The Fit, the Load, the Price

Boeing’s 767 is smaller than the Northrop-EADS KC-30, giving it an edge in being able to fit into smaller airfields, a boon for the KC-X’s flip side job of hauling cargo and troops into today’s operating environment. That alternate mission, though, is highly prized by many lawmakers and perhaps gives an edge to the KC-30, which will be able to haul more fuel and cargo per trip. In general, the larger KC-30 (based on EADS Airbus 330) should cost more than the KC-767, however Lexington Institute’s Loren Thompson speculates that Northrop-EADS will keep the price artificially low—offset by European government subsidies—to remain competitive. Remember, this program potentially is worth $40 billion for the first 179 aircraft and more than twice that by the time USAF buys all the new tankers it needs.