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US places its latest tanker aircraft to meet India’s need for longer legs in the air

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by seiko, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. seiko

    seiko VETERAN FULL MEMBER

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    SEATTLE: The newest aerial refueling aircraft of the US air force that gives extended endurance in the skies to a variety of planes ranging from choppers, transporters to fighters is being pitched for a similar Indian requirement.



    The Boeing KC 46 'Pegasus' tanker has been presented to the Indian air force a few times in the past few months and interest has been shown by New Delhi on the new aircraft that is currently under production in Seattle.



    India has a requirement for at least six new multi role tankers with the ageing fleet of Russian origin IL 78 aircraft limited in their capability to meet needs for long distance deployment. India has twice failed to conclude the procurement process to acquire the six tankers, the latest attempt being called off earlier this year.


    On both occasions, the Airbus A 330 MRTT was chosen by the air force for the contract. However, costing issues and a debate on whether direct acquisition costs or life cycle costs should be calculated to select the most economical option stalled the contract.


    In both the contests however, Boeing did not participate as it did not have a product to meet Indian requirements. With the KC 46 under production, the company is now pitching it for the Indian requirement, pointing out that it is uniquely placed to add to the capabilities of two other Boeing platforms being operated by the armed forces – the C 17 Globemaster airlifter and the naval P8I submarine hunter and reconnaissance aircraft.


    [​IMG]


    “A KC 46 would be able to refuel a C 17 and a P8I, India does not have the capability to do that yet. We are certifying a total of 56 aircraft to refuel from the tanker,” Glenn Hanbey, who leads Boeing’s KC 46 Tanker Global Sales and Marketing team says, adding that the aircraft is designed to have a reliability rate of 99.7 percent and to be 30 percent more fuel efficient than preceding tankers.

    The US tanker – over 100 are projected to enter service for the US air force – is equipped with armour in the cockpit for crew protection, Infra Red countermeasures to ward away missiles and electromagnetic pulse hardening to operate in a range of missions.

    [​IMG]

    It is still unclear however, which direction India’s hunt for a new tanker aircraft will go after the cancellation of the second round of procurement earlier in the year. The air force has embarked on a Rs 4250 crore project for the up gradation and enhancement of it IL 78 and 76 aircraft fleet to in increase their service life by up to 20 years and give them enhanced avionics.


    The upgrade will also involve fitting new engines to six of the IL 78 midair refulers that will give the aircraft a longer range as well as the capability to carry extra fuel. The Indian fleet is likely to be fitted with new PS 90 engines that can increase the load carrying capability by almost two tons.


    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...nger-legs-in-the-air/articleshow/55451506.cms
     
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  2. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    @PARIKRAMA you were bang on the money about this.


    Strictly speaking a KC-46A vs A330 MRTT fight is heavily unweighted with the A330 being in the 777's class (Boeing were actually thinking about creating a 777 based AARs; KC-30) and isn't at all apples vs apples.


    I can't help but feel the Pegasus is the favourite even though the A330 MRTT has been selected not once but TWICE by the IAF now. Personally I wouldn't mind a mix of A330 MRTTs and KC-46As to cater for long and short haul requirements as well as transport needs.


    @Levina @Agent_47 @vstol jockey @Hellfire @Austerlitz @dadeechi @Gessler @Echo_419 @Bregs @Vergennes @Picdelamirand-oil @Sathya @jha
     
  3. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    A330MRTT is anyday a better tanker compared to KC-46.
     
  4. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    And it is also a miles better tanker than the IL-78MKI but that hasn't lead to any contracts yet despite being declared the winner twice. The regressive lazy mindsets that run the MoD have seen to that. Being the best platform doesn't seem to be enough to these idiots.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  5. Grevion

    Grevion Think Tank TROLL ELITE MEMBER

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    Hey! Don't underestimate the babus of MOD. They work exceptionally well if you pay in kind.:p Which France is not willing to do after what happened with Finmeccanica. Too bad for them they don't have a strategic influence worldwide like the US or they are not corrupt like the Italians. Offering the best product line is just not good enough for us.
     
  6. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    Corruption is actually a non-existant factor in Indian defence deals these days, the most serious issue is the prevailing mindset within the MoD that doing nothing is better than doing something because the latter exposes them to risk. Notice that the ONLY way defence deals get signed these days is by serious pressure from the top (PM/DM) for specific deals to be signed/fast-tracked. The rest are simply swirling around going back and forth between ministries/offices. When it takes political intervention to get anything done there is something seriously wrong within the system, it simply doesn't function anymore (if it ever did) thanks to AK Anthony's tenure.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  7. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    i think A330 MRTT is a better offer. If we are considering KC-46A then we will have to redo the whole process.

    On lifecycle cost Boeing says its cheaper. But since we have already selected A330 as platform for AWACS. Commonality will make things easier.



    Russians have submitted a revised offer with upgraded IL-78 with PS-90 engines. For Il-76, maximum payload increased to 60tons from 48tons. Change is significant , we don't know the actual numbers to judge.
     
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  8. R!CK

    R!CK 2nd Lieutant Technical Analyst

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    Off Topic: A330 is significantly smaller than the B777. Actually the gap between B777 and B767 is quite huge. B777 sits in a class of its own. B767 and A330 are slightly similar in operational profile. The requirements set by US DoD didn't warrant an aircraft as big as B777 and hence B767 was chosen for the Pegasus program.

    Some facts about the freighter versions:

    A330
    The A330-200F flies 20 per cent further and has a cost per tonne that is 13 per cent lower than its direct competitor. It is capable of carrying 65-to-70 tonnes of payload, with a range that stretches from 3,200 nm up to 4,000 nm.

    B767F
    With more than 15,469 feet3 (438 m3 ) of cargo volume available, and the ability to carry approximately 58 tons (52.7 tonnes) of revenue payload more than 3,255 nautical miles (6,025 km).

    B777F
    Ability to fly 4,800 nautical miles (9,047 km) with a full payload of 103,000 kg and general cargo market densities.

    P.S: Although offtopic, thought this will help create a general idea on the size of these aircraft.

    Good Day!
     
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  9. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    A third AAR competiton is assured, the MoD (god knows why) cancelled the A330 MRTT talks (for the second time) a few months back meaning a new procurement process will have to be started which will now include the Boeing offering.

    Indeed, this is a great point I had overlooked for a moment, surely a massive tick in the A330 MRTT's favour.

    Speaking of commonaility, the Il-76/78 fleet (no matter how much it is upgraded) are a liability going foreward. Airbus and Boeing have HUGE resources within India and around the world and are always expanding their footprint inside India. Training, logistics, MRO, support etc etc are going to be FAR easier with a Boeing/Airbus product, the ILs are far too niche to offer the same. The KC-46 and A330 MRTT will come with guarenteed "up time" (north of 90%), the ILs will never be able to match.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
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  10. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    You're right, the A330 sits somewhere in between the 767 and 777 weight classes.
     
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  11. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    We are upgrading the whole fleet of 26 Il-76/78 to upgraded standard. They are claiming PS-90 engine far better to maintain. Its a big plus for IL.
     
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  12. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    This is a plus but it isn't enough to make the offer attractive against the giants of Airbus and Boeing.
     
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  13. Gessler

    Gessler Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Upgrading the Il-76/78MKI fleet is fine (and definitely needed), and if what I heard from Prasun Sengupta is correct, the deal includes a proposition to convert up to 6 existing Il-76s into Il-78MKI-90s, making up 12 tankers.

    However, a 2nd type of MRTT (Western) is an absolute necessity. Not just on grounds of being newer and cheaper to maintain in the long run, but simply because the Il-78 does not have a boom refueling system. And IAF/IN have an increasing number of Western aircraft that cannot be refueled via the drogue system. The P-8I is going to suffer in particular unless a Western MRTT is bought.

    I'm good with either the KC-46A or the A330 MRTT. Both types support boom+drogue systems, and can be internally re-purposed according to mission profile, which allows all the flexibility IAF desires. But my money is on the A330, it's already won the competition twice (although that doesn't tell us that it's better than KC-46, because Boeing didn't participate) and owing to the fact the A330 has been selected as the platform for AWACS-India program.

    [​IMG]

    Another tid-bit I got from Prasun was that part of the reason why the recent tender was called off was because Airbus wanted to sell used A330 airframes, which would be zero-lifed and refurbished. This is reportedly common for tanker aircraft, owing to the fact that modern aircraft have long airframe lives, plus tankers have a relatively low utilization rate. However, this proposal apparently didn't sit well with MoD - which pressed for complete new-build airframes, but the revised calculations (taking this condition into account) turned up way too costly. No deal.

    I'd be pretty pissed if this means we didn't buy the A330 MRTT because MoD was under the impression that we were being given second-hand maal.
     
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  14. Echo_419

    Echo_419 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Do you really want the Americans to control our air-refueling capability?
     
  15. Echo_419

    Echo_419 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Antony single handily made the entire MOD Procurement system retarded
     

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