Delay on Tanker Comp

Bowing to current events—a new Defense Secretary, program changes, and Congressional concerns—has led the Air Force to delay issuing a final request for proposal on its tanker replacement program. Reuters news service reports USAF has bumped the final RFP date from Dec. 15 to the end of January. A senior service official earlier this week had stated publicly that USAF had decided to neutralize any outcome from the World Trade Organization dispute—a major irritant for the Northrop Grumman-EADS team and outspoken tanker program critic Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The Mobile Press-Register reports that McCain on Dec. 1 sent a letter to SECDEF-nominee Robert Gates, asking him to ensure the competition is “full and open.” Since issuing the initial draft RFP on Sept. 25, the Air Force has responded formally to numerous industry questions and updated its system requirements document, posting a summary update Wednesday.