As hard-fought competitions go, the US Air Force's KC-X tanker battle has had pretty much everything to offer. Congressional scrutiny, corporate impropriety and a flawed procurement model have thwarted the service's three previous attempts to replace more than a third of its Boeing KC-135s. And after months of uncertainty over the likelihood of a renewed Airbus A330-based offer, the Department of Defense's recent approval of a 60-day bid extension has enraged Boeing's supporters, and upped the pressure on an already strained transatlantic industrial relationship. With Boeing and EADS North America now honing their final proposals for the 179-aircraft deal, we look at their candidate systems, and at how Washington will judge the capabilities of their rival products.
A330 MRTT: more please