Update, 6:00PM Paris Time:
By now readers probably have seen the news from the Air Show on this topic: Boeing is prepared to offer either a 777-based tanker or a 767-based tanker, depending on the RFP requirements. Bloomberg News has a good summary of the IDS briefing on this topic. It may be found here. As far as the factual reporting goes, we don’t have anything to add to the Bloomberg piece. There is a full tanker briefing tomorrow, at which the media has been promised more detail.
Barring any more downpours like we had today to further dampen the spirits of aviation, we will be there..
This is the second in a series of articles from the EADS Media Day and the Paris Air show….
There was an interesting buzz at the Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards dinner on the eve of the launch of the Paris Air Show.
Word was circulating that Boeing will announce at its Integrated Defense Systems briefing at 11 am June 15 that the company is prepared to offer the USAF a tanker based on the 777-200F should the new Draft Request for Proposals outline requirements for a larger medium tanker than Boeing’s previous KC-767-200AT offering.
Boeing IDS officials at the aerospace dinner steadfastly refused comment. In a piece we posted last Wednesday, we reported that Boeing has used the last year to undertake R&D on the 777, 767-400 and 767-200LRF platforms.
Prior to the start of Round 2 of the KC-X competition, Boeing had shown concepts based on the 777, but in the end went with its KC-767. At the Farnborough Air Show last year, we asked Boeing about the prospect of a KC-767-400 and the company replied that the lengthy fuselage, equipped with a refueling boom, limited take-off rotation and thereby meant a longer runway requirement than the then-RFP called for.
Even the KC-767-200AT had runway issues, while the Northrop Grumman KC-30 met the runway length requirement. A KC-777 will also require more runway than was in the Round 2 RFP.
Before the start of Round 2, we opined that Boeing could checkmate Northrop and the EADS/Airbus consortium if it offered a combination of the KC-767 and KC-777 to the Air Force. If the buzz at the awards dinner is accurate, Boeing may be about to do just that.