Pushing Fee-for-Service Tanking

Despite Air Force rejection of the idea on operational grounds, the just-passed 2008 defense policy bill still includes language that would direct the Air Force to conduct a “pilot program to study feasibility and advisability of commercial fee-for-serve air refueling,” according to a statement from the office of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). McCain, a frequent Air Force critic, has been pushing USAF to consider this option for at least five years, but the Air Force recently ruled it out and did not include it in the KC-X tanker replacement request for proposals. USAF expects to award a KC-X contract late this year, but there are still two more increments to go, KC-Y and KC-Z.