Super Sizing?

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), staunch Boeing proponent in the heated KC-X tanker debate on Capital Hill, says the Defense Department will “favor a larger sized aircraft” in the revised solicitation that DOD plans to issue later this month or in August. In a statement issued by his office on July 9, Dicks makes the claim that Pentagon acquisition czar John Young told him that the updated criteria will assign “additional credit to a bigger plane.” This would seemingly put Boeing at a disadvantage since its KC-767 is comparatively smaller than Northrop Grumman’s KC-30 that is based on the Airbus A330 airframe. The KC-30 was chosen in the original contest, which is now being redone due to Boeing’s successful legal protest. “I am concerned that the department is trying to find a new way to justify selecting the larger Airbus tanker again, even though there is no current operational requirement for a larger refueling tanker,” writes Dicks, noting that he will oppose this idea.