Boeing NewGen tanker  (Source: Boeing)
Boeing submits its 8,000-page tanker bid

One of the biggest debacles in the history of defense contractor bidding has been the bids for the multi-billion dollar contract to replace the aging fleet of tanker aircraft in use in several branches of the U.S. military. The program was closed once with the contract awarded only to be overturned on appeal by the defeated bidder.

Being announced late last week that it has submitted its tanker proposal to the Air Force that is based on its 767 aircraft and dubbed NewGen. The tanker proposal spanned 8,000 pages and was hand delivered to the KC-X program office at Wright-Patterson Air force Base in Ohio. The tanker aircraft reportedly satisfies all 372 mandatory Air Force requirements for the program at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.

"We are honored to support our U.S. Air Force customer and submit this proposal to meet the critical mission needs of this nation," said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "This revolutionary tanker will deliver widebody capabilities in a narrowbody footprint, operate in any theater or from any base, and -- with the lowest operating cost of any tanker in the competition -- save the Air Force and the American taxpayers billions of dollars."

One of the key features that Boeing is touting for the aircraft is its digital flight deck based on the flight deck from the 787 Dreamliner. The flight deck leaves the pilot in command of the aircraft and places no limits on combat maneuverability.

Boeing also takes a jab at EADS in its official statement stating that the NewGen tanker is more cost-effective to own and operate than the larger and heavier Airbus A330 EADS is offering. Boeing goes on to state that the savings in fuel alone over the 40-year service life of the aircraft would amount to over $10 billion if its NewGen tanker is chosen. The Boeing offering burns 24% less fuel than the EADS aircraft.

"As the only company in this competition with rich experience in developing and manufacturing derivative aircraft for the warfighter, Boeing brings the talent and resources of our existing team and facilities to fully meet the requirements of the U.S. Air Force," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "With our Boeing commercial and defense teams and a proven supplier network, we have delivered more than 1,000 commercial derivative aircraft to U.S. government customers and military customers around the world. Add to that our experience as the only company to deliver a combat-tested aerial refueling boom, and we are ready to provide the right tanker for the Air Force and the best value for taxpayers."

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