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Air Force Chooses the Boeing 767 (KC-46A) as Next Tanker

Boeing 767 tanker, refueling two F/A-18's

Boeing 767 tanker, refueling two F/A-18's

The United States Air Force has announced today that they have granted the tanker contract to Boeing and their 767 aircraft, which will be called the KC-46A. The Air Force is asking Boeing to deliver the first 18 aircraft by 2017.

This has been a heated battle between Boeing and EADS (the parent company of Airbus) for the contract worth $35billion dollars and 179 airplanes. Currently the Air Force has about 400 KC-135s currently used as tankers.Back in 2008, the Air Force initially gave the deal to EADS and their partner at the time Northrop Grumman. Since there were complaints about the bidding process, the whole process had to be started over again.

The Boeing 767 will be built in Everett, WA and modified for tanker duty in Wichita, KA. Washington representative Norm Dicks told Glenn Farely of KING5, “I am so excited that we finally won this after three go-arounds. It’s just the most important victory for Boeing, for the workers of our state.”

Although the decision has been made, it can still be appealed. At this point, I hope it does not get appealed so our troops can start getting new aircraft.


18 comments to Air Force Chooses the Boeing 767 (KC-46A) as Next Tanker

  • DavidBrown(REALLY)

    great news!

  • Eric Wehr

    Airbus has no integrity, and we should not trust suppliers outside America for building any of our military products. These people have no interest in seeing our countries continued prosperity.

  • Doctor Smith

    Re the use of sarcasm in Airbus’s “edit…”
    That’s just poor sportsmanship. How angry can a foreign entity really reasonably be at a domestic company for interpreting US-favorable rulings, findings, and profit retention? I simply can’t imagine boo-hooing a European company for petitioning to retain European defense work.

    Hopefully the USAF can proceed without any further problems to a US-built US military refueling platform. Cheers!

  • Jim

    GREAT NEWS! American military aircraft should be built by Americans in America with the money spent staying in America. Boeing is the BEST there is PERIOD.

    • Albert

      I really don’t see that Boeing is the Best… in what way? Well maybe the best there is in the US but most certain not in the world in my opinion.
      Boeing and EADS have a different approach how to build aircraft and how to interpretate aircraft systems and cockpit automation but which of both is better? Time will tell.
      What I do see here is lots of US, what I will call, patriotism and not the viewpoint of people who look at what is the better aircraft for the USAF in terms of technology (be honest, the 767 design is somewhat outdated these day’s), economics and payload. The argument that the EADS KC-45 would have people loose their job is not a real argument because the EADS tanker and all A330 Freighters would have been build in the US.
      Anyway, I believe that the Boeing victory has been a 100% political decision no more no less. That doesn’t mean the KC46 will be a bad aircraft, only different and time will tell if it will have the lifespan of the good old KC135 in all it’s variants.

      And to all Americans firmly believing they should only buy American… what if all European country’s went to buy only European Aircraft, military and civilian? Where would that bring the US aircraft industries? My guess is bankruptcy or at the least massive loss of US jobs. Think about that before shouting ‘Buy only American’ unmotivated.

  • cedarglen

    Congratulations to Boeing, Washingtono state and the Air Force. If asked, Pretty Please, Boeing should be able to get a few through that slow 767 line, long before 2017! I’m sure that EADS will scream and holler about this award. Yes, EADS also makes fine products. Of that there is no doubt. That said, the **United States Air Force** does not need to, and should not be bying foreign made aircraft, especially for the vital KC role. USAF buy and drivers AMERIKAN made aircraft, damn it! I know…I know, their airplane would be Made in Amerika – sort of. Hey! The profits and the little stuff ought to be Amerikan as well. If the EADS tanker is so wonderful, why has not the French Air Force stocked up? Hmm? Some would argue that the 767 is ancient technology. First flown (or delivered?) in 1981 or so, the basic 767 has been upgraded and updated just like every other platform and those coming off today’s assembly line are a glassed and electronic and anything Fi-Fi ever deamed about. For a working military plane, maybe a little steel cable IS superior to the endless bits and bytes of Fi-Fi. And let’s not forget the the substantial track record behind Boeing! When they made the B-17 and the B-29, where was EADS? Cowering in their shorts and hiding out in London, hoping for a rescue. When Boeing introduced the B-52 and the KC-135, well-built products that are still in service today and in substantial numbers, where was EADS? Dancing around ‘gay Parie,’ trying to choose between a republic democracy and communisim. In the 1970s, at he height of the Cold War, where was EADS? Not yet invented by a government that told NATO to go *uck itself, but still depended upon Boeing and the USAF to defend themselves. The DOD and USAF finally got it right and bought the right airplane. This purchase of 179 units will probably grow over time and there is every reason to believe that the aircraft will still be functional FIFTY or SIXTY years after delivery. Instead of KC-46A, perhaps it ought to be designated a KC-Union-76A! “Jet-A, please. Ten thousand pounds to go, and don’t forget the windows!” Viva La Boeing!!
    -Cedarglen

  • James

    Speaking for us Euro’s… BOOOOOOOOOO!

    It’s far too American in here!

    LOL.

    Great site…

    J.

  • Phil

    Quote ‘GREAT NEWS! American military aircraft should be built by Americans in America with the money spent staying in America. Boeing is the BEST there is PERIOD.’

    With a just a teeny bit of money coming to the UK to supply the hose and drogue system… Well done Cobham:

    “Cobham has been selected by Boeing to provide hose and drogue aerial refuelling systems for use on the U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46A tanker aircraft,” Cobham said in a statement, adding that further details on the scope and value of the work would be announced once the contract has been finalised.

    Cobham, based in Dorset, said the systems would be manufactured at its new specialist air-to-air refuelling facilities in Davenport, Iowa.

  • mawestpac

    I wonder how manty of you know, that B767 tanker version alrady flying by JASDF as KC767. So, its nothing new for Boeing to build this tanker version. Of course, spec will be USAF, and type of engine they choosr. Nagigate your key board to JASDF in Google.

  • MVFlyer

    From what I read today, Airbus can still appeal, and Congress can still get involved until the GAO makes its final ruling. Don’t think for a minute that Airbus will take this one lying down. I’m a firm believer that the AF should buy American, and Northrop pulling out as a partner of Airbus may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but I’m just saying that Airbus has too much invested not to fight.

  • Rob Goodman

    Great News but 2017 for the first ones way too long.

  • Airbus/EAD can appeal, but in news coverage, they’ve said that pending a discussion with the Pentagon to find out why they were not selected, they won’t make an immediate decision on an appeal. There is a timeframe for how long they have to appeal.

    Eat Dirt, Sen. Shelby.

  • Mike Ballinger

    Boeing cheated early & eventually won. But at least some exec’s are in prison.

  • LtCol Miguel Santos Portuguese AF

    Wasn´t the A330 tanker supposed to be built in the CONUS? This would have generated lots of employment positions plus several contracts with USA suppliers, genertating a lot of wealth to be spent in the US, despite EADS cashing the aircraft value.

    I think this decision was ill-fated a long time ago. The problem, to my view, is the usual american pride unable to see beyond. The A330 is a much more capable and new generation platform than the 767 which will be adapted for this purpose. The A330 is bigger, takes more fuel, flies more cargo and troops and also would be operational in a 50 to 60 years frame.

    I`ve been a USAF supporter for many years and was disappointed when I knew the best airframe was not being picked up.

    Anyway congrats to Boeing and all those who feel this was the right decision.

  • LtCol Ret`d Miguel Santos Portuguese AF

    Following my last post, my view of this matter is in no way the official Portuguese AF or Portugal`s position on this issue.

    My apologies if my words were mistakenly interpreted.

  • Kurt Robinson

    Great for boeing………..great for america…..keep our jobs in the US. Also, we need to stop poliving the wrold and let the UN do its J.O.B. Bring the troops and protect our borders…NOW.

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