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LMXT / KC-45 Tanker Replacement Program

Lockheed Martin LMXT Lockheed Martin introduced the LMXT on 17 Sepember 2021 in response to the U.S. Air Force's KC-Y Program as America's next strategic tanker - said to be built in America by Americans for Americans. Lockheed Martin’s rebranding of the Airbus A330 MRTT aerial refueling tanker and Boeing’s KC-46A tanker will square off in the US Air Force’s KC-Y Bridge Tanker competition for 140-160 orders.LMXT is a trademark of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Filed 24 March 2020, the LMXT covers Aircraft. There are many other entities that use the LMT acronym.

Changes from the baseline A330 MRTT include an upgraded suite of communications for joint all-domain command and control as well as improvements to range and fuel-offload capability. The LMXT, a new version of the Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), will be designed to carry up to 271,000 lb. of fuel, which is 26,000 lb. more than the baseline version of the widebody refueler now in service with 13 operators. Its competitor, the KC-46, is designed now to carry 212,000 lb. of fuel at most.

A decade earlier, the KC-46 won the KC-X contract despite a narrower, 33,000-lb. fuel volume gap with the A330 MRTT. On 29 February 2008 Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Duncan J. McNabb announced the selection of Northrup Grumman as the winner of the KC-X competition for development and procurement of up to 179 tanker aircraft for approximately $35 billion. The initial contract for the newly named KC-45 was for the system design and development of four test aircraft for $1.5 billion. This contract also includes five production options targeted for 64 aircraft at $10.6 billion.

The contract went to EADS, a European country. Boeing argued, however, that it would create about 40,000 American jobs here. Obviously, with it going to EADS, there won't be as many American jobs created. The requirements of the RFP were not such that this was taken into consideration. The RFP had to do with requirements that the warfighter needed, and the Air Force balanced the requirements of the warfighter with the best value for the taxpayer, relative to how much this system is going to cost and how well it's going to perform.

"The tanker is the number one procurement priority for us right now," General McNabb said. "Buying the new KC-45A is a major step forward and another demonstration of our commitment to recapitalizing our Eisenhower-era inventory of these critical national assets. Today is not just important for the Air Force, however. It's important for the entire joint military team, and important for our coalition partners as well. The KC-45A will revolutionize our ability to employ tankers and will ensure the Air Force's future ability to provide our nation with truly Global Vigilance, Reach, and Power."

The KC-45A will provide significantly greater air refueling capabilities than the current fleet of Eisenhower-era KC-135 Stratotankers it will begin replacing. For example, it will be able to refuel Air Force and Navy aircraft on every flight. These aircraft have different systems for receiving fuel and today, KC-135s must be set up for one or the other before takeoff.

The KC-45A will be equipped for both systems on every flight and also will have connections for wing pods. When wing pods are installed, it can refuel two probe-equipped aircraft, such as those flown by Navy and many allied aircrews, at the same time. The KC-45A can even be refueled in flight by other tankers. The KC-45A also will have defensive systems that allow it to go into dangerous environments that tanker aircrews currently have to avoid. It will also supplement the airlift fleet by carrying cargo, passengers and medical patients in a secondary role.

The KC-X source selection used a "best value" determination to select a winner based on five factors: mission capability, proposal risk, past performance, cost/price and an integrated fleet air refueling assessment -- performance in a simulated war scenario. These five factors were developed after consulting with industry and were finalized prior to starting the competition. Considered together, these grading criteria ensured the Air Force maximized the capability delivered to the warfighter while optimizing the taxpayers' investment.

Air Force officials followed a carefully structured process, designed to provide transparency, maintain integrity and promote fair competition. Air Force officials met with offerors on numerous occasions to gain a thorough understanding of their proposals and provide feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. Officials also provided insight into government cost estimates throughout the process instead of waiting until the post-decision debrief. The competitors indicated they've been very pleased with the degree of communication.

The evaluation team comprised experts covering a broad spectrum of specialties from acquisition to operations and was hand-picked from across the Air Force and other government agencies. As part of the process, Air Force officials provided a written notice to both the selected and not-selected and offer to provide a debrief on their bid proposals. To maintain the integrity of that process, officials were unable to provide additional information about the proposals and contract.

But in 2011, the Air Force decision was based on the lowest-price, technically acceptable offer. Only if the competing KC-X bids came within 1% on price would other factors such as fuel capacity be considered. Boeing’s bid price was 10% lower than the Airbus proposal, so the difference in fuel volume played no role in the final decision. The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 KC-46 tankers to begin recapitalizing the KC-135 Stratotanker fleet.

The Boeing KC-46 program used a $4.4 billion fixed-price incentive (firm target) development contract that provided contractor incentives to control costs and limits the government’s liability for increased costs over a certain amount. By March 2021 estimated development costs were $900 million higher than the February 2011 contract award amount, about 20% greater than the award amount.

In 2014, the program office, in concert with Air Mobility Command officials, will begin serious initial requirements work on the second phase, known as KC-Y, of the three-phase program to replace more of the aging tanker fleet.

Airbus is now well positioned in the competition to win Phase 2 and will take advantage of the difficulties of the KC-46. In December 2018, Lockheed Martin and Airbus signed an MoU “to jointly explore opportunities to meet the growing demand for in-flight refuelling for US defence customers.”

Lockheed Martin LMXT

KC-45 Designation

The Air Force intended to designate its next aerial refueling aircraft the KC-45, regardless of whether Boeing's KC-767 or Northrop Grumman's KC-30 won the KC-X tanker replacement contest. The Air Force approved the designation on 14 November 2006, based on an Air Mobility Command recommendation.

But when the KC-767 finally won the KC-X competition, it was given the KC-46 designation, so presumably the KC-45 designation remains assigned to the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) should it ever enter American service.

There were two series of C-planes, one beginning in 1924 and ending in 1962, and another one beginning in 1962 and continuing to the present day. The Beechcraft Model 18, or "Twin Beech", as it was better known, is a 6-11 place, twin-engine, low-wing, conventional-gear aircraft that was manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. This model saw service during and after World War II in a number of versions including the United States Army Air Forces C-45 Expeditor.

Andreas Parsch reports that "The C-42 designation was not assigned. There is a very popular small sport plane, which is marketed world-wide under the "C-42" (or "C42") label: the German Comco-Ikarus C-42. A DOD source said unofficially, that there was some concern about potential legal issues if C-42 would be used for an MDS, and that this number was therefore skipped. The designations C-43 and C-44 were skipped to avoid potential confusion with the existing T/CT-43 and T-44 designators. According to unofficial information from DOD, there is an informal policy in effect to avoid duplication of "well-known" numbers. However, C-45 was not skipped (KC-45A is the official MDS for the KC-X tanker program), and it remains unclear why T-45 should be any less "well-known" than T-43 and -44. One possible explanation is that both the T-43 (Boeing 707) and T-44 (Raytheon/Beech King Air) are transport-type airframes (the T-45 is a two-seat jet), and that it was therefore avoided to assign numbers 43 and 44 to other transport aircraft as well." One authoritative source asserts that the C-43 is the US Coast Guard military version of Canadair CL-641 Challenger, but there is no such aircraft.

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Page last modified: 18-09-2021 18:03:44 ZULU