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PAS11: Boeing announces KC-46 suppliers

PARIS -- Boeing unveiled part of the long list of suppliers for its KC-46A tanker on Wednesday, reinforcing just how critical the tanker wars were to almost everyone in the aerospace game, not just Big B and its Euro-nemesis, EADS. Boeing officials say it will have more than 800 total suppliers for the Air Force tanker, so here are some of the boldface names from Wednesday's announcement:

• Cobham (Davenport, Iowa): Refueling systems, including wing aerial refueling pods and centerline drogue system

• DRS Laurel Technologies Inc. (Johnstown, Pa.): Aerial Refueling Operator Station (AROS)

• Eaton Aerospace: Electromechanical and cargo door actuation systems (Grand Rapids, Mich.); hydraulic and fuel distribution subcomponents (Jackson, Mich.)

• GE Aviation Systems (Grand Rapids, Mich.; Clearwater, Fla.): Mission control system

• Goodrich: Interiors (Colorado); landing gear (Ontario, Canada)

• Honeywell: Auxiliary power unit (Phoenix); cabin pressure control system (Tucson, Ariz.), air data inertial navigation (Coon Rapids, Minn.); lighting (Urbana, Ohio)

• Moog Inc.: Electro-hydraulic servo valves, actuators, stabilize trim controls, leading edge slat actuator, inboard/outboard leading edge rotary actuators, autopilot actuators, elevator feel system (East Aurora, N.Y.; Wolverhampton, UK); refueling boom actuators (Torrance, Calif.)

• Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows, Ill.): Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM)

• Parker Aerospace (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Utah): Refueling components including the receptacle door actuator, aerial refueling interface control system, and wing refueling pod hydraulic power packs; primary flight controls and fuel equipment; pneumatic, fluid conveyance, and hydraulic equipment

• Pratt & Whitney (Middletown, Conn.): Engines

• Raytheon Company (El Segundo, Calif.): Digital radar warning receiver and digital anti-jam receiver GPS

• Rockwell Collins (Cedar Rapids, Iowa): Integrated display system featuring 15.1-inch diagonal crystal displays built on proven technology from the commercial 787; tactical situational awareness system; remote vision system 3-D and 2-D technology for the boom operator; communications, navigation, surveillance, networking and flight control systems

• Spirit: Forward fuselage section; strut; nacelle components to include inlet, fan cowl and core cowl; fixed fan duct (Wichita, Kan.); fixed leading edge (Prestwick, Scotland)

• Triumph Group Inc.: Horizontal stabilizer and aft body section, including pressure bulkhead; wing center section, doors, nacelles and other components including cowl doors, seal depressor panels, acoustic panels and aft wheel well bulkhead

• Woodward Inc. (Skokie, Ill.): Several elements of the aerial refueling boom, including the sensor system, control unit, and telescopic and flight control sticks.

It's funny -- the tanker wars seem like ancient history now, don't they? And yet it's only been a few months since American lawmakers battled it out in the hearing rooms of Congress. In case you've forgotten Boeing's sales pitch for this bird, here are its key features, again per Wednesday's announcement:
The KC-46 has a maximum fuel capacity of 212,000 pounds and is equipped with a flush-mounted, air-to-air refueling receptacle that is capable of onloading fuel at 1,200 gallons per minute.

Boom operators will control the refueling systems from the crew compartment via the AROS and a series of cameras mounted on the tanker’s fuselage that provide a 185-degree field of view, as well as a camera on the boom that captures 3-D video. This advanced system allows the boom operator to refuel all fixed-wing receiver aircraft, anytime, on every mission, to include simultaneous multi-point refueling from the wing air refueling pods. The KC-46 refueling systems include a digital fly-by-wire boom capable of offloading 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute, as well as a permanent centerline drogue system and removable wing air refueling pods that can each offload 400 gallons of fuel per minute.

Featuring a maximum takeoff weight of 415,000 pounds, the tanker will carry 18 463L cargo pallets (the same number of pallets as the Air Force’s Boeing C-17 airlifter) and is capable of transporting 58 passengers normally and up to 114 passengers during contingency operations. This multi-mission tanker aircraft also will provide urgent aeromedical evacuation by transporting 58 medical patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory).



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