USAF KC-X: Will There Be a Competition?

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KC-767 refuels KC-777(click to view full) DID has covered developments in the USA’s coming aerial tanker program, which could reach 500 planes and/or $100+ billion before all is said and done, and is now listed as the USAF’s #1 procurement priority. The 707-based KC-135 fleet ranges from 40-50 years old, raising the risk that fatigue or aging-related problems could ground them at some unanticipated time. Since aerial transport, fighter strike missions, bomber missions, combat air patrols et. al. all depend on aerial refueling to some degree, a grounding of the KC-135 fleet could be catastrophic for America’s military posture. The formal RFP for the first tranche of 179 aircraft is due out on Tuesday, January 30, 2007, and the big question is… will there be a competition at all? Boeing is believed to be offering a tanker version of its 767-200 airliner, which sells to commercial customers for about $120 million. Italy and Japan are already KC-767 customer’s. Northrop Grumman and EADS Airbus are offering a modified A330-200 that sells on the commercial market for about $160 million; Australia and Britain are already A330 MRTT customers. Northrop Grumman says the “KC-30 MRTT” can carry 20% more fuel than the 767, […]

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