Both competitors for the Air Force’s KC-X tanker replacement program gathered panels of retired Air Force officers this week at AFA’s Air & Space Conference to extol the virtues of their aircraft. The Boeing panel argued that the 767 is the right size for the runways to be encountered and more fuel efficient than the larger Northrop Grumman-EADS North America KC-30. The Northrop panel argued that the KC-30 can carry more fuel to offload and more cargo and passengers to fulfill the tanker’s alternate role as an airlifter. Both arguments have been heard before. The Air Force has a tough decision that is expects to make by year’s end. Then it’s on to the next increments, the KC-Y and KC-Z.
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.