Launch Point

The Air Force on Wednesday issued the request for proposals for 179 KC-X aerial refueling aircraft to replace its oldest KC-135 tankers. Prospective bidders Boeing and Northrop Grumman now have 75 days to turn in their proposals, followed by 120 days of evaluation, leading to the planned announcement of a winner around mid-September, Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn told reporters during a Pentagon briefing. Lynn said the solicitation, in its final form, is fair, clearly articulated, and lays out a transparent process. The Air Force dropped one requirement for a microwave landing system and, overall, the final version of the solicitation has some 230 slight changes, based on more than 350 comments from Congress and industry. But otherwise, the RFP does not deviate at all from its focus on meeting the needs of Air Mobility Command, while getting the best deal for the taxpayer, said Lynn. (KC-X RFP) (Briefing transcript; briefing slides; slides, expanded version)