Boeing is stepping up its effort to secure the contract for the Air Force’s next aerial refueling aircraft. Roxana Tiron of The Hill reports that Boeing plans to send out a summer barrage of press releases to the “top 18 states with high stakes in the tanker program.” The focus would be on the 44,000 US jobs the company now says a program to build 179 new tankers, dubbed KC-X, would support. Both Boeing and Northrop Grumman/EADS have their Congressional supporters. The KC-X is now USAF’s top acquisition priority, and the program would grow beyond the initial buy.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.