Boeing's KC-X spec still remains a secret

Washington DC
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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Boeing entered the second USAF tanker competition acknowledging the need to slash the KC-767's cost. While its losing bid in the last round combined elements of three versions of the 767 in what some called the "Frankentanker", Boeing appeared focused on leveraging existing technology.

But little is known about the details of Boeing's offer outside the air force's evaluation team. On 15 February, EADS North America chairman Ralph Crosby noted that it was difficult for EADS to estimate Boeing's risk exposure because so many details about the KC-767's configuration and performance have not been revealed.

Since unveiling the KC-767 NewGen Tanker last February, Boeing officials kept the key facts about the company's offer hidden from public view. Among the items that remain undisclosed are the aircraft's range, payload capacity, and fuel offload at a given range.

Boeing also has not disclosed if the KC-767 - to be rebranded the KC-46A - is based on a single model or assembled from major elements of different models. Even the identity of the refuelling systems, including the boom, centreline drogue and wingtip hose and drogues, are still not publicised.

Asked if Boeing would now disclose those details a few hours after contract award, Dennis Muilenberg, president of the company's defence and security division, declined, saying they would not be "rolled out" until more time has passed.

The air force's evaluation, of course, determined that Boeing's proposal met all 372 mandatory requirements, which included specific measures for fuel offload at range, the flow-rate for the boom and payload capacity for cargo, passengers and medical patients.