differences since Boeing my be
able to reduce the gap and fix whatever problems they may be having.


One Boeing PR release made this week mentioned that the 767 consumes
less fuel per mission than the 330. Since the 767 is smaller, this would
be a logical assumption.

In typical usage, would a larger 330 allow it to refuel more planes in a
single flight ? (aka: fewer missions in total). Or would the refueling
capacity of a 330 not b sufficiently larger than that of a 767 to make a
big different in number of flights needed ?

One also has to look at how many planes the airforce needs to support
during a mission. Say the average mission uses 10 fighters, and the 767
can refuel 11 while the 330 can refuel 16. In such a mission both planes
woudl accomplish their mission on a single flight, in which case, the
767 wins.

But if the average mission is 15 aircraft, then the 330 wins because it
can do it in a single flight while you would need two 767s to do it.

There can be a lot of play in how the airforce wishes to interpret each
aircraft's advantages.

Out of curiosity, how difficult is it to move the actual refueling
systems (boom, software, tanks etc) from a 767 to a 777 at this point
in time ?

Since Boeing now has 777 freighters just starting deliveries, if it were
relatively simple to move the actual refueling system to a 777, perhaps
that would be the competitive answer to the 330 based one.
.
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Jeff
2008-07-17 23:26:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
Post by w***@googlemail.com
The first KC30 is about due to be delivered and is in
final tests.
different combinations of airframe and wing parts )
for Italy and Japan seems to be well behind schedule with no
fast entry into service in sight.
But delaying the project by forcing a re-bit which would take months if
not a full year my greatly reduce these differences since Boeing my be
able to reduce the gap and fix whatever problems they may be having.
One Boeing PR release made this week mentioned that the 767 consumes
less fuel per mission than the 330. Since the 767 is smaller, this would
be a logical assumption.
In typical usage, would a larger 330 allow it to refuel more planes in a
single flight ? (aka: fewer missions in total). Or would the refueling
capacity of a 330 not b sufficiently larger than that of a 767 to make a
big different in number of flights needed ?
One also has to look at how many planes the airforce needs to support
during a mission. Say the average mission uses 10 fighters, and the 767
can refuel 11 while the 330 can refuel 16. In such a mission both planes
woudl accomplish their mission on a single flight, in which case, the
767 wins.
But if the average mission is 15 aircraft, then the 330 wins because it
can do it in a single flight while you would need two 767s to do it.
There can be a lot of play in how the airforce wishes to interpret each
aircraft's advantages.
Out of curiosity, how difficult is it to move the actual refueling
systems (boom, software, tanks etc) from a 767 to a 777 at this point
in time ?
Since Boeing now has 777 freighters just starting deliveries, if it were
relatively simple to move the actual refueling system to a 777, perhaps
that would be the competitive answer to the 330 based one.
One of the things I've heard lately is that the 330 has a serious problem in
cases of "fly overs," that is, when it is necessary for the refueling plane
or the plane being refuleled to fly around because it can't line up the
first time. Apparently, the 330 is not as agile as the 767, and, this may
be a major disability of the A330 - it makes it impossible for it to
successfully complete some missions.
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JF Mezei
2008-07-18 00:07:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff
One of the things I've heard lately is that the 330 has a serious problem in
cases of "fly overs," that is, when it is necessary for the refueling plane
or the plane being refuleled to fly around because it can't line up the
first time. Apparently, the 330 is not as agile as the 767, and, this may
be a major disability of the A330 - it makes it impossible for it to
successfully complete some missions.
Out of curiosity, how does this compare with existing 707 and DC-10
aircraft currently being used ? Would the 330 be even less agile than a
DC-10 ?

Also, could they use a FBW cockpit to add software to aid in position
keeping relative to the aircraft in the back ? (add some radar and hook
it up to autopilot of the 330 ?)

Is it correct to state that the above could also be implemented in an
old 1970s technology aircraft like the 767 ?


Also, for a military contract, is Boeing still bound to the 767
aircrtaft type certification, or does it have freedom to cghange it as
it wants for military purposes without expensive FAA recertification
process ?
.
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w***@googlemail.com
2008-07-18 08:47:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
One Boeing PR release made this week mentioned that the 767 consumes
less fuel per mission than the 330. Since the 767 is smaller, this would
be a logical assumption.
In typical usage, would a larger 330 allow it to refuel more planes in a
single flight ? (aka: fewer missions in total). Or would the refueling
capacity of a 330 not b sufficiently larger than that of a 767 to make a
big different in number of flights needed ?
Tanker aircraft do low "mileage" ( the kc135 are 40++ years old ( and
thus rather outdated technologywise ) but have
in general only half the life of the airframe used up.)

the KC45/A330MRTT will be able to serve as transport while not in use
as a tanker without any conversion effort.
The USAF (and other AF as well) is short of transport aircraft ( lots
of mil transport jobs are done by charter )

Boeing delaying tactics:
This may well be the hope that boeing has. But imho it won't work out
much better.
The KC45/B767 will still require all that work that the
current run of KC767 for Italy/Japan face, again!

On changing boom/droge installations:
I don't know. But it's definitely not LEGO.
( what would be achieved ?)

Agility:
What I have seen videovise of fuel transfers the
tanker is supposed to be a stable platform.
Agility is required of the recipient.
Staged deployment like in the falkland war
requirering tanker to tanker transfers should
not be that common for the USAF.

wid
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