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.)
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.