It’s Time for Predictions

Another defense analyst now says Boeing is the certain winner of the Air Force’s KC-X tanker competition, slated for award in February. Eric Rosenberg of Hearst Newspapers reports (via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) that Paul Nisbet has joined with Richard Aboulafia in naming Boeing the winner. Nisbet, an analyst with JSA Research of Rhode Island, cites Boeing’s extended tanker experience and, unfortunately, he also believes the service “wanted [the Boeing tanker] in the first place.” (Such talk is certain to inflame those who believe USAF has not always followed acquisition protocol when dealing with Boeing. The service currently is in the crosshairs of Sen. John McCain for its discussions with Boeing on the C-17 program.) Speaking earlier this month, Aboulafia with the Teal Group said Boeing had the edge, but he also thought there might still be a chance for a split-buy. Air Force officials have said that would be too costly.