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Boeing Wins Air Force Tanker Competition

Air Force Secretary Says One Percent Price Difference Means A Significant Savings For Taxpayers

Boeing will continue to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donely announced Thursday afternoon that the $35 billion contract for the new tanker, designated KC-46A, would be awarded to the Seattle-based planemaker.


Boeing NewGen Tanker File Photo

The Air Force-led selection effort included experts from the larger Department of Defense community, including the office of the Defense Secretary's staff and independent review teams during each step of the process.

"Many factors were evaluated during the tanker selection process,” said Secretary Donley. The selection "took into account mission effectiveness in wartime and life cycle costs as embodied in fuel efficiency and military construction costs," said Donley, emphasizing that both offerors met all the mandatory requirements. “The thorough and transparent selection process was marked by continual dialogue with offerors to ensure the Air Force had a clear understanding of their proposals and the companies clearly understood the service's analysis of their offers,” He said.

"Gen. Schwartz and I are confident in the fact that when our young pilots, boom operators and maintainers receive this aircraft, they will have the tools they need to be successful at what we ask them to do," Donley said. "To the men and women of our Air Force, today's announcement represents a long-overdue start to a much-needed program," Donley said. "Your Air Force leadership, supported by others throughout the Department of Defense, is determined to see this through, and we will stand behind this work."

The program will deliver the first 18 aircraft by 2017.  Basing decisions for the aircraft will take place over the next couple of years. Donely said he and other senior Air Force officials would be available to de-brief representatives from both Airbus and Boeing on the selection process, as well as members of Congress. He said that he hoped that this would be the end of the sometimes-bitter feud over the tanker contract, and that the process could move forward. "The warfighter deserves no less," he said.

FMI: www.af.mil, www.airbus.com, www.boeing.com

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