Commercial Tanker Service Update

The total estimated costs of the Air Force’s five-year pilot program to judge the merits of a commercial fee-for-service air refueling option are still “uncertain, but are likely to be significant,” stated the Government Accountability Office on Monday. In a new report, GAO says the most recent estimates lie between $850 million and $900 million, based on information that the Air Force provided Congress in August. Analysis back in February gauged the costs at around $1.3 billion, while looks at cost back in 2008 pointed to $2 billion, according to the agency. Congress mandated this pilot program in Fiscal 2008 defense legislation. USAF has already issued two requests for information to industry. There exist today no commercial boom-equipped refueling aircraft, so a period of 18 to 36 months will likely be necessary to develop this capability so that then five-year assessment may then proceed, said GAO.