of the most lucrative military projects ever offered by the Pentagon
is the contract to replace the aging fleet of flying tankers for the
Air Force. The Air Force has been looking to replace the fleet of
KC-135 aircraft with new and improved planes for years and the
project has been a hotbed of controversy.
week Boeing has announced that it will offer its NewGen
Tanker to the Air Force in attempt to win the huge contract
to replace the Air Force KC-135 fleet. Boeing has dubbed the new
tanker "NewGen" because of the state of the art systems
that are integrated to meet future mission requirements. These
features include a digital flight deck taken from the Boeing 787
Dreamliner. Boeing twists the knife in Northrop's back by adding that
the screens in the NewGen tanker are 75% larger than those in the
Airbus A330, on which Northrop's proposed tanker is based.The
Boeing NewGen tanker will also have a new generation fly-by-wire boom
with an expanded refueling envelope and an increased fuel offload
rate. Boeing also states that the aircraft will meet all Air Force
requirements for refueling operations and reduced workload for crew.
Boeing also reports that the NewGen Tanker provides full access to
the unrestricted flight envelope of the aircraft to the crew rather
than allowing the computer to limit combat maneuverability.Boeing
also claims that its aircraft will save taxpayers over $10 billion in
fuel costs during the aircraft's 40-year service life thanks to the
24% fuel savings compared to similar aircraft. Boeing will deliver
the proposal for the tanker by May 10, which is within the 75-day
window that bidders have to turn in proposals for aircraft.
and CEO of Boeing Defense Dennis Muilenburg said, "Having
supplied tankers to the Air Force for the past 60 years, Boeing has
drawn on its unmatched aerial-refueling experience to thoroughly
review and evaluate the KC-X solicitation issued by the Air Force. We
respect and understand the KC-X requirements, and appreciate the
importance of this program for the United States and its warfighters.
We intend to bid for the honor to work with our Air Force customer to
replace the existing fleet of KC-135 aircraft with a new-generation,
multi-role tanker in a fair and transparent acquisition
process."Northrop Grumman, EADS was originally granted
the win for the lucrative contract worth an estimated $35
billion in March of 2008. The entire bid process seemed to be over
until the other bidder for the contract -- Boeing -- filed
a protest against the Northrop win claiming that the process
used to award the contract to Northrop had "serious flaws"
and the protest ultimately resulted in the biding and RFP process
starting over.In February 2010, the Pentagon released
a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for the tanker aircraft
and Northrop Grumman, EADS was not happy with the new proposals.
According to the aircraft giant, the new RFP leaned so heavily
towards the Boeing KC-767 proposal that there was little reason for
Northrop to offer an aircraft in the bidding process. Northrop
claimed that the new changes to the RFP made the Airbus A330-based
KC-45A that it won the original RFP with financially unsuitable for
the company. Northrop threatened to withdraw from the bidding process
if changes weren’t made. The Pentagon stated if it only had one
bidder for the tanker contract, it would continue with the process.