Thu, Dec 20, 2007
KC-X Saga Could Continue Well Into New Year
If you were looking for a speedy resolution to the ongoing saga
of the US Air Force KC-X Tanker competition... don't bet on it.
Comments made by a senior Air Force official Thursday indicate the
issue may still be up in the air, so to speak, into spring
"We'll take whatever amount of time it takes to get to the right
answer," top USAF acquisition officer Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman told
reporters Thursday, according to Reuters. "Sure, there's a
reasonable chance" it will slip beyond the latest end-February
target, he added.
The Air Force is looking to replace its aging fleet of KC-135
tankers with modern twinjets, based on either the Boeing 767 or
Airbus A330 commercial airliners.
Boeing already had Congressional approval on a deal in 2003 to
sell and lease 100 KC-767s to the Air Force for about $23.5
billion. But the deal was put on hold after Pentagon officials
learned former USAF chief negotiator Darleen Druyun accepted a job
as Boeing vice president before the deal was consummated. She later
pleaded guilty to criminal charges.
Boeing fired both her and the man who hired her, Chief Financial
Officer Michael Sears. Shortly after that, CEO Phil Condit abruptly
As it did in 2003, Boeing is fielding its KC-767 for the latest
competition. A partnership between Northrop Grumman and EADS
answered the challenge with the KC-30, a derivative of the
Multi-Role Tanker Transport Aircraft. Both entities submitted bids
on the contract in April 2007.
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