CX747
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:59 pm

While not production related, the USAF has decided to base some of the first combat coded KC-46s at McGuire AFB and Travis AFB. KC-10s are stationed at those two locations, not KC-135s. There has been some rumbling about retiring the -10s and then comments made to keep them flying. Just a new wrinkle in exactly how the -46 is going to be used. 135 replacement, 10 replacement or just adding another type to the fleet. Note that none of the 135s are being retired as 46s come on board, they are just being sent to other bases and squadrons to increase numbers.
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Slug71
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:51 pm

CX747 wrote:
While not production related, the USAF has decided to base some of the first combat coded KC-46s at McGuire AFB and Travis AFB. KC-10s are stationed at those two locations, not KC-135s. There has been some rumbling about retiring the -10s and then comments made to keep them flying. Just a new wrinkle in exactly how the -46 is going to be used. 135 replacement, 10 replacement or just adding another type to the fleet. Note that none of the 135s are being retired as 46s come on board, they are just being sent to other bases and squadrons to increase numbers.


I could be wrong, but I think I read somewhere a little while ago that a number of the oldest KC-10s will be replaced by the KC-46A. Pease AFB, will be one of the first 135 bases to get the KC-46.
 
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KarelXWB
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:33 am

First KC-46 delivery slides into next year:

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/bo ... next-year/

Delivery of Boeing’s first KC-46 air-to-air refueling tanker to the Air Force, already late and way over budget, has been further delayed from this fall into next year, according to a person familiar with the schedule.

Flight testing and certification milestones have been missed and various problems have emerged in flight test, including instances of the extendable fuel boom scraping against the receiver aircraft.


This shouldn't come as a surprise as 2018 has been mentioned before.
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hilram
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:46 am

KarelXWB wrote:
First KC-46 delivery slides into next year:

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/bo ... next-year/

Delivery of Boeing’s first KC-46 air-to-air refueling tanker to the Air Force, already late and way over budget, has been further delayed from this fall into next year, according to a person familiar with the schedule.

Flight testing and certification milestones have been missed and various problems have emerged in flight test, including instances of the extendable fuel boom scraping against the receiver aircraft.

Whatever happened to Boeing project management? How come they managed to make the previous tankers? Or is it that they can just let it slide over budget, knowing that eventually Pentagon will cave, and pay up whatever they want?
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ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:24 am

hilram wrote:
KarelXWB wrote:
First KC-46 delivery slides into next year:

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/bo ... next-year/

Delivery of Boeing’s first KC-46 air-to-air refueling tanker to the Air Force, already late and way over budget, has been further delayed from this fall into next year, according to a person familiar with the schedule.

Flight testing and certification milestones have been missed and various problems have emerged in flight test, including instances of the extendable fuel boom scraping against the receiver aircraft.

Whatever happened to Boeing project management? How come they managed to make the previous tankers? Or is it that they can just let it slide over budget, knowing that eventually Pentagon will cave, and pay up whatever they want?


From memory all the people that worked on the preious programs have essentially retired or moved on. So despite the company having done plenty of tankers before this time they're almost starting from scratch.

As for the US Government coming to the rescue I don't think that's going to happen. So far it seems the US Government are sticking hard to the fixed price contract and Boeing are having to eat any overruns. Whether this means a follow on batch are more expensive to recoup costs I don't know. But it looks like this first order will be at the original price for the US Government.
 
Ozair
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:26 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:

From memory all the people that worked on the previous programs have essentially retired or moved on. So despite the company having done plenty of tankers before this time they're almost starting from scratch.

Bikerthai has explained it previously about how this project was managed internally, compared to say the P-8 which seems to have been better managed and delivered. His explanation is somewhere in the 27 pages of this thread...
ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
As for the US Government coming to the rescue I don't think that's going to happen. So far it seems the US Government are sticking hard to the fixed price contract and Boeing are having to eat any overruns. Whether this means a follow on batch are more expensive to recoup costs I don't know. But it looks like this first order will be at the original price for the US Government.

Agree, Boeing should and deserves to eat these costs. This further delay has been building for awhile and this will likely continue to be a sore point for earnings for a while to come.
 
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Revelation
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:39 am

https://twitter.com/ACapaccio/status/910237303100059649 says:

Anthony Capaccio‏ Verified account @ACapaccio 14h14 hours ago

AF discloses today @BoeingDefense KC-46 tanker's been issued 3 Category One deficiency reports including for ``uncommanded boom extension''

That can't be a good thing...
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KarelXWB
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:44 am

Revelation wrote:
AF discloses today @BoeingDefense KC-46 tanker's been issued 3 Category One deficiency reports including for ``uncommanded boom extension''


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Stitch
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:43 pm

hilram wrote:
Whatever happened to Boeing project management? How come they managed to make the previous tankers?


The KC-46A has been designed and built in what was expected to be a more streamlined process than the KC-767 and KC-135 / KC-10 programs leveraging Boeing Commercial assets rather than the traditional process of building a passenger 767 and then flying it to a separate facility and gutting it to rebuild it as a military frame. Overall, it will allow Boeing to build them cheaper and faster on the main FAL with final polishing at the EMC, but nobody in BCA has any experience in doing it and most of the original BDS team have retired or moved on so getting to that point has taken far longer and been far more expensive (shades of the 787 where Boeing tried to do something totally new with insufficient experience to pull it off).


hilram wrote:
Or is it that they can just let it slide over budget, knowing that eventually Pentagon will cave, and pay up whatever they want?


The USAF has already paid what they're going to and Boeing is picking up the rest. If the program was completely off the rails (as in the planes were not able to be built or could not fly), then I expect the USAF would come in and bail them out, but at this point, the program is far enough along that it just needs time so the USAF is not going to pay more.
 
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ssteve
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:52 pm

Stitch wrote:
The KC-46A has been designed and built in what was expected to be a more streamlined process than the KC-767 and KC-135 / KC-10 programs leveraging Boeing Commercial assets rather than the traditional process of building a passenger 767 and then flying it to a separate facility and gutting it to rebuild it as a military frame. Overall, it will allow Boeing to build them cheaper and faster on the main FAL with final polishing at the EMC, but nobody in BCA has any experience in doing it and most of the original BDS team have retired or moved on so getting to that point has taken far longer and been far more expensive (shades of the 787 where Boeing tried to do something totally new with insufficient experience to pull it off).


The 3-minute pitch for this sort of thing makes it an easy sell to high level management. But what you need is some omniscient engineer+manager who knows EVERY ramification, and that sort of Cassandra just gets pegged as a whiner anyways because they're saying it's going to take longer an be more expensive than necessary to win the bid.

So either way the 3-minute pitch wins, the bid is won, and it's all a grand experiment to see if the 3-minute pitch was right.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:39 pm

ssteve wrote:
So either way the 3-minute pitch wins, the bid is won, and it's all a grand experiment to see if the 3-minute pitch was right.


The pitch was sound as they have had the P-8A project humming along in good order when they pitched the KC-46 tanker. It's the execution that was flawed.

At least with Boeing winning the contract, they are able to absorb the cost-overrun cost by banking on their commercial revenue. I'm not sure how much Airbus would have bail out NG if they ran in to cost over-runs.

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Stitch
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:51 pm

So looks like the scraping issue with the boom is caused by the camera system (the boom operator uses monitors to view the receiver aircraft). While the best on offer in 2012 when the system was designed, better technology is now available so Boeing is considering upgrading the system at their own cost to improve the imaging. While the damage to date has been minor, the KC-46 has not yet refueled a stealth airframe and there is worry that the material used to reduce the radar signature of the B-2, F-22 and F-35 could either contaminate the boom or affect the stealthiness of the receiver airframe which is why it is considered a "Category One" issue.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:29 pm

Boom strikes outside the receptacle have to be reported to B-2, F-22, and F-35 pilots (and F-117s, when the fleet was still active), so they can notify their maintenance folks.
Shortly before I retired, there was a trend of boom strikes on multiple B-2s that cost ACC over $1mil to repair, so a special notice (FCIF) was pushed to boom operators to be more careful. I was more than a little surprised to find out, after I retired, that student KC-135 boom operators were being flown with B-2s as their receiver; something tells me that might have had something to do with the damage they were seeing on the B-2 fleet.

I was NOT surprised to hear that the indirect-view system is being blamed for the current boom strike issue. I don't think any boom operator in either tanker was in favor of the indirect-view system, other than the ones who were angling for a .civ job with A or B.
-Boom stowed, leaving position.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:41 pm

It's time to design an automated engagement system for the boom receptacle. We all know the AI system has a much quicker response than a human. At least get a AI assist system going. You can start with a visual system and switch to an RF system later.

bt
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Stitch
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:10 pm

Aviation Week reported today that Boeing will resume testing for KC-46A testing next month focusing on the three Key Deficiencies identified by the USAF:
• uncommanded boom extensions when disconnecting from a receiver aircraft with fuel flowing;
• the boom operator’s inability to detect when the probe has missed the receiver aircraft’s receptacle and causes damage to the coating or worse;
• ensuring that the HF radios (which use the skin of the plane) are failsafe and can never transmit during the refueling process for fear of fires due to possible sparking on the skin

While Boeing will have to correct any unresolved issues prior to certification and aircraft delivery, if any of the deficiencies aren’t covered by the original weapon system specifications, the Air Force might decide to make changes anyway at its own expense. As I noted earlier, Boeing is considering improving the camera system to reduce the boom scrapes, but they are also determining how regularly legacy tankers tap the outside of refueling receptacles compared to the miss rate for the KC-46. If the KC-46's rate is equal to or lower than the KC-135/KC-10, then the USAF may be the one paying to remediate it.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:00 pm

bikerthai wrote:
It's time to design an automated engagement system for the boom receptacle. We all know the AI system has a much quicker response than a human. At least get a AI assist system going. You can start with a visual system and switch to an RF system later.

bt


available on the A330MRTT
 
Ugly51
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:35 am

Maybe the USAF should have pushed harder for the MRTT they wished for?
 
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:47 pm

mjoelnir wrote:
available on the A330MRTT


Who owns that design? If not the the parent EADS then the subcontractor could sell the design to Boeing, or the USAF.

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747classic
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:53 pm

Both RLNAF KDC-10's have a RARO installed. AFAIK no issues as mentioned with th KC46A -boom have been noticed. Boeing is providing support for both the KC-10 and the KDC-10.

In contrast to the KC-10 tanker of the US Air Force - where the “boom-operator” conducts the refueling through an Air Refueling Operator station (ARO) / a window in the back of the aircraft - the Dutch version does not controls its “boom” from the rear of the aircrafts fuselage. In fact there is a complete operating system with computers and video monitors just behind the cockpit area. This system called Remote Air Refueling Operating (RARO) allows to watch and remotely direct the boom: three surveillance cameras follow the approaching aircraft and enable a 180 degree angle view behind the tanker. Two stereo cameras produce a 3-dimensional picture for the actual refueling. The cameras transfer very clear pictures, working near infrared to operate safely at night and can also change the given view by using different digital filters - depending on the current lighting circumstances during the AAR-operation.

Image

Original uploaded by Mike aviation Twitter, see : http://twitter.com/mikeaviation/status/ ... 6253390848
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Stitch
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:29 pm

Ugly51 wrote:
Maybe the USAF should have pushed harder for the MRTT they wished for?


Doing that is what got them in trouble with the GAO and having the KC-30B selection thrown out in the first place.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:06 am

Maybe, but it must be horrible for the team from USAF that selected the MRTT. There question will be why are we accepting second best.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:58 am

Ugly51 wrote:
Maybe, but it must be horrible for the team from USAF that selected the MRTT. There question will be why are we accepting second best.

The real "horror" goes to the Boeing team for delivering second best, not the USAF team.
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:02 pm

Revelation wrote:
Ugly51 wrote:
Maybe, but it must be horrible for the team from USAF that selected the MRTT. There question will be why are we accepting second best.

The real "horror" goes to the Boeing team for delivering second best, not the USAF team.


Must be horrendous having to produce an aircraft that will be delivering sub par performance for the next 40-50 years :roll:
 
mjoelnir
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:14 pm

747classic wrote:
Both RLNAF KDC-10's have a RARO installed. AFAIK no issues as mentioned with th KC46A -boom have been noticed. Boeing is providing support for both the KC-10 and the KDC-10.

In contrast to the KC-10 tanker of the US Air Force - where the “boom-operator” conducts the refueling through an Air Refueling Operator station (ARO) / a window in the back of the aircraft - the Dutch version does not controls its “boom” from the rear of the aircrafts fuselage. In fact there is a complete operating system with computers and video monitors just behind the cockpit area. This system called Remote Air Refueling Operating (RARO) allows to watch and remotely direct the boom: three surveillance cameras follow the approaching aircraft and enable a 180 degree angle view behind the tanker. Two stereo cameras produce a 3-dimensional picture for the actual refueling. The cameras transfer very clear pictures, working near infrared to operate safely at night and can also change the given view by using different digital filters - depending on the current lighting circumstances during the AAR-operation.

Image

Original uploaded by Mike aviation Twitter, see : http://twitter.com/mikeaviation/status/ ... 6253390848


The KC-46 has have a similar system, but, as it is, it has sub par cameras and resolution.
 
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Revelation
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:32 pm

mjoelnir wrote:
747classic wrote:
Both RLNAF KDC-10's have a RARO installed. AFAIK no issues as mentioned with th KC46A -boom have been noticed. Boeing is providing support for both the KC-10 and the KDC-10.

In contrast to the KC-10 tanker of the US Air Force - where the “boom-operator” conducts the refueling through an Air Refueling Operator station (ARO) / a window in the back of the aircraft - the Dutch version does not controls its “boom” from the rear of the aircrafts fuselage. In fact there is a complete operating system with computers and video monitors just behind the cockpit area. This system called Remote Air Refueling Operating (RARO) allows to watch and remotely direct the boom: three surveillance cameras follow the approaching aircraft and enable a 180 degree angle view behind the tanker. Two stereo cameras produce a 3-dimensional picture for the actual refueling. The cameras transfer very clear pictures, working near infrared to operate safely at night and can also change the given view by using different digital filters - depending on the current lighting circumstances during the AAR-operation.

Image

Original uploaded by Mike aviation Twitter, see : http://twitter.com/mikeaviation/status/ ... 6253390848


The KC-46 has have a similar system, but, as it is, it has sub par cameras and resolution.


Honestly, it's difficult to make sense of all of the stuff we are being told about this issue. We see the NL KDC-10s are using camera tech for a while now. The capabilities of the current KC-46 cameras had to be well known. The idea that different cameras are needed seems suspect. Sure, camera tech advances rapidly these days so newer is better, but if better tech was needed this should have been known from the start and highlighted as a risk. Given how delayed the program is, it's very disappointing that this issue is 'the long pole in the tent'.
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Stitch
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:33 pm

mjoelnir wrote:
747classic wrote:
Both RLNAF KDC-10's have a RARO installed. AFAIK no issues as mentioned with th KC46A -boom have been noticed. Boeing is providing support for both the KC-10 and the KDC-10.

The KC-46 has have a similar system, but, as it is, it has sub par cameras and resolution.


At the time the cameras were sourced, they were the best available. In the intervening years, technology marches on and so the KDC-10 benefits from those later advancements. As such, Boeing is considering replacing the original spec cameras with current-generation models because of those advances.


Revelation wrote:
Honestly, it's difficult to make sense of all of the stuff we are being told about this issue. We see the NL KDC-10s are using camera tech for a while now. The capabilities of the current KC-46 cameras had to be well known. The idea that different cameras are needed seems suspect. Sure, camera tech advances rapidly these days so newer is better, but if better tech was needed this should have been known from the start and highlighted as a risk. Given how delayed the program is, it's very disappointing that this issue is 'the long pole in the tent'.


The KC-46A had the best cameras available at the time (and perhaps better than what the KC-30B would have had, as well). It also has yet to be determined if the "scrape rate" on the KC-46A is any worse than it is on the KC-135 and KC-10 fleets. If it is not, then Boeing might be off the hook for the cost of any fixes as they delivered a system better than what is currently in operation and it would be the USAF deciding they want better and having to pay for it.
 
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Revelation
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:05 pm

Stitch wrote:
mjoelnir wrote:
747classic wrote:
Both RLNAF KDC-10's have a RARO installed. AFAIK no issues as mentioned with th KC46A -boom have been noticed. Boeing is providing support for both the KC-10 and the KDC-10.

The KC-46 has have a similar system, but, as it is, it has sub par cameras and resolution.


At the time the cameras were sourced, they were the best available. In the intervening years, technology marches on and so the KDC-10 benefits from those later advancements. As such, Boeing is considering replacing the original spec cameras with current-generation models because of those advances.


Revelation wrote:
Honestly, it's difficult to make sense of all of the stuff we are being told about this issue. We see the NL KDC-10s are using camera tech for a while now. The capabilities of the current KC-46 cameras had to be well known. The idea that different cameras are needed seems suspect. Sure, camera tech advances rapidly these days so newer is better, but if better tech was needed this should have been known from the start and highlighted as a risk. Given how delayed the program is, it's very disappointing that this issue is 'the long pole in the tent'.


The KC-46A had the best cameras available at the time (and perhaps better than what the KC-30B would have had, as well). It also has yet to be determined if the "scrape rate" on the KC-46A is any worse than it is on the KC-135 and KC-10 fleets. If it is not, then Boeing might be off the hook for the cost of any fixes as they delivered a system better than what is currently in operation and it would be the USAF deciding they want better and having to pay for it.

But "best camera available" is not necessarily good enough to do the job...

My engineer's brain would say "the camera is X meters away from the receptacle and the smallest dimension I need to resolve is Y meters/cm/whatever across and the minimum light level to be supported is Z lumens and the therefore (a) the camera can meet the requirements or (b) I have to go back to the traditional boomer's operating position"...

Please don't tell me they didn't do things this way.

Given what we're reading it seems they didn't, but again, that's why I said it's hard to understand what is going on.
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747classic
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:21 am

The original remote vision system of the KDC-10's was replaced by a new Tanker Remote Vision System (TRVS) in 2009.
Because of the excessive price quote of Boeing it was decided to perform the upgrade "in house".
TNO and KLM were responsible for the development and integration in the two tanker aircraft
.
See : http://www.tno.nl/en/focus-areas/defenc ... on-system/

And : http://www.tno.nl/media/1341/denv-s0700 ... stem_1.pdf
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WIederling
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:52 am

Stitch wrote:
from those later advancements. As such, Boeing is considering replacing the original spec cameras with current-generation models because of those advances.


KC-46 is the most recent project and not beyond EIS yet.

What "later" advancements would you think apply here?

How did earlier projects manage to manage? whiffs of unknown unknowns here :-)
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Stitch
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:28 pm

WIederling wrote:
Stitch wrote:
from those later advancements. As such, Boeing is considering replacing the original spec cameras with current-generation models because of those advances.


KC-46 is the most recent project and not beyond EIS yet. What "later" advancements would you think apply here?


It's the most recent project, but the specifications were decided and the camera system was chosen in 2009 at the latest and possibly earlier if the system was part of the 2007 RFP. Ten years is a long time in electronics development.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:20 pm

Stitch wrote:
WIederling wrote:
Stitch wrote:
from those later advancements. As such, Boeing is considering replacing the original spec cameras with current-generation models because of those advances.


KC-46 is the most recent project and not beyond EIS yet. What "later" advancements would you think apply here?


It's the most recent project, but the specifications were decided and the camera system was chosen in 2009 at the latest and possibly earlier if the system was part of the 2007 RFP. Ten years is a long time in electronics development.

... which suggests in 2009 or 2007 they went forward with a design that was not sufficient for the task.
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kanban
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:41 pm

hind sight is always 20/20.... the question becomes does one go with the best available to meet the specs or go with nothing and hope like hell someone develops a better one in time? ...
 
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:55 pm

kanban wrote:
hind sight is always 20/20.... the question becomes does one go with the best available to meet the specs or go with nothing and hope like hell someone develops a better one in time? ...

Or go with techniques that have been in use for 50 years and avoids a lot of costly R&D that produced an inadequate result?
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:58 pm

Revelation wrote:
... which suggests in 2009 or 2007 they went forward with a design that was not sufficient for the task.


I guess, but again, it was the best they had available. I expect Boeing knew better would happen and it appears that the system is designed for upgrades so at least they didn't lock themselves into a single design with the expectation it would remain best in class for the life of the airframe. And while we know it's scraping receiver aircraft, it has yet to be determined if it is doing so at a rate higher than non-remote systems currently in use with the USAF.
 
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:13 pm

Stitch wrote:
Revelation wrote:
... which suggests in 2009 or 2007 they went forward with a design that was not sufficient for the task.


I guess, but again, it was the best they had available. I expect Boeing knew better would happen and it appears that the system is designed for upgrades so at least they didn't lock themselves into a single design with the expectation it would remain best in class for the life of the airframe. And while we know it's scraping receiver aircraft, it has yet to be determined if it is doing so at a rate higher than non-remote systems currently in use with the USAF.

What I'm trying to get at, is why did they decide they needed to go to the camera-based approach rather than the Mk1 Eyeball approach in use for a long time now?

As above, it seems the basic requirements weren't that hard to derive from optical principals i.e.:

Revelation wrote:
My engineer's brain would say "the camera is X meters away from the receptacle and the smallest dimension I need to resolve is Y meters/cm/whatever across and the minimum light level to be supported is Z lumens and the therefore (a) the camera can meet the requirements or (b) I have to go back to the traditional boomer's operating position"...

... and of course I am not an expert and I'm sure it's more complicated than this, but on the other hand, this would not be the first time some one got enamored with some technology that was cool but wasn't good enough for the task at hand.

Above we read:

jarheadk5 wrote:
I was NOT surprised to hear that the indirect-view system is being blamed for the current boom strike issue. I don't think any boom operator in either tanker was in favor of the indirect-view system, other than the ones who were angling for a .civ job with A or B.

So there's at least some sentiment that the wrong approach was being followed.
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Those who believe otherwise are consumed by an ideology
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mjoelnir
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:18 pm

Stitch wrote:
mjoelnir wrote:
747classic wrote:
Both RLNAF KDC-10's have a RARO installed. AFAIK no issues as mentioned with th KC46A -boom have been noticed. Boeing is providing support for both the KC-10 and the KDC-10.

The KC-46 has have a similar system, but, as it is, it has sub par cameras and resolution.


At the time the cameras were sourced, they were the best available. In the intervening years, technology marches on and so the KDC-10 benefits from those later advancements. As such, Boeing is considering replacing the original spec cameras with current-generation models because of those advances.


Revelation wrote:
Honestly, it's difficult to make sense of all of the stuff we are being told about this issue. We see the NL KDC-10s are using camera tech for a while now. The capabilities of the current KC-46 cameras had to be well known. The idea that different cameras are needed seems suspect. Sure, camera tech advances rapidly these days so newer is better, but if better tech was needed this should have been known from the start and highlighted as a risk. Given how delayed the program is, it's very disappointing that this issue is 'the long pole in the tent'.


The KC-46A had the best cameras available at the time (and perhaps better than what the KC-30B would have had, as well). It also has yet to be determined if the "scrape rate" on the KC-46A is any worse than it is on the KC-135 and KC-10 fleets. If it is not, then Boeing might be off the hook for the cost of any fixes as they delivered a system better than what is currently in operation and it would be the USAF deciding they want better and having to pay for it.


How do you know they sourced the best available system and cameras? And is the aim for the KC-46 to be not worse than the KC-135, rather than the best? All about just meeting minimum requirements.
 
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Stitch
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:38 pm

Revelation wrote:
What I'm trying to get at, is why did they decide they needed to go to the camera-based approach rather than the Mk1 Eyeball approach in use for a long time now?


That I do not know. Perhaps it was one of the RFP requirements from the USAF? The A330MRTT uses it, so I am guessing the KC-30B would have offered it, as well. And the KDC-10 added such a system.


mjoelnir wrote:
How do you know they sourced the best available system and cameras?


That is what the Defense Aviation media is reporting.


mjoelnir wrote:
And is the aim for the KC-46 to be not worse than the KC-135, rather than the best? All about just meeting minimum requirements.


The Defense Aviation media is reporting that the USAF is reviewing the rate of receiver aircraft scrapes on the KC-135 and KC-10 fleets to compare it to the KC-46A. I am guessing the remote camera refueling system was a mandated requirement from the USAF on KC-X so if said system is better than the "Mk I Eyeball" system, it may be a case that Boeing has met the requirements of the RFP and if the USAF wants better, they need to pay for it, not Boeing. If the system does not meet the RFP requirements, then Boeing would have to pay to bring it within compliance.
 
WIederling
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:18 pm

kanban wrote:
hind sight is always 20/20.... the question becomes does one go with the best available to meet the specs or go with nothing and hope like hell someone develops a better one in time? ...


It shines a light on some over promises made in context of projected competence via "we've done tankers all our life, Airbus is an incompetent newcomer".
Even the Japanese and Italian tankers as a rather fresh and intense experience seem to have had low impact in that department.
( similar story to choosen battery chemistry on the 787. Seemingly already decided during the Sonic Cruiser part of the 787 gestation. )
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:59 pm

WIederling wrote:
Even the Japanese and Italian tankers as a rather fresh and intense experience seem to have had low impact in that department.


The Japanese and the Italian have not had to tank composite air frames. They will face the same issue when they get the F-35.

Personally, I don't think it's the cameras. The camera systems were selected because the mod is much easier than adding the window at the bottom of the aircraft. Having to design access to the lower lobe to place an operator viewing window there and all the necessary communication and safety system in place to support that operator does not make sense.

And true, the camera systems have improved since way back, but I believe the best camera system back in 2009 or so is still pretty good.

My feeling is that the issue is probably in the dynamics of the probe control system itself, from the joystick, force feedback and air flow around the boom. All of these forces makes a much more difficult design than blaming it on the cameras. That is why I think trying to get an automated computer assist system may be the better solution as we all know software can react much quicker and more precisely than the human eye - human hand - joystick combination.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
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Revelation
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:44 pm

bikerthai wrote:
WIederling wrote:
Even the Japanese and Italian tankers as a rather fresh and intense experience seem to have had low impact in that department.

The Japanese and the Italian have not had to tank composite air frames. They will face the same issue when they get the F-35.

Personally, I don't think it's the cameras. The camera systems were selected because the mod is much easier than adding the window at the bottom of the aircraft. Having to design access to the lower lobe to place an operator viewing window there and all the necessary communication and safety system in place to support that operator does not make sense.

And true, the camera systems have improved since way back, but I believe the best camera system back in 2009 or so is still pretty good.

My feeling is that the issue is probably in the dynamics of the probe control system itself, from the joystick, force feedback and air flow around the boom. All of these forces makes a much more difficult design than blaming it on the cameras. That is why I think trying to get an automated computer assist system may be the better solution as we all know software can react much quicker and more precisely than the human eye - human hand - joystick combination.

bt

Thanks for the detailed answer. I agree blaming the camera is the easy thing to do, and it resonates because most of us have upgraded our smartphones a few times since 2009 so we are familiar with the upgrade in camera tech since then. On the other hand even in 2009 digital cameras were well understood and if a good enough camera wasn't available I think both Boeing and USAF would not have moved forward with a design that was not good enough. Therefore it is quite plausible that they are blaming the camera where the real problem is the difficulty in dealing with the dynamics of the probe.
The gun is NOT a precious symbol of freedom
It is a deadly cancer on American society
Those who believe otherwise are consumed by an ideology
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747classic
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:02 pm

bikerthai wrote:

The Japanese and the Italian have not had to tank composite air frames. They will face the same issue when they get the F-35.



Both KDC-10's (April 2016), the Italian KC-767's (August 2015 ) and KC-30A (December 2015) are already certified to refuel F35's and AFAIK didn't have simular issues.

See : http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ed-424025/
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kmz
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:41 pm

Revelation wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
WIederling wrote:
Even the Japanese and Italian tankers as a rather fresh and intense experience seem to have had low impact in that department.

The Japanese and the Italian have not had to tank composite air frames. They will face the same issue when they get the F-35.

Personally, I don't think it's the cameras. The camera systems were selected because the mod is much easier than adding the window at the bottom of the aircraft. Having to design access to the lower lobe to place an operator viewing window there and all the necessary communication and safety system in place to support that operator does not make sense.

And true, the camera systems have improved since way back, but I believe the best camera system back in 2009 or so is still pretty good.

My feeling is that the issue is probably in the dynamics of the probe control system itself, from the joystick, force feedback and air flow around the boom. All of these forces makes a much more difficult design than blaming it on the cameras. That is why I think trying to get an automated computer assist system may be the better solution as we all know software can react much quicker and more precisely than the human eye - human hand - joystick combination.

bt

Thanks for the detailed answer. I agree blaming the camera is the easy thing to do, and it resonates because most of us have upgraded our smartphones a few times since 2009 so we are familiar with the upgrade in camera tech since then. On the other hand even in 2009 digital cameras were well understood and if a good enough camera wasn't available I think both Boeing and USAF would not have moved forward with a design that was not good enough. Therefore it is quite plausible that they are blaming the camera where the real problem is the difficulty in dealing with the dynamics of the probe.


I assume it is not only about the camera, but the algorithm which makes sure that no matter which light scenario you have, you can always see the aircraft being monitored. I remember seeing a demonstration at the AIX some years back. The system was able to cope with back light, dark, mix situations and you could always clearly see the object in real time. With a bad algorithm you might not be able to see details in real time in all situations.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:56 pm

These is one thing that I did not think about beyond the software is the mechanical/electrical system of deploying the boom itself. No mater how fast a computer can react, you still have the latency of hydraulics and hardware moving. :spin:
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
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Revelation
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:19 pm

bikerthai wrote:
These is one thing that I did not think about beyond the software is the mechanical/electrical system of deploying the boom itself. No mater how fast a computer can react, you still have the latency of hydraulics and hardware moving. :spin:

True, but the dynamics of the system can be modeled and algorithms can predict its responses to a good degree, much like self-stabilizing camera lenses, etc.

Hopefully some of that is already built in to the boom's controllers, no?
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747classic
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:20 am

Or perhaps it's the lack of experience of the USAF boom operators with the new KC-46A vision systems (camera's), because the current generation of USAF boomoperators is only used to "eyeball one' boom operation.
Other airforces with KDC-10, KC-767A and A330MRTT aircraft have gained already years of experience with remote operated booms with camera visibility only. .

Compare it with the latest non evasive medical surgery techniques : an entire new ballgame, compared to the old open surgery technigue with full eyesight.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
jarheadk5
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:39 pm

747classic wrote:
Or perhaps it's the lack of experience of the USAF boom operators with the new KC-46A vision systems (camera's), because the current generation of USAF boomoperators is only used to "eyeball one' boom operation.
Other airforces with KDC-10, KC-767A and A330MRTT aircraft have gained already years of experience with remote operated booms with camera visibility only.

This is possible, and I don't discount it. However, all USAF boom operator initial training is done in simulators, so it's not like watching your stick movements translate to boom movements on a display screen is somehow "new ground" for USAF BOs.
I can't speak for the -135 BO community, but KC-10 BOs go to the simulator every quarter for Abnormal/Emergency Procedures refresher training, so there's another element of familiarity for some USAF BOs with doing it on a screen vs. a window. I know at least two of the USAF test team BOs are former -10 BOs... and I highly doubt that Boeing doesn't have a dedicated KC-46 BO sim for them to get familiar with the system and how it flies.
-Boom stowed, leaving position.
 
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Revelation
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:27 pm

jarheadk5 wrote:
747classic wrote:
Or perhaps it's the lack of experience of the USAF boom operators with the new KC-46A vision systems (camera's), because the current generation of USAF boomoperators is only used to "eyeball one' boom operation.
Other airforces with KDC-10, KC-767A and A330MRTT aircraft have gained already years of experience with remote operated booms with camera visibility only.

This is possible, and I don't discount it. However, all USAF boom operator initial training is done in simulators, so it's not like watching your stick movements translate to boom movements on a display screen is somehow "new ground" for USAF BOs.
I can't speak for the -135 BO community, but KC-10 BOs go to the simulator every quarter for Abnormal/Emergency Procedures refresher training, so there's another element of familiarity for some USAF BOs with doing it on a screen vs. a window. I know at least two of the USAF test team BOs are former -10 BOs... and I highly doubt that Boeing doesn't have a dedicated KC-46 BO sim for them to get familiar with the system and how it flies.

I wonder if it simulates the a$$ chewing they get if they should scratch up the stealth coating on a B2! :biggrin:
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It is a deadly cancer on American society
Those who believe otherwise are consumed by an ideology
That is impervious to evidence
 
jarheadk5
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:21 pm

It happens, even with the B-2, as I noted upthread. A single occurrence isn't worthy of an asschewing if there were mitigating circumstances such as weather, unstable receiver, etc. A trend of the same BO doing it is another matter... but still should be handled more professionally than yelling.

I once broke one of the AR receptacle doors off an F-22 in the KC-10 BOT (Boom Operator Trainer - the sim) during a quarterly refresher. I was having a bad day overall, making sloppy contacts, and the sim instructor (retired 26yr BO on both the -135 and the -10) deliberately presented me with an unstable receiver because he was notorious for preying on weakness in the BOT (not necessarily a bad thing, but he was obnoxious about it). To his credit, he didn't beat me down about it during the debrief, which he was also notorious for. We discussed it and moved on.
-Boom stowed, leaving position.
 
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Slug71
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:24 pm

A Boeing-U.S. Air Force test team recently refueled a KC-46A tanker from another KC-46A tanker for the first time.

During the four-hour flight, the two aircraft successfully refueled each other and achieved the maximum fuel offload rate of 1,200 gallons per minute. The program’s first and second tankers transferred a total of 38,100 pounds of fuel over the course of the flight. Both aircraft took off and landed at Boeing Field, south of Seattle.


http://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2017/1 ... refueling/
 
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par13del
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Re: KC-46 Production, Testing And Delivery

Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:25 am

One of the thing always mentioned is the fact that the USAF has a large dedicated tanker fleet and a large cargo fleet, so the need for a multi-role tanker is minimal compared to other countries, ok, I get that. Now without having to review all the old tanker threads, the reason for the a/c to have almost full FAA civilian certification is.......?

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