The US Department of Defense has forwarded its report to Congress seeking approval to lease 100 Boeing KC-767As, but opposition to the $17.2 billion deal is growing, with Senator John McCain threatening to subpoena confidential 767 pricing data from Boeing. The Pentagon contends the deal will provide the US Air Force with 60 replacement tankers for its ageing KC-135Es by fiscal year 2009 and 100 by FY2011, but admits the six-year lease will cost between $150 million and $1.5 billion more than a purchase, depending on the pace of acquisition. Meanwhile, the first Boeing 767-200ER destined to be modified into a tanker transport took off on 16 July from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in Wichita, where the aircraft will undergo a two-year modification programme. The tanker will be delivered to the Italian air force in 2005.

Source: Flight International