KC-X Downselect, the Uncharted Frontier

Pentagon acquisition executive Ash Carter said Wednesday the targeted downselect date in the Air Force’s KC-X tanker competition is “sometime this fall,” but no one in the know can offer any more specificity at this time. “It will be done when it is done. We are being very careful to do it right, given the history,” of the tanker acquisition in recent years, he told attendees at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. Carter went so far as to say, “Anybody who gives you a date that is more precise than that doesn’t know what they are talking about. I hope that puts that question of dates to rest.” Prior to Carter’s statement, the going date for the announcement of the winning tanker model—either Boeing’s 767-based NewGen Tanker or EADS North America’s A330-based KC-45—was mid November after the mid-term Congressional elections. Apparently we got that from people who don’t know what they are talking about.