Down to the Line

The Pentagon may start the KC-135 tanker replacement program over again just after Labor Day, so says Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.). And, according to a Wichita Eagle blog report, the avowed Boeing tanker supporter told members of the Wichita Aero Club last week that he and colleagues are still “pushing for an American tanker made by American workers by an American company.” Lawmakers have made it clear for months that they believe the Pentagon must plan to buy two tankers—one from Boeing and one from Northrop Grumman—to ensure the ill-fated KC-X program can at last move forward sans a losing contractor protest. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has yet to declare whether the Air Force or OSD will take the lead in the new KC-X acquisition, has been equally adamant that buying two tankers isn’t on his agenda. Stay tuned.