Thursday, January 18, 2018

Changing The World's Navies One F-35B at A Time

Like every Swiss Army Knife, a military can't figure out what it is good for its battle plan until put on a desert island exploring new military options. The F-35 is currently on that deserted island as military planners discover how good the F-35 really can be.  It will change naval military procurement around the world once the F-35 completes its first battle from an LHA ship like the USS America (LHA-6).

The British new QE carrier just completed its sea trials before receiving its first F-35B  displacing about 65,000 tons. It will exclusively use the F-35B as its fighter aircraft from the deck. The USS America assault ship is about 45,000 tons and will carry a substantial number of F-35B's on deck. Somewhere in the middle of 45 to 65 thousands tons is the perfect small nation strike carrier for all occasions. It would be  a flexible and can be replicated better than big nation carriers such as United States of America. The US Marines caught on early with its naval contingent of ships like the Wasp  and America.

Long has the Marine debate of having an LHA with a well deck or hanger deck. It has smaller versions, with the LSD and LPD designation. The LSD has a well deck and the LPD has a Hanger deck starting from big garage doors near the middle of the ship. 

A well deck version is what conflicts the Marines when defining its missions. The well deck area is a hollowed out area with an opening at the stern of the ship for landing craft egress and ingress to the ship. It can be flooded for landing craft  making a direct entry into the ocean or store landing equipment during transition to a hot spot with a an ocean view. LSD's and LPD's would support an invasion with the LHA as the led ship of this Marine flotilla. It's a matter of F-35B applications in battle space that will change ship designs into the future.

Below are the acronym designations and equipment types from the ship.

LSD: Landing Ship Dock: Landing craft from well deck, Helicopters is less number than a LHA; a contingent of Marine troops would travel with the ship.

 USS Tortuga (LSD 46)  16,500 Tons
Image result for LSD Landing ship dock

USS Tortuga (LSD-46)
USS Tortuga (LSD-46) in February 2001, off the coast of the Caribbean island of Curacao.
USS Tortuga (LSD-46) in February 2001, off the coast of the Caribbean island of Curacao.
Ordered:26 November 1984
Laid down:23 March 1987
Launched:15 September 1988
Commissioned:17 November 1990
Homeport:Little Creek, Virginia
Motto:Tough, Tall, Tenacious
Status:in active service
Badge:USS Tortuga LSD-46 Crest.png
General characteristics
  • 11,471 tons (light)
  • 16,568 tons (full)
Length:610 ft (190 m)
Beam:84 ft (26 m)
Draft:21 ft (6.4 m)
Propulsion:4 Colt Industries, 16-cylinder diesel engines, 2 shafts, 33,000 shp (25 MW)
Speed:20+ knots (37+ km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
LCACs or 21 LCM-6s
Troops:Marine detachment: 402 + 102 surge
Complement:22 officers, 391 enlisted

LPD: Landing Platform Dock: Designed for Helicopters with hanger bay for Maintenance.

Landing Platform Dock, 25,300 Tons San Antonio Class, 10 Each built. Hanger Deck Top Mid Ship

Image result for landing platform dock

USS San Antonio and USS New York in June 2011.
Class overview
Builders:Huntington Ingalls Industries (formerly Northrop Grumman Ship Systems)
Operators:United States Navy
Preceded by:
Succeeded by:N/A—current authorized amphibious transport dock line
  • $1.602 billion (ave. for class, FY2012)[1]
  • $2.021 billion (last ship, FY2012)[1]
Built:2000–2017 (forecast)[1]
In commission:2006–present
General characteristics [2]
Type:Amphibious transport dock
Displacement:25,300 t (full)
Length:684 ft (208 m)
Beam:105 ft (32 m)
Draft:23 ft (7.0 m), full load
Propulsion:Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, two shafts, 41,600 shp
Speed:In excess of 22 knots (25 mph; 41 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
  • Crew: 28 officers, and 333 enlisted men
  • Landing force: 66 officers, and 633 enlisted men
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-48G, AN/SPQ-9B[1]
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried:Launch or land up to two MV-22 Ospreytilt-rotor aircraft simultaneously with room to place four MV-22s on the flight deck and one in the hangar deck.

Wikipedia chart credit
United States
Namesake:United States
Awarded:1 June 2007[1]
Builder:Huntington Ingalls Industries
Laid down:17 July 2009[2]
Launched:4 June 2012[3]
Sponsored by:Lynne Pace[2]
Christened:20 October 2012[4]
Acquired:10 April 2014[4][5]
Commissioned:11 October 2014[6]
Homeport:San Diego, California
  • "Bello vel pace paratus"
  • ("Ready for War or Peace")
Status:in active service
  • Program cost: $10.1 billion[7](FY15)
  • Unit cost: $3.4 billion[7] (FY15)
Badge:USS America LHA-6 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type:America-class amphibious assault ship[2]
Displacement:44,971 long tons (45,693 t)[8] full load
Length:844 ft (257 m)
Beam:106 ft (32 m)
Draft:26 ft (7.9 m)
Propulsion:Two marine gas turbines, two shafts, 70,000 bhp (52,000 kW), two 5,000 hp (3,700 kW) auxiliary propulsion motors.
Speed:over 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)[9]
  • 65 officers, 994 enlisted
  • 1,687 Marines (plus 184 surge)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • AN/SLQ-32B(V)2 Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program Block 1
  • 2 × Mk53 NULKA decoy launchers[12]
Aircraft carried:
Wikipedia Chart Credit
LHA: Landing Aassault Ship: F-35B, Osprey, Helicopters and Marines in greater number than the LSD and LPD. It is the Marine's main assault ship. This next step up is finding the optimal configured ship for the F-35B after it is determined how the F-35B can fight in actual combat. The Navy will make a design bigger than the LHA with a 55,000 ton class having more F-35B's and marines. 

LHA-6 America
Related image

A mid point from the 45,00 ton LHA and 65,000 ton British QE, would be a 55,000 ton nuclear powered assault ship containing a larger ships compliment and landing force of about three thousand military personnel for every situation. It should have about 30 F-35's stored below and multiples of Helicopters and Osprey. Sounds like an overpowering Marine mission. 

A key idea would be to build two LHA's for every one Ford class CVN. A 13 billion carrier is twice the cost of two LHA's. A nation who has too few monetary printing presses in action can effectively buy one LHA including flying equipment for its decks for about ten billion US. The Ford class carrier may end up costing 20 billion once all the flying equipment is bought and loaded on board. Another 5 Billion for training and supplying its crews. More billions needed just operating a Ford CVN. The main point is dividing the cost of one CVN (carrier) by two equaling or about 13 Billion a piece when fully complimented and ready for combat.
USS Ford Carrier CVN 79 above 102,000 tons
Image result for Ford class carrier

The naval LHA conundrum dictates how many well deck LHA's and how many hanger deck versions required. The "mini carrier" containing F-35B's is a military marketing tool for both ship building companies and Lockheed Martin.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Diversify Is The Same As Going West For Boeing

The "Moon Shot" is old business for Boeing as it closed that chapter when the Max rolled out for first delivery. Not only has Boeing reeled in its new plane along with its sink or swim mantra, but it is tendering an offer for ready made Embraer products and it also wants to sell seats to other airlines.

Commercial Embraer Models:
  • Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante. (15-21 passengers)
  • Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia as ordered. (capable of 30 seats, also light freighter)
  • Embraer ERJ family. Embraer ERJ 135 (37 passengers) 
  • Embraer ERJ 140 (44 passengers) ...
  • Embraer E-Jet family. Embraer 170 (66–78 passengers) ...
  • Embraer E-Jet E2 family. Embraer 175-E2 (80–90 passengers)
  • Embraer 190 E2 97-114 passengers
  • Embraer E195 E2  up to 146 passengers

The seat business is a made in Europe proposition centered in Frankfurt Germany. The American Adient seat company is poised to become part of the Boeing family of aviation products. What better way to undercut Airbus by putting Adient seats made in Germany on Airbus products? Or what better way than rub salt-in when putting a lazy "B" on the bottom of a seat on an Airbus product. A lazy "B" lies flat with its bumps pointed on the downside. I should be hired for Boeing marketing as an "Idea Guy". 

What's on the Table For Boeing Blue Bucks Below is from Boeing Frontiers 2005
Related image

Embraer or Seats, Boeing is playing hard and fast at the start of 2018. Bombardier may want a do over before all is lost for its biggest ticket item, the CS300 series. It's almost as if Boeing is head hunting for filling jobs for idle engineers and design teams on new and diverse projects. 

Building clean sheet airplanes is so 787. Not forgetting the yet to be announced 797 and the 777X, engineers only have to design a stack of Golden Parachutes before 2030. By then Boeing will be making carbon fiber reinforced plastic wings, or is it doing that little thing already? 

Boeing is in a devouring mode instead of making moon shots happen. It will only stop this company grabbing rampage when the euros scream "uncle Sam".

Zodiac biffed it with its seat making acumen as both Boeing and Airbus waited for it, too long. Somebody at Boeing mentioned there is nothing we can't do in perfect double negative form. 

Those Indian Airlines cracked 787 windshields could be the next Boeing acquisition. Using shims and bad fasteners bit the Italian contribution in the early days. The 747-400 based "Dream Lifter" could be aging and more parts could travel by rail to the Northwest (ah from the Northwest) when those Dream Lifters are put to pasture. The 787 will continue its manufacturing run long after heavy lifters are no longer needed as Boeing's exudes its new mantra of, "if you break it we will make it". 

Boeing definitely wants to control what it can control and has learned lessons far beyond a world supply chain as the answer. They have the bravado to make key items when a supplier fails in its attempt of playing hard ball with the bigs. Just like yanking a baseball pitcher out of the game after the fourth straight walk and another run goes on the score board, Boeing will relieve Zodiac seats and put in its flame throwing closer, Boeing investments.

Its Taken A Long Time Announcing The 797

Much more is in the new plane ingredients than first suspected. Timing of an 797 announcement  is more of timing when Boeing will rewrite its airplane family line up. The Max has become Boeing's odd duck on the pond. It has made almost every conceivable change in keeping with its family commonality theme. The 777X will be built on 787 technology. The 797 will be built on 787 technology as well. A new clean sheet 737 design for 2030 will be built on 797 technology.

It was long ago decided the 737 was too small of a frame to be efficiently made out of plastic body. A lot has happened since that conclusion and a lot more will happen during the next twelve years before Boeing can get its arms around the single aisle model, which Airbus currently has stolen the march over Boeing in the last decade. Airbus has made some mistakes with its single aisle strategy. Boeing has made more single aisle strategic mistakes. 

The big error Airbus made was to sell every customer an A320 without regard to its mismanaged backlog. Some customers will be long gone before it could even get an A320 NEO delivered. Airbus will have to increase its single aisle production capacity over the next few years. It will have to put the A-380 to bed before it can consider a new clean sheet  single aisle version in the 2030's. It would rather see what Boeing will do with a 797 design before weighing in on any new clean sheet designs

On the other hand, Boeing neglected the single aisle segment during its first wide body building program starting in 2005. The 757 was turned lose from Boeing while Airbus stole potential Boeing customers with its A321. Boeing was disorganized from the leadership level on down. A lot of Boeing changes occurred during the first five years of the millennium at a critical moment. Now Airbus is seeing a lot of corporate changes going on within its world and is weaken for applying aggressive action with new clean sheet designs until 2025. Boeing will have a new 797 flying by 2025. The 777X will be old hat in its line-up by then. The only unfinished Boeing Business remains for the 737.

The problem for the 737 and the Max program was composites were not efficient for a smaller bodied aircraft during 2012. It would not improve single aisle performance enough for the expense of using it in its frame. By 2025 there will be even lighter and stronger composites available offered to the 797 program which a 737 type could also use efficiently for its own remake. The problem for all single aisle airplanes are they are too narrow for big passengers. Today, single aisle airplanes are built for 5'7" passengers weighing at most 150 pounds. Air travel needs to adjust to the human reality.

The latest 797 proposal floated is a flying oval body made from composite material. A 737 design in 2030 could use lessons learned from the 797 design making the clean sheet 737 having a wider area for passenger going across. The landing gear of course would give it a high enough stance for larger engine circumference and more jet power efficiency. The design engineers at Boeing are all scrambling for the 797 golden BB design hitting its target in this high flying world. The 797 is the key for a future 737. It is taking Boeing a long time for the 797 announcement because it is actually in the hunt for two airplane types that will mutually synergise each other in the market place.  The big problem is for cargo area which is reduced using a flying oval body. That problem has five more years of time for innovative body design and solving any space issues.

The 737 redesign is waiting for cheaper, stronger and lighter reinforced plastic body materials for 160-200 passengers. The 797 will fill the gap above 200 seats. Current process maturity and ongoing innovation is close to becoming the core elements for a new 737 clean sheet design from the 797 project.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Has China Made A Business Case For The A-380?

Like the recent retirements of America's 747's from airlines without any reorders, Airbus is faced with a similar problem. It needs A-380 orders sooner rather than later and it went to China for any deal it can muster for its endangered A-380 program. As of October 31, 2017 Airbus has only a 100 unit backlog since it already has delivered 217 of its 317 ordered A-380's. Boeing's mission was accomplished as it diverted enough orders away from the A-380 order book with about 136 of the 747-8 types to its own order book. Boeing has delivered 124 of its 747-8's since first delivery. Airbus would love to have those 136 Boeing orders in its books as the A-380 is going the way of the Dinosaur just like its competitor's 747 program.

Boeing always always knew the 747-8 program was a Pyrrhic wrench thrown at Airbus in an attempt at denying Airbus revenue throughout the A-380 program duration. The 747-8 is probably resting in pieces at Everett Wa, facility at this time with a Mission Accomplished banner waving over the big production factory doors for the 747.

Airbus has flown to China with hat in hand and gifts that may impress an emperor if one still existed in China. If Airbus would give China a two fer deal, then China would gladly buy some A-380's, but not enough to save Airbus' face over the whole Jumbo debacle.  A sweeping deal would be 50 A-380's at half price of list for China. It wouldn't save the A-380 program over-all and would only extend building them for a couple of years.

No press has reported A-380 deal progress from the Airbus visit at this late date:

News release from Airline geeks:

"Neither side has commented on the possible deal or details of it. Macron concluded his visit on Saturday with no announcement being made immediately upon his return. It is, however, unusual that a government makes the sale of a commercial aircraft part of a state visit agenda. While Airbus receives a lot of support from the French and German governments, politicians have so far been hesitant to engage in sales pitches themselves."

Airbus wants a 100 unit deal as the sales visit draws to a close. No word has come from the talks only muted speculations. Macron is home with what appears as a big goose egg on his accomplishments for Airbus. However, a deal could come later after negotiations are completed by the principles involved through these meetings. The best hope is Macron laid out what the French government is willing to do for China. Silence after his return home is not promising. Airbus remains behind for wheeling and dealing its way towards saving face.

If China has a business plan for its special needs, then a deal will be made, but if it can't find an A-380 plan for its masses with 500 seats at a chop, then it becomes a Wonton soup festival served with French butter. Silence is a key Airbus tactic until the last day of an airshow or end of year order announcements. Its January and the next big airshow is months away. Macron went home to sit on his hands and China has asked Airbus for the US missile defense system launch codes before a deal is done.

The Chinese business case is flying masses on Airbus' A-380's at a 737 price of operation and of course those missile codes just mentioned after Macron went home.

The real case may be made by Emirates who happens to own 100 A-380's and is the same number under consideration by China. Airbus fears an Emirate bolt from the Airbus fold with this model type. China could ask Emirates a few questions and it may affect a Chinese decision for the A-380.

Image result for a-380

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Airbus Attacks Boeing’s Flank With Bombardier

It was noted Airbus bought control of Bombardier C300 project for a song. It was an obvious ploy to make Boeing flinch and become infuriated. Mission accomplished. The Bombardier product will go forward nipping at the 737 heels. Hence the subsidized deal with Delta. Boeing parries the move by calling “foul” to US Trade governance and quickly a 220% tariff. The counter move is an Airbus buy out of Bombardier C series.

Meanwhile back at the Seattle Stud farm. Boeing decides on what kind of hard ball it will now play against Airbus. Embraer comes to its collective mind in a New York minute. First an Embraer buyout must be accomplished! It’s the only airline manufacturer available with a respected 100 seat model. Boeing will have to pay more than Airbus did with its flanking move. The Brazilian airline has more negotiation work with the clock ticking and many Boeing projects are hanging for the plucking. Airbus caught Boeing as a crucial moment which Boeing probably already had considered as a possibility but hoped it wouldn’t come true.

The war heats up. Back in 1863 at Gettysburg, a massive battle took place during the American civil war. The "South" lost its swagger among the thousands killed in action. But not before some flanking moves occurred. Barlow’s Knoll, Culp’s Hill, Seminary Ridge, and Little Round Top to name a few. 

Little Round Top Flanking Turned the Battle for The Union.
Image result for gettysburg little round top

The battle raged on for three days annihilating troops and battle strength. The South could not ever replenish after the fight and held on for two more years until capitulating from being out of gas. Those who had the most, won that bitter war. The South was just beaten down into a submissive position for which it could not recover. General Lee was a southern leader who signed off at Appomattox because there was no other conclusion.

This is where the airplane wars have spread. The battle is for the single aisle under 130 seats. A flanking move by Airbus with Bombardier has caused Boeing to cover itself with an Embraer attempt. If Boeing becomes successful with an Embraer acquisition, it will have to have a mutual strengthening move by both makers. It appears Boeing will take on Embraer engineers for its own 797 project. It mutually will strengthen the Brazilian maker going into Asian markets and other world market with the Embraer as Boeing would have a family of aircraft landing at airports from Boise Idaho to London-Heathrow. 

The flight deck on the Embraer would become Boeing's, matching all its other aircraft deck’s layout. It would become a punch in the Airbus gut (flanking). After-all, that’s the desired affect by Boeing after Airbus stole the C-series away by just a traffic jam away from the New York State ferry system.

Isn’t Dorval Ca. kind of a commuter ride from Ottawa, Canada’s capital? Isn’t it coincidental that a government subsidy doesn’t have far to go from Ottawa to Dorval? Boeing knows Airbus resources would make a competitive Bombardier aircraft. Boeing also knows Boeing resources would make Embraer a world player. That brings us all back to “old school” and the flanking move. Boeing will own a chunk of Embraer after “everyone” gets what it wants out of such a proposition. 

The Brazilian/US government will get something and both Boeing and Embraer get a stake. The workers will get more work of course. The deal will happened by year’s end. Airbus is flanked and that’s the whole point. 

The outcome will come at the end of “day three” of the Gettysburg’s field of war.

Its not only an Airbus choice, it is its only choice. Greyhound bus company Ca. uses its government subsidy for carrying a packet down the road containing a Bombardier subsidy. Canadian aspirations has a plan but its not polite.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Boeing Changes Its Public Tactics

This blog perceives a change in Boeing's management of public relations. This is long over due since Airbus plays a game of big announcements long after Boeing reals off a massive order announcements at the Dubai Airshow 2017 for 175 of its Max aircraft where Airbus is only seen at the Dubai finish line with "fewer" orders. The next big deal from Airbus comes with an announced 430 A320-NEO's near the end of the year. Airbus caught Boeing in a Mouth Breathing Awkward Moment (MBAM !!!).

Its no wonder that Boeing considers changing announcement strategy when considering how Airbus likes to "play the game" with its customers. Overall, the final numbers will bear out the mega builders competition in some sort of conclusion. However, Airbus seeks a bang-for-the-buck announcement format on newly minted orders after Boeing commits its own data causing MBAM moments.

Boeing on the other hand has held a policy of letting the customer run the announcement show through allowing customers the option of identifying any new finalized orders by name. Once a deal is signed Boeing can announce an order by customer name or restricts itself  as unidentified depending on what the customer wants. Traditionally, Boeing has updated its own order reporting as once a week update. The order reporting is changing in 2018 to a once a month order book update on its web site, making it more difficult for Airbus to play the announcement game when once a month reporting is installed by Boeing. In other words an Airbus announcement of 430 single aisle ordered will compare with a Boeing monthly total making the impact of a deal of this magnitude seem more realistic.

The year ending for 2017 is still counting on the Airbus side of its accountants as they still are working on boosting Airbus order numbers for its stockholders. Boeing reported a net 912 commercial aircraft orders. Next week Airbus said it will release its 2017 order number. The net number is key in this comparison.

Without Airbus December numbers, it reports 333 net orders through November 30, 2017. Boeing also reported 912 net orders by years end.  

What tells the observer is this, Airbus needs another 149 net orders and adding the 430 A320's just announced for matching Boeing's order book in unit numbers. The Airbus business model requires more orders added next week beyond the 430 A320 orders counted on, which is already reported by its press bulletins. Using "Airbus Data" from end of November requires it must show December orders having a total of 579 new orders booked in December to match the Boeing net of 912 units. Airbus could do it if it has sandbagged 600 orders for December during 2017.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Boeing Books 2017 Net Orders

Boeing ends up with 912 net orders. The important part is Boeing boosted its single aisle order book  with 745 737's combining NG and the Max numbers. It also booked 94 net 787 falling short of a book to bill ratio of one for its type. The Book to Bill Ratio stands at 69% for 2017. However, 2018 will record more 787 than markets may expect with several large orders pending in the commitment slot.

Airbus  will take a few more days compiling a comparison as it has not posted its December numbers at this time. The order for 430 A320's have not been added. Other orders from different models maybe added when it posts its order counts. The order battle will be closer than indicated from a sluggish Airbus order pace established during the year. Airbus typically waits (tries) for the end of the year to post surprises after Boeing posts it numbers. It's about the game!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Boeing's 2017 Order Wrap Includes 2-787-9's

Royal Air Moroc Signed For Two 787-9's today.    

Boeing should settle in at 844 net units with 971 gross orders. This suggesting a strong 2018 order year. No prediction here except for a 797 announcement should push Boeing beyond 1,000 units ordered next year.

Monday, December 11, 2017

"Skalkaho" Is a rough scribble through Chapter 6

The link provided takes you Skalkaho's introduction were all chapters can be accessed by several methods. 

Primary One: is found on the links provided below the main body found on the page Introduction.

Alternate-2: is found by Clicking on the upper left corner on  the word "Skalkaho" found on the upper left introduction page and is also found just above the words "A Journey in Adventure".

Clicking it will take you to a list of chapters/postings showing five chapters at a time on this page. The other chapters not visible can be access by clicking on the "More Post" button at the very center-bottom of the Skalkaho chapter/pages link mentioned (in the upper left corner as stated in instruction 2). 

Example: More Post