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Slater

Airbus tries again for US air refueling market?

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Not sure what they're trying to do here. Since the USAF is committed to the Boeing KC-46, would this be some sort of Airbus/Lockheed contracted services offer (in the event the US is short of air refueling capability in the future?)

 

https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2018/12/Lockheed-Martin-and-Airbus-sign-aerial-refuelling-Memorandum-of-Agreement.html

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That's how it reads, but then you have to bear in mind that the USAF doesn't really have a shortfall of refuelling capability.  The KC-46A is planned to replace the KC-135 on a fairly solid schedule.  I suppose that could all go wrong and someone might panic and ask for fifty KC-45s, but it's not as though Airbus would be able to deliver them by the end of the week.

 

As likely as not it's Airbus very publicly (i) reminding the USAF that they exist, though for what reason is anyone's guess, and (ii) binning their relationship with Northrop Grumman over the KC-45.  The only trouble with that is that Lockheed Martin were their partners over the VH-71, which didn't exactly go well.

 

Which leads me to think that the underlying thing is the usual: management cobblers.

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With all the teething problems that the KC-46 is experiencing, the KC-45 (the USAF's original choice anyway) is probably looking better and better.

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Yet more delays and critical issues are plaguing the KC-46: 

 

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/10/17/the-first-kc-46-delivery-is-not-happening-this-october/

 

Mind you, if they survive in service for 60 years like the KC-135, a couple of years delay is nothing..........!

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The aim here is for contracted assets which can be used elsewhere when not needed by US Forces. There is a lot of this going on world wide. 

 

A lot of people can see the market for this in the US, if not with the USAF the the USN & USMC

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