Another KC-X deadline passes

Today was supposed to be the day the KC-X contract was to get its go-ahead, but as has so often been the case, another deadline has come and gone.

The USAF suggests it will be done this fall, which is through December 20. We’ve previously written we believe the award will slip to the first quarter.

Meantime, here is an interesting story on the KC-X saga. Hat-tip to Flightglobal’s Steve Trimble for spotting this one.

14 comments on “Another KC-X deadline passes

  1. Thanks for the link. The McCain vs USAF part was pretty funny.

    In the first round of the tanker war, McCain had vanquished Roche. But in the senior reaches of the Air Force, some wondered if McCain’s real motivation had been to embarrass the service itself. Officials took note of his Navy pedigree—McCain was a pilot, and his father and grandfather were famous admirals—and speculated that McCain was taking sides in a military rivalry. “McCain is not a big fan of the Air Force,” says Whitten Peters, the former Secretary. “In fact, he hates the Air Force.”

  2. it’s like watching the movie ‘groundhog day’.
    a clever investigative journalist would find out where ms. druyan and her daughter are hanging their hats these days. and how much retirement the taxpayers give her for her service.

  3. Good and long (10 pages) history of the KC-X and earlier tanker lease program. But the last chapter will not be written for years to come.

    Might as well recommission and update the KC-135Es.

  4. Looks almost like a hit piece on the tankers. Some facts, some speculation, and some just plain errors.

    For example re Ted Stevens- and the ‘ virgin birth ‘ bit

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A21584-2003Oct26?language=printer

    washingtonpost.com
    Correction to This Article
    An Oct. 27 article on the Air Force’s plan to lease tankers from Boeing Co. incorrectly stated that a provision authorizing the arrangement had been inserted into a defense appropriations bill after the bill had passed the House and Senate. That provision was inserted into the bill by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) before the Senate Appropriations Committee approved it. After debating the provision, the Senate approved the bill on a voice vote in December 2001.

    Goes on

    +++

    And as to the lease bit – some confusion as to why and when

    http://web.archive.org/web/20040401111615/http://www.kingcountyjournal.com/sited/story/html/159134

    Ex-SPEEA president recalled as well-connected, `engineer’s engineer’
    2004-03-19
    by Chris Genna . .

    . . .President Richard Nixon appointed Hartley to a position as citizen adviser to Secretary of Defense David Packard, a role he didn’t resign from until the Reagan administration.

    “When I first met Dan, I couldn’t believe he knew all these people,” Lentz said. “But he’d show me e-mails he sent and received from these guys and I realized `By golly, he really knows about these things.”’

    Indeed, Hartley may have planted the seeds of the idea that the Air Force might lease Boeing 767s for use as aerial refueling tankers if the service couldn’t buy them. Lentz said he thinks that subject came up when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens called Hartley after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks…

    +++ Dan was a close friend of mine – and I can vouch for the facts and details behind the call FROM Ted Stevens and the suggestion BY Dan for tanker lease and insurance for airlines, and a few other issues as a result of 911 – the bottom line driving was JOBS JOBS JOBS.

    +++
    It took Rudy de Leon from Boeing to help put a monkey wrench in not only the Tanker lease fiasco, but to stall the filing of a Countervailing duties Petition against EADS/Airbus. The CVD is similar to the WTO filing by Boeing.

    I was there – got the T-shirt.

    Journal Reporter

  5. Many Europeans (including me) are heavily against EADS/Airbus taking part in this tanker competition and we imploringly hope Airbus will lose it this time. The reason is simple: We do not trust the soundness of US defense spending (and general US financial behaviour) anymore. We heavily fear Airbus tanker deliveries to the US air force will never be paid and Airbus will end up in ruins. If EADS/Airbus succeed once again in this competition, a lot of us are willing to sabotage the deal down to its dirty end.

  6. Evin Ormond :
    We heavily fear Airbus tanker deliveries to the US air force will never be paid and Airbus will end up in ruins.

    The only thing you have to fear is fear itself. ;-)

    Seriously, believing that the Pentagon would not pay EADS for tanker deliveries is absurd, and with all due respect, it sounds as if your “fear” is a FUD spreading exercise. You know, the Pentagon is paying for their UH-72s, aren’t they?

    It’s fair enough to question the soundness and sustainability of the current levels of US defense spending. One could even question the realism of a 179 units procurement program in todays fiscal environment, but since Airbus would establish a FAL in Mobile anyway the commercial side of the equation would make sure that this would not be a loss making enterprise and EADS has pointed out on several occasions that they could live with a split contract.

    So, why don’t you chill out and listen to “until always, commandante”. ;-)

      • Well, what you don’t seem to get is that an A330 final assembly line (FAL) in Mobile would be a lon term strategic move by EADS in much of the same way as putting an A320 FAL in Tianjin, China was a strategic move. Thinking long term is a sound business strategy in the large commercial airliner business.

        And talking about long term strategies:

        But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun–almost as hot as it is here today–and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out–then we must be bold.

  7. Antonov is gonna win this, with their heavy use of alien tech they are gonna beat A and B in every criteria. And for those unbelievers who want pictures of that super tanker.. well duh you arent supposed to see an invisible stealth tanker. Seriously people, THINK!

  8. There was a recent article that some of the newer KC-135 had a mandatory retirement of 2045! Why the panic to start on replacement a/c now. BTW, with cur current White House posture why do we need more than 50 tanker aircraft?
    Tanker weight is one of the most important elements in performance. The 767 isn’t the lightest bird in the nest!

    Perhaps the ideal airframe isn’t even in the computer yet!

    Jim Helms

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