Monday, January 5, 2015

KC-46 Tanker How Did It Do?

On December 28th, 2014 the KC-46 air frame (767-2C) first took flight for 3 hours and 32 minutes with wire bundles and all. The first important thing I learned was it came back and landed successfully. A flight I never doubted. It was old school with some twists.

  • It has a 787 like flight deck.
  • It was constructed with combat survivor-ability in mind. 
  • It is configured for receiving military appliances. (i.e.) Radar, booms fuel tanks and freight area to name a few.
This 767-2C version will have a sibling before the next two actual test copies (KC-46) are loaded with Stuff for your military eyes only. Those two test KC-46's "finals" will implement the full array of the KC capability.

The Boeing group ran past the Government financial constraint by 1.6 billion. Oops, this is on Boeing. Part of the cost over-run was from Boeing's run-up program costs, taking on more millions than what they supposed. Plus they misread the wiring  standards by lumping its wire bundles into one pot which is an idiotic attempt for wire pulling a fast one, by the military. Every engineer knows the aircraft must be designed for survivor-ability with redundancy separation as a safety margin under combat conditions. Somebody forgot the memo and got fired for that one oversight when wadding all redundant wires into one bundle going forward to the command center; Where one silver bullet could take all systems out in one shot with no recovery.

The sunk cost phase is over for Boeing as the program is taking off (literally), passing a Keystone hurdle placed on its shoulders. It is the military standards for war machines standard. Boeing cannot play fast and lose with engineering ideas. If they are uncertain about a military requirement, they must have its own military mitigation team for tackling problems like the wiring problem. Somebody seriously dropped the ball on that one, and it should of gained approval before running the single bundle wiring phase past the Air Force. Boeing attempted the wire install before it  passed the Air Force smell test first. Boeing needs an Air Force subject matter expert with the engineers at all times. Eliminate any engineering surprises given the Air Force. They are not an independent engineering division for commercial airplane building. They are the Military's boys on this mission, and will act accordingly.

First flight is mission accomplished as Boeing got it s initial avionics systems installed. The remaining tasks should have flow and continuity for the remainder of the project. Everyone agrees and are certain all goals and objectives are obtainable without mishap within the program time-line. That take-away is an investors hint of things to come for Boeing. The military mindset is on Boeing, and  is now in it to win it. A robust effort will come from Boeing but without sacrifice from the Air Force who will command the project for its result. Even though the Air Force is running thin on old equipment it wants its KC now, but keeping a tight reign in on its contractor is the key for success.