Return of the Spider Chart

Boeing presented reporters at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Monday with its own “spider chart” showing how its 777 tanker concept would be superior to Northrop Grumman’s KC-30 offering. Rick Lemaster, Boeing’s KC-X tanker program manager, displayed a chart with interconnected lines and circular patterns like a spider’s intricate web similar to the so-called Northrop spider chart made famous during the last round of the tanker competition. According to Boeing, the KC-777 has greater fuel offload capability, cargo pallet capacity, passenger carriage, and patient carrying capacity than the KC-30. Lemaster said the KC-777 tanker would offer “significant more capability” than the KC-30 even though the two designs are roughly the same size. Boeing is waiting on DOD to issue the requirements for the restarted KC-X contest before committing to bidding a 777-based tanker versus competing its smaller 767 tanker model (see below). (Boeing briefing charts.)