In an op-ed in the Press-Register Sunday, three lawmakers from Alabama wrote that Boeing recently “has gone to alarming lengths to spread inaccurate and misleading information” about their competitor—the Northrop Grumman-EADS North America team—in the Air Force tanker replacement program and “the workforce that would build it.” Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) wrote: “Whichever platform is selected, the Air Force will be buying an American tanker. All claims to the contrary are designed to mislead.” The three then lay out “advantages” of the Northrop team’s KC-30 over the Boeing KC-767, arguing that the KC-30, which would largely be built in Mobile, is the “correct choice.” Both competitors have waged intensive PR campaigns, citing monetary impacts state by state and calling on former military officers to extol the virtues of their aircraft. Boeing has pointed out that part of the KC-30 would be produced overseas, which the Northrop-EADS team acknowledges. Boeing tried to clarify comments that Shelby claimed were offensive to the Alabama workforce, saying that it simply meant that there is some risk associated with production at a new production facility, wherever it’s located. It’s a given: No matter which team wins or how fair USAF tried to make the competition, the loser is bound to protest.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.