Hello NewGen Tanker

Boeing on Thursday unveiled the “NewGen Tanker” design that it will offer the Air Force in the KC-X tanker competition. The multi-mission aircraft is based on the company’s 767 commercial airliner, but updated with a digital flight deck that features electronic displays used in the 787 Dreamliner and a new-generation fly-by-wire boom with an expanded refueling envelope and increased fuel offload rate. Another discriminator, the company said, is that the pilot would always be in “full control” of the aircraft, allowing “unrestricted evasive action” to threats. Boeing’s announcement puts to bed the idea that it might offer a tanker derivative of its larger 777 airliner. The Air Force issued the KC-X solicitation on Feb. 24. Bids are due 75 days from then. No word yet whether Northrop Grumman will stay in the contest. (Boeing release) (See Unitedstatestanker.com Web site for more information on the NewGen Tanker.)