This past week a study was released prepared by analyst Rebecca Grant on the KC-X program as a whole. Grant is the head of the think tank IRIS.
The report may be found here.
Grant believes that due to budgetary constraints the KC-X buy will be the only new tanker purchased and that the Air Force’s follow on KC-Y and KC-Z increments won’t happen.
She also believes that the use of the aircraft to support operations in the Pacific will be paramount over other planned missions. This drives her to conclude that large fuel capacity and range will be two of the capabilities driving the Air Force’s source selection decision.
Those two factors favor the larger EADS (EADS:P) A330 based system over Boeing’s (BA) 767 tanker aircraft.
If the second and third increments of aircraft are not purchased it would be a blow to both aerospace companies as the Air Force has said that they might be new competitions rather then just buys of the KC-X winner which makes sense as ultimately the Air Force does need to buy a replacement for the KC-10.
Ms. Grant’s thoughts have caused a great deal of thought and comment as the military nears its decision on which aircraft to buy.