According to an Oct. 22 Reuters report, Boeing and Northrop Grumman posed some 50 questions about the draft KC-X tanker request for proposals officially released Sept. 25 not just the nine to which USAF responded last week. Unnamed industry executives told Reuters the lack of a full response could signal the need for a second draft RFP before USAF could go final. In fact, one told the news service that DOD and USAF must now question whether their attempt to “bulletproof” the process has failed. Northrop and its supporters already have complained that the process is tainted because Boeing had access to its pricing data from the earlier competition. The Pentagon has maintained that the old data is not relevant to the new competition, but Reuters reported Oct. 23 that the Pentagon had asked but failed to convince Boeing to share its previous data.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.