Fee-for-Service Tanking in the Wind:

The Senate Armed Services Committee thinks the Air Force needs to reconsider its position on fee-for-service aerial refueling, seeing it as a low cost way to quickly replace capability provided by elderly KC-135 tankers. Roxana Tiron of The Hill reports that the committee report on the 2008 defense authorization bill, awaiting action in the full Senate, gives “strong directive language” to run a pilot program to demonstrate fee-for-service capability. The Navy already uses contract tanking from Omega Air, which expressed interest in competing for a share of the Air Force’s aerial refueling business. As early as 2002, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chief architect of the effort that killed the Boeing tanker lease deal and exposed the Darleen Druyun affair, wanted the service to consider the fee-for-service option. However, Air Force officials have maintained such an arrangement wouldn’t suit operational requirements. The final request for proposal for the KC-X tanker replacement program doesn’t consider fee-for-service.