Boeing KC-46 First Flight

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Which appears to have beeen overlooked by the main stream media which preferred to bang on about the cost of the QE carriers.
The carriers is/was a much simpler story and at least we end up owning the assets. Not so the PFI tankers. I know that the RAF was told PFI or nothing and that we got a bare bones solution for a Rolls-Royce price. That’s a relatively easy story. But adding the aspects of the contract - a rather austere capability compared to the off-the-shelf option, the Draconian contract details which mean that we can’t acquire any other tanking capabilities, etc. - are probably too complicated for the mainstream journalists/media to bother with.

Compare with ‘the carriers are running X years late and costing X more’. Simple, easy headline.

You also have to consider how unsexy (but essential) a support capability such as tanking is compared to front-end stuff such as warships, fighter aircraft, tanks, etc.. Tanking? Meh.

I did see one story which criticised the Airtanker PFI as disgraceful in concept and execution but that was long after McRuin had left office.

Quite simply, he got away with it - that and many other things.
 
Not enough money unfortunately.

Regards,
MM
Is that really the case ?

Would not have the standard A330T with its hiking great cargo door have been cheaper rather than the UK specific version - but that cargo door was incompatible with Mr Browns vision of Thomas cook renting the RAF fleet when it wasn't required.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Is that really the case ?

Would not have the standard A330T with its hiking great cargo door have been cheaper rather than the UK specific version - but that cargo door was incompatible with Mr Browns vision of Thomas cook renting the RAF fleet when it wasn't required.
In the end, probably. Hence the criticism of the PFI contract. But the RAF was told PFI or nothing.
 
Could they have gone balls out and said 'nothing it is then'?
 

Border-Reiver

Old-Salt
Could they have gone balls out and said 'nothing it is then'?
They could have but I don’t see how it would have benefited anyone and probably would have ended up nothing.

I don’t think it was a risk they could take, bearing in mind Voyager isn’t only AAR and at the time was desperately needed to relieve the Afghan airbridge, which was seriously creaking using a very old AT fleet.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Could they have gone balls out and said 'nothing it is then'?
The VC-10 Fleet was utterly shagged. Brown was ruthless - sorry, spiteful - and short-sighted (sic) enough to go for the nothing option.

Don’t forget that this was a guy who wanted capital spends off the books and rigged government spending in favour of ‘operational’ costs. Hence repairing HMS Nottingham after the Australian unpleasantness when it would probably have been better to build new.

The man was a contemptible buffoon.
 

Yokel

LE
In the end, probably. Hence the criticism of the PFI contract. But the RAF was told PFI or nothing.
Will MOD ever get the option of buying the tankers - like it did with the leased OPVs?
 
Will MOD ever get the option of buying the tankers - like it did with the leased OPVs?
I would opine that if buying was an option - it would be better to unmodify the existing fleet and replace it with the genuine article

That will be more expensive but would give the RAF a better aircraft
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
PFIs run for the life of the asset. Hence various Jerry-built schools and health centres. Will they be worth having by the end?



To illustrate the absurdity of Brown's scheming, plotting and sheer f***ing incompetence:

I was involved in finding places around the south-east for the-then Highways Agency's new Traffic Officers to operate from. The original plan was to house them on HA land in maintenance depots, as the land asset was already owned and right next to the motorways. They were to be housed in permanent, brick-built buildings. A certain major consultancy screwed on the rateable value, however, and it was decided to go for temporary buildings (Portakabin-type but cheaper) instead.

The temporary buildings were on a seven-year contract and were to be written down as operational costs. I was told by an Agency official that this was less costly. I pressed the question, out of curiosity, as to how much less costly. The figure I was given as a spend every seven years was the same as a permanent structure would have cost.

When I pointed out that, in effect, we would be spending every seven years what we would spend once on a permanent structure, I was told in no uncertain terms to wind my neck in.

(The difference was that Brown's accounting rules assumed that capital acquisitions depreciate, which probably in part explains his hostility to the military, which needs lots of hardware. He sees that hardware as depreciating assets, not the country's insurance policy.)

Rule of thumb: if in public office you wouldn't spend your own money in a certain way, then you shouldn't be spending public money that way.
 
I actually didn't realise POLing the aeroplanes was so complex!...
C2 of the AAR plot is one of the most challenging and complex aspects of a major op. Aside from the differing types and compatibilities, some jets are not cleared to use specific tankers while weather may preclude the use of others. Meanwhile, the ATO plan is invariably overtaken by events due to unserviceabilities, weather, aircraft dumping fuel tanks while defending against threats (and therefore needing gas earlier) and ‘drive by bootleg requests’.

C2 will then spend much time calculating ‘what ifs’ and routinely ‘force extending’ tankers by transferring the gas from one into another (eg from a boom only tanker into one with drogues). The fact the Voyager cannot receive gas (unlike an A330MRRT) is in some respects a bigger drawback than not having a boom or cargo doors.

On AWACS, we’d put our best controllers on tanker control due to the workload; after a few hours, he’d be mentally exhausted.

...I'm assuming that a heli can't use the smaller drogue?
Correct.

Is that really the case ?

Would not have the standard A330T with its hiking great cargo door have been cheaper rather than the UK specific version - but that cargo door was incompatible with Mr Browns vision of Thomas cook renting the RAF fleet when it wasn't required.
Yes.

A330MRRTs were more expensive in the short term so PFI Voyagers was the only option. The fact that buying the former would have been cheaper within 10 years was immaterial to Brown as the benefits wouldn’t have been accrued on his watch.

Could they have gone balls out and said 'nothing it is then'?
The Future Strategic Transport Aircraft (FSTA) requirement was designed to replace 40 year old VC10s and and 30 year old Tristars in the tanker and strategic transport roles. Both legacy fleets were utterly shagged and increasingly unreliable.

If we’d have said ‘it’s nothing’ that’s exactly what we’d have got and what little money that was available would have gone elsewhere, not necessarily Defence either.

That would’ve meant we’d have lost a tanker and strategic transport capability which would have undermined some of our primary Defence Tasks (eg QRA, long range strike, Aeromed, strategic transport including support to PJOBS etc).

Voyager was the least worse option and Brown ensured we had no choice.

Will MOD ever get the option of buying the tankers - like it did with the leased OPVs?
It would be prohibitively expensive, as would buying ourselves out of the PFI.

Regards,
MM
 
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Rule of thumb: if in public office you wouldn't spend your own money in a certain way, then you shouldn't be spending public money that way.
Stop this revolutionary thinking. If the Civil Service finds out who you are they will be on you like a ton of bricks.

Followed by county councillors.
 
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seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
I'd like us to have one, base it in Wales and call it KC-Jones.
 
Then last week at DAS 2019, saw the KC-46. Make it’s second international airshow debut. Said ariframe popped into the ‘Hall en route to Dubai.

And here are my photos from the beautiful desert
cheers

36EFC415-C3BB-4000-AB38-86074579AC31.jpeg
5F37F4B1-4592-4B9E-BD7C-541074C08D5F.jpeg
 
Also recently the Pegasus undergoes teating of the wing mounted refuel pods for hose and probe. They class it as Wing Aerial Refueling Pods (WARPs) nd the trials involving refuelling an AV-8B, F-18D, and EA-18G Growler.

cheers


4FF464D5-B63D-45AB-B7DF-B0842DF6E358.jpeg
 

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