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Northrop Grumman KC-45

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KC-45
Type Tanker/transport
Manufacturer Northrop Grumman/EADS (Airbus)
Status In development
Primary user United States Air Force
Unit cost $200 million
Developed from Airbus A330 MRTT

The Northrop Grumman/EADS KC-45 is an aerial refueling tanker aircraft based on the Airbus A330 MRTT (KC-30), a derivative of the civil A330-200. The United States Air Force has ordered 179 KC-45As in the first stage of replacing the aging KC-135 tankers currently in service.

Contents

Development

KC-X program

Main article: KC-X

During the 2004 Farnborough Air Show, US Air Force Secretary James G. Roche stated a further bid from EADS would be "welcome." In early 2006 the United States Congress passed a defense bill which reversed an earlier amendment barring Airbus from bidding for the contract.[1]

In 2006, the USAF released a request for proposal (RFP) for a new tanker aircraft, to be selected by 2007, which was updated in January 2007, to the KC-X RFP, one of three acquisition programs intended to replace the entire aging KC-135 fleet.[2] EADS is again in a partnership with Northrop Grumman marketing the aircraft as the "KC-30" to the USAF. As the winner of the U.S. Air Force contract, Northrop Grumman/EADS is expected to invest approximately US$600 million in a new assembly plant in the United States, currently planned for Mobile, Alabama.

On January 8, 2007, the Wall Street Journal said, "U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman is threatening to withdraw its bid to supply the U.S. Air Force with a new generation of mid-air refueling tanker jets."[3] Northrop spokesman Randy Belote, wanted it (the earlier RFP) to reflect a need for the KC-30's additional cargo and fuel capacity, and if it is not changed, Belote said, "then we feel we would not be competitive and we would not bid."[4] Another article notes, "The Air Force leaders are furious, because they feel they have bent over backwards to accommodate Northrop. Northrop is just as mad, saying it has spent years developing a bid that may have no impact other than driving down the price of Boeing's winning entry."[5]

The USAF request for proposals for the competition, issued on January 30, 2007, called for 179 (175+4) tankers, worth an estimated US$40 billion.[2][4] On February 9, 2007, Northrop Grumman issued a press release announcing it would respond to the RFP, stating "We appreciate the Air Force acquisition authority's process transparency and invitation for industry dialogue which has resulted in this very comprehensive, capabilities-based final request for proposal." On April 10, 2007, Northrop Grumman submitted its KC-30 Tanker proposal to U.S. Air Force.[6] On January 3, 2008, Northrop Grumman submitted the final revision of its tanker proposal to the U.S. Air Force.[7]

On 29 February 2008, the USAF announced that it had chosen the KC-30 as KC-135 replacement for part (179 tankers) of the fleet, and that it would be designated the KC-45A.[8][9] On March 11, 2008, Boeing filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for the award of the contract to the Northrop Grumman/EADS team.[10]

Into production

Final assembly of the initial KC-30 tanker platform, which is known as SDD-1, began at the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse, France in June 2007. By July the airframe sections had been completely spliced and the wing installed.

With the exception of the first four units which will be converted from passenger versions at EADS EFW in Dresden, Germany, Airbus will assemble the aircraft in Mobile, Alabama, after which they will be modified by Northrop Grumman. EADS has also announced plans to shift A330 commercial freighter assembly to Alabama.[11]

Design

Main article: Airbus A330 MRTT

The A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is a military derivative of the Airbus A330 airliner. It is designed as a dual-role air refueling tanker and cargo transport aircraft. The wing air refueling pods are supplied by the British company Cobham. The cargo hold has been modified by Telair to be able to transport military pallets in addition to civilian ULD.

The A330 has a large internal fuel capacity of 111,000 kg (122 short tons) in the wings; fuel capacity can be further increased with underfloor tanks, which would not compromise main deck cargo capacity or seating in the strategic transport role. Standard fuel capacity allows the carriage of an additional 43,000 kg of cargo. Another major benefit of the A330 MRTT is the use of the same wing as the four engined A340-200/-300. This allows the A330 MRTT to use the two extra hardpoints of the A340 wing for the placement of refueling pods.

Specifications

Note specifications denoted with a "*" came from the A330.

Data from Northrop Grumman KC-30[12] Airbus A330[13]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3: Pilot, Copilot, and 1 AAR boom operator
  • Capacity: 226 troops
  • Length: 58.78 m (192 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 60.28 m (197 ft 10 in)
  • Height: 17.40 m (57 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 361.6 m²* (3892 ft²*)
  • Empty weight: 120,500 kg* (265,657 lb*)
  • Max takeoff weight: 230,000 kg* (507,063 lb*)
  • Powerplant:General Electric CF6-80E1A4B turbofans*, 316 kN (72,000 lbf) each
  • Maximum Fuel Load: 180,000lb (81,650 kg)

Performance

For an explanation of the units and abbreviations in this list, please see Wikipedia:WikiProject Aircraft/Units key.

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

See also

References

  1. Daly, Matthew. "Limits eased on bidding for Air Force tankers", Associated Press, 2006-01-04. Retrieved on 2006-01-04.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Air Force Posts KC-X Request for Proposals", Release Number: 070107, United States Air Force, 2007-01-30.
  3. "Northrop Grumman Threatens to Withdraw U.S. Air Tanker Bid (originally reported in the Wall Street Journal, 2007-01-08)", Agence France-Presse, 2007-01-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Evens, Ben and Daly, Matthew (AP), "Northrop-EADS threatens to withdraw bid for US Air Force contract leaving only Boeing"," Aerotech News and Review, 2007-02-02
  5. Loren B. Thompson (2007-01-22). Outside View: Air tanker crisis. United Press International.
  6. "Northrop Grumman Submits KC-X Tanker Proposal to U.S. Air Force Early", Northrop Grumman News Release, 2007-04-10.
  7. "Northrop Grumman Submits KC-X Final Proposal Revision to U.S. Air Force", Northrop Grumman, January 3, 2008.
  8. At Boeing, shock - and then anger
  9. "Air tanker deal provokes US row", BBC News, 2008-03-01. Retrieved on 2008-03-01.
  10. "Boeing Protests U.S. Air Force Tanker Contract Award", Boeing, March 11, 2008.
  11. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/01/14/220816/kc-x-win-would-shift-a330-freighter-assembly-to-us.html
  12. KC-30 Specifications, NorthropGrumman.com.
  13. A330-200 specifications, Airbus.

External links

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Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Template:United States Military Aerial Refueling Aircraft Template:US transport aircraft

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es:Airbus A330#A330 MRTT ja:KC-45 (航空機) ko:에어버스 A330 MRTT it:Airbus A330 MRTT sv:Airbus A330 MRTT


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Northrop Grumman KC-45".
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