TYPE: Tanker-transport; airborne ground surveillance system.
PROGRAMME: Variants of Boeing 767 twin-turbofan airliner.
CURRENT VERSIONS: 767 AWACS: Production complete.
KC-767 Global Tanker Transport Aircraft (GTTA): Tanker-transport version announced by Boeing, February 1995, in anticipation of Japanese order; Boeing in discussions with Kawasaki by mid-1996, concerning cooperative venture to offer tanker version of the 767 to Japan ASDF. Kawasaki involvement then expected to take form of post-production work (including fitment of boom refuelling gear, extra tanks and associated plumbing) on 767-300 derivative. JASDF intended to request funding from FY99, but economic downturn and reductions in defence budget caused delay. Purchase intention reaffirmed on 14 December 2001, by Japanese government, which announced plan to buy four aircraft. On 4 April 2003, Boeing announced signature of contract for first of planned four tanker-transports; this due for delivery in "Spring 2007", with remainder following at rate of one aircraft per year.
Version of 767 with three hose drum units offered to UK Royal Air Force which has FSTA requirement for a new tanker aircraft to replace VC-10 and Tristar from about 2008 onwards. Total of 20 to 30 aircraft needed, with six consortia invited in September 1999 to tender submissions for a public-private finance initiative to satisfy requirement. Comninations had reduced this to four by late 1999, but only two consortia submitted proposals on 3 July 2001, of which one (Tanker & Transport Service Company) offering 767 solution based on use of ex-British Airways 767-300s. Selection of successful bid expected in June 2002, but delayed as result of slow progress in contract negotiations. Outcome still awaited at beginning of June 2003.
Tanker-transport proposals most recently based on 767-200ER; fuel dispensed through Boeing 'flying boom' and two Smiths Aerospace underwing pods; boom remotely controlled from cabin, assisted by CCTV and/or three-dimensional helmet-mounted display; proximity trials at Patuxent River NAS in June 2000 showed 767 to be stable refuelling platform. Fuel capacity 91,380 litres (24,140 US gallons; 20,101 Imp gallons), in standard (wing) tanks, plus 21,198 litres (5,600 US gallons; 4,663 Imp gallons) in supplementary underfloor tanks; total 112,578 litres (29,740 US gallons; 24,764 Imp gallons). As freighter (side cargo door and reinforced floor), can carry up to 18 463L pallets on main deck or 216 passengers, with additional cargo capacity on lower deck dependent upon auxiliary tank configuration. Version offered to RAF, with HDU in place of 'flying boom', has underfloor fuel of 29,942 litres (7,910 US gallons; 6,586 Imp gallons).
First Boeing 767 tankers will be flown by Italian Air Force, which revealed intention in July 2001 to purchase four new-build aircraft as replacements for current Boeing 707 tankers. Signature of final contract took place in early December 2002; delivery will be accomplished during 2005-08 and total cost, including option on two additional aircraft, is about US$618 million. Based on the 767-200ER commercial transport, it will be powered by CF6-80C2 turbofans and will feature a Boeing air-refuelling boom, a RARO II remote air-refuelling operator station, wing pods containing hose and drogue refuelling apparatus and a centreline hose and drogue system. It will also have a refuelling receptacle fitted as standard.
A derivative of the Boeing 767 is also to begin process of replacing the USAF KC-135 Stratotanker. In 2001, proposal to lease 100 aircraft emerged, with this envisaging a 10-year period, after which the USAF could negotiate outright purchase; this won more support after September 2001 terrorist attack on USA, and USAF formally notified Congress in April 2002 of intention to begin negotiations immediately. Discussions between Boeing and the USAF still proceeding at end of 2002, when decision expected early in 2003; at beginning of April, talks were still continning. On 23 May 2003, the US Department of Defense announced approval of lease arrangement and revealed more details of this US$16 billion programme; lease said to be for "six years starting in 2006", at unit cost of US$131 million, plus US$7 million in lease-unique costs per aircraft; same announcement noted that agreement included provision to buy the aircraft outright for about US$4 billion when lease terminates in "2017". USAF anticipates receiving first aircraft in 2005 and is likely to accept about 20 per year; longer-term goal is to acquire up to 500 new tankers, allowing eventual retirement of veteran KC-135.
Boeing formed 767 Tanker Programs office in March 2001 and subsequently selected its Wichita, Kansas facility as the centre for tanker modification work.
Multimission Command and Control Aircraft (MC2A): Now designated Northrop Grumman E-10.
COSTS: Estimated US$216 million for Japanese 767 tanker (2001). Boeing price varies from US$150 million to US$225 million, according to quantity procured.
Data follow for Tanker-Transport.
WEIGHTS AND LOADINGS (estimated):
- Operational weight, empty: 90,720 kg (200,000 lb)
- Max T-O weight: 179,170 kg (395,000 lb)
- Max ramp weight: 179,625 kg (396,000 lb)
- Max zero-fuel weight: 117,934 kg (260,000 lb)