Boeing Wins Aerial Tanker Contract

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2011 — The Boe­ing Co. has won the con­tract to pro­duce the Air Force’s KC-46A aer­i­al refu­el­ing air­craft, replac­ing the Eisen­how­er-era KC-135s and the Rea­gan-era KC-10s.
Deputy Defense Sec­re­tary William J. Lynn III said the com­pe­ti­tion for the con­tract was fair, open and trans­par­ent and he believes it will sur­vive any pos­si­ble chal­lenge.
“What we can tell you is Boe­ing was a clear win­ner,” Lynn said.

Left to right, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Nor­ton A. Schwartz, Air Force Sec­re­tary Michael B. Don­ley, Deputy Defense Sec­re­tary William J. Lynn III, and Ash­ton B. Carter, under­sec­re­tary of defense for acqui­si­tion, tech­nol­o­gy and logis­tics, speak with mem­bers of the press about the KC-46A con­tract announce­ment at the Pen­ta­gon, Feb. 24, 2011.
DOD pho­to by Cherie Cullen
Click to enlarge

Air Force Sec­re­tary Michael B. Don­ley made the announce­ment at the Pen­ta­gon this evening. Both offers –- by Boe­ing and EADS -– met all 372 manda­to­ry require­ments under the com­pe­ti­tion, he said. The con­tract signed today is for $3.5 bil­lion for engi­neer­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing. This por­tion of the con­tract will yield four aircraft. 

Under this award Boe­ing will build 179 air­craft. Over­all the con­tract is worth $30 bil­lion with a final amount depend­ing on the options exer­cised, Don­ley said. 

“I am pleased that this process has pro­duced an out­come after an exhaus­tive effort by hun­dreds of the department’s very best peo­ple, that we will get about deliv­er­ing a capa­bil­i­ty that’s long over­due and we can stop talk­ing about it,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Nor­ton A. Schwartz said.

The first 18 air­craft will be deliv­ered by 2017. 

Lynn said warfight­ers defined the require­ments for the air­craft, and this is a fixed-price con­tract. “This com­pe­ti­tion favored no one, but the tax­pay­er and the warfight­er,” he said. 

Don­ley called the tanker buy the service’s No.1 need. He said he and Schwartz “are con­fi­dent that when our young pilots, boom oper­a­tors and main­tain­ers receive this air­craft, they will have the tools they need to be suc­cess­ful at what we ask them to do.” 

Boe­ing will use a ver­sion of the 767 air­craft for the new tanker. EADS based its sub­mis­sion on the Air­bus A330

Don­ley said Boeing’s sub­mit­ted cost for the con­tract will pro­vide “sub­stan­tial sav­ings to the taxpayer.” 

This was the third time this con­tract has been award­ed. In 2003, the Air Force agreed to lease aer­i­al tankers from Boe­ing, but the deal fell through due to ille­gal acts that had involved some Boe­ing and Pen­ta­gon officials. 

In Feb­ru­ary 2008, EADS won the recon­fig­ured con­tract, but that was void­ed after the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office ruled that Boe­ing was treat­ed unfairly. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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