Addison Schonland of the IAG blog has a great podcast interview today with Boeing tanker spokesman Bill Barksdale. If you wondered if Boeing is really interested in a 777-based tanker, Barksdale’s new interview should dispel any doubts. Yes, Bill says, Boeing may still offer a 767-based tanker if US Air Force wants something smaller and more agile. But Bill seemed much more enthusiastic about the prospect of a KC-777. He also threw out some interesting new statistics. I have an excerpt below, but check out Schonland’s blog to hear the podcast (fee required).
BARKSDALE: The 777 as a tanker is just so much more capable thananything it’s got as a peer. And I know that sounds like a bit of bravado, butif you really get down to it, if they really value what you would call a largeairplane – a widebody tanker — and everything that goes with it, that 777 isamazing. I’ll give you a couple of examples. If you compare them, the 777 wouldprovide – deliver – however you want to say it — 23% more fuel than the KC-30.It could carry 44% more payload – more cargo – in the back. And it also wouldcarry about 42% more passengers in the back as well. So those are very generic,very general kinds of numbers. There’s a lot more data we could get into atsome point down the line. … If the air force really wants to go in thatdirection, the Boeing company has spent a lot of time in the last year preparingfor that, knowing that we have a real, true, large tanker that, like I said, is comparablein size to the KC-30. And, yet, you get you get so much more for your money.