USAF gets 767 tankers

T1bubba

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Looks like the House and Senate agreed on the lease plan.

T1bubba


Boeing wins Air Force deal for 767 tankers
Wednesday, December 19, 2001

By CHARLES POPE
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

WASHINGTON -- Congressional negotiators yesterday delivered a $22 billion gift to The Boeing Co. and its beleaguered work force, requiring the Air Force to lease 100 Boeing 767s that will be converted into midair tankers.

The tanker conversion project, derided by critics as a government-sponsored bailout for Boeing, emerged as a top priority for Washington state lawmakers in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The attacks sent Boeing's fortunes -- and its commercial airline business -- spiraling downward and led to the company announcing it would lay off 30,000 workers.

With the agreement by House and Senate negotiators, the legislation is virtually assured of passing and being signed into law. The agreement, said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., "all but guarantees final passage later this week."

The deal will save about 2,500 jobs at Boeing's Everett plant and create a total of 17,000 indirect jobs over the 10-year term of the lease.

Most of those jobs will be in the Puget Sound region, which is mired in one of the worst recessions in the nation and is in dire need of some economic good news. The first planes are expected to be delivered in 2003.

Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., who was a prime advocate for the provision in the House, said the final deal exceeded his expectations. He also defended it against critics who said it was a bailout.

"You never can justify these kinds of things on jobs," Dicks said. "There has to be a strong national security basis to support it."

Replacing the tanker fleet is one of the Air Force's highest priorities. Dicks said the tanker program could eventually lead to Boeing planes replacing the entire fleet of 400 aging planes now used by the Air Force for surveillance, refueling and other tactical missions.

The Boeing program is part of a $318 billion defense-spending bill that is a high priority given the worldwide campaign against terrorism and the war in Afghanistan.

The deal reached yesterday by negotiators for the House and Senate calls for the Air Force to lease 100 wide-body 767s over 10 years. Boeing would then have the option of taking the planes back and reselling them at a relatively young age.

The negotiators also provided money for the Air Force and Navy to buy four of Boeing's smaller 737 jets for use as executive passenger planes for high-ranking government and military officials.

A Boeing spokeswoman declined comment, but the agreement generated bright smiles by Dicks and Washington's two senators, Patty Murray and Cantwell.

"This is an amazing moment," said Murray, noting that few believed they would succeed in pushing a lease arrangement through Congress. Dicks said leasing the planes was the only option because there wasn't enough money in the budget to buy the planes. He added that getting the new planes would save $5.9 billion that is needed to refurbish and add new engines to the existing fleet.

"I'd rather spend it on leasing new planes than spending it on old planes that still will be 43 years old when you fix them up," Dicks said.

"The thing that convinced (House and Senate conferees) was, we need the tankers. Every single member there understood that these tankers were essential for national security. They finally understood this was the only way we could do it."
 
G

Guest

Is it possible the USAF already has 767's? I was on approach in to Macon, GA (MCN), and we were given extended vectors because a 767 was on a VOR approach into Robins AFB. I didn't think they'd have 767's as tankers yet, but is the USAF using them yet as AWAC airplanes?

NoOneReally
 

Wiggums

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Does this mean that some KC-10s will come down to guard units? I'd love to get into a DC-10.
 

T1bubba

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The Air Force has 757's for VIP transport, but no 767's so far. Japan has 767 AWAC's, and both Italy and Japan have orders for the 767 tanker but none have been delivered yet. So far no replacements for the E-3's and E-8's are planned, but they're getting older too.

Air Force Reserve squadrons already fly KC-10's at both Travis and McGuire AFB's. I'd be surprised if they moved the KC-10's around, but you never know. Where the 767's will end up is a good question, though. I'd love to see them at my guard unit!

The question I have is what is going to happen in 2013 when the leases start to run out? Is the Air Force really going to just give the aircraft back? I think they'll either have to re-lease the 767's or just buy them, since they're going to have to replace the 135's sooner or later anyway.

T1bubba
 

Wiggums

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It doesn't make that much sense that the 135s would be leaving soon? If so why spend all the money upgrading them to -R models?
 

Michael Knight

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It doesn't make that much sense that the 135s would be leaving soon? If so why spend all the money upgrading them to -R models?

one of those mysteries like why the military re-paves all the roads and fixes up base housing just before closing a base that has been on BRAC for over 5 years! I don't think the brass listen to the accountants too much in the military!

I wonder if they'll allow any interservice transfer types go into the 767? My guess is it will be highly sought after for obvious reasons.

I'm all for the love. A little love for Lockheed, a little love for Boeing.
 

SentryIP

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Common Wide Body

Hello Aviators,

Yes, the U. S. Air Force wants a new common wide body aircraft and has selected the B-767 as the future aircraft to replace the aerial refueling tankers/cargo and command/control/communication/surveillance platforms. This will replace the aging B-707 fleet now in service and will have a common cockpit (with some variations for the mission, of course) to standardize training of it's aircrews and combine depot maintenance functions. There are a lot of technical obstacles and paradigms to overcome, but should result in a more efficient and streamlined operation. Take care and Happy Holidays to all.
:cool:
 

Kaman

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Hi Guys and Gals,
Personally, I think that the whole 767Tanker/Transport is nothing more than corporate welfare. The USAF has already spent 10's of millions to modify to the C-141C standard and even more on the KC-135R/T program, including the PACER CRAG EFIS cockpit.
This program is just like the C-130J that was also rammed down the USAF's throat by parochial and "hometown" congressmen. The AF has stated that the 767 program is going to be much more expensive than a procurment program. However, a nice fat lease with almost all the maintenance tied to the contractor gives the congressmen that backed this a lot of clout with the hometown Boeing people ( I cannot cite the congresswoman, but she was a Democrat from Washington, who's district just happens to be home to the Boeing Everett facilty where these airplanes will be manufactured). This all works out to be very expensive for the US taxpayer in the long-run.
How would the money be spent? Here is where I'd spend it and why:

1. Use the money to accelerate the C-5 re-engining and reliablity mods. Why? The airplane is the most capabe strategic aircraft in the world and it's suffered under the last administration due to underfunding.

2. Accelerate the production rate of the C-17 and realize unit cost savings, which will allow another 12-16 aircraft to be produced at the same cost. This is something that the USAF has indicated that it would like to do.

As a final comment, if they are so fired up to do this via a leasing agreement. Put the whole **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED**ed program up for bid and let private enterprise operate and maintain the airplanes. This would be far cheaper and could be run in a similar fashion as MSC ships (civilian crews).

Regards,
 

Mud Eagle

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I'm mostly wondering what it's going to be like to tank off one of these beasts.
 

T1bubba

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There are currently around 550 KC-135's still flying, and over 100 of these are the E models with the old engines. The Air Force has been putting off replacing these aircraft forever, at the very least the 767 tankers will allow them to get rid of the KC-135E's.

The reason the PACER CRAG upgrade is needed is that the majority of the KC-135's will still be flying 10 years from now, and probably much longer. Even if you assumed that one 767 can do the job of two KC-135's, that still leaves you with about 350 KC-135's that this new lease program won't replace. And keeping 350 40 year old aircraft flying ain't cheap...

I hope that once the 767 tanker is built and in the inventory they can find some money to actually start a low rate acquisition. One nice thing about buying a civilian derived aircraft is that the government doesn't have to worry about keeping the production line running.

Any guesses as to when the KC-135's will finally be retired??? I'd say no earlier than 2025.

T1bubba
 

SpeedRacer

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USAF 767's

I was in Memphis yesterday and saw the C-141 with the left wing broken off while refueling. It broke between the #2 engine and fuselage - my "sources" say apparently not due to any human error while refueling. It had a fuel leak (patched) the day prior and was set to fly out to Ramstein for their SID.

The 767 could be a welcomed replacement (short-term) for the C-141 while more C-17's come off the production line. I flew the 141 back in the mid 90's and the plane had wing crack problems before and after desert storm - I think it was just a matter of time for something like this to happen - thank goodness it happened on the ground and not inflight. It's time to send them to DM for good.

Lots of UPTers will be begging for a 767 if given the choice between that and a C-5, C-130 or T-37!!...Heck, I would if I was a 2LT!!.:D
 
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Draginass

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Replacing two 135's with one 767 won't work. The problem is not alway "not enough gas," it's mostly "not enough booms." Also the cargo capacity, once not important when the primary role was strategic refueling for Strategic Air Command, is now VERY important, especially since AMC has been cut past the bone. The 767-300ER/400 would make a great tanker and carry a fair amount of cargo to boot. IMHO, we should have bought a slew of 747-400s Freighters for AMC with only a minimum number of RORO freighters like the C-17. With additional fuel tanks, the C-17 is getting better, but was a disappointment at first. With simple and commonly available MHE, a 747 can be offloaded in less than an hour. The 747 is also considerably cheaper than the C-17 or new production C-5.
 

Wiggums

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Have the decks of the 135s been converted to RORO, or are they still plywood?
 

HueyPilot

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Its about time...

Yeah, I can buy the arguement that the lease was done to help Boeing. But at the same time, it's about time that Congress decided that 40-year old airplanes aren't the best idea for combat readiness.

The 767 can also add an airlift element to AMC, so long as they put the RORO floors on the aircraft. The AF has spent a little more money procuring more pallet handling equipment, which should make the 767 variants at least some-what airlift useful.

I think the lease idea is smart. Since they are gearing this program up so fast, it's better to let Boeing handle alot of the maintenance issues before we turn it over to the military folks. This will allow us to develop maintenance programs that fit with the military way of doing things. The C-130J is a lesson in how NOT to procure an aircraft. They bought those things with little or no operational experience, and that has been one of the type's main downfalls. I think it will get fixed in the long run, but it's causing pain in the short term.

Some people I've talked to have reservations about the AF leasing aircraft, calling it absurd. The airplanes I fly now were leased, then bought. The AF leased 80 Learjet 35s, then bought them in the late 1980s. It's been done before folks, so don't worry about the whole lease issue. Like I said, it's better to do that when you're buying an aircraft that the AF has little or no maintenance support to handle.

I think I wouldn't mind cross-flowing into tankers if they put the 767s in some decent locations (not Grand Forks!).
 

Draginass

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135s and 767s are not RORO. They require MHE to offload regardless if the cargo floor is equipped with pallet rollers. Aircraft such as the 141, C17, C5, and C130 can "roll on roll off" which one can very rapidly offload pallets/rolling stock in a tactical situation (or even airdrop/LAPES) etc. While a very valuable advantage, those aircraft are very expensive and their capability is not always necessary. Much cheaper aircraft such as the 747 can provide the bulk lift with the ROROs providing an initial supply of HiLift MHE and the specialized cargo.

BTW, the cargo floors of KC135s are pretty weak and must be shored up with plywood. It's a lousy cargo aircraft. Even a small jet engine will barely fit through the cargo door. The 135s have done their duty in spades. The KC10s, while not very fuel efficient, still have some life in them. It's time to bring our tanker force into the 21st century with a heavy tanker/airlifter combi like a 767 or even a 777 that would include both boom and a drouge baskets.
 

SpeedBird

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I'm working out at Edwards with the tanker test/support reserve unit here. I spoke with my commander about the 767 tanker replacement, and while nothing offcial has come down to our level yet, we are anticipating at least one aircraft being delivered to Edwards before the end of the calendar year. It will be used initially for testing & development. There is a lot of anticipation among the TPS patch wearers about who will get their hands on this plane when it shows up. When more news arrives I'll post what I can for those who are interested.
 

Visceral

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This is all very interesting considering we got briefed before 9/11 that the R model tanker would be going another 40 years. We were told the entire acquisition process wouldn't even begin until about 2020. Despite 9-11, I'm still a skeptic and I'll believe it when I see it on the ramp.

NKAWTG
 

Mud Eagle

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The events of Sept 11 have changed a *lot* of things. I'm flying F-15Es today with a software suite and datalink upgrade that people swore we wouldn't see until 2004.

You just never know....
 
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