(Source: Northrop Grumman)
12:00 AM, July 11, 2008

Northrop Grumman has offered the U.S. Air Force a superior, more-flexible aerial refueling tanker than Boeing, and now, as both companies prepare for a re-bid on 8 areas of concern outlined by the Government Accountability Office, the Pentagon is articulating even more clearly than before that it believes our men and women in uniform need a tanker that can carry more fuel.>> Greater fuel capacity means the tanker can spend more time in the air - refueling more aircraft with less time spent commuting between airfields and battle theaters. And in fact, the GAO expressly ratified the Air Force's conclusion that the KC-45 tanker provides more fuel offload capability.>> According to The Washington Post, some of Boeing's backers say that simply by asserting its right to spell out what it wants in a new tanker, the Air Force is unfairly tilting the contract - even though common sense would dictate purchasing a tanker that can most cost-effectively achieve its primary mission - aerial refueling.>> As The Washington Post points out in today's newspaper, some members of Congress have become "alarmed to learn that the Pentagon said it would give extra credit for carrying more fuel.">> The Post also quoted chief Pentagon procurement officer John Young as saying that his goal is to ensure that the new Request For Proposal "make(s) clear that the objective is to provide additional fuel" over the existing KC-135 model.>> Northrop Grumman's KC-45 tanker can carry about 45,000 pounds more fuel than the KC-135 it is replacing, while Boeing's proposed 767 tanker would carry only slightly more fuel than the KC-135.