|KC-767 Tanker Transport|
|Rendering of a KC-767 conducting refuelling operations|
|Manufacturer||Boeing Integrated Defense Systems|
|Maiden flight||May 21, 2005|
|Primary user||Italian Air Force|
Japan Air Self-Defense Force
|Number built||8 planned|
|Unit cost||~130-150 million USD|
|Developed from||Boeing 767|
The Boeing KC-767 Global Tanker Transport Aircraft (GTTA) is an early 21st century military aerial refueling and strategic transport aircraft developed from the Boeing 767-200. The tanker received the designation KC-767A in 2002 after being selected by the US Air Force intially to replace older KC-135Es.
The tanker is currently being developed for use by the Italian and Japanese air forces. The countries have ordered four tankers each. Although its future lies primarily for the U.S. Air Force, it was developed privately by Boeing at a cost of over $1 billion.
For the KC-X competition, Boeing is basing the KC-767 on the forthcoming 767-200 Long Range Freighter, offering further improvements over the initial 767-200ER based KC-767.
Commercial Derivative Air Refuelling Aircraft
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) ran a procurement program to replace around 100 of their oldest KC-135E Stratotankers, part of the Commercial Derivative Air Refuelling Aircraft program. Most USAF KC-135s are of the updated KC-135R variant.
On March 28, 2001, the US Air Force selected Boeing's KC-767 stating they "have clearly demonstrated that only the Boeing Corp. can currently meet the requirements".
The USAF was listed as giving four main reasons for this selection of the KC-767 over the KC-330.
- ""The KC-330 increase in size does not bring with it a commensurate increase in available air refueling offload,..." (USAF Quotes)
- The KC-330 "..presents a higher-risk technical approach and a less preferred financial arrangement." (USAF Quotes)
- " the size difference of the EADS-proposed KC-330 results in an 81 percent larger ground footprint compared to the KC-135E it would replace, whereas the Boeing 767 is only 29 percent larger." (
- The KC-330 requires "..greater infrastructure investment and dramatically limits the aircraft's ability to operate effectively in worldwide deployment." (Summary of Quote by MAT magazine)
For its Commercial Derivative Air Refuelling Aircraft program, the U.S. Air Force decided to lease around 100 KC-767 tankers from Boeing after it won the selection process.
Despite many other nations engaging in leased aircraft, there was some criticism. U.S. Sen. John McCain questioned whether it is really cost-effective for the USAF to lease aircraft at all, particularly as the aircraft would probably not have many, if any, buyers when their military service was concluded. This was derided as an uninformed criticism, as there were many U.S. allies in need of tanker aircraft. The Congressional Budget Office has also criticized the draft leasing agreement as fiscally irresponsible.
In December 2003 the Pentagon announced the project was to be frozen while an investigation of allegations of corruption by one if its former procurement staffers, Darleen Druyun (who had moved to Boeing in January) was begun. Druyun pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine months in jail for "negotiating a job with Boeing at the same time she was involved in contracts with the company" Additional fallout included the resignation of Boeing CEO Philip M. Condit and the termination of CFO Michael M. Sears.
In January 2006 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced the cancellation of the Air Force's KC-767A lease (this did not affect the continuation of Boeing's development of the aircraft for other customers). This was designed as a cost cutting measure and as part of a larger reorganization and redefinition of the Air Force's mission which included the retirement of the E-4B fleet, the cancellation of the 767-based E-10 program, as well as the elimination of all but 58 B-52s. Rumsfeld stated that this move will in no way impair the Air Force's ability to deliver the mission of the KC-767A which will be accomplished by continuing upgrades to the KC-135 and KC-10 fleets.
Boeing continued development of the aircraft, offering it a number of International tank programs. Italy selected the KC-767 and signed a contract in 2002, thus becoming the launch customer. In 2001, Japan selected the KC-767 over a tanker version of the Airbus A310 and signed a contract in 2003. This version is named the KC-767 Tanker Transport and is based on the 767-200ER. The Italian Air Force and the Japan Self-Defense Forces (which designated the aircraft KC-767J) have ordered four aircraft each. However it lost in Australia also selected the A330, in competition with the KC-767 in April 2004, and in the British FSTA programme.
The A330 MRTT is larger than KC-767, offering roughly twenty percent more fuel capacity without burning additional fuel. The tanker choice depends on the air force. Japan, for instance already operated E-767 AWACS, so it was cheaper for maintenance to use more 767s. The A330 is also more expensive, so it largely depends on if the air force wants fewer larger aircraft, or smaller cheaper ones, as well as the amount of cargo it is intended to carry. The logistics support and manufacturer offsets can also play a important role.
UK MoD FSTA
Boeing, teamed with BAE Systems and British Airways, offered the KC-767 to the UK's RAF for its Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft. The companies formed the Tanker Transport Services Consortium (TTSC). British Airways would provide the 767 aircraft. Boeing would provide the comversion technology based on its KC-767 tanker design. BAE Systems would perform the majority on aircraft modifications. Marshall Aerospace, Serco, Spectrum, and Capital were also part of TTSC.
The Ministry of Defence announced in January 2004 that it had selected the Airbus A330 MRTT to fulfil this requirement.
USAF KC-X Program
In 2006 the USAF released a request for proposal (RFP) for a new tanker program, KC-X, to be selected by 2007. Boeing had also announced it may enter an even higher capability tanker based on the Boeing 777, currently named the KC-777 Strategic Tanker. Airbus has partnered with Northrop Grumman to offer the Airbus A330 MRTT, the tanker version of the A330, which is being marketed to the USAF under the unofficial designation of KC-30.
In late January 2007 the USAF issued the KC-X Aerial Refueling Aircraft Request for Proposal. The RFP calls for 179 (175+4) tankers, worth an estimated US$40 billion. However, Northrop and EADS expressed their displeassure at how the RFP was structured and have threatened to withdraw, leaving only Boeing to offer an aircraft.
On February 12, 2007, Boeing announced it is offering the KC-767 Advanced Tanker in the KC-X Tanker competition. The version being offered for the competition will be based on the in-development 767-200LRF (Long Range Freighter), rather than the -200ER which the Italian and Japanese aircraft are based on.
Italy's aircraft became the first KC-767 to be assembled. The aircraft are initially built as 767-200ER commercial airplanes, then flown to a separate facility for conversion into tankers. Italy's first aircraft made its maiden flight on May 21, 2005, and in June the same year, Japan's first aircraft arrived at Boeing's Wichita, Kansas modification center to be fitted out with the tanker equipment.
On January 23, 2007, the KC-767 flight test aircraft set a program milestone by making its first hookup with a receiver aircraft, a B-52 Stratofortress. The "dry contact" transferred no fuel, but was intended to test the tanker's fifth-generation fly-by-wire telescoping boom. The testing is being done at Edwards Air Force Base, and the test aircraft is destined for Italy once testing is complete. Even if the KC-767 is not the final winner of the KC-X competition, Boeing expects the refueling boom being developed in the current program to be used on the KC-X airframe.
KC-767 was approved as an official designation under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system, approved September 2002 as KC-767A and appearing in the 2004 addition of DoD 4120.15-L.
The KC-30, which went by the "KC-330" moniker early on, is set to compete again with the KC-767 is not a official designation- however the designation C-30 has not been used in the post 1962 Tri-service system yet. Other designations of aircraft in the C- series in the same era include C-41 for the Series 400 CASA C.212 Aviocar and HC-144 for EADS CN235-330 Phoenix.
- Crew: 2 pilots, 1 boom operator
- Length: 159 ft 2 in (48.5 m)
- Wingspan: 156 ft 1 in (47.6 m)
- Height: 52 ft (15.8 m)
- Empty weight: 188,705 lb (85,595 kg)
- Loaded weight: 284,110 lb (128,870 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 412,000 lb (186,880 kg)
- Powerplant: 2× GE CF6-80C2 turbofan, 63,500 lbf (282 kN) each
- DoD 4120.15L, Model Designation of Military Aerospace Vehicles, 2004-05-12.
- Boeing Given Nod on Tanker Lease, Military-Aerospace Technology Magazine; volume: 1, issue: 2, 2002-05-01.
- "First Boeing 767 Aircraft for Japan Tanker Program Arrives in Wichita", Boeing news release, 2005-06-08.
- "KC-767 tanker completes first contact", Boeing news release, 2007-01-24.
- Cahlink, George. "Ex-Pentagon procurement executive gets jail time", Govexec.com, 2004-10-01. Retrieved on 2006-12-21.
- Boeing, Italian MoD Sign Contract for 767 Tanker Transports
- Boeing, Japan Sign 767 Tanker Transport Contract
- Northrop Grumman KC-30 marketing web site
- Air Force Posts KC-X Request for Proposals, 2007-01-30
- 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
- "Boeing Unveils Air Force Tanker in $40 Billion Contract Competition", Borak, D. Associated Press. 2007-02-12.
- "Boeing Offers KC-767 Advanced Tanker to U.S. Air Force", Boeing press release, 2007-02-12.
- "Boeing Built First Italian Air Force KC-767 Tanker Makes First Flight", Boeing news release, 2005-05-21.
- "Italy KC-767 Tanker #2 Arrives in Naples for Modifications", Boeing press release, 2005-05-06.
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