Nice little history lesson that is irrelevant. That doesn't change the fact that your claim the KC-46 is less of a technical challenge than the T-X is wrong. I could point out that LM prior fighter experience before developing the F-117 was the F-104. Not sure that experience would have even counted since the F-117 was such a radical departure from previous programs. I too could say that a lot of the fighter experience had when they developed the F-22 came from their buyout of the F-16 program from GD.
1. The KC-46 is developed based off an already existing design. The Boeing T-X aircraft is a complete, ALL new design; the base design has never existed or flown before.
2. LM had extensive experience developing high performance aircraft before the F-22; the F-104 and the F-117. Lockheed also developed aircraft like the SR-71 and the U-2. And besides, LM was the lead contractor for the F-22; GD in the early stages was part of the design team that was to build the F-22 until LM bought out GD's aircraft business.
It's it production alright, in South Korea. The LM facility here in the states has produced what, two airframes? It's not like LM has stockpiled all the parts they need to begin FRP if they get the contract. So in that regard they are in the same boat as Boeing.
Ah, but the subcontractors for LM are already producing the parts for production for the Korean-built aircraft.
And focusing on the final production location ignores the fact that aircraft production has increasingly become much more horizontally-integrated than it used to be. You look at the vast majority of the aircraft programs, and you will see that structures, hydraulics, fuel system components, wiring harnesses, actuators, circuit cards, etc will all be coming from outside suppliers and partners. So, for the subcontractors, it is just a matter of change in production rate and change in the delivery address for their components.
You look at the F-35 program as an example of this; F-35 assembly is located in multiple locations around the globe;
- Fort Worth, TX, USA;
- Cameri, Italy;
- Ankara, Turkey;
- Nagoya, Japan
And yet, the various subcontractors for the F-35 deliver components for every factory around the world. A USAF F-35A built in Fort Worth, TX may have a Japanese-built undercarriage, a Turkish centre fuselage, and a Italian right wing, with the balance of the aircraft being built in the US.
Also, look at the Boeing 787; the centre fuselage is Italian, the landing gear is French, the cabin lighting is German, the access doors are Swedish, the wing/body fairing and landing gear doors are Canadian, part of the forward fuselage and most of the wing is Japanese, and the aircraft is being assembled in two factories in either Seattle, WA, or Charleston, SC.